Orhan Cam via shutterstock

Describing it as a “terrifying” tweet, Representative Jim Himes criticized President Donald Trump for using social media in a way that could potentially provoke a nuclear war with North Korea.

“Why would you want to goad this unpredictable leader of North Korea to maybe demonstrate his capabilities? That would get real very quickly,” Himes told CNN’s Anderson Cooper earlier this week.

Earlier in the day, Trump took to Twitter to respond to Kim Jong-Un’s New Year’s Day address, in which he said the world should accept North Korea’s status as a nuclear-armed country — noting that he had a nuclear launch button at his desk.

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” Trump tweeted.

Asked by Cooper for his response, Himes first joked that Freudian psychiatrists would be having a field day analyzing the president’s need to demonstrate that “his is bigger and stronger than anybody else’s” and then compared the taunt to that of a schoolyard bully where the person “most aggressively pounding their chest” is in fact the weakest one on the playground.

“We’ve gotten to a place, a very weird place, where it really doesn’t matter what the President of the United States says anymore because it’s so bizarre, strange, not true,” Himes said.

Anderson Cooper 1/2/18

Just on Anderson Cooper 360 to discuss the breaking news about the President’s most recent, utterly mad tweet. Not specific enough? He is getting into a nuclear-button-measuring contest with Kim Jong Un.  Terrifying.

Posted by Jim Himes on Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Himes, a Democrat who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, has become a frequent commentator on national cable news outlets on the panel’s ongoing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections.

This week CNN reported that Democrats and Republicans on the committee appear increasingly likely to issue competing reports coming to starkly different conclusions about the panel’s Russian investigation.

Himes told CNN Anchor Alisyn Camerota that it would be shameful for Democrats and Republicans to issue separate reports on the investigation.

“This was a Russian attack on the very core of our democracy. It doesn’t get much more serious than that. So, if Congress can’t produce and speak with one very clear voice … shame on us,” he said.

Himes added that he still holds out hope that Texas Republican Mike Conaway, who is leading the panel’s investigation, will be able to bring both sides together.

“I don’t want people to think that this thing is ruined. The reality is there are some good Republicans, good Democrats who really want to see this thing done comprehensively. And my hope is that after the break, we can come back and agree on a time schedule and a way forward so that we have one report on one of the most serious things that has happened in our country in a long time,” he said.

Blumenthal Says ‘Marshall Plan’ Needed for Puerto Rico

A day after colleagues scuttled out of D.C. as the ‘Bomb Cyclone’ headed for the East Coast, Senator Richard Blumenthal took to the Senate floor to call for increased disaster recovery assistance for Puerto Rico.

“I hope we can make a disaster relief program — a Marshall Plan-like program for the island for the long term,” Blumenthal said. “There is nothing political about a neighborhood in darkness.”

Sen. Blumenthal Shares Stories from Puerto Rico Visit

I’m speaking on the Senate Floor about my visit to Puerto Rico with Sen. Murphy, where we met with residents and gathered firsthand evidence of the island’s ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Posted by Senator Richard Blumenthal on Thursday, January 4, 2018

Hurricane Maria rolled over Puerto Rico on September 20 with winds reaching 155 miles per hour — destroying much of the island’s infrastructure that has yet to be restored for many of the citizens who remain on the island. Blumenthal and Senator Chris Murphy spent the previous two days touring the island to gather facts about the ongoing recovery effort.

Both lawmakers support additional assistance from Congress to restore the territory’s power system, insure that there is clean drinking water for all, as well as getting schools back up and running.

Blumenthal has proposed — along with other Senate Democrats — that Congress provide $150 billion to address both the short-term and long-term needs of Puerto Rico. The funds, he said, would go to rebuild its power system as well as shore up its finances. He also supports a change in the tax code that now treats Puerto Rico as if it were a foreign country when it comes to manufacturing. The additional tax, he said, could drive away much of the island’s manufacturing base. He also says the federal government should treat the island like a state when it comes to Medicaid cost-sharing.

“They are Americans” and should be treated fairly, Blumenthal said.

The Marshall Plan was a post-World War II initiative to rebuild Western Europe. The United States committed $13 billion in economic assistance — roughly the equivalent of $140 billion in today’s dollars.

Congress approved a $36.5 billion package in October 2017 that included hurricane relief aid for Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida and wildfire relief aid for California. The House approved a second bundle of disaster funding totaling $81 billion at the end of 2017, which the Senate has yet to consider. Blumenthal expects that will be taken up this month — and is hoping it can be expanded to provide additional assistance for Puerto Rico.

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• Senator Chris Murphy is hosting forums in Fairfield and New London Friday to talk about the potential downsides of the $1.5 trillion tax cuts that was recently approved by Republicans in Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump.

At noon, he will be at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties on Post Road in Fairfield to hear from homeowners, community leaders and real estate agents about how the new law “limits mortgage and property tax deductions.” At 2:15 p.m., he will be at the Community Health Center of New London on Shaws Cove to hear from health care providers and community members about how the new law will cause “health care premiums to rise” through the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

• Senator Richard Blumenthal will visit community health centers in Meriden and Danbury on Friday to urge Congress to approve long-term funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program to insure that Connecticut will not be forced to close the program at the end of next month. At 11:30 a.m. he will be at the Community Health Center of Meriden at 134 State Street and at 1:30 p.m. he will be at the Greater Danbury Community Health Center at 120 Main Street.

• Murphy and Blumenthal will meet Friday with members of the Connecticut Puerto Rican community to discuss their trip to the island and efforts to secure additional federal aid. The meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. at Fair Haven School’s auditorium at 164 Grand Avenue, New Haven.