Michael D Crapo

Democrats’ Absence Not Halting Procession of Trump Judicial Nominees
Recess week hearing features two nominees for the Ninth Circuit

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch has been a regular participant in the Judiciary Committee hearings during the Senate recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For the second week in a row, no Senate Democrats made the trip back to D.C. to question a slate of President Donald Trump’s nominees for lifetime appointments to the federal bench, but their boycott is not impeding the GOP’s ability to line up those nominees for confirmation by the end of the year. 

Sen. Michael D. Crapo of Idaho presided over the hearing, which also featured an appearance by former Chairman Orrin G. Hatch of Utah. Democrats have decried the unusual recess hearings as a further erosion of senatorial courtesy and an indication of Republicans’ desire to ram through judges regardless of institutional protocol.

Even Without Democrats, Trump Judicial Nominee Gets Some Tough Questions
Sen. John Kennedy asked about Allison Jones Rushing’s experience for appeals court

Allison Jones Rushing, nominee to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit, testified Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t make the trip back to Capitol Hill to question one of President Donald Trump’s federal appellate picks Wednesday.

But that doesn’t mean she got away without some tough questions.

K Street Turns Its Lonely Eyes to Grassley
Republican holds the key to cascading possibilities, from Judiciary to Finance to Banking

Will Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, make the leap to head the Finance Committee next year? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Fresh off a divisive Supreme Court battle, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has a complicated decision to make next month that has the business world watching with keen interest: whether to make the jump over to the Finance Committee chairmanship in the 116th Congress.

“Ask me Nov. 7,” was all the Iowa Republican would say earlier this week on the topic. But the allure of returning to the helm of perhaps the most powerful committee in Congress, with jurisdiction over taxes, trade and health care policy, can’t be lost on Grassley, who was Finance chairman for part of 2001 and again from 2003 through 2006.

From Soft Certainty to Roaring Indignation, Kavanaugh Hearing Was Study in Contrasts
“This is not a good process, but it’s all we got,” Sen. Jeff Flake says

Rachel Mitchell, counsel for Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans, questions Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday as, from left, Sens. Michael D. Crapo, R-Idaho, Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, listen during the hearing on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

Senators got two irreconcilable accounts Thursday about whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually attacked a girl when he was in high school, setting up a pitched partisan showdown about whether that allegation and others that have surfaced this week are enough to derail his confirmation.

First, Christine Blasey Ford, in a soft but certain tone, told the Senate Judiciary Committee she is “100 percent” certain it was Kavanaugh who pinned her to a bed and covered her mouth as he sexually attacked her at a high school gathering decades ago.

Jeff Flake Straddling the Fence on Kavanaugh Ahead of Friday Vote
Arizona Republican isn’t committing to supporting Supreme Court nominee

Sen. Michael D. Crapo, R-Idaho, left, and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., listen Thursday as Christine Blasey Ford testifies during the Senate Judiciary hearing on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

Sen. Jeff Flake, seen as a key swing vote who could either put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court or kill his chances, is not committing to voting for the nominee at a Friday morning Judiciary Committee markup.

The Arizona Republican sounded very conflicted Thursday evening following a meeting of the Senate Republican Conference after the Judiciary panel spent nearly nine hours Thursday hearing from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her at a party decades ago when they were both in high school. 

The Ford Hearing in Photos: Kavanaugh’s Nomination Process Continues as Accuser Testifies
Thursday, Sept. 27, in photos as captured on Capitol Hill

Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Thursday. He was called back to testify about claims by Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (POOL Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The eyes of the world are on Capitol Hill on Thursday as Christine Blasey Ford testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on her accusations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when both were in high school.

We’ll post the entire day in photos here, with the most recent appearing first:

Senators Cheer Trump Order on Election Meddling, but Want More Action
Democrats, especially, are skeptical of president’s commitment

Banking Chairman Michael D. Crapo and ranking Democrat Sherrod Brown have been holding a series of hearings on Russia sanctions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators are pleased to see the Trump administration doing something about election interference, but they don’t think Wednesday’s executive order will be enough.

Some of the concern comes from the fact that even if federal agencies report evidence of Russian evidence to interfere in the 2018 midterms, President Donald Trump could still waive the imposition of sanctions.

Trump’s Controversial Pick for Banking Watchdog Clears First Hurdle
All eyes may be on Kavanaugh, but Kathy Kraninger nomination is kicking up dust too

Kathy Kraninger is one step closer to a floor vote on her nomination to lead the CFPB. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

The Senate Banking Committee advanced Thursday the controversial nomination of Kathy Kraninger to be director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The vote split on party lines, 13-12. 

The panel’s chairman, Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, said Kraninger was “well prepared” to lead the bureau, and that it’s no surprise her nomination is contentious because the CFPB was the most disputed aspect of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act financial overhaul. 

Fate of Wall Street Watchdog Devolves Into a Squabble Over Acronyms
To many, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the CFPB. Conservatives say that doesn’t even exist

Progressives are already upset with CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney. Now they have something else to be angry about: semantics. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Only in Washington would an argument erupt over a federal agency’s acronym.

To progressives, the agency is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or the CFPB, which took on Wall Street and won compensation for more than 27 million consumers during its startup years under former Director Richard Cordray.

Campaign Committee Chairmen Collaborating on Election Security
Concern about Russian interference makes allies out of traditional foes

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., issued a warning to Russian interests seeking to influence the election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The chairmen of the Senate Republican and Democratic campaign committees have spoken at length about election security and the potential for Russian active measures against the 2018 midterms.

“In terms of meddling with the election ... I’ve had long conversations with Chris Van Hollen about this. This is an unacceptable activity by the Russians — or anyone, for that matter — but we certainly want to do everything we can to protect the elections of integrity coming up in 2018,” National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Cory Gardner of Colorado said. “This is not a partisan issue.”