Mark Warner

HHS cheers overdose drop but urges states to cap Medicaid
Administration proposes capped Medicaid funding in exchange for added flexibility

(Ian Wagreich/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House announced the first decline in overdose deaths since the earliest days of the opioid crisis and attributed it to administration actions, even as officials simultaneously said they would let states cap funding for Medicaid, a common way for patients to get treatment.

A 4 percent dip in the number of overdose deaths from 2017 to 2018 could indicate that the crest of the opioid crisis has passed, said White House senior aide Kellyanne Conway, who called the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data a “turning point.”

Fate of ‘national security Democrats’ provides key to House majority
Republicans hope for impeachment backlash; these races tell a different story

From left, Democratic Reps. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan pose for a selfie taken by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania in February 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four months ago, seven freshman Democrats accelerated the impeachment process with an op-ed in The Washington Post. With less than a year before Election Day, their electoral fates represent a microcosm of the Republican challenge to win back the House majority.

For much of the impeachment discussion and process, Republicans have been emboldened. They believe Democrats will be held accountable for the time spent investigating President Donald Trump and experience a backlash similar to the one Republicans faced in the late 1990s when President Bill Clinton was impeached.

View from the gallery: Hardly enough time to fidget
Rare Senate weekend session only lasts two hours

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander arrives at the Capitol on Saturday for the continuation of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s a Saturday, but nearly all the senators were in their workday suits and ties. The Kentucky delegation was one exception, with both Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul wearing khakis and blazers.

This was the fifth straight day in the Senate chamber of the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, and the 100 senators appeared for just two hours during a brief and rare weekend session when President Donald Trump’s team started its opening presentation.

Impeachment trial’s Saturday session is a short one
In first day of Trump defense team presentation, an eye on the clock

White House counsel Pat Cipollone, left, and lawyer Jordan Sekulow arrive at the Capitol on Saturday before the continuation of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s lawyers briefly laid out his defense Saturday at the Senate impeachment trial, focusing their attacks on what they called a lack of evidence, the actions of lead House manager Adam B. Schiff and a flawed House investigation.

Trump’s legal team did not make arguments about former Vice President Joe Biden or his son Hunter Biden. Trump and some Republican senators have focused on that issue for the president’s defense that his Ukraine dealings were meant to uncover corruption, not ask the country’s president to influence the 2020 presidential elections in exchange for releasing military aid.

View from the gallery: Senators seek comfort and novelty during Trump trial
Senators decamp to cloakrooms, bring blankets, and sip on milk and water

Republican Sens. James M. Inhofe and Lamar Alexander enter the Senate chamber before the start of the impeachment trial in the Senate on Jan. 22. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton was among the first senators spotted ordering milk to the Senate chamber for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial Wednesday, and he took small sips to wash down what looked like a Hershey’s chocolate bar.

This was the second day of the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, and the 100 senators began to search in earnest for comfort and novelty during eight hours of opening statements from House managers.

What to watch during impeachment: Napping senators
Things are getting soporific in the Senate chamber

Capitol workers wind the Ohio Clock in the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Spot the snoozing politician” is pretty much an annual tradition at the State of the Union. Now there’s a new chance to play the game.

As President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial continues, lawmakers are slouching, yawning and fidgeting — and observers in the gallery are watching for drooping eyelids.

Senators bend the rules by wearing Apple Watches to Trump trial
The ‘smart’ accessory could give senators a link to the outside world during impeachment arguments

Utah Sen. Mike Lee, left, dons his Apple Watch as he talks to Texas Sen. John Cornyn before a Nov. 6 Judiciary Committee hearing. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Correction 7:03 p.m. | The rules of decorum state that senators can’t use phones or electronic devices in the chamber during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, but what about Apple Watches?

At least seven senators had them strapped on their wrists in the chamber at the start of the trial Tuesday, despite guidelines from Senate leadership that all electronics should be left in the cloakroom in the provided storage.

Virginia’s Scott Taylor drops Senate bid for House rematch
Taylor says Rep. Elaine Luria’s impeachment vote was ‘the last straw’

Former Rep. Scott Taylor is seeking a comeback in Virginia’s 2nd District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Scott Taylor, who lost Virginia’s 2nd District in the 2018 midterms, is now running for his old House seat, dropping his challenge to Democratic Sen. Mark Warner

“We’re going to take the seat back,” the Republican said Monday morning on local television station WAVY

Three Democrats who flipped House districts endorse Joe Biden
All three are military veterans and got Biden’s backing in 2018

Former Vice President Joe Biden was endorsed by three House Democratic freshmen on Sunday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Three House Democrats who flipped Republican-held districts in 2018 announced Sunday that they are endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden in the crowded presidential primary. All three served in the military.

Pennsylvania’s Conor Lamb, a Marine veteran, and Chrissy Houlahan, an Air Force veteran, along with Elaine Luria of Virginia, who is a retired Navy commander, all said Biden is the right candidate to unify the country. Last week, first-term Iowa Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer also announced that she was backing Biden.

Campus notebook: Which impeachment lawyer makes more?
PCP arrest by the Capitol complex and Sen. David Perdue buys a lot of CBS, FedEx and Urban Outfitters stock

Daniel Goldman, majority counsel for the House Intelligence Committee, and Steve Castor, minority counsel, prepare to testify during the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment inquiry. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Two lawyers with prominent roles in the House impeachment inquiry — Stephen Castor, the Republican general counsel for the Oversight Committee, and Daniel Goldman, a senior adviser for the Intelligence Committee Democrats — testified alongside one another Monday. One difference between the two, besides the parties they represent on their respective panels, is their salaries.

According to payroll records from August, Castor makes an annual salary of $165,000—that’s $3,000 more than Goldman makes.