Kansas

Watch: Chief Justice Roberts swears in senators, starts impeachment trial
Full swearing in ceremony for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump

Senators raise their hands as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. administers the oath of the Senate court of impeachment Thursday. (Screenshot/Senate Recording Studio)

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. officially began the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history Thursday. Shortly after arriving at the Capitol, Senate President Pro Tempore Charles E. Grassley swore in the justice on the Senate rostrum.

Roberts then administered the oath to lawmakers. Alphabetically and in groups of four, the senators’ names were read by the clerk and the senators approached the Republican desk — normally used by Republican floor staff — to sign the impeachment oath book.

Lack of official guidance on impeachment press restrictions causes confusion

Capitol Police are enforcing new press restrictions in the Capitol although there is a lack of clarity about just what they are. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The absence of any written guidance regarding media restrictions and  conflicting information from Capitol Police and the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms staff have created an atmosphere of frustration and arbitrary enforcement as Senate action on impeachment began Thursday. 

Some senators heading to their final legislative vote before impeachment proceedings began were armed with a notecard printed with a script of phrases to use to fend off members of the media, including “please move out of my way,” “please excuse me, I am trying to get to the Senate floor,” and “please excuse me, I need to get to a hearing/meeting.”

Democrats try to expand House battlefield by targeting six more districts
With legislation stalled, campaign memo recommends blaming GOP and McConnell

The DCCC has once again added Alaska Rep. Don Young, the longest-serving House Republican, to its target list. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is adding six new targets to its 2020 battlefield, hoping to flip more Republican-held seats while protecting its House majority.

Having made historic gains in the 2018 midterms, Democrats started the year on defense. Republicans need a net gain of 18 seats to retake the House, and their first targets will be the 30 districts President Donald Trump won in 2016 that are currently represented by Democrats.

Chris Allen, Senate Finance Committee GOP tax aide, has died
Allen handled pensions and tax-exempt organizations issues under Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley

Chris Allen, right, with Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., in an undated photo. (Courtesy Sen. Pat Roberts)

Chris Allen, a Senate Finance Committee GOP tax aide, has died, according to his former boss, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.

“Chris was beloved by everyone who had the privilege of meeting him,” Roberts said in a statement. “He had a brilliant mind, a generosity of spirit and a passion for serving the country in the United States Senate. His gentle soul made him an amazing husband, father, son, brother and friend.”

John Boehner among GOP allies urging leniency for Chris Collins
Sentencing hearing for former New York congressman is Jan. 17

Former Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., will be sentenced on Jan. 17. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Speaker John A. Boehner is among a robust contingent of Republicans who want a judge to give convicted former Rep. Chris Collins a break on prison time.

The requests for leniency say the New York Republican is a dedicated public servant, father and friend. But the attempt from current and former GOP lawmakers runs contrary to calls from Collins’ former constituents in the 27th Congressional District of New York who say he deserves the maximum penalty for an egregious breach of the public’s trust.

Money flows to Kansas Senate campaign with Pompeo out of the race
GOP Rep. Roger Marshall collects $250,000 in three days

Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall is vying for front-liner status in the Republican primary for Senate after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo bowed out. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall on Friday reported a surge of money into his campaign for Senate in the three days since Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would not enter the race. 

The $250,000 the Marshall campaign said it raised since Pompeo made his decision Tuesday is more than two of his top challengers for the Republican nomination — former Kansas City Chiefs defensive end David Lindstrom and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — raised in the third quarter, which ended in September. Disclosures for fourth-quarter activity are due Jan. 31. 

Rating Change: Pompeo decision makes Kansas seat more vulnerable
Leading GOP candidate Kris Kobach comes with risks in general election

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before briefing House members on Iran. Seen as his party’s best option for an open Kansas Senate seat, he has told Majority Leader Mitch McConnell he will not run. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call photo)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision not to run for Senate in Kansas creates a legitimate scenario for Democrats to win a seat in a Republican state and increases the chances Democrats win control of the chamber in November.

Pompeo has long been viewed as the Republicans’ easiest path to keeping retiring Sen. Pat Roberts’ seat in GOP hands. Now, there’s significant concern that polarizing former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will win the GOP nomination and lose the 2020 Senate race in the same way he lost the 2018 race for governor (which was by 5 points).

Political fallout from Soleimani could be biggest for Senate
Without Pompeo, Senate seat in Kansas could be vulnerable for GOP

Two dozen protesters participate in the “Swarm the Senate” rally in the Hart Senate Office Building urging action to “impeach, remove, indict and jail” President Donald Trump on Jan. 6. The protesters held up their hands, on which were written the words “No war.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani, and it was rightfully treated as a big deal. But as with breaking news of any size and scope, it’s best to pause before determining the political fallout.

While most of the subsequent conversation revolves around potential future military conflict, retaliatory attacks, the president’s standing, the reaction from Democrats and the role of Congress in the use of force, the biggest impact could actually be in the battle for the Senate majority.

2020 Senate and House outlook looks a lot like it did at the start of 2019
Dramatic news made minimal changes to political landscape

New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew’s party switch added one seat to the GOP’s side, but there’s still a long way to go for Republicans to win the majority, and history is not on their side. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More than a year into the election cycle and with less than a year to go, how much has the political landscape changed? The answer: not a lot. And that’s not particularly good news for Republicans.

Thus far, we know that a year’s worth of news (including impeachment) has not fundamentally altered the president’s standing. As 2019 came to a close, Donald Trump’s job rating stood at 44.5 percent approve and 52 percent disapprove, according to the RealClearPolitics national polling average. A year ago, the president’s standing was virtually the same. On Jan. 1, 2019, Trump’s job rating was 43 percent approve and 52 percent disapprove, according to RCP.

At the Races: Article II, Section 4

By Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.