Griffin Connolly

Rob Porter’s Ex-wives Accept Apology from Hatch
Former White House aide was Utah senator’s chief of staff

Former White House aide Rob Porter’s ex-wives appeared to accept Sen. Orrin Hatch’s apology letters for his initial statement on the abuse allegations against their former husband.

“I feel like it’s a sincere apology,” Jennie Willoughby, one of Porter’s ex-wives, told a Washington Post reporter over the weekend. “Having been in D.C. for upwards of 12 to 13 years, I feel like this is sufficient given what I know to be true.”

Trump Re-Ups Criticism of Obama’s Handling of Russia
POTUS pins blame on predecessor for Russia meddling in U.S. elections

President Donald Trump kept his foot on the gas on Twitter Tuesday blaming his predecessor for Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, annexation of Crimea, and swelling influence in Syria.

The Democrats’ interest in the Russian affair, Trump alleged, arose only after he won the election.

Democratic, Republican Responses to Parkland School Shooting Vary Wildly
‘Part of it is a love affair with guns,’ New York Republican Peter King says

As Democrats renewed calls this week for broader background checks and an end to military-grade weapons access, at least a handful of GOP congressmen agreed.

They remained cynical, though, that any substantive measures would pass into law.

Gowdy Launches Oversight Investigation Into Rob Porter Scandal
‘How in the hell was he still employed?’ House Oversight Committee chairman asks

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has launched an investigation into the White House’s handling of senior aide Rob Porter, who was not issued a permanent security clearance due to allegations of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives.

“Who knew what, when, and to what extent? Those are the questions that I think ought to be asked,” the committee’s chairman, Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, said Wednesday on CNN.

Vern Buchanan’s Son Loses ‘Trump Country’ Florida House Race
Democrats laud win as another harbinger for November

Rep. Vern Buchanan’s son on Tuesday lost a special election for a Florida state House seat in a race that attracted national attention.

Democrat Margaret Good defeated Republican James Buchanan by seven points, 52-45, in a state House district that broke strongly for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

Senators Latch Onto Olympic Snowboarder to Pump Immigration Agenda
Chloe Kim’s parents immigrated to U.S. from South Korea in 1982

Democratic senators and immigrant rights activists latched onto Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim’s Korean-American roots as they continue to push for immigration-friendly measures in Congress.

Kim, 17, whose parents moved to the United States in 1982 from South Korea, won the gold medal in the women’s snowboarding halfpipe competition in Pyeongchang.

Jon Fox, Part of 1994 GOP Wave, Dies at 70
Pennsylvania Republican remembered for local service

Former Rep. Jon D. Fox died of complications with cancer on Sunday at his home in the Philadelphia suburbs. He was 70.

Fox was first elected to the House in 1994 as part of the “Republican Revolution” that saw the GOP take control of both legislative chambers.

Blumenthal Dubious of White House Interim Security Clearance Trend
Between 30 and 40 White House staffers have not been issued full security clearance

Democratic lawmakers have grown increasingly concerned — and frustrated — over the White House’s position on matters of security confidentiality.

Last week, President Donald Trump withheld the release of a Democratic House Intelligence Committee memo rebutting one from the Republican side, citing the need for heavy redaction to protect national security interests.

Grayson Raking in Donations but Won’t Say Where He’s Running
Former Democratic congressman could be targeting his old seat in Florida’s 9th District

After raising nearly $60,000 in the last campaign filing quarter of 2017, it’s clear former Florida Rep. Alan Grayson is honing in on running for Congress in Florida again.

What’s unclear is where exactly he’ll spend his money.

Partisan Rancor Ramps Up Over Schiff FISA Memo
As Dems call POTUS hypocrite for withholding memo, GOP says it was unfair

The usual suspects have shouldered their political quivers as debate rages over the White House’s decision to withhold a Democratic House Intelligence Committee memo rebutting one from the Republican side.

Over the weekend, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee and the memo’s primary curator, repeatedly hammered the president for releasing the Republican memo but not the Democratic one, calling it a hypocritical move.

Freedom Caucus Sounds Off on Leadership Over Budget Deal
‘Our leadership caved,’ Rep. Meadows says

The House Freedom Caucus is not happy with GOP leadership after Democrats and Republicans struck a deal last week to fund the government for two years and avoid another shutdown until at least March 23.

The package President Donald Trump signed Friday morning raises the debt limit, provides an additional $300 billion for defense and domestic programs over two years, and allocates relief dollars for natural disaster victims.

DCCC Staffer and ‘Dreamer’ Will Do Anything It Takes to Win Back House
Javier Gamboa, brought to the U.S. when he was 11, is a rising star in a political system where he cannot vote

Everyone at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is in overdrive to flip the House blue this November. That’s their job.

But perhaps no one in the office feels a more profound sense of urgency to get it done than Javier Gamboa.

The Other Memo Lawmakers Want the Public to See — But Trump Doesn’t
The White House has shrouded a seven-page memo outlining POTUS’ interpretation of war powers

Sen. Tim Kaine is demanding that the White House release a secret memo outlining President Donald Trump’s interpretation of his legal basis to wage war.

The Virginia Democrat, a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday requesting that he hand over the seven-page document drafted last spring.

New Mexico Lawmakers Rip Newspaper for Racist ‘Dreamer’ Cartoon
Cartoon depicts white man calling gang members ‘Dreamers’ and ‘future Democrats’

A bipartisan contingent of lawmakers from New Mexico tore into a newspaper from their home state for a cartoon depicting so-called “Dreamers” as machete-wielding gang members who mug white people.

The Albuquerque Journal ran the carton by syndicated cartoonist Sean Delonas in Tuesday’s paper, sparking outrage among immigration advocates and many of its readers.

John Kelly, Democratic Lightning Rod — Again
Abuse allegations surrounding Rob Porter latest controversy

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly became the latest West Wing lightning rod for Democrats on Wednesday and Thursday after senior White House aide Rob Porter resigned over physical abuse and assault allegations.

Kelly was reportedly aware of the allegations against Porter as the 40-year-staff secretary struggled to gain his security clearance over the allegations.

Weekly Bipartisan Prayer Paying Dividends in Senate Negotiations
Lankford, Coons host the breakfast each Wednesday

The Senate has adopted a more bipartisan tone of late as lawmakers from both parties link up to reach compromises on sweeping spending and immigration packages.

One reason for the detente, at least two senators have said: prayer.

Eagles Super Bowl Parade Boots Heritage Retreat From Philadelphia
Dozens of conservative lawmakers attend the annual Heritage Foundation retreat

The annual Heritage Foundation retreat for conservative lawmakers this week has been moved from Philadelphia as the city expects millions of people to flood the streets Thursday for a parade to celebrate the Eagles’ 41-33 Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots.

Heritage officials have relocated the retreat to Washington, D.C.

White House Spokesman Shah Once Called Trump ‘A Deplorable’
Messages show Shah cheered ‘Access Hollywood’ tape as ‘some justice’

A top White House spokesman once called his boss, President Donald Trump, “a deplorable” and admitted feeling a degree of schadenfreude when the Washington Post released the so-called “Access Hollywood” tape in October 2016, New York magazine reported Monday.

White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah made the comments when he worked for the Republican National Committee as its research director and deputy communications director.

Trump Uses NFL Player's Death for Latest Border Security Push
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson was allegedly killed by drunk driver who was undocumented immigrant

President Donald Trump is not a stranger to responding controversially to tragedy. (He once patted himself on the back “for being right on radical Islamic terrorism” in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016.)

The president used the death of NFL linebacker Edwin Jackson to hammer Democrats for weakness on border security after authorities said the drunk driver who crashed into Jackson’s ride share was an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala.

Orrin Hatch and the Origins of Mitt Romney’s Senate Bid
Lunch at the Marriott plants seeds for Romney’s political second coming

As Utahns await Mitt Romney’s expected Feb. 15 announcement that he will run for Orrin G. Hatch’s Senate seat, the story of why the former GOP presidential nominee decided to make his political comeback now has begun to emerge.

It all started nearly a year ago over lunch with Hatch at the JW Marriott in downtown Washington, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday.