Roll Call's David Hawkings decodes the history of independent investigations into Oval Office scandals.
Congressional inquiries and special counsels can productively coexist, serving complementary purposes because of their reciprocal approaches, unless they’re unable to settle inevitable fights over the same documents and star witnesses.
That may be the best response to a question many on Capitol Hill started asking as soon as Robert S. Mueller III was appointed to run the government’s probe of Russian interference in last year’s election and whether Moscow collaborated with President Donald Trump’s campaign:
Of the 157 tweets President Donald Trump has sent in the last month alone, just six have singled out individuals for ridicule. And half of those have been directed at Richard Blumenthal.
The senior senator from Connecticut, who’s made reticence and prudence the guideposts of his first four decades in political life, is projecting a very different sort of persona these days. While presenting himself in public as quietly as ever, he’s become one of president’s most incisive Democratic antagonists on an array of topics.
An important window of opportunity has been opened for Congress by the firing of James B. Comey as director of the FBI.
The Republican effort to replace Obamacare has put some electorally vulnerable House Republicans on the defensive, CQ Roll Call political reporter Bridget Bowman says. And, health editor Rebecca Adams explains some members haven’t been accurate back home in explaining what would change. Meanwhile, the Senate debate looks to be long and complex, senior editor David Hawkings predicts.
If three makes a trend and four creates a pattern, then dispatching favored congressional losers to New Zealand has become not just a sliver but a pillar of the American diplomatic order.
When Scott Brown takes over the embassy in Wellington by this summer — his confirmation virtually assured thanks to the endorsements of both Democratic senators who have defeated him — the onetime matinee idol for Republican centrists will become the fourth former member of Congress who’s assumed that particular ambassadorship after being rejected by the voters.
When getting legislation passed — from continuing resolutions on government spending to health care overhaul bills — congressional leaders keep track of who may vote each way by their helpful sidekicks known as the whips. Ever heard the phrase, “whipping votes?” Roll Call senior editor David Hawkings explains the official and de facto job of this indispensable role on Capitol Hill.
One of the many ways sports and politics are alike is that the “expectations game” is central to both.
The incessant boasting and trash talk by the players makes great theater, but no difference in the outcome of any match or any election. Over time, however, critical masses of paying customers will start shifting their passions elsewhere if the advance histrionics and the eventual outcomes don’t occasionally match.
The whiteboard is back! Roll Call senior editor David Hawkings looks past the current battle to fund the government to sketch out President Donald Trump’s next budget task – funding the government for fiscal 2018. His ambitions are big, find out how likely they are to get accomplished.
The first 100 days of an administration have been used as a benchmark to gauge the progress made by a sitting president. Donald Trump’s first 100 days are punctuated by successes such as confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee and self-inflicted wounds such as the travel ban, says CQ Roll Call’s White House correspondent John T. Bennett. But what is most striking about Trump thus far, adds Bennett, is the difference between candidate Trump and President Trump.
President Donald Trump is moving on several fronts to deregulate environmental protection, prompting some states to intervene. But deep EPA budget cuts will get tamed by Congress, and the U.S. might stay with the Paris climate accord; even business leaders and conservative voters worry the anti-green push has gone too far, CQ Roll Call’s Mike Magner and Jeremy Dillon explain.
Forget the fake news folderol about another shutdown showdown at the end of next week, because just over the horizon looms the year’s really big fiscal morass.
It’s highly likely that the first order of business when Congress comes back, keeping the bureaucracy humming for just five months, will prove to be the policymaking equivalent of an empty net goal.
President Donald Trump has a blasé approach to the long list of complaints about his ethical conflicts and quandaries, and his GOP base hardly seems to mind, CQ Roll Call’s lobbying reporter Kate Ackley says. But all the questionable behavior by the president, his senior aides and his family are already giving Democrats on the Hill plenty of talking points for the midterm campaign.
Thursday’s showdown at the Capitol has been heralded by such melodramatic rhetoric — a miasma of transparent flip-flopping and brazen hypocrisy sullying virtually every senior senator, from both parties — that two genuinely meaningful consequences of the moment may be hard to appreciate.
The first is more obvious: The views of the political minority will never again matter when filling the confirmation-required government job with by far the biggest and longest-lasting impact on the lives of Americans.
Any search for a single Republican capable of undermining not only his party’s efforts to project a modicum of independence from President Donald Trump, but also the House’s institutional standing in the world of global affairs oversight, would not normally focus on an alfalfa and dairy farmer turned congressman from California.
But such is the uniquely unsettled nature of Washington this spring that the open casting call for the most newly pilloried person at the Capitol this year is over after just 10 weeks, the role awarded by virtually unanimous consent to Devin Gerald Nunes.
The tax overhaul can wait, and it’s going to have to.
For the Republican government that so phenomenally flopped its first big attempt at policymaking, a much more basic test of governance looms in the next month — and another failure seems hardly a politically acceptable option.
Donald Trump’s first quest for a Hard Eight began long before Neil Gorsuch’s two days as a Senate witness made it as easy as it’s ever going to be for the president to win his first big judicial bet.
That’s still not going to be that easy.
President Donald Trump’s abrupt ouster of almost half the country’s U.S. attorneys has done more than create yet another tempest for his nascent administration. It’s also created a new and potentially potent Democratic political class.
Campaign consultants in both parties have long identified prosecutors — especially those confirmed by the Senate to act as the chief federal law enforcement officers in the nation’s 93 judicial districts — as top-flight congressional recruiting opportunities. But, for reasons that aren’t all that obvious, the Republicans have propelled many more crime busters onto Capitol Hill than the Democrats in recent years.
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