Politics

Lawmakers Unhappy With Pompeo’s Lowered Cap on Refugees
New cap of 30,000 is a historic low

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez called the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap “truly repugnant.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers of both parties are criticizing the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap to 30,000 people for fiscal 2019 — a sharp decrease from the 45,000 cap set for fiscal 2018, and also a historic low.

“At a time when we should be defending our values and ideals as Americans and working to alleviate the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, it is truly repugnant to see the Trump administration double down on its efforts to reject our foundational values and humanitarian duty of providing those escaping persecution the opportunity to seek protection and safe haven,” Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement Monday.

Rep. Eshoo Reveals Her First Conversation with Kavanaugh Accuser
California Democrat met with Christine Blasey Ford over July 4th weekend

Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo of California said her constituent Christine Blasey Ford has come forward “for all the right reasons.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Christine Blasey Ford, the California clinical psychology professor who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school, did not first share her story with Congress in the widely reported anonymous letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

More than three weeks before she wrote that letter on July 30, Ford sat down at a conference table in Palo Alto, California, to share her story with Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo, her congresswoman.

DCCC Raises $15.4 Million in August
Nearly half came from online donations, House Democrats’ campaign arm says

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján says Democrats are in “a strong position to take back the House.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is boasting its best August fundraising numbers ever, raking in more than $15.4 million last month, according to figures provided first to Roll Call.

That’s $4.5 million more than the committee’s fundraising total in August 2016, and $5.1 million more than the committee raised in August 2014.  Nearly $7 million of last month’s total came from online donations, with an average donation of $20.

Kavanaugh Is Already Reshaping the Supreme Court
As Trump’s pick defends himself, justices will meet behind closed doors

Nominee Brett Kavanaugh will be on the justices’ minds as they meet to set the agenda for the Supreme Court’s coming term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

On the same day the Senate Judiciary Committee plans a televised hearing on a sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the eight current members of the high court will meet behind closed doors to discuss which new cases to hear.

The confluence of those events set for Monday underscores how the high-profile political fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination will also color the public perception of the Supreme Court, and could prompt the justices to steer clear of more controversial cases in the coming term that starts in October.

Candidates Get Candid About Their Cancer Diagnoses in TV Ads
Democrats open up about personal medical struggles to talk about health care

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is just the latest candidate to talk about her own cancer diagnosis in a campaign ad this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill got personal in a recent ad, talking about something that she’s never addressed in a political spot before: cancer — specifically, her own diagnosis.

“Two years ago, I beat breast cancer,” the two-term Democrat says to camera. “Like thousands of other women in Missouri, I don’t talk about it much.”

Giffords PAC Airs New TV Ad Against Comstock in Virginia
Second spot is part of $1 million ad campaign against two-term Republican in 10th District

Giffords PAC is investing $1 million in Virginia’s 10th District against GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The gun violence prevention group founded by former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is launching its second TV ad against Rep. Barbara Comstock, specifically going after the Virginia Republican’s ‘A’ rating from the National Rifle Association. 

The spot, debuting Wednesday and obtained first by Roll Call, opens with footage of a parent playing with a small child.

Kavanaugh Accuser Rejects Proposal for Monday Senate Judiciary Hearing
Lawyers sent a letter to Judiciary Chairman Grassley, encouraging an FBI review first

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley had scheduled a hearing Monday to hear from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 10:28 p.m. | Lawyers representing Christine Blasey Ford, the alleged victim of a sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh decades ago, are rejecting the idea of an open hearing in less than a week from now.

Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, the lawyers representing Ford, said in a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa that plan to hold a hearing on Monday, Sept. 24., was not going to work for their client. A copy of the letter was posted by CNN on Tuesday evening. 

Understanding the Constitution Is Hard, This New Website Helps Explain
Cornell University Legal Information Center introduces searchable version of Constitution Annotated

The Constitution of the United States is stored under glass in the rotunda of the National Archives. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Want to know the parameters of a president’s pardoning power? What about the definition of the emoluments clause? Or what constitutes an impeachable offense?

The Supreme Court decisions that have informed such constitutional questions — all hot topics during the Trump administration— are now easily searchable thanks to a new project by the Legal Information Institute at the Cornell Law School.

EPA Watchdog to Step Down as Scott Pruitt Probes Continue
Arthur Elkins had contradicted the former administrator’s account of his security detail

Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies during a hearing in May. The inspector general who led multiple investigations of his spending habits is retiring this fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The EPA’s inspector general, who led multiple investigations into former Administrator Scott Pruitt’s spending and management practices at the agency, will leave in October, his office announced Tuesday.

Arthur A. Elkins Jr., who has been EPA inspector general since 2010, said in a news release that he will retire on Oct. 12, but did not indicate whether his departure is related to issues at the agency. Before becoming inspector general, Elkins worked as associate general counsel in the EPA’s Office of General Counsel.

Mark Judge, Possible Witness to Alleged Brett Kavanaugh Sexual Assault, Does Not Want to Testify
“I did not ask to be involved in this matter nor did anyone ask me to be involved”

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 6. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The third person identified by Christine Blasey Ford as having been present in the room during what she alleged was a sexual assault by Judge Brett Kavanaugh wants no part of the Judiciary Committee proceedings.

“I did not ask to be involved in this matter nor did anyone ask me to be involved,” Judge said in a statement relayed to the committee by his lawyer.

Court Bucks Chief Justice, Sheds Light on Dark Money Donors
Justices denied stay of lower court ruling requiring donor disclosure

The Supreme Court’s landmark 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision paved the way for super PACs and other avenues of political money. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Some political groups may no longer be able to hide the identities of their donors after the full Supreme Court on Tuesday reversed a decision by Chief Justice John G. Roberts that had stopped a lower court ruling requiring the disclosures.

The full court, which has eight members at the moment, denied an application for a stay — or delay — of the lower court ruling in a case involving the conservative group Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, which has been fighting since 2012 a lawsuit demanding that it disclose its donors.

Trump Focuses on Kavanaugh’s Resume, Family — Not Accuser
‘This is not a man who deserves this,’ president says

President Donald Trump said Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh is a “gentleman” and expressed empathy for what he and his family are going through — but he did not offer the same to his accuser. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump has called for the FBI to investigate his political foes, but on Tuesday he signaled he will let bureau leaders decide whether to look into sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

His comments revealed much about the White House and Senate Republicans’ emerging strategy: Focus on Kavanaugh, his career, his professional relationship with women and his family — but do not attack Ford. And do everything they can to keep the nomination in solid enough shape for a floor vote in the coming weeks to tip the balance of the high court to the 5-4 conservative majority the party has eyed for a decade.

Future of U.S. Military in Syria Decision Coming Soon, Trump Says
Calls out Russian plane downing

President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the House chamber on January 30, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Kavanaugh ‘Anxious’ to Testify, Trump Says
President says he will not order FBI to look at allegations facing Supreme Court nominee

President Donald Trump smiles during his State of the Union address on Jan. 30. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/POOL photo)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is “anxious” to defend himself before senators next week, and said the FBI should not investigate sexual misconduct allegations the nominee is facing.

Trump could order the FBI to look into the allegations, which date back to a 1982 high school party, ahead of a much-anticipated Senate hearing Monday. But he signaled Tuesday he will not do so.

Public-Facing Congressional Research Reports Site Launches to Criticism
crsreports.congress.gov went live on time, but with a number of shortcomings

A new Congressional Research Service website with public reports is now live. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress’ in-house research division has moved to make more of its reports public, as required by law, but the new website is already drawing criticism.

Under the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill, the Congressional Research Service had to publish all nonconfidential reports on a public website operated by the Library of Congress. The website went live Tuesday, meeting the deadline set by appropriators.