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Trump’s defenders try to narrow impeachment case to one call
Defense attorneys use similar strategy in bribery or corruption cases

Intelligence ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., left, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, listen as former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies Friday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump and his congressional allies spent the first week of impeachment inquiry hearings trying to refocus the public’s attention to what they cast as the most important piece of evidence: the summary of Trump’s call to the president of Ukraine on July 25.

In the House Intelligence Committee, at press conferences and on Twitter, their message has sought to narrow the Democrats’ case to the facts of that one major event — and then attack it as insufficient to impeach the president.

Legality of Wolf, Cuccinelli appointments to DHS questioned
Key House Democrats cite new documents in request for review

Chad Wolf, seen here during an Oct. 29 White House task force meeting, was sworn in Wednesday as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The leaders of the House Oversight and Homeland Security panels on Friday challenged the legality of recent top appointments at the Department of Homeland Security, including newly installed acting secretary, Chad Wolf.

Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., the acting Oversight and Reform Committee chairwoman, have asked the U.S. Comptroller General to conduct an “expedited review” to determine whether the Trump administration acted legally when it appointed both Wolf and his predecessor, Kevin McAleenan, as acting DHS secretary. They also question Wolf naming Ken Cuccinelli to serve as deputy director.

Senate Periodical Press Gallery loses a familiar face
Deputy Director Shawna Blair departs after 14 years

Shawna Blair of the Senate Periodical Press Gallery, center, holds her dog George Clooney, in the Capitol's Senate Daily Press Gallery in 2015. Appearing in the background, from left, are Tricia Munro of the Senate Press Photographers' Gallery, Laura Lytle and Beth Crowley, both of the Senate Press Gallery and Bloomberg News' Kate Hunter, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After helping coordinate three presidential inaugurations, eight presidential conventions, five Supreme Court nominations and answering more than a decade of reporter questions, a familiar face will no longer be in the Senate Periodical Press Gallery.

Shawna Blair, the gallery’s deputy director, worked her final day in the gallery Wednesday after about 14 years there. On Monday, she starts her new gig as communications director for the Delta Regional Authority.

Congress is as outlandish as it could be: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Nov. 11, 2019

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, joined by other House Democrats, speaks during a press conference after the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump on Wednesday Nov. 13, 2019 (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Special California election to replace Katie Hill set for March 3
Vote on same day as presidential primary could hurt GOP effort to take back seat

Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., resigned earlier this month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has set the special election date to replace former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, likely complicating the Republican effort to flip the 25th District.

Newsom set the special election primary for March 3, the same date as the Golden State’s presidential and congressional primaries. Candidates from both parties run on the same ballot. For the special election, if one candidate garners more than 50 percent of the vote, he or she wins the race outright. If no one gets above 50 percent, the top two would advance to a May 12 election.

California ice cream shop milks D.C. impeachment hearings
I scream, you scream for “Im-peach-mint Pie” ice cream?

California-based Smitten Ice Cream debuts "Im-Peach-Mint Pie" flavor in light of Washington's impeachment hearings (Courtesy Smitten Ice Cream)

You can run, but you can’t hide from the buzz that continuously surrounds congressional testimonies — even if you mute your Twitter notifications.

The House impeachment hearings continue to inspire clever cocktails around D.C. such as the “Quit Bro, Go” at Capitol Lounge and “Impeachment Please” at Union Pub.

New witnesses emerge after first week of public impeachment hearings
CQ on Congress, Ep. 175

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch takes her seat for the House Select Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump begins on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Trump ignites firestorm during impeachment hearing — with just two tweets
‘Be quiet!’: Agitated president lashes out at reporter‘s questions about tweet

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney answers questions during a briefing at the White House on October 17. He and other staffers were caught off guard by President Donald Trump's tweet attacking a senior U.S. diplomat as she testified in the impeachment proceeding. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was fired  by President Donald Trump had just begun her public testimony in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. Then came the tweet.

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him,” he wrote. “It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.

Campus Notebook: How much does a legislative director for Katie Hill make anyway?
More: stolen scooters, heroin, fellow Marco Rubio, trading Mark Warner

Former Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., left Congress amid allegations she was in an inappropriate relationship with a staffer. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This week’s Campus Notebook features a little context on staffer pay in the office of former Rep. Katie Hill, arrests for scooter theft and a heroin bust, and payouts for two senators, for different reasons. 

Graham Kelly, who served as legislative director for former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill of California, earned an annual salary of $80,000, according to May 2019 payroll records from the Legislative Resource Center. The only staffer to make more than Kelly—there were other aides who made the same as him—was Emily Burns, Hill’s chief of staff, who made $130,000 a year.

GOP ‘storm the SCIF’ stunt could jeopardize classified briefings
Bipartisan memo warns lawmakers of consequences for them and the House

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., speaks during a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center outside a deposition related to the House impeachment inquiry on Oct. 23, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee responded this week to efforts by House Republicans to access the secure facility in the basement of the Capitol during a closed-door impeachment deposition on Oct. 23, issuing a memo about breaches of security and warning lawmakers of potential consequences.

The memo, dated Thursday, reminds lawmakers that all members and staff who have access to classified information take an oath to not disclose any such information and that access to classified information and secure areas are on a “need to know” basis.