A top energy regulator responded Tuesday to an accusation by a former Trump campaign official that he is part of the “deep state” for rejecting an Energy Department plan to prop up coal and nuclear plants.

Quoted: “From my standpoint, early in the process, people were calling me a political hack, trying to push [Republican] Leader [Mitch] McConnell’s and the administration’s agenda,” Neil Chatterjee, a Republican commissioner appointed by President Trump to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, told Axios Tuesday. “Today I got accused of being part of the deep state. When you’re getting hit on both sides it usually means you’re doing something right.”

What happened: On Monday, FERC’s five-member commission, which includes four appointed by Trump last year, unanimously voted to reject the Energy Department’s plan that would have compensated coal and nuclear plants for being able to store fuel on site, which most other electricity sources can’t do. Corey Lewandowski, former Trump campaign manager, tweeted an article about the news with the following commentary: “The deep state is very real. More government officials who don’t support the Trump agenda.”

Bottom line: FERC rejecting the Energy Department’s proposal is a triumph of the expected in a political world we've grown to expect the unexpected.

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President Trump suggested Thursday that he'll resist any moves that could cut off candidates' microphones in the next debate if he continues to talk over his opponent and the moderator.

  • "Why would I allow the Debate Commission to change the rules for the second and third Debates when I easily won last time?" he tweeted.

The big picture: White House and campaign officials insist Trump is still committed to two remaining debates, despite fallout from Tuesday including poor reviews and discussions of new guardrails.

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