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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 1:48 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2018 2:08 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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295295

Reported Deaths: 6724
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19672230
Hinds18799386
Harrison16710278
Rankin12685264
Jackson12592226
Lee9687160
Madison9457199
Jones7962146
Forrest7208136
Lauderdale6833226
Lowndes6022137
Lamar588080
Lafayette5733113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4609123
Oktibbeha441393
Panola430394
Pearl River4167130
Warren4129114
Pontotoc408869
Marshall403192
Monroe3989126
Union395374
Neshoba3807168
Lincoln3541102
Hancock347374
Leflore3375118
Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300195
Scott293870
Alcorn291861
Itawamba289975
Yazoo289262
Tippah278765
Copiah277857
Coahoma277568
Simpson274878
Prentiss269758
Wayne253841
Marion252678
Leake252471
Covington248879
Grenada247377
Adams234377
George231745
Newton229652
Winston221675
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201151
Holmes182270
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122438
Perry121634
Lawrence120321
Carroll118225
Amite111533
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77114
Franklin76119
Choctaw69516
Jefferson62527
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493769

Reported Deaths: 9931
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson710731374
Mobile36139727
Madison32425455
Tuscaloosa24184410
Montgomery22586500
Shelby21968215
Baldwin19758283
Lee14967153
Morgan13667251
Calhoun13300286
Etowah13184319
Marshall11262209
Houston10104261
Elmore9385185
Limestone9363134
Cullman8897181
St. Clair8827223
Lauderdale8607211
DeKalb8459175
Talladega7523163
Walker6524255
Jackson6495102
Autauga627091
Blount6102127
Colbert6004118
Coffee5249102
Dale4642107
Russell404930
Franklin399177
Covington3960106
Chilton3876100
Escambia377672
Tallapoosa3588142
Clarke343650
Chambers3413110
Dallas3403141
Pike293472
Lawrence283484
Marion281995
Winston246867
Bibb245060
Geneva239970
Marengo236455
Pickens224654
Barbour211651
Hale210568
Fayette200756
Butler196866
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163740
Washington156535
Crenshaw144854
Clay144454
Macon142043
Cleburne137839
Lamar132833
Lowndes131151
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105627
Sumter98531
Coosa88923
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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