congressional-affairs

Trump Doesn’t Rule Out Pardon for Michael Flynn
‘There is absolutely no collusion,’ president contends

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, at podium, and then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attend a campaign event in 2016. On Friday, the president did not rule out a pardon for his former national security adviser. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Friday did not rule out pardoning former national security advisor Michael Flynn, and again contended “there was no collusion” between his campaign and Russia.

“There is absolutely no collusion,” the president said as he left the White House for an address at a graduation ceremony at the FBI Academy. “That has been proven.”

Trump Bullish on Latest Version of GOP Tax Plan
On whether Moore should concede Alabama Senate race, Trump says, ‘Yeah, I would certainly say he should’

President Donald Trump, seen here during a visit with Senate Republicans in November, called the GOP tax plan “monumental” and predicted it would pass next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump said Friday he thinks the latest version of the GOP tax plan will  “do very well” when the House and Senate vote on it “as early as next week” after reviewing it. 

And on another congressional matter, Trump replied, “Yeah, I would certainly say he should,” when asked if Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore should concede his race to Democrat Doug Jones.

Menendez Says ‘Bring It On’ to Potential Corruption Retrial
New Jersey Democratic senator has issued mid-January deadline to DOJ to continue prosecution

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., wants the Department of Justice to decide by January whether or not it will retry his corruption case. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Embattled Sen. Robert Menendez is telling the Department of Justice either to try to prosecute him again on corruption charges or drop the case.

The New Jersey Democrat, whose bribery trial was declared a mistrial in November, told reporters Thursday he wants investigators to decide by mid-January whether they will try him in court again.

Waters Asks Justice to Investigate Forged Letter Opponent Tweeted
Fake letter alleged that Waters wants ‘more terrorists’ in district

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., has asked the Department of Justice to investigate a forged letter tweeted out by one of her GOP opponents. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters is asking the Justice Department to investigate the source of the letter posted to Twitter by her top GOP competitor that falsely alleges she wants to resettle “up to 41k” refugees in her California district.

Omar Navarro, the Republican candidate being backed by many far-right donors, tweeted out the document, a forgery, on Monday with an attached caption.

Paul Ryan Departure Circus Swings Into High Gear
Reports point to resignation, retirement

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., is dismissing reports he is on his way out, but the rumors of his departure linger. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One report speculated he would quit after the tax overhaul was signed into law. Another said he was done after the 2018 elections, opting for retirement after 10 terms. For his own part, Speaker Paul D. Ryan says he’s not leaving in the near term. And Donald Trump says he wants the Wisconsin Republican to stick around.

The will-he-or-won’t he game started early on Thursday in the wake of a HuffPost report that stated members were beginning to speculate Ryan would hang it up after the tax bill was done, a long time priority for the former Ways and Means Committee chairman. 

Keith Ellison Will Not Challenge Smith for Franken’s Seat in 2018
Says he supports appointed replacement Tina Smith

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., will not challenge newly appointed interim Sen. Tina Smith in 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Keith Ellison will not run in Minnesota’s special election for Senate to replace Sen. Al Franken in 2018, the six-term Democratic lawmaker signaled Wednesday.

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith has been pegged to replace Franken through January 2019. Smith, a Democrat, said she plans to run in the November 2018 special election.

No-Alias: Smith & Jones Will Alter the Senate in ’18
Two newest Democrats will join as powerful a minority as possible, whether they skew left or to the center

The Senate will be a very different place after the arrival of two new Democratic senators: Doug Jones, the winner of Tuesday’s stunning upset in Alabama, and Tina Smith, who was tapped on Wednesday to fill the pending vacancy in Minnesota. (CQ Roll Call file photos)

Turns out, the Senate is going to be quite a different place next year even without Roy Moore — and that’s not only because senators named Smith and Jones will be serving together for the first time in 86 years.

The chamber will have its closest partisan split in a decade, and the narrowest divide in favor of the Republicans since the spring of 2001. The roster of women will expand to a record 22, and for the first time a pair of women will comprise the Senate delegations of four states. The Deep South will be represented by a Democrat for the first time in four years.

Why Pups Push Partisanship Aside on the Hill
‘These little animals here, they don’t care about political parties’

Riggins from Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s office attended the holiday party dressed as an elf. (Screenshot from Roll Call's Facebook Live)

It seems like Sen. Thom Tillis started a trend.

Office dogs have always been part of the culture on Capitol Hill, but the North Carolina Republican raised the bar when he hosted a Halloween party for dogs.

Roy Who? Trump, GOP Quickly Pivot From Alabama to Taxes
Democrats characterize Alabama result as repudiation of president

Republican Roy Moore rides his horse across a field on his way to vote at the Gallant Volunteer Fire Department in Gallant, Ala., on Tuesday. Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday’s Senate special election in Alabama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers tried Wednesday to pin blame for Roy Moore’s special Alabama Senate race loss on the controversial former judge, but Democrats contend the president owns the bruising defeat after his full-throated endorsement. 

At the White House, the message was all about a GOP tax overhaul bill following Democrat Doug Jones’ stunning upset win in a state that had not put a member of that party in the Senate since 1992. On Capitol Hill, Republican members admitted relief that Moore would not be bringing his sexual misconduct allegations to Washington — and they asserted neither Trump nor the GOP were damaged by the Alabama race, despite the embrace of Moore by Trump and the Republican National Committee.

House Administration Adopts Ad Change Aimed at Open Enrollment

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., right, seen here with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., signed off on the change to franking procedures. He chairs the Franking Commission.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Administration Committee unanimously adopted on Wednesday a change in the member handbook that could help Democrats seeking to promote HealthCare.gov.

The new rule allows lawmakers to promote and link to federal government websites besides their own. Democrats had encountered the hurdle while attempting to promote the federal health insurance exchange through taxpayer-funded advertisements, known as franking.