congressional-affairs

Trump Sets Notably Low Bar for Putin Summit
President also calls European Union a ‘foe’ on trade matters

President Donald Trump waves while playing a round of golf on Sunday at Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort in Turnberry, Scotland, during his first official visit to the United Kingdom. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Updated 10:43 a.m. | President Donald Trump has a message for his critics about his upcoming meeting with Vladimir Putin: Don’t worry, it’ll be fine — just trust me. And, in a stunning remark, he called the European Union a “foe” of the United States on trade matters.

Trump continues to set low expectations for Monday’s summit with Putin amid concerns he could give into the Russian leader’s demands while getting little — if anything — in return. 

Top Democrats Warn Intelligence Director About Sharing Secrets With Other Members of Congress
Letter to Dan Coats does not discuss specifics of intelligence in question

Rep. Adam B. Schiff was among the signatories on a Thursday letter critical of DNI Dan Coats. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic members of the group of lawmakers with access to particularly sensitive intelligence information expressed concern Thursday about broader dissemination — to other members of Congress.

The July 12 letter directed to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was publicly released on Friday.

Trump Should Cancel Putin Summit Over Indictments, Democrats Say
Schumer: ‘Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections’

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and other Democrats called on the president to skip his planned meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats pounced on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s indictment of a dozen Russian military officers for their efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election, with some saying Monday’s Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin summit should be canceled.

“These indictments are further proof of what everyone but the president seems to understand: President Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections to help President Trump win,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said in a statement.

Pelosi Suggests Democrats Hold Leadership Elections After Thanksgiving
Move would allow time for incoming freshman ‘to get oriented,’ she says

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds her weekly press conference in the Capitol on Thursday, July 12, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a dear colleague letter to House Democrats Friday suggesting the caucus wait until after Thanksgiving to hold its leadership elections for the next Congress. 

The letter may seem strange coming four months in advance of the lame-duck session during which intraparty leadership elections would be held, but according to a Democratic leadership aide members had been inquiring about the timing of the caucus elections, so the letter was meant to clear the matter up.

Mueller Indicts 12 Russians for DNC, Clinton Campaign Hacking
Special counsel again targets leading Russian intel agency

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein conducts a news conference Friday at the Department of Justice announcing the indictment of 12 Russian military officers by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who alleges they interfered in the 2016 election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 1:23 p.m. | The Justice Department’s special counsel announced Friday the indictments of a dozen Russian military officers involved in Moscow’s effort to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election. And a senior Democratic lawmaker reacted swiftly by accusing President Donald Trump of “dangerous distortions” about the operation.

The indictment accuses the Russians of being heavily involved in hacking computer networks of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign organization. The military officers allegedly broke into those systems — and others in the United States — to plant malicious software, steal emails and nab other documents. To conceal their efforts, Rosenstein said, the Russians used networks “around the world” and paid for that access with Cryptocurrency.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio the Latest Politician to Admit Falling for Sacha Baron Cohen’s Act
British entertainer interviewed Arizona Senate candidate as a ‘Finnish comedian’

Joe Arpaio, who is running for the GOP nomination in Arizona’s Senate race, was interviewed by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen for his upcoming Showtime series. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Joe Arpaio, the former Pheonix-area sheriff who is running for Arizona’s open Senate seat this fall, is the latest in a line of conservative American political figures to admit being duped by British entertainer Sacha Baron Cohen and agreeing to one of his famous interviews.

Cohen is well-known for conducting interviews with unwitting suspects while he role-plays as foreign characters with controversial views on race, politics, and sexuality.

Clark Bill Would Keep Guns From Those Convicted of Animal Cruelty
Massachusetts Democrat cites study linking animal abuse and future violence

Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., speaks during the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force news conference on the release of the 2018 legislative agenda for the 115th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Massachusetts Rep. Katherine M. Clark has proposed legislation that would prevent people convicted of animal cruelty from accessing firearms.

Clark said her bill would close an existing loophole and cited a study from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Northeastern University linking animal abuse and future violence, MassLive reported.

GOP Messaging Vote on Democrats’ ‘Abolish ICE’ Bill Set to Backfire
Democrats prepared to vote ‘no’ and make debate about family separations

From left, Reps. Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., John Lewis, D-Ga., Judy Chu, D-Calif., Al Green, D-Texas, Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., and others march in Washington on June 13 to protest the Trump administration’s family separation policy at the southern border. Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., appears in the back at center. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican leaders are planning a vote this month on a progressive bill to terminate the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, but their plan to put Democrats on record on an issue that divides the minority party looks like it will backfire. 

Democrats say they’ll make the debate about families that have been separated at the border — an issue that needs a permanent legislative fix that Republicans do not yet have a solution for that can pass the House.

Trump Taps Senate’s Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms for NASA Post
Morhard to be nominated to be deputy administrator of the space agency

Deputy Senate Sergeant at Arms James W. Morhard is interviewed by Roll Call in the Capitol, January 9, 2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The deputy sergeant-at-arms of the Senate has been picked by President Donald Trump to be the deputy administrator of NASA.

James W. Morhard, who has been deputy SAA since Republicans took over the Senate majority in 2015, has largely focused on the various administrative functions of the Senate.

Goodlatte’s Threat to Hold Strzok in Contempt Most Likely an Empty One
U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia would decide whether to prosecute the charge

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., threatened FBI agent Peter Strzok with contempt of Congress in the opening minutes of Strzok’s first public testimony about his role in 2016 investigations into President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Just minutes into FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok’s first public testimony Thursday about his involvement in two 2016 FBI investigations involving presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte threatened Strzok with a contempt of Congress citation.

But if historical precedent is any indication, Goodlatte’s threat to the embattled witness would lead down a long and winding legal road — that would most likely dead-end at the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia’s desk.