Rand Paul says he has concerns about William Barr, Trump’s pick for attorney general

Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said Sunday he has concerns about William Barr, President Trump’s choice for attorney general, calling Barr’s views on domestic surveillance ‘‘very troubling.’’

Trump confirmed Friday that he plans to nominate Barr, who served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under president George H.W. Bush and has more recently worked in the corporate world as well as at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis.

In an interview on NBC’s ‘‘Meet the Press,’’ host Chuck Todd made note of recent reports about Barr’s broad view of presidential power. ‘‘When I heard that, I thought, ‘Uh-oh. He may have trouble getting Rand Paul’s vote for confirmation,’ ’’ Todd said.


‘‘Uh-oh is right,’’ Paul replied. ‘‘I’m concerned that he’s been a big supporter of the Patriot Act, which lowered the standard for spying on Americans. And he even went so far as to say, you know, the Patriot Act was pretty good, but we should go much further.’’

Paul has been a longtime critic of the Patriot Act; in 2015, he spent nearly 11 hours on the Senate floor speaking against the reauthorization of the 2001 measure, which expanded the government’s surveillance powers.

Paul said that although he hasn’t made a decision on Barr, ‘‘I can tell you, the first things that I’ve learned about him being for more surveillance of Americans is very, very troubling.’’

Washington Post

Evers not optimistic Wisc. governor will veto bills

Wisconsin’s Democratic governer elect, Tony Evers, said Sunday he’s not optimistic that outgoing governor Scott Walker will veto bills approved by the Republican-dominated Legislature that would limit the new governor’s power.

Speaking on NBC’s ‘‘Meet the Press,’’ Evers said he talked by telephone with Walker recently and appealed to him to veto the legislation, but that Walker was noncommittal.

Evers, who will be sworn in Jan. 7 after narrowly defeating the two-term Republican last month, said Wisconsin voters did not elect him to fight over administrative powers with the GOP legislative majority. He said the lame-duck legislation approved by lawmakers after an all-night session last week ‘‘gets us off to a bad start. And I think that’s a mistake.’’


‘‘But we’ll continue working to get the people of Wisconsin to convince Scott Walker to think about his legacy and make sure that he vetoes this language,’’ Evers said.

Associated Press

O’Rourke emerges as wild card of 2020 campaign

The 2020 Democratic presidential primary, already expected to be the party’s most wide open in decades, has been jostled on the eve of many long-plotted campaign announcements by a political threat that few contenders bothered considering until recently:

Will a soon-to-be-former congressman, with an unremarkable legislative record and a Senate campaign loss, upend their best-laid plans?

Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas has emerged as the wild card of the presidential campaign-in-waiting for a Democratic Party that lacks a clear 2020 front-runner. After a star-making turn in his close race against Senator Ted Cruz, O’Rourke is increasingly serious about a 2020 run, a development that is rousing activists in early-voting states, leading veterans of former president Barack Obama’s political operation (and Obama himself) to offer their counsel and hampering would-be rivals who are scrambling to lock down influential supporters and strategists as future campaign staff.

Advisers to other prospective Democratic candidates for 2020 acknowledge that O’Rourke is worthy of their concern. His record-setting success with small donors would test the grass-roots strength of progressives like Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. His sometimes saccharine call to summon the nation’s better angels would compete with the likely pitch of Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.


New York Times

Biden vows to stay involved, but no talk of presidency

Former vice president Joe Biden said Sunday he promised his dying son Beau he would not retreat from life after his son’s death and he promised he would stay engaged.

Biden made the comments during an appearance in Vermont that is part of his ongoing tour promoting his book, ‘‘Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose,’’ which he wrote after Beau Biden’s 2015 death from cancer.

Biden did not offer any hints about whether he would seek the presidency in 2020. The vice president under Barack Obama disputed some published reports that he’d promised his son on his death bed that he would run for president.

‘‘He was worried that I’d retreat,’’ Biden said before a packed crowd at a Burlington, Vt. arts venue.

‘‘He was worried that what I’d worked on my whole life, the things that mattered to me the most since I was a kid, that I’d walk away, that I’d turn inward, that I’d withdraw from public life,’’ Biden said.

Associated Press