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Sen. Durbin: We Literally Begged Him

And more around the Sunday dial
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2018 12:58 PM CST

(Newser) – Sen. Dick Durbin says he and other senators begged Jim Mattis to stay—but no, the defense secretary had made up his mind. "I was one of many senators who privately sat down with General Mattis and said, 'Please stay, stay as long as you possibly can,'" says Durbin on NBC's Meet the Press, per Politico. "We desperately need your mature voice, your patriotism in the room when this president's making life or death decisions about national security. But it obviously reached a breaking point." He goes on, "It breaks my heart that he's going to step aside. We counted on him to be there and to stop this president from his worst impulse." For more Sunday talk:

  • So funny: "We joked about it last night." So says acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on ABC's This Week about him and Trump reacting to now-viral video of Mulvaney calling Trump "a terrible human being" in 2016, ABC News reports. Axios says Trump was privately "furious" about the video.

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  • More Mick: "It's very possible this shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress," says Mulvaney on Fox News Sunday, per Fox News. He claims it will affect Nancy Pelosi because she is "in that unfortunate position of being beholden to her left wing, to where she cannot be seen as agreeing with the president on anything until after she's speaker."
  • Erratic? "He's not giving the American people or our allies around the world any sense that there's a rationale for the decisions that he's making," says Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro about Trump on NBC's Meet the Press, per NBC News. Castro, who's mulling a 2020 run, calls Trump "just so erratic."
  • Subpoena: Rep. Adam Schiff says he'll probably subpoena Bob Mueller's report if Trump's lawyers try blocking it: "I'm prepared to ... do everything possible so that the public has the advantage of as much of the information as it can," he says on CNN's State of the Union, per CNN.
  • Syria and Afghanistan: "These two decisions would be disastrous," says Rep. Liz Cheney on CBS' Face the Nation of Trump's plan to pull out troops, per CBS News. "They would really in many ways hand victories to our enemies."
  • Border wall: "He's sitting on over $1 billion, 94% of what we sent him last year for border security he hasn't bothered to spend," says Sen. Jeff Merkley on This Week, where he calls the wall a "fourth century" strategy, per ABC News. "...This is politics, not policy."
(Apropos Mattis, looks like he's not leaving in February as planned.)

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