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The Scott Pruitt spending scandals keep coming

Here are the stories our D.C. insiders are talking about in this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get a g...

Posted: Jun 4, 2018 9:26 AM
Updated: Jun 4, 2018 9:26 AM

Here are the stories our D.C. insiders are talking about in this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get a glimpse of tomorrow's headlines today.

1. Pruitt scandals piling up

There's yet another spending scandal for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Newly released agency documents showed his staff ordered a set of 12 fountain pens for more than $1,500, plus a set of journals that cost more than $1,600.

Pruitt has already been under fire for lavish taxpayer-funded travel and for spending $43,000 on a sound-proof phone booth for his office.

"We've had months and months of stories about Scott Pruitt," Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey said. "And some of these investigations seem to be coming to a head. But so far the President has stood resolutely behind his embattled EPA administrator."

Dawsey said President Trump likes Pruitt because of how well he's done dismantling President Barack Obama's environmental record. "But I don't know how long that can last," Dawsey said.

2. Showdown over Dreamers

House Republicans' long-awaited showdown over immigration may erupt this week.

Politico's Rachael Bade reports that a handful of GOP moderates want to force a floor vote by Thursday on protecting Dreamers, which they can do with a so-called "discharge petition" signed by a majority of House members. They're just a few GOP signatures short of that.

Conservative House Republicans want to kill anything they regard as "amnesty." Speaker Paul Ryan says that's a bad idea. Bade reports Ryan wants to reach a deal with the two rival GOP factions that would avoid a vote.

"They know it would look terrible if a bipartisan bill supported mostly by Democrats passes the GOP-controlled House," Bade said. "But conservatives are unwilling to give moderate Republicans what they want -- which is a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. And without that, the moderates say 'we're going to work with Democrats and go around you guys.'"

3. Human rights at a North Korea summit?

Human rights groups say the North Korean government is one of the most repressive regimes in the world, a totalitarian state that runs huge labor camps for political prisoners and executes anyone who crosses Kim Jong Un.

But that doesn't mean the US plans to bring this up at the North Korea summit, if it happens.

"President Trump said this week when he met with a top (Korean) official that human rights didn't come up," Associated Press reporter Catherine Lucey said. "We know that his priority, obviously, is a nuclear deal. And he's not the first US president to focus on that. But we've heard from lawmakers and human rights activists who are pushing for this not to be completely discarded as part of these talks."

4. California Democrats are nervous

Californians head to the polls Tuesday to vote in a primary election that's unlike any other in the nation. Instead of separate Democratic and Republican primaries, voters will pick from a single ballot with the top two finishers advancing to the general election -- regardless of party.

That presents a complicated math problem for Democrats in House districts they think they can take from Republicans -- but only if they have a candidate on the final ballot. Party leaders are worried that there are too many Democrats running in some key districts, meaning they could splinter the vote and fall out of the top two.

CNN's Manu Raju reports there are two seats in particular that worry Democrats -- both currently held by Republicans but that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

"A lot of money has been spent in the last week by Democrats nationally to try to prevent that," Raju said. "If Republicans are successful Tuesday, they will be buoyed in their effort to keep the House. Democrats will say it is not a total disaster, there are other ways to recapture the House. But no doubt about it, a big test on Tuesday."

5. Questions surround McCain's seat

A weekend tweet from Sen. John McCain on immigration is the latest proof he intends to stir big debates even as he remains away from Washington because of his battle with brain cancer, CNN's John King said.

The Saturday tweet closed a week in which McCain's future was front and center.

Under Arizona law, May 31 was the deadline for ordering a special Senate election in 2018. Now, if McCain's seat were to become vacant, the state's GOP governor would name an interim senator to serve the remainder of McCain's term, which runs through 2020.

There was a fresh wave of speculation early in the week because McCain met with the governor just before the deadline. At least one report about that meeting mentioned Cindy McCain as a potential replacement for her husband.

The pushback was swift.

GOP Gov. Doug Ducey said it was a routine meeting, and that any speculation about a McCain successor was both premature and tasteless.

Cindy's McCain's name has come up in recent months as McCain allies talk through scenarios and discuss their hope that a "McCain person" would be named to any vacancy.

"But sources tell CNN Mrs. McCain was not happy at the mention in news reports this past week," King said. "One source familiar with the situation said it was viewed as a 'cheap shot.' A second, also speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity, acknowledged Cindy McCain's name has come up as a possibility in informal conversations involving McCain allies. But this source said Mrs. McCain cringed at the mention in news reports and had made clear she was not interested."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 282916

Reported Deaths: 3359
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin605241095
Ramsey25467477
Anoka20172216
Dakota19573179
Washington12799108
Stearns1254793
Scott764754
St. Louis763197
Wright683036
Olmsted616033
Sherburne522339
Clay449655
Carver420912
Blue Earth379511
Rice377732
Kandiyohi365915
Crow Wing324131
Nobles298029
Chisago28838
Otter Tail273315
Benton269340
Winona251828
Mower239723
Polk230621
Douglas228929
Morrison215321
Lyon200011
McLeod19289
Beltrami190415
Goodhue180926
Becker178810
Steele17296
Itasca170524
Isanti170216
Todd167412
Carlton161310
Nicollet148223
Freeborn14195
Mille Lacs136530
Le Sueur135010
Waseca131811
Cass12368
Pine12216
Brown121110
Meeker11187
Roseau10143
Martin100620
Hubbard100022
Wabasha9351
Redwood82718
Dodge7980
Chippewa7907
Watonwan7884
Cottonwood7431
Renville73118
Sibley7224
Wadena7166
Aitkin69224
Rock6779
Pipestone67318
Houston6242
Fillmore6150
Yellow Medicine58211
Pennington5576
Murray5433
Kanabec54112
Swift5266
Pope4910
Faribault4901
Stevens4552
Clearwater4456
Marshall4377
Jackson4291
Lake3654
Unassigned35856
Koochiching3475
Wilkin3305
Lac qui Parle3213
Lincoln3171
Norman3166
Big Stone2801
Mahnomen2554
Grant2396
Red Lake1973
Kittson1876
Traverse1340
Lake of the Woods891
Cook600

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 216579

Reported Deaths: 2240
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk32244325
Linn13583162
Scott1055981
Black Hawk10541131
Woodbury9984116
Johnson920835
Dubuque886590
Story656619
Dallas611456
Pottawattamie589167
Sioux356425
Webster345831
Marshall339244
Cerro Gordo332342
Clinton312337
Buena Vista293514
Muscatine273968
Des Moines270616
Warren264810
Plymouth261938
Wapello244071
Jones225313
Jasper208440
Marion196719
Carroll192621
Lee191716
Bremer187212
Henry17257
Crawford170715
Benton162716
Tama149440
Jackson138511
Delaware137221
Washington135813
Boone130711
Dickinson128510
Mahaska123427
Wright11835
Buchanan11249
Clay10964
Hardin109310
Page10854
Hamilton10477
Clayton10455
Harrison102428
Calhoun10237
Cedar102213
Fayette10008
Mills9977
Floyd98614
Lyon9858
Kossuth9675
Poweshiek95512
Butler9375
Winneshiek91510
Iowa89611
Winnebago88023
Louisa82316
Hancock8217
Grundy81711
Sac8077
Chickasaw8014
Cherokee7814
Cass77221
Appanoose7509
Shelby7346
Allamakee73211
Guthrie72415
Humboldt7205
Mitchell7204
Union7166
Emmet71424
Franklin68820
Madison6614
Jefferson6441
Palo Alto6114
Unassigned5961
Keokuk5537
Pocahontas5442
Howard5089
Greene5070
Osceola5031
Clarke4644
Ida45510
Davis4415
Taylor4352
Montgomery43410
Monroe43112
Adair4218
Monona4032
Fremont3483
Van Buren3434
Worth3410
Lucas3166
Decatur3070
Wayne2896
Audubon2841
Ringgold1902
Adams1551
Rochester
Overcast
33° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 25°
Mason City
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 25°
Albert Lea
34° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 26°
Austin
34° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 26°
Charles City
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 25°
Cloudy for Wednesday
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