Politics

Attacks Come to Life in First Indiana Senate Primary Debate
Messer, Rokita and Braun sparred in Americans for Prosperity debate

Three Indiana Republicans, including Rep. Todd Rokita, sparred in Tuesday’s debate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The first debate among Indiana’s three Republican Senate candidates began much as this primary race started — with some punches.

In his opening statement, Rep. Todd Rokita came out swinging. “Mike, welcome to the Republican Party. Luke, welcome back to Indiana,” he said.

Scott Walker Backs Patrick Morrisey in West Virginia Senate Primary
Morrisey is running for GOP nod to take on Manchin in November

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is picking up the endorsement of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday endorsed West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in his bid for the GOP nomination for Senate. 

“Attorney General Morrisey’s strong, conservative record is exactly what West Virginia needs in its next senator,” Walker said in a statement obtained first by Roll Call. 

Ethics Committee Acknowledges Investigation of John Duncan Jr.
Tennessee Republican campaign reportedly paid felon son $300,000

U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr., shown here in 2009, came under fire in July after reports that his campaign had made $300,000 in payments to his son, who pleaded guilty in 2013 to a felony charge of official misconduct.

The House Ethics Committee acknowledged Tuesday an investigation of Rep. John Duncan Jr, a scion of a Tennessee political dynasty who announced his retirement in July. 

Duncan, a Republican, came under fire that month after reports that his campaign paid his son, John Duncan III, almost $300,000. In the five years since the younger Duncan pleaded guilty to a felony charge of official misconduct. Those payments were made in monthly installments of $6,000 recorded as salary expenses, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. 

Democrats See Blue in Pennsylvania With New Map
GOP legislators are expected to challenge new boundaries

Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan A. Costello’s district is now more Democratic, under the new congressional map. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pennsylvania’s state Supreme Court released a new congressional map Monday, potentially bolstering Democratic opportunities in the Keystone State. 

Republicans are expected to launch a challenge to stop the new lines from taking effect. In the meantime, as candidates and incumbents digest the new boundaries, Democrats see better chances for victory in some of their top targets. 

Trump Denies Forcibly Kissing Woman in 2005
‘The whole thing probably lasted two minutes,’ accuser says

President Donald Trump speaks to a group of mayors in the East Room of the White House on Jan. 24. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump, less than an hour before his scheduled daily intelligence briefing, fired off a series of tweets denying a 13-year-old allegation that he forcibly kissed a young woman in Trump Tower.

At issue is an allegation by Rachel Crooks, who was a secretary for a company that had an office in Trump’s Manhattan building. She alleges that after she met Trump near the elevators, he held her hand and began kissing her against her will.

Jones Calls Arming Teachers ‘Dumbest Idea I’ve Ever Heard’
Responding to Alabama legislator’s call to give teachers guns to prevent school violence

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., called arming teachers “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Alabama Sen. Doug Jones criticized the idea of arming teachers as numerous state legislatures weigh measures to prevent violence in schools after the shooting at a Florida high school.

“I think that’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. I think it’s crazy,” Jones said.

Rob Porter’s Ex-wives Accept Apology from Hatch
Former White House aide was Utah senator’s chief of staff

Rob Porter, right, former White House staff secretary, resigned earlier this month amid allegations of physical abuse against his ex-wives. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former White House aide Rob Porter’s ex-wives appeared to accept Sen. Orrin Hatch’s apology letters for his initial statement on the abuse allegations against their former husband.

“I feel like it’s a sincere apology,” Jennie Willoughby, one of Porter’s ex-wives, told a Washington Post reporter over the weekend. “Having been in D.C. for upwards of 12 to 13 years, I feel like this is sufficient given what I know to be true.”

Trump Re-Ups Criticism of Obama’s Handling of Russia
POTUS pins blame on predecessor for Russia meddling in U.S. elections

President Donald Trump continued his Twitter attack on former President Barack Obama on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump kept his foot on the gas on Twitter Tuesday blaming his predecessor for Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, annexation of Crimea, and swelling influence in Syria.

The Democrats’ interest in the Russian affair, Trump alleged, arose only after he won the election.

RNC Raises $12.4 Million in January
Has four times the amount in the bank as it did at this point ahead of 2014 midterms

Michigan Republican Party Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel exits the stage after speaking ahead of President-elect Donald Trump in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in December 2016. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

The Republican National Committee announced that it has four times more cash on hand than it had at this point ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.

The RNC said it raised $12.4 million in January and has a total of $40.7 million cash on hand.

DCCC Announces Six More ‘Red to Blue’ Candidates
The candidates will benefit from additional DCCC resources

Lauren Baer, a former Obama Administration foreign policy expert , is challenging first-term GOP Rep. Brian Mast in Florida’s 18th District. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is adding six more candidates to its Red to Blue program, which helps congressional hopefuls stand out to donors and gain access to committee resources.

The candidates must meet goals for fundraising and grassroots engagement to be added to the program. The candidates will also be able to benefit from additional DCCC staff resources, guidance, trainings and organizational support.

Florida’s Tom Rooney Not Running for Re-Election
The GOP congressman leaves behind Solid Republican seat

Florida Rep. Tom Rooney will not seek a sixth term. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Rep. Tom Rooney announced Monday he will not seek a sixth term in November. 

“After what will be 10 years in the United States Congress representing the good people of Florida’s Heartland, it’s time to ‘hang ‘em up,’ as my old football coach used to say,” the GOP congressman said in a statement. 

Revealing Tales from the Election Interference Indictment
Russians Used Americans for ‘Discord’

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s ongoing investigation produced indictments Friday alleging election interference by Russian nationals. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Russian operatives allegedly kept an internal list of more than 100 real Americans, their political views and activities that they had been asked to perform by the Russians pretending to be grassroots political organizers.

The Justice Department used an indictment Friday to tell the story of some of those requests and the social media campaigns that the Russian operatives put together, enabling them to grow hundreds of thousands of online followers.

Kelly Admits Missteps With White House Aides’ Clearances
Embattled chief of staff to phase out interim security clearances

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, seen here with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, has altered how the West Wing handles aides’ security clearances after the Rob Porter domestic assault scandal. (AP/Andrew Harnik file photo)

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, under fire after a former staffer’s domestic abuse scandal, has admitted the Trump team mishandled aides’ background investigations, and ordered new steps in how the West Wing handles security clearances.

In a five-page memo to staffers released Friday afternoon by the White House, Kelly alluded to the Rob Porter scandal but also attempted to spread the blame for a process he said was flawed but was one he inherited.

Analysis: Trump’s Hawks Won Senate Immigration Debate (By Not Losing)
White House remains well-positioned for coming rounds as DACA deadline looms

White House aides Stephen Miller, fourth from right, and Marc Short, second from right, were instrumental in preventing bipartisan immigration proposals President Donald Trump opposed from passing the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s immigration hard-liners proved Thursday it is possible to win even when the outcome of a battle is, on paper, a draw.

An immigration overhaul amendment backed by the administration received fewer votes Thursday than three other Senate proposals that also failed to pass the Senate. But the White House emerged from that chamber’s underwhelming and unproductive floor debate in strong shape for future fights on the issue.

Womack Picks Bush White House Veteran as Budget Staff Director
Dan Keniry will replace Rick May and start on Feb. 20

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., picked Dan Keniry to replace Rick May as Budget Committee director. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Dan Keniry, a lobbyist and former legislative aide, has been named the new staff director of the House Budget Committee and will start Feb. 20.

Keniry was deputy assistant for legislative affairs to President George W. Bush, where he was principal liaison to the House. Keniry earlier worked as staff director of the House Rules Committee and a senior floor assistant to then-Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.