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FBI Probe Could Damage Trump's Influence in Congress

Image: FBI Probe Could Damage Trump's Influence in Congress
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By    |   Tuesday, 21 Mar 2017 08:37 AM

The FBI's probe into Russian meddling in the November election could damage President Donald Trump's clout with Congress as he tries to push through a new healthcare bill and Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.

FBI Director James Comey testified on Capitol Hill that his agency is looking into any possible contact between Trump campaign officials and Russia. In addition, Trump's credibility was challenged when Comey announced there was no evidence to back up Trump's claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the campaign, according to the newspaper.

"Both disclosures amount to an unwelcome distraction for a president who entered the week needing all the political capital he could muster to notch victories on Capitol Hill that would go a long way toward shaping his legacy," the Journal noted.

But Trump is working hard to try to unite the Republican majority in Congress in advance of the Thursday vote in the House on his healthcare bill, the Washington Examiner reported.

"Can Donald Trump really wade into the fray and help both sides reach a consensus?" said Peter Pitts of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., remains optimistic Trump can convince enough lawmakers to pass the bill, according to the Examiner.

"The president is bringing people to his table, and I am very impressed with how the president is helping us close this bill," Ryan said.

But others countered it may be difficult for Trump to swing enough votes.

"Healthcare is a tough political battle," said Pete Wehner, former aide to President George W. Bush. "Going into battle with a politically wounded president will make it even more difficult."

In addition, Trump is hoping to push through the Gorsuch nomination as confirmation hearings for the judge began on Monday.

But the Journal noted some Republicans are already questioning whether the Comey revelations will interfere with the ability of the Trump administration to succeed.

"The longer this hangs out here, the bigger the cloud is," Rep. Devin Nunes, R., Calif. told Comey at the end of the Monday hearing. "There is a big, gray cloud that you've put over people who have very important work to do to lead this country."

Still some remain optimistic Republican lawmakers can succeed despite the questions raised by Comey's testimony.

"Republicans have a historic opportunity for conservative change if they keep their eyes on governing and away from the shiny objects," said Josh Holmes, former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

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The FBI's probe into Russian meddling in the November election could damage President Donald Trump's clout with Congress as he tries to push through a new healthcare bill and Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
FBI, Probe, Trump, Congress
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2017-37-21
Tuesday, 21 Mar 2017 08:37 AM
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