fighting-words

Trump’s threat to bomb Iran ‘cultural’ sites is personal for Iraq War vets in Congress
Gallego urges Trump to uphold U.S. ideals and not stoop to the level of its enemies

Demonstrators and members of the military gather under a portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Tuesday to mourn and condemn the death of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani. (AFP via Getty Images)

The U.S. assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and President Donald Trump’s subsequent threat to bomb Iran’s “cultural” sites if it retaliates touched personal nerves for many members of Congress who are veterans of the Iraq War.

Soleimani headed Iran’s elite Quds Force, which is responsible for killing roughly 600 U.S. soldiers during the Iraq War mainly through unconventional tactics such as roadside bombs and other improvised explosive devices, the State Department reported last year.

Coolness and wisdom: Impeachment day under the Capitol Dome

A Capitol Visitor Guide shows off the Apotheosis of Washington under the Capitol dome. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“If people see the Capitol going on, it is a sign we intend the Union shall go on.”

That was President Abraham Lincoln’s response to Union Chaplain John Eaton when asked about constructing the Capitol Dome during the Civil War. As costs piled up in the midst of war, some questioned the wisdom of expanding the Capitol. But for Lincoln it was a symbol that the Union had a future beyond the war.

LeBron James comments intensify debate over freedom, trade
Hawley joins chorus criticizing basketball superstar during NBA-China controversy

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri had harsh words for LeBron James. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Basketball megastar LeBron James has finally leaped into the NBA’s ongoing controversy over Houston Rockets executive Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of Chinese protesters. Some critics, including Sen. Josh Hawley, find James’s stance sorely lacking. And the full House is also on record, passing a trio of bills Tuesday aimed at helping Hong Kong democracy activists in their fight to preserve political freedoms from encroachment by mainland China.

“I don’t want to get into a ...  feud with Daryl Morey but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke,” James told reporters Monday ahead of a preseason game with the Golden State Warriors. “So many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually.”

The Supreme Court is ready for its close-up
Political Theater, episode 95

Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her fellow Supreme Court justices are political issues themselves, a topic for discussion in the latest Political Theater podcast. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Hot topics? The Supreme Court’s got ’em this term. LGBTQ rights. Guns. Immigration. Abortion. 

The first Monday in October marks the start of the high court’s term each year, providing the titles of a 1981 Walter Matthau-Jill Clayburgh feature film — “First Monday in October” — and a short-lived CBS television drama with James Garner and Joe Mantegna, “First Monday.”

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

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., was one of two Republican Arkansas lawmakers threatened by a man who was arrested earlier this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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 ‘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

President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress continued peddling conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son over the weekend as Democrats pursue an impeachment inquiry of the president. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.”

This is not your father’s impeachment
Political Theater, Episode 94

Luke Skywalker, played in the “Star Wars” saga by Mark Hamill, seen here, might as well have been talking about political conventional wisdom about impeachment when he counseled Rey in “The Last Jedi” that things don’t always go as planned. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images file photo)

The conventional wisdom is that impeaching President Donald Trump could imperil Democrats in 2020. But beware the conventional wisdom, and relying on dated data and small sample sets, like the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

“Make no mistake about it: Backing impeachment will cost the Democrats their majority in 2020,” Rep. Tom Emmer, the head of the House Republicans’s campaign arm, thundered after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the start of a formal impeachment inquiry Tuesday. Every Republican from the president on down has echoed this sentiment. 

That ’70s Show: Biden edition
Political Theater, Episode 93

Former Vice President Joe Biden arrives for his 2020 campaign kickoff rally at the Eakins Oval in Philadelphia on May 18. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Say this for the Democratic presidential field: Voters certainly have choices. From former vice presidents to tech entrepreneurs, from senators to mayors, from wizened veterans to young upstarts.

Out of this crowded roster, Joe Biden is arguably the most recognizable. The affable No. 2 to President Barack Obama and longtime former senator is among the most known political quantities.

Capitol Ink | Joe No

Comedian Hasan Minhaj rankles, entertains at student debt hearing
Congressional hearings can be dry but not today

Things got a little testy between Rep. Sean Duffy, seen here, and Hasan Minhaj at Tuesday's hearing. (CQ Roll Call Screenshot)

You may not think a hearing on solving the $1.6 trillion student loan debt crisis would provide many laughs, but comedian Hasan Minhaj racked up a few, to the annoyance of some Republicans, while testifying before the House Financial Services Committee.

Tuesday’s hearing wasn’t short on tense exchanges, either, even from the jump.