Speaker Ryan

Impeachment continues. But first, a Kobe Bryant prayer

Basketball icon Kobe Bryant was remembered Monday as the Senate convened as a court of impeachment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the Senate geared up for another day of arguments in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, quiet descended on the chamber for the opening prayer — and the chaplain used the moment to remember a basketball titan. “We think about life’s brevity, uncertainty and legacy,” Chaplain Barry Black said as he mourned Kobe Bryant and his daughter, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

At the Races: Trial vs. Trail

By Simone Pathé, Stephanie Akin and Bridget Bowman 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.

At the Races: Article II, Section 4

By Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.

North Carolina’s Mark Meadows won’t run for reelection
Former Freedom Caucus chairman signals he may go work for Trump

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, right, is not running for reelection in 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, one of President Donald Trump’s closest allies and most vocal defenders on Capitol Hill, is not running for reelection in 2020.

In an exclusive interview with CQ Roll Call, Meadows said he knows the timing of his retirement announcement — just after House Democrats voted to impeach Trump — will be spun a thousand different ways but that he’s been mulling this decision a long time. 

Massive spending, tax packages headed for Senate
Lawmakers pointed out both sides had to make sacrifices in order to pass the bills

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., makes her way to a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The House approved $1.4 trillion in spending for the fiscal year that began almost three months ago, in an almost surreal business-as-usual fashion that seemingly ignored the historic articles of impeachment scheduled for the floor the very next day.

Lawmakers made a show of dividing the spending measures into two bundles, in order to avoid the oft-ridiculed omnibus bill that both sides say represents the worst of the “swamp.” But the rushed nature of the vote, and in particular the late-night deal that tacked on a nearly $54 billion tax package, runs counter to promises of a more transparent process where the rank-and-file has input and time to study the legislation.

EPA IG: Top official illegally blocked interference probe
Administrator's chief of staff refused to provide information sought by the agency's Office of Inspector General. The agency said the action was within the law

The EPA contends the official's actions were within the law. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The EPA Administrator’s chief of staff illegally blocked an inspector general’s investigation into whether he interfered with a private citizen’s testimony before Congress, the agency’s internal watchdog said Tuesday.

In a response appended to the IG’s report, the agency disputed any wrongdoing by the staff chief, Ryan Jackson, contending that he reviewed the individual’s testimony in a manner “consistent” with past practices. An agency spokeswoman called the report “hyperbolic.”

Florida lawmakers seek assurance offshore drilling plan is dead
Scott and Rubio try to leverage Trump's nominee as deputy Interior secretary to extract a no-drilling commitment from administration

Scott and others in the Florida delegation are seeking assurances that the Trump Administration won’t revive a proposal to allow oil and gas drilling off their state’s coasts. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Rick Scott plans to meet this week with Katharine MacGregor, who is nominated to become Interior deputy secretary, as his fellow Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has a hold on her nomination, all to seek assurances that the Trump administration won’t move to allow oil and gas drilling off their state’s coasts.

Although the Interior Department said it was suspending its offshore drilling plan after widespread outcry, including from a bipartisan coalition of Florida lawmakers, Scott and Rubio’s actions show the delegation is not leaving anything to chance.

Campus Notebook: President nominates pick for Architect of the Capitol

The Cannon House Office Building renovation will be a tough issue to grapple with for Blanton. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Monday nominated J. Brett Blanton to be the next Architect of the Capitol for a 10-year stint.

If confirmed by the Senate, Blanton would provide stability to the helm of an agency that has been led by a succession of acting directors. Christine Merdon, an acting director, announced her resignation in August and was replaced by Thomas Carroll, who worked in the same capacity. The Architect of the Capitol is responsible for maintaining the facilities on the Capitol complex as well as renovations.

North Carolina ratings changes offer a taste of redistricting to come
After seats held by Holding and Walker lean more Democratic, one retires with the other deciding

North Carolina GOP Rep. George Holding announced his retirement after the makeup of his district changed dramatically. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ten years is long enough to forget the chaos of covering campaigns during redistricting. But North Carolina, bless its heart, was kind enough to offer us an early taste of the upcoming craziness of a redistricting cycle.

First, new congressional lines can put new pressure on members.

Lawmakers weaponize colleagues’ call records
Devin Nunes disclosure could presage conflict over phone conversations

The phone records of House Intelligence ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., have become an issue in the impeachment inquiry. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump this week gave members of Congress a glimpse at a new and distressing weapon in partisan warfare — the exposure of lawmakers’ call records as part of congressional oversight.

The House Intelligence Committee report in its investigation into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine included the call records of the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who is reportedly under criminal investigation, and his indicted associate Lev Parnas.