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John Bolton shows that in Washington, irony never dies
No role reversal, it turns out, is too extreme

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton (Getty Images)

The emergence of John Bolton as a potentially critical witness in Democrats’ case for ousting President Donald Trump from office is deeply ironic.

For years, Democrats almost to a person have depicted the former national security adviser and arch-conservative as practically unhinged. Now, by contrast, Democrats consider him a solid and stable foundation upon which to rest their case for the president’s conviction in his ongoing impeachment trial. 

House Democrats are making McConnell — not Trump — their new boogeyman
But presidential antics will inevitably trickle down to congressional races

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is increasingly being cast as a villain blocking Democratic legislation, especially by lawmakers running in districts won by President Donald Trump in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While Democrats in Washington are attacking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s management of the impeachment trial, it’s his role in blocking House-passed legislation that is getting the most campaign airtime so far this year.

The latest example, and a likely preview of what is to come, is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s announcement Monday of a seven-figure cable and online ad campaign focused on the Senate bottling up a bill intended to lower prescription drug prices.

Impeachment continues. But first, a Kobe Bryant prayer

Basketball icon Kobe Bryant was remembered Monday as the Senate convened as a court of impeachment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the Senate geared up for another day of arguments in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, quiet descended on the chamber for the opening prayer — and the chaplain used the moment to remember a basketball titan. “We think about life’s brevity, uncertainty and legacy,” Chaplain Barry Black said as he mourned Kobe Bryant and his daughter, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Trump campaign to deploy Cabinet secretaries, lawmakers, allies to Iowa
The effort creates potential ethical pitfalls for federal officials who face limits on political work

Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is going to Iowa to campaign for President Donald Trump. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump campaign says it will dispatch high-level government appointees to stump in Iowa ahead of the state’s Monday caucuses, setting up potential pitfalls for Cabinet secretaries and other officials bound by ethics restrictions on their politicking.

“This goes above and beyond anything I’ve ever seen when it comes to the White House deploying its resources on the campaign trail,” said Democratic consultant Jim Manley, once an aide to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Supreme Court allows Trump's ‘public charge’ rule to proceed
The 5-4 ruling would deny green cards to immigrants who use federal aid programs

The "public charge" rule was originally issued last August by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under Ken Cuccinelli, the agency's acting director. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Trump administration can implement its divisive “public charge” rule, which seeks to withhold citizenship from immigrants the government deems likely to rely on public benefits like Medicaid and Section 8 housing. 

In the 5-4 vote, conservative-leaning justices voted to grant the administration its request to stay a lower court injunction on the rule while the merits of the case continue to be debated in the lower courts. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen G. Breyer voted against the stay. 

Lowey to discuss earmarks with freshman, at-risk Democrats
Tuesday meeting marks first step in determining whether there's enough consensus to attempt to bring back the line items

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., is set to meet Tuesday with a group of freshman House Democrats and others considered vulnerable in 2020 elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democratic leaders are moving ahead with their sales pitch for the return of earmarks — which an aide dubbed “community project funding.”

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., is set to meet Tuesday with a group of freshman House Democrats and others considered vulnerable in the 2020 elections to talk about a possible return of local projects in the spending bills for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. 

Personal stories on display on anniversary of ‘Muslim travel ban’

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., departs from a news conference Tuesday. On Monday Durbin and other Democrats held a press conference to advocate for the NO BAN Act. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

On the third anniversary of President Donald Trump’s “Muslim travel ban,” Democrats brought advocates to speak in support of a bill that would limit his ability to restrict travel from some Muslim countries. 

The legislation introduced in the House is called the NO BAN Act and is supported by senators including Democratic Sens. Richard J. Durbin, of Illinois and Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut. Monday’s event gave individuals affected by the travel ban an opportunity to share their stories and how it impacts their communities.

The most wonderful time of the year: budget forecast release week
CQ Budget, ep. 141

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 11: Scaffolding has been removed from the upper section of the U.S. Capitol dome as the Architect of the Capitol works to complete the Capitol Dome Restoration Project before the 2017 presidential inauguration. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House members considering ending ban on earmarks
Lawmakers have cautiously expressed growing interest in allowing special projects inserted into spending bills

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., briefly considered allowing earmarks last year, until announcing in March that they would not be allowed in fiscal 2020 spending bills. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House appropriators are considering lifting a nearly 10-year ban on congressionally directed spending, known as earmarks.

While no decisions have been made, a House Democratic aide said lawmakers are in the “early stages” of considering allowing earmarks in spending bills for the coming fiscal year. “There is considerable interest in allowing members of Congress to direct funding for important projects in their communities,” the source said.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 27
Pence spokesman says Trump never tied Ukraine aid to Biden investigation with VP

Vice President Mike Pence leaves the Old Senate Chamber after conducting the ceremonial swear-in of senators in January 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

File updated 7:15 p.m.

At least two Republican senators indicated Monday that they and others are inclined to call for the testimony of former national security adviser John Bolton after reports that he says in his upcoming book that President Donald Trump told him to withhold aid to Ukraine absent an investigation into political rivals.