Niels Lesniewski

House Members Plan Election Hacking Demonstration
Katko and Quigley have legislation to create a federally backed hacking competition

Two House members are planning to host a demonstration of a voting system hacking next week.

Republican Rep. John Katko of New York and Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois are leading the event on Wednesday, Sept. 26, which will feature the director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Computer Security and Society, J. Alex Halderman.

Senate Majority Leader Vows Kavanaugh Will Be Confirmed Soon
While Judiciary Committee negotiates testimony, Mitch McConnell tells conservatives it will be over soon

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell clearly doesn’t think the sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh will be anything more than a stumbling block on his path to confirmation to the Supreme Court.

“President Trump has nominated a stunningly successful individual. You’ve watched the fight. You’ve watched the tactics, but here’s what I want to tell you: in the very near future Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court,” the Kentucky Republican said.

Kavanaugh Accuser’s Lawyers Negotiating Terms of Senate Testimony
Reports: Christine Blasey Ford doesn’t want Kavanaugh in room, wants to be questioned by senators

Christine Blasey Ford likely will not be testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be testifying at all.

Attorneys for Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during their high school years,reportedly had a logistical conversation over the phone with Judiciary Committee staff Thursday night.

Kavanaugh Accuser Rejects Proposal for Monday Senate Judiciary Hearing
Lawyers sent a letter to Judiciary Chairman Grassley, encouraging an FBI review first

Updated 10:28 p.m. | Lawyers representing Christine Blasey Ford, the alleged victim of a sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh decades ago, are rejecting the idea of an open hearing in less than a week from now.

Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, the lawyers representing Ford, said in a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa that plan to hold a hearing on Monday, Sept. 24., was not going to work for their client. A copy of the letter was posted by CNN on Tuesday evening. 

Mark Judge, Possible Witness to Alleged Brett Kavanaugh Sexual Assault, Does Not Want to Testify
“I did not ask to be involved in this matter nor did anyone ask me to be involved”

The third person identified by Christine Blasey Ford as having been present in the room during what she alleged was a sexual assault by Judge Brett Kavanaugh wants no part of the Judiciary Committee proceedings.

“I did not ask to be involved in this matter nor did anyone ask me to be involved,” Judge said in a statement relayed to the committee by his lawyer.

Spending Vote Deal and No Brett Kavanaugh Markup Means Quick Senate Exit
Senators set to vote to fund government through at least Dec. 7

Senators made another quick exit from the Capitol on Tuesday.

The chamber was always going to be closed for business Wednesday, in observance of Yom Kippur, which begins at sundown Tuesday. But getting the next two-bill spending package done and ready for the House next week could easily move up the departure.

Road Ahead: All Eyes on Brett Kavanaugh and the Senate Judiciary Committee
Senate starting with passage of anti-opioid legislation in another short week

A scheduled Thursday afternoon Judiciary Committee vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination was always going to be the most significant event on the schedule.

But the decision by Christine Blasey Ford to come forward publicly with an allegation of attempted sexual assault by Kavanaugh while in high school in Montgomery County, Maryland, has put what could have been a fairly perfunctory (though partisan) proceeding in the spotlight.

Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz Make Plans for 3 Debates
Texas Senate candidates will hold debates across the Lone Star State

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and his Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke have agreed to participate in three debates ahead of the Senate election in the Lone Star State.

The two candidates in what has become among the most-watched contests this cycle made the announcement Friday afternoon.

Senators Help Raise Money for Harris Staffer’s Cancer Battle
Former colleague from Clinton campaign running Chicago marathon to fundraise

One former Hillary Clinton campaign press aide is running the Chicago Marathon money to help another’s battle against cancer.

And the effort is getting a little help from some prominent senators.

Legislators Reach Government Funding Agreement Through December 7
Frelinghuysen announces a continuing resolution

Appropriators have cut a deal to keep all of the government funded through at least Dec. 7.

House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen announced at a meeting of House and Senate conferees on the combined spending bill for Defense, and Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, that the conference report will include a continuing resolution through that date, for departments and agencies not otherwise funded.

Senators Cheer Trump Order on Election Meddling, but Want More Action
Democrats, especially, are skeptical of president’s commitment

Senators are pleased to see the Trump administration doing something about election interference, but they don’t think Wednesday’s executive order will be enough.

Some of the concern comes from the fact that even if federal agencies report evidence of Russian evidence to interfere in the 2018 midterms, President Donald Trump could still waive the imposition of sanctions.

Richard Burr Praises Expected Trump Order on Election Interference
Confirms Intelligence Committee report on Russian meddling won’t come before November

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee seemed to confirm Wednesday the existence of a forthcoming executive order to counter efforts of Russia and other foreign adversaries to interfere in U.S. elections.

Sen. Richard M. Burr pointed to the sanctions action during an interview on Fox News.

Road Ahead: Congress Returns Ahead of Hurricane Florence
House and Senate still expected to hold hearings, votes despite impending storm

Lawmakers are scheduled back at the Capitol on Wednesday, but they are sure to be keeping an eye on the weather — and their flight schedules.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California issued a scheduling update around lunchtime Tuesday informing members that despite the expectation of Florence making landfall as a major hurricane along the Atlantic coast, there were no plans to change the legislative schedule.

Looking at Mitch McConnell’s Map for the 2018 ‘Knife Fight’
The Kentucky Republican identifies a large number of toss-up contests

The 2018 midterms are setting up to be like a “knife fight in an alley,” according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The Republican from Kentucky said he expects to see more of President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama on the campaign trail.

Cory Gardner Renews Call for Russia to Be Declared Sponsor of Terrorism After Reports on Sonic Attacks
Colorado Republican also wants floor time for Russia sanctions package

A recent report that Russia is likely behind mysterious “sonic attacks” on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Cuba and China has led a Republican senator to renew his call to designate Russia a state sponsor of terror.

Sen. Cory Gardner has introduced legislation that would require the State Department to make such a determination about the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Koch Network Forms a New Super PAC
Americans for Prosperity Action to directly support candidates

Americans for Prosperity, one of the conservative policy-focused arms of the network of organizations backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, is getting into the super PAC business.

“Our mission is to help improve lives by breaking the barriers holding people back, and that requires building the policy coalitions in Washington to get it done. Americans for Prosperity has been a difference-maker supporting policy champions in tight races, and AFP Action is a new tool that will allow us to expand those efforts and make an even larger impact,” Americans for Prosperity Action Spokesman Bill Riggs said in a statement accompanying the launch.

Advertising Arms Race in Maine Over Brett Kavanaugh
NARAL ups the ante with new half-million-dollar buy

A political advertising war related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has broken out in Maine over abortion, aiming to influence the vote of its senior senator, Republican Susan Collins.

It comes after the circulation of “committee confidential” documents in which Democrats throw cold water on Kavanaugh’s statements about what he has maintained is his respect for precedent when it comes to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that established a right to abortion.

Rand Paul Skeptical of Letting Macedonia Into NATO, Questions Montenegro’s Accession Last Year
Continues blasting bipartisan Graham-Menendez Russia sanctions proposal

Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday questioned the wisdom of last year’s accession of Montenegro to NATO.

The Kentucky Republican spoke at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee focused on the value of the alliance, and in particular the U.S. role.

Tom Carper Seeks to Avoid Castle-Like Upset in Delaware Primary
Longtime senator faces Democratic challenger Kerri Evelyn Harris on Thursday

Sen. Thomas R. Carper is the latest longtime Democrat facing a competitive primary, but he insists he won’t be caught by surprise.

Carper is universally known in Delaware, having served in the House and then as governor before arriving in the Senate in 2001.

With Kavanaugh Hearings Underway, Supreme Court Ads Fill the Airways
Advertising, direct mail and fundraising continues on both sides

In Washington, all eyes may be on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, but people who would rather watch “Bachelor in Paradise” won’t be able to escape the Supreme Court debate either.

That is especially true in some key states, where interest groups on both sides of the aisle have continued to spend on advertising seeking to influence senators who have not announced their positions on whether they will support President Donald Trump’s second nominee for the nation’s highest court.