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Senate Republicans signal strong support for US SEC nominee Clayton

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The confirmation process for Republican President Donald Trump’s choice to chair the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission appears to be moving forward without any hiccups.

Jay Clayton, a lawyer whose specialties include mergers and acquisitions, met privately with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Michael Crapo on Tuesday. They discussed the SEC’s role in facilitating capital formation and ways to reduce “unnecessary burdens” for small companies, Crapo said in a statement that he posted on Twitter.

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“Had a great conversation,” Crapo added. In recent days, he and other Senate Republicans have issued glowing statements about Clayton’s qualifications and plans to help companies raise capital.

While Democrats will probably raise questions about Clayton’s ties to Wall Street at his confirmation hearing, they will not be able to block him without some support from Republicans.

Clayton’s hearing has not yet been scheduled but could come as early as the week of Feb. 6, according to several people familiar with the committee’s plans.

Private meetings with senators are typically held in advance of confirmation hearings so that the lawmakers can get a chance to vet the candidate and ask questions.

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Last week, Clayton met with three other Republican lawmakers on the panel – Senators Richard Shelby of Alabama, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.

He also met separately on Tuesday with Senator David Perdue of Georgia, who wrote on Twitter: “Jay knows capital formation. He wants to create a level playing field & make things fair and efficient. I fully support his nomination.”

Clayton is expected to have one-on-one meetings with some of the panel’s Democrats sometime next week, according to one of the sources.

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Some Democrats on the committee, including Sherrod Brown, the committee’s senior Democrat and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, have already expressed reservations about Clayton because of his legal work at Sullivan & Cromwell representing major Wall Street clients such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc, where his wife works as a wealth manager.

Before Clayton accepted Trump’s nomination, his family decided his wife would step down from her post at the investment bank if he is confirmed, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

In the meantime, the SEC’s lone Republican commissioner, Michael Piwowar, is acting as chairman, according to people familiar with the matter. The SEC, typically a five-member commission, is down to two members until Clayton is confirmed.

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(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)


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Elections 2016

Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson send anti-trans signals to Trump’s evangelical base

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While Trump grabs headlines, his Cabinet members quietly use transphobia to shore up white evangelical support

The white evangelical vote is almost certainly a lock for Donald Trump in 2020, but it appears the president is taking no chances of losing this critical voting block. One major part of that strategy appears to be quietly deploying his Cabinet members, especially those associated with the Christian right, to generate stories highlighting the Trump administration's overt bigotry toward trans people, and its eagerness to deprive trans Americans of basic rights.

Just this week, both Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson snagged coverage by making community visits that were ostensibly for noble purposes, but were clearly meant to signal to Christian right voters their hostility to trans rights.

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Elections 2016

Intelligence official directly contradicts Trump administration’s excuses for suppressing whistleblower

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A top official in the intelligence community has disputed the factual basis for the Trump administration’s suppression of a whistleblower complaint believed to regard the potential misconduct of the president himself, a new letter released Thursday revealed.

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Longtime GOP strategist explains why his party is getting crushed in the war of ideas

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Republican strategist Stuart Stevens on Wednesday warned the GOP that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) might not be a pushover candidate against President Donald Trump in 2020.

Writing on Twitter, Stevens admitted that he had "no idea" if Warren would beat Trump next year, but he did say that "Trump and supporters are destroying [the] credibility of any center-right argument" thanks to Trump's "corrupt and unstable" governance.

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