Jeff Sessions

Pot Debate Latest Complication for Replacing U.S. Attorneys
Gardner has concerns about process in Colorado, which still has no nominee

A standoff over marijuana guidance for federal prosecutors between Attorney General Jeff Sessions and pot-friendly states like Colorado is complicating efforts to fill the ranks of U.S. attorneys. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions might soon find himself working with court-appointed U.S. attorneys, in part because his hard line on marijuana is throwing a wrench in the nominations process.

Sen. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, met with the attorney general last week to voice concerns after the Justice Department reversed course on an Obama-era policy and allowed federal prosecutors wider discretion to pursue criminal charges related to marijuana — even in states that have legalized it for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Why Democrats Don’t Want to Talk About Legalizing Marijuana
Still stinging from being called soft on drugs a generation ago

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., is one of a few Democrats in the Senate who vocally support legalizing marijuana. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the Trump administration begins to crack down on states that legalized marijuana, advocates for legalization hope Democrats will take their side.

But many Democrats are still squeamish about fully embracing the drug. 

Judge Temporarily Blocks Trump’s DACA Plan
Program must remain in place as lawsuits run their course, judge rules

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in September that the Trump administration would phase out the DACA program. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end the deferred action program for young undocumented immigrants that protects them from deportation.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted a request that the administration be blocked from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program while lawsuits proceed in court, The Associated Press reported.

Booker, Harris Add Historic Diversity to Senate Judiciary
2020 hopefuls are second and third black senators to serve on panel

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is the first black man to sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The addition of Democrats Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday gave the two potential 2020 presidential hopefuls a big platform, but also a spot in the panel’s history.

Booker becomes the first black man to sit on the committee, which oversees civil rights, voting rights, housing discrimination and other Justice Department enforcement efforts that are seen as crucial to African-Americans. Harris, who is biracial, becomes the second black woman to serve on the panel, after Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, who left the Senate in 1999.

Trump Defends Mental State, Makes DACA-for-Wall Pitch
President also appears willing to talk to Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump had a few things to say about “Fire and Fury” and its author at an impromptu press conference Saturday. The book is highly critical of Trump’s presidency. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump, during a remarkable impromptu press conference, defended his mental fitness and declared himself willing to hold direct negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He also dug in on his demand that any immigration bill include funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Trump took questions at Camp David following a strategy session with GOP lawmakers, Cabinet officials and White House aides. He again denied he or his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. While the president did not flatly deny dispatching aides to try stopping Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Justice Department’s Russia probe, Trump contended he did nothing illicit.

Lawmakers Object to DOJ Move on Marijuana Enforcement
Sen. Cory Gardner says Sessions’ decision opens states’ rights issues

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner said the change in the DOJ‘s marijuana policy was a “trampling of Colorado’s right, its voters.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions drew strong criticism from lawmakers Thursday for changing a Justice Department policy on marijuana enforcement that had allowed states to move forward on legalizing the drug’s recreational and medical use.

Sessions’ move upsets the uneasy status quo between state laws that legalize marijuana and the federal laws against possession and distribution, which was set up by Obama administration guidelines from the Justice Department. Sessions rescinded the Obama guidelines Thursday, which cast uncertainty on what had been a growing pot industry just days after California implemented a recreational pot law.

Opinion: Will African-American Female Leadership Move Into the Spotlight in 2018?
More voices need to be heard

Angela Peoples holds up a sign reading “Don’t Forget: White Women Voted for Trump” at the Women’s March in January. (Courtesy Kevin Banatte/Twitter)

Recy Taylor died at the age of 97 on Dec. 28. Though she was always loved and admired by her family, friends and supporters, it was in the last years of her life that the wider world saw her, really saw this African-American woman from Alabama — her bravery, her strength and her role as a leader in a struggle that has found a loud voice.

Through a book and a film that amplified her story of being kidnapped and raped by white men, and then speaking out about that horrific crime in 1944, when doing so jeopardized her life, Taylor could more than legitimately claim a role as a mother of the movement that has come to be known as #MeToo, one that has stretched from the entertainment and media worlds to the halls of Congress.

Three VPs, Football Boasts and a Relief Baseball Pitcher: Not Your Normal Swearing-In Day
With Democrats Smith and Jones, GOP Senate edge now down to 51-49

Sen. Tina Smith, center, walks with fellow Minnesota Democrats, former Vice President Walter Mondale and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, from the Senate floor to the Old Senate Chamber for her ceremonial swearing-in. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The start of the second session of a Congress lacks most of the pageantry of the first, but Wednesday’s arrival of two new senators prompted some pomp and circumstance, including the rare sight of three vice presidents on the Senate floor at the same time.

Democratic Sens. Doug Jones of Alabama and Tina Smith of Minnesota took the oath of office from Vice President Mike Pence shortly after noon, each escorted down the chamber’s aisle by a former vice president.

Summing Up 2017 With 17 Graphics
Roll Call’s data reporters spent the year breaking down the breaking news

President Donald Trump speaking at the Capitol in April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After one of the most politically charged presidential campaigns in many Americans’ lifetimes, a new administration swept into town at the beginning of 2017, and the Roll Call graphics team got to work reporting, investigating and explaining the new Washington.

As we all close the books on 2017, Roll Call dug through our work and put together a year in review, starting at the beginning: