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Snyder-Schuette relations may be deteriorating rapidly

Detroit News staff

Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General BillSchuette’s relationship appears frosty at best and rapidly deteriorating at worst based on recent events.

In late May, the two Republicans exchanged jabs at each other in separate interviews with The Detroit News over Schuette’s eyebrow-raising letter to the governor saying internal state investigations of the Flint water crisis were hindering his criminal probe.

The letter’s tone stopped just short of accusing the Snyder administration of obstructing justice and was viewed by the governor’s office as a cease-and-desist order. Snyder’s office quickly released the letter to the media; Schuette said he thought it would remain “private” correspondence with his client, the governor.

Last Tuesday, Schuette was publicly critical of Snyder and other Great Lakes governors for agreeing to let water-stricken Waukesha, Wisconsin pull water from Lake Michigan.

The next day, Schuette’s special prosecutor in the Flint investigation, Todd Flood, said state agencies were not fully cooperating with his team’s voluminous requests for records of every medium related to Flint’s lead-tainted water.

Flood made the comments during a press conference announcing a lawsuit against two engineering firms that worked at the Flint water treatment plant — a suit Schuette filed on behalf of the State of Michigan without any heads-up to the state’s chief executive.

Then on Tuesday, the tension intensified when the attorney general himself directly pointed a finger at Snyder’s private attorneys and said they were “not providing documents” Flood had requested.

Schuette stopped short of saying Snyder’s private attorneys were obstructing his pursuit of justice.

Even after that, Schuette tried to tamp down questions about the visibly strained relations between the two GOP statewide officeholders.

“We’re different. We may be calibrated differently,” Schuette told reporters. “But if we were identical, I know the story you all would be writing. You’d be saying, ‘You guys are too much alike. There’s no daylight between them. Are they robots or clones?’”

Lead issue hits Kildee in D.C.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee is fighting another lead contamination crisis – this one at his office building in Washington, D.C.

Congressional staffers received a Tuesday night warning that water at the Cannon Office Building had tested “slightly above” acceptable federal standards for lead, according to POLITICO.

Bottled water will be provided while drinking water and filtration units are shut down “in an abundance of caution,” buildings superintendent William Weidemeyer said in an email.

Kildee, a Flint Township Democrat, works in the building and used the opportunity again to push his colleagues for federal funding to address the Flint water contamination crisis.

“Congress has so far failed to act on Flint aid, and now some members of Congress have had their own water shut off due to high lead levels in their Washington offices,” he said in a statement.

“Lead is a dangerous neurotoxin and high levels of lead in water anywhere is a public health emergency. It is long past time that Congress get serious about this health threat. Helping Flint families ought to be as much of a priority as ensuring safe water on Capitol Hill.”

McDaniel: No dump Trump

Michigan Republican Party chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel says any effort to deny businessman Donald Trump the Republican presidential nomination at next month’s national convention would “disenfranchise” GOP primary voters.

She was joined by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who also said this week he opposes changing the rules at the convention.

McDaniel came out in opposition this week to the so-called “Dump Trump” movement among a smattering of national convention delegates who want to change the party’s rules and let delegates bound to vote for Trump cast their ballot for somebody else.

The dump Trump revolt includes to Republican National Convention delegates from Michigan -- grassroots activists Wendy Day of Howell and Barbara Bookout of Grand Rapids. Day helped manage Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s Michigan presidential campaign.

“I think it would be very hard to change the rules midstream and to go to states like Michigan and say you ran a taxpayer-funded primary for no reason,” McDaniel said in a Monday interview with The Detroit News. “I think it would disenfranchise our voters.”

McDaniel, who is a Trump delegate, is the niece of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who for a while was the defacto leader of a “Never Trump” movement during the primaries that failed to deny the New York real estate tycoon the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.

Trump won Michigan’s March 8 presidential primary with 36.5 percent of the 1.3 million Republican votes.

“The voters have spoken. Trump won 41 of the nominating contests,” McDaniel said. “I don’t know how you could disenfranchise those voters by suddenly changing the rules.”

McDaniel said the party would be fractured if Republican National Convention delegates denied Trump the nomination at the July 18-21 convention in Cleveland.

“That would be very difficult to comprehend and come and support a party that does that,” she said. “I don’t think that’s somebody that’s going to go forward.”

Schuette, the head of Michigan’s campaign for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, seemed even more emphatic.

“That’s going zero, going nowhere,” the Republican attorney general said Tuesday during a wide-ranging interview with Capitol reporters.

Schuette has repeatedly condemned Trump’s controversial comments about women, minorities, Hispanics and bashing the prisoner-of-war record of Arizona Sen. John McCain.

“All those things are deplorable,” he said Tuesday.

Despite the misgivings, Schuette said he still favors Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton as president.

“The point is, Donald Trump’s going to be the Republican nominee, he’s going to square off against Hillary Clinton and I’m not going to do anything to help Hillary,” Schuette said. “I’m going to vote for Trump. I don’t want Hillary Clinton in the White House.”

Contributors: Chad Livengood, Jonathan Oosting