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Democrats seek to put teeth into ‘impoundment’ law
Going to court is only current option to force release of funds

House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth wants to make it hurt if a president tries to block funding against lawmakers’ wishes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A fresh legal opinion challenging President Donald Trump’s hold on Ukraine military aid under a Nixon-era budget law may or may not move the needle with senators in the president’s impeachment trial.

But one thing is clear: Trump’s delay of $214 million in Pentagon funds is just the latest in a long line of findings by the Government Accountability Office going back decades that presidents of both parties have run afoul of the 1974 law. That statute was aimed at restricting “impoundments,” where the executive branch refuses to spend money appropriated by Congress.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 24
Democrats focus final day on obstruction article, Trump complains defense opens in ‘Death Valley’ time slot

House impeachment managers Reps. Adam Schiff, left, and Jerrold Nadler walk across the Capitol Rotunda on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats will focus on the second of the two articles of impeachment — obstruction of Congress — as it finishes presenting its case against President Donald Trump today.

House impeachment managers focused much of their arguments Thursday on the abuse of power article, using the president’s words and messages related to Ukraine between people who reported to him to poke holes in the defense’s arguments before they make them.

Impeachment managers attempt to preempt Trump’s defense
Trump, Lindsey Graham used to bolster case for removal

House impeachment manager Jerrold Nadler says the president’s defense team will not be able to refute the evidence provided for the abuse of power charge. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Regardless of whether Democratic impeachment managers get to call witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, they are already making their case by using the president’s own words — and even those of a prominent Republican senator — in dramatic fashion in the Senate chamber. 

The managers focused much of their arguments Thursday on the abuse of power charge the House used to condemn Trump, citing history and attempting to poke preemptive holes in the defense team’s upcoming arguments.

View from the gallery: Senators sit, spin and fidget during Trump trial
They found more ways to pass time during second day of opening presentations

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst arrives for the Senate Republicans’ lunch in the Capitol before the start of Thursday’ impeachment trial session. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bill Cassidy charted a course along the back corner of the Senate chamber Thursday during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. The Louisiana Republican walked through an area usually reserved for staff seating, hands in pockets, retracing a short path over and over again for more than 15 minutes.

When Georgia Republican David Perdue took to standing along his path, Cassidy squeezed by and just kept pacing.

Mayors see historic opportunity in presidential race
Bloomberg, Buttigieg make presidential pitches to mayors’ conference

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a Democratic presidential candidate, touted a $1 trillion infrastructure plan at the U.S Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A promise to repair potholes won’t get a laugh at most presidential campaign events. 

But Mike Bloomberg knew his audience.

Trump administration restricts U.S. travel for pregnant foreigners
A new State Department rule targets 'birth tourism,' White House says

The rule issued by the State Department goes into effect Friday. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The State Department issued a new rule Thursday that will make it more difficult for pregnant women abroad to obtain visas to the United States, an attempt to curb what the White House is calling "birth tourism."

The department will grant visa officers more discretion to deny nonimmigrant visas to women they believe are entering the United States specifically to obtain citizenship for their child by giving birth here, a State Department spokesperson told reporters during a background briefing.

Do Republicans hate or respect Adam Schiff? Maybe it’s both
Some GOP senators have complimented Schiff for his impeachment trial presentation

California Rep. Adam B. Schiff, center, the lead House impeachment manager, has drawn unexpected praise from some Republican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

To President Donald Trump and his House Republican allies, Rep. Adam B. Schiff is public enemy No. 1. But as the lead House impeachment manager makes his case against Trump in the Senate, the California Democrat has drawn some surprising compliments from a few GOP senators.

That’s not to say that Trump will stop attacking the man he calls “Shifty Schiff,” or that other Republicans won’t use Schiff as the scapegoat for everything they think is wrong with the House Democrats’ impeachment charges.

Green card gridlock: When will Congress agree on a solution?
The waiting lists for residency status grow ... and grow.

Hundreds of thousands of people may find themselves waiting for decades in green card limbo. (CQ Roll Call)

On Dec. 18, immigration reform stalwart Richard J. Durbin’s announcement on the Senate floor about a rare bipartisan breakthrough flew largely under the radar, overshadowed in the chaotic flurry of impeachment. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, and Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah had dueled two months earlier over unanimous consent requests on the Senate floor, and had since been deadlocked.

Each had pushed for his own solution to an important but often overlooked symptom of the broken U.S. immigration system: the employment-based green card backlog. Because of it, hundreds of thousands of people — overwhelmingly from India — wait in limbo, sometimes for decades.

Fear of ICE raids during census could hamper count of immigrants
Outreach organizations fear that Trump officials may try to deport immigrant communities they need to count

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Fugitive Operations Team members on a raid in Los Angeles. Some census outreach groups worry the Trump administration may try to deport immigrants they need to count. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

As census efforts ramp up this spring, outreach organizations fear that Trump administration officials may try to deport the immigrant communities they need to count.

A network of nonprofits, local governments and advocacy groups has fanned out to help the Census Bureau conduct its decennial count of America’s residents. Some advocates worry the administration, after its failed push to add a citizenship question to the census, may continue on-the-ground immigration enforcement efforts in a departure from previous censuses.

What day of the Trump trial is it? It turns out there’s no wrong answer
(But we say it started Wednesday)

Capitol workers wind the Ohio Clock in the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When did the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump begin?

This publication says Wednesday, but depending on which news outlet you watch or read, Thursday could be the second, third or fourth day of the trial.