Robert W Goodlatte

Sessions Defends His Reputation in First House Testimony
“I will not accept, and reject accusations I have ever lied”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions arrives to testify before a House Judiciary hearing Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions vigorously defended himself Tuesday against “false charges” that he was untruthful in previous testimony about his role in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and any connections to Russian operatives.

“I will not accept, and reject accusations I have ever lied,” Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee during an oversight hearing stretching for five-and-a-half hours. “That is a lie.”

Sessions Defends His Reputation in First House Testimony
‘I will not accept, and reject accusations I have ever lied’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is sworn into a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on oversight of the Department of Justice on November 14, 2017, where he fielded questions on Russian meddling in the 2016 election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions vigorously defended himself Tuesday against “false charges” that he was untruthful in previous testimony about his role in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and any connections to Russian operatives.

“I will not accept, and reject accusations I have ever lied,” Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee during an oversight hearing lasting more than 5 hours. “That is a lie.”

Virginia’s Bob Goodlatte Not Running for Re-Election
Goodlatte is term-limited as Judiciary Committee chairman

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte will not seek re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia announced Thursday he will not seek a 14th term.

“With my time as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee ending in December 2018, this is a natural stepping-off point and an opportunity to begin a new chapter of my career and spend more time with my family, particularly my granddaughters,” the Republican said in a statement

New Foreign Surveillance Bill Would Boost Privacy Protections
Top House Judiciary leaders reached decision last week

House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte and ranking member John Conyers Jr. introduced the so-called USA Liberty Act on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte and the panel’s top Democrat Rep. John Conyers Jr. reached agreement last week on a new bill that would tighten privacy protections in a surveillance law considered vital by U.S. intelligence agencies.

The bill’s attempt to shore up civil liberties runs contrary to what the White House and intelligence agencies have sought, and is likely to face opposition from a group of national security hawks in the Senate who back the Trump administration position.

White House Rolls Out Immigration Bill Demands but Top Democrats Object
List of asks closely aligns with Trump’s ‘America First’ philosophy

Immigration rights activists rally in Dupont Circle in Washington on May 1. The White House rolled out its demands for a broad immigration bill on Sunday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Trump administration on Sunday evening unveiled a sweeping list of demands for immigration overhaul legislation that Congress is slated to take up by early next year. But senior Democrats are already signaling the White House’s demands could sink any such bill.

Senior White House and administration officials told reporters on a hastily arranged call that President Donald Trump wants an immigration bill he set in motion last month to include funding for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, provisions aimed at cracking down on the flow of minors from Central and South America, a new merit-based legal immigration system and changes to the federal grant program for so-called “sanctuary cities.”

This Senator Has Gotten Two Audiences with Trump in Four Days
Monday dinner focused on border security, immigration system changes

Sen. Tom Cotton boards a shuttle bus that transported senators to the White House on April 26. Cotton has met with President Donald Trump at the executive mansion twice this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One lawmaker who could be crucial to Donald Trump’s goal of signing an immigration overhaul bill into law met twice with the president at the White House this week. But it wasn’t Speaker Paul D. Ryan or Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, or the chairmen of the House or Senate Homeland Security or Judiciary committees.

It wasn’t even Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, perhaps the senior-most Republican senator with much at stake from an immigration bill since he represents Texas and its 1,240-mile border with Mexico. Rather, it was the relatively junior GOP senator who hails from thousands of miles from the border: Arkansas’s Tom Cotton.

Word on the Hill: Ayotte Joins Bono’s Board
Weekend plans?

Former New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who helped shepherd the Supreme Court confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch earlier this year, has joined the ONE Campaign. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., joined the board of the ONE Campaign, an organization co-founded by U2 frontman Bono

The ONE Campaign bills itself as focusing on fighting poverty and extreme diseases. 

Congress Braces for Tense Debate on Surveillance Law
Spy agencies argue for permanent reauthorization of FISA amendments

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is sponsoring legislation to reauthorize the 2012 FISA amendments with no sunsets. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers are facing a potentially bruising fight over a surveillance law that expires Dec. 31 and must be extended in time to preserve what U.S. spy agencies consider a vital piece of their arsenal.

Congress has to extend the 2012 FISA Amendments Act, which will pit the Trump administration and national security hawks in Congress who favor a permanent reauthorization with no changes, against lawmakers of both parties, libertarians, privacy advocates and communications companies seeking to tighten protections for U.S. persons whose communications may get caught up in the wide electronic net cast by spy agencies.

Top Ethics Democrat Gets Pushed to Do More Against Trump
Ted Deutch town hall got interesting when Emoluments Clause came up

Rep. Ted Deutch met with constituents in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday. (Niels Lesniewski/CQ Roll Call)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — You might expect a congressional town hall in a safely Democratic district to be a relatively staid affair. And you would be correct, until one woman near the front of the conference space at a municipal recreation complex here in South Florida stood up to ask the ranking Democrat on the House Ethics Committee about enforcement of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.

Citing reports about the roughly $60,000 in golf cart rental fees incurred by the Secret Service at facilities including President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in nearby Palm Beach, the questioner asked, “I want to know why everyone in this administration is thumbing their nose at my Emoluments Clause. Why are they getting rich?”

For Bobby Scott, a District Carved in Calm
Virginia Democrat takes business-as-usual approach, absent political rhetoric

Virginia Rep. Robert C. Scott speaks to attendees at a town hall in Norfolk on Monday. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call)

NORFOLK, Va. — At a recent town hall here in Virginia’s second most populous city, Rep. Robert C. Scott patiently took questions from more than two dozen residents waiting in line. The queue stretched to the very back of a high school auditorium with some standing for the entire portion of the two-hour public meeting.

Absent was the rancor that has dominated town halls across the country this year — mostly those held by congressional Republicans facing angry crowds, upset over changes the GOP wants to make to the 2010 health care law and expressing steadfast opposition to Donald Trump’s presidency.