Dianne Feinstein

Congress Split on How to Proceed on Flynn
House, Senate lawmakers differ on probe of former national security adviser

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., center, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., conduct a news conference Wednesday in the Capitol on investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers who oversee intelligence are struggling with how to investigate reports that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had inappropriate contact with Russian officials and later misled the White House about it.

The top Republican and Democrat on the House Select Intelligence Committee offered dueling perspectives on a path forward on their panel’s probe; Senate Democrats coalesced around a plan with the Intelligence Committee taking the lead, something their GOP colleagues support; Senate Democrats also said the Judiciary Committee could play an investigatory role, and some lawmakers are still sending signals they want an independent commission in on the action.

Senate Democrats Coalesce on Demands for Russia Probe
Minority party hopes public attention forces issue on GOP

Schumer, center, Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Dianne Feinstein at a news conference on investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats have laid out their demands for independent investigations into potential contact between Russian officials and members of President Donald Trump’s team, and are hopeful public outcry will force the administration and congressional Republicans to comply.

Democrats held what they called an “emergency” caucus meeting Wednesday to discuss former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation following revelations he discussed sanctions with Russia’s  ambassador to the United States before Trump took office. The meeting also followed a New York Times report that a handful of Trump officials had been in contact with Russian intelligence officers leading up to the presidential election.

Year-End Coffers Pad the Two-Year Fundraising Sprint
Some senators started 2018 cycle with millions; others with much less

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown’s campaign committee ended 2016 with $3.2 million in cash on hand, ahead of what is likely to be very competitive re-election for the two-term senator next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the 2018 election cycle underway, incumbents gearing up for re-election will begin fundraising in full force this spring.

It helps to have a stockpile of cash already in the bank, but not everyone starts with an equally comfortable cushion. 

Amid Senate Tensions, Hatch Eyes Bipartisan Tax Deal
Utah Republican says House GOP plan will not pass the Senate

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch says that despite “a lot of bitterness around here,” he plans to meet with Senate Democrats to gauge interest in a bipartisan tax proposal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch has launched a new push for a bipartisan Senate alternative to the contentious House Republican tax plan, as President Donald Trump begins to frame administration priorities.

The Senate Finance chairman said last week he was meeting with Democratic tax writers one-on-one and hoped there would be leeway for deals, after bitter debates over Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin riled the Senate and exposed deep partisan fault lines.

It’s Huge: Trump Administration Sets Record with Empty OMB Director Slot
S.C. Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney still waiting for confirmation

Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., President Donald Trump’s nominee to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, testifies during his Senate Budget Committee confirmation on January 24, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s slow pace in confirming Cabinet nominees appears to be holding up lawmakers’ work on major fiscal legislation while they wait for President Donald Trump’s budget shop to get up and running.

The White House needs to move on budget priorities and discretionary spending levels for fiscal 2018; a wrap-up of fiscal 2017 appropriations; and supplemental funding requests to boost military spending and begin construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Democrats in a Dilemma Over Trump's Court Nominee
Senate Democrats will get a lot of advice about how to handle President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court — and it appears they need it.

Judge Neil Gorsuch, Supreme Court Justice nominee, meets with North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in her Hart building office on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

There’s pressure from liberal advocacy groups and the party’s energized base for Democrats to pull out all the stops in an attempt to block Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation. Not only do those interests have concerns about his approach to abortion rights and environmental law, but they thirst for revenge for Republicans’ obstruction of former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the same seat.

Some moderate legal and political commentators, meanwhile, have urged Democrats to wait for another potential Supreme Court nominee to launch an all-out confirmation war — a possibility during the Trump administration since two justices are in their 80s. Gorsuch would replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, so his elevation from a federal appeals court in Denver wouldn’t shift the ideological balance of the high court anyway.

Neil Gorsuch's Dance Card Filling Up
Supreme Court nominee to meet with key Democrats

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, left, greets Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., before a meeting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By BRIDGET BOWMAN and NIELS LESNIEWSKI, CQ Roll Call

Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Senate dance card is filling up with Democrats who could be key to his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Nominee’s Legal Approach Follows Scalia
Analysis of past rulings reveal an ideology similar to late justice’s

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, left, and Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley arrive to speak to reporters following their meeting in the Capitol on Feb. 1. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Judge Neil Gorsuch included a line in his first remarks as a Supreme Court nominee that signals just how closely his approach to deciding cases aligns with the late Antonin Scalia, the polarizing and reliably conservative justice whose seat Gorsuch would fill.

“A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands,” Gorsuch, 49, said at the White House last Tuesday.

Grassley Outlines Timeline for Confirming Trump’s SCOTUS Nominee
Judiciary chairman anticipates a six week process

President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court Judge Neil Gorsuch, looks on as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks to reporters following their meeting in the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley is laying out his plan to get Judge Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court before the Easter recess.

The Republican from Iowa has a roughly six week timeline for getting Gorsuch, the 10th Circuit appellate judge from Colorado who was named Tuesday night by President Donald Trump, as his choice to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the highest court.

Pentagon Panel Urges Trump Team to Expand Nuclear Options
Report suggests ‘tailored nuclear option for limited use’

From left, First lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, Maj. Gen. Bradley Becker, Vice President Mike Pence, and his wife Karen Pence prepare to review the troops on Inauguration Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A blue-ribbon Pentagon panel has urged the Trump administration to make the U.S. arsenal more capable of “limited” atomic war.

The Defense Science Board, in an unpublished December report obtained by CQ Roll Call, urges the president to consider altering existing and planned U.S. armaments to achieve a greater number of lower-yield weapons that could provide a “tailored nuclear option for limited use.”