Illinois

Can Presidents Obstruct Justice? Republicans and Democrats Say Yes
Durbin: ‘Desperate statement’ suggests ‘they expect to lose on the merits’

Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, left, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham confer before a hearing in 2015. Both senior Judiciary Committee members say there is ample precedent showing a president can obstruct justice, despite a claim to the contrary by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican and Democratic lawmakers say an assertion by Donald Trump’s personal lawyer that a sitting president cannot obstruct justice is dubious, warning the White House there is ample precedent to the contrary.

The members were reacting to Trump lawyer John Dowd’s legal argument in a recent interview with Axios that “the president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [Article II of the Constitution] and has every right to express his view of any case.”

Senate GOP’s Immigration Bill Without Path to Citizenship Panned
Democratic lawmakers and even some Republicans have concerns

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley supports offering immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program three years of protected status in return for enhanced border security, a crackdown on “sanctuary” cities and other GOP immigration priorities. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats and even some Republicans are panning a GOP bill designed to protect undocumented young people and toughen immigration laws because it would not offer the so-called Dreamers a path to citizenship.

The bill, introduced this week by Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley and Majority Whip John Cornyn, would offer Dreamers enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, three years of protected status in return for enhanced border security, a crackdown on “sanctuary” cities and other GOP immigration priorities.

Photos of the Week: Three Resignations, a CR Extension and the Holidays Kick Off
The week of Dec. 4 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Ranking member Rep. Jerrold Nadler arrives Thursday for the House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the FBI. Nadler became the top Democrat on the panel following Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr.’s resignation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated at 10:08 a.m.The week on the Hill was not short on news. Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr. resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct while Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a fellow Democrat, announced he intended to do the same soon. Late Thursday, Republican Trent Franks from Arizona said he would resign effective Jan. 31 over sexual harassment allegations in his office.

At the same time, the funding deadline to keep the government open loomed. But a government shutdown was averted Thursday — at least for another two weeks — when both chambers passed a continuing resolution through Dec. 22. 

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Around the Capitol
Dogs on the Hill, Franken’s emotional speech, and who was most retweeted on the Hill

Immigration protesters, including Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., center, stand in  line after being arrested for staging a demonstration on the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday. Rep. Judy Chu was also arrested in the protest. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. And some of the best ones are those that we come across while reporting the big ones.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

A Gun Rights Vote Only the GOP Base Can Appreciate
Expansion of concealed carry permission will die in the Senate, but the NRA really wanted the vote

Majority Whip John Cornyn has some doubts that he can get a bill passed that would improve background checks for gun purchasers but doesn’t make it easier for gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines. A House bill passed Wednesday would do both. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One government shutdown may be narrowly averted, but another looms right around the corner. The stain of sexual misconduct at the Capitol continues to spread, and an alleged child predator is days away from possibly joining the Senate. Middle East destabilization seems assured as Congress gets its wish to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Public support dwindles daily for a loophole-encrusted, deficit-busting tax package that would be the year’s biggest legislative achievement. The push for presidential impeachment has gone far enough to necessitate procedural pushback in the House.

A week such as this one — already chockablock with headlines touching the Hill — seemed to the Republicans who run the place like an ideal time for making a bold hiding-in-plain-sight move.

Cascade of Senate Democrats Call on Franken to Resign
Messages for Franken’s departure appear coordinated

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.,is facing new calls for his resignation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nearly simultaneously, a series of Senate Democratic women issued calls for Democratic Sen. Al Franken to resign Wednesday morning including Patty Murray, a trusted lieutenant to Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and rising star Kamala Harris.

They were followed quickly by several Senate Democratic men and the head of the national Democratic Party.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Around the Capitol
Bernie in bronze, Moore opponent says he can't hold a job, and job prospects for federal workers

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., leaves Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's holiday-bedecked office in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. And some of the best ones are those that we come across while reporting the big ones.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Opinion: A Tribute to John Anderson — A Passionate Moderate
Independent presidential candidate radiated honor

In a partisan era, it is worth pausing to remember passionate moderates like John Anderson, Shapiro writes. (Ira Schwarz/AP file photo)

Every political reporter remembers his or her first time — that is, the first time they sat with a presidential candidate in a car cutting through the dark New Hampshire night listening to the dreams of a man who wanted to lead the nation.

For me, it was November 1979, with the Cold War raging, militant students occupying the American embassy in Tehran and Jimmy Carter in the White House. The candidate I was profiling was ten-term Illinois Rep. John Anderson, who was animated by the outlandish fantasy that he had a chance to defeat Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination.

GOP Power Play in Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico
Conditional funding gains support amid talk of new Marshall Plan

Workers in Caguas, south of San Juan, Puerto Rico, repair electrical lines on Oct. 25, more than a month after Hurricane Maria hit the island. (Ramon Tonito Zayas/AP file photo)

In late September, just over a week after winds of 155 miles per hour flattened homes and struck down power lines and more than 30 inches of rain inundated parts of the island of Puerto Rico, a leader of the recovery efforts with the Army Corps of Engineers offered his blunt assessment of the damage.

“This is a massive undertaking, one in which I don’t think we’ve undertaken before in terms of this magnitude,” Col. James DeLapp told CNN. The closest thing he could think of by way of comparison? “When the Army Corps led the effort to restore … electricity in the early stages of the Iraq war in 2003 and 2004.”

Durbin: Cornyn and Grassley Undermining DACA Deal
No bipartisan deal currently exists to undermine, Grassley says

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin said two Republican senators are trying to undermine a bipartisan deal to address the pending expiration of a program impacting immigrants who come to the country as children.

The Illinois Democrat said he is working with GOP members on a compromise solution to avoid the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Donald Trump set into motion earlier this year.