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Inside Politics: All roads lead to Rosenstein

Rod Rosenstein finds himself wrapped up in another high-profile investigation, world leaders are learning how to deal with President Trump, the GOP faces a tough fight in Midwestern governor's races, Nancy Pelosi's efforts to keep control of a restive House Democratic caucus, and the fiscal year ends with no government shutdown—for now. It's all on Inside Politics.

Posted: Oct 1, 2018 7:32 AM
Updated: Oct 1, 2018 7:32 AM

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

1. All roads lead to Rosenstein

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein can't seem to stay out of the headlines.

He's not just overseeing the Russia probe. Now he's been pulled into the Brett Kavanaugh investigation.

"Who did Senate Republicans call when they couldn't get FBI Director Chris Wray on the phone last week, as they were trying to allay Jeff Flake's fears about the investigation? Rod Rosenstein," said New York Times reporter Julie Hirschfeld Davis.

Meanwhile, he's expected to meet this week with President Trump to discuss his future in the administration, after a New York Times report this month that he discussed secretly recording his conversations with the president -- and even brought up using the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. But Davis said his job might be safe.

"The president, contrary to his typical reputation, doesn't really relish firing anyone," Davis said. "And he certainly right now he doesn't relish firing Rod Rosenstein."

2. No government shutdown... for now

The federal government's new fiscal year starts tomorrow. And thanks to a rare moment of bipartisanship, there's no threat of a government shutdown.

"It's a very quiet success story over the last couple of months," CNN's Phil Mattingly said. The spending bill signed by President Trump keeps the government fully funded through December 7. And, Mattingly said, 75% of discretionary spending will be funded through the entire fiscal year. It's the first time that's happened to that degree in 22 years. "That's a serious bipartisan success story."

But that success story only goes so far. The 25% of funding that runs out in December could lead to a big fight over the president's border wall.

"I'm told they actually moved the date to December 7th from later in the month, because everyone thinks there will be a government shutdown then. So why did they move the date? They wanted to give themselves a couple of weeks before Christmas, acknowledging that there will be at least a one- or two-week shutdown," Mattingly said. "We're going to go back to shutdown watch in just a couple of months."

3. Trump's moment on the world stage

The Kavanaugh drama overshadowed another big story last week: President Trump's speech at the United Nations and meetings with top foreign leaders.

"He made a number of interesting proposals there," Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey said. "He's trying to cut foreign aid to a lot of different countries, trying to do more loans fewer grants."

Dawsey said foreign leaders still aren't sure what to make of the president, but they're getting used to him.

"A lot of leaders still are a little frustrated with him and perplexed by him, but there's a little less fear of him than there was before," Dawsey said. "I think people are acclimating to President Trump and the fact that he sees foreign policy totally differently than any of his predecessors."

4. House Democrats' leadership fight

If Democrats do take back the House, Nancy Pelosi wants to be the first speaker in more than 60 years to wield the gavel in two separate stints.

She won a procedural battle this week that may make it easier for her to stay in control of House Democrats. But it's still an open question as to whether enough of her colleagues will support her after the midterms.

"It was a win for Pelosi, but it does underscore this restiveness within the Democratic caucus," said Washington Post reporter Seung Min Kim. "We have about three dozen Democratic candidates who have distanced themselves from Pelosi, either saying outright they will not vote for her or generally saying they want new leadership."

The more seats Democrats end up with, the better her odds will be. "We'll really be watching that margin of victory to see if Nancy Pelosi can get the 218 votes on the floor to become speaker again," Kim said.

5. GOP's Midwest woes

And from CNN chief national correspondent John King:

A giant source of GOP pride -- and power -- is at risk heading into the 2018 midterm stretch.

Republicans now have a 33-to-16 advantage when you list the governors of the states by party affiliation. (Alaska's governor is an independent.) Democrats, though, are expecting big gains in this vital 2018 battleground. Republicans concede times are tough and point to the Midwest as particularly difficult terrain.

Controlling the governor's office in states often viewed as blue or purple has been a giant source of GOP pride in recent years. There are currently, for example, Republican governors in Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. But "we are about to take a big hit in the Midwest," a top GOP strategist lamented in a weekend email.

Three Republican operatives predicted the GOP would lose at least three of those five Midwest governor's offices, and two of them said a Democratic sweep of all five was not out of the question.

Ohio is viewed as the closest of the races heading into the final five weeks.

Also in this group is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, once a rising GOP star who has had tough political terrain back home since his 2016 presidential bid flamed out fast. Democrats have underestimated Walker more than once before. But all three of the GOP strategists, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they would be shocked if Walker was able to come back and win another term.

Major gains at the governor level would be a big trophy for what Democrats hope is a major 2018 rebuilding effort.

And there would be 2020 implications. President Trump won Iowa, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin in 2016, and all will be 2020 battlegrounds. Plus, the presidential nominating process, of course, begins in Iowa, and those other big Midwest states could become significant in a competitive Democratic nomination fight.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 56441

Reported Deaths: 1136
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson7012170
Mobile5061140
Montgomery4599112
Tuscaloosa274353
Madison25359
Marshall205012
Shelby176425
Lee164737
Morgan13975
Baldwin134111
Walker111332
Elmore107622
Etowah106914
Dallas10189
DeKalb10017
Franklin95016
Unassigned77728
Autauga71515
Russell7130
Chambers68530
Cullman6686
Limestone6653
Butler65529
Houston6417
Tallapoosa63069
Lauderdale6006
St. Clair5983
Calhoun5545
Colbert5286
Escambia5128
Lowndes49222
Pike4805
Jackson4422
Coffee4364
Covington43512
Talladega4177
Dale4061
Barbour4022
Bullock37810
Hale36323
Marengo36111
Chilton3452
Blount3311
Clarke3236
Wilcox3158
Marion30914
Winston3095
Sumter29713
Pickens2786
Randolph2759
Monroe2683
Perry2552
Conecuh2388
Bibb2271
Macon2229
Choctaw22012
Greene2009
Henry1573
Washington1529
Lawrence1460
Crenshaw1343
Cherokee1317
Geneva1010
Fayette901
Clay892
Lamar891
Coosa671
Cleburne481
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 65274

Reported Deaths: 749
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby14163224
Davidson13976146
Rutherford375539
Hamilton353538
Sumner204056
Williamson193916
Knox171710
Out of TN166012
Trousdale15105
Wilson126117
Putnam10817
Unassigned10772
Bradley10104
Robertson97313
Sevier9244
Montgomery8247
Tipton7177
Lake6960
Macon6467
Bledsoe6311
Bedford6309
Hamblen5084
Maury4993
Hardeman4444
Madison3842
Fayette3805
Rhea3500
Blount3483
Loudon3312
Dyer3023
McMinn29319
Cheatham2873
Dickson2820
Washington2760
Lawrence2506
Sullivan2485
Cumberland2294
Anderson2112
Gibson2031
Jefferson1931
Lauderdale1934
Smith1852
Warren1590
Greene1572
Monroe1566
Coffee1520
Cocke1460
Haywood1413
Hardin1407
Obion1273
Marshall1232
Wayne1230
Franklin1223
Giles1221
McNairy1171
Hickman1120
Carter1082
Marion1014
DeKalb990
Hawkins952
Lincoln950
White933
Roane880
Henderson830
Chester810
Overton791
Weakley791
Claiborne760
Campbell721
Grundy672
Crockett653
Unicoi600
Grainger590
Cannon580
Carroll571
Polk570
Henry540
Sequatchie520
Jackson500
Johnson490
Humphreys482
Perry430
Meigs400
Decatur350
Morgan341
Fentress290
Scott290
Union280
Stewart270
Clay230
Houston230
Moore230
Benton161
Hancock120
Lewis120
Van Buren90
Pickett80

 

 

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