Griffin Connolly

Reps Omar and Zeldin are beefing on Twitter... again
New York Republican, Minnesota Democrat have longstanding Twitter beef over terrorism, Middle East politics

Reps. Lee Zeldin and Ilhan Omar renewed their Twitter beef this week — this time, over a Coast Guard lieutenant caught using work computers to plan a sprawling domestic terrorist attack against Democratic lawmakers.

Zeldin, a New York Republican who is Jewish, and Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who is Muslim, accused each other over Twitter in January of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

Congress to subpoena full Mueller report if AG Barr withholds parts, Blumenthal says
Mueller could issue his report as early as next week, per media outlets

Democrats in Congress will subpoena the full report of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III if the Justice Department only discloses certain parts of it, Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Thursday.

The Connecticut Democrat is a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is the committee’s chairman, and has subpoena power over the Justice Department.

Former top military advisers urge Congress to pass gun background checks bill
Ex-leaders are part of veterans coalition organized by Giffords’ group

More than a dozen retired top military commanders, leaders and advisers, whose careers spanned both Republican and Democratic administrations, are throwing their weight behind a bill in the House and Senate that would require universal background checks for all U.S. gun sales.

In a letter Thursday, 13 former top military advisers and combat leaders urged congressional leaders in both parties to pass the bill, known in the House as HR 8, which targets private gun sales that don’t require background checks under current federal law.

Mark Harris has ‘nothing to hide,’ expected to testify in NC election fraud case
GOP candidate for contested NC House seat said he did not know campaign consultants were committing crimes

North Carolina Republican Mark Harris is expected to testify Wednesday in what could be the final leg of a three-day hearing on apparent election fraud that may have swung hundreds of votes in his favor during the 2018 midterms.

“He has absolutely nothing to hide,” Alex Dale, one of Harris’ lawyers, told The Charlotte Observer.

Rep. Joyce’s former treasurer embezzled nearly $80,000 from his campaign, per letter

Rep. David Joyce’s campaign believes his former treasurer embezzled more than $80,000 from its committee coffers from 2015 to 2018, the campaign wrote in a letter to the Federal Elections Commission last week.

Cleveland.com first reported on the letter.

House could have final say on new elections in N.C. election fraud case
Local elections board could deadlock after monthslong investigation, leaving House with final authority

The North Carolina State Board of Elections will decide this week whether it will certify results of a 2018 midterm election result in the 9th District, which has been thrown into question after investigators found absentee ballot “irregularities.”

If the five-member board deadlocks, the U.S. House will decide if it will seat Mark Harris, the GOP candidate and former Baptist minister who holds an unofficial 905-vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready.

Student charged for wiretapping Rep. Andy Harris’ office for Facebook Live stream
Student and marijuana activist charged with two felony counts for recording meeting without permission

A student and marijuana advocate from Salisbury University in Maryland has been charged for wiretapping Rep. Andy Harris’ office after he allegedly streamed a meeting on Facebook Live with one of Harris’ staffers without permission.

Jake Burdett, 20, was charged last week in state court and faces two felony counts for making and distributing a video of a Maryland Marijuana Justice rally at Harris’ district office in October, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Beto O’Rourke would ‘take the wall down’ between El Paso and Mexico
Possible 2020 candidate says political leaders are projecting ‘fear and anxiety’ that hurts residents along the border

Potential 2020 presidential candidate and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke said Thursday that if it were up to him, the border barrier separating his old El Paso, Texas, district from Mexico would come down.

“Yes, absolutely. I’d take the wall down,” the Texas Democrats said in an interview on MSNBC, on the American side of the border wall with a view into Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

Bill to ‘repatriate’ deported veterans gets new life in Democratic House
Bipartisan bill would provide path to citizenship for immigrant veterans deported after committing nonviolent crimes

Two lawmakers have revived a bipartisan bill to bring deported veterans back to the United States as permanent legal residents and open up an expedited path to citizenship for pre-9/11 noncitizen veterans.

This week, GOP Rep. Don Young of Alaska and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of Texas reintroduced their bill from last Congress — the “Repatriate Our Patriots Act.” It had floundered in 2017’s GOP-controlled Judiciary Committee.

House Democrats hire Obama ethics czar for oversight of Trump, DOJ
Norm Eisen will advise House Judiciary Committee as it investigates Trump and his Justice Department

Former Obama administration ethics czar Norm Eisen has been hired by the House Judiciary Committee as it probes the Department of Justice and other aspects of the Trump administration and seeks to shield the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference.

Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York has said that protecting the Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into the 2016 election, including possible ties between the Trump campaign team and Russia, is the committee’s No. 1 priority.

Ocasio-Cortez snaps back at Trump after he disparages ‘Green New Deal’
New York Democrat highlighted president’s neglect of written intelligence briefing books

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez snapped back at Donald Trump on Monday after the president took a swipe at the literary merits of the “Green New Deal” House resolution she championed.

“It sounds like a high school term paper that got a low mark,” Trump said at a campaign-style rally in El Paso, Texas, referring to the legislation that was written in standard House format.

Kamala Harris wants marijuana legalized, cites her Jamaican roots
California Democrat also says she smoked a joint in college and ‘inhaled’

Sen. Kamala Harris said Monday that she is in favor of legalizing marijuana at the federal level, pushing back against detractors in her own party who say she has a history of being too aggressive on drug offenders.

The California Democrat is running for president in 2020 and is widely considered a front-runner for the party’s nomination. 

Through Whitaker, Trump officially declares war on House oversight
In acting AG’s letter to House Judiciary, administration indicates it will resist disclosing president’s conversations with aides

ANALYSIS — The Trump administration on Thursday moved its first chess piece in what is expected to be a contentious match between the White House and House Democrats as the latter seek documents and testimony for their oversight investigations of the president and his Cabinet.

In a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler on Thursday, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he would bail on his scheduled hearing on Friday unless Nadler assured him he would not file a subpoena to compel Whitaker to disclose his conversations with the president on hot-button topics or force Whitaker to invoke “executive privilege.”

Whitaker will skip House hearing if Democrats don’t pull subpoena threat
Judiciary Chairman Nadler wants to keep subpoena in his back pocket in case it’s needed

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he will bail on his scheduled testimony in the House Judiciary Committee on Friday unless Democrats assure him they will not file the subpoena they voted to authorize along party lines on Thursday.

At the heart of the disagreement — and why Democrats green-lighted the preemptive subpoena-in-reserve in the first place — is Democrats’ wariness that Whitaker will avoid answering certain questions about his communications with President Donald Trump about the special counsel investigation of Robert S. Mueller III and other hot-button issues by citing, without effectively asserting, “executive privilege.”

Rep. Bobby Scott knew of sexual assault allegation against Virginia lieutenant governor a year ago
Scott agreed to speak to Washington Post attesting to the accuser’s character, per her request

Virginia Democratic Rep. Robert C. Scott became aware roughly a year ago, during the height of the #MeToo movement, of the sexual assault allegation that has surfaced against commonwealth Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, according to a news account.

Fairfax’s accuser, Vanessa Tyson, told Scott, whom she has known for about a decade, directly, according to an ABC News report and a statement from the congressman.

Whitaker hearing is first big test of Trump’s ‘executive privilege’ strategy
Acting attorney general will be first White House official to be questioned by new Congress

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s testimony at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Friday will offer a first glimpse into how the Trump administration plans to comply with — or stall — House Democrats’ oversight inquiries.

The hearing, slated for 9:30 a.m., will put to the test the White House counsel’s strategy for invoking executive privilege on certain conversations between the president and his close advisers.

All Russia investigation transcripts from House Intelligence to be released
The committee voted to release the transcripts Wednesday and announced it will relaunch the probe, focusing on five key areas of interest

The House Intelligence Committee will release all transcripts from its 2017 and 2018 Russia investigation to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — And eventually, the documents will be released to the public.

The committee voted on the step to release the transcripts Wednesday at its organizational meeting, where it announced it will relaunch the probe and focus on five key areas of interest. The release peels back the curtain on closed-door discussions the then-Republican-controlled committee had with multiple close associates of President Donald Trump.

Tulsi Gabbard rejects former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke’s 2020 endorsement
Hawaii Democrat says she has ‘strongly denounced David Duke’s hateful views’ and ‘support’ in the past

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has received a presidential endorsement that she does not want — from former Ku Klux Klan leader and Louisiana GOP state lawmaker David Duke.

Duke, 68, has made his Twitter banner photo an image of Gabbard with the caption, “Finally a candidate who will actually put America First rather than Israel First,” a reference to one of President Donald Trump’s trademark slogans.

Who won’t be at Trump’s State of the Union address
At least 4 are standing the president up, others will wear white to promote a ‘pro-woman’ agenda

At least four Democrats have openly announced they’re playing hooky for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address tonight.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Hank Johnson, Steve Cohen, and John Lewis will not attend the address, Trump’s third speech to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol.

House Democrats to put Trump’s child separation policy back under microscope
Judiciary, Homeland Security Committees announce oversight hearings for border policy

The Homeland Security Department’s policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border will be back in the spotlight during a House Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled Feb. 12.

Chairman Jerrold Nadler and fellow Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who chairs the subcommittee on immigration and citizenship, announced a lineup of witnesses Monday in a joint press release. Those scheduled to testify Feb. 12 include the chief of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and top advisers from the Justice Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Department of Health and Human Services.