Richard Blumenthal

Members Join Rubio in Criticizing Trump Over China Talks
President says he is not satisfied with outcome of latest trade negotiations

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and James Risch, R-Idaho, attend a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in January 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was Sen. Marco Rubio, not Donald Trump, who used a morning tweet Tuesday to help shape the day’s agenda. The Florida Republican slammed the president’s trade talks with China, prompting other members to voice their concerns.

Rubio wrote that China is “out-negotiating the administration & winning the trade talks right now,” criticizing the Trump administration for putting on hold tariffs aimed at Beijing while moving ahead with efforts to save troubled Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE. He also panned the White House for not forcing concessions from Chinese officials.

White House Uses Obama to Try to Salvage Jackson Nomination
Trump opens door to let VA nominee see himself out, Democrats question White House vetting

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves the Dirksen Senate Office Building after a meeting on Capitol Hill with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House is trying to salvage Ronny Jackson’s nomination for Veterans’ Affairs secretary by citing former President Barack Obama, even after President Donald Trump publicly advised him to step aside.

Hours after Trump told reporters he would not continue as the nominee if he were in the White House physician’s shoes, a senior official shared information touting Jackson’s record. The information included praise from Obama, including the 44th president’s recommendation that Jackson, a Navy officer, be promoted ahead of his peers.

Allegations of Excessive Drinking and Hostile Work Environment Delay VA Nominee’s Hearing
Jackson gave Trump clean bill of health in January

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves the Dirksen Senate Office Building after a meeting with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee will delay confirmation hearings for Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s pick to run the Department of Veterans Affairs, after allegations rose from his past.

An aide with ranking Democrat Jon Tester confirmed to Roll Call that hearings were delayed after Chairman Johnny Isakson told the Washington Post and CNN.

White House Provides No Internal Assessment Backing Mueller Firing Claim
After making vague contention, Sanders said: ‘I can’t go anything beyond that’

The White House is unable to provide any internal analysis to support its contention that President Donald Trump can fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

White House officials are unable to point to any internal assessment to justify their contention that President Donald Trump has the legal authority to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Many Republican and Democratic lawmakers are urging Trump to let the former FBI director complete his investigation of Russian election meddling and possible misconduct by the president and his campaign associates. Those pleas intensified last week when the president and his top spokeswoman signaled the White House has concluded he has the authority to do so.

FCC Rejects Democrats’ Request to Review Sinclair License
Broadcast group made its anchors read a promotional script blasting other outlets’ ‘fake news’

Ajit Pai, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission, rejected 12 senators’ request to investigate Sinclair Broadcasting group's license after its "fake news" segment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai declined Thursday to follow through on a request from 12 senators that his bureau review Sinclair Broadcasting group’s license and temporarily block its merger with Tribune Media.

Eleven Democratic senators and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote their request in a letter to Pai Thursday that highlighted the local television media conglomerate’s recent move to force its anchors in dozens of U.S. cities to read a scripted, uniform segment blasting “fake news” and media bias that favors liberals.

Mueller Protection Bill Faces Political, Procedural Headwinds
Judiciary Committee looks at consideration of bill in two weeks

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley is preparing his committee for a vote on a bill to protect Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Judiciary Committee appears poised to vote in two weeks on a bill that would give job protections to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, even as President Donald Trump asserted again Thursday that he has the authority to fire the man investigating connections between Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives.

Thursday’s discussion revealed how the bill still faces potential political hazards at the Judiciary Committee. Democrats have raised concerns about a yet-to-be-seen amendment that Republicans want to add to the measure. Some Republicans have concerns about the constitutionality of a bill that would limit a president’s ability to make personnel decisions in the executive branch.

Trump Suggests He Has Authority to Fire Mueller
President deflects on Syria, obscures actual mission of California Guard at border

President Donald Trump implied Thursday he believes he has the authority to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump began his Thursday by implying he has the authority to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and denying he sent signals that an attack on Syria was imminent.

He also appeared unaware — or unwilling to acknowledge — that California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to his request to send National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in his state, just not for the immigration enforcement mission the president wants.

Report: Trump Considering Firing Rosenstein
President lashed out Monday after FBI raid of personal lawyer’s office

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is overseeing the special counsel Russia investigation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a move lawmakers from both parties warn could trigger a constitutional crisis, CNN reported late Tuesday that President Donald Trump is considering firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Trump was visibly agitated Monday evening as he lashed out after a federal raid of the office and temporary residence of his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Dems See ‘Unhinged’ Trump, GOP Split After Mueller Rant
Firing special counsel would be ‘like when Nixon fired Cox,’ Sen. Kaine says

President Donald Trump has mulled firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating whether the Kremlin colluded with the president's 2016 campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic lawmakers see a “desperate” Donald Trump lashing out at special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Republicans are split, with some defending a frustrated president and others warning him to calm down.

Members of Trump’s own party had little desire to spotlight the Monday evening rant in which he slammed the Mueller-led Justice Department probe into Russia’s 2016 election meddling and possible collusion with his campaign.

Esty Asks Ethics Committee to Investigate Her Handling of Abusive Top Staffer
Connecticut Democrat has no plans to resign over incident

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., is not resigning over her handling of abuse and harassment allegations against her former chief of staff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Connecticut Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty on Monday asked the House Ethics Committee to open an inquiry into how she handled abuse, battery, and sexual harassment allegations against her former chief of staff.

“Although we worked with the House Employment Counsel to investigate and ultimately dismiss this employee for his outrageous behavior with a former staffer, I believe it is important for the House Ethics Committee to conduct its own inquiry into this matter,” she said in a statement. “It certainly was far from a perfect process — and I would appreciate their advice, counsel, and review."