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What Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Dick Cheney have in common
Political Theater, Episode 53

Renee Tsao, left, discusses politics and the movies with Political Theater podcast host Jason Dick. (Toula Vlahou/CQ Roll Call)

What do Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and former Vice President Dick Cheney have in common?

In addition to being political power brokers, films about them have now been nominated for Academy Awards, for the documentary “RBG” and feature film “Vice,” respectively. So politics, which has gotten a bit of a bad rap lately, (see shutdown, 2019, for more), can be both interesting, entertaining and profitable for Hollywood? Well, yes and no, says Renee Tsao, vice president of PR Collaborative, who discusses politics and movies on the latest Political Theater podcast. 

Michael Cohen postpones testimony, cites Trump’s ‘threats’ against family
Trump had tweeted to his supporters last week to ‘Watch [Cohen’s] father-in-law’

Michael Cohen, a former personal attorney for President Trump, was to testify before Congress on Feb. 7. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Michael Cohen has postponed his Feb. 7 testimony in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform due to “ongoing threats against his family” from President Donald Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, announced the cancellation in an emailed statement on Wednesday, citing  Cohen’s continued cooperation with “ongoing investigations” as a reason for delaying his House testimony, in addition to the threats from Trump and Giuliani.

Liberal ‘dark money’ groups spent more in 2018 than conservative groups
Majority Forward led the list of top liberal nonprofit spenders

For the first time since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, liberal “dark money” groups outspent conservative groups in an election cycle, according to a new report from Issue One.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The new Democratic House majority is making campaign finance overhaul a central part of its sweeping good governance agenda, capitalizing on an anti-money-in-politics platform that many candidates rode to Congress.

But when it comes to the big-money world of outside spending, over which candidates have little control, it appears that liberal groups had a banner year in 2018.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to step down as chairwoman of Judiciary subcommittee and CBCF
She will temporarily step away from the subcommittee, and an aide said there's no timeline for her return

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is temporarily stepping down from her leadership of a House Judiciary subcommittee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is temporarily stepping down from her leadership of a House Judiciary subcommittee, following a lawsuit claiming she fired a staffer who said she was raped by a superior at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, was chairwoman of the Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations subcommittee, where she has focused on protecting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and gun violence prevention.

White House acknowledges shutdown could freeze economic growth
’You could end up with a number very close to zero in the first quarter’ White House economist says

Kevin Hassett, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, speaks to the press about the economy during the daily press briefing ON June 5. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

In a downward shift, the White House acknowledged Wednesday the partial government shutdown could stifle economic growth.

White House officials during the 33-day shutdown have tried to dismiss economists’ and congressional Democrats’ warnings that it could drag down the economy. But that changed a bit Wednesday, just as President Donald Trump gears up for a re-election campaign that he wants to focus, in part, on what he says is a roaring economy with low unemployment.

Trump says State of the Union is a go
He told Speaker Nancy Pelosi there are no security concerns, something she cited when requesting a delay

President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S. Dak., and Vice President Mike Pencestops to speak to the cameras following his lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Wed. Jan. 9, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump informed Speaker Nancy Pelosi he plans to deliver his second State of the Union address on Tuesday night at the Capitol.

He said in a letter there are no security concerns, which she had cited in asking him to consider delaying the event or delivering his remarks in writing.

J.D. Scholten launches nonprofit amid speculation of Steve King rematch
Iowa Democrat narrowly lost to King in district Trump easily carried in 2016

Iowa Democrat J.D. Scholten said earlier this year that he would “need a few more months of work in” before deciding on his political future. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo).

Democrat J.D. Scholten is launching a new nonprofit to fight poverty, amid speculation that he’ll run for Iowa’s 4th District again after narrowly losing to controversial Republican Rep. Steve King last year.

Scholten announced Wednesday that he is launching “Working Hero Iowa,” a group aimed at educating and assisting Iowans who are eligible for the earned income tax credit.

House Democrats to investigate security clearances for Kushner, Flynn, Gorka, others
Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings requested a trove of documents on Trump team‘s security clearance process

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., talks on his smartwatch before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on November 15, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats launched their first formal investigation into the Trump administration Wednesday, announcing that they will probe “grave breaches with the security clearance process at the White House and the transition team” involving senior Trump cabinet officials.

In a letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings specifically named nine current and former Trump officials, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, senior adviser Jared Kushner, and former deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka. Cummings requested a trove of documents about the Trump administration and transition team’s security clearance process.

White House looking at ‘Plan B’ if State of the Union is delayed
Top spokeswoman does not dismiss report that Texas rally is being considered

President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union address last year. He might hold a rally at an alternate site this year due to the partial government shutdown. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

The White House is mulling multiple locations where President Donald Trump might deliver an address - or hold a raucous rally - Tuesday evening to inform the country about his assessment of the direction of the country.

Trump’s top spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was asked Wednesday morning about reports the White House is looking at other locations than the U.S. Capitol building’s House chamber for an address in place of the president’s second State of the Union address. She did not try to knock down those reports, notably.

Covington Catholic lawyer adds Rep. Ilhan Omar to ‘libel,’ ‘get sued’ list
Minnesota Democrat deletes tweet that blamed teens for confrontation with Native American last week

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar deleted a tweet Wednesday morning that blamed Covington Catholic students for the confrontation last weekend with a Native American protester. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ilhan Omar is the latest public figure to catch the attention of the attorney for the Covington Catholic students, Robert Barnes, who is threatening to sue just about anyone who he thinks spread “libel” against his clients.

“This is libel. Retract, or get sued,” Barnes tweeted, quoting a now-deleted tweet from the Minnesota Democrat in which she claimed the teens were at fault for the confrontation Saturday at the Indigenous People’s March in Washington, D.C., between the students from the Northern Kentucky school and Native American Nathan Phillips.