Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee Won't Seek Re-Election - NBC 10 Philadelphia
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee Won't Seek Re-Election

Corker has helmed the Foreign Relations panel, playing a significant role on Russia and Iran sanctions

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee Won't Seek Re-Election
    AP
    In this April 5, 2016, file photo, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.

    Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee and a political force on financial issues, announced Tuesday that he would not seek re-election.

    The 65-year-old lawmaker, who recently had been encouraged by President Donald Trump to seek a third term, made the surprise announcement hours before a showdown vote in an Alabama Senate runoff in which the establishment favorite lost to firebrand Judge Roy Moore.

    "After much thought, consideration and family discussion over the past year, Elizabeth and I have decided that I will leave the United States Senate when my term expires at the end of 2018," Corker said in a statement that set off intense speculation back home about a suddenly open Senate race.

    Corker has chaired the foreign relations panel, playing a significant role on Russia and Iran sanctions, and was considered a possible secretary of state in the Trump Cabinet before the president tapped Rex Tillerson. A member of the Banking Committee, Corker had his hand in major financial legislation.

    Justice Department Releases Comey Memos to Congress

    [NATL] Justice Department Releases Comey Memos to Congress

    The Department of Justice has given Congress copies of the memos drafted by former FBI Director James Comey on his interactions with President Trump. Comey says he began the memos after a Trump Tower meeting to brief the president-elect on Russia's claims involving prostitutes. 

    (Published Friday, April 20, 2018)

    Despite expressing doubts about another bid, Corker had a $6.5 million balance in his campaign account at the end of the last reporting period, the most among GOP senators facing re-elections next year. Corker has increased his cash on hand by $1 million, according to his office.

    The senator had criticized Trump after he blamed both white nationalists and anti-racist protesters for the violence at an August rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Corker questioned whether Trump had shown the "stability" and "competence" to succeed in office.

    Trump responded on Twitter, "Strange statement by Bob Corker considering that he is constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in '18." Trump added, "Tennessee not happy!"

    Pompeo Nomination Face Wall of Opposition From Democrats

    [NATL] Democratic Senators a Wall of Opposition to Pompeo Nomination

    CIA Director Mike Pompeo's nomination for secretary of state is seeing a wall of opposition from Democratic senators as Republican lawmakers warn their colleagues not to reject Trump's pick. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, also declined to support Pompeo's nomination. 

    (Published Friday, April 20, 2018)

    The announcement quickly set off attention in Tennessee about which Republicans could run to replace him, ranging from former NFL and University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning to term-limited Gov. Bill Haslam.

    Manning, Corker and President Trump went on a highly publicized golf outing earlier this year, and the quarterback also attended a Republican congressional retreat.

    Corker and Haslam are close family friends, and the senator helped persuade the popular governor to first run for public office when he made a successful bid for mayor of Knoxville in 2003.

    Newborn of Sen. Duckworth Becomes First Baby on Senate Floor

    [NATL] Newborn of Sen. Duckworth Becomes First Baby on Senate Floor

    Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth brought her newborn baby girl, Maile, to a vote on the Senate floor. Previously all children had been banned from the floor until a rule change was made.

    (Published Thursday, April 19, 2018)

    Earlier Tuesday, when he was pressed on whether the Republicans should hold a vote on a health care bill, Corker put off the question by saying: "I'm not much of a politician, as you know. So I'll let people who worry about politician-y things decide that."

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., praised Corker as an "integral member of our team and confidant of mine during his time in the Senate. His leadership on important issues has helped guide our conference and had a real impact at home and abroad.

    Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the Senate's top Democrat, called Corker a "model senator," adding, "We all regret him leaving."

    Trump: 'Nobody Has Ever Been More Transparent Than I Have'

    [NATL] Trump: 'Nobody Has Ever Been More Transparent Than I Have'

    President Donald Trump continued to decry the Russia investigation as a “hoax” Wednesday, and said his team has fully cooperated with Mueller’s investigators. “Nobody has ever been more transparent than I have,” Trump claimed during a joint press conference on trade and North Korea with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Wednesday. Trump also said months of speculation that he would fire special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had proven wrong.

    (Published Wednesday, April 18, 2018)

    Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate, but establishment candidates backed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have come under fire from the right, with critics questioning their fealty to Trump. Republican incumbents in Nevada and Arizona face primary challengers.

    The biggest test for the GOP establishment was in Alabama, where Moore defeated Sen. Luther Strange despite Trump's endorsement.

    Corker took over as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in 2015 after Republicans took control of the Senate. The panel's top Democrat, Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, gave Corker high marks for running the committee in an inclusive, bipartisan way.

    Trump: CIA Chief Secretly Met With Kim Jong Un

    [NATL] Trump: CIA Chief Secretly Met With Kim Jong Un

    CIA Chief and Secretary of State candidate Mike Pompeo recently met with Kim Jong Un in a secret trip to North Korea, according to confirmation tweeted by President Donald Trump. The United States and North Korea are readying to meet in a possible summit to discuss North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

    (Published Wednesday, April 18, 2018)

    But Corker emerged as one of the most vocal critics of the Obama administration's foreign policy. At a September 2016 hearing on Syria, Corker assailed President Barack Obama and his administration for refusing to take the necessary steps to get humanitarian aid into Syria and to deter Bashar Assad's military forces from targeting civilians. He considered Obama to be unreliable on foreign affairs, declaring that the president wasn't willing to "roll up sleeves and deal with the tough issues that we have to deal with."

    Corker also could go his own way. In 2015, as Republican criticism of the Obama administration's nuclear talks with Iran escalated, Corker was one of a handful of Republicans who declined to sign a letter circulated by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., that was addressed directly to Iran's leaders warning them that any accord Obama struck could be undone.

    He was first elected to the Senate in 2006 and two years later became a member of the Banking Committee. He played a key role in the negotiations that bailed out the collapsing financial industry with the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. But he later disparaged the program as a slush fund and voted to shut it down and use any of the remaining money to pay down the federal debt.

    Trump Orders Military Strike on Syria

    [NATL] Trump Orders Military Strike on Syria

    President Donald Trump said Friday the United States has “launched precision strikes” on targets associated with Syrian chemical weapons program. He said a “combined operation” with France and the United Kingdom is underway.

    (Published Friday, April 13, 2018)

    Corker criticized the major U.S. automakers who also sought a multi-billion dollar bailout in late 2008. He offered an alternative proposal that would have imposed stiffer requirements on the auto companies that Detroit opposed but which eventually were followed by the Obama administration's task force on the auto industry.

    He reached across the aisle in 2010, joining Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., on provisions for the orderly liquidation of financial firms deemed "too big to fail" that were included in Dodd-Frank, the banking law created after the 2008 economic crisis.

    Corker in 2015 had to file amendments to his financial disclosures in the Senate to show that he earned millions more from investments than he first reported, blamed the omissions on "technical errors" by his former accounting firm.

    Booker Questions Pompeo on Gay Marriage Stance

    [NATL] Booker Questions Pompeo on Gay Marriage Stance

    Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., criticized CIA Director Mike Pompeo's public stance against gay marriage during Pompeo's confirmation hearing for Secretary of State.

    (Published Monday, April 16, 2018)