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Justice Department sides with Treasury in blocking Trump tax returns
Mnuchin rejected demand by House Ways and Means Democrats

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had refused to comply with a subpoena from House Ways and Means Democrats for President Donald Trump’s tax returns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Justice Department released an opinion Friday that backed up the Treasury Department’s decision not to give Congress copies of President Donald Trump’s tax returns, concluding that the “true aim” was to make the documents public and that “is not a legitimate legislative purpose.”

The Office of Legal Counsel opinion comes after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refused to comply with a subpoena for Trump’s tax returns from House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal last month.

Ethics panel still investigating Grijalva on hostile work environment
Committee wants additional documents pertaining to former staffer who was paid settlement

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., was caught off guard by the Ethics Committee's request for more documentation regarding its investigation of a possible hostile work environment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ethics Committee has requested documents from Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva as it continues to examine allegations into whether he cultivated a hostile work environment.

The ongoing investigation, first reported by E&E News, was a surprise to Grijalva, who faced an allegation of wrongdoing concerning a $48,000 settlement paid to a female member of his staff in 2015, which was dismissed in December 2018 by the House Ethics Committee.

One-year spending cap option, warts and all, gains momentum
Yarmuth signals openness to deal, echoing comments made by Shelby a day earlier

House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., said Democrats would be open to a one-year spending deal, but acknowledged it might create problems for getting another deal during an election year. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senior lawmakers are increasingly considering a scaled-back plan to raise discretionary spending limits for just the upcoming fiscal year, in what would be a departure from the two-year deals enacted in 2013, 2015 and again last year.

A decision to limit a deal to only fiscal 2020 appropriations might simplify negotiations that have been stalled for months. But it would also set the stage for another difficult showdown over spending levels next year, just before the presidential election.

Could Donald Trump replace Sarah Huckabee Sanders with John Barron?
President never replaced his last communications director, prefers to drive own messaging

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is leaving her post later this month after a controversial tenure. There’s no frontrunner to replace her. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ voice cracked Thursday afternoon as she described her reasons for giving up her White House press secretary gig.

“I feel like it’s important for the president to be able to put somebody in place as he moves into the campaign season,” Sanders said in an impromptu gaggle in her office, also saying she wants to spend time with her three young kids. 

Steven A. Sund named US Capitol Police chief
New chief, who has been with agency since 2017, previously directed special operations for D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department

Capitol Police Assistant Chief Steven A. Sund, left, and Chief Matthew R. Verderosa place flowers in honor of fallen police officers during the Washington Area Law Enforcement Memorial Service on May 6. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Steven A. Sund is the new chief of the U.S. Capitol Police.

The Capitol Police Board, which oversees the force that provides law enforcement for the Capitol and members of Congress, made the announcement Friday, elevating Sund from his previous role as the department’s assistant chief.

Trump: No doubt Iran was behind attacks on tankers
President says he won't fire Kellyanne Conway despite findings of Hatch Act violations

President Donald Trump speaks during a working lunch with governors in the White House on Thursday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Friday said U.S. officials are confident Iran is behind attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East.

During a wild 50-minute interview with "Fox & Friends," the president defiantly said he will not fire White House counselor Kellyanne Conway despite findings from a federal investigator that she broke the law, refused to endorse any future presidential run by Vice President Mike Pence, and tried to walk back comments from a controversial television interview by claiming he would contact the FBI if another government tried to meddle in a U.S. election.

All you need is ribs: Isakson barbecue brings hungry senators together
Leadership may have hated it at first, but the lunch is now a big hit

South 40 Smokehouse from Marietta, Ga., serves up brisket, pulled pork and ribs Thursday in the office of Sen. Johnny Isakson for his annual barbecue lunch. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The smell of pulled pork, Texas beef brisket, Saint Louis pork ribs, baked beans, and creamy mac and cheese wafting through the halls of the Russell Senate Office Building can mean only one thing: Johnny Isakson’s annual barbecue lunch.

Every year, for more than a decade, the senior senator from Georgia feeds his colleagues from both sides of the aisle a BBQ lunch prepared by a pitmaster from his home state. Despite being met with initial pushback from party leaders, the get-together has grown into a highly anticipated event.

Trump — not lawmakers — set to be biggest challenge for new legislative affairs chief Ueland
No matter who runs Hill shop, president’s approach is ‘very unlikely to yield results,’ expert says

Wyoming Sen. Michael B. Enzi, right, introduces Eric Ueland at his confirmation hearing to be under secretary of State for management in September 2017. That nomination was later withdrawn, but Ueland will be President Donald Trump’s third legislative affairs director, starting Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eric Ueland, hand-picked by President Donald Trump to be his third legislative affairs director, has decades of experience in the D.C. “swamp” his soon-to-be boss loathes. But the former senior GOP aide will quickly learn it is the president alone who is, as one official put it Thursday, “the decider.”

Ueland has been chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and a Senate Budget Committee staff director. Experts and former officials describe him as highly qualified for the tough task of being the messenger between Trump and a Congress with a Democrat-controlled House that regularly riles up the president and a Senate where Republicans lack votes to pass most major legislation.

Ethics panel increases salary threshold for House staffer disclosures
Staffers making $127,914 or more also face restrictions on income earned outside of congressional duties

House staffers who make more than $127,914 or more for at least 60 days during 2019 will need to file a financial disclosure statement on or before May 15, 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee has increased the salary threshold that subjects staffers to the same disclosure requirements and employment restrictions as members of Congress, according to guidance the panel released Thursday.

House employees who make $127,914 or more for at least 60 days during 2019 will need to file a financial disclosure statement on or before May 15, 2020. That’s an increase of $1,766 from the previous year.

Opponent pounces after Duncan Hunter’s wife switches to guilty plea
“Those who know Hunter the most, trust him the least,” Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar says

Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar is seeking a rematch against GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter in California’s 50th District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democrat challenging indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter went on the attack Thursday after the California Republican’s wife entered a guilty plea in the federal campaign finance case against her and her husband. 

Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty Thursday to a single count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The plea comes with a sentence of up to five years and a fine of $250,000.