Griffin Connolly

CQ Roll Call’s RJ Matson wins Berryman Award for political cartoons
Matson’s 2019 cartoons satirized McConnell’s focus on Supreme Court, House Democrats’ handling of impeachment and working for Trump

CQ Roll Call cartoonist RJ Matson has been named the 2019 Berryman Award winner for editorial cartooning by the National Press Foundation.

Matson will receive his award — and $2,500 along with it — at the National Press Foundation’s annual journalism awards dinner on Feb. 13, 2020.

Second Oversight Democrat announces bid to replace Elijah Cummings
Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts joins Rep. Jackie Speier of California seeking Oversight Committee gavel

Rep. Stephen Lynch announced Monday that he will run to be the next chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform after Chairman Elijah Cummings died two weeks ago.

The Massachusetts congressman is the second Democrat on the committee to seek the gavel. California Rep. Jackie Speier announced last week she was in the running to head the committee. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York to replace Cummings in an acting capacity based on Maloney’s seniority, Pelosi’s office said last week.

Some Republicans inch closer to Trump impeachment after Mulvaney comments
Possible support for the ongoing probe comes as 2016 presidential candidate Kasich supports impeachment outright

Several Republicans grew more receptive this week to the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump after acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday said in a televised briefing that seeking help to investigate Democrats was part of the reason military aid to Ukraine was temporarily withheld.

While Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill have signaled they’re eager to learn more from the impeachment investigation led by House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, 2016 GOP presidential candidate and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Friday that he is “across the Rubicon” and Trump should be impeached.

Carolyn Maloney to be acting chairwoman of Oversight panel as succession sorted out
Several Democrats likely to vie for gavel of high-profile committee

Rep. Carolyn Maloney will serve as acting chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform after Chairman Elijah E. Cummings died Thursday, with House Democrats choosing a formal replacement for Cummings at “a later time,” a senior Democratic leadership aide told CQ Roll Call.

The next leader of the committee will step into a bright spotlight, with the panel conducting multiple investigations into President Donald Trump and his administration and playing a key role in the impeachment process headed by Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff.

Rep. Elijah Cummings fondly remembered by Democrats, Republicans
‘No better friend than Elijah Cummings,’ GOP Rep. Mark Meadows says of late Maryland Democrat

Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died Thursday after longtime health complications, threaded a needle that few recent chairmen and chairwomen of high-profile investigative committees have been able to manage: He remained widely popular among his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

As chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform over the last 10 months and a key player in the ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, Cummings has been on the receiving end of a stream of invective from a frustrated White House.

Will Trump abandoning the Kurds hurt him politically with former comrades in arms?
Military members and veterans have been among the commander in chief’s staunchest supporters

With President Donald Trump in essence abandoning former Kurdish allies in northern Syria who helped the U.S. beat back ISIS over the last half decade, some Republican lawmakers who served in the military and outside advocacy groups are divided whether the policy could damage the president’s support among current and former service members, which has remained high throughout his administration.

Despite the U.S. military and Kurds working hand-in-hand on military operations in the Middle East for more than two decades, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday that the Kurds are “no angels,” and deemed his move to withdraw U.S. personnel who had served as a buffer between them and Turkish forces “strategically brilliant.”

House Republicans break 2-to-1 against Trump on withdrawal of Kurd support
Veterans who fought alongside them praise Kurds as allies who ‘had our back’

By a 2-to-1 margin, House Republicans on Wednesday broke with President Donald Trump and opposed his decision to pull back U.S. forces in Syria, a move that exposed Kurdish fighters to attack from Turkey.

A resolution opposing the move passed 354 to 60, with 129 Republicans siding with the unanimous Democrats and 60 opposed. It was a noteworthy rebuke of Trump from Republicans who have long been wary of crossing the president.

Indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter fails to get local GOP endorsement in crowded primary
Six-term California Republican has secured San Diego GOP’s primary endorsement in all of his prior elections

Federally indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter failed to earn the endorsement of his local Republican Party on Monday despite representing San Diego County in the House for more than 10 years.

It was the first time the six-term GOP congressman from California’s 50th District has failed to capture the endorsement.

Sondland’s hotel business getting backlash over his role in Trump-Ukraine affair
US ambassador to the EU did not show up for testimony this week, prompting Oregon Rep. Blumenauer to call for boycott of his Portland-based chain

The attorney for Gordon Sondland, a top Trump administration diplomat at the heart of the House's impeachment investigation into the president, criticized Oregon Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer for urging people to boycott the diplomat’s Portland-based hotel chain.

“Congressman Blumenauer’s irresponsible attempt to hurt a homegrown business that supports hundreds of jobs in our local economy is just shameful and ought to outrage all Oregonians,” Jim  McDermott, Sondland’s lawyer, said in a statement to multiple local news outlets this week.

Ex-Rep. Darrell Issa is not Duncan Hunter’s only problem in California primary
Radio host Carl DeMaio is also a factor in GOP battle for San Diego-area seat

One’s a six-term congressman whose father held the seat for 28 years before him. Another served nine terms one district over. But a gay conservative talk radio host who doesn’t even live in the district is giving both a run for their money among Republicans in Southern California’s 50th District.

Former San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio may have an early lead on incumbent GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, who is under indictment on corruption charges, and former Republican House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, who announced a comeback bid just nine months after retiring from the neighboring 49th District.

Impeachment looms large in House Democrats’ town halls over recess
Vulnerable freshmen face protests as safe-district incumbents explain process, Trump's offenses

The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump has been a central concern at town halls for House Democrats across the country, with both safe and vulnerable members of the caucus fielding questions from Trump’s defenders and voters who want him removed from office.

While recent polls suggest that support for impeaching the president has grown over the last three months — 58 percent of respondents to a Washington Post/Schar School poll this week approved of the House’s decision to launch an inquiry — Democrats have used feedback at town halls over the two-week October recess to assess how their constituents feel about the matter.

Graham says he’ll introduce Turkey sanctions after Trump orders U.S. troops out of Kurdish territory
Graham, Rubio, Romney and former White House officials blast decision as betrayal of Kurds and bad omen for all allies

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Monday he and Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen will introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if it crosses the Syrian border and attacks Kurdish forces, after President Donald Trump said late Sunday that he was withdrawing U.S. troops from the border region.

“I hope and expect sanctions against Turkey — if necessary — would be veto-proof,” Graham said.

2020 strategy: If you can’t beat ’em — move
Pete Sessions becomes third Republican ex-member to try comeback in different district

Former Texas Rep. Pete Sessions on Thursday became the third former Republican congressman to announce a 2020 comeback bid in a different district from the one he previously served, joining Darrell Issa of California and Bobby Schilling, who once represented Illinois and now is running in Iowa. 

Sessions represented suburban Dallas for 22 years, but lost his bid for a 12th term in Texas’ 32nd District to Democrat Colin Allred by nearly 7 points last November.

Arkansas man arrested for death threats against Sen. Tom Cotton, Rep. Rick Crawford
James Powell, 43, was charged with first-degree terroristic threatening

An Arkansas man was arrested earlier this week for threatening to kill Sen. Tom Cotton and Rep. Rick Crawford, multiple local news outlets reported.

James Powell, 43, was charged with first-degree terroristic threatening, a felony that carries a maximum six-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine.

Trump ally Claudia Tenney seeking old seat against Rep. Anthony Brindisi
Former GOP member from NY lost by less than 5,000 votes in 2018 midterms

Former Rep. Claudia Tenney, one of President Donald Trump’s most vocal supporters last Congress, announced Tuesday she will run for her old seat in New York’s 22nd District.

Tenney lost by less than 2 percentage points in the 2018 midterms to Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi despite running one of the most pro-Trump campaigns of any vulnerable House Republican.

Trump ‘even more unhinged than usual’ as impeachment heats up, Democrats warn
President passed along civil war threat, said House chairman should be arrested and continued peddling ‘debunked’ Biden conspiracy theories

From “unhinged” to “reprehensible” to  “wacky,” Democratic lawmakers had harsh words for President Donald Trump and Republicans after the president and his allies in Congress over the weekend tried to defend his phone call pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.

Since Sunday, Trump has blamed the “corrupt media” for not accepting conspiracy theories about Biden and his son Hunter, called for House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff to be arrested for treason, demanded to meet the whistleblower who alerted the public to his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr  Zelenskiy, and retweeted a sentiment that removing him from office would result in a “Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib selling ‘Impeach the mf’ shirts for reelection campaign
Michigan Democrat amplified call to impeach Trump at rally at the Capitol on Thursday alongside other progressive Democrats

Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s 2020 reelection campaign is looking to cash in this week on the recent wave of Democratic support for an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump by selling T-shirts with the slogan “Impeach the mf.”

The shirts cost $29, come in a variety of styles with a black or white backdrop, and take one to two weeks to ship to their destination.

Ex-Rep. Darrell Issa announces campaign against onetime colleague Rep. Duncan Hunter, who awaits trial
Four Republicans pull out of the race and endorse Issa as Hunter awaits January trial

It took less than nine months of retirement for former Rep. Darrell Issa to decide he wants to mount a congressional comeback.

The California Republican is hopping one district over to run against his former colleague, San Diego County GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, who faces a federal trial on corruption charges in January, the challenger announced at a news conference in California on Thursday.

Appeals court will hear Rep. Duncan Hunter’s argument, jeopardizing January trial date
California Republican is accused of spending more than $250,000 in campaign money on partying, vacations, personal expenses

A federal appeals court agreed Wednesday to hear Rep. Duncan Hunter’s argument to dismiss the corruption case against him, potentially stalling the start of his trial slated for January 2020.

A three-judge panel at the U.S. Appeals Court for the 9th Circuit will hear briefs in December from Hunter’s defense team and the federal prosecutors in San Diego and will decide whether prosecutors violated the California Republican’s rights under the Constitution’s Speech and Debate clause, multiple outlets in Southern California reported.

Ex-Rep. Darrell Issa to challenge Duncan Hunter, who is awaiting trial
Likely GOP faceoff comes as Issa nomination to Trump administration post has stalled in Senate

Former Rep. Darrell Issa is expected to run against fellow Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, a former colleague facing trial on corruption charges, sources familiar with the ex-congressman’s thinking confirmed to CQ Roll Call Wednesday.

Issa has scheduled a press conference in the district for Thursday morning, where he is expected to announce a challenge to Hunter, a six-term veteran, in the 50th District.