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Three Takeaways from Trump’s Made-for-TV Oval Office Border Brawl
House Democratic Leader Pelosi says top Dems got into a ‘tinkle contest with a skunk’

President Donald Trump argues about border security with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as Vice President Mike Pence sits nearby, silent, in the Oval Office on Tuesday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | Vice President Mike Pence looked taken aback, barely moving and saying nothing as President Donald Trump and the top congressional leaders bickered and moved the country — with each insult and barb — closer to a partial holiday season government shutdown.

The former GOP congressman’s statuesque performance was a contrast to the kinetic scene unfolding around him, another made-for-television moment that allowed the bombastic GOP president to pick a fight with the two Democrats perhaps most reviled by his conservative base on live cable TV.

Former Tennessee Rep. Van Hilleary Returns as Chief of Staff
Will join small fraternity of lawmakers-turned-staffers

Former Rep. Van Hilleary will head back to Capitol Hill to serve as chief of staff to Rep.-elect John Rose, R-Tenn. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Van Hilleary will head back to Capitol Hill next year, this time as chief of staff to Rep.-elect John W. Rose.

A member of the GOP class that swept to power in the 1994 election, Hilleary represented Tennessee’s 4th District between 1995 and 2003. He left office to run for Tennessee governor in 2002, but lost to Democrat Gov. Phil Bredesen. He ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2006.

Senate Releases 2019 Legislative Calendar
Features Include a two-week October recess

The Senate has released its 2019 calendar, which largely comports with their House counterparts. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate schedule for the rest of the year remains in flux, but the Senate calendar for 2019 is firmed out and generally lines up with the schedule outlined across the Dome by the new House Democratic majority.

After returning for a day to convene on Thursday, Jan. 3, the Senate will be back to work on Tuesday, Jan. 8, taking recess weeks that generally coincide with holidays, including two weeks around Easter Sunday.

Google Would ‘Make the NSA Blush,’ Says Republican at Hill Grilling
Tuesday marked the first time a top Google executive appeared at the Capitol since the 2016 election

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, center, is confronted by Infowar's Alex Jones, right, as he arrives to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai appeared for the first time before a congressional panel and batted away questions from lawmakers, who bombarded him about alleged bias against conservatives in search results and the company’s data collection practices.

House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte said Google was collecting so much information on its users that it would “make the NSA blush,” referring to the National Security Agency. The Virginia Republican also said the committee was interested in learning more about how Google determines what is objectionable, and allegations that biased ranking of Google’s search results could result in shifting voters’ views.

Nonprofit Head Pleads Guilty in Congressional Travel Plot
Azerbaijan trip has been source of Ethics probe, consternation for years

A former nonprofit head pleaded guilty to charges that he hid the fact that a 2013 congressional delegation trip to Azerbaijan was funded by that country’s government. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call).

The former president of a Houston nonprofit pleaded guilty Monday to charges of concealing that a 2013 congressional delegation trip to Azerbaijan was funded by that country’s government.

The Justice Department indicted Kemal Oksuz, aka Kevin Oksuz, 49, in September, alleging that he lied on disclosure forms filed with the House Ethics Committee prior to and following a privately sponsored congressional trip to Azerbaijan. Oksuz was extradited from Armenia.

Beto O’Rourke Gauging Potential Presidential Support from Obama, Gillum
Texas Democrat is weighing a 2020 bid for the party nomination

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke is considering a 2020 presidential bid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Beto O'Rourke has continued to put out feelers for a possible run for the presidency in 2020 — most recently gauging interest from prominent black Democrats like former president Barack Obama and Florida governor candidate Andrew Gillum.

O'Rourke, the lame-duck Democratic congressman who narrowly lost to GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in the Texas Senate race in November, has spoken with Obama, Gillum, and Rev. Al Sharpton over the last few of weeks.

Border Wall Meeting Spirals as Trump Bickers With Pelosi, Schumer
President stands firm on $5B ask as shutdown possibility nears

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., argued Tuesday with President Donald Trump over his proposed southern border wall. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Updated 12:49 p.m. | President Donald Trump and top congressional Democrats bickered about his proposed southern border in front of reporters Tuesday as they sought to avert a partial government shutdown.

Trump grew angry at one point and threatened to shutter part of the federal government over the holidays unless Congress meets his demands, with the Democrats warning he would take responsibility for what they already are calling a “Trump shutdown.”

House Democrats to Wait ’Til Next Year in Term Limit Discussion
Hard talk will have to wait for incoming freshmen in 116th Congress

The large freshman class will have a chance to weigh in on the House Democrats' rules package, an and specifically whether to have term limits for leaders and committee chairs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the current impasse on the upcoming speaker election as backdrop, House Democrats on Tuesday discussed the concept of term limiting their elected leaders and committee chairs, but decided to postpone until January when the incoming freshmen will be present to participate.

“We’re going to talk after the New Year,” Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters.

Trump Hedges on $5 Billion for Border Wall on Day of Meeting With Schumer, Pelosi
President hints at military construction of barrier, which could be problematic legally

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Just before a scheduled meeting with Democratic leaders on border security funding, President Donald Trump appeared to soften his demand for $5 billion in construction funds for his southern border wall proposal.

in a series of tweets, the president sought to build a case that portions of fencing and levee wall already built or in the works on his watch have successfully increased border security to a degree, even without the money he wants. And in a subsequent tweet, Trump foreshadows “some important announcements” in his administration’s trade talks with China; if true, any positive headlines of those talks could be drowned out by an ugly partial government shutdown that Trump likely would be blamed for.