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McConnell predicts no shutdown over the border wall, warns of a 'challenge' to US-Saudi relations

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confidently predicted Wednesday that there would not be a year-end go...

Posted: Oct 17, 2018 5:18 PM
Updated: Oct 17, 2018 5:18 PM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confidently predicted Wednesday that there would not be a year-end government shutdown and warned that the apparent murder of a journalist is "really going to challenge" the Saudi-US relationship -- all the while avoiding any criticism of President Donald Trump, whether it was about Trump's handling of the crisis in Saudi Arabia or his tweets insulting the appearance of a female porn star.

In a wide-ranging briefing with reporters in the Capitol, McConnell said that the GOP probably has "a slight edge" to hang onto its Senate majority in next month's midterms, while also promising he would not change Senate filibuster rules to allow legislation to move more freely -- as the President has repeatedly demanded.

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

Mitch McConnell

Political Figures - US

Pornography

Saudi Arabia

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Moreover, he broke with the President about whether it was worthwhile to shut down the government over funding for Trump's wall at the southern border -- as the President has repeatedly warned about doing.

"The speaker and I are going to try to help the President get funding for a wall for a year. Shutting down the government is something that's widely disliked by virtually every American and I don't think we're going to do it."

Reminded by CNN that Trump has called for a shutdown repeatedly, McConnell said bluntly: "I don't think we'll end up doing that."

But those were the only real areas where McConnell broke with the President.

He refused to criticize Trump's handling of the situation with the Saudis and the President's decision to continually stress that the Saudis denied killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who wrote for The Washington Post.

Instead, he said that there needed to be an investigation first before any decision on how to move forward.

"Once we know precisely what happened with a credible investigation, then we need to decide the appropriate response is," McConnell said. "I can't imagine there will be no response."

"We know our alliance with Saudi Arabia, which has existed for a long time under both parties, is because we have aligning interests in that area. ... So it's been kind of a pragmatic relationship. ... This particular incident is going to really challenge that. But I think it's too early to predict what the consequences may be."

McConnell would not say if he had any concerns with the Saudi crown prince -- or if he had any views on Trump's handling of the situation.

"I'm not going to comment on the President's take on this," he said, declining repeated questions on the matter.

McConnell also would not discuss Trump's Tuesday tweet attacking porn star Stormy Daniels as "horseface."

Asked if he were concerned that such rhetoric may turn off women voters at a key time in the midterm campaign, "Respectfully, how much time are we going to waste on you all asking me questions I'm not going to respond to."

Asked again, McConnell said: "I don't have an impact on the President's tweets."

McConnell also refused to say whether it was appropriate to call Sen. Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas," declining to comment when pressed on his comments Tuesday night at the Heritage Foundation. McConnell wouldn't comment on the Democrat's release of a DNA test earlier this week on her ancestry.

"Can we get this election out of the way before we turn to this one?" McConnell said.

McConnell continued to point the bitter confirmation battle over now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a tangible boost for Republicans in next month's elections, saying the partisan fight amid sexual assault allegations "clearly was like an adrenaline shot for us, no question about it."

McConnell listed nine races -- Arizona, Nevada, Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee, West Virginia and Florida -- as "very competitive." Six of those nine seats are currently held by Democrats.

"I don't think any of them are over one way or the other," McConnell said. "They're all, as I said a couple of weeks ago, like a knife fight in an alley."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 265146

Reported Deaths: 5777
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17741191
Hinds16891332
Harrison14279204
Rankin11239220
Jackson10917190
Lee9071145
Madison8599169
Jones6731118
Forrest6208124
Lauderdale6121192
Lowndes5544120
Lafayette520598
Lamar505865
Washington4933125
Bolivar4126109
Oktibbeha408382
Panola386981
Pontotoc377460
Monroe3686110
Warren3685103
Marshall357170
Union356864
Pearl River3495106
Neshoba3490154
Leflore3118109
Lincoln306788
Hancock294262
Sunflower291975
Tate280662
Alcorn273154
Pike270181
Itawamba269363
Scott260048
Yazoo256756
Prentiss253754
Coahoma249755
Copiah249749
Tippah249750
Simpson242872
Leake238167
Marion224273
Grenada223972
Covington221073
Adams215171
Wayne213734
Winston207671
George204739
Newton199946
Attala197064
Tishomingo194961
Chickasaw189344
Jasper181138
Holmes172068
Clay166837
Tallahatchie157235
Stone152525
Clarke148162
Calhoun141322
Smith130026
Yalobusha123335
Walthall114537
Greene113729
Noxubee113026
Montgomery112036
Carroll106822
Lawrence106817
Perry105131
Amite102126
Webster96824
Tunica89021
Claiborne88825
Jefferson Davis88430
Benton85823
Humphreys84724
Kemper80920
Quitman7139
Franklin70617
Choctaw63713
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45217
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 441170

Reported Deaths: 6660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson646811007
Mobile31620572
Madison28310217
Tuscaloosa21525275
Montgomery19954332
Shelby19335132
Baldwin17256189
Lee13205107
Morgan12639142
Etowah12107181
Calhoun11521206
Marshall10471123
Houston9009164
Limestone834981
Cullman8274124
Elmore8214110
DeKalb7894107
Lauderdale7871107
St. Clair7854130
Talladega6481112
Walker6036183
Jackson601545
Colbert549994
Blount547386
Autauga537662
Coffee462464
Dale410785
Franklin374950
Russell357515
Chilton345473
Covington339680
Escambia335444
Tallapoosa3149109
Dallas313296
Chambers304270
Clarke300236
Pike262531
Lawrence254155
Marion253761
Winston233642
Bibb222348
Geneva211547
Marengo209331
Pickens199631
Hale185244
Barbour182738
Fayette178629
Butler174460
Cherokee165731
Henry159925
Monroe152421
Randolph146436
Washington142327
Clay130546
Crenshaw124045
Macon122337
Cleburne121825
Lamar120222
Lowndes115536
Wilcox107922
Bullock103528
Perry100018
Conecuh97922
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63618
Choctaw51924
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