Jeanne Shaheen

A Huge Congressional Settlement Involving Sexual Harassment — And Hardly Anyone Knew
Lawmakers on Helsinki Commission blindsided by report of $220K payout

Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings has denied allegations of sexual misconduct that led to a $220,000 payment to a former congressional staffer. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The $220,000 paid to former staffer Winsome Packer in 2014 is by far the largest known settlement involving Congress and accusations of sexual harassment in recent years.

But few, if any, of the lawmakers who served on the congressional commission where Packer worked seem to have been informed about it until the sum was reported by Roll Call on Friday.  

Photos of the Week: A House Tax Marathon as Senate Starts Action
The week of Nov. 6 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

From left, Rep. Sam Johnson, Chairman Kevin Brady and ranking member Richard Neal open a House Ways and Means Committee markup of the Republicans’ tax overhaul plan in Longworth Building on Monday. Rep. David Schweikert also appears. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ways and Means Committee finished its marathon markup of the GOP tax overhaul plan Thursday, as attention shifted to the Senate, which will be marking up its own version of the bill next week. 

Here’s the entire week in photos:

Second Meeting of Trump Election Commission Brings Fresh Criticism
New Hampshire officials do not roll out welcome mat

From left, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner at a meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity on Tuesday in Manchester, N.H. (Holly Ramer/AP)

A host of fresh criticism rained down on President Donald Trump’s commission on voter fraud Tuesday as it held its second meeting since the panel’s creation in May.

Most of the harshness was directed at Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican who led the meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in his capacity as vice chairman. Vice President Mike Pence, the panel’s chairman, was not present.

Russia Portfolio Comes in Handy for Senate Staffer
Shaheen aide Naz Durakoglu comes via Atlantic Council, State Dept., House

Naz Durakoglu is a senior foreign policy adviser to New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. (Screenshot, Middle East Institute)

Naz Durakoglu started her new job working for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in early June, shortly after the New Hampshire Democrat had pushed to add Russia sanctions to an Iran sanctions bill as it moved through the Foreign Relations Committee.

But after Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee said he would move ahead with a bipartisan effort to tighten sanctions against Moscow, Shaheen withdrew her amendments. The timing, though, put Durakoglu, as a senior foreign policy adviser to Shaheen, in the middle of discussions about how to respond to Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.

New Hampshire Lawmakers Not Thrilled With Trump’s 'Drug-Infested Den' Comments
State’s all-Democratic delegation blasts president for January remarks

President Donald Trump on the phone in the Oval Office on June 27. During a call with his Mexican counterpart that day, Trump said “drug lords in Mexico” are “knocking the hell out of our country.” (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New Hampshire lawmakers are criticizing President Donald Trump over reports that he referred to the Granite State as a “drug-infested den” to his Mexican counterpart.

“No, Mr. President, you’re wrong about New Hampshire — but you have failed to help us fight the opioid crisis. We need recovery facilities NOW. Stop attacking health care and make the investments you promised,” Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter said in a Facebook post about transcripts of a Jan. 27 telephone call between Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto that were published by The Washington Post on Thursday.

Trump Controls Key Funding Move in Health Care Fight
President could stop cost-sharing subsidy payments to insurers

President Donald Trump could choose to stop cost-sharing subsidy payments to health insurers. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

If President Donald Trump wants to “let Obamacare fail” as he says, there’s a ready way for him to give it a push.

So far, the Trump administration and House Republicans have agreed to keep frozen a case in a Washington appeals court over appropriations as part of a push to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. The case is left over from when House Republicans sued the Obama administration in 2014.

Sessions Declines to Testify About Any Conversations With Trump About Russia
Says potential exists for an executive privilege claim that has not happened

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is greeted by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.), right, and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., before his testimony on Tuesday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

BY JOHN T. BENNETT AND NIELS LESNIEWSKI, CQ ROLL CALL

Attorney General Jeff Sessions declined to answer questions Tuesday about conversations with President Donald Trump, citing the potential that the White House could assert executive privilege — which has not yet happened.

White House Doesn’t Deny Trump ‘Considering’ Firing Mueller
Official merely says Trump confidant ‘did not speak to the president’

A confidant of Donald Trump says the president is considering firing Robert Mueller as special counsel looking into Russia's election meddling. The White House did not deny the report late Monday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Updated at 9:17 a.m. The White House is not flatly denying that Donald Trump is considering firing Robert Mueller as the Justice Department’s special counsel investigating Russia’s election meddling.

But a White House official late Monday did try to distance Trump from Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy, who told a PBS news program earlier in the evening that Trump is “considering” firing Mueller.

Word on the Hill: Moose on the Loose
Save the date for softball

Last year, staffers Scott Merrick, left, and Kevin Travaline moved a stuffed bear into position next to a stuffed moose in Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s lobby in the Hart Senate Office Building. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is keeping up an annual New Hampshire tradition at the Capitol, along with her fellow Granite State Democrats, Sen. Maggie Hassan, and Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster.

This afternoon, food and beverages from New Hampshire’s restaurants and breweries will be shared at the eighth annual Experience New Hampshire Reception. The biggest hits of all, though, are the stuffed moose and bear, which were carted into the Russell Building by Shaheen staffers yesterday for the event.

Democrats Eye Iran Debate for Vote on Russia Sanctions
Iran sanctions measure could get bogged down

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker could move to head off Democrats' attempts to force a vote on Russia sanctions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats may use floor debate this week on an Iran sanctions measure to try to force a vote on legislation that would impose harsh sanctions on Moscow as punishment for its alleged interference in last year’s presidential elections.

Democrats’ exact strategy for securing a Russia sanctions vote was still developing Tuesday, with Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker trying to forestall them a little longer.