LBBY

The ‘Emotional Space’ Inside High-Stakes Diplomacy
Looking back at Obama, looking square at Trump

Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama take time for reflecting in the new documentary “The Final Year.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Welcome back to Political Theater, Roll Call’s newsletter and podcast on the spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here

The civil war in Syria. Boko Haram. Russia. Climate change. American foreign policy operates in a high-stakes environment in a very public glare. And in 2016, in the midst of a contentious election year, President Barack Obama oversaw a team of players trying to solidify a legacy in his last year in office. Documentary filmmaker Greg Barker went along for the ride, from the cramped quarters of the West Wing to an emotional speech at Hiroshima, Japan for his new film, “The Final Year.”

Paul Ryan Caught Between Freedom Caucus, Democrats
Lacking votes on resolving shutdown, speaker will need to negotiate with one or the other

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., left, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have just a couple of days left to round up support to avoid a government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Likely short of the votes he needs to pass a stopgap government funding bill through his chamber by Friday, Speaker Paul D. Ryan spent Wednesday morning railing against Democrats — whose votes he may need to court.

A four-week continuing resolution that GOP leaders unveiled Tuesday night faces opposition from members of the House Freedom Caucus who want immediate action to increase defense spending and from Democrats who want a resolution this week on the status of some 690,000 young immigrants, known as Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Omaha Man Pleads Guilty to Plotting to Kill Joni Ernst
Suspect believed Iowa Republican was connected to ISIS

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, was the target of a potential plot on her life last July. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An Omaha man pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to threatening the life of Sen. Joni Ernst, who he believed was in cahoots with Islamic State terrorists.

Robert W. Simet, 64, told employees at a motorcycle shop near the Nebraska-Iowa border last July that he might kill the Iowa Republican at a speech she was scheduled to deliver there, according to court documents obtained by The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Flake Condemns Trump’s Attacks on Media
 

Roll Call Reviews Obama’s ‘The Final Year’: A Documentary on the Last Days of a West Wing Team
 

Roll Call editor Jason Dick shares his thoughts on “The Final Year,” an HBO documentary in theaters Jan. 19 that chronicles the outgoing Obama administration’s last year, focusing on its foreign policy efforts.

Arizona’s Double-Barrel Rejection of President Trump’s ‘Fake News’
Flake, McCain offer defenses of the free press ahead of Trump’s awards

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake gave a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday in defense of the free press. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona’s two Republican senators asserted themselves Wednesday as defenders of the free press.

Jeff Flake took to the Senate floor for a well-publicized defense of the truth, as President Donald Trump was potentially preparing for an Orwellian “fake news” award ceremony.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Around the Capitol?
Stone pushes Hulk Hogan for Senate, Trumpian Man, and a big day for Dole

Demonstrators with United We Dream and others rally in the atrium of Hart Building on Tuesday to call on congress to pass the Dream Act, that protects young immigrants from deportation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Graham’s DACA, Military Plan at Odds With Leadership
‘We should take care of the DREAM Act kids now, not wait till March 5’

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, and former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., talk after running into each other by chance in the Russell Senate Office Building on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday he believes Congress should address the program that covers immigrants who come to the country as children before it expires later this year.

Speaking at an event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, Graham said the GOP was naive to think they could persuade Democrats to support increased defense spending without finding a solution to prevent the pending expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Threats Force Raskin to Cancel Panel on How Trump Inspires Violence
Maryland Democrat has questioned president’s mental fitness for office

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., canceled a panel on President Donald Trump’s mental fitness for office due to threats of violence against the event. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jamie Raskin was forced to cancel an event with mental health experts on Donald Trump’s mental fitness to be president after the congressman’s office received a string of threats.

The event was scheduled for Thursday at a senior center in Maryland and intended to cover issues such as Trump’s perceived tendency to inspire violence.