Richard Blumenthal

Mitch McConnell, Still Playing the Long Game
Trump revelations, FBI director search, don't rattle majority leader

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not allow the latest news about President Donald Trump to knock him off message. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BY JASON DICK AND JOE WILLIAMS, CQ ROLL CALL

It’s difficult to get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to play anything but “The Long Game,” the Kentucky Republican’s political strategy, encapsulated by his 2016 memoir of the same name.

Lawmakers’ Safety Exemption for Old Steamboat Alarms Coast Guard
Fire risk to passengers high, according to document

A bill exempting the Delta Queen steamboat from a fire safety law has come under strong criticism. (Doug Strickland/Chattanooga Times Free Press/AP file photo)

The Senate voted overwhelmingly last month to permit a 90-year-old stern-wheel steamboat named the Delta Queen to travel the Mississippi River as an overnight cruise ship for up to 174 passengers.

Relaunching the now-idle boat would rekindle a connection to the region’s history and inject millions of tourist dollars and hundreds of jobs into states up and down the river, supporters of the measure said.

A Senator Out of His Shell, and Under Trump’s Skin
Connecticut’s Blumenthal at the center of opposition to president

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal makes his way through the Senate subway in the Capitol after a meeting of Senate Democrats on May 10. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Of the 157 tweets President Donald Trump has sent in the last month alone, just six have singled out individuals for ridicule. And half of those have been directed at Richard Blumenthal.

The senior senator from Connecticut, who’s made reticence and prudence the guideposts of his first four decades in political life, is projecting a very different sort of persona these days. While presenting himself in public as quietly as ever, he’s become one of president’s most incisive Democratic antagonists on an array of topics.

White House Paints Democrats as Hypocrites Over Comey Firing
Trump spokeswoman Sanders: Had Clinton fired FBI chief, Dems would have been ‘dancing in the streets’

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders justified FBI Director James Comey’s firing, saying, “Democrats and Republicans alike have been calling for [Comey] to step down.” (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated at 8:48 a.m. President Donald Trump and his top aides on Wednesday morning tried to paint Democrats as hypocritical for their outrage over his firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Trump abruptly fired Comey late Tuesday afternoon after Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his top deputy recommended the termination in a memo that said Comey had overstepped his authority last summer when he publicly announced his own conclusion to close an investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Senate Democrat Finalizing Independent Counsel Plan After Comey’s Termination
Blumenthal says he hopes legislation will not be required

Sen. Richard Blumenthal is working to finish a legislative proposal to provide for an independent counsel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With FBI Director James B. Comey’s termination, one Senate Democrat is accelerating plans to craft legislation for an independent counsel to investigate President Donald Trump and ties to Russia.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who was himself a federal prosecutor, told CQ Roll Call late Tuesday that he had been working on writing a bill that would look similar to the old lapsed statute for such outside prosecutors, but the effort will now accelerate.

Comey Firing Spurs Calls for Special Prosecutor in Russia Probe
Both Republicans and Democrats criticized timing of termination

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., conducts a news conference in the Capitol on the firing of FBI director James Comey on May 9, 2017. Schumer called for a special prosecutor to look into the relationship between the Trump campaign and Russia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By JOE WILLIAMS and NIELS LESNIEWSKI, CQ Roll Call

The firing of FBI Director James B. Comey brought renewed calls from both House and Senate Democrats for a special prosecutor to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Comey Defends Pre-Election Actions on Clinton Investigation
But FBI director says he wouldn’t change decision to release info

FBI Director James Comey testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

FBI Director James B. Comey vigorously defended his actions ahead of the 2016 presidential election when it came to criminal investigations about candidates, as senators from both political parties warned him at a hearing Wednesday that the agency’s reputation was on the line.

Comey testified at the Senate Judiciary Committee the day after Hillary Clinton blamed him in part for her election loss, since he told Congress just 11 days before the election that the agency was reopening a criminal probe into her use of personal email to improperly send classified information when she was secretary of State.

Word on the Hill: Party Time
Burgers in Cannon today

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks with her husband, Paul, center, and Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey at an Atlantic/CBS News pre-party before the 2016 White House Corespondents’ Association Dinner. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner is a day away. But Friday is a big night for parties to start the weekend off.

RealClearPolitics, the Distilled Spirits Council, the National Restaurant Association and the Beer Institute are joining for the first annual Toast to the First Amendment. It is from 7 to 10 p.m. at the National Restaurant Association, 2055 L St. NW.

Photos of the Week: Cherry Blossoms and Intelligence Chaos as Gorsuch Awaits Vote
The week of March 27 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, takes a photo with his phone during the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Russian intelligence activities on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the cherry blossoms reached full bloom in Washington this week, so did the congressional investigations into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election. After the House investigation faced obstacles, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s query began to ramp up, with the leaders conducting a bipartisan news conference and the entire panel holding its first full hearing on the matter. 

Next week, Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch is expected to receive a vote on the Senate floor. Demonstrators both for and against the nominee made appearances in the capital this week.