Doug Collins

Why 19 Democrats and 109 Republicans voted against the government funding deal
Democratic defections were mostly Hispanic Caucus members, progressives concerned about immigration enforcement

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined 18 other House Democrats and 109 House Republicans in voting against the compromise spending package Thursday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats were just two votes short Thursday night of being able to clear a fiscal 2019 appropriations package without Republican help, while less than half of the GOP conference voted for the bill to avert another government shutdown.

That dynamic may foreshadow battles ahead as the new House Democratic majority will try to exert its influence over government spending while still having to deal with a Republican president and Senate. 

House Judiciary panel advances background check bill
Democrats are using new majority to press gun control legislation

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., introduced the background checks bill that the House Judiciary Committee approved Wednesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A sharply divided House Judiciary Committee approved legislation Wednesday to bolster background checks for gun sales, the opening barrage in Democrats’ push to use their new majority to press gun control legislation they have backed for years.

To do so, Democrats needed to defeat numerous efforts from Republicans to amend the bill. It was one of two measures considered during a marathon meeting, highlighting not only the political hurdles to enacting the legislation but also how Democrats believe it could make a difference with voters in 2020.

Whitaker tells House he hasn’t messed with Mueller probe
The acting AG told the committee his department complied with and hasn’t changed special counsel regulations during his tenure

Acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker arrives for a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Rayburn Building titled "Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice," where he is expected to be questioned about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker told the House Judiciary Committee on Friday that he has not interfered with the special counsel’s Russia investigation and hasn’t promised the White House anything about the probe or informed anyone there about it.

Not that it was easy for Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., to get him to say that.

Photos of the week: A polar plunge, SOTU and hearings are in full swing
The week of Feb. 4 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Members react as acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker informs Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., his five minute questioning period was over during a House Judiciary Committee hearing. Whitaker was questioned about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on Friday. Appearing from left are Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Nadler, Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga.( Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s February on Capitol Hill and that means that many of the organizing efforts of a new Congress are well underway, and committees have begun their work for the year. 

In addition to the State of the Union on Tuesday, members of the House Judiciary panel met Friday to question acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker about the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 

Whitaker hearing begins with theatrics, quickly turns contentious
‘Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up,’ Whitaker said to Nadler, after the chairman went over his time limit

Members react as acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker informs Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., his five minute questioning period was over, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Rayburn Building titled “Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice,” where he was questioned about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on Friday, February 8, 2019. Appearing from left are Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Nadler, Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee Friday started off with theatrics, following days of will-he-or-won’t-he speculation over whether he’d even appear.

The hearing quickly turned contentious before Whitaker even had a chance to speak.

Through Whitaker, Trump officially declares war on House oversight
In acting AG’s letter to House Judiciary, administration indicates it will resist disclosing president’s conversations with aides

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker leaves the House chamber Tuesday after President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — The Trump administration on Thursday moved its first chess piece in what is expected to be a contentious match between the White House and House Democrats as the latter seek documents and testimony for their oversight investigations of the president and his Cabinet.

In a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler on Thursday, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he would bail on his scheduled hearing on Friday unless Nadler assured him he would not file a subpoena to compel Whitaker to disclose his conversations with the president on hot-button topics or force Whitaker to invoke “executive privilege.”

Whitaker will skip House hearing if Democrats don’t pull subpoena threat
Judiciary Chairman Nadler wants to keep subpoena in his back pocket in case it’s needed

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said he hopes not to have to use a subpoena to compel testimony from acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, but “Unfortunately a series of troubling events over the last few months suggest that we should be prepared.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he will bail on his scheduled testimony in the House Judiciary Committee on Friday unless Democrats assure him they will not file the subpoena they voted to authorize along party lines on Thursday.

At the heart of the disagreement — and why Democrats green-lighted the preemptive subpoena-in-reserve in the first place — is Democrats’ wariness that Whitaker will avoid answering certain questions about his communications with President Donald Trump about the special counsel investigation of Robert S. Mueller III and other hot-button issues by citing, without effectively asserting, “executive privilege.”

Whitaker hearing is first big test of Trump’s ‘executive privilege’ strategy
Acting attorney general will be first White House official to be questioned by new Congress

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is expected to get a number of questions from the House Judiciary Committee about any conversations he had with White House officials, including the president, about his role overseeing the special counsel investigation. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s testimony at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Friday will offer a first glimpse into how the Trump administration plans to comply with — or stall — House Democrats’ oversight inquiries.

The hearing, slated for 9:30 a.m., will put to the test the White House counsel’s strategy for invoking executive privilege on certain conversations between the president and his close advisers.

Republicans want answers on ‘excessive show of force’ in Roger Stone arrest
GOP lawmakers also ask in letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray whether bureau tipped off media

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray asking why the bureau executed an armed, pre-dawn raid to arrest Roger Stone. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL file photo)

Republican lawmakers demanded answers on Wednesday from FBI Director Christopher Wray on the arrest of former Donald Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone last week.

In separate letters to FBI Director Christopher Wray, House Judiciary ranking member Doug Collins and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham expressed concern that the FBI agents who made the arrest, armed with M4 rifles, used an “excessive show of force” to arrest an “elderly man” with no history of violent crimes and who had made known that he would voluntarily surrender.

No cracks in Democratic unity as ethics overhaul glides along
Tuesday saw the first congressional hearing for the HR 1 mega-package

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., is seen after a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus in the Capitol on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If Democrats on the House Judiciary panel have any concerns about their party’s mega-overhaul of voting, ethics, lobbying and campaign finance laws, they kept them private on Tuesday during the measure’s first congressional hearing.

The bill, HR 1, is a top priority of the party in the chamber, though it probably won’t go anywhere in the Senate this Congress after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky renewed his opposition Tuesday.