Steve Cohen

Dark spirits were at play in Congress this week: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of July 15, 2019

A thunderstorm passes over the U.S. Capitol building on Thursday, July 11, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“This has been a difficult and contentious week, in which darker spirits seem to have been at play,” said House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy during a long and stressful week on the Hill, which saw controversial tweets, members fearing Facebook and a House member straight up ditching his post on the House floor.

House Democrats vote to block diplomats’ funds from going to Trump hotels, golf resorts
Republicans slam amendment as ‘partisan stunt’

General views of the Trump International Golf Club in Doonbeg, Ireland, where President Donald Trump stayed during his visit to the country earlier this month. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Updated 8:24 p.m. | House Democrats offered another rebuke to President Donald Trump on Tuesday, this time by voting to block the State Department from spending taxpayers' money at his domestic and overseas golf clubs and hotels.

The House voted 231-187 to adopt an amendment that would prohibit the department from spending funds at any of the Trump Organization’s hundreds of hotels, golf resorts and other properties. The provision was voted on as part of an en bloc package of amendments that Democratic leaders put together to avoid the risk of floor time being eaten up by roll call votes on each.

Democratic lawmakers ‘astonished’ by Trump’s claim that taking foreign ‘dirt’ is routine
Mitt Romney calls it 'unthinkable' to accept information from foreign government to influence elections

President Donald Trump argued accepting intelligence on a political opponent from foreign sources, which is illegal under federal campaign finance laws, is routine by presidential candidates and congressional campaigns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers pushed back strenuously on President Donald Trump’s claim during a television interview Wednesday that accepting “dirt” on political opponents from foreign sources is routine.

Democrats responded incredulously to Trump’s statement that he would accept intelligence on a political opponent from another country if offered, and that doing so is common practice in congressional campaigns. 

Big Tech now squarely in the sights of antitrust forces
The effort could create a bipartisan political circus on privacy and disinformation

Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, who chairs the House Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee, announced the bipartisan investigation of Big Tech earlier this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan antitrust investigation of large technology companies announced by the House Judiciary Committee will offer lawmakers their latest opportunity to grill some of the industry’s most recognizable and controversial executives.

But it also could provide lawmakers a chance to hold accountable antitrust agencies and potentially to expand the scope of U.S. antitrust law in significant ways. Still, it remains unclear exactly what the committee can accomplish as it sets out.

House Democrats weigh next steps after Mueller announcement
Special counsel spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday, but did not take questions

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is seen on a monitor in the Russell Building on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, making a statement at the Department of Justice on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Kelly O'Donnell of NBC News listens in the background. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:33 p.m. | Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s announcement Wednesday that he would not disclose more information about the Russia probe prompted Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee to urge more action from Congress.

But exactly what Congress will do remains unclear, underscoring the heavy political risks involved in any action — or inaction — lawmakers take ahead of the 2020 elections.

Democrats divided over whether it’s time to open impeachment inquiry
Caucus to discuss the matter during a special meeting Wednesday

Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky is among the Democrats who do not think it is quite time to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:50 p.m. | House Democrats are divided over whether they should open an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, with top leaders still hesitant to do so even as more rank-and-file members say it’s time.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called a special caucus meeting Wednesday morning to discuss oversight matters, including the impeachment question, several members said.

What Justin Amash can teach Nancy Pelosi
When it comes to impeachment, congressional Democrats are missing the point

While Justin Amash is going out on a limb, Nancy Pelosi is parsing words. The contrast is striking, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams and Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photos)

OPINION — At worst, Justin Amash will be the answer to a trivia question about which House member bucked a president of his own party to call for impeachment. At best, Amash will someday be hailed as prescient in trying to save the Republican Party from being Donald Trump’s devoted, yet unprincipled, enablers.

Amash’s decision to endorse impeachment was prompted (as he tweeted) by being a rare legislator who actually read the Mueller report. And as a dedicated libertarian who has been a longtime Trump critic, this lonely position fits Amash’s political persona.

Diamond and Silk dig Rep. Cohen for ‘racially insensitive’ chicken stunt
Fox Nation personalities chastise Democratic congressman for bringing KFC to hearing to mock Barr

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., brought KFC and a ceramic chicken Thursday to troll Attorney General William Barr for refusing to show up for a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Robert Mueller report. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., appears at left. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Conservative YouTube pundits and Fox Nation personalities Diamond and Silk  used airtime Friday to label Rep. Steve Cohen “racially insensitive” for bringing an assortment of chicken-themed props to a House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday to tease Attorney General William Barr for not showing up.

Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat, chowed down on a Kentucky Fried Chicken original recipe chicken thigh at his spot on the committee-room members’ dais before giving a news conference where he ridiculed the attorney general as “Chicken Barr” for skipping the hearing over a format dispute.

Huckabee Sanders: Nadler has no choice but to be ‘conciliatory’ to Barr amid feud
Trump spoke to Russia’s Putin on Friday, but did not warn him on election meddling, spokeswoman says

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., left, and Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., at a hearing on Thursday for which Attorney General William Barr did not appear. The KFC bucket and ceramic chicken were meant to portray Barr as afraid to testify. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler has little option but to try a more “conciliatory” approach in dealing with the Trump administration after failing to compel Attorney General William P. Barr’s testimony about the special counsel’s report, a White House official said Friday.

“I think that that’s probably the only step that Nadler has, is to be conciliatory,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters outside the West Wing. “I think we saw how ridiculous and silly … his delegation looked yesterday.”

Photos of the Week: Congress is back from recess, and we’ve got photos to prove it
The week of May 3 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

A poster of President Donald Trump and the wax figure of singer Whitney Houston are on display as a window washer cleans the windows at Madame Tussauds wax museum in Washington on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is back from recess, and we have the photos to prove it.