Politics

The Investigations Trump Can’t Stop
Presidential pardons offer no protection from state prosecutions

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has spearheaded several investigations into the financial interests of Donald Trump and people close to him. (Courtesy Schneiderman’s office)

President Donald Trump might be able to pardon everyone he wants — possibly even himself. But that would not end his legal troubles.

Trump already fired FBI Director James B. Comey amid an investigation into allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russia. He has attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions, raising questions about whether he intends to try to remove Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel appointed by the Justice Department to head the Russia probe.

Some GOP Skepticism of Sending Obamacare Repeal to Conference
Questions about what the ‘skinny’ bill would produce

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has some concerns about what may happen when the House and Senate go to conference on health care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Several senators are expressing skepticism about the emerging Republican plan to pass a bill rolling back “skinny” pieces of the 2010 health care law and then hope for a broader agreement in a conference committee with the House.

Kansas Republican Jerry Moran, who was one of the senators who came out against the broader Senate health care bill, told Roll Call he is concerned about entering a conference without a real Senate position.

At the Races: Wabash College, Swamp Critters and More
Decisions made and delayed in Nevada

Rep. Luke Messer, seen here in a family photo on the East Front of the Capitol, is running for the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the August recess nears, candidates and maybe-candidates are making decisions that set the stage for both upcoming special elections and the 2018 midterms.

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer announced on Wednesday he’s running for Senate.

Congress to Send Russia, Iran, North Korea Sanctions Bill to Trump
Measure expected to win overwhelming support in the Senate, again

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker said discussions with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy were “were productive.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bill to provide for new sanctions against three adversaries of the United States will be making its way to President Donald Trump’s desk before the August recess, after all.

House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement late Wednesday to get the sanctions legislation against Iran, Russia and North Korea through the Senate without further amendment, avoiding a potential clash with the House.

Rare Warning to Trump From Hill GOP Leader
Firing Sessions could poison president’s agenda in Senate, Cornyn says

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, right, says firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions could jeopardize President Donald Trump’s ability to “get anything else done.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate majority’s No. 2 leader has given President Donald Trump one of the strongest pushbacks from any Republican in Congress this year: Firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions could bring to a halt GOP cooperation with the administration’s legislative agenda.

“Well, it’s the president’s prerogative, but he is then going to jeopardize, potentially, his ability to get anything else done here,” Majority Whip John Cornyn told reporters Wednesday. “And I don’t think that should be his desire or preference.”

Brooks Suggests Sessions Could Return to Senate if GOP Candidates Drop Out
Alabama Republican criticizes “public waterboarding” of attorney general

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks criticized the “public waterboarding” of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks is calling on his fellow Republicans vying for the GOP nod for Senate to drop out of the special election race to allow Attorney General Jeff Sessions to return to the chamber.

“If all Republican candidates collectively agree to simultaneously withdraw from this race, then we clear the way for the Republican Party of Alabama to nominate Jeff Sessions to be the Republican nominee for the December 12, 2017 general election,” Brooks wrote in a Wednesday afternoon statement from his campaign. 

Trump, GOP Leaders Near Deal on Tax Principles

Sens. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, left, and John Cornyn, R-Texas, are part of a group that has been working on principles for the GOP effort on overhauling the tax code. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By ALAN K. OTA and LINDSEY MCPHERSON

Top Republican leaders said Wednesday they are close to a deal with the Trump administration on a broad set of tax goals that will guide overhaul efforts.

Veterans in Congress Criticize Trump’s Military Transgender Ban
Pushback against policy announcement is bipartisan

Sen. Tammy Duckworth called President Trump’s announcement banning transgender individuals from the military “discriminatory and counterproductive.”  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Veterans in Congress from across the political spectrum pushed back against President Donald Trump’s announcement banning transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military.

In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, Trump said that based on the advice of military experts, transgender individuals would no longer be allowed to “serve in any capacity in U.S. Military.” The president cited medical costs and unit disruption as part of his reasoning.

Senate Rejects Obamacare 'Repeal and Delay' Proposal
Updated 2015 proposal turned back as health care reconciliation debate continues

Sen. Rand Paul has championed the “repeal and delay” approach. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans on Wednesday were unable to garner the votes necessary to pass a measure to repeal large portions of the 2010 health law with a two-year delay.

Seven GOP senators joined with Democrats to sink the proposal, 45-55. The failure highlights the continued struggle Senate Republican leadership is facing in coalescing their conference around one health care proposal. Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rob Portman of Ohio voted no. 

Ron Johnson Targets Member Health Care in Obamacare Debate
Seeks vote on a plan reminiscent David Vitter quest

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson has an amendment regarding member health insurance benefits. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Ron Johnson is reviving a proposal to strip federal contributions for lawmakers’ health insurance on the exchanges set up by the 2010 health care law.

The Republican from Wisconsin filed the amendment to the pending health care reconciliation measure on Tuesday, and speaking Wednesday on a Milwaukee-based radio show, Johnson sounded intent on getting a vote as part of the process of unlimited amendments known as the vote-a-rama.

Key GOP Senators Mum on 'Skinny' Repeal Support

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn has said it is important to get to a conference committee with the House on health care legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Key Republican swing votes are withholding judgement on a plan from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass a “skinny” bill to repeal the 2010 health law in order to get to conference with the House.

That approach, however, has won early support from a number of GOP members, as Republicans look to try to continue a dialogue around a broader health care overhaul package after this week.

Scalise to Begin Rehab for Gunshot Wound
House majority whip discharged from hospital Tuesday, six weeks after shooting

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise spent six weeks in the hospital after sustaining a life-threatening gun-shot wound to the hip. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is set to begin “intensive inpatient rehabilitation” six weeks after he was shot in the hip during a congressional baseball practice in Virginia.

The Louisiana Republican, who sustained a life-threatening single rifle shot to the left hip, was discharged from MedStar Washington Hospital Center on Tuesday, the hospital said in a statement.

Organizations, Activists React to Trump's Transgender Soldier Ban
Human Rights Campaign calls transgender ban an "all out assault on service members"

Then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announces the expanded policy of accepting transgender U.S. military service members in June 2016. (Allison Shelley/Getty Images file photo)

The LGBT rights organization the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) led the charge against President Donald Trump’s newly announced ban on transgender military service members Wednesday, calling it an “all out assault on service members.”

HRC said the ban would threaten more than 15,000 currently serving troops. Other estimates range from 4,000 to 6,000 members of the military.

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer Running for Senate
GOP primary candidates have already been sparring

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer announced he’s running for Senate on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:30 p.m. | Indiana Rep. Luke Messer announced on Wednesday he’s running for Senate.

In declaring his bid to challenge vulnerable Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly, the third-term Republican congressman tweeted, “We’re in!!” with a link to his new campaign site just before noon.

Brooks: ‘Swamp Critter’ McConnell Should Be Replaced
Alabama Senate hopeful slams majority leader, filibuster rules

Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks is among nine Republicans running for a safe GOP Senate seat in Alabama. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Mo Brooks attacked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday, saying he would vote to change how the chamber works if he wins the special election in Alabama.

McConnell “is a swamp critter,” Brooks told reporters at an event organized by the Heritage Foundation. Instead of “draining the swamp” as President Donald Trump has promised, McConnell is enabling old ways of doing business in Washington, Brooks said.