Jeff Cirillo

How Joe Barton Struck Out
Retiring Texas Republican was thwarted by his own political instincts

Leadership be damned, Rep. Joe L. Barton thought. He knew he was right, and as soon as he was convinced of that, hardly anything in the world could move him.

Just a few months into his first term, the Texas Republican was angling for something between protest and revolution. House Democrats had voted to declare themselves the winner of a contested Indiana House race — in Republicans’ eyes, a theft. While his own party’s leadership urged restraint, Barton fumed.

Ted Poe’s Final Courtroom Drama
Retiring Texas congressman leaves unfinished fight for victims of crime

Within minutes of sitting down behind the desk in his Capitol Hill office, Rep. Ted Poe dashed back out the door for his appointment with an FBI agent down the hall.

The congressional inquiry into Peter Strzok, accused of political bias in investigating ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, was plastered across every screen in the office suite, if not the whole building. 

6 Times Things Got Physical on the Campaign Trail
Davis campaign aide latest to cross the line

Levi Lovell, campaign field director for Illinois Republican Rep. Rodney Davis, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after chasing the congressman’s Democratic opponent, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, around a local bar.

Amid all the heat and pressure of an election year, political disputes hardly ever get physical — until they do.

Rep. Meng: Amend Constitution to Lower Voting Age to 16
The last constitutional amendment was passed in 1992

New York Democratic Rep. Grace Meng introduced an amendment to the Constitution to lower the nationwide voting age to 16 years old.

The 26th Amendment — passed in 1971 — guarantees the right to vote to eligible citizens who are 18 years old or older, which shifted the voting age down from 21. Meng’s legislation would rewrite the amendment to include 16- and 17-year-olds in federal, state and local elections.

Space Force: Trump Drives New Partisan Split Over Old Issue
Democrats and Republicans divided on proposal, new poll says

Its cool science-fiction title alone practically oozes nostalgia for the starbound adventures of American astronauts, the spirit of Cold War competition and pride for American dominance in space. So why are most Democrats not on board with the Space Force?

Sixty-nine percent of them disapproved of the White House’s effort to establish a sixth branch of the military focused on defending U.S. interests in space, according to a new poll released Wednesday. And only 12 percent supported it. The reaction from Republicans was almost exactly flipped: 68 percent of Republicans supported the proposal, while only 14 percent opposed it. 

Democrat Doug Jones Faces Flak for Kavanaugh Stance
Alabama senator not yet decided on Supreme Court nominee

Democratic Sen. Doug Jones took flak from constituents Monday for withholding judgement on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“You have enough information,” a constituent said to the junior Alabama senator at a town hall meeting. “We love you. But you will vote no. And you have enough information to vote no.”

Democrats Disgusted, Enraged by Trump’s Omarosa Comments
President called former White House aide a ‘dog’ in tweet

Democrats in Congress condemned President Donald Trump’s latest batch of derisive comments toward Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former White House aide.

After a Tuesday morning tweet in which Trump called Manigault a “crazed, crying lowlife” and a “dog,” several House Democrats took consternation from insults they said were tinged with racial and misogynistic connotations.

Abuse Allegations Loom Over Minnesota Race to Replace Ellison
Female candidates dominate 5th District Democratic-Farmer-Labor primary

Democratic candidates running for Rep. Keith Ellison’s seat in Minnesota’s deep-blue 5th District are pushing voters to the polls Tuesday, as abuse allegations against the congressman threatened to send them off-message in the campaign’s closing hours.

The three front-runners for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor nod in Tuesday’s primary declined to take sides when asked at a candidate forum Monday about allegations that Ellison physically abused a former girlfriend — which he has denied. The six-term congressman vacated the 5th District seat to run for state attorney general. 

Minnesota 5th District Candidates Sidestep Ellison Allegations
Democratic primary in the state is Tuesday

Three top Democrats running to succeed Rep. Keith Ellison in Minnesota’s 5th District responded cautiously Monday to allegations that he abused a former girlfriend in 2016.

The candidates did not say whether they believed the allegations against the six-term Democratic lawmaker, who has denied that the long-term relationship included physical abuse. They also did not call for him to resign or drop out of his current race for state attorney general. 

Trump’s Foreign Trips Get Low Marks New Poll Shows
Less than a third of Americans see success in Russia, North Korea summits

President Donald Trump’s summits in North Korea and Russia have received tepid support at home, with less than a third of Americans saying the trips were a success in an Economist/YouGov poll released Wednesday.

The June 12 meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was successful 28 percent of respondents said, while 33 percent said it was unsuccessful and 39 percent said they were not sure.

Why West Hollywood Hates Trump’s Walk of Fame Star
Local city council voted Monday to call for the star’s removal

The West Hollywood city council stirred up renewed controversy Monday over President Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The star, installed nearly a decade before Trump’s presidential run, has become a target of animus against the president among his detractors in the famously liberal enclave. 

Ivanka Trump Rarely Breaks With Father in Public, Here’s Where She Does
President’s daughter voiced criticism on media attacks, family separation

Ivanka Trump’s public disagreement Thursday with two of her father’s recent controversies were a rare public rebuke from the president’s daughter and senior adviser, who has said she is “very candid” with her father in private but has largely avoided public criticism.

In response to questions at an Axios event Thursday, Trump said she does not agree the media is the “enemy of the people” and called the aftermath of the administration’s child separation policy a “low point.”

Latino Voters Angry at Trump But Not Mobilized, Democratic Report Finds
Blue candidates need clear message to court Latino votes in midterms, according to study

Democrats have a chance to win big in this year’s midterms by channeling Latino voters’ anger at President Donald Trump’s immigration and health care agenda, according to the findings of a Democratic-funded study released Tuesday.

But first, they’ll have to convince Latinos their vote will mean something.

Few Believe Trump’s Walk-Back on Russian Interference, New Poll Finds
Only a quarter of respondents believe Trump meant to say ‘wouldn’t’

One in four American adults believe President Donald Trump’s walk-back of his statement questioning Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, according to a new poll.

At a press conference last week with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Trump said “I don’t see why it would be Russia” who interfered in the election, siding with Putin’s denials over the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies.

Spicer Basks in Friendlier Spotlight at Book Signing
Former White House press secretary on tour for West Wing memoir

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Retiring Republican Partly Blames GOP Hardliners for Immigration Failure
Texas Rep. Joe Barton says party is shooting itself in the foot

As prospects dim for Congress to pass immigration reform before the term’s end, one retiring Republican involved in last month’s compromise effort says his own party’s hardliners are partly to blame.

“Political demagoguery on both sides” stamped out the recent push by House leadership to pass a comprehensive immigration bill, Texas Rep. Joe Barton said.

EMILY’s List Celebrates Surge in Women Candidates for State Offices
1,200 pro-abortion rights women running for state legislatures, Democratic-aligned group says

State legislatures across the country could be transformed this year by a surge of women running for office, according to EMILY’s List.

The Democratic-aligned group, which backs women running for office who support abortion rights, said its preferred candidates have filed to run in more than 1,200 “critical” races this cycle, many of them for the first time.

Lawmakers Across the Aisle Fight Canadian Newsprint Tariffs
Import tax on paper is hurting local news, members tell International Trade Commission

Nineteen members of Congress spoke Tuesday against the Commerce Department’s tariffs on Canadian newsprint, telling the U.S. International Trade Commission the import tax hurt local newspapers.

The bipartisan group of legislators asked the ITC to reverse tariffs the Commerce Department imposed on Canadian newsprint imports. Opponents of the tariffs say they would deal a major blow to local newspapers, which already struggle to stay afloat, by increasing the cost of newsprint.

Meadows, Jordan Ask DOJ to Investigate Rosenstein
Letter alleges Rosenstein threatened to subpoena Republican staffers’ communications

Two Freedom Caucus Republicans asked the Justice Department’s inspector general Monday to investigate allegations that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein threatened to subpoena the email and phone records of House Intelligence Committee staff.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina and caucus co-founder Jim Jordan of Ohio made the request in a letter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which alleges Rosenstein threatened the subpoenas in a tense January meeting about oversight requests from committee Republicans.

Russian Spy Indictment an Aftershock to Trump’s Helsinki Statements
Justice Department unveils charges hours after Finland summit

The Justice Department further roiled an already tense Capitol Hill with an indictment Monday accusing an alleged Russian agent of efforts to influence Republican politicians during the 2016 election.

The indictment came on the heels of President Donald Trump’s joint press conference in Finland where, standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin, he rebuffed the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.