house

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

Some lawmakers question amount of time spent in committees
How sustainable are members’ often packed and chaotic schedules?

California Rep. Mark DeSaulnier sits on four committees and seven subcommittees, one of the most packed rosters in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House parliamentarian brought the hammer down on the Education and Labor Committee in April, ending a long-standing practice that allowed panel members from both parties to vote on bills in committee on a flexible schedule — a violation of the House ban on proxy voting.

Members say their schedules have become so hectic and compressed that the courtesy, which the committee has extended for years, is needed. But the practice raises a bigger question: How sustainable are members’ often packed and chaotic schedules?

After 184 years, Cherokees seek House delegate seat promised in treaty
Move poses technical and moral questions, including whether Cherokees would get ‘super vote’

Kim Teehee (courtesy Cherokee Nation)

Kim Teehee was an intern combing through dusty archives when she first learned of a largely forgotten agreement between her Cherokee tribe and the federal government.

More than 25 years later, that document has placed Teehee at the center of a historic reckoning of the way Congress treats Native Americans, while raising questions about what representation in Washington really means.

Why Pelosi should heed the Rodino precedent on impeachment
Late House Judiciary chairman put principles over politics during Watergate

As House Judiciary chairman during Watergate, New Jersey Rep. Peter Rodino, left, set the standard for an impeachment inquiry that today’s Democrats would be wise to follow, Winston writes. (Bettmann Archive/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — In Joe Biden’s statement on the Clinton impeachment released to the Congressional Record on Feb. 12, 1999, he cautioned his fellow senators, calling impeachment “the most obviously anti-democratic act the Senate can engage in — overturning an election by convicting the president.”

He also said that impeachment had “no place in our system of constitutional democracy except as an extreme measure … reserved for breaches of the public trust by a president who so violates his official duties, misuses his official powers or places our system of government at such risk that our constitutional government is put in immediate danger by his continuing to serve out the term to which the people of the United States elected him.”

Cunningham, South Carolina fishermen see consensus on climate change
After talking to Charleston area fishermen Monday, Cunningham introduced a bill in Washington to require a GAO study

South Carolina Rep. Joe Cunningham, left, talks with constituent Taylor Tarvin, who owns a shrimp boat called Miss Paula that the congressman visited while discussing climate change on a tour with local fishermen in Mount Pleasant, S.C., on Monday. (Lindsey McPherson/CQ Roll Call)

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Nationally, climate change is still not a universally accepted science. But here in the South Carolina Lowcountry, Rep. Joe Cunningham claims there’s bipartisan acknowledgement of global warming as a real and urgent issue.

The freshman Democrat spent Monday with a group of fishermen from his coastline district who have seen the impacts of climate change firsthand.

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.

House passes trio of measures supporting Hong Kong protesters
All three measures were advanced to the floor unanimously by the House Foreign Affairs Committee in late September

Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., attends a Congressional-Executive Commission on China hearing in Dirksen Building titled “Hong Kong’s Summer of Discontent and U.S. Policy Responses,” on September 17, 2019. One of three bills supporting Hong Kong protesters was passed by the House Tuesday was sponsored by McGovern. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House passed on Tuesday legislation aimed at helping Hong Kong democracy activists in their fight to preserve political freedoms from encroachment by mainland China.

The most important of the three bills, which passed by voice vote under suspension of the rules, would threaten Hong Kong’s continued special trade status with the United States if the State Department is unable to certify that the city is sufficiently autonomous from Beijing. The status gives Hong Kong easier rules on foreign investment, customs and export regulations.

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.

Sanctions on Turkey go front and center as Congress returns
Trump’s proposed sanctions appear to buy some breathing room with GOP critics

Turkish troops drive their armored vehicles into Syria on Monday. (Aaref Watad/AFP/Getty Images)

Bipartisan, bicameral sanctions against Turkey over its incursion into northern Syria against longtime Kurdish allies of the U.S. are high on the agenda as lawmakers return from recess Tuesday, even as President Donald Trump appeared to try to undercut the emerging unity on the issue.

While the sanctions and trade actions declared by the president Monday fall short of what lawmakers had been proposing, they do appear, at least initially, to have bought him breathing room with some top Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has been leading the sanctions charge in the Senate.