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Gerrymandering potential sways state legislative targets
Both parties have 2022 on their minds

North Carolina is among the states seeing increased attention from both parties on legislative races ahead of redistricting based on the 2020 census. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

National political parties are targeting a handful of competitive state legislative chambers this year, where the majority parties can draw favorable district lines — with the potential for gerrymandering — after the 2020 census.

The state legislative campaign arms of both parties said wins in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin would help win congressional majorities for the next decade. Those six states send a total of 116 representatives to the U.S. House — more than a quarter of the entire voting body. Republicans outnumber Democrats in their combined delegations, 69-46, with one vacancy in Wisconsin.

2020 census begins! Decennial headcount starts in Alaska
Effort starts in remote villages before residents disperse for seasonal work in spring

U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham addresses state and Alaska Native leaders in Anchorage days before Tuesday’s first count of the 2020 census. (Mark Thiessen/AP)

By snowmobile and small plane, the 2020 census starts Tuesday in Alaska, facing the same language barriers and government trust issues that will make the count difficult on the U.S. mainland on top of actual physical obstacles like the rugged terrain where most of the state lies off the road system.

The geography of Toksook Bay, a fishing village on Alaska’s western coast that’s hosting the first count, shows the difficulty of counting the state’s residents. Many of the state’s villages, including Toksook Bay, can only be accessed by boat, plane or snowmobile. The effort starts in Alaska midwinter to count residents there before they disperse for seasonal work in the spring. 

McConnell’s impeachment rules would condense opening arguments, limit evidence
Resolution calls for two session days of arguments from House managers, Trump lawyers

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., circulated his proposed impeachment rules resolution on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday released a resolution setting time limits on the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, and is specifically seeking to limit the number of session days for opening arguments that would begin on Wednesday. 

Under text of a procedural resolution that the Senate would vote on Tuesday afternoon, the House managers would be allotted up to 24 hours over the course of up to two days, starting Wednesday afternoon, to make the case that the president should be removed from the White House.

Crimes required? Trump’s impeachment defense could set new standard
Trump defense team seizes on the lack of an article charging the president with a crime

A clerk places a tray of pens before Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., signs the articles of impeachment during an engrossment ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 15. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s defense team is arguing that a president should not be convicted by the Senate on articles of impeachment that do not include a criminal violation, putting the very definition of an impeachable offense at the center of the Senate trial set to begin Tuesday.

And some legal experts said the outcome of that debate could set a new, higher standard for removing a president from office in future impeachments.

Reporter’s Notebook: Precedent, the reason Senate rules feel ‘made up’

Niels Lesniewski talks about his deep dive into the 1936 impeachment of a federal judge from Florida. (Graham MacGillivray/CQ Roll Call)

CQ Roll Call reporter Niels Lesniewski took a deep dive into the history of impeachment ahead of the Senate trial for President Donald Trump. He found some pertinent parallels in a 1936 impeachment case of a federal judge from Florida that involved the House adding articles of impeachment after a Senate trial began.

Watch as he takes us through the weird rabbit hole he jumped down for this archived story.

Former Rep. Chris Collins sentenced to just over two years in federal prison
New York Republican pleaded guilty in October to insider trading charges

Former New York Rep. Chris Collins was sentenced to two years and two months in federal prison for insider trading. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Chris Collins was sentenced to two years and two months in federal prison Friday for insider trading crimes he committed, ending a legal process that evolved from the New York Republican calling the charges “meritless” shortly after he was indicted to him pleading guilty and proclaiming embarrassment for his actions.

Collins, who represented the Buffalo-area 27th District for seven years and was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for president, pleaded guilty on Oct. 1 to participating in a scheme to commit insider trading and lying to the FBI to conceal his illegal activity. He resigned from Congress the day before his guilty plea.

USDA official to resign, leaving civil rights post vacant
Lawmakers say her managerial style caused discord and discouraged employees from filing complaints

Department of Agriculture sign in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Corrected 4:50 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19 | The effort to fill the top Agriculture Department civil rights post got a setback this week with the resignation of Naomi C. Earp, the nominee for the position who has been serving as deputy assistant secretary for civil rights.

Earp, chairwoman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under President George W. Bush, has been under fire from Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, chairwoman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations.

Court tells teen plaintiffs it can’t force climate policy changes
Majority agreed the teens showed the federal government ‘has long promoted fossil fuel use despite knowing that it can cause catastrophic climate change’

Climate change youth activists demonstrate at the Supreme Court in September.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A three-judge panel of a federal appeals court said Friday that young climate activists established that government policies worsened climate change but dismissed the activists’ case seeking to force policy changes, ruling it was beyond the court’s power.

In a 2-1 decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel accepted the argument that climate change had accelerated in recent years and that government policies encouraged fossil fuel use even as authorities knew it could have disastrous consequences. But the Constitution doesn’t empower courts to force such sweeping changes to policies at several federal agencies, the majority ruled.

Forget impeachment, Sensenbrenner's got something else on his mind

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump on Dec. 4, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Impeachment might be the hottest topic on the Hill, but Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner is preparing for another epic clash on the horizon — the NFC Championship matchup between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers. 

Trump basks in glow of ‘big, strong-looking’ LSU champs
‘He’s all man,’ president says of head coach Ed Orgeron

President Donald Trump hosts the LSU Tigers at the White House on Friday. (Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Last year, he served up fast food from McDonald’s. This year, he served up “big strong” compliments.

As the shadow of an impeachment trial looms, Louisiana State University’s newly minted national champion football team provided President Donald Trump a welcome distraction Friday morning at the White House.