An Environmental Film Festival That Aims for a Big Tent
26th annual confab pitches itself as both mission-driven and entertaining

The 26th annual Environmental Film Festival in the nation’s capital is underway, and runs through March 25. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Maryanne G. Culpepper, executive director of the Environmental Film Festival in the nation’s capital, has a long-standing heads-up for filmmakers who arrive at screenings to talk about their movies. 

“People are going to challenge you with questions. Be sure that you really know your stuff, and don’t try to bluff your way through an answer, because they’ll call you on it,” she says. 

In Like a Conor Lamb
Democrats are over the Moon (Township) over the returns in Pennsylvania

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at Wednesday's anti-gun violence rally at the Capitol, in animated. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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

As Democrat Conor Lamb zeroed in on an unlikely victory in the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, his likely future colleagues back in Washington could hardly contain their glee. 

Pyeongchang Sendoff: Members of Congress Honor Olympians
Lawmakers celebrate skating Floridians, LGBT athletes and a brother-sister duo

Long track speed skater Erin Jackson is a constituent of Rep. Ted Yoho. (Courtesy Erin Jackson/Twitter)

A sunny town in Florida is sending three speedskaters to the Olympics — and it doesn’t even have an ice rink.

Erin Jackson, who trained on inline roller skates, grew up in Ocala. She is the first African-American woman to make the U.S. long track team.

Report: Schiff Engaged With Russian Prank Callers
Comedians were offering ranking Democrat on House Intelligence Committee naked photos of Trump

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was pranked by a pair of Russian comedians and is heard on their audio asking a number of questions about the photos they offered. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Audio of Russian radio comedians prank-calling Rep. Adam Schiff shows the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee asking for details about naked photos of President Donald Trump they were offering.

The audio from last year was posted by U.K. outlet The Daily Mail. The audio’s existence was first reported by the Atlantic.

Pyeongchang Send-Off: Members of Congress Share Their Excitement for Local Celebrities
States with several Olympians tout their accomplishments

U.S. athletes model the outfits they’ll wear in the opening ceremonies. (Courtesy of U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team on twitter)

As members of Team USA arrive in Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the Olympic Games, the White House is eyeing the hermit kingdom to the north. 

Vice President Mike Pence left for the games on Monday, with a few stops planned along the way. He’ll tour a ballistic missile defense facility, attend talks with Japanese leaders and otherwise “send a clear message of American resolve to the North Korean regime,” according to an aide.

Pyeongchang Send-Off: Members of Congress Wish Their Local Celebrities Well
States with only a few Olympians will have all eyes on those events

Ted Ligety, a constituent of Utah Rep. John Curtis, won a gold medal in alpine skiing in the 2014 games. (Fred Hayes/Getty Images file photo)

Athletes representing Team USA in the Olympics are local celebrities back home. And members of Congress are some of their biggest fans.

As skiers, skaters and lugers head off to Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the 2018 games, lawmakers from their districts are giving them a rousing send-off.

Opinion: Why Democrats Are Desperate for Some Kennedy Dazzle
The JPK3 boomlet is upon us, and it starts with the State of the Union

In Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, Democratic leaders get someone seasoned enough not to embarrass them but junior enough not to challenge them, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s hard to describe the full swoon among progressives that’s been underway since House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi announced that Rep. Joe Kennedy III, known among liberal super-fans as “JPK3,” had accepted the deceptively difficult task of delivering the response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

“My God, he looks like a red-headed Ted,” wrote a contributor on The Daily Kos, the website that re-established itself in 2017 as a hugely influential forum for progressive activists.

Opinion: With a Potemkin President, Maybe It’s Time for Congressional Government
With Trump, the less he does the better

A strong case can be made that the less President Donald Trump does, the better off Americans are, Shapiro writes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

In 1885, an up-and-coming Ph.D. student named Woodrow Wilson wrote the book that would establish his academic reputation. Entitled “Congressional Government,” Wilson’s conclusions reflected “the declining prestige of the presidential office” in the decades following the death of Abraham Lincoln.

“That high office has fallen from its first estate of dignity because its power has waned,” Wilson wrote in his introduction. “And its power has waned because the power of Congress has become predominant.”

Opinion: Why Oprah in 2020 Is Both Blessing and Curse for Trump and the GOP
Talk of her running for president a political threat, but could distract from “Fire and Fury”

Oprah Winfrey arrives with the Cecil B. DeMille Award in the press room during the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

It didn’t take long for “Oprah in 2020” to start trending after the one-named icon’s stirring Golden Globes speech on Sunday night.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering his gift for exploiting political and cultural fault lines, one of the first to connect the media and philanthropic queen to electoral gold was none other than Donald Trump, who has said in the past that the two on a presidential ticket would win “easily.”

Trump v. Bannon: Trial of the Century or Just Trash Talk?
Legal experts doubt president would brave legal scrutiny to follow through on lawsuit threat

Steve Bannon arrives for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore’s “Drain the Swamp” campaign rally in Midland City, Ala., in December. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It would be the political trial of the century: President Donald Trump versus former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

But don’t expect the president’s legal threats against his former right-hand man to escalate beyond the cease-and-desist letter from his lawyers, legal experts say.