Virginia

Senators Urge No Prison Time for Intelligence Committee Aide Who Lied to FBI
Prosecutors, on other hand, recommend two years in prison for James Wolfe

Senators urged leniency for former Senate Intelligence Committee James Wolfe, who lied to the FBI. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

While federal prosecutors on Tuesday recommended a two-year prison sentence for James Wolfe, a former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee who pleaded guilty in October to a charge he lied to the FBI about his contacts with journalists, his former bosses urged the judge to show mercy. 

A letter to the judge from current committee Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina, top Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia, and former chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California urged no prison time for Wolfe, who was director of security for nearly three decades.

Former Tennessee Rep. Van Hilleary Returns as Chief of Staff
Will join small fraternity of lawmakers-turned-staffers

Former Rep. Van Hilleary will head back to Capitol Hill to serve as chief of staff to Rep.-elect John Rose, R-Tenn. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Van Hilleary will head back to Capitol Hill next year, this time as chief of staff to Rep.-elect John W. Rose.

A member of the GOP class that swept to power in the mid-1990s, Hilleary represented Tennessee’s 4th District until 2003. He left office to run for Tennessee governor, but lost to Democrat Gov. Phil Bredesen. He ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2006.

Google Would ‘Make the NSA Blush,’ Says Republican at Hill Grilling
Tuesday marked the first time a top Google executive appeared at the Capitol since the 2016 election

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, center, is confronted by Infowar's Alex Jones, right, as he arrives to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai appeared for the first time before a congressional panel and batted away questions from lawmakers, who bombarded him about alleged bias against conservatives in search results and the company’s data collection practices.

House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte said Google was collecting so much information on its users that it would “make the NSA blush,” referring to the National Security Agency. The Virginia Republican also said the committee was interested in learning more about how Google determines what is objectionable, and allegations that biased ranking of Google’s search results could result in shifting voters’ views.

Mark Sanford Crashing at Son’s ‘Frat House’ as He Plots His Future
Former South Carolina governor and two-time congressman packs up offices after 25 years in public eye

Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., has been in public service for nearly all of the last 25 years. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Mark Sanford is one of roughly a third of House members taping up boxes this week and preparing for life after Congress.

His transition to private life has been equal parts odd and nostalgic, the South Carolina Republican told two local newspapers in exit interviews over the last few weeks.

Another End-of-the-Year Winners & Losers Column
From Trump to Beto to the Red Sox, it has been, well, another year

President Donald Trump provided much fodder for Stu Rothenberg's annual end of the year winners and losers column. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Well, it’s time for another of my end-of-the-year winners and losers columns. I’ve titled it “Another End-of-the-Year Winners & Losers Column” just so you don’t miss the point.

As I have often done in the past, I’ll offer up a category with some nominees. Then I’ll give you my winner. If you disagree, please send your complaints to Nathan Gonzales of Inside Elections or Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report. Just don’t send them to me.

For Riverby Books, a Time to Close
For owner Paul Cymrot, decision was personal, based on several factors

Paul Cymrot, the owner of Riverby Books, in one of the store’s coziest spots. He is closing the store’s Capitol Hill location at the end of the month. Cymrot and his father Steve opened it in 2001. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The closing of Riverby Books’ Capitol Hill location brings with it all the hallmarks of the great literature that animated its business: a sense of place, change, ambiguity and loss.

“I love the way it looks. I love the way it feels. I have a lot of memories here. It’s a neighborly place,” owner Paul Cymrot said of what he will miss most about the store he opened at 417 East Capitol St. SE in 2001 with his father, Steve.

Congress Lauds Amazon HQ2, But Staffers Worry About Making Rent
An influx of wealth could magnify the city’s housing problems, with big implications for the Hill

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, center, is pictured in the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amazon received a warm reception on Capitol Hill when it announced a new major outpost in the Washington area, with senators lauding the online retail giant’s entry just across the Potomac. But privately, some congressional staffers fume that “HQ2” will further escalate rents.

Congressional staffers have already been crushed by stagnating wages and climbing housing costs. And they worry Amazon’s new headquarters will mean they’ll have to allocate a larger chunk of their paycheck to their landlords. Some have taken up second jobs, and anticipate tough decisions about the future.

Bob Corker’s Quieter Foreign Policy Legacy
Retiring Foreign Relations chairman offers advice for new members

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has advice for incoming senators: become an expert, listen to colleagues and score quieter wins with an eye to the future. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker prepares to yield his gavel and leave the Senate, he has advice for newly elected senators: gain expertise and actually listen to your colleagues.

“Some of these people obviously are coming in with large platforms. I mean, they’ve been significant figures prior to coming here,” the Tennessee Republican, first elected in 2006, said in a recent interview. “Still though, they’re going to be freshman senators and they’re going to be sitting at the end of the dais in most cases in whatever the committee.”

Are White Evangelicals the Saviors of the GOP?
Key voting group has remained virtually unchanged in its political preferences

President Donald Trump attended a worship service at the International Church of Las Vegas in October 2016. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Amid all the talk about shifting demographics and political changes over the last decade, one key voting group has remained virtually unchanged: white evangelicals.

According to one evangelical leader, a record number of white evangelicals voted in the 2018 midterms after an inspired turnout effort.

Expect Record Turnout in 2020
No reason to think Trump won’t continue to drive voters to the polls on both sides

Midterm turnout was nearly 50 percent of the voting-eligible population, the highest for a midterm in more than a century. Above, voters stand in line to cast their ballots on Nov. 6 at the Old Stone School polling location in Hillsboro, Va. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the 2018 elections coming to an end, it’s clear that voters set a modern record for turnout in a midterm. And there’s no reason to believe voters won’t set another record two years from now.

According to the United States Election Project, turnout this year was nearly 50 percent of the voting-eligible population, the highest for a midterm in more than a century.