Eliot L Engel

Democrats could tie paychecks to testimony in impeachment inquiry
Little-used provision would deny pay to administration officials seen as stonewalling House investigators

House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, and the heads of the Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, in an Oct 1. letter raised the possibility of senior administration officials not getting paid for any time spent stonewalling congressional investigators. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats are threatening to force Trump administration officials’ compliance with their impeachment inquiry by targeting something they hold dear: their paychecks.

Democrats have twice referenced using an obscure provision in the annual Financial Services spending bill, referred to as Section 713, that says any federal employee who “prohibits or prevents, or attempts or threatens to prohibit or prevent” another official from communicating with lawmakers shouldn’t be paid during that time.

Turkey sanctions bills likely to move despite ceasefire
Shaky ceasefire agreement halting Syrian Kurd attacks appears to not appease lawmakers, who may still vote to impose sanctions

This picture taken on October 18, 2019 from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district in Sanliurfa shows fire and smoke rising from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain on the first week of Turkey's military operation against Kurdish forces. The shaky ceasefire agreement with Turkey to halt its attacks on the Syrian Kurds does not appear to have done much to slake lawmakers’ appetite for imposing sanctions on the longtime NATO ally. (OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)

A shaky ceasefire agreement with Turkey to halt its attacks on the Syrian Kurds does not appear to have done much to slake lawmakers’ appetite for imposing sanctions on the longtime NATO ally.

President Donald Trump was quick to declare victory Thursday after Ankara agreed to a five-day ceasefire in its attacks on Kurds in northern Syria. Kurdish fighters are supposed to use that window, which the Turkish government is describing not as a ceasefire but as a “pause,” to withdraw to roughly 20 miles south of the Turkish border.

Cummings unites lawmakers, for the moment, as impeachment inquiry trudges forward
Probe that late Maryland Democrat helped lead continued with witness depositions Thursday

A memorial for the late House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings is seen in the committee’s Rayburn Building hearing room on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House lawmakers dialed down the partisan rancor, at least for a day, as they honored the life of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who died early Thursday at age 68. But the impeachment inquiry, of which the Maryland Democrat was a key leader, is forging ahead.

The investigation into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine has stoked anger among Republicans who view the probe as illegitimate. Democrats’ frustrations with the president’s conduct and his supporters in Congress are only growing. The death of Cummings, held in deep respect on both sides of the aisle, didn’t put the partisan fighting completely to rest, but it did quell the most inflammatory elements for the moment.

Rick Perry to resign as Energy secretary
Trump was holding a fundraiser in Texas, a state where Perry once was the governor, when his resignation was first reported

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is one of President Donald Trump's longest-serving Cabinet members. He has informed President Donald Trump he will resign, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Energy Secretary Rick Perry has informed President Donald Trump that he intends to step down, the president said Thursday ahead of a campaign rally in Texas.

The resignation notification came just hours after acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters Trump instructed Perry to consider his personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, the lead on all Ukraine policy matters.

Pence says Turkey has agreed to cease fire in northern Syria
Trump has faced a bipartisan backlash over pulling U.S. troops from buffer zone along Turkey-Syria border

Smoke rises over the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain on Thursday as Turkish forces try to extend their control of more of northern Syria, which is currently held by Syrian Kurds. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced later Thursday that Turkey had agreed to a cease fire in the area. (Burak Kara/Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday that a ceasefire agreement had been reached with the Turkish government that would allow for a cessation of fighting in northeast Syria where Syrian Kurds have been getting hammered for the last week.

Specifics of the ceasefire, which was to last for 120 hours, were initially scarce but Pence at a news conference in Ankara alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it was already being implemented.

Hoyer: Democrats not using inherent contempt, hope to conclude impeachment inquiry this year
Inherent contempt could be seen as ‘arbitrary’ move to enforce subpoenas, which courts are already upholding, Hoyer says

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, seen navigating through a crowd of tourists as he heads into the speaker's office last month, said Wednesday that Democrats will not use their inherent contempt power to enforce subpoenas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Wednesday ruled out Democrats using inherent contempt to enforce subpoenas and became the most senior Democrat to say the chamber should wrap up its impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump by the end of 2019.

“We made a judgment that we want the American people to understand that we are pursuing not arbitrary action but considered and thoughtful action,” the Maryland Democrat said. “I don’t mean to say by that that inherent contempt is by definition arbitrary but it may be perceived as arbitrary.”

Sanctions on Turkey go front and center as Congress returns
Trump’s proposed sanctions appear to buy some breathing room with GOP critics

Turkish troops drive their armored vehicles into Syria on Monday. (Aaref Watad/AFP/Getty Images)

Bipartisan, bicameral sanctions against Turkey over its incursion into northern Syria against longtime Kurdish allies of the U.S. are high on the agenda as lawmakers return from recess Tuesday, even as President Donald Trump appeared to try to undercut the emerging unity on the issue.

While the sanctions and trade actions declared by the president Monday fall short of what lawmakers had been proposing, they do appear, at least initially, to have bought him breathing room with some top Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has been leading the sanctions charge in the Senate.

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 11
Recalled Ukranian ambassador takes on accusations; Sondland will testify after all; Trump loses in court

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch arrives to testify behind closed doors at the Capitol on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine who was recalled in May after butting heads with the White House, told members of the committees leading the impeachment inquiry into President Trump on Friday that her removal was “based, as far as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.”

In her opening statement, obtained by the New York Times, Yovanovitch said she was told by her superior that she had done nothing wrong and that there had been “a concerted campaign against me” and that the State Department had been under pressure “from the President” to have her removed since the summer of 2018.

Impeachment committees subpoena Perry for records
Democrats want Energy secretary to turn over files about interactions with Ukrainian officials

House Democrats have issued a subpoena for records of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s interactions with Ukrainian officials. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The chairmen of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees subpoenaed Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Thursday, demanding records about his interactions with Ukrainian officials, including the president, a central figure in their impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

In a letter, Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings and Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel requested Perry turn over files about his knowledge of a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy and his activities in and business connections to Ukraine, including with a state-run natural gas company, Naftogaz.

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 8
The latest on the impeachment inquiry

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff speaks to reporters in the Capitol after learning the State Department blocked U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland from testifying to the committee on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The 11th-hour cancellation of testimony of a key player in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump threw Democrats into an uproar with one suggesting it was another piece of evidence of the president obstructing justice.

The Democratic chairmen of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees on Tuesday evening made good on a plan to subpoena Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, for his testimony and documents.