Politics

Democratic Memo Defends Investigation into Alleged Russia-Trump Campaign Links
Heavily redacted document challenges Republican criticism of FBI, DOJ

House Intelligence ranking member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said that a Democratic memo released Saturday confirms the FBI acted appropriately during its investigation into links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The FBI investigation into “links between the Russian government and Trump campaign association” was based on “troubling law enforcement and intelligence information” unrelated to a controversial dossier compiled by a former British spy, a Democratic memo released Saturday asserts.

The 10-page memo was a response to a declassified memo compiled by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif. — released more than three weeks ago with President Donald Trump’s blessing — that alleged possibly illegal and misleading “interactions with the Foreign Surveillance Court.”

Latest Twist in Russia Investigation Involves Unnamed Member of Congress
Rick Gates’ pleaded guilty to lying about meeting that matched dinner with Rohrabacher

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse after a court hearing on the conditions of his release on Nov. 6, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The wide-ranging investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign took an unexpected diversion to Capitol Hill on Friday, when former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about a meeting between his boss Paul Manafort and an unnamed member of Congress.

Gates admitted, according to court documents, that the 2013 meeting was part of a secret multimillion-dollar lobbying campaign for the Ukrainian government and its Russian-backed president, Viktor Yanukovych. Gates also pleaded guilty to conspiring with Manafort to hide the millions of dollars they were paid by the Ukrainian government.

White House Locked Down After Vehicle Rams Barrier
Incident occured at 17th & E Streets, NW

“Restricted Area Do Not Enter” signs on barricades in front of the White House fence are intended to help deter fence jumpers. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House complex was locked down Friday — with the Australian prime minister still inside its tall black gates — after a vehicle crashed into a security barrier.

Cable news networks captured images of uniformed U.S. Secret Service Agents walking in the middle of Washington’s 17th St. NW on the west side of the White House campus holding their firearms, fingers off but all positioned near the triggers.

Analysis: Australian Leader Hits Trump With Charm Offensive
Turnbull eager to repair strained relations, boost economic cooperation

Before a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, President Donald Trump addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort in Oxon Hill, Md., on February 23, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS | Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull went with flattery, lavishing Donald Trump with praise and using the U.S. president’s own rhetoric as he tried to repair a once-strained relationship.

Turnbull delivered his message about U.S.-Aussie “mateship” during a joint press conference at the White House during which Trump revealed he will delegate a final decision on whether his son-in-law will continue to get classified information, despite his inability to qualify for a security clearance. He also said he detects a “movement” among lawmakers to pass legislation to prevent future school shootings.

Freedom Caucus Chairman: ‘If We Cave the American People Will Remember It’
Meadows says he’s not concerned about who the speaker is but GOP needs to ‘show real leadership’

House Freedom Caucus leaders Mark Meadows, R-N.C., left, and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, are pushing their leadership to pass a conservative immigration bill. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“Show real leadership.”

That was House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows’s message for House Republican leaders Friday, as he and former HFC chairman Jim Jordan took the stage at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

Trump at CPAC: ‘Lock Her Up,’ ‘The Snake’ — and Hiding the Bald Spot
Democrats want to ‘take away your Second Amendment,’ POTUS says

President Donald Trump arrives to address the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort in Oxon Hill, Mayland, on Friday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The crowd chanted “lock her up!” Donald Trump gleefully veered off-script, saying his prepared speech was “a little boring.” He depicted undocumented immigrants as “the snake” that inevitably will deliver a “vicious bite” to American citizens.

And he told the crowd he tries “like hell” to hide a bald spot on his head.

DCCC Unloads on Democratic Candidate in Texas
Laura Moser is running in a crowded primary in competitive 7th District

Texas Democrat Laura Moser is drawing heat from her own party over concerns about her viability as a general election candidate. (Courtesy Laura Moser for Congress/Facebook)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is openly rejecting a Democratic candidate in Texas, releasing research Thursday night that accused her of being a “Washington insider” just over one week before the primary. 

Laura Moser is running in the crowded March 6 primary in the Houston-based 7th District. Democrats are targeting nine-term Republican incumbent John Culberson’s suburban seat this year, after Hillary Clinton carried the district by 1 point in 2016.

Doctor In Menendez Corruption Case Gets 17 Years in Prison
Florida eye doctor defrauded Medicare of $73 million

New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez said in December he still communicates closely with eye doctor Salomon Melgen. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced the Florida eye doctor linked to New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez’s dropped corruption case to 17 years in prison for defrauding Medicare and stealing $73 million from the system.

Salomon Melgen was sentenced in court for 67 crimes, including health care fraud, submitting false claims and falsifying records in patients’ files.

Trump: Deputy Who Stayed Outside During Florida Shooting a ‘Coward’
President wants ‘offensive power’ inside schools to take down gunmen

People are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school that reportedly killed and injured multiple people on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Numerous law enforcement officials continue to investigate the scene. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump dubbed an armed Florida sheriff’s deputy who remained outside the Parkland, Florida,  high school where 17 people were gunned down last week a “coward.”

Scot Peterson, a Broward County sheriff's deputy, was at the high school when a 19-year-old former student entered with an AR-15 assault rifle and began firing. Peterson, local law enforcement officials said Thursday, did not go inside to confront the gunman. Peterson has resigned.

Candidate for Trent Franks’ Seat Admits He Received Nude Picture
Steve Montenegro said he alerted wife when topless photo of junior legislative staffer came in

Arizona House candidate Steve Montenegro said Thursday he did not have an inappropriate relationship with a staffer who sent him topless photos. (SteveMontenegro.com)

Republican congressional candidate Steve Montenegro, who is running to replace disgraced Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, copped to receiving a topless photograph of a junior state legislative staffer, but said he did nothing inappropriate.

The admission came less than 72 hours after he called initial media reports of the racy exchange “false tabloid trash.”

Bernie Sanders’ Son Weighing House Run in New Hampshire
New Hampshire Democrats conflicted over ‘carpetbagger’

Levi Sanders, right, arrived with Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane Sanders at a primary night rally in Essex Junction, Vermont. in 2016. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP file photo)

Levi Sanders, son of 2016 presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, is considering a run in New Hampshire's First District.

“Oh, absolutely. I’m definitely considering it. I’m excited, motivated and interested in the race,” Sanders told Vice News Thursday. “I’m just dotting my I’s and crossing my T’s.”

At the Races: Desert Drama
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

The primary in the race to replace GOP Rep. Trent Franks is Tuesday. Franks resigned in December amid allegations of sexual harassment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thanks for subscribing to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. Sign up here. We want to hear what you think. Send us your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

House Cancels Votes for Billy Graham to Lie in Honor in Capitol Rotunda
Senate will remain in session Wednesday and Thursday

Hawaii Sen. Daniel K. Inouye lies in state on Dec. 20, 2012, on Capitol Hill. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is shortening its Feb. 26 work week, canceling votes that Wednesday and Thursday, for the late Rev. Billy Graham to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.

“As is traditional, votes are no longer expected in the House on Wednesday, February 28, or Thursday, March 1,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office announced. “Last votes next week will now occur during the evening hours of Tuesday, February 27.”

‘Harden’ Schools to Combat Shooters, Trump Says
Calls for offensive measures, training and arming teachers

Washington, D.C., area students and supporters protest against gun violence outside the White House on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump wants to “harden” schools to secure them like banks, but the security guards he envisions would be teachers and other school employees.

For the second consecutive day, the president pitched the notion of giving firearms and specialized training to some teachers and school staffers so they could combat individuals who enter schools with the intent of killing people. He further drove home that he opposes existing laws allowing individuals under the age of 21 to purchase assault rifles.

Protesters Flock to Lawmakers’ District Offices for Gun Control
Parkland school shooting reignites gun debate, high schoolers take frontlines

Students calling for Congress to act on gun control demonstrate on the east lawn of the Capitol on February 21, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As more than a thousand high schoolers from the Washington, D.C., area marched from Capitol Hill to the White House to protest for more gun control Wednesday, Americans all over the country joined from afar.

From Upstate New York down to the Florida panhandle, protesters gathered outside conservative lawmakers’ state and district offices to call for legislative action to prevent deadly shootings and pressure members not to accept money from pro-gun lobbying groups.