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No Trump Zone: Only two of 23 vulnerable Republicans want him

President Trump recently said he plans to eventually spend four to five days campaigning for Republican candidates ahead of the midterm elections. But the reality is that out of the 23 most vulnerable House Republicans, only two candidates said they would accept Trump's help — and neither were especially eager about it.

Driving the news: Axios called all 23 Republican congressmen and their campaign representatives in districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 (listed above) and asked whether they would want the president to campaign for them in their district.

  • 14 didn't respond, four said they didn't want him, one dodged the question, two had "no comment," one — Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California — said they'd be happy to have Trump's support, and one — Rep. Carlos Curbelo — said he'd accept Trump's support if the president endorsed his bipartisan approach.

The bottom line: The fact that so many congressmen have a hard time answering whether they want a president from their own party to support them in the midterms tells you everything you need to know about Trump's political strength.

What they aren't saying, according to Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and former spokesman for President George W. Bush:

"Many candidates want the president to fundraise for them, but will go to great lengths to avoid being seen with him publicly. An ad of Trump gripping and grinning with a Republican congressman could be priceless fodder for Democratic campaign commercials in certain districts."

Conant added that Bush faced a similar problem when he was unpopular in 2006, and 2010 proved the same for Barack Obama.

Here's who went on the record:

  • Tyler Sandberg, campaign manager for Rep. Mike Coffman (R, CO-06): "Coffman has been one of the most outspoken members to split with Trump, so I don’t think it would make sense for him to even come here.”
  • Veronica Vera, communications director for Rep. Peter Roskam (R, IL-06): "We have not requested the president's assistance and we don’t plan on requesting his assistance."
  • Ken Grubbs, press secretary for Rohrabacher: "He’d be happy to have the president campaign for him."
  • Joanna Rodriguez, communications director for Curbelo: "While Carlos has never invited public figures to campaign with him, he has welcomed those who have offered. He has also joined Presidents Obama and Trump in South Florida to stand with them on issues in which ‎he agrees with them ... Anyone who wants to support Carlos' efforts and endorse his bipartisan approach to public service is welcome to do so."
Haley Britzky 5 hours ago
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DOJ eyeing tool to allow access to encrypted data on smartphones

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

The Justice Department is in "a preliminary stage" of discussions about requiring tech companies building "tools into smartphones and other devices" that would allow law enforcement investigators to access encrypted data, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: This has been on the FBI's mind since 2010, and last month the White House "circulated a memo...outlining ways to think about solving the problem," officials told the Times. Both FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, support finding ways for law enforcement to access data without compromising devices security.

Haley Britzky 5 hours ago
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Media tycoon Barry Diller talks #MeToo

 IAC & Expedia, Inc. Chairman & Senior Executive Barry Diller
IAC & Expedia, Inc. Chairman & Senior Executive Barry Diller. Photo: Cindy Ord / Getty Images for Yahoo

Barry Diller, chairman of mega-media and Internet company IAC, told the New York Times he thinks "all men are guilty," when it comes to "the spectrum" of the #MeToo movement.

"I hope in the future for some form of reconciliation. Because I think all men are guilty. I’m not talking about rape and pillage. I’m not talking about Harveyesque. I’m talking about all of the spectrum. From an aggressive flirt. Or even just a flirty-flirt that has one sour note in it. Or what I think every man was guilty of, some form of omission in attitude, in his views."

Why it matters: The #MeToo movement has rocked Hollywood and the media industry. Diller told the Times he sees the effects of this "in our companies, where the relationships between people are changing."