State

Democratic Memo Defends Investigation into Alleged Russia-Trump Campaign Links
Heavily redacted document challenges Republican criticism of FBI, DOJ

House Intelligence ranking member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said that a Democratic memo released Saturday confirms the FBI acted appropriately during its investigation into links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The FBI investigation into “links between the Russian government and Trump campaign association” was based on “troubling law enforcement and intelligence information” unrelated to a controversial dossier compiled by a former British spy, a Democratic memo released Saturday asserts.

The 10-page memo was a response to a declassified memo compiled by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif. — released more than three weeks ago with President Donald Trump’s blessing — that alleged possibly illegal and misleading “interactions with the Foreign Surveillance Court.”

Latest Twist in Russia Investigation Involves Unnamed Member of Congress
Rick Gates’ pleaded guilty to lying about meeting that matched dinner with Rohrabacher

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse after a court hearing on the conditions of his release on Nov. 6, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The wide-ranging investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign took an unexpected diversion to Capitol Hill on Friday, when former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about a meeting between his boss Paul Manafort and an unnamed member of Congress.

Gates admitted, according to court documents, that the 2013 meeting was part of a secret multimillion-dollar lobbying campaign for the Ukrainian government and its Russian-backed president, Viktor Yanukovych. Gates also pleaded guilty to conspiring with Manafort to hide the millions of dollars they were paid by the Ukrainian government.

Analysis: Australian Leader Hits Trump With Charm Offensive
Turnbull eager to repair strained relations, boost economic cooperation

Before a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, President Donald Trump addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort in Oxon Hill, Md., on February 23, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS | Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull went with flattery, lavishing Donald Trump with praise and using the U.S. president’s own rhetoric as he tried to repair a once-strained relationship.

Turnbull delivered his message about U.S.-Aussie “mateship” during a joint press conference at the White House during which Trump revealed he will delegate a final decision on whether his son-in-law will continue to get classified information, despite his inability to qualify for a security clearance. He also said he detects a “movement” among lawmakers to pass legislation to prevent future school shootings.

Candidate for Trent Franks’ Seat Admits He Received Nude Picture
Steve Montenegro said he alerted wife when topless photo of junior legislative staffer came in

Arizona House candidate Steve Montenegro said Thursday he did not have an inappropriate relationship with a staffer who sent him topless photos. (SteveMontenegro.com)

Republican congressional candidate Steve Montenegro, who is running to replace disgraced Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, copped to receiving a topless photograph of a junior state legislative staffer, but said he did nothing inappropriate.

The admission came less than 72 hours after he called initial media reports of the racy exchange “false tabloid trash.”

Bernie Sanders’ Son Weighing House Run in New Hampshire
New Hampshire Democrats conflicted over ‘carpetbagger’

Levi Sanders, right, arrived with Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane Sanders at a primary night rally in Essex Junction, Vermont. in 2016. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP file photo)

Levi Sanders, son of 2016 presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, is considering a run in New Hampshire's First District.

“Oh, absolutely. I’m definitely considering it. I’m excited, motivated and interested in the race,” Sanders told Vice News Thursday. “I’m just dotting my I’s and crossing my T’s.”

Ratings Changes: 15 Races Shift Toward Democrats, 1 Toward Republicans
Democratic chances have improved beyond Pennsylvania

From left, Democrats Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Stephanie Murphy of Florida are looking more secure in their re-elections this fall, while, from right, Republicans Ted Budd and Mimi Walters may be more vulnerable. (Bill Clark/Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photos)

Less than eight months before Election Day, the midterm landscape is still taking shape. It’s still not clear whether Democrats will have a good night (and potentially fall short of a majority) or a historic night in the House that puts them well over the top. But mounting evidence nationally and at the district level points to a Democratic advantage in a growing number of seats.

Democratic prospects improved in a handful of seats in Pennsylvania, thanks to a new, court-ordered map. And the party’s successes in state and local elections over the last 14 months demonstrate a surge in Democratic voters, particularly in blue areas, that could be problematic for Republican candidates in the fall. GOP incumbents in districts Hillary Clinton carried in 2016 might be particularly susceptible to increased Democratic enthusiasm.

Administration Pushes Abstinence Promotion
Latest moves alarm reproductive rights advocates

Recording artist Ciara, center, performs in honor of National Teen Pregnancy Awareness Month in New York’s Times Square in 2011. (Jason Kempin/Getty Images file photo)

Recent administrative actions signal a shift from promoting comprehensive sexual health information to abstinence-only education, which concerns reproductive rights advocates who question abstinence promotion’s efficacy at preventing teen pregnancy.

The administration already announced last year the discontinuation of a teen pregnancy prevention, or TPP, program that funded grants to communities that study ways to prevent teens from getting pregnant and run prevention programs. The Department of Health and Human Services has promoted more abstinence-only alternatives and increasingly uses the phrase “sexual risk avoidance,” another term for abstinence, in materials.

At the Races: Desert Drama
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

The primary in the race to replace GOP Rep. Trent Franks is Tuesday. Franks resigned in December amid allegations of sexual harassment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thanks for subscribing to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. Sign up here. We want to hear what you think. Send us your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

House Cancels Votes for Billy Graham to Lie in Honor in Capitol Rotunda
Senate will remain in session Wednesday and Thursday

Hawaii Sen. Daniel K. Inouye lies in state on Dec. 20, 2012, on Capitol Hill. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is shortening its Feb. 26 work week, canceling votes that Wednesday and Thursday, for the late Rev. Billy Graham to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.

“As is traditional, votes are no longer expected in the House on Wednesday, February 28, or Thursday, March 1,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office announced. “Last votes next week will now occur during the evening hours of Tuesday, February 27.”

‘Harden’ Schools to Combat Shooters, Trump Says
Calls for offensive measures, training and arming teachers

Washington, D.C., area students and supporters protest against gun violence outside the White House on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump wants to “harden” schools to secure them like banks, but the security guards he envisions would be teachers and other school employees.

For the second consecutive day, the president pitched the notion of giving firearms and specialized training to some teachers and school staffers so they could combat individuals who enter schools with the intent of killing people. He further drove home that he opposes existing laws allowing individuals under the age of 21 to purchase assault rifles.