A man facing federal felony charges for making threats of violence against an unidentified U.S. senator said he didn’t expect legal repercussions.
“I didn’t think it was going to come to this,” Michael Brogan stold the New York Post outside his Brooklyn home Wednesday after having been released on $50,000 bail. “I wouldn’t have done it.”
A criminal complaint alleges Brogan left a menacing voicemail with the Washington, D.C., office of one of the twenty-three women serving in the Senate. Authorities have not named the senator.
The voicemail railed against comments by the senator on reproductive rights and her criticism of President Donald Trump, the paper reported.
“I’m going to put a bullet in ya. When I’m in D.C. and you’re there, I got your f---ing mark you stupid b---h,” the voicemail said. “You and your constant lambasting of President Trump. Oh, reproductive rights, reproductive rights. You know what? I’m cursing and I’m in sin because of people like you, OK?”
“If I saw you, I’d snuff your stupid f---ing a--. I’d put a f---ing bullet in you,” the voicemail continued. “You watch your a--. If I see you on the streets, I’m gonna f---ing light you up with f---ing bullets.”
The senator referred the message to Capitol Police, which traced the number to a cellphone that federal agents found in Brogan’s home, the Daily News reported. Brogan left the message after he watched a video of the senator online, he told the paper.
Brogan’s arrest comes as threats of violence by anti-abortion extremists have spiked. Last year threats of harm directed at abortion providers nearly doubled, according to National Abortion Federation statistics.
Brogan downplayed the threats in his interview with the paper, and said he might have already forgotten the call had authorities not arrested him.
“I was just blowing off some steam,” Brogan said. “Not to trivialize it, I wish in retrospect I didn’t do it, but I don’t think it’s that big.”
Watch: Hatch Farewell Senate Speech: ‘Hateful Rhetoric, If Left to Ferment, Becomes Violence’
Senate Armed Services Chairman James Inhofe has ditched a stock purchase in one of the Pentagon’s leading defense contractors amid pressure from a news organization that was preparing a report on the connection between his official duties and personal finances.
Inhofe’s office distanced the senator from his personal finances, saying in a statement that all of his financial transactions are handled by a third-party adviser.
The Daily Beast first reported this story.
The Oklahoma Republican has long been a proponent of increasing military spending. Last week, he successfully lobbied Defense Secretary James Mattis and President Donald Trump to ask for a record $750 billion in defense spending from Congress for Fiscal Year 2020. Trump had previously sought cuts to the defense budget, which is currently $717 billion.
News outlets reported that budget request Sunday. Two days later, Inhofe’s financial adviser reported to a public Senate database that he had invested $50,000 to $100,000 of the senator’s money in Raytheon, the third-highest paid defense contractor by the U.S. government.
Raytheon’s contract with the Pentagon tops $10 billion. The company builds high-precision missiles and other heavy munitions for the U.S. military.
When the Daily Beast inquired about Inhofe’s new stock in Raytheon, his office said the senator told his financial adviser to cancel the transaction and avoid future stock purchases in defense and aerospace companies.
He did not know about the Raytheon stock purchase until Wednesday morning, his office said.
“The senator has had no involvement in and has not been consulted about his stock transactions,” said Leacy Burke, his communications director. “As such, the Senator was not aware of this stock purchase until it came through the system very early [Wednesday] morning.”
Inhofe called his adviser to reverse, or “bust,” the transaction before it was actually settled, meaning the senator “never took ownership of it,” Burke said.
Inhofe also sent a letter to his financial adviser thanking him for his service but instructing him not to invest his money in aerospace and defense companies.
Rep. Cheri Bustos, the new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman, announced her senior staff hires for the 2020 cycle Thursday. Her campaign manager Allison Jaslow will be the committee’s executive director.
The DCCC is shifting to defense in 2020 after flipping 40 seats to take over the House. The committee will be tasked with protecting vulnerable new members, including 31 Democrats running for re-election in districts President Donald Trump won in 2016.
Bustos, whose northern Illinois district Trump won by less than 1 point in 2016, has billed herself as a Democrat who knows how to win over Trump supporters.
She is bringing over veterans of her own team, including Jaslow, to the DCCC. She is also elevating staffers from the successful 2018 committee, including two African-American staffers who were key to the committee’s diversity and digital efforts.
Watch: Border Wall Meeting Gets Hectic Between Trump, Schumer, Pelosi
“America’s strength has always come from our diversity,” Bustos said. “That’s why I’m committed to building a leadership team that reflects the tremendous diversity of our House Democrats and our nation.”
Both House campaign committees will now have women executive directors. Jaslow’s counterpart at the National Republican Congressional Committee will be Parker Hamilton Poling, who has served as chief of staff for North Carolina GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry.
Jaslow is an Iraq War veteran who managed Bustos’ first campaign in 2012 when she unseated Illinois GOP Rep. Bobby Schilling. She worked as Bustos’ first chief of staff and was recently the head of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
In a statement announcing the senior staff, Bustos credited Jaslow with helping her secure a swing seat. Bustos won re-election in 2018 by 24 points against a Republican opponent with minimal campaign funds.
Bustos is also bringing her deputy chief of staff and spokesman Jared Smith to the DCCC, where he will serve as the committee’s communications director. Smith assisted Bustos’ work on the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.
Two DCCC staffers from the 2018 team will also be promoted. Jalisa Washington-Price, who directed the DCCC’s Office of Diversity in 2018, will be the new chief of staff. She also helped manage the committee’s $30 million “Year of Engagement” effort to connect with minority voters.
Ryan Thompson will serve as the DCCC’s next digital director after serving as the deputy director in 2018. He was also a leader in the “Year of Engagement” effort. According to the press announcement, Thompson oversaw a $15 million budget to build the committee’s email list, which in turn raised $106 million for the DCCC in the 2018 cycle.
“The DCCC did amazing work in 2018 to win 40 seats,” Bustos said in a statement. “Our challenge is to build on that progress, to fortify and expand our majority.”
Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who will leave Congress after just one term, is taking steps to run for Las Vegas city council, according to files submitted to the IRS.
A House Ethics subcommittee reported in November that Kihuen, a Nevada Democrat, had sexually harassed women who worked with him.
Kihuen filed with the IRS to form a 527 political organization that can raise unlimited funds from groups and individual donors. The stated purpose of his 527 group, which is exempt from taxes, is for a “municipal election campaign.”
Kihuen, once a Harry Reid prodigy, has been rumored since the spring to be mounting a run for retiring Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Coffin’s seat.
‘I’m Gonna Miss Just About Everything:’ As Orrin Hatch Prepares to Leave Washington, Reflections on His Battles and His Wins
Kihuen has not officially announced a run for the seat. His office could not immediately be reached for comment on the 527 organization filing.
Kihuen’s bright future in Congress quickly dimmed just halfway into his first term in office after reports surfaced that he had repeatedly harassed women who worked for his campaign.
A House Ethics Committee report released last month found that Kihuen harassed women who worked with him and violated the House’s official code of conduct.
“Kihuen made persistent and unwanted advances towards women who were required to interact with him as part of their professional responsibilities,” the report said. The advances included kissing, grabbing and comments about underwear.
The release came after a nine-month inquiry by an investigative subcommittee impaneled Dec. 2017.
Kihuen apologized for his past actions around the time of the initial media reports and announced he would not run for re-election.
“After much reflection and introspection, I recognize that regardless of the fact that I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable or disrespected, what matters is how my actions were perceived by the women who came forward,” he said. “It saddens me greatly to think I made any woman feel that way due to my own immaturity and overconfidence. I extend my sincere apologies to each of these women.”
Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report
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A Capitol Hill internship program is getting a new name in honor of its founder, retiring Republican Rep. Gregg Harper, and his son.
The program will now be called the Gregg and Livingston Harper Congressional Internship Program for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, Rep. Rodney Davis announced Tuesday.
“My son, Livingston Harper, has served as the inspiration for me during my time in Congress to focus on improving the lives of those with Intellectual Disabilities,” Harper said. Livingston has Fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition.
The program works with George Mason University’s LIFE Program — a postsecondary education program for young adults with intellectual disabilities — to place students in House and Senate offices. Nearly 200 offices have participated since the program began in 2010.
“I and many others on Capitol Hill have been positively impacted by the influence and hard work of these interns,” Harper said.
The interns are paid stipends through a grant provided by the HSC Foundation, which works to support youth with disabilities as they move into adulthood.
Davis is committed to continuing the program after Harper leaves Congress later this year. He will take over Harper’s spot as the top Republican on the House Administration Committee.
“My office has participated in this program for several years, and I know the value and joy it brings not only to the participants, but also to the members and staff of the offices they work in,” said Davis in a statement. "Chairman Gregg Harper has been a champion for disabilities, and I will ensure that his legacy, the Harper Program, continues on our committee in the 116th Congress and beyond.”
Former Capitol Hill staffer, Thomas Dodd, was sentenced Wednesday for participating in an extensive scheme that involved defrauding charitable donors by laundering funds to pay personal and campaign expenses.
Dodd, 40, was an aide to former Rep. Steve Stockman. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, ordered to pay $800,000 in restitution and ordered to forfeit $153,044.28 in illicit gains.
Stockman, a former Texas Republican Congressman, was sentenced in November to 120 months in prison after a federal jury convicted him of 23 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission. A federal jury in April found Stockman, 60, guilty of soliciting $1.25 million in donations based on false pretenses, specifically using some of the funds meant for charities to pay for his personal expenses and to further his political ambitions.
Dodd pleaded guilty in March 2017 to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to make conduit contributions and false statements. As part of his plea, he also admitted that he was involved in Stockman’s plot.
Evidence presented in the trial against Stockman showed that between May 2010 and February 2014, Stockman, Dodd, and others solicited more than a $1 million in donations from charitable organizations and their leaders based on false information. Stockman and Dodd then laundered the money through fake nonprofits and dozens of bank accounts before using the funds to pay for personal and campaign expenses. The money was used for secret surveillance of a political opponent, robocalls and mailing for Stockman’s 2014 Senate campaign and in-patient alcoholism treatment for a female associate, according to the Justice Department.
Dodd isn’t the only former Stockman staffer caught up in the fray. Jason T. Posey, 48, of Tupelo, Mississippi, pleaded guilty in 2017 to charges including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering. As the federal investigation began, Stockman urged Posey to skip town. The former lawmaker directed Posey to flea to Cairo, Egypt for two and a half years for Posey to avoid law enforcement questioning. Stockman was a founding member of the House’s Caucus on Egypt when it was created in 2014.
The Library of Congress has added a wide range of movies to the National Film Registry, announcing on Wednesday the selections of contemporary films that helped smash stereotypes, such as “Brokeback Mountain,” and thrillers like “The Shining.” Also new are classics such as “Hud” and documentaries like “Hearts and Minds,” as well as rarities like “Dixon-Wanamaker Expedition to Crow Agency.”
“The National Film Registry turns 30 this year and for those three decades, we have been recognizing, celebrating and preserving this distinctive medium,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said in a statement announcing the selections. “These cinematic treasures must be protected because they document our history, culture, hopes and dreams.”
The library noted that the 25 films it selected span a range of 107 years, from 1898’s “Something Good — Negro Kiss” to 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain.” The total number of movies in the registry now numbers 750. The Librarian selects 25 movies each year for the registry, under the authority of the National Film Preservation Act, which states that they must be at least 10 years old and are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant.
The library hosts screenings of registry movies, as well as others, on Capitol Hill at facilities like the Mary Pickford Theater in the Library’s Madison Building and at its Packard Campus Theater in Culpeper, Virginia. Some of the registry’s selections are available online for free at the National Screening Room.
A quick glance at the list, as in most years, usually leads to a few thoughts along the lines of, “that wasn’t already on the list?” That could certainly be the case for such familiar and revered titles as “My Fair Lady” and “Monterey Pop.”
Hey, better late than never.
Here is the full list, in alphabetical order:
ANALYSIS | Vice President Mike Pence looked taken aback, barely moving and saying nothing as President Donald Trump and the top congressional leaders bickered and moved the country — with each insult and barb — closer to a partial holiday season government shutdown.
The former GOP congressman’s statuesque performance was a contrast to the kinetic scene unfolding around him, another made-for-television moment that allowed the bombastic GOP president to pick a fight with the two Democrats perhaps most reviled by his conservative base on live cable TV.
Trump’s Oval Office meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., was initially scheduled to be private. However, the president — a former reality television star and executive producer — had other ideas. He summoned the small group of journalists in the day’s press pool to watch the negotiation — such as it was — live.
The GOP president started with his usual border wall sales pitch, including several false and partially false statements. He jabbed at the Democratic leaders. And they were willing — even eager at times — to take the bait as Pelosi, according to an aide in the room, told members of her caucus once back at the Capitol: “It was so wild. It goes to show you: You get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.” Here are three takeaways from the incredible Oval Office border brawl.
Presidents and congressional leaders of different political parties typically try to pass blame for government shutdowns onto each other. Not Trump during a meeting several sources used the same word to describe: “incredible.” The president preemptively took ownership over the possible closure of the Homeland Security Department and a handful of other federal entities unless a deal is reached by 11:59 p.m., EDT, on Dec. 21.
“I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck, because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country. So I will take the mantle,” Trump said. “I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it. The last time you shut it down, it didn’t work. I will take the mantle of shutting down.”
Pelosi later told the group of House Democrats that getting that vow from Trump was “an accomplishment.” She also could not help but jab Trump where it might hurt. “It’s like a manhood thing for him. As if manhood could ever be associated with him. This wall thing,” she said, according to the aide.
One former GOP congressional aide responded by saying, “Schumer got what he needed: On any partial shutdown, POTUS is willing to take the heat.”
Those who have watched Trump closely know he often pivots toward his conservative base when he senses political trouble. He did so again on Tuesday, first with a series of tweets ahead of the meeting making the case for the border barrier then repeatedly in the Oval Office as the sparks flew.
“When you look at what happened with the caravans, with the people, with a lot of — we shut it down; we had no choice. We shut it down. But it could be a lot easier if we had real border security,” Trump said at one point, returning to his midterm campaign-trail rhetoric. He also landed a few body shots on Schumer, another native of New York City’s tough-talking outer boroughs, like this one: “The last time you shut it down you got killed.”
“Every time this president senses trouble — and I mean with the special counsel investigation and everything with [former personal attorney] Michael Cohen and all that — he does things like this that rev up his base,” said Elaine Kamarck, a former Clinton White House official now with the Brookings Institution. “This was him going back to his comfort zone.”
But the Democratic leaders also landed plenty of shots on the president.
Here’s one from Schumer: “The Washington Post today gave you a whole lot of Pinocchios because they say you constantly misstate ... how much of the wall is built, and how much is there.”
And Pelosi: “Mr. President, please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting as the leader of the House Democrats, who just won a big victory,” which prompted Schumer to come in like a professional wrestling tag team partner rushing through the ropes to further soften an opponent: “Elections have consequences, Mr. President.”
No, not Mitch Williams, the hard-throwing 1990s MLB relief pitcher best known for his time with the Philadelphia Phillies. But one Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who has helped broker several shutdown-averting or -ending deals over the last decade.
Tuesday’s West Wing dramatics likely won’t change how the border wall talks go over the next 10 days, Kamarck said. That’s because “it was always going to be McConnell who cuts this deal.”
“I expect it will be McConnell and Schumer who eventually get together and figure this out,” she said. “The adults will figure this out, then it’ll be up to McConnell to go convince the president to go along with it. … He’ll be the one who’ll have to explain to the president that a shutdown would be worse for us (Republicans) than it would be for the Democrats.”
A member of the GOP class that swept to power in the 1994 election, Hilleary represented Tennessee’s 4th District between 1995 and 2003. He left office to run for Tennessee governor in 2002, but lost to Democrat Gov. Phil Bredesen. He ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2006.
“He will bring the Washington know-how to our team, but is not a Washington insider. He is my friend and I could not be more proud to have him on board. Together, we will work to bring the highest level of service to this office so the people I serve are represented in the fullest manner possible,” Rose said in a statement.
Hilleary came into Congress as one of the “Republican revolutionaries” of the GOP’s strongly conservative Class of 1994, which broke a 40-year Democratic hold on the House.
He is not the only former lawmaker turned staffer. Former Rep. Ron Barberwill return to serve as district director for Rep.-elect Ann Kirkpatrick. Barber held that position for Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a job he had when he was shot in the 2011 mass shooting that injured 12 others and killed six at a “Congress on Your Corner” event in Casas Adobes near Tucson. Giffords subsequently left the House, and Barber won a 2012 special election to fill her seat and re-election in the 2012 general election. He lost to Republican Martha McSally in 2014.
And in 2004, after Republican Rep. Ed Schrock of Virginia did not run for re-election, he returned to the House as a staffer on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.