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10:10 - Senator Frist has dropped in for a visit ...
10:13 - Blogs can help explain the procedural issues and questions that come up.
10:14 - Alito deserves a "fair and dignified hearing, and then a fair up-or-down vote". Nature of politics is that we can expect some protest, but that we keep the process moving. He will use "all the tools", but believes it "premature" to speak to the specifics of those tools at this point. Democrats will pull out "old ways" to defeat progress in America, and says we'll get some hints this week. More obstruction through procedural tools will arise - not necessarily filibusters, but slowdowns and postponements.
10:18 - The hold on Brett Kavanaugh: Senator Frist says he can't comment on the record at the moment for that, but he will likely address the process of "holds" in the coming year.
10:19 - Frist says they will be looking at lobbying reform, but also procedural reform, this session. The lobbying reform will probably come up with entirely new laws rather than tougher enforcement and expansion of existing laws.
10:20 - Frist thinks we'll get the confirmation vote by the 20th of this month.
10:21 - He will NOT take a position on the House leadership races. [Big laugh]
10:28 - Senator Frist confirms for me that no one who got briefed on the NSA intercept has, to his knowledge demanded an end to this program. He confirmed that he was one of the leaders briefed on the program over the years. When I asked him if the program had stopped attacks on this country, he immediately and unequivocally said, "Yes."
10:31 - Should not read anything into Frank Lautenberg's intro of Samuel Alito to the committee. He doesn't think that necessarily commits Lautenberg to supporting Alito.
10:33 - Speaks to the legislative priorities facing the Senate and the impact that postponement will have on it. The PATRIOT Act: The current bill has stronger protections than the previous bill, so "killing" it is an act of irresponsibility. The Senator wanted an extension to get that better bill eventually adopted.
10:39 - I asked if any Democratic legislative agenda exists to use as leverage, and Senator Frist says no -- which puts him at a disadvantage in terms of leverage, but demonstrates the lack of ideas and energy coming from the Democrats.
11:04 - We missed most of Leahy and Hatch, but getting access to this information was well worth it. I want to make sure that we emphasize that Senator Frist was one of the eight leaders of Congress getting briefed on the NSA program, and that we have stopped attacks on America as a result of this effort. That is not hypothetical.Sphere It View blog reactions
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