Arizona

History Provides Trump a Guide for His Inaugural Address
Changes in party rule show how presidents both praise and criticize

An aide to President-elect Donald Trump, seen here at a news conference on Jan. 11 at Trump Tower in New York City, says his inaugural address will be “unique to him.” (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Newly sworn-in American presidents taking over for a predecessor of another political party have employed a number of rhetorical approaches from which Donald Trump could choose to borrow on Friday. Trump has met with historians and watched past inaugural addresses, but a top aide said his first speech as president will be “unique to him.”

Given the unprecedented tone of both his campaigning style and brash tenor during the transition period, anything is possible when the new president steps to the podium bearing the seal of the president around noon Friday. It is a safe bet some or most of Trump’s address will sound much different than those delivered in the past. 

Barack Obama Has Left the Building, Or At Least the Brady Room
Obama's hope fades a bit: 'I think we’re going to be OK'

At his final news conference as president, Obama wished the press, and the country, luck. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In his final press conference as president, Barack Obama warned that economic and other forces could further divide Americans, and sent messages anew to Donald Trump, particularly that he could re-enter the political arena if “our core values may be at stake.”

Less than 48 hours before he will cede all powers of the presidency to Trump, the 55-year-old Obama, with more salt than pepper atop his head, showed flashes of the optimistic candidate who toppled both Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during the 2008 presidential campaign. But by the end of the session, his concerns about the next four years appear to show through.

44 Sitting Members of Congress Have Accepted Donations From Trump
Group includes prominent lawmakers from both parties

Arizona Sen. John McCain, whom President-elect Donald Trump once criticized, has received the most donations of any current lawmaker from Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Much has been said about how Vice President-elect Mike Pence, with his 12 years as a congressman, could be incoming President Donald Trump’s bridge to Congress. But Trump has his own ties to the Hill, in the form of nearly two decades worth of political contributions to sitting members of the House and Senate on both sides of the aisle.

Trump has donated to the campaigns of 44 current members of Congress, according to a Roll Call review of Federal Election Commission electronic records that are available since 1997. Nineteen of those members are in the Senate, and 25 are in the House.

Senators to Watch as Trump Era Begins
Rank-and-file senators likely to be key players in 115th Congress

Georgia Sen. David Perdue, left, and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III are both senators to watch. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans may have full control in Washington, but the Senate remains the Senate, which means it’s the place where rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans retain the most clout and potential for influence. Here are the key senators from outside of the top echelons of the leadership structures to watch as the 115th Congress gets underway.

The moderate from Maine will be the first person to watch on any contentious votes, particularly on budget reconciliation votes that aim to repeal parts of the 2010 health care law. She has, for instance, been among the small number of Republicans opposing efforts to tie the GOP health care plans to stopping federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

The House Version of ‘Law and Order’
A sentencing, some commutations and other House news

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson speaks with New York Rep. Louise M. Slaughter during a press conference by House Democrats in November 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Bennie Thompson’s chief of staff was sentenced Tuesday to four months in prison for failing to file income tax returns.

Issac Lanier Avant was also ordered to pay $149,962 to the IRS for failing to file tax returns from 2009 to 2013 after he had assumed the role of Democratic director for the House Homeland Security Committee, earning more than $165,000, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Low Approval Ratings Could Speed Possible Trump-GOP Clash
President-elect at 40 percent in 2 polls, around half of Obama’s 2009 rating

President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that the opinion polls that show him with a lower transition rating than his predecessors were “rigged.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President-elect Donald Trump tried to cast doubts Tuesday on his low approval ratings, but the numbers — around half of those of his predecessor in 2009 — could accelerate an emerging collision with his own party. 

Two new polls put Trump’s approval rating at 40 percent just three days before he will be sworn in as the 45th president. At the same point in President Barack Obama’s transition period eight years ago, one of those polls, conducted by CNN/ORC International, had his approval rating at 84 percent.

Here Are the Democrats Skipping Trump’s Inauguration
More than 65 Democratic House members won’t attend Friday’s swearing-in

Virginia Rep. Gerald E. Connolly is one of the latest Democratic House members to say that he won’t attend Donald Trump’s inauguration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even before President-elect Donald Trump attacked Georgia Rep. John Lewis on Twitter over the weekend, a handful of Democratic lawmakers had planned to boycott Trump's inauguration on Friday.

But by the end of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday on Monday night, that group had ballooned. As of Wednesday, more than 60 Democrats in the House have now said they will not attend. No Democratic senators have announced similar intentions.

Word on the Hill: Inauguration Week
Other events going on this week

More confirmation hearings are scheduled for this week. Last week, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, nominee to be the ambassador to the United Nations got a hug from Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., on the Senate subway. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s the week of Donald Trump’s inauguration, which means parties, crowds and traffic in the nation’s capital.

Check out our list of balls and galas going on this week. If you have more to add, email AlexGangitano@cqrollcall.com.

Porn, Weed and Other Takeaways From Sessions Hearing
AG hopeful could flip DOJ positions on obscenity and online gambling.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on his nomination for attorney general on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Jeff Sessions revealed several policy changes he might bring to the Justice Department during his confirmation hearing this week to be attorney general in the Trump administration.

The main focus was the Alabama Republican defending his record from criticism by Democratic lawmakers and civil rights groups, who question his independence and whether he will enforce voting rights and other laws important to minorities and women. But moments that didn’t grab headlines give new insight into Sessions’ legal thinking on some issues and what he’ll do if he is confirmed.

Photos of the Week: Confirmation Hearing Frenzy on Capitol Hill
The week of Jan. 9 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, and Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, prepare for Sessions’ Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Russell Building’s Kennedy Caucus Room on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A total of seven confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks kicked off on the Hill this week. Meanwhile, a back-and-forth erupted between the parties over a student painting being taken down from the Cannon House Office Building.