U.S. Senate | KCUR

U.S. Senate

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Vice President Mike Pence came to Kansas City Wednesday, where he touted Republicans running for office on both sides of the state line and tried to ease concerns about the Trump administration’s expanding trade war.

President Donald Trump’s newest nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court simply adds to the latest round of heightened political tensions in Missouri over reproductive rights and abortion.

And, as expected, it’s already become a key issue in the state’s closely watched U.S. Senate race. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is making the Supreme Court confirmation the centerpiece of the Republican U.S. Senate candidate’s first TV ad, which began airing Monday.

Luke X. Martin/KCUR 89.3 and Sen. Claire McCaskill/Flickr - CC

Minutes after President Donald Trump announced Brett Kavanaugh was his pick to fill retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy's place on the U.S. Supreme Court, Missouri Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley began needling Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

As Missouri Republicans Mobilize Against Her, Sen. Claire McCaskill Defends Record

Jun 4, 2018
Sen. Claire McCaskill / Flickr - CC

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is experienced in tough re-election races, though likely Republican challenger (and Missouri attorney general) Josh Hawley might be her strongest competition yet. 

And with Eric Greitens out of the Missouri governor's office, Republicans in the state now say unseating the Democrat is their No. 1 priority.

Luke X. Martin / Senator Claire McCaskill / KCUR 89.3 / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: Attorney General Josh Hawley on the resignation of Gov. Greitens and preparing for midterm elections.

As Gov. Eric Greitens gets set to resign this afternoon, Missouri's attorney general maintains he did everything within his jurisdiction to investigate the governor’s alleged indiscretions. In an interview recorded on Thursday, Josh Hawley defended his conduct in the Greitens saga, and explained why he thinks Sen. Claire McCaskill has lost touch with Missouri voters.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

After the resignation of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Tuesday, months of turmoil in Jefferson City might finally be coming to an end. And Republicans such as Attorney General Josh Hawley are eager to shift focus to ousting the state's top Democrat in this year's midterm elections.

On Thursday afternoon, Hawley sat down with KCUR's Up To Date to discuss the historic resignation, his role in prosecuting the governor's alleged misdeeds, and, especially, the record of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

McCaskill-Hawley
File Photo and Office of the Attorney General

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley seems headed for the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill this fall. But Hawley's path has been made rougher by his complicated relationship with Gov. Eric Greitens—fellow Republican, fellow first-time-officeholder—and subject of his investigations. In this episode, host Brian Ellison takes an early look at the 2018 race. He talks with KCUR's Erica Hunzinger about Hawley's history and present entanglement with the governor.

McCaskill
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Before a small but energetic crowd in Kansas City Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill walked a narrow path between opposition to President Trump’s views and caution not to offend his supporters — many of whose votes she will need to be re-elected this November.

Erica Hunzinger / KCUR 89.3

It’s been five months since Missouri’s attorney general, Josh Hawley, announced in a video that he was challenging Democrat Claire McCaskill for her U.S. Senate seat.

On Tuesday, Hawley took aim at McCaskill's tenure and political leanings in a populist stump speech during his first public rally for the Senate.

File photo and Office of the Attorney General

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, seen by many as a promising Republican challenger to Sen. Claire McCaskill, found himself in a defensive posture Wednesday after it was reported he drew links between the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s and sex trafficking today. 

file photo / Kansas News Service

With help from Vice President Mike Pence, short-handed U.S. Senate Republicans on Wednesday made Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback President Donald Trump’s ambassador for religious freedom.

Pence twice broke ties on nail-biter, party line, votes to ultimately confirm Brownback after months of delay.  With the governor being whisked away from his Statehouse job, soon enough, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer will be ushered into an interim stint as governor.

FIle Photo / Kansas News Service

Gov. Sam Brownback has more hurdles to clear before potentially leaving Kansas to head the Office of International Religious Freedom at the U.S. State Department.

The governor’s name wasn’t among dozens of nominees approved in the Senate this week, nor was it on a list of nominees to hold over until its next session.

File Photo / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 1:00 p.m.

Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, has joined with a chorus of colleagues—including the majority of women in the Senate—in calling on their fellow Democrat, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, to resign following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

There's a lot going on next year in Kansas and Missouri politics. The Sunflower State is sure to see a heated gubernatorial race, and Missouri will play host to one of the most competitive Senate races in the nation. Then there are the local races — like the one for mayor of Kansas City, Missouri — which can fly a little under the radar but affect the daily lives of residents nevertheless. Today, our panel of political pundits help make sense of an upcoming election season which promises to be every bit as contentious as 2017.

President Donald Trump made grand promises Wednesday that a pending federal tax overhaul will bring jobs back to "Main Street America'' by revamping a "dysfunctional'' tax system and providing tax cuts for working families.

He told a packed audience at the St. Charles Convention Center that only Democrats like Missouri's U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill stood in the way of a more prosperous future.  The president portrayed McCaskill, a former prosecutor, as a tax-cut opponent who is "weak on crime,  weak on the border, weak on the military."

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran candidly discussed his reservations about President Donald Trump’s tax cut bill Wednesday at a town hall meeting in the small north-central Kansas community of Frankfort.

But in response to prodding from some in the crowd of approximately 100, he declined to commit to voting against the bill if Republican leaders don’t address his concerns.

Less than two weeks after U.S. Sen. Al Franken headlined the Missouri Democratic Party’s biggest event of the year, the Minnesota Democrat is back in the news over a groping allegation that is stirring up the state’s U.S. Senate race.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. and a longtime friend of Franken’s, announced Thursday that Missouri food banks will be getting $30,000 from her – representing the campaign aid she has received from Franken’s political action committee since 2006.

Senator Claire McCaskill / Flickr - CC

For a Democrat running in bright-red Missouri, the 2018 election will be quite the challenge. Today, we speak with Sen. Claire McCaskill about a new Republican opponent's campaign bid as well as the latest developments on Capitol Hill. Then, we learn how the 2014 Farm Bill is affecting dairy farmers and why they're pushing for reform, not replacement.

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee

U.S. senators considering Gov. Sam Brownback’s nomination as ambassador for international religious freedom peppered him Wednesday with questions, including some about his actions as Kansas governor.

During the Senate committee hearing in Washington, D.C., Brownback argued that a lack of religious freedom lies at the core of many violent conflicts throughout the world. He firmly stated that he would stand for religious freedom internationally.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

For a public official unaccustomed to the limelight, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran can’t seem to avoid it when it comes to the national healthcare debate.

Moran’s Monday night tweet announcing his opposition to the latest Republican health bill triggered “breaking news” alerts on cable news channels.

And it briefly won him praise from the demonstrators who stage weekly protests outside his Olathe office. They cheered when Leslie Mark, an organizer for Indivisible KC, picked up a bullhorn and shouted “Thank you Senator Jerry Moran,” to kick off Tuesday’s event.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

UPDATE: In Washington, D.C. Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran issued a statement saying that he would support President Donald Trump's efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement.  That news quickly turned the mood of a demonstration at Moran's office in Olathe where opponents of the now failed replacement bill had been thanking the senator from Kansas for standing firm against it.

For 118 years, Missouri has been represented in the U.S. Capitol’s esteemed Statuary Hall by two statues of slavery opponents from the 1800s: Francis Preston Blair Jr., and Thomas Hart Benton (the politician, not the painter.)

That’s likely to change, according to U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill, who issued a rare joint news release a few days ago to declare, in effect, that they’re wild about Harry S. Truman and optimistic his statue will soon bump Blair’s.

Frank Morris / KCUR

Hundreds of people, including members of the activist group Indivisible KC, looked for answers at a town hall hosted by U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Republican from Kansas, Monday morning.

The Republican's town hall at the Lenexa Conference Center was his first in Johnson County in over a year. It was a long time coming for some. 

"Indivisible has been asking for a town hall in the eastern part of the state since January and we finally got one,” Indivisible KC Board Member Leslie Mark said.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Updated, 4:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump's move to fire FBI Director James Comey shocked Washington Tuesday night. It's only the second time in American history an FBI Director has been dismissed in the middle of a term, and it comes as the FBI investigates ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

Reaction from members of Congress from Kansas and Missouri was mixed.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill stood on a stage at Park University Thursday and took questions from some of the several hundred people packed into the majestic college chapel.

It was the latest in a string of town halls she's holding around the state.

The Senator was in Sikeston and Hannibal earlier in the week. On Friday she’s scheduled to be in Springfield and Rolla.

The two-term Senator, a Democrat, has made it clear she plans to run for re-election in 2018.

Mark Schierbecker / Wikimedia Commons

In a statement on Twitter Friday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, said she will oppose Federal Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Senate Democrats / Flickr - CC

From his vantage point in the U.S. Senate, Sheldon Whitehouse is of the mind that the longstanding tradition of honor in American politics is disappearing. Today, he argues corporate infiltration into the political system is to blame.

Helene C. Stikkel / U.S. Department of Defense

As  the first woman to represent Kansas in the U.S. Senate, Nancy Kassebaum Baker is a political legend. Today she shares her thoughts on the current state of the Republican Party, locally and nationally. Also, tracing one's lineage is popular, but it remains challenging for descendants of slaves. A genealogist explains the common challenges that can arise, and offers professional advice to ease the journey.

Twitter

As expected, U.S. Senators from Kansas and Missouri this week voted on President Trump’s cabinet nominations along party lines.

Voting for former Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general included Republican Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts of Kansas and Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri.  

Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill voted against Sessions, saying that as a former prosecutor from Kansas City, she understands “the massive power of federal law enforcement.”

Wikimedia Commons

Updated, 11:40 a.m. Wednesday: The U.S. Senate has confirmed Betsy DeVos for education secretary, 50-50 with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote.

Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri; Jerry Moran, R-Kansas; and Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, voted yes. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, voted no.

The original post continues below. 

The U.S. Senate is expected to confirm Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s embattled pick for education secretary, Tuesday afternoon.

Pages