Ethics Committee investigating Alcee Hastings relationship with staffer
Hastings is the third member or delegate since October that has been investigated for an alleged sexual relationship with a subordinate

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., is under Ethics Committee scrutiny for a relationship with a subordinate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday it is investigating Rep. Alcee L. Hastings and whether his relationship with a staffer, Patricia Williams, violates rules that forbid members from having sexual relationships with any subordinates in the House.

“I have cooperated with the Committee since May 14, 2019. As they continue to conduct their work, I stand ready to fully cooperate with their inquiry,” the Florida Democrat said in a statement.

Justice Department requests Ethics Committee deferral on Rep. Spano case
Tlaib and Huizenga cases still under consideration; details emerge in newly released documents

The Justice Department requested that the House Ethics Committee defer action on a case involving Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla.(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ethics Committee released on Thursday the Office of Congressional Ethics referral documents for cases regarding Reps. Bill Huizenga, Ross Spano and Rashida Tlaib, deferring consideration of the Spano case at the request of the Justice Department.

The Office of Congressional Ethics first referred the three cases to the House Ethics panel on Aug. 16. The OCE is a nonpartisan entity that reviews allegations of misconduct involving House staff and lawmakers and refers cases to the House Ethics Committee with recommendations for further review or dismissal.

Capitol Police sexual discrimination trial in the hands of jury
Department admits it ‘messed up’ procedure, but defends firing former officer

Former Chief Matthew Verderosa said at trial last week that the department had a systemic failure when it came to completing quarterly reports for new officers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Summing up his client’s argument she was fired by the Capitol Police when a superior officer found out she talked to internal investigators about alleged sexual harassment, attorney R. Scott Oswald left the jury with a question Thursday.

Why would her assistant chief tell Chrisavgi Sourgoutsis to put disciplinary matters in the past, and that she could get back vacation time that had been frozen if she did, when the department was planning to fire her?

States in the Midwest with outsize roles in the 2020 elections
Rust Belt states helped decide the presidency, and have numerous competitive races for House, Senate

Republican Sen. Joni Ernst’s reelection is one of several that make Iowa at battleground state in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If there’s an abiding lesson from 2016, it’s that national public opinion in the presidential race is not as important as the votes of individual states. Republican Donald Trump won by taking 304 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 227, even as Clinton beat him by 2.9 million votes and 2.1 percentage points nationally.

In 2020, Democrats will be looking to recapture states Trump won that went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And many of those states will also be prime battlegrounds in the fight for control of the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of four seats to take a majority (three if they win the White House and the vice president can break 50-50 ties), while Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to retake the House.

States in the East with outsize roles in the 2020 elections
Pennsylvania remains a presidential battleground, while Collins bid in Maine will be closely watched

Maine Sen. Susan Collins is a Republican running in a state that voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016, but she has a strong personal brand that will help her if she seeks another term as expected in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If there’s an abiding lesson from 2016, it’s that national public opinion in the presidential race is not as important as the votes of individual states. Republican Donald Trump won by taking 304 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 227, even as Clinton beat him by 2.9 million votes and 2.1 percentage points nationally.

In 2020, Democrats will be looking to recapture states Trump won that went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And many of those states will also be prime battlegrounds in the fight for control of the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of four seats to take a majority (three if they win the White House and the vice president can break 50-50 ties), while Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to retake the House.

In the West, an outsize role for Texas in the 2020 elections
Battles for Senate and numerous House seats will drive interest in Lone Star State

Sen. John Cornyn’s reelection and a handful of House seats where Republicans have retired make Texas one of the key states to watch next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If there’s an abiding lesson from 2016, it’s that national public opinion in the presidential race is not as important as the votes of individual states. Republican Donald Trump won by taking 304 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 227, even as Clinton beat him by 2.9 million votes and 2.1 percentage points nationally.

In 2020, Democrats will be looking to recapture states Trump won that went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And many of those states will also be prime battlegrounds in the fight for control of the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of four seats to take a majority (three if they win the White House and the vice president can break 50-50 ties), while Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to retake the House.

Suddenly, Ken Cuccinelli is No. 2 at DHS
The immigration hardliner became acting deputy secretary after Chad Wolf sworn in as acting DHS chief

Ken Cuccinelli is moving into the role of acting deputy secretary at the Homeland Security Department. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Shortly after being sworn in as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf — who the Senate confirmed as the agency's policy undersecretary just hours earlier — conducted his first order of business. 

He moved Ken Cuccinelli, a favorite of immigration hardliners, into the No. 2 position. 

Mnuchin emerges, again, as key player in budget talks
Treasury secretary reprises role he played when he helped broker July agreement

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is again surfacing as the Trump administration’s liaison with Congress in spending negotiations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats protest, but Senate confirms Steven Menashi to federal appeals court
Nominee for Second Circuit described as ‘bottom crawler’ by Democratic leader

Steven J. Menashi was confirmed to the federal bench on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The man Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer described as a “bottom crawler” was confirmed Thursday to a lifetime appointment on the federal appeals court based in his home state of New York.

Schumer and other Democrats have opposed many of President Donald Trump’s nominees to be federal judges that have been called up for votes by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. But the opposition to Steven J. Menashi has been more voracious than for most.

Trump's Energy nominee bats away questions about Perry and Ukraine
Brouillette also tells confirmation hearing about mining potential of the Arctic

Dan Brouillette, nominee to be Secretary of Energy, walks to the witness table after speaking with committee members before the start of his confirmation hearing Thursday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s nominee to become secretary of Energy distanced himself Thursday from the House impeachment inquiry of the president, telling senators he does not have direct knowledge of efforts to overhaul the board of a Ukrainian government-owned energy firm.

Speaking at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Dan Brouillette, the No. 2 at DOE, said he was aware Secretary Rick Perry met with people interested in changing the corporate structure of Naftogaz, the Ukrainian company.

Pelosi sidesteps using Trump’s name in discussing funding talks
At weekly presser, speaker refers to ‘the administration,’ not president or White House

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, pictured talking to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer during the Democrats news conference on Tuesday, indicated Thursday that she doesn’t want President Donald Trump to be involved in appropriations negotiations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday went out of her way to avoid acknowledging President Donald Trump and the White House when asked about appropriations negotiations, as a Nov. 21 deadline to continue funding the government approaches. 

At her weekly press conference, a reporter asked Pelosi about her working relationship with the White House, noting that Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution the same week the House is conducting hearings to determine whether Trump should be impeached.

One of Government Publishing Office’s most important customers might soon be in charge
Hugh Halpern has confirmation hearing to be GPO director

Hugh Halpern, nominee to serve as director of the Government Publishing Office, testified at the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Not every nominee shows up for a confirmation hearing ready to show off his own personal copy of the House Manual. Then again, not every nominee is Hugh Halpern.

Halpern, the longtime Republican staff director of the House Rules Committee and subsequently director of floor operations for Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, is President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the Government Publishing Office.

Watch: Rodney Davis and Eleanor Holmes Norton show off their scooter skills (or lack thereof)
Holmes Norton is an advocate for allowing electric scooters on the Capitol campus

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton tries out an e-scooter at a Capitol Hill safety demonstration on Wednesday. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., attended an e-scooter safety demonstration on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon, hosted by the Micromobility Coalition. Holmes Norton is an advocate of allowing e-scooters on the Capitol campus.

“Let’s bring the Congress into the 21st century,” she said Wednesday.

New Trump call emerges in Taylor's testimony

William Taylor, the senior U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, testifies Wednesday at the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

William Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, on Wednesday told members of the House Intelligence Committee that he had recently learned about a July 26 phone call between President Donald Trump and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

Taylor told the committee that one of his aides asked Sondland after the phone call about the president’s thoughts on Ukraine. Sondland replied, “President Trump cares more about the investigations of [former Vice President Joe] Biden,” according to Taylor’s account of the aide’s conversation.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 14
Each side’s impeachment strategy emerges in first day of hearings; Pelosi invites Trump to testify

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and other House Republicans conduct a news conference after the first day of impeachment inquiry public hearings on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Two central figures in the new evidence linking President Donald Trump more closely to the U.S.’s request for Ukraine to investigate the president’s political rivals are scheduled to testify before lawmakers in the coming days.

Acting Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor told lawmakers in the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday that one of his aides overheard Trump asking Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland over the phone about the status of “the investigations” just a day after his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.