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Sign Language: Making Congressional Floor Charts Worth Reading
 

Sessions Ducks Senate Questions on Trump-Related Probes
‘That calls for a speculative answer ... I’m just not able to do that’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions prepares to testify during the Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the fiscal 2019 budget for the Justice Department on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions reassured senators Wednesday the Justice Department will stay committed to the law in the face of criticism from President Donald Trump, who has openly disparaged the agency and actions of the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

But Sessions was coy during testimony about his role in the department’s high-profile investigations and the politics of Trump’s criticism.

Already Small in Number, GOP Women Incumbents Could Be In Jeopardy
 

A Plea for the Old School Senate: Senators Really, Really Want to Move Spending Bills This Time
Meeting on nomination rules changes gives way to talk of spending bills, comity

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., brought a chart of the Senate floor to the Rules Committee. (Rules and Administration Committee screenshot)

What could have been a contentious meeting about shortening Senate debate time for nominations turned into more of a bipartisan conversation among some of the most senior senators at taking another shot at moving regular spending bills.

“Let’s pick an appropriation bill, put some training wheels on it and head it to the floor. Let’s see how this works,” Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin said. “We’ve got to educate ourselves.”

Minnesota Hotdish Competition Means Lots of Tater Tots, Mushroom Soup
 

Democrats Still Not Satisfied With CIA Disclosures About Gina Haspel
Agency making more available in a classified setting

Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico has joined with colleagues Ron Wyden and Dianne Feinstein in pressing the CIA to declassify more information on deputy director Gina Haspel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The CIA will be providing senators with an opportunity to review more classified information about President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the agency in a secure room deep beneath the Capitol.

But some senators are not convinced about the commitment to transparency about nominee Gina Haspel, the current deputy director who spent much of her career serving in clandestine capacities.

White House: No Red Flags In Multiple Jackson Background Checks
Despite Trump team's efforts, nomination appears stalled

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves Dirksen Building after a meeting on Capitol Hill with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., on April 24, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House on Wednesday continued defending embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Ronny Jackson, saying multiple background checks have turned up no red flags. And, for the first time, a senior official said an internal review could happen as his nomination appears stalled.

With his Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee confirmation hearing still on hold amid allegations he over-prescribed medication, was drunk on the job and fostered a hostile work environment, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters he has undergone four federal background checks since becoming a White House doctor.

Texas Governor Wants Blake Farenthold to Pay for Special Election
GOP lawmaker resigned earlier this month over sexual misconduct and hostile workplace allegations

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, resigned from Congress in April amid an Ethics Committee investigation into him and his office for a hostile work environment and sexual misconduct. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is asking former Rep. Blake Farenthold to pay for the June 30 special election to fill the seat the congressman vacated when he resigned earlier this month.

Abbott wrote a letter to Farenthold Wednesday to “demand” that he “cover all costs” for the June 30 special election in Texas’ 27th District.

Podcast: Midterm Takeaways From the Duel in the Desert
Political Theater, Episode 16

Arizona's special House election results offers some interesting data points for those watching the 2018 midterm elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Debbie Lesko won a close House race in an Arizona district that is usually very friendly to her party. As the midterm election season continues to heat up, Political Theater looks at the takeaways from this duel in the desert with Roll Call Elections Analyst Nathan Gonzales and Senior Political Reporter Bridget Bowman. 

Show Notes: