POLITICO: Senate Democrats reach for message on tax reform

I spoke with POLITICO‘s Colin Wilhelm about the Senate Dem tax reform letter and the meaning of the handful of holdouts.

Liam Donovan, a former National Republican Senatorial Committee staffer who now handles legislative and political affairs for the Associated Builders and Contractors, said estate tax repeal — which Republicans have promised to include in their effort — could be floated as a carrot in front of vulnerable Democrats like Manchin, Heitkamp and Donnelly to bring them to the table. Manchin was the lone Democrat to cross the aisle on a 2015 bill to repeal the estate tax.

But, “at the end of the day I don’t expect them to be there,” said Donovan.

Read the whole piece here.

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Washingtonian: What’s Evan McMullin’s Angle?

I spoke to Elaina Plott of Washingtonian for her profile of erstwhile presidential hopeful Evan McMullin.

It’s understandable why McMullin may prefer Twitter and cable-news commentary to behind-the-scenes organizing: it’s much easier and cheaper to punch out a tweet from the makeup room before a TV hit than it is to travel and fundraise and lead town halls and connect with folks face to face. But many conservatives I spoke to suggested that McMullin’s prioritization of Twitter and political media also sheds light on his preferred audience. “I can’t quite figure out what his angle is…Unless you’re Trump, Twitter is not to the right scale,” says Republican operative Liam Donovan, who voted for McMullin. “It’s good for having a fervent following” among the Acela corridor-types, he says, “but it’s not great to parlay into anything else.”

McMullin admits that Twitter “is not the place where voters are. That’s Facebook. Or Instagram.” On Twitter, though, he emphasizes, “you reach influencers. That has serious value.”

You can read the full piece here.

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CNBC: McCain, Mueller and GOP Mavericks

I spoke to CNBC’s John Harwood about the impact of Senator John McCain’s diagnosis on the health care debate and the broader dynamic between Congress and the administration. Harwood draws a parallel to Ted Kennedy’s illness in 2009 that served as a rallying point for Senate Democrats in their winding path to passing the ACA. He further wonders whether McCain’s maverick ethos might rub off in the form of emboldening fellow Republicans to buck the administration. I expressed my doubts.

For the moment, Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has more influence than anyone over how GOP lawmakers handle Trump. Until the ex-FBI director completes his investigation and announces conclusions, Mueller offers them a political shield.

“As long as the policy agenda lives, [Congress] will defer Russia stuff to Mueller and not offer much beyond furrowed brows and frustrated sound bites about unfortunate distractions,” said GOP strategist Liam Donovan.

Full article here.

The 1:20 version of this argument:

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