Christopher S Murphy

Charleston mass murderer got his gun because of background check gaps, internal report shows
Four years later, Congress and White House have made little progress on gun legislation

Mourners enter Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2015 after a mass shooting by Dylann Roof, a self-declared white supremacist, left nine people dead. (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images file photo)

Dylann Roof got the pistol he used to kill nine people in a historic black church in South Carolina without a completed background check because of gaps in FBI databases, legal restrictions on how long the FBI can keep data on gun purchasers and other breakdowns in the system, according to an internal report obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Four years after the 2015 attack at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston — and several more high-profile mass shootings — a bipartisan group of senators is still trying to hammer out a deal with the White House on background check legislation. 

Trump contends ‘no quid pro quo’ with Ukraine is ‘whole ballgame’ on impeachment
Democratic Sen. Murphy: President used ‘access to the White House’ to ‘help destroy his political rival’

President Donald Trump walks out of the White House to answer questions while departing the White House on Thursday. He did so again Friday under fire about his actions regarding Ukraine, China and Joe Biden. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Friday declared his requests that foreign governments investigate his domestic political foes are in bounds, and said a probe of the Bidens would not be required of China before a possible trade deal is finalized.

His comments came as Republican and Democratic lawmakers sparred over text messages released late Thursday night showing U.S. diplomats in Ukraine discussing offers to — and demands of — that country’s new government for a pledge to probe former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden in return for diplomatic prizes President Volodymyr Zelenskiy desperately wanted from Trump.

Staff security clearances may vex House Intelligence members
Rank-and-file members likely have no aides to consult on the most sensitive information in impeachment probe

House Intelligence member Jackie Speier has called for panel members to have one personal staffer with TS/SCI clearance. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rank-and-file members of the House Intelligence Committee, who are at the nucleus of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, likely have no personal aides to consult on the most sensitive information handled in the high-stakes probe.

The two Californians who lead the panel, Chairman Adam B. Schiff and ranking Republican Devin Nunes, have staff with Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information Security Clearance, also known as TS/SCI clearance. But other lawmakers on the committee traditionally have not had personal staff with such a clearance.

The art of the ask: Foreign aid isn’t a campaign ‘slush fund’
Trump’s Ukraine request deviates from the traditional carrot-and-stick approach

President Donald Trump is under fire for a July 25 conversation in which he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open an investigation into potential 2020 opponent Joe Biden. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Arms sales and foreign aid have long been a part of the United States’ carrot-and-stick approach to foreign policy. But President Donald Trump’s call with the Ukrainian leader is something entirely different.

Making access to American weapons or dollars contingent upon behaviors that support U.S. interests is standard procedure.

Lawmaker pay freeze extended in Senate Legislative Branch bill
Pay for lawmakers has decreased by around 15 percent compared to inflation and other factors since 2009

From left, Sens. John Kennedy, R-La., Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., prepare for a Senate Appropriations Committee markup on June 19, 2019. The committee advanced its 2020 Legislative Branch spending bill, which marks an increase of about $256 million over current levels. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday advanced, as amended, a $5.09 billion fiscal 2020 Legislative Branch spending bill that would continue a pay freeze for members of Congress. The issue has proved troublesome in the House, where a spending bill approved by appropriators this summer with a cost-of-living adjustment has yet to be brought up on the floor.

The Senate version, approved by the panel 31-0, would mark an increase of about $256 million over current levels to fund the House, Senate and joint operations, including Capitol Police, the Government Accountability Office, and other offices.

Chris Murphy will still work with White House on gun background checks, even after Trump attack
‘At the same time that Trump is trying to claim that we’re walking away from legislative process on guns, his team is pulling us back in’

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy is still trying for a deal with President Donald Trump on background checks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Callfile photo)

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy was not entirely surprised when President Donald Trump attacked him Wednesday, even as administration officials were trying to make sure the Connecticut Democrat was still open to a deal on expanded background checks for gun sales.

“I got a preview last night when Rudy Giuliani called for my impeachment, so I had a feeling that their focus may be turning to me,” Murphy quipped.

AG Barr takes temperature of Senate GOP on gun background checks
But there's still confusion about what President Donald Trump will ultimately support

Attorney General William Barr spent a second day on Capitol Hill speaking with Congressional members about gun legislation. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General William Barr continued to take the temperature of Republican senators on expanding background checks Wednesday after a working document started circulating publicly.

“As the president has made clear he’s interested in exploring meaningful solutions that will actually protect people, make people safer,” the attorney general said. “And I’m up here just kicking around some ideas, getting perspectives, so I can be in a better position to advise the president. The president has made no decision yet on these issues.”

Senate Democrats prepare marathon floor session on gun violence
Late night is expected as 22 senators are prepared to call for legislation

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., will lead nearly two dozen senators in a marathon of floor speeches on gun violence Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nearly two dozen Senate Democrats plan to make it a late night on Tuesday, speaking out on the Senate floor about the impact of gun violence and legislative proposals Congress could explore.

The speeches are expected to begin around 5:30 p.m. and run late. Connecticut Democrat Christopher S. Murphy is leading the effort, spurred by mass shootings in Texas and Ohio during the August recess and the lack of clear response from the White House on what, if any, gun control measures they could agree to.

Democrats object to Trump’s threatening Iran over Saudi oil attack
U.S. is ‘locked and loaded’ if Tehran believed to be behind strikes, president warns

President Donald Trump leaves after chairing a U.N. Security Council meeting last September. He will be back there, along with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, next week. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

The United States should not take orders about using military force against Iran even if Saudi Arabia’s government declares Tehran was behind an attack on its oil facilities, congressional Democrats are telling President Donald Trump.

Trump signaled on Sunday evening and again on Monday morning that he is standing by for Saudi officials to sort out just what happened and who launched what U.S. officials said appeared to be armed drone and cruise missile strikes on the Saudi facilities. The attacks are expected to pare Saudi production and drive up oil and gas prices — but Democrats are concerned the incident might compel Trump to launch retaliatory strikes on Iran, which they say would be contrary to American interests.

Ted Cruz: A Trump deal with Democrats on gun control could lead conservatives to stay home in 2020
Depressed turnout ‘could go a long way to electing a President Elizabeth Warren,’ Texas Republican says

Sen. Ted Cruz is warning Republicans against deals with Democrats on guns that could depress conservative turnout in next year’s elections. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz is warning that President Donald Trump making a deal with Democrats on gun legislation might cause conservative voters to stay home in 2020.

“If Republicans abandon the Second Amendment and demoralize millions of Americans who care deeply about Second Amendment rights,” the Texas Republican said, “that could go a long way to electing a President Elizabeth Warren.”