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The Many Ways to Draw a Gerrymander
Roll Call Decoder with David Hawkings: wonky explainers from a Capitol Hill expert

After 2016 Failures, Facebook Faces New Test in 2018 Midterms
Social media giant accused of being too passive on foreign interference in 2016 elections

Executives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google, are sworn into a Senate Judiciary Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee hearing on “Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online: Working with Tech to Find Solutions” in  October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Just a few months out from the 2018 midterm primaries and less than a year away from general elections, Facebook appears determined to stamp out foreign interference.

The tech and social media giant was the subject of intense criticism after the 2016 election cycle for failing to curb the spread of misinformation and break down so-called echo chambers of news-sharing and political discourse.

Kristin Gaspar is the Latest Republican to Run for Issa’s Seat
Comes after a slew of Republicans jump in.

Kristin Gaspar said she met with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan last week in Washington before getting into the race for Rep. Darrell Issa’s seat. (Supervisor Kristin Gaspar via Facebook)

San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar is the latest Republican to jump into California’s 49th District race to replace departing Rep. Darrell Issa.

Gaspar’s decision comes a week after visiting Washington, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported, following Issa’s announcement that he would not seek re-election.

Renacci Says Trump and Pence Will Campaign for Him
Ohio Republican challenging Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown

Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, said President Donald Trump's team convinced him to run for the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Jim Renacci said both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will campaign for him in Ohio in his Senate race.

Renacci, who announced he would challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown, told the Vindicator that he initially did not want to run for Senate and was running for governor.

Democratic Challengers Join Picketers Outside Meehan’s District Office
Ethics Committee taking up sexual harassment case at congressman’s request

Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., has asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate a sexual harassment settlement he reached with an employee over a 2016 case. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As traffic rushed by Rep. Patrick Meehan’s district office in Springfield, Pennsylvania, on Monday, two Democratic candidates hoping to unseat the GOP congressman stood alongside 50 or so picketers calling for him to step down.

“If he doesn’t resign, they should take away his committee assignments,” Daniel Muroff, a former chief of staff on Capitol Hill who has raised the most money of any Democratic challenger still in the race, said of Meehan, in an interview with the Delaware County Daily Times News.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Around the Capitol?
Tom Garrett is on to your Phishing, Katy Tur; Super Bowl trash-talking; and a bad hospital

Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., flashes his Philadelphia Eagles shirt as Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S. Dak., looks on as they arrive for the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Corrine Brown Loses Bid to Stay Out of Jail
Two courts reject former congresswoman’s request to delay start of sentence while appeal is pending

Former Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., was denied a request to delay her reporting to prison. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Florida Rep. Brown lost her bid to stay out of jail while she appeals her conviction last year on fraud charges. 

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta rejected her request to delay the start of her jail time by another month on Monday after federal judge Timothy Corrigan directed the request there, the Florida Times-Union reported.

Trump Celebrates Democratic ‘Cave’ on Shutdown
President vows to meet lawmakers at ‘negotiating table’ for DACA bill

President Donald Trump signs a three-week stopgap funding bill that ended a government shutdown in the Treaty Room at the White House on Monday night. He later took a victory lap on Twitter, saying Democrats caved. (Joyce N. Boghosian/White House photo)

Add Donald Trump to the manifest of Republicans who have jumped aboard what might be called The Democrats Caved Train.

While lawmakers and sources say he was not heavily involved, the president was in full celebratory mode after Senate Democrats on Monday ended a government shutdown they forced over objections to immigration policy after just three days. Even though public opinion polls showed voters placed more blame on Trump and Republicans (48 percent) than Democrats (35 percent) over the shutdown, Trump’s tweets show he is sounding a message of victory.

Senate’s Radical Reasonable Caucus Finds Its Moment
Will a group of 20 senators be able to gain influence?

A bipartisan group of Senators hold a new conference in the Capitol on Monday after they voted to end debate on a continuing resolution to reopen the government. From left, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, Tim Kaine, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, Joe Manchin III, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, Amy Klobuchar and Maggie Hassan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a Senate environment where party discipline has been the norm, a group of senators that lobbied leadership to accept a resolution to end the government shutdown Monday now has leverage, if they decide to use it.

“One of the good outcomes is that we had a group of 20 … that built a lot of trust with each other. So it could create an environment, at least over the next month or so, where some really positive things happen,” Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, a GOP partipant said Monday. “On the Democratic side, it was necessary to have a large group of Republicans [who] were committed to try and resolve these issues.”

When a Shutdown Amounts to a Mulligan
Hill Democrats, Republicans and Trump ALL escape from the impasse with a shot at redemption

Signs were posted outside the Library of Congress in Washington on Sunday notifying visitors that all Library of Congress buildings would be closed to the public during a government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It may be hard to believe now, especially for those whose lives were upended the past three days, but this could end up being remembered as the “Never mind” shutdown.

Since the federal government is going to be fully back in business Tuesday — after just one weekday when the lights were only partially and inconsistently turned off — both parties in Congress may have won the same consolation prize for their long weekend of partisan petulance: a get-out-of-political-jail-for-free card.