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White House Looks Forward to Fired Acting AG Testimony
Aide denies trying to block Sally Yates from talking to Congress

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer at a recent briefing in the White House. On Tuesday, he denied reports that the administration tried to prevent a former acting attorney general from testifying about Russia. (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump White House on Tuesday denied it tried to prevent the former acting attorney general whom President Donald Trump fired from testifying before a House committee about Russia.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said a Washington Post article, which reported just that, was inaccurate. He said the the president would prefer that Yates, the Obama administration’s last deputy attorney general and who was acting attorney general during the Trump administration’s first days, testify.

Club for Growth to Air TV Ad Against Handel in Georgia Special
Outside group has endorsed Bob Gray in race to replace Tom Price

Karen Handel has been the Republican front-runner in the special election to replace former Georgia Rep. Tom Price. (Courtesy Karen Handel for Congress)

Club for Growth Action is poised to air a television ad against early Republican front-runner Karen Handel beginning Wednesday in Georgia’s 6th District special election, according to a release first obtained by Roll Call and Inside Elections.

It’s a $250,000 ad buy on Atlanta cable, according to a Club source, and is scheduled to run through the initial April 18 election. If none of the 18 candidates receives a majority of the vote in the jungle primary, the top two finishers, regardless of party, will move on to a June 20 runoff. The conservative outside group endorsed one of Handel’s 10 GOP opponents, businessman Bob Gray, on March 14.

Paul Ryan Defends Devin Nunes on Russia Probe
Intelligence Chairman Under Fire from House Democrats and Senate Republicans

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is expressing confidence in the House Intelligence chairman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Despite calls from Democrats for House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes to step aside from an investigation of Russian meddling in U.S. politics, and even ridicule from GOP quarters, the California Republican doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said “no and no” when asked at a news conference whether Nunes should recuse himself and whether the Wisconsin Republican knew the source of intelligence Nunes apparently received on White House grounds about potential incidental collection of communications of Trump campaign associates.

Trump Criticizes Ongoing House Probe of Russian Election Meddling
President also says Freedom Caucus found way to 'snatch defeat from the jaws of victory'

President Donald Trump used a series of Monday night tweets to question a House panel's probe of potential ties between his 2016 campaign and Russia. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Updated at 8:27 a.m. President Donald Trump used a Monday night Twitter tirade to question the ongoing House investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, showing little concern that his comments might taint the probe.

Previous presidents have been careful to avoid creating any perception that they are using the powers or political heft of the office to influence congressional or federal law enforcement investigations. Trump’s top spokesman, Sean Spicer, has mostly done the same when asked about separate probes being conducted by the House and Senate Intelligence committees.

GOP Gets a Second Shot at Governance Test
But as shutdown showdown looms, no signs of change in party factionalization

President Donald Trump and Congress soon face a partial government shutdown if they can’t work something out. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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.

Word on the Hill: Smithsonian Update
Learn about Roll Call’s Congressional Staffer Guide

Visitors inside the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The free museums that line the National Mall are part of the budget conversation on Capitol Hill, too.

Federal funding covers about 70 cents of every dollar the Smithsonian Institution needs to run, according to the museum group’s website. As part of the federal establishment, the Smithsonian needs to check in with Congress every now and then.

Radel Dishes on His Career — and a Little About Cocaine
Former Florida congressman’s book released Tuesday

Trey Radel, then a Florida congressman, leaves court in November 2013 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Florida Republican Rep. Trey Radel, who resigned after he was convicted of cocaine possession, comes clean about his short-lived career in Congress and shares a little about the drug that doomed him.

“While my deepest personal weaknesses cut short my dreams and work in Congress, I picked myself up. As individuals and a country, we can do the same,” he sums up in “Democrazy: A True Story of Weird Politics, Money, Madness & Finger Food.” The 300-page account of his life and times was released Tuesday.

House Floor Schedule Leaves Time for GOP Soul-Searching
Group meetings will be more crucial than usual after health care debacle

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his conference will spend much of the week soul searching and charting their path forward after last week’s health care defeat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House has a limited floor schedule this week, leaving Republicans plenty of time to huddle behind closed doors and chart the conference’s path forward after their failure to advance their top legislative priority of repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law. 

The intraparty soul searching will begin Tuesday morning during the weekly GOP conference meeting and continue throughout the week during smaller meetings of the Republican factions such as the Tuesday Group, Republican Study Committee and House Freedom Caucus.

Wounded White House is Uncharacteristically Quiet
Turf war could be brewing on tax overhaul

President Donald Trump, center, pushed hard but came up short on health care. He's now moved on, say senior aides, but the same pitfalls remain for future endeavors. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House on Monday continued licking the wounds of its first legislative defeat, even as President Donald Trump and his lieutenants gear up for a Supreme Court battle, a government funding fight and a tax overhaul push that will likely be bruising.

Apart from now-familiar contentious moments during the daily press briefing, Monday was eerily quiet at the executive mansion — a departure from the previous two frenetic weeks.

Walz’s Governor Run Creates Vulnerable Open Seat for Democrats
But Minnesota DFL may still have a chance to hold on

Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz is vacating his 1st District in order to run for governor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It could be a rough round of midterm elections for Republicans next year but Democratic-Farmer-Labor Rep. Tim Walz gave them a little gift by vacating Minnesota’s 1st District in order to run for governor.

The six-term congressman won re-election narrowly, 50.3-49.6 percent, last fall in a race that received little national attention. But Donald Trump simultaneously carried the rural district, 53-38 percent over Hillary Clinton and nearly dragged Walz’s GOP opponent across the finish line.