Lindsey McPherson

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

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.

A Don McGahn no-show could be turning point on impeachment
Members of leadership starting to speak more directly of proceedings

Rep. David Cicilline, a member of House Democratic leadership who serves on the Judiciary Committee, said that if former White House counsel Don McGahn does not testify Tuesday, the panel should open an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

And the Rhode Island Democrat, who cited “a pattern from the White House to impede our investigation,” is not alone in the leadership ranks. 

Where all 24 House Judiciary Democrats stand on impeachment
Majority says that may eventually need to launch an impeachment inquiry to get information

More than half of the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee say their panel may eventually need to open an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump if his administration’s efforts to stonewall congressional investigations continue.

CQ Roll Call talked to all but one of the 24 Democrats on the panel over the past two weeks about their views on impeachment in light of Trump, his administration and his allies deciding not to cooperate with their investigation into potential obstruction of justice, corruption and abuses of power. The Democrat not reached directly, California’s Eric Swalwell, a presidential candidate, weighed in on Twitter.

Judiciary Democrats may ask full House to formally approve their investigation into Trump
Jackson Lee says she thinks it is time for a resolution of investigation

Some Judiciary Committee Democrats, concerned about the Trump administration escalating its stonewalling into their investigation of potential obstruction of justice and abuses of power by the president and his associates, want the full House to approve their probe. 

“I believe we are at a point now that we should issue a resolution of investigation,” senior Judiciary member Shelia Jackson Lee said Thursday.

Road ahead: House health care week again, as Senate tackles contentious nominations
House Democrats also voting on Equality Act, which will mark passage of half of their top 10 bills

It’s health care week, part two, in the House as the chamber will vote on a package of seven bills designed to strengthen the 2010 law and lower prescription drug prices — after passing a measure last week that Democrats said would protect people with pre-existing conditions.

But the health care package won’t be the only marquee legislation on the floor this week. Democrats will be halfway through advancing their top 10 bills out of the House after a vote on HR 5, the Equality Act.

Bipartisan swipes from McCarthy at House Judiciary and Senate Intelligence chairmen
House minority questions Nadler qualifications, says Burr’s panel ‘got it wrong’ on Trump Jr.

As House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday continued his calls for Congress to “move on” from the special counsel investigation, he swiped at House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr.

The California Republican during his weekly press conference questioned whether Nadler is qualified to hold the Judiciary gavel, saying if he were in charge of the Democratic Caucus he’d haul the chairman in to meet with the House parliamentarian over his “lack of knowledge” about procedure. 

Pelosi suggests floor vote on Barr contempt not imminent
‘There might be some other contempt of Congress issues that we’ll deal with at the same time,’ Pelosi says

Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Thursday the House might wait on a floor vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress until seeing how a similar situation plays out with former White House Counsel Don McGahn.

“When we’re ready, we’ll come to the floor,” the California Democrat said during her weekly press conference. “And we’ll just see because there might be some other contempt of Congress issues that we’ll deal with at the same time.”

Are Democrats using quest for unredacted Mueller report as shield against impeachment?
Court fight to obtain full report could drag beyond 2020 election, allowing Democrats to avoid impeachment decision

House Democratic leaders have unequivocally accused President Donald Trump of ongoing obstruction of justice, but they say they won’t decide whether to begin impeachment proceedings against him without seeing the full report and evidence from the special counsel’s investigation.

The result is a single-track process that will likely involve a lengthy court battle for the unredacted version of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report and his underlying investigatory materials. Trump on Wednesday asserted executive privilege over those documents, before the Judiciary  Committee voted along party lines to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for ignoring the panel’s subpoena to turn them over.

Pelosi says she is ‘not for’ jailing Trump administration officials
Asked whether House Democrats might also consider impeaching Barr, Pelosi did not rule it out

Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated Wednesday that House Democrats are likely to fight administration officials refusing to comply with congressional oversight requests in court rather than resort to more extreme measures like using Congress’ inherent contempt power to detain them until they comply.

“We do have a little jail down in the basement of the Capitol, but if we were arresting all of the people in the administration we would have an overcrowded jail situation,” she said. “And I’m not for that.”

After McGahn misses first subpoena deadline, Nadler warns of contempt if he misses second
Former White House counsel declines to turn over documents, but committee expects him to testify

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Tuesday that his panel will hold former White House counsel Donald McGahn in contempt of Congress if he does not comply with a subpoena to appear before the committee on May 21.

The threat, which the New York Democrat issued in a letter sent to McGahn’s lawyer William A. Burck, comes as McGahn missed the first of two deadlines the committee gave him in the subpoena. McGahn had to turn over by Tuesday documents related to instances chronicled in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report in which President Donald Trump may have obstructed justice. 

Pelosi: ‘Trump is goading us to impeach him’
‘Every single day he’s just like taunting, taunting, taunting,’ she said at an event

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that President Donald Trump is trying to bait Democrats into starting impeachment proceedings against him but cautioned that her caucus will only be led to that process by the facts.

“Trump is goading us to impeach him,” the California Democrat said during an event in New York City hosted by the Cornell University Institute of Politics and Global Affairs.

Road ahead: Both chambers tackle disaster relief but conclusion still iffy
House goes after administration’s ‘junk’ plan rule, Senate nomination votes could result in Export-Import Bank quorum

Senate appropriators hope to wrap up negotiations this week on a bipartisan disaster relief package that can get President Donald Trump’s support, while House Democrats plan to forge ahead with a vote on their own preferred proposal.

The House bill would provide $17.2 billion in aid to areas affected by recent natural disasters. The measure is similar to one the chamber passed in January, but it includes an additional $3 billion to address subsequent floods in the Midwest and tornadoes in the South.

Why Democrats haven't passed a minimum wage bill
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 151

Democratic presidential candidates and most House Democrats want to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2024, a proposal David Cooper of the Economic Policy Institute says makes sense. But CQ Roll Call’s Lindsey McPherson explains why some Democrats representing rural areas are holding up the bill.

Pelosi: Barr committed a crime by lying to Congress
The speaker did not call for his resignation or impeachment, and deferred action to the Judiciary Committee

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Attorney General William Barr has committed a crime by lying to Congress, but she did not call for his resignation or impeachment.

The California Democrat, speaking with reporters at her weekly press conference, said it’s up to the Judiciary Committee to decide how to respond to Barr’s defiance of Congress and other administration efforts to stonewall congressional investigations.

Will Trump, Democrats’ agreement to do a $2 trillion infrastructure plan hold?
President has walked back promises before and lawmakers on both sides are skeptical about a deal to pay for it

An agreement between congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump to pursue a $2 trillion infrastructure package could be short-lived if the president walks back his position or if the parties fail to agree on how to pay for it. 

Both are familiar scenarios and ones lawmakers in both parties acknowledge could nullify the agreement top congressional Democrats say they reached with Trump during a White House meeting meeting Tuesday.

Democrats may hold Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to deliver unredacted Mueller report
Judiciary Democrats also expected to subpoena AG for his testimony after he decided to skip Thursday hearing

Attorney General William Barr escalated tensions with House Democrats on Wednesday by ignoring their subpoena for the unredacted version of special counsel Robert S. Meuller III’s report and declining to testify before the Judiciary Committee as scheduled Thursday.

The attorney general’s defiance has Judiciary Democrats considering holding him in contempt of Congress. 

Fines? Jail time? Democrats leave all options on the table for enforcing subpoenas
As administration stonewalls Congress, Democrats consider using historical ‘inherent contempt’ power

Administration officials could face fines or jail time for ignoring congressional subpoenas, as House Democrats say they’re seriously considering reviving a congressional power that has not been used since the 1930s.

President Donald Trump has publicly urged administration officials not to comply with congressional subpoenas, and some have started heeding the advice. House Democrats have made no formal decisions about how to respond to the Trump administration’s stonewalling of their oversight investigations, but one option on the table is the historical process of “inherent contempt.”

Road ahead: More on the Mueller report; floor action on Paris bill, nominations
Oversight matters will get most attention post-Mueller but House and Senate proceeding with normal business too

Two days of testimony from Attorney General William Barr on the 448-page report from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will largely define Congress’ return from its two-week recess, with the House and Senate heading in different directions. 

Senate Republicans, who will hear from Barr first on Wednesday, feel Mueller’s report is the appropriate conclusion to years of investigations into allegations that President Donald Trump’s campaign coordinated with the Russians to interfere in the 2016 election and that the president himself attempted to obstruct those investigations.

Hoyer outlines House schedule, legislative agenda for coming work period
Health care, climate change and equal rights will figure prominently

The House will vote on at least three of Democrats’ top priorities in May, as the chamber takes up legislation on health care, climate change and equal rights.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer sent a “Dear Colleague” letter Thursday informing Democrats of the planned floor schedule for the four-week legislative work period that will begin next week. Congress will be coming off its two-week Easter recess, with the next district work period occurring the week of Memorial Day.

Democrats close but still short votes needed to pass $15 minimum wage
Proponents of bill to double existing minimum wage over five years confident they’ll get there

Proponents of a $15 minimum wage are bullish about the prospects of the House passing a bill to incrementally double the current $7.25 federal standard over five years, despite Democrats seemingly being short the votes to do so.

“We’re working to make sure that we have consensus, but we’re going to pass that bill with enough Democratic votes to make sure that it passes out of the House,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer told reporters during House Democrats’ retreat in Leesburg, Virginia, earlier this month.