politics

Abusive callers, chatty constituents? It’s all in a day’s work on the Hill
For former interns, staff assistants, answering phones has been a formative experience

Aaron Fritschner, communications director for Virginia Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., has plenty of experience answering constituent phone calls in his previous positions on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Aaron Fritschner’s first day on Capitol Hill was Dec. 14, 2012.

As the only intern in New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s office, he was being trained how to answer the phones and talk to constituents.

Lori Trahan got the band back together as she staffed up her office
Freshman Democrat was once a Hill aide herself

When Rep. Lori Trahan was a scheduler, she tried to be the first one at the office, if only for a little quiet time. Now that she’s the boss, she doesn’t want her staffers to burn the candle at both ends. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lori Trahan knows a thing or two about transferable skills. After climbing the Hill ranks from scheduler to chief of staff, she decamped to the male-dominated world of tech, where her congressional experience came in handy.

Now that she’s back as a freshman Democrat — in the same seat once held by her former boss, Massachusetts Rep. Marty Meehan — she’s trying to think like a consultant. That means being willing to say, “Wait a second, that’s crazy.”

Congress could block big chunk of Trump’s emergency wall money
Full funds likely to be unavailable from the sources president has identified

More than a third of the money President Donald Trump wants to redirect from other federal programs to build a border barrier is likely to be unavailable from the sources he identified. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

More than one-third of the money President Donald Trump wants to redirect from other federal programs to build a border barrier is likely to be unavailable from the sources he has identified.

As a result, it may be difficult for the president to circumvent Congress, even if a resolution disapproving of his “emergency” moves is never enacted.

Trump’s labor secretary broke federal law in sex offender plea deal, judge says
Alexander Acosta — then a U.S. attorney — violated federal law in Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking case

Alex Acosta, center, talks with Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, after the senators introduced him during his Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building, March 22, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A plea agreement with financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein that Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta had a part in when he was a U.S.attorney  violated federal law, a judge ruled Thursday. 

Officials with Acosta’s office and the White House had not responded to requests for comment at the time this story was published. 

State board votes for new election in North Carolina’s 9th District
Republican Mark Harris called for a new election Thursday afternoon

North Carolina Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris speaks as President Donald Trump and Rep. Ted Budd listen at a campaign rally in Charlotte in October. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images file photo)

The North Carolina State Elections Board voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to hold a new election in North Carolina's 9th District. 

Their vote came after Republican Mark Harris's stunning call for a new election following his admission that he misspoke during his testimony earlier in the day.

Sanders first to get non-home state congressional endorsement
Ro Khana has expressed support for a Sanders presidential run since 2017

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., conducts a news conference in the Capitol to introduce a legislative package that would lower prescription drug prices in the U.S. on Jan. 10, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Bernie Sanders is the first 2020 candidate to pick up an endorsement from a member of Congress who is not from their home state.

Ro Khana, D-Calif., announced Thursday that he is backing the Vermont independent to be the next president. The endorsement is not a surprising one — Khana tweeted in July of 2017 that Sanders should “absolutely run again in 2020!”

White House, North Korea still don‘t define ‘denuclearization’ the same way
Trump and aides downplay expectations for summit with Kim Jong Un next week

A ballistic missile during a "Victory Day" parade in 2013 in North Korea. President Trump will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next week in Vietnam. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Just days before President Donald Trump will be face-to-face again with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the two sides remain divided on one of the biggest issues at the heart of their second summit.

Among the many unresolved issues as Trump and Kim prepare for another meeting Wednesday and Thursday in Hanoi, Vietnam is a common definition of what “denuclearization” would mean for the reclusive Asian country. A senior Trump administration official told reporters on a call Thursday morning that one of the top agenda items for the leaders’ second meeting is trying to agree to a “shared understanding of what denuclearization is.”

Previously unseen messages from Harris roil North Carolina House race hearing
Mark Harris said he believed Dowless over his own son about absentee ballot program

North Carolina Republican Mark Harris said he believed operative Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. over the warnings of his own son. (John D. Simmons /The Charlotte Observer via AP)

The fourth day of hearings into election fraud in North Carolina’s 9th District started with a potential evidentiary bombshell that roiled the proceedings and could extend them beyond this week.

Attorneys for Republican nominee Mark Harris’ campaign committee turned over a new message Wednesday night to the North Carolina State Board of Elections that had not been previously submitted. In the message, Harris asks for an introduction to Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., the operative who orchestrated the collection of absentee ballots.

3 Takeaways: There’s a big 2020 hue within Trump’s anti-socialism push
'I am not a democratic socialist,' says Dem presidential candidate Kamala Harris

President Donald Trump delivers remarks to the Venezuelan-American community at Florida International University on Monday. He vowed during his speech that "America will never be a socialist country." (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks via Flickr)

ANALYSIS | President Donald Trump is vowing to rid the Western Hemisphere of socialist governments, but the early days of his push appear as much about his own re-election fight than anything happening in Central and South America.

“The twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere,” Trump said to applause from an audience of Venezuelan-Americans Monday in Miami. “And, frankly, in many, many places around the world. The days of socialism and communism are numbered - not only in Venezuela, but in Nicaragua and in Cuba, as well.”

Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan: ‘We can’t green the economy without the power of the free market’
Ohio Democrat continues to position himself for moderate path to party’s presidential nomination

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, struck a conservative tone in interviews in the early primary state of New Hampshire. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

On a tour of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire, Rep. Tim Ryan emphasized that the Democratic Party should not appear to be “hostile to business” and argued that climate change can be addressed in the private sector.

The Rust Belt Democrat has been positioning himself on the moderate path as he considers a run for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination.