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.

Podcast: A Twist in the Gun Control Debate
CQ on Congress, Episode 92

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)

Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, wants Congress to toughen background checks, but not if it also means shielding more gun sellers from liability lawsuits.

Show Notes:

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.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Over Recess?
Kennedy on ‘The View,’ and a peek inside the political handicapping factory

David Clarke, former Milwaukee Sheriff, is interviewed during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort in Oxon Hill, Md., on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

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.”

Ratings Changes: 15 Races Shift Toward Democrats, 1 Toward Republicans
Democratic chances have improved beyond Pennsylvania

From left, Democrats Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Stephanie Murphy of Florida are looking more secure in their re-elections this fall, while, from right, Republicans Ted Budd and Mimi Walters may be more vulnerable. (Bill Clark/Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photos)

Less than eight months before Election Day, the midterm landscape is still taking shape. It’s still not clear whether Democrats will have a good night (and potentially fall short of a majority) or a historic night in the House that puts them well over the top. But mounting evidence nationally and at the district level points to a Democratic advantage in a growing number of seats.

Democratic prospects improved in a handful of seats in Pennsylvania, thanks to a new, court-ordered map. And the party’s successes in state and local elections over the last 14 months demonstrate a surge in Democratic voters, particularly in blue areas, that could be problematic for Republican candidates in the fall. GOP incumbents in districts Hillary Clinton carried in 2016 might be particularly susceptible to increased Democratic enthusiasm.

Administration Pushes Abstinence Promotion
Latest moves alarm reproductive rights advocates

Recording artist Ciara, center, performs in honor of National Teen Pregnancy Awareness Month in New York’s Times Square in 2011. (Jason Kempin/Getty Images file photo)

Recent administrative actions signal a shift from promoting comprehensive sexual health information to abstinence-only education, which concerns reproductive rights advocates who question abstinence promotion’s efficacy at preventing teen pregnancy.

The administration already announced last year the discontinuation of a teen pregnancy prevention, or TPP, program that funded grants to communities that study ways to prevent teens from getting pregnant and run prevention programs. The Department of Health and Human Services has promoted more abstinence-only alternatives and increasingly uses the phrase “sexual risk avoidance,” another term for abstinence, in materials.