David Cicilline

Democrats spar with State official over arms sales maneuver

Rep. David Cicilline accused a senior State Department official of gas-lighting Congress in his assertions about why the administration needed to subvert Congress on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A senior State Department official on Wednesday appeared to blame Democrats for the administration’s decision last month to declare a state of emergency over Iran to avoid congressional review of billions of dollars of weapon sales to Arab Gulf states.

R. Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary of State for political-military affairs, attributed the emergency order to holds placed in spring 2018 by Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez on $2 billion in proposed precision-guided missile sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Menendez, D-N.J., placed the holds in response to the many civilian casualties in the Yemen civil war, in which the two Gulf nations are fighting against Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents.

Big Tech now squarely in the sights of antitrust forces
The effort could create a bipartisan political circus on privacy and disinformation

Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, who chairs the House Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee, announced the bipartisan investigation of Big Tech earlier this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan antitrust investigation of large technology companies announced by the House Judiciary Committee will offer lawmakers their latest opportunity to grill some of the industry’s most recognizable and controversial executives.

But it also could provide lawmakers a chance to hold accountable antitrust agencies and potentially to expand the scope of U.S. antitrust law in significant ways. Still, it remains unclear exactly what the committee can accomplish as it sets out.

News Media Alliance pushes for new Senate antitrust bill
Measure aims to give news publishers a leg up in battle with big tech

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has introduced along with Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., a new bill that would temporarily exempt news publishers from antitrust laws. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The News Media Alliance is scoring some legislative points against the much bigger K Street players Google and Facebook with a bipartisan Senate bill unveiled Monday evening that would temporarily exempt publishers from antitrust laws.

The measure — sponsored by Louisiana Republican John Kennedy and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar — would free up news publishers to jointly bargain with big technology companies in a quest for a bigger slice of digital revenue. It’s the companion to a House bill that Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline and Georgia Republican Doug Collins introduced this spring.

Vulnerable Republicans move to the middle in 2019
With Democrats ruling the House, some GOP members aren’t voting with their party as much

Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., had the biggest drop in party unity score among House Republicans this Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the 2016 election, voters in 23 House districts simultaneously elected a Republican representative and cast ballots for the Democrats’ presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, over Republican Donald Trump.

They became top Democratic targets in the 2018 midterms and 21 of them mostly either retired or were defeated.

Tlaib wants Democrats pushing impeachment to ‘turn words into action’
Freshman congresswoman asking colleagues who want to impeach Trump to sign her resolution

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., speaks to reporters after a coalition of advocacy groups delivered more than 10 million petition signatures to Congress earlier this month urging the House to start impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib is calling on Democrats to “turn words into action” by signing onto her resolution directing the House committee in charge of impeachment to consider formally trying the president for wrongdoing.

At least 34 Democrats in the House have voiced support for impeachment. But just nine of those have cosponsored Tlaib’s resolution directing the House Judiciary Committee to inquire whether or not the Democratic-controlled chamber should impeach President Donald Trump. 

More 2020 Democrats join call for House to start impeachment inquiry
But Pelosi says she wants ‘ironclad case’ first

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker added his name Wednesday to the list of 2020 Democratic hopefuls, which includes California Sen. Kamala Harris, calling for Congress to begin an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s brief public remarks Wednesday led more Democratic presidential candidates to call for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

But concerns remained among House Democratic leaders, as well as Democrats trying to hold their chamber majority in 2020, that going down that road could exacerbate divisions in the country and imperil Democratic electoral prospects.

House Democrats weigh next steps after Mueller announcement
Special counsel spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday, but did not take questions

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is seen on a monitor in the Russell Building on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, making a statement at the Department of Justice on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Kelly O'Donnell of NBC News listens in the background. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:33 p.m. | Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s announcement Wednesday that he would not disclose more information about the Russia probe prompted Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee to urge more action from Congress.

But exactly what Congress will do remains unclear, underscoring the heavy political risks involved in any action — or inaction — lawmakers take ahead of the 2020 elections.

Democratic Caucus oversight discussion does little to resolve impeachment divisions
Some members still want to press ahead, while others still aren’t convinced impeachment is best path

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., departs Wednesday after meeting with House Democrats to discuss possible impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:11 p.m. | A Wednesday morning discussion by House Democrats on oversight matters did little to resolve a stewing intraparty debate about whether to open an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, but it did set off the president.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi organized the meeting to continue to hold her caucus back from heading down an impeachment path with an unknown outcome that could backfire on her party. As she left the discussion to go to the White House to meet with Trump on infrastructure, she had harsh words for the president.

Here are the Democrats who are pushing for Trump’s impeachment
More join chorus calling for impeachment after Mueller’s statement on his Russia investigation

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has cautioned her caucus that rushing into starting impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump could derail the party’s agenda in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5/31, 12:50 p.m.

More Democrats are backing impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump after Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III delivered a statement Wednesday on his report on investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Three presidential candidates — Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand joined the pro-impeachment caucus this week even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tried to quiet the growing call in her party.

Democrats divided over whether it’s time to open impeachment inquiry
Caucus to discuss the matter during a special meeting Wednesday

Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky is among the Democrats who do not think it is quite time to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:50 p.m. | House Democrats are divided over whether they should open an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, with top leaders still hesitant to do so even as more rank-and-file members say it’s time.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called a special caucus meeting Wednesday morning to discuss oversight matters, including the impeachment question, several members said.