White House mulls slimmed-down foreign aid cuts package
Pompeo said to urge Trump not to use budgetary end-run

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly urged President Donald Trump to back away from a plan to rescind more than $4 billion in foreign aid previously approved by Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Trump administration plan to do an end-run around Congress and cancel more than $4 billion in previously approved foreign aid funds could be scaled back, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged President Donald Trump to back away from the idea in a phone call Monday night.

Details of the conversation between Pompeo, Trump and acting White House budget chief Russell Vought were shared by several individuals close to the foreign aid sector. A senior administration official declined to comment, other than to say it was a private conversation.

Joe Biden rebounds, Kamala Harris drops in new poll
After support ballooned in June, California Sen. Harris dropped back down to just 5 percent in August

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake on Friday August 9, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Former Vice President Joe Biden rebounded in the latest 2020 Democratic presidential primary poll conducted by CNN and SSRS, after his numbers appeared to be sagging earlier this summer.

Nearly one in three Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters said they back Biden among the field of candidates fighting for the party nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020.

Why can the Trump administration make changes to the Endangered Species Act?
Trump’s alterations to rules have drawn ire of some members of Congress and environmental groups

The Trump administration's proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act could make it easier to delist endangered species, and weaken protections for those listed as threatened. Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call

The landmark Endangered Species Act suffered a major hit last week when the Trump administration said it would roll back key provisions.

Trying to conceal tax returns, Trump sees political coordination in subpoenas
President accuses New York officials of working with House Democrats to damage him

President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the release of his state tax returns. (Doug Mills/The New York Times/Pool file photo)

President Donald Trump says New York Attorney General Letitia James is “closely coordinating with House Democrats in a joint effort to obtain and expose” the president’s tax returns and financial information.

The allegation came in a filing Monday in federal district court in Washington as Trump amended the July 23 lawsuit he brought to block James and Michael R. Schmidt, commissioner of New York state’s Department of Taxation and Finance, from providing the president’s state tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee.

They wear tiaras and sashes. But don’t call it a beauty pageant
Senate staffer hopes for luck at Ireland’s Rose of Tralee International Festival

Molly Eastman was selected to represent Washington, D.C., at Ireland’s Rose of Tralee International Festival. (Courtesy Molly Eastman)

Molly Eastman is not competing in a beauty pageant. “That would very much be the American take on something like this,” she laughed over the phone from the Hart Senate Office Building. 

Eastman is representing Washington, D.C., this weekend in Ireland’s Rose of Tralee International Festival. Don’t get too caught up in the polished tiaras and evening gowns — “It’s basically a big celebration of Irish heritage,” the staffer for Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo told me.  

North Carolina to start voting in a new election — under the shadow of the last one
Democrats hope last fall’s Republican ballot fraud scandal motivates the base in 9th District redo

James E. Nance, center, and Chris Council, right, listen to North Carolina Democrat Dan McCready speak at his campaign office in Elizabethtown, N.C., on Aug. 10. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. — Chris Council, a 53-year-old African American landscaper, is fired up about Democrat Dan McCready’s campaign for Congress.

“I’m not a betting man, but he’s going to win this race,” Council said after attending a McCready event in this 3,500-person town, the county seat of Bladen County, North Carolina.

Do Democrats need a backup plan?
If Biden’s stumbles continue, a certain former first lady might be well-positioned to step in

Former first lady Michelle Obama has disavowed any interest in running for president, but she may have a better chance of defeating Donald Trump than any of the Democrats currently running, Rothenberg writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — With many surveys showing multiple Democratic hopefuls leading President Donald Trump in hypothetical 2020 ballot tests, Democrats should feel confident they can deny the incumbent president a second term. But many don’t.

In spite of the huge field, the Democratic race is muddled because of questions about Joe Biden’s campaign skills, the progressive agendas of Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and the difficulty in finding a nominee who can appeal to a variety of constituencies, from the party’s base to suburban swing voters to possibly even working-class white women.

Watch: Tlaib and Omar speak after scrapped Israel trip

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib was denied entry into Israel over her support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Planned Parenthood exits Title X program over gag rule
It left the program over a new rule prohibiting clinics receiving Title X funds from discussing abortions with patients

The exterior of a Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center is seen on May 31, 2019, in St Louis, Missouri. The nation’s largest provider of reproductive health services will exit the federal family planning program over the Trump administration’s “domestic gag rule.” (Michael Thomas/Getty Images)

The nation’s largest provider of reproductive health services, including abortions, will exit the federal family planning program over the Trump administration’s “domestic gag rule,” which prohibits clinics receiving Title X funds from discussing abortions with patients.

Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood Federation of America acting president and CEO, told reporters Monday that its clinics receiving Title X grants would begin submitting notices of withdrawal. The Department of Health and Human Services is requiring clinics to submit compliance plans by the end of the day.

Tax cuts to avoid recession would be another Trump contradiction
Trump says a recession is unlikely, but officials might slash some taxes just in case

Marine One helicopter takes off with President Donald Trump as members of the media watch on the South Lawn of the White House on July 12, 2019. White House officials are apparently planning to slash payroll taxes temporarily to avoid an economic slowdown, a contradiction to Trump’s public comments. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

White House officials, despite President Donald Trump saying a recession is unlikely, are considering slashing some federal taxes to avoid an economic slowdown, according to an official with knowledge of planning.

“As Larry Kudlow said yesterday, more tax cuts for the American people are certainly on the table,” a White House official told Roll Call Monday afternoon, referring to the president’s top economic adviser.

Attorney general installs new leadership at Federal Bureau of Prisons
Moves follow suicide of Jeffrey Epstein in prison custody

Attorney General William  Barr has installed new leaders at the Federal Bureau of Prisons (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Attorney General William Barr has replaced the leadership of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Barr is appointing Kathleen Hawk Sawyer to the position of director. Barr previously appointed her to the same post in 1992, when he was last the attorney general.

Rep. King falsely claims he was misquoted on ‘rape and incest’ abortion comment
Iowa Republican demands an apology from the media and his own party

Rep. Steve King talks with reporters at the Iowa State Fairlast week. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

Rep. Steve King demanded an apology over the weekend from GOP leaders and media outlets that criticized him for speculating that humankind may not exist without our species’ history of rape and incest.

The embattled Iowa Republican claimed, misleadingly, that he was misquoted in a Des Moines Register article — later picked up by The Associated Press — about comments he made defending his view that abortion should be illegal in all cases, including in instances of rape and incest.

‘The Mooch’ is under President Trump's skin amid recession warnings
President dubs former comms director a ‘nut job’ as Fox poll suggests uphill reelection fight

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci says President Trump is "unstable" and too "erratic" for a second term. (Wikimedia Commons)

ANALYSIS — Anthony Scaramucci is under Donald Trump’s skin, hitting a nerve as the president frets about his re-election chances amid economic warning signs.

The former White House communications director was back on CNN Monday morning, delivering another broadside on his former boss just four days after a Trump’s stated favorite news organization, Fox News, released a poll showing him trailing the four leading Democratic presidential hopefuls — including former Vice President Joe Biden by 12 percentage points.

Lowey faces her first primary challenge in three decades
Powerful chairwoman to face 32-year-old newcomer in Democratic contest

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, an 82-year-old incumbent who was first elected in 1988, speaks to reporters in July 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The year was 1988. Def Leppard topped the charts and stonewashed jeans were all the rage. It was also the last time powerful House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey faced a primary challenge.

That’s all changed now with the decision by Mondaire Jones, a former Obama administration Justice Department staffer and attorney for Westchester County’s Law Department, to challenge Lowey in next June’s primary. The 32-year-old political novice plans to take on the New York Democratic incumbent over her positions on issues ranging from climate change to student debt forgiveness to oversight of the Trump administration.

FEC chairwoman: Penalty ‘slashed’ for ex-congressman who used leftover campaign money to lobby
The law forbids former members of Congress from using old donations like ‘an illegal pension fund’

Former longtime Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns, once the chairman of the Energy and Commerce's subcommittee on communications and technology, now lobbies for a client list that includes Huawei Tech. Investment Co. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An ex-congressman who diverted leftover campaign money towards dinners and dues at a private club outside of the Capitol just as he began to lobby his former congressional colleagues will only have to pay back a fraction of the campaign funds he misused. 

The Federal Election Commission stalemated in a 2-2 vote over whether to issue a more severe fine to Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns, one that would hold him personally liable, an FEC memo shows.