Richard Blumenthal

Senate Democrats Target Michael Cohen for ‘Selling Access’ to Trump
Former personal attorney to POTUS is key subject in Mueller investigation

Democratic senators criticized former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen for what one called his “side hustle as influencer-in-chief.” (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images file photo)

Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney for President Donald Trump, is the target of a new report from Democratic senators who on Friday accused him of “selling access” to the White House through a shell company he formed during the 2016 election campaign.

The senators’ report is based on emails they obtained from Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, which signed a $1.2 million contract with Cohen’s shell company, Essential Consultants LLC, for “consulting and advisory services.”

Connecticut Democrat Switches Parties Because of Blumenthal’s Son
Said he was forced out of state House race by state party after senator’s son announced candidacy

Matt Blumenthal, the son of Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, is running for a seat in the Connecticut state legislature. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A Democratic candidate for Connecticut’s state legislature switched parties after he said the state party favored Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s son in the primary.

Anzelmo Graziosi told the Stamford Advocate that he filed to run for the House seat in February, but when Blumenthal’s son Matt Blumenthal announced he would run the following month, the state party stopped returning his calls.

GOP Senators to Dems: You Can’t Stop Supreme Court Appointment by Fall
McConnell states next justice will be confirmed before midterms

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., gives a thumbs up after the Senate invoked the “nuclear option” which will allow for a majority vote to confirm a Supreme Court justice nominee, April 6, 2017. The maneuver allowed for confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the high court. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republican leaders on Wednesday quickly laid out the game plan for confirming a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, wasting no time in stating they intended to confirm a new justice before the fall elections and flatly claiming there was literally nothing Democrats could do to delay that. 

“The Senate stands ready to fulfill its constitutional role by offering advice and consent on President Trump’s nominee to fill this vacancy. We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor just minutes after the news of Kennedy’s retirement broke. 

Supreme Court Justice Kennedy to Retire
Trump pick could solidify conservative tilt for years to come

President Donald Trump greets Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy after addressing a joint session of Congress in the Capitol’s House Chamber, Feb. 28, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his resignation from the Supreme Court on Wednesday, launching what promises to be an all-out partisan brawl in the Senate over the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s choice to quickly fill the vacancy.

Kennedy, 81, spent the last of his three decades on the Supreme Court as the deciding vote on many of the court’s most contentious cases. Although conservative, he sometimes joined the liberal wing of the court and authored landmark opinions on cases dealing with abortion, campaign finance and LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage.

Senate GOP Appropriators Stress Bipartisanship in Trump Meeting
‘If you want to keep this country strong, we’re going to have to make some trade-offs as Republicans’

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., conduct a news conference in the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republican appropriators on Tuesday urged President Donald Trump to work with Democrats to enact spending bills before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, as long as sufficient resources are devoted to border security.

“If you want to keep this country strong, we’re going to have to make some trade-offs as Republicans,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said at the start of a meeting with Trump. “I’m willing to work with Democrats to get to ‘yes.’ But, ‘yes’ has to be consistent with being strong.”

DOJ Watchdog Report on Comey Stirs Politics on Hill
Sessions calls report an opportunity to learn from past mistakes

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies during a Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday. On Friday, President Trump declared feeling “total and complete vindication.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even before the results of an internal Justice Department probe were released Thursday, that report into former FBI Director James Comey’s actions during the 2016 presidential campaign had reopened deep political divisions and fueled fresh questions about congressional oversight of the agency’s work.

That’s unlikely to change during the upcoming week of hearings and headlines on Capitol Hill about the watchdog’s report, starting with a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing slated for Monday and another before the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees set for Tuesday.

Senators Push Defense Amendment to Restore ZTE Sanctions
Proposal would effectively block ZTE from American technology — again

Sen. Tom Cotton is leading a bipartisan effort to restore penalties on ZTE. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan contingent of senators wants to use the defense authorization to restore penalties against Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE that were eased Thursday morning.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas joined Democratic Sens. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Charles E. Schumer of New York in filing the legislation as an amendment to the defense programs bill. Senators are expected to begin amendment debate on the broader legislation early next week.

Lawmakers’ Challenge to Trump Finances Faces Court Test
‘We cannot approve, we cannot consent to, what we don’t know’

A federal district court will consider arguments about a Democratic lawsuit regarding President Donald Trump’s business practices. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

A federal district judge will hear arguments Thursday about whether Democratic lawmakers can pursue a lawsuit over President Donald Trump’s vast business interests and whether he must get congressional approval before accepting payments or gifts from foreign governments.

More than 200 Democrats filed the lawsuit a year ago, in the first months of Trump’s presidency, when their concerns included payments from governments at the Trump International Hotel in Washington and trademarks issued by the Chinese to Trump and his companies. 

Former USA Gymnastics Chief Invokes Fifth Amendment to Avoid Senate Testimony
Comes as senators question tax-exempt status of Olympic sports organizations

Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., left, and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., spoke with USA Gymnastics sexual abuse survivors before a press conference on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The former president of USA Gymnastics faced questions from senators Tuesday about his role in the sex abuse scandal that plagued his organization, but they were ones Steve Penny did not answer, repeatedly invoking constitutional protections against self-incrimination before being excused from the witness table by Sen. Jerry Moran.

The Kansas Republican is chairman of the consumer protection subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee that has been investigating the inability of Olympic and amateur sports organizations to protect young athletes from abuse.

Members Join Rubio in Criticizing Trump Over China Talks
President says he is not satisfied with outcome of latest trade negotiations

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and James Risch, R-Idaho, attend a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in January 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was Sen. Marco Rubio, not Donald Trump, who used a morning tweet Tuesday to help shape the day’s agenda. The Florida Republican slammed the president’s trade talks with China, prompting other members to voice their concerns.

Rubio wrote that China is “out-negotiating the administration & winning the trade talks right now,” criticizing the Trump administration for putting on hold tariffs aimed at Beijing while moving ahead with efforts to save troubled Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE. He also panned the White House for not forcing concessions from Chinese officials.