Niels Lesniewski

Lindsey Graham Wants to ‘Sanction the Hell Out of Saudi Arabia’ Until Crown Prince is Ousted
South Carolina senator has no doubts about murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to, “sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia” in the aftermath of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“You know, we deal with bad people all the time, but this is in our face. I feel personally offended. They have nothing but contempt for us,” the South Carolina Republican said Tuesday morning. “Why would you put a guy like me and the president in this box?”

Former Senate Intelligence Committee Security Chief Pleads Guilty
James A. Wolfe admits to one count of making false statements to FBI

The former head of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee has pleaded guilty to one charge of making false statements to the FBI.

The guilty plea, which was announced by the Justice Department on Monday, comes along with a commitment by the government to move to dismiss related charges.

Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein Again Sparring Over Judicial Nominations Schedule
Argument about October nomination hearings could be Kavanaugh fallout

Even with senators having left the Capitol, the battle over the pace of judicial nominations is not slowing down.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, led panel Democrats in protesting the scheduling of nomination hearings for federal judgeships while the Senate is holding only pro forma sessions.

Trump Vows to Test Warren DNA Himself If Senator Becomes 2020 Opponent
‘That will not be something I’ll enjoy doing, either’

President Donald Trump now says he wants to personally test the DNA of Sen. Elizabeth Warren if she becomes his Democratic opponent in 2020.

Trump said Monday that he does not owe $1 million to charity after the Democratic senator from Massachusetts’ DNA test results pointed to at least a sliver of Native American ancestry.

As Donald Trump Tours Hurricane Michael Damage With Him, Rick Scott Announces Plan to Skip Campaign Events
Sen. Bill Nelson continuing to survey hurricane damage, as well

With millions and millions of dollars being spent, Florida’s Senate race may keep dominating the airwaves, but both candidates themselves have been spending more of their time on recovery from Hurricane Michael.

Florida First Lady Ann Scott announced in a video message that she would be stepping in on behalf of her husband, GOP Gov. Rick Scott, on the Senate campaign trail indefinitely.

Mitch McConnell Sees Electoral Gains From Fight Over Brett Kavanaugh
Interview with Roll Call came ahead of confirmation vote

As Brett Kavanaugh was on the verge of confirmation Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was sounding sure the Supreme Court battle will prove a benefit to Senate Republicans at the polls in November.

In an interview with Roll Call a month ahead of Election Day, the Kentucky Republican said the debate was really driving up base enthusiasm for the 2018 mid-terms.

Brett Kavanaugh to Be Rare Beneficiary of Senate Paired Voting
Votes of Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Steve Daines will be offset

When the Senate votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday, two senators will engage in a practice that’s all but died out.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the only member of the Republican Conference opposed to elevating the current D.C. Circuit Court judge to the high court, announced Friday that ordinarily she would vote “no.”

Heidi Heitkamp Will Vote No on Kavanaugh Nomination
North Dakota Democrat is in a tight re-election campaign

Updated 4:09 p.m. | Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, the Democrat leading Roll Call’s list of most vulnerable senators on the ballot this fall, announced Thursday that she’ll vote against confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

“The process has been bad, but at the end of the day you have to make a decision, and I’ve made that decision,” the North Dakota Democrat told WDAY, the ABC affiliate in Fargo, N.D. “I will be voting no on Judge Kavanaugh.”

Mitch McConnell Sets Friday Vote to Thwart Filibuster of Brett Kavanaugh
Wednesday evening move sets up Friday procedural vote and possible Saturday confirmation vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell followed through late Wednesday in setting up a Friday vote to limit debate on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.

Under Senate rules, the key vote on McConnell’s cloture motion will take place one hour after the Senate convenes Friday. The Republicans needed to get the motion to limit debate before the end of the calendar day Wednesday to allow the Friday vote.

Senate Clears Big Aviation, Opioid Legislation Under Shadow of Brett Kavanaugh and FBI
Pending water resources deal could be last major legislative item before Election Day

The Senate’s never-ending Supreme Court drama continued to overshadow a pair of bipartisan legislative wins — with at least one more expected before Election Day.

As senators awaited a supplemental report from the FBI about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, they cleared for President Donald Trump a big bipartisan bundle of bills to combat the opioid scourge and a long-awaited reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Tim Kaine Sounds Alarm About Trump’s View of ‘Collective Self-Defense’ Powers
Writes to Defense Secretary Mattis about latest legal interpretation

A Democratic senator who has long called for Congress to take a more active role in decisions to authorize U.S. military action around the world is expressing concern about the Trump administration’s view of “collective self-defense.”

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine released a letter Wednesday to Defense Secretary James Mattis indicating that there are very few limits on the scope of self-defense under interpretations of current law.

Mitch McConnell Says Senate Hallway Protesters Won’t Stop Kavanaugh Vote
Expects additional FBI background review to be done shortly

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that Senate Republicans won’t be deterred from voting this Friday on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh by protesters in Senate office buildings.

“I don’t care how many members they chase, how many people they harass here in the halls,” the Kentucky Republican said. “We will not be intimated by these people.”

Senate Judiciary Members Escorted Through Protests by Police
Graham and Kennedy among those escorted near Senate subway

A number of Republican senators received police escorts Tuesday afternoon to get them past demonstrators gathered in the basement of the Russell Building near the terminus of the Senate subway.

Among them were Republican members of the Judiciary Committee Sens. John Kennedy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Chuck Schumer Rebuts Kavanaugh Delay Charges
GOP can confirm Kavanaugh if it unites around nominee, minority leader says

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer used his opening remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday morning to stress the Democratic caucus lacks the votes to delay confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

The New York Democrat was responding to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been pinning the fact that Kavanaugh wasn’t confirmed to the Supreme Court before the start of the term on the Democratic minority.

Jeff Flake Pledges to Consider FBI Review Before Final Kavanaugh Vote
Senate at its worst when votes happen because one side has the numbers to win, Flake says in N.H.

Sen. Jeff Flake insisted Monday he would take the supplemental reporting of the FBI under advisement before deciding what to do about the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

The Arizona Republican made the comments during a broader speech Friday at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, his latest act that could be read as an early foray into the world of 2020 presidential politics.

Cheri Bustos Joins Race for Assistant Democratic Leader
Sets up contest that could show diversity of House Democratic caucus next year

Rep. Cheri Bustos has formally announced she wants to move up in House Democratic leadership, setting up a contested race with candidates from different parts of the caucus.

The Illinois Democrat said her candidacy for assistant Democratic leader will focus on efforts to support the most vulnerable members of the House Democratic caucus, and that will include significant support for new staff.

7 Ways Congress Might Make Your Next Airline Flight a Little Less Terrible
Full FAA reauthorization is the next legislation before the Senate

The Senate is getting ready to send to President Donald Trump a bipartisan reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration that might make the commercial flying experience just a little less awful.

“Relief could soon be on the way for weary airline passengers facing smaller and smaller seats,” Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, said when the deal was announced.

Republicans Set 2020 Convention Date for Late August
Gathering in Charlotte will follow the DNC and Tokyo Olympics

President Donald Trump and the Republican Party will be spending part of late August in Charlotte in 2020, more than a month after their Democratic counterparts and potentially in the middle of hurricane season. 

The Republican National Convention is going to be held Aug. 24-27, 2020, in the North Carolina city, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Senate Formally Begins Consideration of Kavanaugh Nomination, Pending FBI Investigation
GOP leaders also set up consideration of FAA measure for next week

On the Senate floor Friday, and after a lengthy set of negotiations over next steps, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., began the formal process of considering the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

“We will shortly move to proceed to the Kavanaugh nomination,” McConnell said. “100 percent of the Republican Conference supports proceeding to the Kavanaugh nomination.”