D.C. Buzz: Murphy’s marathon training
WASHINGTON — Sen. Chris Murphy put skin (and a whole lot more) in the game of gun violence prevention in June 2016, holding the floor of the Senate for 15 hours until Republican Senate leaders agreed to hold votes on gun measures.
The votes did not pan out, but Murphy won a reputation as one of the leading Senate Democrats on the gun issue.
Fast forward to 2019. The Democratic-controlled House last week actually approved two gun-control measures, one expanding background checks and the other allowing extra time for the FBI to complete background checks before gun sales are allowed to proceed.
Now they go to the Senate. Will this be a bonus episode of “Russian Doll”? Where legislation dies, only to get reborn back at the starting line — only to die again, and so on?
Murphy is wasting no time in finding out. On Wednesday he led 37 Senate Democrats in asking Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to hold a hearing on the Senate’s version of the background-check-expansion bill, which would require checks in virtually all gun sales including those between private sellers.
Republicans appear in no hurry to force votes on their members that might prove unpopular, especially in purple states where gun rights and the Second Amendment aren’t always slam-dunk winners.
But Graham, a maverick if ever there was one, expressed interest in a “Red Flag” statute, which gives family members and loved ones of troubled individuals the right to petition a judge to temporarily take guns away. Connecticut has had such a law on the books since 1999.
Graham also seemed willing consider background checks, which fell six votes short of passage in 2013 just four months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.
“I just want to work on the red flag stuff and maybe the background check stuff,” Graham told POLITICO. “We’re kind of going our own way” compared to the House.
So the times they may be a changin’. New gun laws may see the light of day in the Senate as well as the house. Or maybe not. (And with Trump threatening a veto, it’s no time to hold your breath.)
If legislation does not make it to the Senate floor, don’t be entirely surprised to see Murphy dusting off his marathon-training playbook — the one that has nothing to do with running.
Hicks makes the list
Hope Hicks of Greenwich may have wished she’d left the Trump White House cocoon behind for good upon her departure a little over a year ago. The California sun beckoned and Trump’s old standby, Fox, was there with a job offer to be its communications director.
But the past proved to be prologue as House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., put Hicks, 30, on his list of 81 famous and infamous Trump associates and organizations from whom Nadler wants documents.
If impeachment of Trump ever takes flight, this document trove may prove to be the nest egg.
Nadler, whose district takes in Manhattan and Brooklyn, says the moment of truth has arrived.
“This is a critical time for our nation,” Nadler wrote to Hicks and others on Monday. “President Trump and his administration face wide-ranging allegations of misconduct that strike at the heart of our constitutional order. Congress has a constitutional duty to serve as a check and balance against any such excesses.”
For Hicks, Nadler’s document listing was twice as long as the letter. He is seeking a virtual encyclopedia of allegations against Trump, from his attempts to soften the blow against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, to the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusing himself from oversight of the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller.
And if that’s not enough, Nadler also want anything Hicks has on Paul Manafort (Connecticut’s other main entry in l’affaire Trump), any “emoluments” from foreign governments, possible Russian financing of Trump’s abortive tower deal in Moscow. . .
The letter went to Hicks’ lawyer in Washington. So don’t expect her to spend hours rummaging through paper in old boxes or backed-up computer data . . . at least not yet.