Politics

Justice Department Issues Indictment for 2013 Congressional Trip to Azerbaijan
Feds allege nonprofit concealed that trip was funded by foreign government

A 2013 congressional delegation trip to Azerbaijan has resulted in an indictment being handed down to the head of the nonprofit, whom the government alleges concealed the source of funding for the journey. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Justice Department has issued an indictment of former non-profit head Kevin Oksuz for his role in a plot to hide the fact that a 2013 congressional delegation trip to Azerbaijan was funded by that country’s government.

According to the indictment, which was unsealed Monday, Kevin, also known as Kemal, Oksuz allegedly lied on disclosure forms filed with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics prior to, and following, a privately sponsored congressional trip to Azerbaijan. Oksuz ran a Houston based nonprofit that he is accused of using to funnel money to fund the congressional trip from an oil company controlled by the Azerbaijan government.

Thursday Could Be Most Consequential Day of Trump’s Tumultuous Tenure
Kavanaugh and accuser face senators as president meets with Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein

President Donald Trump speaks at the United Nations on Monday. When he returns to Washington, a big day awaits him on Thursday. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — Circumstance, confusion and chaos have collided to ensure Thursday will be one of the most consequential — and perhaps the most by a wide margin — days of the tumultuous Trump presidency.

Washington has rarely seen the kind of spectacle ahead in just a few days, and the inevitable ramifications will trigger ripple waves that will be immediately apparent but not fully known until voters head to the ballot box on Nov. 6. For President Donald Trump, the already high stakes seem to only grow by the day.

Kavanaugh Undeterred by Sexual Assault Allegations
Trump and Senate Republicans stood by him Monday

Protesters assemble at the Supreme Court on Monday to oppose the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after new allegations of sexual misconduct emerged. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans showed no signs of faltering in their support for embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who again insisted Monday that he wanted to clear his name at a public hearing this week after a second allegation of sexual misconduct emerged Sunday night.

As hundreds of protesters gathered at different spots on Capitol Hill to oppose his confirmation, Kavanaugh sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee to say he would not withdraw his nomination and looks forward to the hearing set for Thursday. The federal appeals court judge characterized allegations of sexual misconduct against him as “smears, pure and simple.”

Democratic Candidate for Tom Rooney’s Florida Seat Dies Unexpectedly
April Freeman was expected to face Republican Greg Steube in November

Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., is retiring after five terms. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

April Freeman, a Democrat who was running for retiring Rep. Tom Rooney’s Florida seat, has died unexpectedly, according to media reports Monday.

Her husband, David Freeman, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that his wife appeared to have had a heart attack Sunday night.

Location, Location, Location: Hearing With Kavanaugh's Accuser Could be in Tight Quarters (For Now)

Thursday's blockbuster hearing featuring Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser is scheduled to be in a tiny room, but that could change. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford are expected to testify Thursday in a tiny room before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  If the hearing is held in the small room as scheduled, there won't be much room for the public — including protesters — or reporters to watch the proceedings. But that could change. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on tap for Thursday is set to be in Dirksen 226, a small room that can accommodate lawmakers, a few staffers and a witness, but not much beyond that. The highly anticipated meeting is sure to draw enormous media attention and throngs of protesters.

Mitch McConnell Reaffirms Vow for Senate to Vote on Kavanaugh
Nothing, it seems, could keep the majority leader from giving the Supreme Court nominee a floor vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reaffirmed his vote to get Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh a floor vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:11 p.m. | Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not heard anything that should slow confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and is pledging to push ahead.

“Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. He was echoing comments he made Friday, before revelations of additional accusations of sexual assault were leveled at Kavanaugh on Sunday.

Democrats Pan Proposal to Limit Green Cards for Poor Immigrants
Administration touts rule as moving toward ‘merit-based’ immigration

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement that “those seeking to immigrate to the United States must show they can support themselves financially.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic lawmakers are criticizing a new rule proposed by the Trump administration that would make it harder for immigrants who receive public benefits to obtain green cards.

The 447-page proposed rule, unveiled by the Department of Homeland Security on Saturday, would expand the government’s ability to deny a green card — and eventual citizenship — to applicants deemed likely to rely on programs including Medicaid, Section 8 low-income housing, and food stamps. The proposed rule represents a significant step in the administration’s efforts to move toward a “merit-based” immigration system, rather than the family-based system currently in place.

Twitter Battles Over Kavanaugh Nomination Roar
Social media fuels partisan fire

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is at the center of a partisan Twitter war. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The political din over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination features the same kind of overheated rhetoric and partisanship of previous legendary confirmation fights. But this time, there is Twitter.

The preferred social media platform of President Donald Trump — the one that allows him to deliver his unfiltered message broadly and often shape the day’s media coverage — has introduced that same dynamic to the latest nomination for the high court, 280 characters at a time.

Judge Grants Duncan Hunter Legal Team More Time Ahead of Trial
Trial for California Republican now likely to take place after midterm elections

Rep. Duncan Hunter was granted more time before trial by a federal judge in San Diego. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

DCCC Cancels Airtime in Potential Sign of Trouble for Iowa’s Rod Blum
Move signals Democrats are confident in their challenger Abby Finkenauer

Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, is one of the most vulnerable House incumbents. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has canceled its television ad reservation in the race against Republican Rep. Rod Blum in Iowa’s 1st District, according to a media tracking firm, which could signal that Democrats are confident about flipping the seat.

Blum faces state Rep. Abby Finkenauer, whom Democrats tout as a top recruit. The DCCC’s decision, reported by the firm Medium Buying, signals Finkenauer might not need as much help, and the committee wants to spend its resources elsewhere. The DCCC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Former Rep. John Dingell Expects to Be Released From Hospital Soon
Longest serving member of Congress had a heart attack last week

Former Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., is expected to be released from the hospital as early as Tuesday following his heart attack last week. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Michigan Democratic Rep. John D. Dingell could be released from the hospital as early as Tuesday following his heart attack last week.

Dingell, 92, who retired at the end of 2015 as the longest serving member of Congress, announced his pending hospital release on Twitter on Monday in his usual joking style. 

Amid Reports of Rosenstein Firing, Democrats Want Vote to Protect Mueller
One Democrat suggest Judiciary hearing on Trump obstructing justice, GOP member wants Rosenstein to testify

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein arrives in the Capitol for a meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on the Russia investigation in May 24. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As news broke Monday morning that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was resigning or expecting to be fired, Democrats were quick to call for congressional action to protect the special counsel investigation that Rosenstein has managed. 

“With Rosenstein’s departure there is one less barrier protecting the Mueller investigation from President [Donald] Trump’s interference,” Florida Rep. Val Demings said in a statement. “Congress must take immediate steps to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law — which protects all of us — by shielding the Mueller investigation against President Trump’s obstruction."

Meet Noel Francisco, the Conservative Supreme Court Litigator Who Could Take Over Oversight of Mueller Investigation
Solicitor general is the next in line if Rod Rosenstein is ousted

From left to right, Justice Department nominees Noel Francisco to be solicitor general, Makan Delrahim to be an assistant attorney general in the Antitrust Division, and Steven Engel to be an assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel, raise their right hands as they are sworn in during their Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, on May 10, 2017. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

If Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is ousted Monday, oversight of the special counsel investigation of Russian activity will most likely fall to Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco.

Francisco, a former partner at the Jones Day law firm in Washington, is the next Senate-confirmed Justice Department official in line to oversee the probe led by Special Counsel Robert S. Muller. However, there is an open question about Francisco’s role in such a situation, because of a possible conflict dating from his time at Jones Day. 

White House: Rosenstein to Meet With Trump on Thursday
News reports had embattled DOJ deputy resigning, about to be fired, or resigning before he was fired

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had reportedly discussed using the 25th Amendment to oust President Donald Trump, according to a New York Times report last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will meet Thursday in Washington to discuss his future, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

“At the request of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he and President Trump had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories. Because the President is at the United Nations General Assembly and has a full schedule with leaders from around the world, they will meet on Thursday when the President returns to Washington, D.C.,” Sanders said. That could make Thursday quite a busy one, with the Senate Judiciary Committee set to hear from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman who has accused him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford. 

Gregg Harper, Retiring Congressman and Giddy New Grandpa
After five terms, Mississippi Republican is looking forward to more family time

Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., is not seeking a sixth term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Earlier this summer, Rep. Gregg Harper cleared his calendar to fly home for the birth of his first grandbaby — a little boy named Lee.

Speaking in his Rayburn Building office two weeks later, the Mississippi Republican pulled out his phone to flip through pictures.