Inside Politics: Rebranding Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy reaches out, a SCOTUS what-if scenario, another immigration crackdown, Trump heads to Florida and Georgia, and the president's new top lawyer-it's all on Inside Politics.

Posted: Oct 15, 2018 3:01 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2018 3:08 PM

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

1. Rebranding Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy has spent years as the No. 2 House Republican -- and he wants to move up a notch when Paul Ryan retires. But first he has to convince his GOP colleagues that he's the right person for the job.

"He's really trying to lock down conservatives," Politico's Rachael Bade said. "He is out there introducing bills that would fund the president's wall, $25 billion worth of wall money. Resolutions that would block illegal immigrants from voting, which clearly is not a big problem but what he's doing right now is trying to woo the far right."

And Bade said it seems to be working. "We've seen Breitbart, of all publications, which has always been a pain in the side of Paul Ryan, actually sort of opening the door to him. And we're hearing that's because the president himself wants McCarthy to lead the conference, and he's leaning on these conservatives and saying, give him a chance.

2. A SCOTUS what-if

Now that Brett Kavanaugh is sitting on the Supreme Court, Washington is turning its focus to what happens if there's another vacancy in the next two years.

If Democrats take control of the Senate, few think they'd let President Trump fill the seat at all.

"I think there's a real question about whether there will ever be, in the next several years, a nominee of a president to get confirmed by a Senate held by the opposite party," said The Weekly Standard's Michael Warren, who discussed that with former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen -- a moderate Democrat trying to win a tough Senate race in a very red state.

"I asked if Democrats were to take over control of the Senate, and Chuck Schumer were to deny President Trump a SCOTUS nominee vote on the floor, what would he do about it? He didn't have an answer. But he did say he believed all Supreme Court nominees who go through the process should get a vote on the floor," Warren said. "It's an interesting question to start asking and probing these Senate candidates on down the line."

3. Another immigration crackdown

The Trump administration has a new plan to make it tougher for legal immigrants to use public benefits like food stamps or public housing. The proposed new rule would allow the US to reject immigrants seeking legal resident status if they have used or are considered likely to use public assistance.

"This is not only a policy approach, but it's also political," New York Times reporter Michael Shear said. "What they're trying to do is put Democrats in the position of defending not only immigrants, but also defending people who take public benefits. Democrats are put in an awkward position, because they want to come to the defense of immigrants and people who take public benefits and oppose the rule. But by doing so, they fear that makes their possibility of re-election a little harder."

4. Trump heads to storm-ravaged Florida, Georgia

Hurricane Michael hit Florida and Georgia just weeks before two hard-fought gubernatorial contests in those states. With President Trump planning to visit the region this week, the state and federal response could have a big impact on the results.

Both races feature liberal Democrats squaring off against close Trump allies. CNN's Abby Phillip said the White House just wants to stay out of their way.

"I can tell you that the White House is making sure that when they respond to this storm, that they are forward-looking on the situation so they don't become a negative factor in important races down in those states," she said.

5. Trump's new top lawyer

President Trump is expected to name veteran Washington lawyer Pat Cipollone as the new White House Counsel, two sources tell CNN.

And CNN's John King said the pick signals the White House knows it has some tough legal fights ahead.

"They know they face a challenging and potentially treacherous stretch on the legal front once the election passes," King said. "The White House expects new twists from the Mueller probe and in separate cases being handled by federal prosecutors in New York looking into, among other things, the president's business." And if Democrats take the House, that means a slew of new congressional investigations as well.

Cipollone has already been assisting the president's legal team, and a source familiar with their interactions said "the President enjoys working with him, the chemistry is good," King reports.

"Cippillone comes on board with an urgent goal -- not only getting himself in place, but to quickly hire a handful of deputies for a now quite depleted Counsel's office," he said.

The counsel's office has never been fully staffed. It is especially depleted now because filling vacancies became extremely difficult once it was made clear, via presidential tweet, that Don McGahn would soon be leaving the top job.

The source familiar with Team Trump's legal strategy acknowledged to King both a staffing and morale problem in the counsel's office, and said Cipollone's reputation in the DC legal community was another plus -- something White House officials believe will help as he moves urgently to fill roles.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 5305
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion40796844
Lake25864448
Allen17025289
Elkhart16389209
St. Joseph16125217
Hamilton12225163
Vanderburgh9218112
Tippecanoe807627
Porter770176
Johnson5971161
Hendricks5719154
Vigo563274
Monroe519846
Clark486774
Delaware4721103
Madison4651119
Kosciusko437339
LaPorte436792
Howard321375
Warrick309072
Floyd301177
Bartholomew296262
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Cass291231
Marshall283642
Grant254147
Noble244246
Hancock238949
Henry234136
Boone231754
Dubois229230
Dearborn204629
Jackson200033
Morgan196043
Gibson171622
Knox170715
Clinton170420
Shelby170453
Lawrence169246
DeKalb168428
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Wabash148118
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Steuben139713
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Jefferson110314
Scott97918
Greene97553
Jay93012
Starke87021
Sullivan85515
Perry80521
Spencer7957
Jennings79114
Fulton78717
Fountain7257
Washington6966
Carroll65313
Orange64828
Franklin63525
Owen5676
Vermillion5662
Newton53412
Parke5296
Tipton52826
Blackford50011
Rush5006
Pike49618
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Brown3153
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Union2551
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 351419

Reported Deaths: 5996
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin48389665
Cuyahoga34096734
Hamilton28674371
Montgomery19082225
Butler14138144
Lucas13446406
Summit12431309
Stark8122197
Warren770375
Mahoning6772299
Lake625466
Lorain590297
Clermont541946
Delaware521435
Licking506275
Fairfield505163
Trumbull4969144
Greene489662
Clark486664
Marion451451
Allen446384
Wood4243107
Medina413354
Miami398565
Pickaway387948
Columbiana328496
Portage323171
Wayne303593
Tuscarawas299557
Richland293929
Mercer281237
Ross234559
Hancock225336
Muskingum223610
Auglaize218925
Putnam218649
Darke208058
Erie205565
Ashtabula204753
Geauga189451
Scioto186713
Lawrence181336
Athens17954
Union17928
Shelby176715
Seneca165018
Belmont151529
Madison151018
Sandusky144427
Preble143821
Huron139218
Holmes137039
Defiance131121
Knox118818
Logan118313
Fulton117225
Ottawa114730
Crawford114216
Washington112427
Clinton100314
Williams9938
Jefferson9894
Ashland98322
Highland96317
Henry94422
Brown9324
Champaign8935
Jackson87312
Fayette86617
Van Wert8596
Morrow8312
Hardin82518
Guernsey79213
Coshocton78813
Perry73312
Pike7081
Adams70611
Wyandot68916
Gallia68113
Paulding61710
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Carroll41610
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Monroe29921
Morgan2342
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Harrison1823
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