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How America’s mayor became America’s State Department
As Trump’s de facto secretary of State, Rudy Giuliani makes a mockery of the Senate Foreign Relations panel

He was neither nominated nor appointed to the job, but that hasn’t stopped Rudy Giuliani from acting as de facto secretary of State since Donald Trump’s election, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — With friends like Rudy Giuliani, who needs the State Department? Not Donald Trump. And as long as we’re on the subject, who needs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee? Or the full Senate? Or any of the other pillars of the U.S. government that were created to both support and oversee the executive branch.

The Senate Foreign Relations panel alone is made up of 22 senators and 75 professional staff. As one of the 10 original standing committees of the Senate, its job literally spans the globe, with jurisdiction over international treaties, U.S. foreign policy and all diplomatic nominations. All ambassador appointments are supposed to go through the committee for debate and approval, as are international treaties, declarations of war, State Department oversight and changes to official U.S. foreign policy.

Campus notebook: China Daily stresses a senator and a drug arrest at the Capitol
Library of Congress’ Veterans History Projects gets senatorial endorsement

Florida Sen. Rick Scott is no fan of China Daily. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This week’s campus notebook reminds us that the U.S. Botanic Garden is technically a legislative branch entity and that methamphetamine is still not welcome in the Capitol Visitor Center. 

A visitor to the Capitol Visitor Center was stopped Tuesday after being found with a glass pipe and a bag containing a “white, rock-like substance.” A field test confirmed the substance was methamphetamine. The suspect was arrested and charged with misdemeanors of possessing meth and drug paraphernalia.

Facebook, other social media sites pressured to protect census
Members of Congress are pushing social media companies like Facebook to protect the census from disinformation

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, arrives to testify during the House Financial Services hearing on Oct. 23, 2019. Members of Congress are pushing social media companies like Facebook to protect the census from disinformation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress are increasing pressure on social media companies to protect next year’s census from disinformation online, concerned that foreign governments and internet trolls could disrupt the 2020 enumeration.

The latest push comes in a letter the Congressional Asian-Pacific American Caucus sent Thursday to Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, asking her to speak with group members about steps to both promote the census and “combat interference and disinformation on its platform.” Russia or another country may try to push the census off course, they say, and Facebook and other companies should be prepared.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 8
Mulvaney balks at investigators subpoena, committees drop Vindman and Hill transcripts

Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine shown here arriving at the Capitol for his Oct. 22 deposition, will be one of House Democrats’ first witnesses in public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As House Democrats pivot to the public phase of their impeachment inquiry, they have filled the first slate of open hearings next week with three highly regarded, longtime civil servants to make the case that President Donald Trump should be impeached.

Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent will testify Wednesday. Taylor’s predecessor in Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, will testify on Friday.

3 takeaways after Trump rallies in Louisiana: President takes ownership of governor’s race
GOP Sen. Kennedy urges voters at Monroe rally to resist being ‘happy with crappy’

President Donald Trump looks on as the Republican candidate for governor in Louisiana, businessman Eddie Rispone, speaks during a rally at the Monroe Civic Center on Wednesday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — Donald Trump had a very special announcement for supporters Wednesday night in Monroe, Louisiana. It was one that shows the extent to which the president is taking ownership of — and rolling the dice on — the tight race for the governor’s mansion there.

“By the way, this Saturday … I’m going to be at a certain game,” a smiling Trump said. “Let’s see, it’s LSU versus a pretty good team from Alabama. … I’m a football fan, I hear you have a great quarterback. We’re going to see him,” he said of Joe Burrow, the star QB of the No. 2 Tigers. “But I’m actually going to the game. I said: That’s the game I want to go to.

Without Beto O’Rourke, Texas Senate primary is ‘wide open’
Crowded field of Democrats vying to take on three-term Republican John Cornyn

After ending his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is not expected to run for Senate in Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s not difficult to find a former presidential candidate who swore off running for Senate and then changed his mind. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper did in August. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio did it too, in 2016.

Just don’t expect former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke to join them after ending his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination

Republicans push for whistleblower's identity, but not naming names — yet
President and his son encourage media to out the whistleblower, while lawyers caution liability

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., at a campaign rally Monday with President Donald Trump in Kentucky called for the media to expose the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry. (Bryan Woolston/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump and his congressional allies have created an uneasy tension on Capitol Hill around a push to out the whistleblower whose report launched the House impeachment inquiry, in the days since a right-wing outlet reported a name and work history without direct confirmation.

Trump, at the White House on Sunday, discussed the details of the report but didn’t mention the name and twice added: “I don’t know if that’s true or not.” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, mentioned a resume item at a Republican press conference Friday and on Fox News on Tuesday but didn’t say the name.

Libra’s regulatory hurdles appear taller after House hearing
Still to be decided: How the cryptocurrency would be regulated

Libra, known as a stablecoin, would be backed by a basket of dollars, euros and other traditional currencies called the Libra Reserve. (iStock)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg provided only a few additional details about the company’s proposed cryptocurrency to a House Financial Services Committee on Oct. 23 that generally didn’t like what it heard. 

Zuckerberg said Facebook wouldn’t proceed with the proposed Libra until it had satisfied regulators’ concerns. That pledge and the harsh criticism from lawmakers on both sides the aisle appears to narrow, if not eliminate, the company’s path to approval, at least for a project as sweepingly ambitious as Libra is.

Decline of local journalism is likely increasing voter polarization
Social media and networks driven by divisive national issues taking over as sources of news

Front pages of newspapers throughout the world are featured outside the Newseum in 2008. With fewer sources of local news and greater access to national media outlets, voters are becoming more polarized. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images file photo)

In May 2017, former Republican Rep. Leonard Lance crossed party lines and voted against the GOP health care repeal, a proposal deeply unpopular with voters in New Jersey’s 7th District, which he had represented in Washington for nearly a decade.

A year later, Lance again joined Democrats to oppose the Republican tax cut bill. Although he supported portions of the bill and its overall intent, he decided to vote against it because it would hurt the ability of his wealthiest constituents to deduct the value of their state and local taxes.

Amid troubles, Trump has huge cash advantage for 2020
But Democrats have already raised $700 million from small-dollar donors giving $200 or less

President Donald Trump may have many barriers in the way of a smooth campaign, but fundraising will not be one. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For all the drama surrounding President Donald Trump — an unfolding House impeachment probe, former aides in prison and his personal consigliere reportedly under federal investigation — there’s one worry he doesn’t face: money for his 2020 campaign.

The White House incumbent, who took the unprecedented step of opening his reelection coffers the same day he took the oath of office in 2017, recently reported holding more than $83 million for his next race. Trump has raised a total of $165 million so far. Plus, he’s helped haul in millions more for the Republican National Committee, which will help all GOP candidates get the vote out, while outside organizations allied with the president have amassed their own big bundles of political money.