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Alex Leary, Times Washington Bureau Chief

Alex Leary

Alex Leary is the Washington bureau chief for the Tampa Bay Times. He previously worked in the Times' state capital bureau, and before that covered local politics, environmental issues and law enforcement. His career in journalism began at the Valley News in New Hampshire.

Phone: (202) 306-4807

Email: leary@tampabay.com

Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

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  1. Marco Rubio says his presidential campaign was subject to hacking attempts from Russia

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio revealed today that members of his former presidential campaign team were the subject of an apparent Russian hacking attempt yesterday. 

    “In the first panel, one of the individuals who appeared before us mentioned me in connection with efforts in the 2016 presidential primary,” Rubio said during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing....

  2. Rick Scott says failed GOP bill was 'way better than Obamacare'

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday the failed GOP health care bill was “way better than Obamacare” and that he remains optimistic President Trump and Congress can get it done.

    “I’m going to do everything I can,” Scott told Tampa Bay Times reporter Steve Contorno after an event in Tampa . “I talked to Secretary Price at HHS. I’ve been working with HHS to get more flexibility in our Medicaid program so we can provide care that our taxpayers can afford. I'm going to keep working with the president and vice president and I’m optimistic something will happen.”...

  3. Trump still fuming at Freedom Caucus: 'We must fight them'

    Blog

    ATTN: U.S. Reps. Ron DeSantis, Ted Yoho and Bill Posey

    President Trump is still furious at the Freedom Caucus' role in killing the Obamacare replacement bill last week. In a tweet this morning, Trump writes: "The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don't get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018."

    Yoho isn't too worried. "I don't work for Donald Trump. I work with him. I work for the people who sent me up here," the Gainesville Republican told the Tampa Bay Times earlier this week. "He ran on repealing and replacing Obamacare. Those people that put him and me in office expect us to repeal and replace Obamacare."...

  4. Rubio condemns 'tyrant' Putin

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio this morning participated in a panel on human rights abuses under Vladimir Putin and pitched a bill to designate the street in front of the Russian embassy as “Boris Nemtsov Plaza” in honor of the opposition leader gunned down near the Kremlin two years ago.

    “Some may ask, ‘What impact is this going to have?' " Rubio said at the Atlantic Council. “As Vladimir (Kara-Murza) eloquently put it in the Washington Post recently, it will remind Putin’s regime that they are on the wrong side of history. And I believe it will stand as symbol to the Russian people that these dissident voices live on.”...

    A mock-up of the proposed “Boris Nemtsov Plaza" outside the Russian embassy in Washington
  5. Trump ad promises 'it's only just begun'

    Blog

    Here's the Trump ad playing in Florida and other states.

  6. Florida woman wants Trump apology, refund

    Blog

    FORT LAUDERDALE (AP) — President Donald Trump's $25 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit that alleged fraud at his now-defunct Trump University may be put on hold because a former student in Florida wants a full refund plus interest and an apology.

    A federal judge in San Diego will decide Thursday whether to let Sherri Simpson opt out of the settlement and sue the president individually....

  7. Pro-Trump TV ads to air in Florida

    Blog

    The following is from Bloomberg Politics:

    With President Donald Trump trying to find his footing after his failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a group of wealthy backers is launching a 10-state media blitz to pressure Democratic senators to support him -- or at least think twice about piling on....

  8. Bondi appointed to Trump's drug commission, headed by Christie

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Attorney General Pam Bondi has been appointed to President Trump's Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission, which will be led by Chris Christie.

    "Thousands of Americans each year die from drug overdoses," Bondi said in a statement. "I want to thank the President of the United States, Governor Christie and many others for caring about this deadly epidemic."...

    Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, left, and former New York Yankees great Mariano Rivera listen to U.S. President Donald Trump at a panel discussion on an opioid and drug abuse in the Roosevelt Room of the White House March 29, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
  9. Bill Nelson defends decision to filibuster Gorsuch

    Blog

    Sen. Bill Nelson defended his decision to join a filibuster against Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch despite opposing one a decade ago for Samuel Alito.

    “Each nominee is different, and how Sen. Nelson votes for one nominee has no bearing on how he’ll vote for another,” spokesman Ryan Brown said in response to a Tampa Bay Times question.

    “Plus, the motion to invoke cloture on Alito’s nomination wasn’t as controversial as the upcoming cloture vote on Gorsuch. Nearly three-quarters of the Senate – including nearly half of the Democratic caucus – voted for cloture on Alito in 2006. Trying to compare the two would be like trying to compare apples and oranges.”...

    Sen. Bill Nelson
  10. Florida's Freedom Caucus: Yoho, DeSantis, Posey

    Blog

    WASHINGTON — Still livid over the collapse of the Obamacare replacement, President Donald Trump jumped on Twitter and shook Washington out of bed Tuesday.

    The Republican House Freedom Caucus was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," Trump wrote in one of his signature late-night attacks. "After so many bad years they were ready for a win!"

    Before Friday, when the bill was pulled from a vote, the Freedom Caucus was little known outside Washington — a small, raucous coalition of far-right conservatives who, unhappy that parts of the Affordable Care Act were maintained, insisted on more changes until Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan quit negotiating....

    Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Gainesville
  11. Meet the Freedom Caucus, the group that dared to say no to President Donald Trump

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — Still livid over the collapse of the Obamacare replacement, President Donald Trump jumped on Twitter and shook Washington out of bed Tuesday.

    "The Republican House Freedom Caucus was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," Trump wrote in one of his signature late-night attacks. "After so many bad years they were ready for a win!"

    Before Friday, when the bill was pulled from a vote, the Freedom Caucus was little known outside Washington — a small, raucous coalition of far-right conservatives who, unhappy that parts of the Affordable Care Act were maintained, insisted on more changes until Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan quit negotiating....

    This photo was posted to Vice President Mike Pence's Twitter account on March 23 with this, "Appreciated joining @POTUS for meeting with the Freedom Caucus again today. This is it. #PassTheBill" The photo prompted a backlash because it appears that no women were included in the meeting. Florida Reps. Ted Yoho is at the far right at the table, and Bill Posey is seated second from the left at the table facing the camera. [Twitter]
  12. Rubio blasts Democratic moves to filibuster Gorsuch

    Blog

    WASHINGTON -- Sen. Marco Rubio today blasted the growing possibility of a Democratic filibuster against Neil Gorsuch, a preview of the next round of fighting to reach Capitol Hill.

    "Not even divisive Thomas nomination filibustered," Rubio wrote on Twitter. "Truth is D's will filibuster anyone @POTUS nominate."

    On Monday, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson said he'd join a filibuster, which would force Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to change the rules for a simple majority. Nelson in 2006 opposed a filibuster of Sameul Alito, though voted against him....

  13. Tallahassee group hurting Breitbart News' bid for congressional press credentials

    Blog

    WASHINGTON — A Tallahassee-based research group started by Steve Bannon is causing problems for Breitbart News’ attempts to get permanent congressional credentials.

    The Standing Committee of Correspondents on Monday cited the Government Accountability Institute as a reason for delaying a decision because two Tallahassee-based officials with the group also work for Breitbart.

    “Even if Bannon is no longer involved in GAI, top editors are involved in this other group, an advocacy group,” chairman Billy House of Bloomberg News said, according to a Politico report....

  14. West Palm Beach officials worry Trump visits make city a target

    Blog

    The following is from the Sun-Sentinel:

    Hackers have attempted to breach West Palm Beach's computers, and President Donald Trump's visits to the Weekend White House could continue to make the city a target, Mayor Jeri Muoio said Monday.

    The FBI is investigating, and more than $150,000 has been spent on the city’s information technology system so far in response to the attempted breaches, she said....

  15. Sen. Bill Nelson comes out against Trump's Supreme Court pick Gorsuch

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson today said he will vote against Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court and supports a filibuster.

    “Deciding whether to confirm a president’s nominee for the highest court in the land is a responsibility I take very seriously,” Nelson said in a statement. “Over the past few weeks, I have met with Judge Gorsuch, listened to the Judiciary Committee’s hearings and reviewed his record with an open mind. I have real concerns with his thinking on protecting the right to vote and allowing unlimited money in political campaigns. In addition, the judge has consistently sided with corporations over employees, as in the case of a freezing truck driver who, contrary to common sense, Judge Gorsuch would have allowed to be fired for abandoning his disabled rig during extreme weather conditions....

    Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson today said he will vote against Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court and supports a filibuster.