Energy & Environment

‘I don’t know any of these people’: 3 takeaways as Trump watches impeachment saga
Williams gives VP cover after his spox noted ‘she doesn’t directly report to the vice president’

President Donald Trump talks to the media on the South Lawn upon his return to the White House via Marine One on Nov. 3. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

The third day of public impeachment hearings temporarily transformed President Donald Trump into a history professor as he and his surrogates tried to discredit government witnesses and panned House Democrats.

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who oversees European matters at the National Security Council, told the House Intelligence Committee that Trump’s talk on a July 25 call with Ukraine’s president of his government investigating U.S. Democrats was “inappropriate” and a “partisan play.” He also panned attacks on other witnesses as “callow and cowardly,” appearing to criticize his commander in chief. Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, called that telephone conversation “unusual” because Trump was focused on a domestic political matter.

Mark Ruffalo: Dangerous chemical found in water and ‘every one of you’
The ‘Avengers’ actor testified Tuesday afternoon on the Hill

Actor Mark Ruffalo at a press conference discussing the ‘Fight Forever Chemicals’ campaign on Tuesday. The campaign coincides with the release of the film ‘Dark Waters’ starring Mark Ruffalo inspired by the true story of a corporate defense attorney, who discovers a community has been dangerously exposed to deadly chemicals for decades. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Mark Ruffalo hopes his ‘Dark Waters’ film leads to environmental ‘revolution’
The actor's new legal thriller is already generating Oscar buzz

Actor and producer Mark Ruffalo speaks during a press conference to discuss the ‘Fight Forever Chemicals’ campaign on Nov. 19. The campaign coincides with the release of his film “Dark Waters,” inspired by the story of Robert Bilott, a corporate defense attorney who discovers a community has been dangerously exposed for decades to deadly chemicals. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Mark Ruffalo wants a revolution.

“Are we a country that is going to be responsive to people and make sure that our people remain healthy?” star of the upcoming film “Dark Waters,” asked a crowd gathered Tuesday on Capitol Hill. “Or are we going to be responsible only to the bottom line of corporations and their greed? Because right now the people are losing.”

In run-up to crucial impeachment hearings, president hits a rough patch
Despite Trump’s troubles, has impeachment ‘moved the needle?’ One Dem strategist says no

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told House lawmakers she felt “threatened” and intimated by President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

An embattled Donald Trump enters one of the most consequential weeks of his presidency on defense, reeling from self-inflicted wounds, political setbacks and a surprise hospital visit the White House is struggling to explain.

This week will keep the focus on the president as nine administration witnesses head to Capitol Hill to testify in the House impeachment inquiry. Several told lawmakers behind closed doors they understood Trump ordered military aid to Ukraine frozen until its new president agreed to publicly state he would investigate U.S. Democrats.

House to take up Dec. 20 stopgap measure Tuesday
House Appropriations Democrats released the draft stopgap measure Monday afternoon after a morning of last-minute haggling

Disputes over potential add-ons between lawmakers in Congress and the White House on Monday was holding up a potential deal to pass a monthlong stopgap funding measure needed to avoid a government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House is moving forward to quickly take up a monthlong continuing resolution that would extend temporary funding levels for federal agencies. The measure will be on the floor Tuesday, according to House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.

House Appropriations Democrats released the draft stopgap measure Monday afternoon after a morning of last-minute haggling over special additions. The measure would replace the current CR, which expires Nov. 21, with a new deadline of Dec. 20 to finish up fiscal 2020 spending bills. 

FDA nominee to face questions on issues from vaping to salmon
It might be hard for Stephen Hahn to win over Democrats because of a pending White House vaping decision

Stephen Hahn, President Donald Trump’s choice to head the Food and Drug Administration, faces a confirmation hearing on Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. (Courtesy The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center)

When President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration appears for the first time before a Senate panel on Wednesday, he’ll likely face tough questions about some policy issues that he may not have thought much about previously.

While the nominee, Stephen Hahn, is a highly regarded cancer doctor who has helped lead a research hospital with a budget nearly the size of the FDA’s, the confirmation hearing will be a reminder of the breadth of the agency’s work.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 18
Trump says he’ll consider testifying ahead of a packed hearing schedule this week

House Intelligence Committee Republican members Elise Stefanik and Jim Jordan talk during the  hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump with former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch on Friday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats want to get grand jury materials from former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation in part to see if President Donald Trump lied in written answers, an attorney said Monday.

House General Counsel Doug Letter made the comments while arguing before a federal appeals court in Washington, that the House should get access to the normally secret materials as part of its impeachment investigation. A lower court ordered the Justice Department to turn over the materials, and the Trump administration has appealed.

DeFazio wants to go big on infrastructure despite hurdles
Plan embraces automated vehicles and intelligent transportation roadways

House Transportation Committee chairman Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., is pushing an ambitious bill that could help House Democrats show they are trying to do big things beyond impeachment (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats are renewing their push for a major infrastructure bill without the support they once hoped to get from President Donald Trump.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter A. DeFazio, D-Oregon, presented a comprehensive infrastructure plan during a closed-door meeting of House Democrats late Thursday. The legislation is still being drafted, he said, and he declined to offer any cost estimates.

Climate change solutions can’t wait for the politics to catch up
New Democrat Coalition pushes for bills that have bipartisan support and can make a difference

Climate change youth activists demonstrate at the Supreme Court on Sept. 18. Solutions to the climate crisis must not get caught up in partisan battles, New Democrat Coalition Chairman Derek Kilmer writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In the Pacific Northwest, we have a sense of urgency about addressing climate change. That urgency is driven, in part, by the fact that we are already seeing its impacts.

Where I’m from, we have four coastal tribes that are trying to move to higher ground due to rising sea levels and more severe storms. Catastrophic wildfires threaten the health and safety of communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. And our region’s largest employer — the Department of Defense — identifies climate change as a “threat multiplier” that makes our world less safe.

States in the Midwest with outsize roles in the 2020 elections
Rust Belt states helped decide the presidency, and have numerous competitive races for House, Senate

Republican Sen. Joni Ernst’s reelection is one of several that make Iowa at battleground state in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If there’s an abiding lesson from 2016, it’s that national public opinion in the presidential race is not as important as the votes of individual states. Republican Donald Trump won by taking 304 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 227, even as Clinton beat him by 2.9 million votes and 2.1 percentage points nationally.

In 2020, Democrats will be looking to recapture states Trump won that went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And many of those states will also be prime battlegrounds in the fight for control of the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of four seats to take a majority (three if they win the White House and the vice president can break 50-50 ties), while Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to retake the House.

Trump's Energy nominee bats away questions about Perry and Ukraine
Brouillette also tells confirmation hearing about mining potential of the Arctic

Dan Brouillette, nominee to be Secretary of Energy, walks to the witness table after speaking with committee members before the start of his confirmation hearing Thursday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s nominee to become secretary of Energy distanced himself Thursday from the House impeachment inquiry of the president, telling senators he does not have direct knowledge of efforts to overhaul the board of a Ukrainian government-owned energy firm.

Speaking at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Dan Brouillette, the No. 2 at DOE, said he was aware Secretary Rick Perry met with people interested in changing the corporate structure of Naftogaz, the Ukrainian company.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 14
Each side’s impeachment strategy emerges in first day of hearings; Pelosi invites Trump to testify

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and other House Republicans conduct a news conference after the first day of impeachment inquiry public hearings on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Two central figures in the new evidence linking President Donald Trump more closely to the U.S.’s request for Ukraine to investigate the president’s political rivals are scheduled to testify before lawmakers in the coming days.

Acting Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor told lawmakers in the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday that one of his aides overheard Trump asking Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland over the phone about the status of “the investigations” just a day after his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Impeachment frenzy? Not so much in the other Washington
Even among Democrats, impeachment trails health care, climate change

“You don’t see the inside-the-Beltway frenzy because we’re not inside the Beltway,” Herrera Beutler said of her constituents' attitude toward impeachment of the president. (Jacob Fischler/CQ Roll Call)

VANCOUVER, Wash. — At three official events throughout her southwest Washington district last week, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s constituents bemoaned the lack of national unity seen during World War II, related troubling stories of new mothers struggling with insufficient health care and watched their children sing at a Veterans Day commemoration.

They did not ask the five-term Republican, a target of House Democrats’ campaign arm, about the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Campaigns look to capitalize on first impeachment hearings
Both parties used different strategies on the campaign trail

Campaigns sought to capitalize on national attention on Wednesday’s impeachment hearing that featured testimony by senior diplomats William Taylor, center, and George Kent, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Loath to waste a national spotlight, campaigns on Wednesday sought to take advantage of the first public impeachment hearing in two decades, though groups pushing Republicans seemed more willing to urge angry voters to contribute as the hearing unfolded while Democrats were more low-key.

War rooms for the Democratic and Republican national committees each issued dueling fact checks as the House Intelligence panel began public hearings into whether President Donald Trump committed an impeachable offense by withholding military aid while pressing Ukraine to investigate a chief political opponent. But the similarities between the parties’ approaches stopped there.

Democrats target Trump defenses in first impeachment hearing
Two articulate and polished career diplomats lend gravitas to much-anticipated public event

House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, joined by other House Democrats, speaks to reporters Wednesday's hearing. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats used the first day of impeachment hearings to take aim at the various defenses President Donald Trump and his congressional allies have raised during the inquiry into his Ukraine dealings — a strategy that allows them to advance their case alongside a drumbeat of witness testimony over the next two weeks.

The House Intelligence Committee started that push Wednesday with two articulate and polished veteran diplomats, whose deep knowledge of Ukraine turned into succinct explanations of the unusual circumstances surrounding how the Trump administration handled almost $400 million in military aid to the country.