Capitol Ink | New Constituents

Trump Tries to Discredit Papadopoulos, Calls Former Aide a ‘Liar’
In 2016, Trump called former aide an ‘excellent guy’

President Donald Trump tried to diminish the former campaign aide who admitted to investigators that he was looking for “dirt” on Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

Updated at 10:22 a.m. | President Donald Trump kicked off his Tuesday by trying to discredit a former campaign aide who federal investigators say sought “dirt” on Hillary Clinton he believed was being offered by the Russian government.

George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty earlier this month to giving false and misleading statements to federal officials investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Court documents unsealed Monday allege Papadopoulos was in contact with two Russians he believed had ties to senior Kremlin officials and wanted to hand over to the Trump campaign “thousands” of emails that could undermine Clinton’s candidacy.

Western North Carolina Notices Meadows’ Newfound Notoriety
Supporters and protesters greet Freedom Caucus chairman back home

Rep. Mark Meadows gives advice to middle school students in McDowell County, North Carolina preparing for a cardboard boat competition. (Lindsey McPherson/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mark Meadows has long been a household name in western North Carolina, but his newfound notoriety outside the 11th District has not gone unnoticed by those back home.

“If you watch TV at all you know that our congressman is very much a mover and shaker in Washington, D.C.,” South Caldwell High School teacher Tony Crump said, as he introduced Meadows at a masonry competition Thursday for three area high schools.

Comstock Gets Second Challenger
Dan Helmer is West Point grad, Rhodes Scholar and decorated vet

Dan Helmer is a West Point graduate and a Rhodes Scholar who served in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Screenshot:

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock received a second Democratic challenger on Tuesday.

Dan Helmer, a 35-year U.S. Army veteran, entered the race but didn’t mention the incumbent in his campaign announcement.

Republican Bruce Poliquin Re-Elected in Maine’s 2nd District
Contest was a rematch against Democrat Emily Cain

Rep. Bruce Poliquin has been called the winner in Maine’s 2nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File photo)

GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin will defeat Emily Cain in Maine’s 2nd District, The Associated Press projects.

Poliquin led Cain 55.2% percent to 44.8 percent with 77 percent of precincts reporting.

Democrat Brad Ashford Falls in Nebraska’s 2nd District
Seat was seen as rare pickup opportunity for Republicans this cycle

Don Bacon is the projected winner for the House seat representing the Omaha area. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nebraska Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford has lost his re-election bid.

He was one of just three Democratic incumbents that Republicans were believed to have a chance of knocking off this year, and The Associated Press projected Wednesday morning that Republican challenger Don Bacon has done just that, picking up the Cornhusker State’s 2nd District seat in the House.

Elise Stefanik's Cautious Dance With Trump
House's youngest woman and other GOP candidates walking political tightrope

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, the youngest woman in Congress, is walking a tightrope because of her support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Elise Stefanik appears to be coasting through her re-election bid in New York's 21st District and toward a bright future in the Republican Party.

But that’s not what reporters who chased the freshman congresswoman after a recent debate in upstate New York wanted to talk about. They wanted to ask her why she still supports Donald Trump.

One Murphy's Gun Safety Group Backs Another Murphy
Rep. Patrick Murphy among Democrats winning support of Sen. Chris Murphy

Connecticut Sen. Christopher S. Murphy says that 2016 has marked a "sea change in the fight to reduce gun violence," as he announces three new congressional endorsements from his gun safety initiative. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy will roll out a new set of political endorsements on Thursday that are built around his effort to promote gun safety.

The Connecticut Democrat has made measures such as expanded background checks for gun buyers a personal cause since the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in his home state. And he has increasingly taken his campaign from the Senate floor to the ballot box.

How to Kick That Mid-August Recess Slump

Need some new ideas on what to do this August Recess? (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

August is to recess what November is to elections (and January is to the State of the Union and  once upon a time  what July was to appropriations). August is the month of shorter to-do lists and longer lunches. With Congress out of session, it's an ideal time to take vacation, or to just leave early for midday cocktails.  

But even the summertime recess can become routine, and the once-ambitious to-do list can grow stale. So how do you make the most of the "District Work Period?" Hill Navigator has some ideas . 1. Go to the state/district . No August recess is complete without a few days (or even a week) in the district/state office. Those lucky enough to work for their home-state member can turn these trips into some quality family visiting time, but for those who work elsewhere, district trips are still valuable. Here’s why: Capitol Hill is its own, isolated microcosm of a community. The politics and policies fiercely debated here have a way of translating much differently outside the Beltway. Even if you aren’t one to mull over the legislative accomplishment (or lack thereof) of Congress, going to the state/district will serve as a reminder of whom you represent (and their transportation needs, which may serve particularly useful this fall). Hearing from people — whether in a town hall meeting or Waffle House— may be the best dose of reality you’ll get all summer.  

Student Loan Repayment Is for Parents, Too

Student loan repayment isn't just for students: parents can qualify, too. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Student loans. A serious question that many undergraduates and graduates think about. But what about when it’s the parents concern? Can parents receive money from the student loan repayment program for loans taken out for their kids’ college education? Hill Navigator discusses.