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Two lawmakers take aim at QAnon


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Two lawmakers take aim at QAnon

YOU QAN’T SIT WITH US — A bipartisan pair of lawmakers has introduced a resolution to condemn QAnon, the wild fringe conspiracy theory that has grown in popularity among Trump’s base and has been labeled by the FBI as a potential domestic terror threat. The decision to introduce the measure — which is sponsored by…

YOU QAN’T SIT WITH USA bipartisan pair of lawmakers has introduced a resolution to condemn QAnon, the wild fringe conspiracy theory that has grown in popularity among Trump’s base and has been labeled by the FBI as a potential domestic terror threat. The decision to introduce the measure — which is sponsored by Rep. Tom Malinowski, a frontline Democrat, and Rep. Denver Riggleman, who was ousted in a GOP primary — comes less than a week after President Donald Trump said he “appreciates” the support from QAnon adherents. More from Caitlin Oprysko: https://politi.co/34xrGVL.

If House Democratic leaders decide to put the resolution on the floor, it would put every single Republican on the record. And some GOP lawmakers have been more willing than others to forcefully denounce QAnon, even as a number of Republican congressional candidates have expressed support for the far-right movement.

Privately, some Republicans are frustrated that GOP leaders haven’t done more to publicly distance the party from QAnon. Marjorie Taylor Greene — a GOP nominee who has embraced QAnon conspiracy theories and was condemned by leadership for a slew of racist Facebook videos — will still be welcomed into the conference and given committee assignments. And she was even invited to attend Trump’s RNC speech this week.

That being said, several high-ranking Republicans — including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney — started to speak out last week against QAnon. Still, some Republicans want their leadership to do more and worry about the GOP becoming associated with the ludicrous conspiracy theory, which Riggleman once described to your Huddle host thusly: “QAnon is the mental gonorrhea of conspiracy theories. It’s disgusting and you want to get rid of it as fast as possible.”

Related reads: “GOP candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene spread conspiracies about Charlottesville and ‘Pizzagate,’” by CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck: https://cnn.it/2Qrf6z7; and “RNC Speaker Cancelled After Boosting QAnon Conspiracy Theory About Jewish Plot to Enslave the World,” by The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer: https://bit.ly/32tWcxr.

JOCKEYING JAMS — The race to become assistant speaker — the fourth-ranking position in House Democratic leadership — is already heating up. Last week, Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) told Sarah D. Wire of the Los Angeles Times that he was publicly throwing his hat into the ring for the role. And now, The Hill reports that two other lawmakers are privately campaigning for the post: Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Katherine Clark (D-Mass.).

The leadership races won’t take place until sometime after the November election. But the assistant speaker role is the only open spot in leadership right now, as Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), the only Latino in leadership, is leaving the House to run for Senate. And there’s typically not much turnover in House Democratic leadership, though party leaders have done more in recent years to make room for new blood and bring younger members into the fold.

The assistant speaker race could become a real battle: Cicilline, the vice chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the first openly gay man to serve in leadership, and Clark, the vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus, have already started to court support for their bids. And at least one lawmaker has already expressed support for Cárdenas, arguing it’s important to continue having Hispanic voices in leadership. More from Olivia Beavers and Juliegrace Brufke: https://bit.ly/3jhBpE6.

GIMME, GIMME MORSE — Liberal powerhouse Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed progressive candidate Alex Morse in his bid to unseat veteran Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), becoming the first sitting lawmaker to wade into the contentious primary on Morse’s behalf and providing a major boost to his campaign. “I am so proud to have the endorsement of @AOC‘s @CouragetoChange,” Morse tweeted. “When AOC took on an entrenched incumbent, she changed the Democratic Party for the better. It would be an honor to serve alongside her in Congress to fight for progressive change that benefits working families.”

AOC has played in a few other primaries involving her colleagues. But Neal, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, is perhaps the most high-profile Democrat she has targeted thus far. And AOC’s endorsement comes less than a week after Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed Rep. Joe Kennedy over Sen. Ed Markey in Massachusetts’ Senate Democratic primary, which angered Justice Democrats and AOC, who said at the time: “No one gets to complain about primary challenges again.” The latest from NYT’s Emily Cochrane: https://nyti.ms/3gwcg6F.

YIKES … “Congressman’s old social media posts about sex with 15-year-old girls, rape surface in South Florida re-election fight,” by the Sun Sentinel’s Sky Swisher: https://bit.ly/2Ek8HDI; and “National Republicans Are Ordering Up Attacks On A Democrat’s Sexual Orientation,” from HuffPo’s Kevin Robillard: https://bit.ly/3liruQa.

HAPPY WEDNESDAY! Welcome to Huddle, the play-by-play guide to all things Capitol Hill, on this August 26.

TUESDAY’S MOST CLICKED: The Americano’s report on Jenniffer González-Colón, the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico, testing positive for coronavirus drew the most eyeballs.


LOOKING FOR A LIBERTY LEADER — Now that Jerry Falwell Jr. has (really) resigned as the leader of Liberty University, speculation is already running rampant about who will lead the powerhouse evangelical school. And one name being floated is a member of Congress: Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), the vice-chair of the House Republican Conference and a former pastor who is retiring this year.

Walker told your Huddle host that he has been contacted by a Liberty board member and others about possibly taking the helm of the university, but he said it’s not something he’s given much thought too — though he didn’t shut the door completely on the idea. “I have been contacted about it by a few students, alumni, and church leaders,” Walker said. “It’s not something I have considered, but Liberty University is too important to go without strong leadership. … I have talked with a board member but my focus is for the Liberty University family to find healing while continuing its mission of developing Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential to impact the world.”

Walker was one of the leading conservative voices to call for Falwell to step down earlier this month, calling Falwell’s behavior “appalling.” Walker is also considered a possible future Senate candidate to run for the open seat that will be vacated by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who has said he won’t run for re-election when his term ends in 2022. The latest on the Liberty drama from Michael Stratford and Maggie Severns: https://politi.co/31sKzqX.

FUNDING FIGHT — Evergreen statement: a government funding deadline is just around the corner, and Congress once again must come up with a last-minute plan to keep the government’s lights on. More from CQ Roll Call’s Paul M. Krawzak: “Partisan tensions are set to color talks on how long the stopgap funding bill for federal agencies needed next month should run, on top of already fraught coronavirus aid discussions.

“It’s a typical election-year question with major implications for government operations and stakeholders who depend on them: Will Congress punt decisions into a postelection lame-duck session, or opt for a lengthier continuing resolution that runs into perhaps March? With a divided Congress, there’s no easy answer to that question. The emerging consensus view is Republicans favor a short-term patch, while Democrats may push for the longer-term punt. ‘If we have to have a continuing resolution, one to March would be best,’ Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., said in an interview last week.” More: https://bit.ly/2EAOlG0.

FOR YOUR RADAR — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill next Tuesday in front of the Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, the panel announced this morning. The committee — chaired by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn — was formed earlier this year to oversee the billions of dollars in coronavirus relief funds that Congress approved and ensure there is no waste, fraud or abuse.

POMPEO AND CIRCUMSTANCE — A House panel has launched an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech at the Republican convention, which he delivered from a rooftop in Jerusalem. The latest from Nahal Toosi and Jacqueline Feldscher: “Pompeo’s decision to deliver remarks at the convention drew criticism from diplomats and Democrats in Congress, who announced ahead of the speech that they will investigate if the appearance at a political event is legal.

“The congressional probe, announced Tuesday by the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, is likely to further deepen the hostility between Pompeo and leading Democrats. It could also add to tensions inside the State Department, where many employees are aghast at Pompeo’s choice to participate in the convention.” More: https://politi.co/3gA1igh.

WOLF TRAP — Trump announced that he will nominate acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf to fill the role permanently. More background from Matthew Choi, Louis Nelson and Marianne: “Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told POLITICO he plans to hold a hearing on Wolf’s nomination, though a date has not yet been scheduled.

“Wolf’s nomination, however, could be hard to get through the Senate, particularly so close to the November election. The Senate returns to Washington in September and is only scheduled to remain in session for a few weeks before members go back home to campaign. Speaking to reporters on a press call, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said of Wolf: ‘given his past actions, he’s an awful choice.’” The story: https://politi.co/2EDhtMA.

AROUND THE HORN — Freshman Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Okla.) has finally got her GOP challenger for November, teeing up one of the most competitive House races this year. More from the AP’s Sean Murphy: “State Sen. Stephanie Bice won the Republican nomination on Tuesday for the 5th District congressional seat in Oklahoma City, setting up a showdown with first-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn for a seat Republicans desperately want to win back in November.

“Bice, 46, defeated Oklahoma City businesswoman Terry Neese, 72, in the primary runoff to advance to the general election. Horn, 44, is the lone Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation, and Republicans have made winning back the seat a top priority. Bice, who raised about $1.4 million, trailed Neese by more than 10 percentage points in a nine-candidate June primary, but managed to close the gap in the last two months.” More: https://bit.ly/3b1Gaia.

Nothing today.

The Senate and House are out.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will hold a press briefing at noon as part of a daily briefing the DNC is organizing.

TUESDAY’S WINNER: Joseph Easton was the first person to correctly guess that prior to this year, 1944 was the last time a presidential nominee — FDR — did not attend the convention in person.

TODAY’S QUESTION: From Joseph: Keeping with this week’s RNC theme, in what year and city did the first Republican National Convention take place and who was nominated as the Grand Old Party’s standard bearer? The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next edition of Huddle. Send your best guess to [email protected].

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