John Ratcliffe

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 23
Unauthorized Republicans storm secure room as Pentagon official Laura Cooper gives deposition about withheld military aid to Ukraine

Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense, arrives to the Capitol for a deposition related to the House's impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A cadre of House Republicans led by Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Rep. Matt Gaetz stormed the secure room in the Capitol Visitor Center on Wednesday where the top Pentagon official overseeing U.S. policy in Ukraine was giving her deposition for the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Some of the GOP lawmakers — who have been barred by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff from attending impeachment hearings so far because they are not on the three committees overseeing the probe — brought their cell phones into the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), according to one Democratic lawmaker, a potential breach of a secure area where classified information is often shared.

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.

Access DNI’d: Trump tweets that Ratcliffe will not be director of national intelligence
Dan Coats is leaving the post on Aug. 15

President Donald Trump picked Rep. John Ratcliffe, above, to succeed Dan Coats as director of national intelligence, but the Texas Republican withdrew his name from consideration Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a pair of tweets Friday, President Donald Trump said Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe had withdrawn his name from consideration for director of national intelligence after facing questions about his qualifications. 

Trump said over the weekend that the current director, Dan Coats, would be leaving on Aug. 15 and that he’d picked Ratcliffe, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, to replace him. Ratcliffe has less experience than Coats, a former Indiana Republican senator, or previous national intelligence directors, and his confirmation in the Republican-controlled Senate was in question.

‘He’s a television character’: Democrats worry about Trump’s U.S. intelligence pick
Devin Nunes, another skeptic of U.S. intelligence, called the appointment a ‘great choice’

From left, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, Reps. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, and Will Hurd, R-Texas, prepare for testimony by former special counsel Robert Mueller before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election in Rayburn Building on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. He testified earlier in the day before the House Judiciary Committee. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 5:12 p.m.

Rep. John Ratcliffe, first appointed to the House Intelligence Committee just seven months ago, could soon be delivering the president’s daily intelligence briefings.

Dan Coats leaving post as Director of National Intelligence
Trump says he will appoint Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe as Coats’ replacement

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats will be leaving his position. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Dan Coats is leaving the post as Director of National Intelligence on August 15, President Donald Trump announced Sunday.

“I would like to thank Dan for his great service to our Country. The Acting Director will be named shortly,” Trump tweeted.

Mueller shuns spotlight, but says probe didn’t ‘exonerate’ Trump
President has claimed investigation cleared him of obstruction of justice

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller leaves the witness table for a recess in the House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election" on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

On a day House Democrats hoped Robert S. Mueller III’s televised testimony Wednesday would animate the special counsel’s 448-page report for the nation, the star witness eschewed the leading role with a muted performance with few soundbites during the first of two back-to-back hearings.

Mueller’s answers were concise. He often said simply, “True,” or “I rely on the language of the report.” The 74-year-old gray-haired Marine veteran and former FBI director frequently didn’t speak into the mic.

Supreme Court keeps contentious doctrine on regulations
All the justices agreed to send the case back to a lower court for reconsideration

Fox News anchor and reporter Shannon Bream prepares to report on the U.S. Supreme Court decisions on Monday, June 24, 2019. The court Wednesday declined a chance to overrule two longstanding precedents making it easier for government agencies to defend regulations from legal challenges. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A divided Supreme Court on Wednesday declined a chance to overrule two longstanding precedents that make it easier for government agencies to defend their regulations from legal challenges in cases about the environment, health care and consumer protection.

The court instead used the case to further outline its doctrine on when judges should defer to an agency’s interpretation of its own regulation when that regulation is otherwise ambiguous. All the justices agreed to send the case back to a lower court for reconsideration.

House Judiciary Committee approves Violence Against Women Act reauthorization

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and the majority Democrats on his panel approved a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved, along party lines, 22-11, a bill to reauthorize and expand programs designed to help victims of sexual and domestic violence.

The protections and programs authorized by the 1994 law lapsed during the partial government shutdown last year, but were reinstated in the January short-term fiscal 2019 spending deal. An extension was not included in last month’s deal that provided for spending through the end of fiscal 2019.

House eyes Violence Against Women Act reauthorization and expansion
VAWA extension was not included in last month’s spending package

California Rep. Katie Porter spoke of her experiences with law enforcement as a survivor of domestic abuse during an event to mark the introduction of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Violence Against Women Act is back on the House agenda, with Democrats and at least one Republican leading a fresh effort to reauthorize and expand the domestic violence law.

A bill introduced Thursday would include updates to the landmark legislation, which was first enacted in 1994. The proposal is sponsored by California Democrat Karen Bass and Pennsylvania Republican Brian Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent.

Former Rep. Ralph Hall, among the last WWII vets to serve in Congress, dies at 95
Hall, a Democrat-turned-Republican from Texas, served 17 terms

Former Rep. Ralph M. Hall of Texas died on Thursday. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Ralph M. Hall, who left Congress in 2015 as the oldest member at age 91 after losing a primary runoff after decades in office, died Thursday. Hall was 95.

A Democrat-turned-Republican, Hall was born on May 3, 1923, in Fate, Texas. He attended Texas Christian University and the University of Texas, eventually earning a law degree at Southern Methodist University.