Chris Cioffi

Senate Periodical Press Gallery loses a familiar face
Deputy Director Shawna Blair departs after 14 years

After helping coordinate three presidential inaugurations, eight presidential conventions, five Supreme Court nominations and answering more than a decade of reporter questions, a familiar face will no longer be in the Senate Periodical Press Gallery.

Shawna Blair, the gallery’s deputy director, worked her final day in the gallery Wednesday after about 14 years there. On Monday, she starts her new gig as communications director for the Delta Regional Authority.

George Papadopoulos just filed for a House run in Rep. Katie Hill’s district
The former Trump campaign aide who served time in prison filed FEC paperwork to run for the California House seat

A one-time campaign foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump who served 12 days in jail for lying to the FBI has filed paperwork to run for the seat occupied by resigning California Democratic Rep. Katie Hill

George Papadopoulos, who confirmed he was considering a House run after being released from jail in December, filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission on Tuesday. The document lists his party affiliation as Republican.  

Former Sen. Kay Hagan dies after health struggles caused by encephalitis
‘North Carolina is mourning one of our best today’ N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper said

Former North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan has died at the age of 66.

Hagan died Monday after battling encephalitis caused by rare tick-borne Powassan virus, a statement from her family said. Hagan was diagnosed with encephalitis in late 2016, and suffered from failing health for the remainder of her life.

Florida GOP Rep. Francis Rooney not seeking reelection
‘I’ve done what I came to do, and I want to be a model for term limits’

Florida Rep. Francis Rooney, who broke with many of his Republican colleagues when he said he wouldn’t rule out supporting the impeachment of President Donald Trump, announced he will not seek reelection next year. 

The two-term Republican grew more receptive this week to the House impeachment inquiry after acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said in a televised briefing that seeking help to investigate Democrats was part of the reason military aid to Ukraine was temporarily withheld. 

Elijah Cummings to lie in state in Statuary Hall ahead of Friday funeral
Memorial services set for Thursday in Washington and Friday in Baltimore

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings will lie in state in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall Thursday before a Friday funeral in his home district of Baltimore. 

Many lawmakers are expected to attend the memorial service for the House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman, which will be held Thursday morning. The ceremony will be held Thursday morning and will be open to members of Congress, the Cummings family and invited guests. 

Bernie Sanders had a heart attack, his doctors confirm
2020 White House hopeful released from hospital after surgery

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had a heart attack earlier this week, his campaign said Friday after he was released from a hospital in Las Vegas.

The 2020 White House hopeful was admitted to Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center on Wednesday after experiencing chest discomfort following a campaign event the previous night. On Friday, his campaign released a statement saying he “feels great” and looks “forward to getting back to work.”

Lawmakers express concern after reading whistleblower report
Members urge patience, even public release of the complaint so the American people can see it for themselves

Some lawmakers expressed concerns Wednesday evening after reading a divisive whistleblower report that House and Senate Intelligence committee members were allowed to review in secure Capitol rooms. 

Democratic lawmakers and even a Republican said the complaint raised concerns, but many urged patience and called for public release of the complaint so the American people could see it for themselves. The complaint was delivered to the Intelligence panels before the House voted 421-0 Wednesday evening to adopt a nonbinding resolution urging the administration to make the complaint itself available to Congress.

Rep. Tom Reed collapses in Cannon ahead of TV spot
An aide to the New York Republican said he is ‘fine’

Rep. Tom Reed collapsed in the Cannon House Office Building Thursday.

The New York Republican, first elected in 2009, was waiting for a television interview when he fell. 

Hickenlooper impact: Colorado Democrat drops out after raising $3.4 million for Senate
Former governor still faces challengers in bid to take on vulnerable GOP Sen. Cory Gardner

The Colorado Democrat who raised the most money in the battle to take on Republican Sen. Cory Gardner bowed out Tuesday, less than two weeks after former Gov. John Hickenlooper entered the primary.

Mike Johnston, a former state senator, said winning the primary would have been “an expensive and negative campaign” that went against his values.

The GOP is confirming Trump judicial nominees it stalled under Obama
Judges couldn’t get a vote when Obama was president. They’re getting on the bench under Trump

At least 10 judicial nominees who couldn’t even get a confirmation vote in the final years of President Barack Obama’s administration ended up on the bench after Donald Trump’s election.  

Those nominees, blocked by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans while Obama was in the White House, got a second chance. Rather than blocking them under Trump, McConnell sought to speed up the confirmation process. Thanks to the shift in political priorities, Republicans confirmed them with bipartisan support.

Matt Gaetz says Florida Bar finds ‘no probable cause’ he violated rules with Cohen tweet
Florida Republican had appeared to intimidate ex-Trump lawyer with February tweet

Rep. Matt Gaetz announced Wednesday that the Florida Bar had found “no probable cause” that he violated the rules of his profession over a tweet that appeared to intimidate President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

“They are taking no disciplinary action against me & are sending a letter of advice,” the Florida Republican tweeted. Gaetz is licensed to practice law in the Sunshine State.

Access DNI’d: Trump tweets that Ratcliffe will not be director of national intelligence
Dan Coats is leaving the post on Aug. 15

In a pair of tweets Friday, President Donald Trump said Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe had withdrawn his name from consideration for director of national intelligence after facing questions about his qualifications. 

Trump said over the weekend that the current director, Dan Coats, would be leaving on Aug. 15 and that he’d picked Ratcliffe, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, to replace him. Ratcliffe has less experience than Coats, a former Indiana Republican senator, or previous national intelligence directors, and his confirmation in the Republican-controlled Senate was in question.

D.C. statehood hearing rescheduled for September
Hearing on bill introduced by Holmes Norton had been postponed to accommodate Mueller testimony

A hearing on a bill to make the District of Columbia the 51st state has been rescheduled for September. 

A bill introduced by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton had been scheduled for July but was postponed to accommodate testimony from former Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.  The hearing on Norton’s statehood bill — aptly named H.R. 51 — will be held by the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Sept. 19 at 10 a.m.

Trump: US shoots down Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz
‘The drone was immediately destroyed,’ the president said

President Trump said U.S. forces shot down an Iranian drone that was operating too close to an American vessel.

Trump said the drone was shot down in the Strait of Hormuz, an important shipping lane that provides the only access to open ocean from the Persian Gulf. He called on other countries to condemn Iran and protect their own ships.

Del. Holmes Norton ‘sees good news’ in a poll finding a majority reject D.C. statehood
Gallup found 64 percent of Americans oppose making Washington, D.C., a separate state.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton “sees good news” in a new Gallup poll that found a majority of Americans reject D.C. statehood.

The Gallup poll, conducted in June and released Monday, found 64 percent of Americans oppose making Washington a separate state. It was released to coincide with a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Holmes Norton’s statehood bill, which has been postponed to accommodate testimony from Robert S. Mueller III.  

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sued over Twitter blocking after judge rules against Trump
Plaintiffs are former New York assemblyman and a House candidate using the handle @joeysalads

Days after a federal court said President Donald Trump could not block his critics from commenting on his tweets, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is being sued by two people she blocked on Twitter.

Ocasio-Cortez, who tweets from the handle @AOC, was sued by Democratic former New York state assemblyman Dov Hikind and YouTube personality and New York District 11 Republican candidate Joey “Salads” Saladino. A summons was filed in Friday in Hikind’s lawsuit.

Flyovers, military bands … and tanks? Here’s what we know about the July Fourth celebrations in D.C.
Trump’s presence will be felt this year, but some details on what will happen remain murky

President Donald Trump’s presence will be felt at this year’s July Fourth celebrations in Washington, D.C., but some of the details on exactly what will happen and how he will participate remain murky.

Trump plans to make a speech from the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday evening — the first time a president has spoken during the festivities since 1951 — before the Capitol Fourth concert on the West Lawn and fireworks show. There will also be a flyover by the Blue Angels and Air Force One, and did someone say tanks?

Lawmakers and a lawsuit bring new life to giving D.C. a vote in Congress
The bill would make D.C. the 51st state, and it calls for the election of two senators and one House representative

Lawmakers and a lawsuit with high-profile support are bringing renewed attention to something long sought by Washington, D.C., residents — a vote for the District in Congress. 

A lawsuit filed in federal district court in Washington last year offering a new legal theory for why voting rights should be granted has earned recent support from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the League of Women Voters. 

Sen. King calls out drugmakers suing to keep drug list prices out of TV ads
Drug pricing transparency is one area where Trump administration is imposing new regulations

Sen. Angus King called out drugmakers suing to prevent a Trump administration rule requiring them to include list prices in their TV ads.

Drug manufacturers Amgen, Merck and Eli Lilly teamed up with the Association of National Advertisers to challenge the rule making drugmakers put list prices in ads. The suit was filed Friday in federal court against the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Sponsor drops baseball team over video calling AOC ‘enemy of freedom’
Raisin company Sun-Maid cuts ties with the Fresno Grizzlies after an unvetted Memorial Day video sparks controversy

Raisin company Sun-Maid cut ties with a minor league baseball team after it played a video at its Memorial Day game drawing comparisons between Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and controversial figures including despots Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Un.

The company has been a part of the San Joaquin Valley for many years, where the Fresno Grizzlies play, but on Wednesday Sun-Maid issued a statement saying it was “disappointed” and terminating sponsorship of the team, the Fresno Bee reported.