Executive Branch

High Court, High Political Drama — Probably for Years to Come
Political Theater, Episode 37

Regardless of the fate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the high court figures to be a more prominent, and political, part of American life for the foreseeable future. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the middle of a singularly rough Supreme Court nomination fight, the business of the high court goes on. The fate of Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s second nominee to the court, is still up in the air. But the  direction of the court, regardless of what happens with Kavanaugh, seems to be moving inexorably negative, at least politically, say CQ legal affairs writer Todd Ruger and senior writer Kate Ackley in the latest Political Theater podcast.

 

Chris Collins to ‘Actively Campaign’ and Serve if Re-Elected
New York Republican made announcement in email to supporters Wednesday

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., leaves the Capitol Hill Club after a meeting of the House Republican Conference, February 7, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Indicted Republican Rep. Chris Collins wrote in an email to supporters Wednesday that he would continue to serve in Congress if re-elected. 

The New York Republican had previously suspended his campaign after being indicted on charges of insider trading, but he reversed course Tuesday after GOP leaders attempted for weeks to find a way to remove Collins from the ballot. Local GOP leaders were reportedly blindsided by his decision to remain on the ballot.

Kavanaugh Accuser’s Schoolmate Says Assault Was Chatter at School Afterward
Cristina King Miranda went to all-girls prep school with Christine Blasey Ford

The entrance to the Holton Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland, is shown recently. A classmate of Christine Blasey Ford, who attended the all-girls prep school, backed up her accusation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who attended the all-boys Georgetown Preparatory School, assaulted her when the two were students. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

An schoolmate of Christine Blasey Ford, the California psychology professor who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school, backed Ford’s claim Wednesday in a letter she posted to Facebook.

“Christine Blasey Ford was a year or so behind me, I remember her,” wrote Cristina King Miranda, who graduated a year ahead of Ford at Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland. Holton-Arms is an all-girls school whose students frequently socialized with Kavanaugh’s all-male alma mater, Georgetown Prep.

‘Fort Trump’: How Poland’s President Took Flattery to New Heights
U.S. president utters rare public criticism of Russia after months of GOP unease

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump with Polish President Andrzej Duda and his wife, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, on Tuesday in the Oval Office two hours before Duda proposed building a “Fort Trump” in his country. (Official White House Photo Joyce N. Boghosian via Flickr)

Trump Tower, Trump Hotel, Trump University, Trump ties ... Fort Trump?

Sure — if the president’s Polish counterpart gets his wish.

Grassley Says Monday Hearing Not Likely Without Kavanaugh Accuser
Judiciary Committee chairman doesn’t think Feinstein leaked letter that identified Christine Blasey Ford

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks with ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., before the start of a hearing in June. He doubts she leaked a letter from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's accuser. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley said Wednesday a planned Monday hearing on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh would likely not go on without accuser Christine Blasey Ford.

Asked about Ford saying she wouldn’t appear on Monday, the chairman indicated it would not go on without the accuser present because the nominee would not know the full scope of allegations against him.

GOP Groups Jump Into Nevada’s 3rd District Ahead of Trump Rally
Congressional Leadership Fund reserved new airtime Wednesday

Republican Danny Tarkanian is running for Nevada’s open 3rd District seat, which Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen is vacating for a Senate run. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Nevada on Thursday, outside Republican groups are ramping up their spending in the 3rd District to help GOP nominee Danny Tarkanian in one of the party’s few pickup opportunities. 

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House GOP leadership, made a new ad reservation in the district in the Las Vegas media market that starts Thursday, according to a source with knowledge of the media buy. CLF spokeswoman Courtney Alexander confirmed the $2.5 million reservation to Roll Call. 

Photos From the Road: Minnesota Loves a Parade
Roll Call visits the Gopher State, home to several key races this cycle

Dan Feehan, the Democratic nominee in Minnesota’s 1st District, greets guests at the Multicultural Fiesta in St. James, Minn., on Saturday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Minnesota is ground zero for the 2018 midterms. With four competitive House races, two Senate elections and a gubernatorial contest, there’s been no shortage of campaigning across the Gopher State. 

Roll Call is in the state all week, capturing the candidates and talking to voters, so keep following along for more coverage.

Trump: ‘Decision’ Would Follow ‘Credible’ Kavanaugh Accuser Testimony
President signals willingness to reconsider nomination, also sides with accused over accuser

President Donald Trump nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the East Room of the White House in July. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump appeared to signal he might reconsider Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination if his accuser is believable in potential testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But he also appeared to side with the federal judge over the woman.

“Look, if she shows up and makes a credible showing, that will be very interesting and we’ll have to make a decision,” he said Wednesday as he departed the White House for the hurricane-drenched Carolinas.

Schumer Backs Kavanaugh Accuser’s Call for FBI Investigation
Christine Blasey Ford wants bureau to open probe before she testifies

Brett Kavanaugh adjusts his nameplate as he takes his seat for day three of his confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on Sept. 6. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is backing a call by Christine Blasey Ford, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, for a FBI investigation into her contention that the nominee sexually assaulted her 36 years ago.

“An immediate FBI investigation is not only consistent with precedent, it is also quite clearly the right thing to do,” the New York Democrat said in a statement. “Dr. Ford’s call for the FBI to investigate also demonstrates her confidence that when all the facts are examined by an impartial investigation, her account will be further corroborated and confirmed.”

Lawmakers Unhappy With Pompeo’s Lowered Cap on Refugees
New cap of 30,000 is a historic low

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez called the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap “truly repugnant.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers of both parties are criticizing the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap to 30,000 people for fiscal 2019 — a sharp decrease from the 45,000 cap set for fiscal 2018, and also a historic low.

“At a time when we should be defending our values and ideals as Americans and working to alleviate the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, it is truly repugnant to see the Trump administration double down on its efforts to reject our foundational values and humanitarian duty of providing those escaping persecution the opportunity to seek protection and safe haven,” Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement Monday.