Missouri

Crimes required? Trump’s impeachment defense could set new standard
Trump defense team seizes on the lack of an article charging the president with a crime

A clerk places a tray of pens before Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., signs the articles of impeachment during an engrossment ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 15. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s defense team is arguing that a president should not be convicted by the Senate on articles of impeachment that do not include a criminal violation, putting the very definition of an impeachable offense at the center of the Senate trial set to begin Tuesday.

And some legal experts said the outcome of that debate could set a new, higher standard for removing a president from office in future impeachments.

Impeachment isn’t the only obstacle to legislative wins for Congress in 2020
‘Investigate and legislate’ playbook may not work for Democrats again

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony on Wednesday. Democrats have said they can “investigate and legislate,” but that could be harder to pull off this year. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

On Dec. 18, the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump. On Dec. 19, the House approved a major rewrite of a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. Those two events, just 24 hours apart, marked the culmination of a strategy Democrats have sought to execute since the day they took control of the House last year: investigate and legislate.

“Our view is we are here to make things better for our constituents and stand up for the constitutional oaths that we took,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski, a freshman Democrat from New Jersey who ousted a Republican in 2018. “Those things are not in conflict with one another. And by the way, that’s always been true. When Nixon was being impeached, Congress passed a major infrastructure bill. When Clinton was being impeached, the Congress passed major legislation.”

Courtroom experience a commodity as Trump impeachment trial begins
Senators with significant time in front of a judge are sought-after in the run-up to historic trial

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine says senators who’ve tried cases can get their points across with questions that are the “pithiest” and “shortest.” (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The impending impeachment trial of President Donald Trump has boosted the profile of senators who have specific experience in their background: spending time in front of a judge.

Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine, who tried cases and pressed appeals as a civil rights lawyer before he entered politics, said Wednesday that Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York has started a dialogue with him and other Democratic senators who have courtroom experience ahead of the impeachment trial.

Klobuchar doubts security explanation for impeachment trial press limits
Rules ranking Democrat has expressed opposition

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar during Tuesday’s Democratic primary debate Drake University in Des Moines. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

The top Democrat on the Senate Rules and Administration Committee expressed vehement opposition to new press access restrictions planned for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was in Iowa on Tuesday to participate in a Democratic presidential debate ahead of the state’s first in the nation caucuses, but it was clear that she was keeping track of the decision-making about the Senate operations during the upcoming trial.

Is Trump really the MVP of the GOP?
Data shows he underperformed compared to baseline Republican vote in key states

President Donald Trump may not be as extraordinary a candidate as he gets credit for, and his status as GOP savior might be overrated, Gonzales writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After a tumultuous 2018 that saw them lose their House majority, Republicans often seem eager to dismiss those midterm results as typical while pining for the next election when President Donald Trump will top the ballot and drive turnout in their favor.

A closer look, however, shows Trump may not be as extraordinary a candidate as he gets credit for, and his status as GOP savior might be overrated.

Impeachment trial security crackdown will limit Capitol press access
Press pens and ‘no walking and talking’ draw criticism from press corps advocates

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., talks with reporters in the Capitol after the Senate Policy luncheons on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate sergeant-at-arms and Capitol Police are launching an unprecedented crackdown on the Capitol press corps for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, following a standoff between the Capitol’s chief security officials, Senate Rules Chairman Roy Blunt and the standing committees of correspondents.

Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael C. Stenger will enact a plan that intends to protect senators and the chamber, but it also suggests that credentialed reporters and photographers whom senators interact with on a daily basis are considered a threat.

Senators look to clear legislative decks before impeachment trial
Notice requirements could give just enough time

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks to the media following the Senate Democrats’ policy lunch on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate appears set to try to clear the decks of pending legislative business before diving into the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

That could include delivering a big policy victory to the president on trade.

Rep. Billy Long fractures shoulder chasing daughter’s poodle
‘I fought the dog and the dog won,’ the congressman joked

Tex, a 6-month-old poodle belonging to Rep. Billy Long’s oldest daughter, Kaleen. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Billy Long’s office)

Rep. Billy Long returned to Capitol Hill last week with a new accessory — a sling. While he was in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri, for the holidays, the congressman fractured his shoulder while “wrangling” the family puppy.

The incident occurred on Dec. 20, while Long was dog-sitting his daughter’s 6-month-old poodle named Tex. In an email exchange with Heard on the Hill, the congressman remembers picking the canine up from “doggy daycare” and sitting “with him for over an hour, and within two minutes of picking him up to go inside, he bolted under the gate” and into the middle of the street.

John Boehner among GOP allies urging leniency for Chris Collins
Sentencing hearing for former New York congressman is Jan. 17

Former Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., will be sentenced on Jan. 17. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Speaker John A. Boehner is among a robust contingent of Republicans who want a judge to give convicted former Rep. Chris Collins a break on prison time.

The requests for leniency say the New York Republican is a dedicated public servant, father and friend. But the attempt from current and former GOP lawmakers runs contrary to calls from Collins’ former constituents in the 27th Congressional District of New York who say he deserves the maximum penalty for an egregious breach of the public’s trust.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 10
Collins says she’s working to make sure Senate trial rules would allow sides to call witnesses

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer told reporters the House won’t take floor action Friday on appointing its impeachment managers for a Senate trial. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Sen. Susan Collins told reporters in Maine that she’s been working all week with a “fairly small group” of Republican senators and party leaders to ensure trial rules would allow House impeachment managers and President Donald Trump’s lawyers to call witnesses.

The Bangor Daily News reports Collins declined to detail how large the group was, but she said, “we should be completely open to calling witnesses.”