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House Democrats to investigate security clearances for Kushner, Flynn, Gorka, others
Oversight chair Elijah Cummings requested a trove of documents on Trump team‘s security clearance process

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., talks on his smart watch before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on November 15, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats launched an investigation Wednesday into “grave breaches with the security clearance process at the White House and the Transition Team” involving senior Trump cabinet officials.

In a letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings specifically named Trump officials, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, senior adviser Jared Kushner, and former deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka. Cummings requested a trove of documents about the Trump administration and transition team’s security clearance process. 

White House looking at ‘Plan B’ if State of the Union is delayed
Top spokeswoman does not dismiss report that Texas rally is being considered

President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union address last year. He might hold a rally at an alternate site this year due to the partial government shutdown. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

The White House is mulling multiple locations where President Donald Trump might deliver an address - or hold a raucous rally - Tuesday evening to inform the country about his assessment of the direction of the country.

Trump’s top spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was asked Wednesday morning about reports the White House is looking at other locations than the U.S. Capitol building’s House chamber for an address in place of the president’s second State of the Union address. She did not try to knock down those reports, notably.

Covington Catholic lawyer adds Rep. Ilhan Omar to ‘libel,’ ‘get sued’ list
Minnesota Democrat deletes tweet that blamed teens for confrontation with Native American last week

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar deleted a tweet Wednesday morning that blamed Covington Catholic students for the confrontation last weekend with a Native American protester. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ilhan Omar is the latest public figure to catch the attention of the attorney for the Covington Catholic students, Robert Barnes, who is threatening to sue just about anyone who he thinks spread “libel” against his clients.

“This is libel. Retract, or get sued,” Barnes tweeted, quoting a now-deleted tweet from the Minnesota Democrat in which she claimed the teens were at fault for the confrontation Saturday at the Indigenous People’s March in Washington, D.C., between the students from the Northern Kentucky school and Native American Nathan Phillips.

Senate GOP turns to time-honored budget tradition to fund wall
Republicans need 60 votes to keep emergency funds for the wall and other items

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If at first you don’t succeed, just call it an “emergency.”

That’s the way out of a budgetary jam that Senate Republicans used this week on a $354.5 billion fiscal 2019 omnibus package that would fund President Donald Trump’s border barrier proposal and other recent requests to Congress.

Democrat apologizes for forgetting that slavery was a thing in the U.S.
‘Never in the history of this country’ has it been legal to make people work for free, Rep. Welch tweeted

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., apologized Tuesday for forgetting that slavery existed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Peter Welch did whatever the online iteration of “putting one’s foot in one’s mouth” is, Tuesday when he apparently forgot that slavery existed in the United States.

The Vermont Democrat was trying to publicize a bill he introduced Tuesday prohibiting government agencies from making their employees work without pay.  The bill would provide immediate backpay to federal workers that have been stiffed during the shutdown.

AOC, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley seated on Oversight Committee
Spots for the progressive freshman signal future fireworks in investigative hearings

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., will join the House Oversight Committee. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new crop of progressive freshman has been seated on the House of Representative’s investigative committee — signaling future fireworks and higher C-SPAN ratings for its hearings this year.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. — who all tack to the left and have shown an appetite for aggressively challenging the White House and corporate interests — have been tapped to join the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday night.

House GOP retreat postponed amid government shutdown
The Congressional Institute announced Wednesday it will postpone the three-day event

House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney is seen before the start of a news conference on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans’ annual retreat has become the latest victim of the partial government shutdown.

House Republicans had been scheduled to hold their retreat Jan. 30 through Feb. 1 at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. But the Congressional Institute announced Wednesday it will postpone the three-day event. 

Trump rolls out new slogan for border wall on 33rd day of government shutdown
President rebrands barrier with: ‘BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!’

President Donald Trump declines to answer a final question from the press as he departs the White House on Jan. 14. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump rolled out a new slogan for his proposed southern border wall on Wednesday, as a historically long partial government shutdown triggered by his demands for barrier funds entered its 33rd day.

The former businessman attempted to rebrand the politically polarizing barrier a day before the Senate will hold a procedural vote on his proposal for $5.7 billion in border wall funding and temporary protections for undocumented migrants protected by the Barack Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 

Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismisses Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on climate change
White House press secretary says they’ll listen to ‘a much, much higher authority’ than freshman congresswoman

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders answers a question during the daily briefing at the White House December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Regarding man-made climate change, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that the White House would rather listen to “a much, much higher authority” than Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Fox New host Sean Hannity asked Sanders on Tuesday night to respond to a statement by Ocasio-Cortez that greenhouse gas emissions have to be dramatically curbed the next twelve years to avoid catastrophe.

Shutdown kick-starts the 2020 congressional campaign
From the airwaves to inboxes, both parties are already in attack mode

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association rally to “Stop the Shutdown” in front of the Capitol (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While it’s impossible to predict what issues will dominate the campaign trail 22 months out from Election Day, the partial government shutdown could be an early test for both parties’ 2020 messaging.

For Democrats, the shutdown reinforces their message that congressional Republicans are not willing to stand up to President Donald Trump — a theme that resonated last November among independent voters who helped deliver a Democratic House majority. Trump has insisted that any legislation to reopen the government include funding for a wall along the southern border, something most Democrats remain opposed to.