Chris Stewart

‘Impeachapalooza 2019’: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Nov. 18, 2019

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee during a hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump in Longworth Building on Wednesday, November 20, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Trump comes out swinging, but Fiona Hill fights back in dramatic impeachment finale
Kyiv embassy official says he had ‘never seen anything like’ Sondland cafe call with U.S. president

Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council Russia adviser, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee during a hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump came out swinging Thursday morning, but two witnesses who testified for hours in the impeachment inquiry pulled no punches as they overshadowed the president’s morning attacks.

Testimony by Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council Russia expert, and David Holmes, an official in the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, further undercut several contentions pushed by Trump, GOP lawmakers and the president’s surrogates. Hill, for instance, dismissed a conspiracy theory rejected by American intelligence agencies but espoused by Trump and other Republicans that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.

What to wear? Republicans flag Vindman's sartorial choice
As military officers do, the Army lieutenant colonel testified in his dress uniform

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (left) and Lt. Col. Oliver North (right) both wore uniforms while working for the National Security Council and testifying before Congress. (CQ Roll Call)

UPDATED | As part of their efforts to undermine Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s testimony Tuesday in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Republicans raised the issue of him wearing his Army uniform while testifying.

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, remarked upon Vindman’s attire during his time allotted for questions.

Who’s holding the impeachment hearings? Meet the House Intelligence Committee
Backgrounds vary on Intelligence Committee looking at impeachment of Trump

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., right, ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., center, and Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, prepare for a hearing in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most members of the House Intelligence Committee aren’t household names, but they’re about to be thrust into the national spotlight.

The committee this week begins public hearings in the House’s impeachment inquiry, which is investigating whether President Donald Trump abused his office by withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigations into his political opponents.

Get to know these new congressional caucuses
Agritourism not your bag? Try the Air Cargo Caucus!

Let’s hear it for the Agritourism Caucus! Virginia Rep. Jennifer Wexton hopes it will spur more visits to places like wineries in her district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There are dozens of caucuses in Congress. Here’s a roundup of a few new ones formed this year.

Money generated by vineyards, orchards, breweries, distilleries and farm markets totaled $949 million in 2017, according to Virginia Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton, who formed this caucus to “strengthen the agritourism industry” and “highlight the positive impacts they have.” Wexton recently touted on Twitter a visit to a winery and farm in her suburban D.C. district. North Carolina Republican David Rouzer serves as caucus co-chair. 

Suicide prevention hotline to get three-digit phone number
FCC chairman says he will move ahead following legislation, staff report

Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, plans to move ahead with establishing a three-digit suicide prevention hotline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It should soon be easier to call a suicide prevention hotline.

The Federal Communications Commission plans to move forward with establishing a three-digit number for the federally-backed hotline.

Republicans cast about on guns, Trump’s rhetoric at town halls
August recess is typically a low-profile time for members of Congress, but tensions running high this week

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., withheld on whether he supports expanding background checks at his town hall this week - saying he would have to see the details. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

An agonizing national conversation about gun violence and race reverberated in members of Congress’ town halls across the country this week. 

“I totally disagree with the characterization that Trump is racist,” said Republican Rep. Don Bacon to a smattering of applause from a small audience in a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska. “When you call the president a racist ... you're turning away half the population.”

Some Republicans want an apology over Mueller investigation
Republicans celebrating a win, some calling for apologies, but members from both parties still want to see the full report

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III “did not establish” collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia but left the question of whether the president obstructed justice up to Attorney General William Barr. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional Republicans claimed victory Sunday that a letter from Attorney General William Barr summarizing the special counsel investigation ended the debate about whether Donald Trump’s campaign knowingly colluded with the Russian government.

But Democrats said the letter did not adequately allay their concerns about whether the president is guilty of obstruction of justice, and demanded that the attorney general hand over the full Mueller report and its underlying documents.

Utah bill would give primary voters less say on who appears on special election ballots
Measure is latest development in yearslong struggle over party nomination process

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, right, with his wife, Sue, and Speaker Paul D. Ryan at his mock swearing-in ceremony in November 2017. Curtis won his special election after successfully petitioning to get on the GOP primary ballot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Utah voters would have fewer opportunities to weigh in on candidates to fill certain congressional seats under legislation that quietly passed the state Legislature this week. 

The bill, which has yet to be signed by the governor and has so far received little attention from local media, would change the process by which candidates appear on primary ballots in special elections to replace House members who resign in the middle of their terms. For those elections, only candidates nominated by delegates from either party would be able to run. Candidates would not be able to make the ballot by petitioning voters. 

Justices break the ice, err glass, at budget hearing
Alito and Kagan make their debut before House Appropriations subcommittee

Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Elena Kagan testify about the Supreme Court’s fiscal 2020 budget at a hearing Thursday before the House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

At the start of a House hearing Thursday on the Supreme Court’s budget, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. knocked over a full water glass, which shattered on the witness table with a sound that would make any foley artist proud.

“Not off to a very good start,” Alito said with a smile, holding the bottom of the broken glass. “We’re deducting that,” a member of the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee quipped from the Democratic side of the dais.