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Mulvaney acknowledges 2016 election investigation was tied to Ukraine aid freeze
Former GOP rep to Dems: ‘Get over it’ — politics will always shape U.S. foreign policy

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney reacts to a question during a briefing at the White House on Thursday. Mulvaney took questions relating to the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump and other issues during the briefing. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s acting White House chief of staff contended Thursday the administration’s hold on a nearly $400 million military aid package to Ukraine had “absolutely nothing” to do with Trump’s desire for Kyiv to investigate his then-top Democratic rival. But it was linked to the 2016 U.S. election.

Mick Mulvaney acknowedged Trump held up the aid, in part, because of his concerns — rooted in conservative media — that Ukrainian officials worked to aid Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and prevent him from winning the White House. Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate whether a hacked Democratic National Committee server that was penetrated in 2016 resides in that country. The conservative conspiracy theory has been widely debunked.

Office of Congressional Ethics has transmitted four matters to Ethics Committee for further review
Cases are deemed by OCE to have a ‘substantial reason’ to believe a violation may have occurred

Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., right, has a campaign finance matter currently before the House Ethics Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The independent investigative entity that examines ethical transgressions of House lawmakers has undertaken five new matters to review potential misconduct and transmitted four cases to the House Ethics Committee for further review in the third quarter.

The Office of Congressional Ethics, according to its latest activity report released Thursday, deemed those four matters contain a “substantial reason” to believe a violation may have occurred. 

Pence says Turkey has agreed to cease fire in northern Syria
Trump has faced a bipartisan backlash over pulling U.S. troops from buffer zone along Turkey-Syria border

Smoke rises over the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain on Thursday as Turkish forces try to extend their control of more of northern Syria, which is currently held by Syrian Kurds. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced later Thursday that Turkey had agreed to a cease fire in the area. (Burak Kara/Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday that a ceasefire agreement had been reached with the Turkish government that would allow for a cessation of fighting in northeast Syria where Syrian Kurds have been getting hammered for the last week.

Specifics of the ceasefire, which was to last for 120 hours, were initially scarce but Pence at a news conference in Ankara alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it was already being implemented.

White House picks Trump resort in Florida for G-7 summit
Democrats and others have said holding major summit at Trump property could violate Constitution

A Trump National Doral sign is seen at the golf resort owned by President Donald Trump’s company in August in Doral, Florida. Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said the U.S. will host the next G7 gathering at the golf resort. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The White House has selected Trump National Doral Miami as the site of next year’s G7 summit despite criticism from Democrats and others that President Donald Trump owns the resort.

The summit will be held June 10-12. Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said there were about 12 candidate sites. Democrats and others have said holding any major summit at a Trump property could violate the emoluments clause in the Constitution, which bars presidents from receiving compensation from foreign governments.

Elijah E. Cummings in Congress, 1996-2019
Take a look back at his career

Rep. Elijah Cummings in 1996 (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Thirteen-term Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., died Thursday at the age of 68, after complications arising from longtime health issues, according to a statement from his office. He found himself in the national spotlight frequently in his role as the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, but most recently as a strong voice in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. 

State officials dissolved company long before $500K deal with Giuliani
‘Fraud Guarantee’ linked to Ukrainian American accused of illegal campaign contribution to Trump PAC

Rudy Giuliani’s consulting firm reportedly got a $500,000 consulting fee from a company that was reported as inactive years earlier by Florida officials. (Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

State officials in Florida may have dissolved a company linked to a Ukrainian-American businessman facing campaign finance charges long before Rudy Giuliani’s consulting firm reportedly was paid $500,000 to provide business and legal advice.

The company in question is called Fraud Guarantee. Its website lists as its co-founder and CEO Lev Parnas, who allegedly worked with Giuliani to urge Ukrainian officials to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Parnas was indicted last week on charges that included making an illegal campaign contribution through a shell corporation to a PAC that supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

Watch: Democrats plan to name prescription drug bill for Elijah Cummings
The Maryland Democrat died early Thursday

Chairman Elijah Cummings, who died Thursday, is seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Carolyn Maloney to be acting chairwoman of Oversight panel as succession sorted out
Several Democrats likely to vie for gavel of high-profile committee

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., will serve as acting chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee after the death of Elijah E. Cummings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Carolyn Maloney will serve as acting chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform after Chairman Elijah E. Cummings died Thursday, with House Democrats choosing a formal replacement for Cummings at “a later time,” a senior Democratic leadership aide told CQ Roll Call.

The next leader of the committee will step into a bright spotlight, with the panel conducting multiple investigations into President Donald Trump and his administration and playing a key role in the impeachment process headed by Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff.

Who could succeed Elijah Cummings in Congress?
Cummings' widow, the Maryland Democratic Party chair, may be interested

House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings’ widow, Maryland Democratic chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, is the biggest name to watch to fill his seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The death Thursday of Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings will unleash a crowded Democratic primary for a yet-to-be-set special election in the Baltimore-based 7th District.

Maryland Democratic Party chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the wife of the late congressman, could clear the field if she’s interested. She briefly ran for governor last cycle and was elected state party chair in December.

Democrats in tears after first caucus gathering since Cummings’ death
Leaders, members share memories of Baltimore Democrat during weekly whip meeting

Capitol workers lower the flag to half staff after the passing of Rep. Elijah Cummings on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Several House Democrats on Thursday left their first caucus gathering since the death of their colleague, Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, weeping or holding back tears. 

The House Oversight and Reform chairman’s death left Virginia Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, one of the panel’s subcommittee chairs, inconsolable. He exited Democrats’ weekly whip meeting Thursday in a stream of tears, not stopping to talk to colleagues or reporters as he usually would.