John Barrasso

Senators bend the rules by wearing Apple Watches to Trump trial
The ‘smart’ accessory could give senators a link to the outside world during impeachment arguments

Utah Sen. Mike Lee, left, dons his Apple Watch as he talks to Texas Sen. John Cornyn before a Nov. 6 Judiciary Committee hearing. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Correction 7:03 p.m. | The rules of decorum state that senators can’t use phones or electronic devices in the chamber during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, but what about Apple Watches?

At least seven senators had them strapped on their wrists in the chamber at the start of the trial Tuesday, despite guidelines from Senate leadership that all electronics should be left in the cloakroom in the provided storage.

Senate passes USMCA bill, giving Trump a win on trade
The Senate voted 89-10 to clear the bill for Trump’s signature

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, checks his watch while waiting for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to wrap up a press conference in the Senate Radio/TV studio on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Sen. Risch along with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, were waiting to hold a press conference on USMCA, which passed the Senate Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate approved implementing legislation Thursday for a renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, giving President Donald Trump a victory as the Senate moved to swearing in its members as jurors in Trump’s impeachment trial.

The Senate voted 89-10 to clear the bill for Trump's signature, with several dissenting Democrats citing the absence of climate change provisions as a lost opportunity to address the issue on an international scale since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who negotiated the deal, watched the vote from the public gallery.

USMCA bill tough vote for Democrats over lack of environmental protections
Even those who oppose the pact agree it’s a significant improvement over predecessor

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., attends a press conference to discuss climate change on Sept. 17, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Jeff Merkley faced a difficult vote Tuesday as he joined colleagues on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to advance the bill that would implement President Donald Trump’s new trade deal.

The Oregon Democrat said the pact does not go far enough to protect the environment and address the urgency of climate change. He lamented what he called problematic provisions, including “special protections” for fossil fuel companies. But, he approved of its labor protections and voted in favor of advancing the deal. 

Photos of the week
The week ending Jan. 10 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher wait for Vice President Mike Pence to arrive for her swear-in reenactment for the cameras in the Capitol on Monday. Loeffler was appointed by Gov. Kemp to fill retired Sen. Johnny Isakson's seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell: Senate has votes to proceed without Democrats in impeachment trial
The vote would be similar to the Clinton trial, but would not have Democratic support

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives for the weekly Senate Republican policy lunch Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he has the votes required to establish ground rules for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, without support from Democrats.

McConnell first made the comments during a closed-door GOP lunch before confirming in a public announcement.

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 12
Pelosi defends Democrats’ approach to impeachment

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., left, and ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., interrupt one another during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment articles against President Trump on Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

As the House Judiciary Committee debated the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday again declined to explain to reporters why certain charges were left out of the articles.

On Tuesday she was dismissive when asked why Democrats did not include obstruction of justice as outlined in the special counsel report on its investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and Trump’s campaign. During her weekly news conference on Thursday, it was the exclusion of bribery she didn’t want to explain.

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 11
Judiciary Committee to take up articles tonight, vote expected Thursday

Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes her way to a news conference in the Capitol on Tuesday to announce articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump with committee chairs who helped draft them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Judiciary Committee began marking up articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday evening and is expected to vote on them Thursday.

In his opening statement, Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler addressed why impeaching Trump was warranted when a presidential election is less than a year away. 

Federal agency ordered to investigate Homeland Security nominee
What happens next may rest with McConnell

What happens to the nomination of William N. Bryan to a senior Department of Homeland Security post may now rest with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. McConnell is shown here with Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Todd Young, R-Ind., and John Thune, R-S.D. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Department of Energy has been told to investigate allegations of corruption by William N. Bryan, the White House’s nominee for a senior post at the Department of Homeland Security, CQ Roll Call has learned.

Bryan joins a long line of Trump administration nominees who’ve faced controversy. Just this week, the White House withdrew the nomination of Jeffrey Byard to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Why partisan spending allocations spell trouble for the appropriations process
CQ Budget, Episode 127

From left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Sens. Todd Young, R-Ind., and John Thune, R-S.D., conduct a news conference after the Senate Policy Luncheons in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After months of delay, Senate appropriators finally got to work on their spending bills for the new fiscal year, which begins in just two weeks. But it was a slower start than lawmakers had hoped for, and unlike last year’s effort, it was deeply partisan. The Appropriations Committee approved its overall spending limits for each of its 12 bills, but it wasn’t pretty. Where do they go from here? Listen here.

Still confused about Trump’s demands of Congress? Maybe it’s you
President ‘always lays it right out there,’ but Hill slow to ‘adjust,’ Eric Ueland says

President Donald Trump — here in January 2018 with Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming and John Thune of South Dakota and Vice President Mike Pence — has clear legislative goals despite confusion at times on the Hill as to what they are, legislative affairs director Eric Ueland says. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — If you’re a Republican lawmaker or congressional aide who struggles to understand what Donald Trump wants in legislation, take a long look in the mirror.

Because it’s you. Not him.