A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

McConnell says Mueller investigation will continue; there’s much to do in two months; he’ll run in 2020

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he is upbeat about the results of the November General Election, both in Kentucky and across the country.

On the GOP maintaining the supermajority in both the Kentucky House and Senate, the Louisville Republican told reporters on Friday: “I think we’re in good shape going into Governor (Matt) Bevin’s re-election for a second term, and for us to continue to make the progress that we’ve achieved here in Kentucky.

“I’m proud of all these guys. I never served in state government, but I’m certainly proud of what they’ve done to turn this state around,” he said.

One bad piece of news, according to McConnell, is the loss of two suburban Louisville House seats to Democrats.

“There’s no question we’re sliding in the suburbs.  That’s probably a big reason for the loss in the U.S. House, and it’s disturbing,” he said. “It looks like that rural/urban divide we’re seeing nationally, is also the case here in Kentucky. Fayette and Jefferson counties both got bluer. We need to do better in the suburbs.”

Nationally, he said they’re still counting votes in Arizona and Florida.  “The Florida experience is eerily similar to what we all remember after the 2000 Presidential election.  Interestingly enough, it was the same counties, Broward and Palm Beach counties, that were national stories for five weeks after the election.”

McConnell said there is still a lot of work to be done the last two months of the year, in what is known as the lame-duck session, since members who lost the election will still be able to enact legislation before the new Congress convenes in January.

“We funded 75 percent of the federal government before the end of the fiscal year,” he said. “That hasn’t happened since the 1990s.  We still have to finish the other 25 percent.”

Also to be acted upon is the Farm Bill, which includes legalization of industrial hemp, which McConnell says is his second priority, after funding the government. McConnell said the sticking point in the legislation is a work requirement for food stamps.

On other Washington issues, McConnell said he doesn’t see any changes to the Mueller investigation coming, despite President Trump’s firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  

“The President has said repeatedly that he is not going to dismiss the Mueller investigation.  He’s said repeatedly it’s going to be allowed to finish.  That also happens to be my view.”

He also said a divided government, with Republicans controlling the White House and Senate, while Democrats control the House, is not an issue.

McConnell also expressed concerns about the GOP being able to hold the Senate in the 2020 election, when 33 seats are up for grabs, one of them being his own.

“We have 22 members up for re-election with only one real pickup opportunity, and that’s Alabama,” where Democrat Doug Jones won a special election to finish the term of Jeff Sessions.

He wouldn’t say if he hoped Sessions would seek to return to the Senate. “I really want to win that seat back. But I am going to leave it up to Republicans in Alabama to pick the nominee.”

He also repeated that he plans to seek re-election to the Senate in 2020.      

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One Comment

  1. Marv Dunn says:

    He forgot to say that the Senate, under his leadership, can still load up the courts with conservative republicans.

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