Jeff Sessions

Capitol Hill Staff Is Sleepier Than Last Year, So Far
Survey shows staffers are working longer hours in the 115th Congress

Late nights are part of working on Capitol Hill, especially in the 115th Congress.

Cory Booker’s Mysterious Mission to Texas
New Jersey senator spent recent weekend visiting a private prison

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has been one of the leading voices of the congressional effort to overhaul the criminal justice system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As most of his colleagues headed home last weekend, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker spent Friday night on a journey to the center of the country.

After flying from Washington to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Feb. 10, one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party sat unnoticed at a charging station, at the far end of Terminal B, where small regional jets arrive and depart.

Chaffetz Wants Charges for Former Clinton Aide
Former State Department employee who set up private email server refused to testify

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, was criticized by ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who said apparently Chaffetz and President Donald Trump “are the only two people in Washington today who think we should still be investigating Secretary Clinton.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jason Chaffetz is seeking charges for a former State Department employee who helped Hillary Clinton set up her private email server.

Chaffetz, R-Utah, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking to convene a grand jury or charge Bryan Pagliano, The Associated Press reported.

Kamala Harris Aims for Influence as a Check on Trump
Even as a freshman, Calif. Democrat has started Senate career with a bang

California Sen. Kamala Harris has been sharply critical of President Donald Trump’s recent actions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Donald Trump received less than a third of the votes cast for president by California voters, and that’s something the state’s new senator, Kamala Harris, is well aware of.

Harris, the former state attorney general, had already spoken up on the Senate floor against the nominations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos by the time she gave her more traditional “maiden speech” Thursday. The freshman Democrat started by recounting how her mother, an Indian immigrant, chose to marry her Jamaican father in the U.S. instead of returning to India for an arranged marriage.

Pro-Pot Lawmakers to Join Forces, Launch Cannabis Caucus
Move comes amid uncertainty for state marijuana laws under Trump

Inventory including “Merry N’Berry” on display at the medical marijuana dispensary Takoma Wellness Center, in Washington, D.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers looking to draw attention to pet issues have formed groups in favor of everything from auto care to zoos. Now, there’s a caucus for cannabis. 

Rep. Earl Bluemenauer said the move — to be announced at a press conference Thursday — is a sign of how mainstream the drive for marijuana legalization has become.

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.

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.

The Other ‘Steve’ in the White House
Stephen Miller’s influence goes beyond his years, experience

Some in the media have called advisers Steve Bannon, left, and Stephen Miller — seen here at a meeting with President Donald Trump — the Breitbart wing of the White House. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

He hasn’t been parodied on “Saturday Night Live” or pictured on the cover of Time magazine. But Stephen Miller, a 31-year-old former congressional aide, has rapidly emerged as one of the more influential figures in President Donald Trump’s White House. 

Miller, Trump’s senior policy adviser, works alongside his higher-profile counterpart Steve Bannon, the former head of the far-right Breitbart News. The president has affectionately dubbed the duo “my two Steves.” Some in the media have termed the pair the Breitbart wing of the White House.

The Rules That Stopped Elizabeth Warren Are Waiting for Donald Trump, Too
Senate norms have never been more important in our democracy

Under Senate rules, President Donald Trump’s proposals will have to get through the chamber based on the merits of his policies, not the volume of his arguments, Murphy writes. Senators are seen here at the president’s inauguration last month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rule 19 had its close-up this week, didn’t it? To be specific, Section 3 of Rule 19, did, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell informed Sen. Elizabeth Warren that she had “impugned the motives and conduct” of her fellow senator, Jeff Sessions, when she read a letter that Coretta Scott King had written about him many years ago.

When Warren was told, “The senator shall take her seat,” she took the Coretta Scott King letter, marched a few feet off the Senate floor, and took a different seat in front of a Facebook Live feed that went out to millions. The standoff launched a battle cry for any woman who has ever felt marginalized, belittled or silenced — which, by the way, is nearly all of us. A thousand hashtags bloomed. #SheWasWarned #ShePersisted #LetLizSpeak. You get the picture.

Photos of the Week: Pence Casts Historic Vote, Gorsuch to the Hill and Warren Reads King
The week of Feb. 6 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Protesters gather in Upper Senate Park at the Capitol on Monday to call on senators to reject Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By BILL CLARK and TOM WILLIAMS CQ Roll Call

A busy week in the Capitol was marked by several historic moments, including the first time a vice president has cast a tiebreaker vote on a cabinet nomination. The Senate, in protest of several of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees, was in session for more than two days. The late night session made headlines when Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren was silenced as she read a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King about Attorney General Jeff Sessions.