Sen. Bob Corker's second thoughts on retiring

Here are the stories our DC insiders are talking about in this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get a gli...

Posted: Feb 12, 2018 6:29 AM
Updated: Feb 12, 2018 6:29 AM

Here are the stories our DC insiders are talking about in this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get a glimpse of tomorrow's headlines today.

1) Corker's mulling over if he should reconsider leaving Congress

CNN has learned Sen. Bob Corker is mulling over changing his mind on retirement and running for re-election

Trump plans to unveil his infrastructure plan this week

A feud over paid family leave? Expect Ivanka Trump to be front and center

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker has had conversations with a few colleagues in recent days about whether he should reconsider his decision to leave Congress and not seek re-election this year, GOP sources tell CNN.

Whether it is a serious reconsideration, or just chatter with colleagues is the subject of some disagreement. There are also conflicting accounts of whether Corker has initiated the conversations, or whether he has had them with colleagues who are pushing him to think again.

But several sources say the issue has come up in recent conversations Corker has had with fellow Tennessean Sen. Lamar Alexander and with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, two of Corker's friends.

It also came up at least once in a conversation with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, CNN is told, posing a bit of a dilemma.

McConnell likes Corker, and would have preferred that he sought re-election. But once Corker announced he was not running, the GOP establishment quickly rallied behind Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is already in the Senate race and has support across the party's often fractious spectrum.

Plus, there is that feud Corker had with President Trump. Remember? Corker last year questioned the President's competence, called the White House an adult day care center and suggested the President could stumble into a major war.

For that, he quickly earned the Twittter nickname "Liddle Bob Corker" and was the subject of a presidential tweetstorm that also suggested he "couldn't get elected dog catcher."

Given that history, CNN is told McConnell's view is that if Corker is serious, he would need first and foremost to get the President on board.

Corker and the President of late do have a d-tente of sorts, and the senator has spoken more favorably about how the President uses his unpredictability to achieve results.

Still, one of the sources who has tracked the Corker conversations told CNN, "Trump will have no part in it."

2) It's infrastructure week, again

This week, in the wake of a new deficit-busting spending deal, Pres. Trump plans to unveil his infrastructure plan. Infrastructure week has become a running joke among those who cover the White House because every time Trump tries to talk about what the White House wants to do about one of the president's biggest promises, he gets kicked off message and other headlines prevail.

As The New York Times' Julie Hirschfeld Davis explains, the White House is hoping the infrastructure theme sticks this time.

"He's going to make a personal appeal to Democrats to join him in doing this. But the acknowledgment inside the White House is that that is very unlikely -- that Democrats consider this to be dead on arrival. They don't have any incentive to really team up with the President on this, nor do they have any interest in the kind of plan that he's proposing," Davis reports. "This is not something that the Republican base is clamoring for, the way that tax cuts were. And so the likelihood that they're going to be able to generate the momentum for something like this is quite a bit lower."

3) Will Bannon blow off congressional investigators?

The House Intelligence Committee has been trying to get former WH Chief Strategist Steve Bannon back to the Hill to continue questioning him on all matters related to the Russia investigation. Bannon was supposed to show up for more questions last week, but he didn't show up because the White House and the committee hadn't agreed on the line of questioning. As Washington Post's Karoun Demirjian tells us, there's actually bipartisan anger about Bannon's no-show policy so far.

"They've issued a subpoena that has been extended three times. He's supposed to be coming back to Capitol Hill this week. If he does not, we're potentially looking at a show down. Because Democrats and Republicans on that committee are saying if we keep giving them a pass, our subpoenas aren't going to be worth the paper they're written on anymore," Demirjian explains.

4) Coming soon: a paid family leave feud

Ivanka Trump, President Trump's daughter and current White House senior adviser, has made it known that paid family leave is one of her legislative priorities. She is teaming with up with Senator Marco Rubio on this after their successful partnership on the child tax credit. Politico's Seung Min Kim reports on Ivanka Trump's agenda.

"What she is doing is always a source of fascination in Washington, but [I am watching] also Marco Rubio and his policy evolution, as we kick off this immigration debate this week, where Rubio had played such a key role five years ago," Kim says. "He transformed himself into this very pro-family platform -- this kind of new form of conservatism by pushing the child tax credit and the paid family leave. He is getting a lot of resistance from the left. But we'll see how far he wants to push this this year."

5) Reading midterm tea leaves

Political analysts keep talking about a possible blue wave for the 2018 midterm elections. But politics is always hard to predict and it's even harder to know what's coming in the new Trump era. As The Federalist's Mary Katharine Ham reports, yes, Democrats may take the House but data shows it's not all that dire for the GOP.

"There are interesting signs in recent polling: the closing of the generic gap ballot numbers in North Carolina recently. There is no enthusiasm gap found between Democrats and Republicans [there]. In talking to Republican operatives in purple-ish states like Colorado and North Carolina, you get feedback particularly from focus groups, that things are not nearly as bad at they expected. I think that's something that Democrats need to think about. They've capitalized on organization and enthusiasm, but something's not resonating in the way that they would hope it would."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 601937

Reported Deaths: 9593
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion831111322
Lake44972678
Allen32498545
Hamilton29039315
St. Joseph27133380
Elkhart24291343
Vanderburgh19160246
Tippecanoe17799130
Johnson14871292
Porter14631167
Hendricks14188247
Madison10851219
Vigo10636178
Clark10520137
Monroe9299110
Delaware9055134
LaPorte8972160
Howard8134142
Kosciusko800382
Warrick665197
Hancock6575103
Bartholomew637999
Floyd6322109
Wayne6076161
Grant5937113
Dubois552578
Boone544967
Morgan530594
Henry503464
Marshall499884
Cass478663
Dearborn470745
Noble468357
Jackson420747
Shelby410781
Lawrence387478
Clinton370642
Gibson365559
DeKalb344264
Montgomery340754
Harrison340544
Knox333139
Miami317344
Steuben311545
Whitley301725
Wabash299747
Adams299035
Ripley296545
Putnam292049
Huntington288659
Jasper287634
White270340
Daviess266073
Jefferson257938
Fayette245148
Decatur244883
Greene238162
Posey236927
Wells233350
LaGrange226361
Scott221838
Clay220932
Randolph212148
Jennings195836
Sullivan190833
Spencer188019
Fountain182127
Washington182022
Starke174443
Jay166322
Owen162837
Fulton162330
Orange156333
Carroll155415
Rush153318
Perry151227
Vermillion147334
Franklin146933
Tipton130932
Parke13018
Pike115626
Blackford110522
Pulaski96137
Newton90521
Brown86833
Benton85910
Crawford7839
Martin72313
Warren6757
Switzerland6455
Union6227
Ohio4787
Unassigned0375

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 849704

Reported Deaths: 10518
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin100046706
Cuyahoga845231068
Hamilton63092447
Montgomery42660405
Summit34405754
Lucas31041611
Butler30546229
Stark25443429
Warren19436140
Lorain18767223
Mahoning17163337
Lake15882153
Clermont15697110
Delaware1422678
Licking13067137
Trumbull12680313
Fairfield1262180
Greene11915136
Medina11439167
Clark10802265
Wood10230158
Allen9774126
Portage9163107
Miami907373
Richland9035117
Marion7420113
Tuscarawas7280179
Columbiana7263124
Pickaway719550
Wayne6954169
Muskingum690741
Erie6090127
Hancock547590
Ross543487
Scioto533664
Geauga501155
Darke465591
Ashtabula449373
Lawrence447053
Union444928
Sandusky433062
Mercer432088
Huron423541
Seneca423465
Auglaize419662
Shelby419421
Jefferson415469
Belmont411240
Washington383340
Athens37379
Putnam372674
Madison349929
Knox347922
Ashland342538
Fulton335243
Defiance327782
Crawford319472
Preble318437
Brown307121
Logan304132
Ottawa289243
Clinton286643
Williams275866
Highland271818
Jackson261345
Guernsey249825
Champaign249328
Fayette234429
Morrow23014
Perry228318
Holmes222864
Henry216849
Hardin210133
Coshocton203521
Van Wert200545
Gallia194726
Wyandot193851
Pike172417
Adams172015
Hocking169824
Carroll153216
Paulding143221
Noble119940
Meigs106823
Monroe100331
Harrison87821
Morgan82229
Vinton68913
Unassigned00
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