Congress

Hope Hicks, Ann Donaldson the latest ex-Trump officials to get subpoenas

Hope Hicks, former communications director for President Donald Trump, was subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee, along with Ann Donaldson, a former aide for Don McGahn. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks and Ann Donaldson, the former chief of staff for ex-White House Counsel Don McGahn, were issued subpoenas Tuesday to provide documents and testimony to the House Judiciary Committee for its probe into corruption and obstruction by President Donald Trump and his associates.

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., sent Hicks and Donaldson document requests on March 4, but the requested materials were never furnished.

Marijuana legalization goes mainstream with first-ever forum in Capitol complex
Event highlights growing bipartisan support for banking, farming, medical and social justice bills

Rep. David Joyce, R-Ohio, is the co-sponsor of a bill that would allow states to craft their own cannabis policies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The cannabis industry investors, business owners and legalization advocates had met before to discuss the legal and regulatory headaches of operating in a world that’s licensed and regulated by states but illegal under federal law.

But what made those at Tuesday’s gathering describe it as a public relations milestone was the location: inside the Capitol complex.

Trump wants 400 TSA agents sent to the border. Democrats say that may hurt morale
Lawmakers worry high TSA turnover could increase after the White House said it was sending agents to the southwest border

A transportation security officer checks passengers at Reagan National Airport in D.C. Democrats raised concerns Tuesday that the Transportation Security Administration’s ongoing problems with high turnover rates could worsen after the Trump administration announced it would send 400 TSA workers to the southwest border to help with the migrant surge. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats raised concerns on Tuesday that the Transportation Security Administration’s ongoing problems with high turnover rates could worsen after the Trump administration announced it would send 400 TSA workers to the southwest border to help with the migrant surge.

“I think what I see now is continued manufacturing of a crisis, to the detriment of TSA and some other agencies, which should not be,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., House Homeland Security chairman, said at a Tuesday hearing on the TSA workforce crisis. “I’m concerned that we are now putting airports at risk potentially, as well as the traveling public at risk in general, by taking people away from airports and sending them to the border.”

These two Democratic presidential contenders voted for a gas tax increase
Both Sanders and Biden voted for the last federal gas tax hike 26 years ago

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, here at the Exxon gas station at Second and Massachusetts Avenue Northeast in Washington in 2007 for a news conference on price-gouging at the gas pumps, voted for a federal gas tax increase in 1993 — the last time it was raised. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

When he meets with Democratic congressional leaders Wednesday, a key question will be whether President Donald Trump backs an increase in the federal gas tax the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been pressing him to support.

Trump reportedly backed an increase in private meetings before, but the 2020 election could be a reason for hesitation.

Trump officials, congressional leaders make ‘progress’ on budget talks
A follow-up meeting is scheduled to begin Tuesday afternoon

Mick Mulvaney, acting White House Chief of Staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin walk through the Capitol after participating in a budget meeting about reaching possible agreement on the debt limit and spending caps with Congressional leaders Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional leaders and top Trump administration officials made “progress” toward a spending caps and debt limit agreement during a two-hour meeting Tuesday morning and are planning to meet again in the afternoon, according to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

The meeting included Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought as well as Mulvaney.

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.

House appropriators put a premium on fixing decaying subs
The decision to pay for maintenance over shipbuilding, is based on long repair delays for some of the Navy’s pricey subs

The USS Newport News (R) secures itself next to its sister Los Angeles-class submarine USS Boise (L) after returning to Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia. House appropriations said it plans to move $650 million of the Navy 2020 shipbuilding funds toward the maintenance of three submarines: USS Boise, USS Hartford and USS Columbus. (Mike Heffner/Getty Images)

The House Appropriations Committee on Monday said it plans to move $650 million from the Navy’s requested fiscal 2020 shipbuilding account to the service’s operations and maintenance account to address maintenance delays for the Pentagon’s submarine fleet.

The decision to fund more maintenance against shipbuilding, according to a committee report released Monday, is based on long repair delays for some of the Navy’s pricey attack submarines.

Nadler prepares contempt vote for McGahn — but what are the consequences?
The White House argued McGahn has ‘absolute immunity’ and isn’t legally required to comply with a congressional subpoena

Then-White House counsel Don McGahn listens to testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh in Hart Building in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler is preparing a committee vote to hold former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress, the second Trump official to get such treatment for defying one of Nadler’s subpoenas to testify about the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“Let me be clear: this Committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it. We will not allow the President to prevent the American people from hearing from this witness,” Nadler said at a hearing Tuesday for McGahn that the former White House lawyer skipped per the administration’s orders.

Impeachment? Democratic Hill aides say no
Respondents to CQ’s Capitol Insiders Survey rejected the idea overwhelmingly

If the views of congressional aides are reflective of their bosses, there’s little appetite for impeaching President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Since the release of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report last month, some Democrats have reiterated, or joined, the calls for impeaching President Donald Trump, on the grounds that he obstructed Mueller’s probe.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for example, said on May 7 that the only mechanism to hold the president accountable and to ensure that the president is not above the law is for Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings. Texas Rep. Al Green, on April 30, said he’d introduce articles of impeachment, as he did in the last Congress.

3 things to watch in Pennsylvania’s 12th District special election
Vote in GOP-dominated district could signal party strength in 2020

Republican Fred Keller speaks during a rally Monday in Montoursville, Pa., as President Donald Trump looks on. Keller is the favorite in Tuesday’s special election in the 12th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Voters head to the polls Tuesday in Pennsylvania’s 12th District to choose a new congressman, and Republican state Rep. Fred Keller is strongly favored in the deep-red district.

The race to replace GOP Rep. Tom Marino, who resigned in January, hasn’t garnered much national attention given the district’s partisan lean. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the contest Solid Republican.

Futures product to test Wall Street taste for cryptocurrencies
Startup company plans to start trading futures contracts in bitcoin

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., have sought clarity from the Commodity Future Trading Commission on guidelines for cryptocurrencies on the futures market. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Cryptocurrencies have been viewed skeptically by some old-guard financial institutions — the head of one bank famously called bitcoin a fraud a few years back — but there’s a new plan to offer derivatives based on bitcoin that may show how deeply Wall Street is adopting new financial technology.

A startup company plans in July to start testing futures contracts in bitcoin, and begin trading them shortly after. The products, unlike cryptocurrencies themselves, aren’t designed for the masses. Bitcoin futures are meant for financial firms that want to find new ways to profit from fintech, and launching the futures contracts is essentially a bet that there’s enough demand from the big players.

Iran escalations bring war powers debates back to the Capitol
Sen. Tim Kaine expects debate behind closed doors at the Armed Services Committee

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch says President Donald Trump “doesn’t need any more authority than what he’s got” to respond to a potential attack. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)k

A Senate briefing by the Trump administration Tuesday about the escalation in tensions with Iran appears certain to kick off another round of sparring over the president’s war powers.

When asked last week whether President Donald Trump could strike Iran using existing authorities from the authorization for use of military force that was enacted after 9/11, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reflected on the history of disputes between the executive and legislative branches.

Americans may vote in 2020 using old, unsecured machines

Despite widespread concern about the integrity of voting machines and their cyber security, many Americans will vote in 2020 using technology that is old, outdated and vulnerable to hacking. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The first primary in the 2020 presidential race is a little more than 250 days away, but lawmakers and experts worry that elections will be held on voting machines that are woefully outdated and that any tampering by adversaries could lead to disputed results.

Although states want to upgrade their voting systems, they don’t have the money to do so, election officials told lawmakers last week.

Senators ask Trump administration why the ‘American Taliban’ is getting out of prison early
John Walker Lindh has been on track for release on Thursday

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby wants to know why the “American Taliban” is in line for early release. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan team of senators is asking the Trump administration why the convicted terrorist who became known as the “American Taliban” is about to get early release from federal prison.

And the questions are coming in part from the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., is ready to start impeachment proceedings if the White House continues to block testimony of former aides like Don McGahn. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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.