leadership

Trump dings Biden during post-shootings trip, as lawmakers handle visits differently
‘Take these assault weapons off the streets,’ Sherrod Brown tells president in Dayton

Demonstrators line a street in Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday before a visit from President Donald Trump. From there, he visited El Paso, Texas. Both cities were scenes of mass shootings last weekend that collectively left 31 people dead and dozens wounded. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump met privately Wednesday in Ohio and Texas with survivors of two deadly mass shootings, but he found time to publicly ridicule 2020 Democratic front-runner Joe Biden as several local lawmakers took differing approaches to his visits.

The day’s traveling press pool was not allowed access to Trump and first lady Melania Trump as they met with shooting survivors and local officials at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham told reporters aboard Air Force One as the president flew to El Paso, Texas, for a similar meeting that Trump was not there for a “photo op.” (The White House, however, released its own photos in a tweet.)

Trump urged unity after shootings. But White House is hitting Dems hard
President heads to Dayton and El Paso as his team criticizes political opponents

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will take Air Force One to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday after mass shootings in both cities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s warnings about political divisions hindering efforts to stave off future mass shootings began to erode Tuesday at his own White House, as he and senior aides took not-so-veiled shots at Democrats.

The president will spend time Wednesday with some family members of the victims of deadly weekend shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, and others, 48 hours after warning of the dangers of political division and calling for unity.

Gun safety theatrics could come to Congress during Tuesday pro forma sessions
Neither House nor Senate expected to return any time soon

Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick J. Toomey says an immediate vote on his background checks bill would be “counterproductive.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:45 p.m. | Democratic lawmakers itching for action on gun safety legislation will get their first chances to make some noise on Tuesday.

That’s when the House and Senate are scheduled to begin holding pro forma sessions, with no legislative business expected in either chamber until a full week after Labor Day in September. However, there’s a long history of members of Congress using the brief moments when the floors of the two chambers open for business during the August recess to engage in a bit of theater.

McConnell fractures shoulder at home in Kentucky
Senate majority leader treated and released from a local hospital

McConnell injured himself after tripping at home in Kentucky. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fractured a shoulder Sunday morning.

“This morning, Leader McConnell tripped at home on his outside patio and suffered a fractured shoulder. He has been treated, released, and is working from home in Louisville,” spokesman David Popp said in a statement.

A new flood of Democrats call for impeachment proceedings, but does it matter?
21 Democrats have joined push for formal proceedings since Mueller’s testimony

Several House Democrats have signaled their approval of an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump in the wake of testimony by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:11 a.m. | The trickle of Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump has turned into a flood, with 21 new members joining the push since former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III testified before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees on July 24. 

The total number of House Democrats now supporting an impeachment inquiry is 118, half of their 235-member caucus. 

Senate Armed Services sends Hyten nomination to floor despite sexual assault allegations
The committee’s endorsement comes one day after his confirmation hearing, when he defended himself against accusations

Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten was advanced by the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Senate Floor.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday advanced Gen. John Hyten’s nomination to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Senate floor amid some opposition from senators concerned about sexual assault allegations launched against the four-star.

The committee’s endorsement of Hyten on a 20-7 vote in a closed-door session comes one day after his confirmation hearing, during which he defended himself against accusations made made by a former subordinate, Army Col. Kathryn A. Spletstoser.

McConnell bristles at ‘hyperventilating hacks’ criticizing his blocking of election security legislation
Senate majority leader calls critiques ‘modern-day McCarthyism’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., fought back Monday against criticism of his handling of election security legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did something Monday he rarely does — he got riled up and responded directly to criticism as he defended his decision to block election security bills last week that Democrats attempted to bring to the floor by unanimous consent.

He took particular aim at a recent Washington Post opinion item by Dana Milbank titled “Mitch McConnell is a Russian asset,” calling it a “smear.”

For spending bills, now comes the hard part
Both chambers need to reach agreement before Sept. 30 to avoid a repeat of the 35-day partial government shutdown

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Homeland Security Appropriations chairwoman, said that getting her committee’s spending bill enacted will be ‘difficult.’ (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional leaders and the Trump administration proved last week that they can work together by reaching an agreement to avoid default on the nation’s financial obligations and prevent $125 billion in spending cuts that could disrupt the longest U.S. economic expansion on record.

Assuming the House-passed budget pact is cleared by the Senate this week and signed into law, lawmakers still have their work cut out for them.

Road ahead: Senate has plenty to do before August recess jet fumes
McConnell wants to clear budget deal, confirm nominations before recess

The August recess jet fumes are getting stronger on the Senate side of the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate’s August recess jet fumes are getting stronger, but there is still an abundance of chamber business to take care of this week.

The House is in recess until Sept. 9, but the Senate needs to clear the bipartisan budget caps agreement that would also suspend the debt limit into the summer of 2021, following House action last week.

Dan Coats leaving post as Director of National Intelligence
Trump says he will appoint Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe as Coats’ replacement

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats will be leaving his position. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Dan Coats is leaving the post as Director of National Intelligence on August 15, President Donald Trump announced Sunday.

“I would like to thank Dan for his great service to our Country. The Acting Director will be named shortly,” Trump tweeted.