What Steve Scalise’s fundraising prowess could mean for November

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Here are the stories our DC insiders are talking about in this week’s “Inside Politics” forecast, where you get a glimpse of tomorrow’s headlines today.

This past week House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise formed a new leadership PAC, sending the Washington rumor mill into overdrive. It’s all about the Speaker of the House spot, and whether Paul Ryan will stay on for another term.

As The Daily Beast’s Jackie Kucinich explains, Scalise’s new PAC is a bid by the Louisiana Republican for greater influence.

“Yes, Steve Scalise has raised a lot of money for Republicans going into this election year. But Paul Ryan-affiliated Super PACs are poised to spend more than any Republican outside group in the 2018 elections,” Kucinich reports.

“Now, should they (Republicans) lose the House, or, should the House become smaller, it’s going to be conservative, it’s going to be more Southern, it’s going to be more white,” she adds. “So, when you look at that dynamic, and if Paul Ryan steps aside, Steve Scalise fits that conference a lot better than, say, (House Majority Leader) Kevin McCarthy.”

President Trump isn’t afraid of turnover: He’s welcoming a new Secretary of State nominee and a new CIA director nominee, thanks to the latest administration shakeups.

But Trump’s new hires will soon face a diplomatic test, The New York Times’ Michael Shear explains.

“In a couple of weeks, the President will go on his first real overseas trip for this year. He’s going to Lima, Peru, for the Summit of the Americas. There are a couple of things to watch for … this is the first test of his new national security team — a new secretary of state, national security adviser, CIA director,” Shear says.

“Also (to watch for), whether or not scandals from back home — the Russia investigation — dog him while he’s there.”

The president’s pick for CIA director, Gina Haspel, has to go through congressional questioning as part of the confirmation process. She is slated to begin answering those inquires as early as Monday.

As The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian reports, there are quite a few topics that Senator John McCain plans to ask her about.

“There have been all of these questions surrounding her tenure at the CIA, how closely it involved torture, or enhanced interrogation techniques that we have come to call torture. She, for a while, served as supervisor for a black-site prison that was known for conducting these sorts of things,” Demirjian reports.

“If Democrats all stay together and oppose this nomination, Republicans cannot lose a single vote or they (will) lose … and that is actually a very big deal for Trump.”

President Trump will welcome Baltic leaders from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia this week. The Baltic summit could have big consequences for another country — Russia.

Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev explains.

“The timing ends up being really important, because we’re at such crosshairs now on Russia,” Talev says. She tells observers to watch “the signaling that he does with those three leaders — he’ll send important signals on that.”

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