Executive Branch

Democrats Push Senate to Take Legal Action Backing Pre-existing Condition Protections
McCaskill and Manchin among leaders of the effort

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., shakes hands with Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who is also running for U.S. Senate, before the start of the Ripley 4th of July Grand Parade in Ripley, West Virginia on July 4. The two men are on opposite sides of a debate over pre-existing conditions that could become a part of their campaigns. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a possible preview of Senate Democrats’ midterm political messaging, Democratic senators want the chamber to go to court to defend health insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Two of the Democrats leading the effort face Republican challengers in 2018 who have signed on to the legal effort that could undermine the regulations from the 2010 health care law: state attorneys general in Missouri, Josh Hawley, and West Virginia, Patrick Morrisey.

Trump-Putin II? President Teases Second Meeting Amid Confusion
POTUS on EU fine of Google: ‘I told you so!’

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a joint press conference after their summit on Monday in Helsinki, Finland. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday indicated he and Russian President Donald Trump soon could have a second meeting, even as the confusing fallout continues from their initial summit.

Lawmakers from both parties are perplexed by Trump’s behavior Monday at the Putin summit, including a joint press conference during which he sided with the Russian strongman over U.S. intelligence agencies. Senators are, for instance, preparing legislation that would slap new sanctions on Russia if U.S. spy agencies conclude the Kremlin meddles in the coming midterm elections.

Rep. Maxine Waters Warns Supporters Not to Confront Militia Group
Oath Keepers, an armed far-right group, plans to protest Waters for weeks in her California district

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., urged her supporters to stay away from the Oath Keepers, a far right armed group that is planning a protest at her Los Angeles office on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Maxine Waters of California warned her supporters not to be baited into a confrontation with a a far-right militia group planning a protest at her South-Central Los Angeles office Thursday.

The Oath Keepers, which claims 35,000 members who often dress in military gear and carry military-grade rifles at protests and events across the country, issued a “call to action” for Thursday to protest Waters’ “incitement of terrorism” and Democrats’ opposition to Republican immigration policies.

Democratic Challenger Calls Higgins ‘Barney Fife of Washington’
Graves challenger says he would be first openly gay candidate to run for the House from Louisiana

Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., was compared to Barney Fife by a Democratic challenger. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A Democratic challenger to Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins called the tough-talking former sheriff a Republican “Barney Fife.”

Speaking on the first day of election qualifying in Baton Rouge, Mimi Methvin, an attorney from Lafayette, said Higgins portrays himself as a John Wayne-style figure, “But he's been more like Barney Fife doing the bidding of the GOP hierarchy.”

House Republicans Increase Messaging Votes Ahead of August Recess
GOP leaders prepare for break by seeking contrast with minority party

Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., sees value in some of the messaging votes the House will take up before the August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House floor is seeing an uptick in messaging bills as Republicans prepare for a monthlong district work period in a midterm year when they are defending most of the seats in play.

Case in point was a resolution the House adopted Wednesday expressing support for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and rejecting calls to abolish the agency — a stance some progressive Democrats are pushing.

At Trump White House, One Russia Controversy Breeds Another
What did POTUS mean? No one is sure, but he declares Putin summit a ‘success’

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., center, was among those who were confused by the president’s statements about Russia on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump White House on Wednesday returned to a familiar pattern, fighting through multiple self-imposed controversies and confusing even its own allies.

President Donald Trump didn’t personally walk anything back, unlike on Tuesday. He left the mopping up to his top spokeswoman a day after he — in a rare move — admitted a mistake by amending one word of a 45-minute Finland press conference with Vladimir Putin that rattled both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

Senate to Weigh Large Cuts to Military Aid
Cuts target foreign militaries and militias trained to fight terrorists on U.S. behalf

Iraqi Kurdish fighters, also known as peshmerga, are seen driving along the frontline in October 2017 outside the town of Altun Kubri, Iraq. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The Senate will soon take up a Defense spending bill that would cut nearly $2.5 billion in military aid to foreign fighting forces, an unusually large budget subtraction some say reflects a fundamental change in lawmakers’ security priorities. 

At issue is the $675 billion fiscal 2019 Defense money bill, which Senate Appropriations approved late last month and which the chamber may take up later this month. 

Opinion: Charlotte Gambles on the Convention Las Vegas Didn’t Want
RNC 2020 goes to a blue city in a red (or purple) state. Now what?

Charlotte hosted the Democrats in 2012, and now it’s seeing red for 2020, Curtis writes. But will the payoff be worth it? (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images file photo)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Vi Lyles, the Democratic mayor of the largest city in North Carolina, said championing a bid to host the 2020 Republican National Convention was likely “the most difficult decision of my career.”

As word spread this week that Republicans have chosen Charlotte over other candidates, with a formal announcement due Friday, it’s almost certain the event will be one of the city’s biggest tests.

Democrats Call On Trump-Putin Interpreter to Testify, Republicans Say No
Marina Gross may be the only one with answers to what happened in the Trump-Putin summit

Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., D-N.J. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats looking for information about what happened during the private meeting between President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin want the U.S. interpreter to testify.

New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell called Wednesday on Reps. Trey Gowdy and Elijah Cummings, chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight committee, to ask Marina Gross to testify publicly before the committee.

State Department Nominees Could Be In For Procedural Headache
Robert Menendez warns of making life difficult if questions go unanswered

Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., left, and ranking member Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., attend a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on the nominations of Brian J. Bulatao and Denise Natali for State Department positions on July 18, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey has made a thinly veiled threat against pending State nominations if the Trump administration is not more responsive to questions about their interactions and agreements with foreign leaders.

“If the administration is unwilling to consult with this committee in a meaningful fashion on vital national security issues, then we must consider all appropriate responses with regards to nominees before this committee,” the Foreign Relations ranking member said at a Wednesday hearing.