legal-affairs

After Spicer Quits, Scaramucci Vows Aggressive Communications Shop
New communications director took job due to 'love' for president

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned on Friday, refusing to work for new Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci. His replacement, however, said he “loves” Spicer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Longtime Wall Street investment banker Anthony Scaramucci made his White House debut Friday, expressing his “love” for Donald Trump and promising a much more “aggressive” strategy of communicating the president’s message.

On a day of upheaval at the executive mansion, Sean Spicer resigned as press secretary and acting communications director amid reports he told Trump he believed Scaramucci’s hiring was a major mistake. What’s more, Scaramucci made his first major announcement as part of Trump’s team when he announced Spicer’s top deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, will be the new press secretary.

Pearce Sues State to Use Campaign Cash for Governor Run
Can currently use only $5,500 from congressional campaign funds

Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., argues in a lawsuit that New Mexico's Secretary of State is acting in a partisan manner in limiting how much of his congressional campaign funds can be used in his run for governor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Steve Pearce is suing New Mexico’s Democratic Secretary of State to use his $1 million congressional campaign war chest for his gubernatorial bid. 

Maggie Toulouse Oliver told Pearce the state’s campaign contribution limits allow him to use only $5,500 from his federal campaign for his primary race, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

New FBI Director Expected to Be Confirmed Before August Recess
Approved by Judiciary Committee on Thursday

Christopher Wray, nominee for FBI Director, is expected to win confirmation before August recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators want the new FBI director on the job as soon as possible, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to see Christopher Wray confirmed before August recess. That looks increasingly likely, as the Judiciary Committee unanimously approved his nomination, teeing it up for floor consideration as soon as McConnell moves ahead.

But the year’s nomination process has been so fraught that McConnell’s staff sent a statement out announcing the Kentucky Republican’s intentions complete with a warning shot to Democrats. 

Four Members Sued Over Rainbow Flags
Plaintiff says flag is religious symbol for the ‘homosexual denomination’

California Rep. Susan Davis posted a photo of the gay pride flag hanging outside her office alongside U.S. and California flags. (Courtesy Davis’ office)

Four Democratic lawmakers are being sued by an opponent of LGBTQ rights for displaying a gay pride flag in front of their offices.

The lawsuit is being brought by Chris Sevier, a lawyer opposed to same-sex marriage, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

John Bush Nomination Exposes Partisan Divide
Kentucky jurist’s anonymous blog posts brings up questions of temperament

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley and ranking member Dianne Feinstein are not on the same page when it comes to the nomination of John Bush to the federal bench. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The nomination of John Bush to be a federal appellate court judge underscores how swiftly Senate Republicans can help President Donald Trump reshape the nation’s courts in a conservative direction.

Bush, nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate on Wednesday on a 51-48 vote. Democrats now have an opportunity to air their concerns on the floor ahead of a final confirmation vote later this week.

Trump Controls Key Funding Move in Health Care Fight
President could stop cost-sharing subsidy payments to insurers

President Donald Trump could choose to stop cost-sharing subsidy payments to health insurers. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

If President Donald Trump wants to “let Obamacare fail” as he says, there’s a ready way for him to give it a push.

So far, the Trump administration and House Republicans have agreed to keep frozen a case in a Washington appeals court over appropriations as part of a push to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. The case is left over from when House Republicans sued the Obama administration in 2014.

House Democrats Focus on Ethics, Political Money
Effort is aimed at highlighting president’s ethics woes

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi House Minority says Democrats were developing a series of legislative proposals that would include updates to the nation’s ethics and elections systems. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amid the collapse of a signature piece of Republican health care legislation and continued revelations about the Trump team’s ties to Russia, House Democrats have turned their spotlight on proposals to revamp ethics, campaign finance and voting rights laws.

“We’re fighting back against the lack of accountability that we see in the Trump administration and from special interests,” said Maryland Rep. John Sarbanes, who chairs his party’s Democracy Reform Task Force.

Hastert Released from Prison After 13 Months
Former House Speaker served time for hush-money scheme to cover up sex abuse

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert served 13 months in a federal prison for covering up past sexual abuse of minors. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was released from a Minnesota prison after serving 13 months for a hush-money scheme he used to hide his past sexual abuse of minors.

Hastert, 75, is now either in a halfway house or in home confinement, The Chicago Sun Times reported Tuesday. His official release date had been scheduled for Aug. 16.

Analysis: Senate Health Care Failure Another Blow to Trump
Aides had described POTUS as ‘active’ behind the scenes to find 50 votes

President Donald Trump speaks while flanked by House Republicans in May after they passed legislation aimed at repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law. A Senate measure that Trump had lobbied for behind the scenes died Monday night due to lack of GOP support. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

The inability of Senate Republicans to agree on a measure to repeal and replace Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law is another blow to Donald Trump’s still-young but embattled presidency.

The president took to Twitter shortly after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pulled the measure after the third and fourth GOP senators announced their opposition — two more than he could spare. Trump’s message in a late-night tweet and then one on Tuesday morning was forward-looking.

Was President at Trump Tower When Son Met Russian Lawyer?
Legal expert: Mueller will probe whether Trump knew of meeting in June 2016

Trump Tower was the site of a meeting between a Russian lawyer and President Donald Trump’s eldest son, his son-in-law and his then-campaign chairman in June 2016. (Courtesy Epicgenius/Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

Updated at 5:43 p.m. A review of open-source data indicates then-candidate Donald Trump was inside Trump Tower last year when his eldest son and at least two other top aides huddled with a Russian lawyer they believed had Kremlin-supplied information that could hurt presidential rival Hillary Clinton.

White House and Trump campaign officials, along with the president’s private legal team, have not disputed as of publication time that he was at his Manhattan steel-and-glass haven. That means Trump was nearby — though likely on a different floor — when his son and associates believed they were about to receive information from the Kremlin intended to ding another candidate for the country’s highest office.