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John McCain, Senate Hell-Raiser Whose Independence Cut Both Ways, Dies at 81
Iconoclasm sank his presidential run but buoyed him on the Hill

Sen. John McCain, the iconoclastic lawmaker, veteran and former presidential nominee, has died. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

John McCain, whose wide-ranging independent streak sliced through an era of hardening partisanship and made him an indispensable senator for more than three decades, long before and well after his turn as the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, died Saturday.

He was 81 years old and had been diagnosed in July 2017 with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. His family announced on Aug. 24 that he had decided to stop treatment, saying “the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict. ”

FBI Agent Peter Strzok Fired For Anti-Trump Texts
Counterterrorism official had been in the hot seat since anti-Trump texts with alleged mistress were discovered

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok was fired for his text messages criticizing President Donald Trump. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Peter Strzok, the senior FBI counterintelligence official who has been in the hot seat since the Justice Department’s inspector general discovered his anti-Trump text messages with DOJ lawyer Lisa Page, has been fired from the bureau, his lawyer told multiple news outlets.

Strzok, 48, was one of the main targets of a faction of House Republicans who have sought information on anti-Trump bias in the upper reaches of the DOJ.

Rep. Massie Seeks K Street Campaign Cash After Blasting Lobbyist
Kentucky GOP lawmaker plans cigar and bourbon bash with downtown denizens this week.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., is seeking campaign cash from the industry he had some choice words for recently.. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Thomas Massie created a fuss on K Street last week in chastising an unnamed lobbyist whom he said offered to help him raise money to secure a seat on the Ways and Means Committee. But apparently, the Kentucky Republican still wants political donations from K Street — in a smoke-filled room, no less, according to an invitation obtained by Roll Call.

Massie, in a documentary series called “The Swamp,” said a medical device industry lobbyist proposed helping him raise campaign money and assisting him in getting on the tax-writing and health-focused Ways and Means panel, according to a report in Politico.

Citing Alcoholism, Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett Says He’s Not Running for Re-election
Report: Freshman Republican congressman says he’s an alcoholic and wants to focus on recovery

Amid reports that he wouldn’t run for re-election, Virginia Republican Rep. Tom Garrett on Thursday held a rambling news conference to announce that he was running. On Monday, he said that he’s not. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Saying that he’s an alcoholic and that he wants to focus on his recovery, Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett announced Monday he will not run for re-election in November.

Garrett, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, first told the Washington Post of his decision. 

Trump Says All or Nothing on Immigration Bill
President says he won’t sign any legislation unless it includes funding for ‘a real wall’

President Donald Trump in an interview with Fox News said “other countries laugh at us... because of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump says he would sign only a sweeping immigration bill, rejecting the idea of more modest legislation featuring border wall funding and protections for individuals brought into the country by their parents as youngsters.

In an interview with Fox News that aired Thursday morning, the president was asked if he would sign a bill what would amount to a mini-bargain on immigration.

House Republicans Break Record for Closed Rules in Single Congress
Ranking Democrat on Rules Committee: ‘It’s like the majority is allergic to an open process’

The House Rules Committee under Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, has broken a record for the number of closed rules reported during a single Congress. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Rules Committee broke a record Monday night for the number of closed rules — a mechanism for setting up floor debate on a bill without amendments — reported in a single Congress. 

The panel tied and then surpassed the previous record set during the Republican-controlled 113th Congress of 83 closed rules when it reported out two closed rules.

Trump Taps McConnell Brother-in-Law, Big GOP Donor, for Labor Post
Tech entrepreneur nominated to lead Labor Department pension agency

A brother-in-law of Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has been nominated for a position in the Labor Department. She is shown here testifying as her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., looks on during her confirmation hearing in 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Family connections can help when you’re applying for a new job — especially in Washington.

Just ask one of President Donald Trump’s latest executive branch nominees, who is married to the sister of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who’s married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. 

Trump Call to Curb August Recess Picks Up Steam
Republican senators seem eager to keep Democrats off campaign trail

President Donald Trump leaves the Senate Republican policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday afternoon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump did most of the talking Tuesday during a lunch-hour meeting with Senate Republicans, but lawmakers said he did not prod them to cancel their August recess. He did not have to. 

That’s because the idea appears to be gaining steam for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the large number of Democratic incumbents running for re-election could find themselves off the campaign trail and in Washington at a prime time for campaigning.

Shaub: Trump’s ‘Wall of Secrecy’ Could Extend to Ethics Report
Financial disclosure forms could offer clues about Stormy Daniels, ex-Ethics head says

President Donald Trump disclosed $315 million in liabilities last year. Observers are watching this year’s financial disclosure for clues about payments to Stormy Daniels. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Updated 8:56 p.m. | President Donald Trump filed his annual financial disclosure to a government ethics watchdog on Tuesday, but it’s not yet clear whether he reported reimbursing his attorney for payments made to Stormy Daniels or when the public will see the document. 

Walter Shaub Jr., a frequent Trump critic who ran the Office of Government Ethics until last summer, said the disclosure may well document loans to Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, who has said he made a $130,000 payment to Daniels, an adult film actress who alleges she had an affair with the president years ago.

Votes Roll in for Haspel After Expressing Regret Over Enhanced Interrogation
Latest comments seem to be enough to get support from Mark Warner

Gina Haspel, nominee to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has written a new letter about interrogation programs. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the CIA is making it even more clear that the program sanctioning harsh interrogations during the George W. Bush administration should not have taken place.

Gina Haspel, the current acting director of the agency, expanded upon her testimony in a letter dated Monday to Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee.