Intelligence

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.

At Dallas rally, embattled Trump calls 2020 a fight for ‘survival of American democracy’
President hauls in $5.5 million in 2020 campaign cash at two Texas fundraisers

President Donald Trump speaks at the 2019 House Republican Conference Member Retreat dinner in Baltimore last month. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump wasted little time Thursday at a campaign rally in Dallas attacking Democrats leading an impeachment probe against him, saying “Crazy Nancy” and “Shifty Schiff” hate the United States.

“The Democrats have betrayed our country,” he said to cheers, adding the 2020 election is about the “survival of American democracy.”

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.

Mulvaney acknowledges 2016 election investigation was tied to Ukraine aid freeze
Former GOP rep to Dems: ‘Get over it’ — politics will always shape U.S. foreign policy

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney reacts to a question during a briefing at the White House on Thursday. Mulvaney took questions relating to the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump and other issues during the briefing. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s acting White House chief of staff contended Thursday the administration’s hold on a nearly $400 million military aid package to Ukraine had “absolutely nothing” to do with Trump’s desire for Kyiv to investigate his then-top Democratic rival. But it was linked to the 2016 U.S. election.

Mick Mulvaney acknowedged Trump held up the aid, in part, because of his concerns — rooted in conservative media — that Ukrainian officials worked to aid Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and prevent him from winning the White House. Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate whether a hacked Democratic National Committee server that was penetrated in 2016 resides in that country. The conservative conspiracy theory has been widely debunked.

Carolyn Maloney to be acting chairwoman of Oversight panel as succession sorted out
Several Democrats likely to vie for gavel of high-profile committee

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., will serve as acting chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee after the death of Elijah E. Cummings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Carolyn Maloney will serve as acting chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform after Chairman Elijah E. Cummings died Thursday, with House Democrats choosing a formal replacement for Cummings at “a later time,” a senior Democratic leadership aide told CQ Roll Call.

The next leader of the committee will step into a bright spotlight, with the panel conducting multiple investigations into President Donald Trump and his administration and playing a key role in the impeachment process headed by Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff.

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 17
Ambassador Sondland on the Hill, investigation goes on despite Cummings’ death

Gordon Sondland, second from left, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, arrives at the Capitol on Thursday for his deposition as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Hill was shocked Thursday morning by the death of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, one of the three committees conducting the impeachment investigations, but it didn’t affect scheduled hearings. 

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and a key player in the investigation into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, testified Thursday before the three House Committees conducting the impeachment inquiry.

Elijah E. Cummings: A life in photos
Images of the Maryland lawmaker from the CQ Roll Call archives

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., interviewed by Roll Call in his Rayburn House Office Building office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a 12-term congressman, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and a key player in the ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, died early Thursday of complications from longtime health issues.  The Maryland Democrat was 68.

House Democrats sharpen counterattacks to Republican impeachment process complaints
Democrats say this part of the inquiry needs to be conducted behind closed doors but public portions coming

From left, Reps. Andy Harris of Maryland, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Steve King of Iowa speak to reporters Wednesday after being denied access to transcripts because they aren't on the committees conducting the impeachment inquiry. Democrats have begun to change tack on their response to GOP messaging on the probe. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats in recent days have sharpened their counterattacks to Republican assertions that they’re running an illegitimate and nontransparent impeachment process. 

The rebukes represent a shift in messaging strategy as Democrats had largely been trying to avoid engaging in a back-and-forth about process, arguing the GOP was manufacturing concerns to avoid having to defend President Donald Trump on the substance of the impeachment inquiry.

House Republicans aim to force vote on Schiff censure
Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs is leading the effort, with GOP leadership backing

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., backed by House Republicans, will attempt to force a vote on a censure of House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff.

Rep. Andy Biggs will attempt to force a vote on his resolution to censure House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff on the House floor this week, having initiated the process Wednesday.

Biggs’ censure effort has the backing of House Republican leaders — an uncommon alliance between the party’s establishment and the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.

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.”