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Capitol Ink | CO2 Congress

As background checks talks stall, Trump casts Beto O’Rourke as scapegoat
POTUS: Candidate’s debate remark ‘Convinced many that Dems just want to take your guns away’

Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke speaks during a town hall event in Alexandria, Va., in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Washington fails to enact legislation to strengthen federal firearms background checks or otherwise deal with mass shootings, President Donald Trump suggests the blame will fall on a former House Democrat who wants his job.

With talks toward a measure that could pass a Democratic-controlled House and a GOP-run Senate showing no tangible signs of progress, Trump has vacillated from supporting beefed-up background checks to endorsing a amorphous plan focused on mental health issues he says is the root cause of mass gun massacres.

Trump mocks Elizabeth Warren’s NYC crowd: ‘Anybody could do that’
Reports: Massachusetts senator drew ‘thousands’ in Washington Square Park

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., waves to the crowd as she arrives for a rally in Washington Square Park in New York on Monday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump, who often touts the size of crowds at his events and knocks those of his foes, on Tuesday dismissed an audience Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew the night before in New York City.

Warren spoke in front of the iconic arch in the Big Apple’s Washington Square Park before an audience numbering in the “thousands,” according to estimates from local media outlets. But the president, who sent his first press secretary, Sean Spicer, out on his first full day on the job to make false statements about the size of Trump’s inauguration audience, contended he was not impressed with Warren’s crowd.

Watch out 2020 Democrats, Trump might have a long game
3 takeaways from the president’s New Mexico rally as he tries to flip state Clinton won in 2016

President Donald Trump on Monday night enters a campaign rally at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. The rally marks President Trump's first trip to New Mexico as president and the start of a three-day campaign trip to New Mexico and California. (Cengiz Yar/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | Donald Trump’s rally Monday night in New Mexico was billed as an opportunity for the president to try expanding his base and flip a state he lost in 2016. But his message — again — offered little new to moderate swing voters.

Trump’s Rio Rancho campaign stop was calculated, with his campaign looking to flip a small handful of states won in 2016 by Hillary Clinton; she won New Mexico by 8.3 percentage points. It was the second state she won to which he has traveled to headline a rally this year; he was in New Hampshire last month. Collectively, there are nine Electoral College votes between the two states.

Elizabeth Warren’s K Street overhaul
Plan would prohibit former lawmakers and officials from lobbying, expand ‘cooling-off’ periods and more

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks at the Iowa State Fair in August. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator who regularly blasts the lobbying and influence sector, announced a new set of proposals Monday aimed at curbing the revolving door between business and government.

She would prohibit members of Congress and other top officials from ever becoming lobbyists and would expand cooling-off periods to at least two years for lower-level officials.

Democrats object to Trump’s threatening Iran over Saudi oil attack
U.S. is ‘locked and loaded’ if Tehran believed to be behind strikes, president warns

President Donald Trump leaves after chairing a U.N. Security Council meeting last September. He will be back there, along with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, next week. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

The United States should not take orders about using military force against Iran even if Saudi Arabia’s government declares Tehran was behind an attack on its oil facilities, congressional Democrats are telling President Donald Trump.

Trump signaled on Sunday evening and again on Monday morning that he is standing by for Saudi officials to sort out just what happened and who launched what U.S. officials said appeared to be armed drone and cruise missile strikes on the Saudi facilities. The attacks are expected to pare Saudi production and drive up oil and gas prices — but Democrats are concerned the incident might compel Trump to launch retaliatory strikes on Iran, which they say would be contrary to American interests.

Still confused about Trump’s demands of Congress? Maybe it’s you
President ‘always lays it right out there,’ but Hill slow to ‘adjust,’ Eric Ueland says

President Donald Trump — here in January 2018 with Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming and John Thune of South Dakota and Vice President Mike Pence — has clear legislative goals despite confusion at times on the Hill as to what they are, legislative affairs director Eric Ueland says. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — If you’re a Republican lawmaker or congressional aide who struggles to understand what Donald Trump wants in legislation, take a long look in the mirror.

Because it’s you. Not him.

List to replace fired national security adviser John Bolton grows to 15
Trump says he makes ‘all the decisions’ so senior advisers ‘don’t have to work’

President Donald Trump walks from the South Lawn to Marine One on his way to Joint Base Andrews in July 2018. He took the executive helicopter to a GOP retreat in Baltimore on Thursday evening. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There are now 15 candidates to replace John Bolton as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, but the president says it will not be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

There was talk around Washington that the former Kansas GOP congressman — rumored to be eyeing a Senate run in his home state next year — might do both jobs after increasingly becoming Trump’s go-to counselor on foreign affairs and national security. But the president put an end to such speculation Thursday evening.

Five candidates on list to replace ‘Mr. Tough Guy’ John Bolton, Trump says
President mocks former national security adviser day after he was fired or quit, depending on the source

President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he departs the Capitol in "The Beast" in March. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he is looking closely at five candidates to replace hawkish John Bolton — whom he mocked — a day after he abruptly fired Bolton from his role as national security adviser.

“We have a lot of good people who want that position. … We’ll have five people who want it very much,” Trump told reporters after an unrelated event at the White House. “We’ll be announcing somebody next week.”

With Congress back, Trump tells staff he doesn’t want another shutdown
Hill envoy details to-do list, which could face obstacles, including from White House

President Donald Trump has told his staff to avoid a government shutdown, but several obstacles remain to getting spending deals, as well as other legislative priorities. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House has an ambitious autumn and winter legislative agenda that includes avoiding another government shutdown and winning approval of a sweeping trade pact — but a key official says legislation aimed at preventing mass shootings is not certain to move this year.

Both chambers returned Monday from a rather bloody August recess in which more than 40 people died during mass shootings in four states. Members of both parties say they want to move some kind of bill aimed at curbing gun violence amid polling that shows large majorities of Republican and Democratic voters want Washington to act. But no plan that could pass the House and Senate — and get President Donald Trump’s signature — has emerged.