legal-affairs

Could Donald Trump replace Sarah Huckabee Sanders with John Barron?
President never replaced his last communications director, prefers to drive own messaging

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is leaving her post later this month after a controversial tenure. There’s no frontrunner to replace her. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ voice cracked Thursday afternoon as she described her reasons for giving up her White House press secretary gig.

“I feel like it’s important for the president to be able to put somebody in place as he moves into the campaign season,” Sanders said in an impromptu gaggle in her office, also saying she wants to spend time with her three young kids. 

Trump: No doubt Iran was behind attacks on tankers
President says he won't fire Kellyanne Conway despite findings of Hatch Act violations

President Donald Trump speaks during a working lunch with governors in the White House on Thursday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Friday said U.S. officials are confident Iran is behind attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East.

During a wild 50-minute interview with "Fox & Friends," the president defiantly said he will not fire White House counselor Kellyanne Conway despite findings from a federal investigator that she broke the law, refused to endorse any future presidential run by Vice President Mike Pence, and tried to walk back comments from a controversial television interview by claiming he would contact the FBI if another government tried to meddle in a U.S. election.

Trump — not lawmakers — set to be biggest challenge for new legislative affairs chief Ueland
No matter who runs Hill shop, president’s approach is ‘very unlikely to yield results,’ expert says

Wyoming Sen. Michael B. Enzi, right, introduces Eric Ueland at his confirmation hearing to be under secretary of State for management in September 2017. That nomination was later withdrawn, but Ueland will be President Donald Trump’s third legislative affairs director, starting Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eric Ueland, hand-picked by President Donald Trump to be his third legislative affairs director, has decades of experience in the D.C. “swamp” his soon-to-be boss loathes. But the former senior GOP aide will quickly learn it is the president alone who is, as one official put it Thursday, “the decider.”

Ueland has been chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and a Senate Budget Committee staff director. Experts and former officials describe him as highly qualified for the tough task of being the messenger between Trump and a Congress with a Democrat-controlled House that regularly riles up the president and a Senate where Republicans lack votes to pass most major legislation.

Trump’s comments blur line between ‘oppo research’ and stolen information
President said he might accept dirt from a foreign government

President Donald Trump said he would consider accepting opposition research from a foreign government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s argument in an interview that it was acceptable, and even common, to use opposition research from foreign governments threw a spotlight Thursday on how campaigns research opponents and whether they draw a line at foreign interference.

Trump said in a Wednesday interview with ABC News he would consider accepting “oppo research” from a foreign government and wouldn’t necessarily alert the FBI. He also said members of Congress “all do it, they always have.”

Opponent pounces after Duncan Hunter’s wife switches to guilty plea
“Those who know Hunter the most, trust him the least,” Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar says

Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar is seeking a rematch against GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter in California’s 50th District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democrat challenging indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter went on the attack Thursday after the California Republican’s wife entered a guilty plea in the federal campaign finance case against her and her husband. 

Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty Thursday to a single count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The plea comes with a sentence of up to five years and a fine of $250,000. 

White House and White House appointee fight over Kellyanne Conway
Office of Special Counsel accuses Conway of violating Hatch Act as White House punches back

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is the subject of a fight between the White House and the federal Office of Special Counsel. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

A federal special counsel nominated by President Donald Trump is calling for White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to be removed from office for taking overtly political actions while fulfilling her official government duties.

But the White House is pushing back, saying the office violated Conway’s due process rights and is questioning the special counsel’s motivations.

Democratic lawmakers ‘astonished’ by Trump’s claim that taking foreign ‘dirt’ is routine
Mitt Romney calls it 'unthinkable' to accept information from foreign government to influence elections

President Donald Trump argued accepting intelligence on a political opponent from foreign sources, which is illegal under federal campaign finance laws, is routine by presidential candidates and congressional campaigns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers pushed back strenuously on President Donald Trump’s claim during a television interview Wednesday that accepting “dirt” on political opponents from foreign sources is routine.

Democrats responded incredulously to Trump’s statement that he would accept intelligence on a political opponent from another country if offered, and that doing so is common practice in congressional campaigns. 

Panel approves pilot program to take military sexual assault cases outside chain of command
The number of sexual assaults at military service academies more than doubled 2013 to 2018, Speier said

Rep. Jackie Speier succeeded in getting her amendment to establish a program taking prosecution of military sex assault cases outside of the chain of command at the service academies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Advocates of taking the decision for prosecuting military sexual assaults — a persistent problem within the ranks — outside the chain of command scored a significant victory Wednesday when the House Armed Services Committee approved a pilot program that would do just that at the service academies.

Rep. Jackie Speier, chairwoman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, pushed through a four-year program that would require the commandants of the service academies to follow the recommendation of an independent prosecutor in cases of sexual assault.

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s wife to plead out in case against the couple

The wife of Rep. Duncan Hunter will plead out in the federal case against them. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Margaret Hunter, wife of California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, has agreed to change her plea of not guilty in the federal campaign finance case against her and her husband.

The couple were indicted last summer for allegedly using $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses and covering their tracks in campaign finance filings to the Federal Election Commission.

White House asserts privilege to withhold citizenship question documents
House Oversight Democrats to vote later Wednesday on contempt resolution

Attorney General Bill Barr testifies in May during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Justice Department on Wednesday asserted executive privilege over documents tied to the probe into the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 census, as the House Oversight and Reform Committee neared a vote to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt.

Chairman Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Maryland, said he would hold the vote on contempt later in the day to allow members of the panel time to read the administration's responses. Democrats claim the question would suppress noncitizen participation and be used to draw Republican-favored maps, despite the administration’s argument that it is needed to enforce the Voting Rights Act.