Jeff Sessions

Immigration talks at White House produce vague path forward
Administration officials decline to offer specifics on next steps

Families Belong Together set up artist Paola Mendoza’s life-sized cage installation on the Capitol lawn on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. The event was held to coincide with the anniversary of the Trump administration’s ‘zero-tolerance’ family separation policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Tuesday started with talk of White House officials preparing to lay out a centrist immigration plan born from Jared Kushner’s monthslong efforts to bridge wide divides between Republicans and Democrats. But it ended with the administration tepidly pointing only to a “potential plan” with scant details.

And White House officials were unable to clearly explain just why many — if any — House and Senate Democrats would support a plan that they said was received warmly by a group of conservative GOP senators.

Jeff Sessions, Doug Jones ring in happy birthday for Richard Shelby

A bipartisan group of senators, and one prominent ex-senator, wished Richard Shelby a happy birthday on Monday. (Jennifer Shutt/CQ Roll Call)

The hallways outside the Senate Appropriations Committee filled with the Happy Birthday song Monday afternoon as dozens of senators and staff gathered to wish Chairman Richard C. Shelby a happy 85th birthday.

The closed-door event included coconut cake, champagne and red napkins that read “Happy Birthday Senator Richard Shelby!”

Trump would have been charged with obstruction if he wasn’t president, nearly 400 former federal prosecutors say
To look at Mueller report and say an obstruction conviction couldn’t be sustained ‘runs counter to logic and our experience’

Former federal prosecutors from both Democratic and Republican administrations identified several areas from the redacted Mueller report that they say constituted obstruction of justice charges that could be filed against Donald Trump if he wasn’t protected by an Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting president. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Nearly 400 former federal prosecutors, many of whom worked at the Department of Justice under both Republican and Democratic administrations, believe President Donald Trump would have been charged with obstruction of justice if he was not in the Oval Office.

“Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice,” the former prosecutors wrote in a joint statement posted on Medium on Monday.

3 things about Congress buried in the Mueller report
Chris Christie warned Trump firing Comey would erode his GOP support on Capitol Hill

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, here testifying as FBI director, revealed a Trump team heavily focused on congressional investigations and sometimes-false testimony to committees. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

From President Donald Trump’s signals to his former fixer about his upcoming — and false — congressional testimony to questions about whether senior administration officials committed perjury, Congress is repeatedly at the center of key parts of the Mueller report.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team, after poring over reams of documents and conducting hours upon hours of interviews, did not find that Trump tried to withhold information from congressional investigators. What’s more, the report repeatedly describes the president and top aides as concerned with the committees that were investigating them and collaborating on how to approach dealing with those panels.

Trump feared ‘one of these independent counsels.’ He got something else
Amid Democrats’ criticism, is Barr trying to protect Trump or the office he occupies?

President Donald Trump was worried that “one of these independent counsels,” as Kenneth Starr was during the Clinton administration, would bring the “end of my presidency,” special counsel Robert S. Mueller III concluded in his report. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Jeff Sessions, then the attorney general, ended a phone call and returned to the Oval Office. It wasn’t long before President Donald Trump was in an angry rage.

Sessions, since unceremoniously fired, had just taken a phone call from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who informed him he had appointed former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III as a special counsel to look into Russia’s 2016 election meddling, including whether there was coordination with Trump’s campaign.

Trump painted as media-obsessed in Mueller’s report
At times, focus on press was a blessing for Trump; at other times, it was a burden

President Donald Trump takes questions from reporters at the Capitol in March, alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, center, and Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt. Robert Mueller's report reveals a media-obsessed chief executive. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation of the Trump White House reveals a presidency calibrated to drive and respond to media coverage of itself. Though unconventional, Donald Trump’s unique approach helped save his presidency.

At several critical points of his turbulent term, Mueller found that Trump — who once cold-called New York reporters claiming to be a public relations agent named “John Barron” to promote his real estate ventures — was mostly focused on responding to negative press reports or trying to generate positive ones. When the president took several questionable actions, the former FBI director concluded, it was because he was focused on a “press strategy” — and misleading or even lying to reporters is not a crime.

Mueller report shows Trump aides routinely ignored his orders on crucial matters
Special counsel highlights chaotic West Wing where staff tried to save president from himself

President Donald Trump's top aides routinely ignored his orders on crucial legal matters during his first year in office, according to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Presidential orders given but often ignored. Ample cursing. Aides working behind the scenes to protect Donald Trump from his own anger and impulsiveness. And an effort to prevent the president from firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III despite his determination to do so.

Mueller’s long-anticipated report reveals a chaotic West Wing driven by paranoia and frequent outbursts from a green president who wanted to remove the special counsel and demanded that his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, be more like predecessors Robert F. Kennedy and Eric H. Holder Jr., whom he felt “protected” the respective presidents they served, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama.

Mueller cites ‘fairness’ in reasons not to decide if Trump obstructed justice
Such an evaluation ‘could potentially result in a judgment that the President committed crimes,’ Mueller wrote

Media films a few pages of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election which was printed out by staff in the House Judiciary Committee's hearing room on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III lists in his report which of President Donald Trump’s actions his team scrutinized to determine whether the president tried to obstruct justice — enough that they could not rule out that Trump committed a crime.

But Mueller’s team decided they should refrain from deciding whether Trump should be prosecuted because of several factors — including “fairness,” the unique role of the president in government and previous Justice Department opinions that a sitting president could not be indicted.

Democrats and Republicans embrace MLK’s once-controversial diatribe against ‘moderation’
Doug Jones leads bipartisan group in reading ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’

Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones  arrives in the Capitol for a vote on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan group of senators led by Alabama Democrat Doug Jones on Tuesday took to the Senate floor to read Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” commemorating the anniversary of the slain civil rights legend’s famous jeremiad, and showing just how far public opinion has shifted on the once-controversial civil rights icon.

King’s letter, written in April 1963 from his jail cell, is not a tirade against the guardians of segregation.

Democrats probe Trump decision to not defend Obamacare

Attorney General William Barr urged the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee to let the Obamacare case make its way through the courts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats opened a probe Tuesday into the Trump administration’s decision not to defend the 2010 health care law in a high-profile legal challenge, as Attorney General William Barr urged lawmakers to allow the case to move through the courts.

The chairmen of five House panels sent letters to the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Justice Department seeking documents and communications about how the decision was made earlier this year to only partially defend the health care law in a legal challenge brought by Texas’ attorney general and other conservative state attorneys general.