Thomas McKinless

The ‘Hell’ in Helsinki, Fist Bumps and Chickens in Alaska: Congressional Hits and Misses
 

“That was strange,” President Donald Trump said after the lights went out during his statement to a group of reporters and lawmakers that he had full faith in U.S. intelligence agencies. This was a day after Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland, which Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin said “put the hell back in Helsinki.” See that and more from members of Congress in this week’s Hits and Misses.

Internal Poll: Republican Harkey Has Slight Lead Over Levin in Race for Issa’s Seat
California’s 49th District is a top target for Democrats in November

Republican Diane Harkey will face Democrat Mike Levin in November in California’s 49th District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo).

The open-seat race in California’s 49th District is already close, according to an internal poll from Republican Diane Harkey’s campaign, obtained by Roll Call.

Harkey, an elected member of the California State Board of Equalization that oversees taxation, led Democratic environmental lawyer Mike Levin, 46 percent to 43 percent. Nine percent of respondents were undecided. 

20 Years Ago, a Deadly Shooting in the Capitol Changed Life on the Hill Forever
 

On July 24, 1998, a schizophrenic man with a gun walked into the U.S. Capitol. The ensuing rampage resulted in the deaths of two Capitol police officers, Detective John M. Gibson and Officer Jacob J. Chestnut, who saved the lives of Majority Whip Tom DeLay, his staff and countless others. The incident changed the Capitol community forever, boosting momentum for construction of the Capitol Visitors Center and much of the security we experience today.

Roll Call looked back at that tragic day, speaking to lawmakers, law enforcement and journalists who covered the story.

Ryan Doubles Down on Anti-Putin Message After Helsinki
 

Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters Tuesday he stands by the United States’ NATO allies and “all those countries facing Russian aggression.”

Texts, Baseball Bombshells and Snapper Fish: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of July 9, 2017

It was a busy couple of days on Capitol Hill this week, with the blitz to get to know Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in full swing, plus a House hearing on the 2016 texts of embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok and Speaker Paul D. Ryan talking about his car getting eaten by woodchucks.

The President’s Mission to Mars Is a Real Long Shot
Trump really wants to go to Mars, but he’ll have to convince Congress, private companies and scores of scientists

President Donald Trump receives a flight jacket from NASA officials during a bill signing ceremony last year. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

For a man known for grandiose ambitions, perhaps President Donald Trump’s most lofty is his pledge, formalized in a December order, to land a human being on the surface of Mars.

It would be easy to doubt Trump’s seriousness, given that he’s equally known for inconsistent follow-through. But Trump has raised the idea repeatedly since that order, most recently last month before the National Space Council, the advisory group Trump revived last year and tasked Vice President Mike Pence with running.