2020

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 16
More insider testimony on the Hill, no House vote on impeachment, and administration officials refuse subpoenas

An aide and members of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s security team stand outside the deposition of George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, in the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House committees considering impeachment of President Donald Trump heard a former assistant secretary of State tell them that he was instructed to “lay low” after he objected to outsiders running foreign policy with Ukraine.

George Kent, who is deputy assistant secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau, responsible for six countries, including Ukraine. told members that acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney placed then-special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry in charge of Ukraine policy, Virginia Democrat Rep. Gerry Connolly, who heard Kent’s testimony, told reporters

Democratic impeachment holdout touts legislative focus over inquiry he’s not backing
South Carolina’s Joe Cunningham spent recess discussing climate change, infrastructure, trade

South Carolina Rep. Joe Cunningham, here examining a turtle excluder device while touring a shrimp boat in Mount Pleasant, S.C., on Monday, is one of seven House Democrats not supporting the impeachment inquiry. (Lindsey McPherson/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Rep. Joe Cunningham spent his final day of a two-week district work period here Monday talking to local fishermen about adjusting to climate change and to a conservation group about banning offshore drilling — top issues for constituents of his coastline district.

Cunningham, the first Democrat to represent the 1st District in more than a quarter century, did not talk about the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, except to answer reporters’ questions about why he has not endorsed it. The constituents he interacted with Monday did not broach the topic with him, although some complimented him generally for how he’s navigating a political tightrope.

Taking lead on impeachment legal message, Trump gives GOP cover to defend him
Campaign official says GOP is benefitting from inquiry with voter registration, donation surges

President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn., on Thursday. His legal argument on impeachment is that he committed no crime. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Senior White House officials and House Republicans are basing their counter-impeachment arguments on House Democrats’ process rather than legal arguments — but President Donald Trump is again doing his own thing and arguing the probe is invalid because, he says, he committed no crimes.

The president has no formal legal training, but that is not stopping him from leading his own legal defense, using tweets and public comments to claim House Democrats have no grounds to impeach him — and the Senate no reason to remove him — because he never outright asked Ukraine’s new president to investigate a leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, in exchange for U.S. aid.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to endorse Bernie Sanders for president
Fellow “squad” members, Omar and Tlaib, are also throwing support behind Vermont independent

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is expected to endorse Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is expected to endorse Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president this weekend, a source with knowledge of the endorsement confirmed Tuesday night.

Sanders also picked up the support of two other House Democratic freshmen. Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar endorsed him on Tuesday, while CNN reported that Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib would be backing the Vermont independent’s campaign. 

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

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., faces a tough “top-two” primary field that includes at least three other well-known GOP candidates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 15
Trump accuses Democrats of selected leaks, and Democrats provide an impeachment update

Fiona Hill, President Donald Trump’s former Russia adviser, arrives at the Capitol to testify before Congress as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, and Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday they would not comply with congressional subpoenas.

“If they enforce it, then we will see what happens,” Giuliani told ABC News.

The most important document you may ever read
Senate Intelligence report on Russian interference should chill Americans who value our democracy

Russia is far from done with destabilizing our democracy, Murphy writes. The Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Richard M. Burr, right, and Mark Warner, made that clear in its latest report on 2016 election interference. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — On the day that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on election interference came out, cable news anchors strained to race through its 448 pages and describe the findings, all in the same breath. Computer sleuths hacked the document’s setting to let users search for “Trump,” “president,” “collusion” and “Russia.” Talking-head lawyers feverishly opined that Volume I contained less incriminating information than Volume II.

But around the country, voters mostly gave an “Is that all there is?” shoulder shrug and went back to their corners. Many members of Congress admitted they didn’t even bother to read it.

Will Trump go negative? Just kidding …
2016 playbook is president’s only path to victory

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, before boarding Marine One, bound for a Minneapolis political rally. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — There is no need to speculate about President Donald Trump’s strategy for reelection. He plans to — and needs to — destroy his general election opponent.

That’s the only way an incumbent president with a job approval rating in the low 40s and sitting at 40 percent in hypothetical ballot tests can possibly win.

Power struggle begins atop the House Appropriations Committee
CQ Budget, Ep. 129

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., speaks with reporters as she leaves a House Democratic caucus meeting in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ratings change: GOP Senate chances improve in Georgia, decline in NC, Iowa
Despite signs of Georgia getting bluer, Democrats have not recruited strong Senate candidates

Democrats are struggling to find a top-tier candidate to take on Republican Georgia Sen. David Perdue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nearly a year before the 2020 elections, the Senate battlefield continues to take shape. Even though the executive and legislative branches are different but coequal branches of government, their fates are electorally tied together this cycle.

Democrats’ chances of controlling the Senate next Congress dramatically increase with a White House victory because the vice president would act as a tiebreaker, lowering the number of GOP seats the party has to take over. And the party that controls the Senate will determine the success and effectiveness of a new Democratic president or President Donald Trump in his second term.