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Impeachment trial, like much of Trump’s presidency, is unprecedented
Outcome could set new standards for presidential behavior and congressional oversight

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. leaves the Capitol after the Senate adjourned for the day the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Saturday, January 25, 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, like many of his administration’s actions before it, has ventured into uncharted legal territory.

The trial lacks definitive answers on key issues, either from federal courts or the Senate itself, which has fed an undercurrent of uncertainty about what happens next in an institution usually steeped in precedents and traditions.

House of accommodations: Impeachment managers find ways to vote
House prosecutors in Senate trial find life goes on across Rotunda

House impeachment managers from left, Reps. Sylvia R. Garcia, D-Texas, Val Demings, D-Fla., Jason Crow, D-Colo., and Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., are seen in the Capitol before the continuation of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Sylvia R. Garcia has never missed a vote — not in her first term so far in the House and not in the six years she served in the Texas state Senate.

The freshman Democrat’s perfect attendance could’ve been in jeopardy this week since she is one of the seven House impeachment managers prosecuting the House’s case in the Senate trial of President Donald Trump. But fortunately for Garcia, House Democratic leaders are keeping the floor schedule flexible to ensure the managers can participate in votes.

Deficit widens, economic growth slows in new CBO outlook
Repeal of health care taxes the largest driver of 10-year deficit increase, according to projections

Under new Congressional Budget Office estimates, the federal deficit is projected to fall slightly to $1 trillion in fiscal 2021 and then commence a steady rise to $1.7 trillion in 2030. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Congressional Budget Office projects higher deficits for this year and the coming decade, with a fiscal 2020 deficit of $1.015 trillion — $8 billion higher than the agency estimated last August.

The fiscal 2019 deficit was $984 billion, by comparison.

Trump’s legal team quickly wraps defense of president at impeachment trial
Defense argued Tuesday that Democrats were playing politics with impeachment powers

President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow arrives to the Capitol before the continuation of Trump’s impeachment trial on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump’s attorneys utilized just 10 of the 24 hours allotted to them to defend the president against two articles of impeachment charging him with obstruction of Congress and abuse of power, concluding their three-day presentation Tuesday by arguing that Democrats’ case amounted merely to politics.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone closed the defense’s case by urging senators to consider their role and the lasting impact that their decision could make on American history.

Can you point to Ukraine? It may be a while before you get your chance
State Department delays request for unlabeled map Mike Pompeo used to challenge NPR reporter

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the State Department earlier this month. He used an unlabeled map in an attempt to stump NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly on the location of Ukraine. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a challenge for NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly after their interview Friday: Find Ukraine on a blank map.

Anyone who wants to see the map Pompeo used may face another challenge. Getting a copy could take months — or even years.

How to pay for infrastructure? Ways and Means will count the ways
Raising long-stagnant fuel taxes is an option, but some Republicans have other ideas. Pay per mile?

DeFazio, who may release "general principles" of his infrastructure bill  as soon as Wednesday, says he prefers paying for it with a higher gas tax.  (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When the House Ways and Means Committee meets Wednesday to take its first tentative steps to deciding how to pay for a federal infrastructure bill, its members will revive a perennial battle that could derail the whole debate: whether to raise a gas tax unchanged since 1993.

Since it was created in 1956, the Highway Trust Fund — paid for primarily by a federal gas tax — has largely funded highway construction and maintenance as well as transit.

US won't rule out travel restrictions as China outbreak worsens
For now, screenings expanded for travelers from China

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday the U.S. government is expanding screenings of travelers from China in order to quickly quarantine anyone who arrives while ill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Travel restrictions from China haven’t been ruled out as the United States monitors the spreading outbreak of coronavirus that infected thousands there, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday.

For now, the U.S. government is expanding screenings of travelers from China in order to quickly quarantine anyone who arrives while ill. There will now be screenings at 20 airports with quarantine facilities, up from five airports where screenings had been occurring for the past 10 days. While previously only passengers arriving from the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, were screened, now nearly all passengers arriving from anywhere in China will be.

Shelby skeptical of nascent House discussions on earmarks
‘The Republican Caucus is on record against that,’ Senate Appropriations chairman says

Chairman Richard C. Shelby, center, and Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, attend the Senate Appropriations Committee markup of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement implementation bill on Jan. 15. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby said it’s unlikely Republicans in his chamber will bring back spending bill earmarks, regardless of what the House decides.

“The Republican Caucus is on record against that, so that’s not going to go anywhere right now,” the Alabama Republican said Tuesday. Himself a prolific earmarker before the practice stopped in 2011, Shelby declined to discuss his personal views on the topic at this point. “I’m part of the [GOP] caucus and the caucus is not going to support that. So unless the caucus is involved it won’t happen,” he said.

Fate of ‘national security Democrats’ provides key to House majority
Republicans hope for impeachment backlash; these races tell a different story

From left, Democratic Reps. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan pose for a selfie taken by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania in February 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four months ago, seven freshman Democrats accelerated the impeachment process with an op-ed in The Washington Post. With less than a year before Election Day, their electoral fates represent a microcosm of the Republican challenge to win back the House majority.

For much of the impeachment discussion and process, Republicans have been emboldened. They believe Democrats will be held accountable for the time spent investigating President Donald Trump and experience a backlash similar to the one Republicans faced in the late 1990s when President Bill Clinton was impeached.

Democrats fight for Elijah Cummings’ legacy — and a seat in Congress
Support from black women will be key in next Tuesday’s special election primary

Maryland Democrat Maya Rockeymoore Cummings greets worshippers Sunday before a service at the Zion Baptist Church in Baltimor. She is running in a crowded Democratic primary to succeed her late husband, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, in the 7th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — Two dozen Democrats are running for the nomination in Maryland’s 7th District, but no one looms larger over the race than the late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, whose death last fall prompted the upcoming special election.

What Cummings wanted in a successor — and what people think he would have wanted — have become big factors in this contest, where the two best-known candidates are his widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, and his friend and predecessor, Kweisi Mfume, who left Congress in 1996 to lead the NAACP.