econ

Cohen Sentencing Casts Cloud Over Trump’s Chief of Staff Search
Former ‘fixer’ says he was just following his client’s orders with payments to women

Michael Cohen (center), former personal attorney for President Donald Trump, leaves the Hart Senate Office Building after a meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss Russian interference in the 2016 election on September 19, 2017. He since admitted to lying to lawmakers and was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The sentencing of Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former “fixer” and personal attorney, could hang over the president’s search for a new White House chief of staff.

After all, on one of the counts that put Cohen in prison for three years, Cohen contends he was merely following his former client’s direction. And in an emotional statement in a New York courtroom Wednesday, Cohen blamed his actions on a “blind loyalty” to the president that he said “led me to choose a path of darkness over light.”

Former Rep. Steve Stockman’s Staffer Sentenced in Fraud Case
Thomas Dodd pleaded guilty in March 2017

An aide to former Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, was sentenced to prison and fined. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Capitol Hill staffer, Thomas Dodd, was sentenced Wednesday for participating in an extensive scheme that involved defrauding charitable donors by laundering funds to pay personal and campaign expenses.

Dodd, 40, was an aide to former Rep. Steve Stockman. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, ordered to pay $800,000 in restitution and ordered to forfeit $153,044.28 in illicit gains.

The Political Football That is Washington Redskins Football
Political Theater, Episode 48

Every once in a while, professional football turns to politics. That's happening as the Washington Redskins need congressional and city approval to move back to the city from Maryland's suburbs. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

House, Senate Democrats Identify Slate of Committee Leaders for New Congress
House Dem Caucus must still ratify, Senate is ready to go

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., has his roster of ranking members for committees ready. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Democrats have identified their incoming committee leadership for the 116th Congress, although the full caucus must still weigh in and a few key chairs will have to wait until the House speakership contest is settled. In the Senate meanwhile, the roster is finished, with some notable movement in the smaller Democratic minority. 

The House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee made its recommendations for most committee chairmanships in the new Congress on Tuesday evening, with a few others designated Monday. The full caucus must still approve the choices.

FBI Details Intelligence Staffer Probe Ahead of Sentencing
Sentencing hearing for James Wolfe scheduled on Dec. 20

James Wolfe, a former Senate Intelligence Committee aide, leaves the FBI’s Washington Field Office after being booked on June 11. A sentencing hearing for Wolfe is scheduled for Dec. 20.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The FBI faced a dilemma and had to take “extraordinary” actions when it realized in 2017 that the former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee appeared compromised in his role safeguarding information and had a clandestine relationship with a national security journalist.

Had James Wolfe been an executive branch employee, the FBI would have notified intelligence agencies if a Top Secret clearance holder was compromised so they could protect national security, federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing Tuesday.

Lame-Duck Republican Sounds Off as GOP Downplays Trump Hush Payments
John Faso calls president’s campaign handling of Russia ‘height of stupidity’

Rep. John Faso, R-N.Y., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Wednesday, June 6, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

No GOP lawmaker has been willing to say that President Donald Trump’s hush payments to a Playboy model and an adult film star rise to the level of an impeachable offense — but at least one lame-duck Republican sounded off on the president’s “reprehensible” actions and called Trump’s campaign team’s dealings with Russia the “height of stupidity.”

Rep. John Faso, who in the coming weeks will wrap up his first and only term representing New York’s 19th District, told the Daily Freeman in an interview Tuesday that while he doesn’t believe Trump broke campaign finance laws, that doesn’t entirely absolve him of morally questionable behavior.

Florida Republican Not Even Sworn In, Facing Campaign Finance Questions
New reports raise questions about Ross Spano super PAC coordination, 2012 campaign

Rep.-elect Ross Spano, R-Fla., has not been sworn into Congress yet, but already faces bipartisan calls for an inquiry into his alleged campaign finance violations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The campaign finance issues looming around Rep.-elect Ross Spano, R-Fla., have grown more troublesome in recent days with new questions about the role of a longtime friend in funding his campaigns and hiring his new Congressional staff.

Spano has not been sworn into Congress yet, but already faces bipartisan calls for inquiries by the Federal Election Commission and the House Ethics Committee into how he funded his campaign to replace in Rep. Dennis A. Ross in the 15th District.

Term Limits Talks Roil House Democrats
Talk of compromise on matter comes amid consternation

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been involved in talks with a few Democratic opponents to her speaker bid about term limits on party leaders and committee chairs, an idea opposed by many in her caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are at odds over whether to adopt intraparty term limits for their elected leaders and committee chairs, even as it offers them a way out of their current impasse on the race for the speakership.

The House Democratic Caucus has long wrestled with the idea of term limits. House Republicans adopted a rule in 1995 to limit committee chairs to serving three terms. Democrats kept that rule in place when they took the majority in 2007 but then decided two years later to get rid of it.

Trump Fumbled Claim of Capturing 10 Terrorists
The actual statistic is more nuanced than the president suggested

A recent State Department report showed no terrorist threat on the Mexico border. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

There is no public evidence to substantiate President Donald Trump’s claim on Tuesday, in the context of a discussion of security at the southern border, that 10 terrorists have been caught recently trying to enter the United States.

Trump’s comments sparked a small tempest on social media, but a recent State Department report showed no terrorist threat on the Mexico border, and Trump’s own administration effectively acknowledges the president may have mischaracterized the statistic.

Senators’ Yemen Vote Is Precursor to Debate on Saudi Relations
Corker eyes nonbinding resolution to condemn kingdom over Khashoggi murder

With the Senate expected to vote Wednesday on a resolution aimed at the Yemen war, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker wants to ensure any amendments offered are germane. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is expected Wednesday to debate and vote on a resolution that would order an end to military involvement in the war in Yemen, one of several measures that lawmakers are considering to punish Saudi Arabia.

But Wednesday’s discussion may be shortened due to scant floor time and several competing high-priority legislative items that, unlike the Yemen resolution, could still become law before the year is over.