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Inside the impeachment hearing room

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee during a hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump in Longworth Building on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

‘The Report’ has advice for young Capitol Hill staffers
You never know where you’ll cross paths again in Washington

Denis McDonough, center, who was a top aide to Sen. Tom Daschle and later White House chief of staff, provided valuable career advice to former Senate Intelligence staffer Daniel J. Jones, both in real life and in the movie “The Report.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The movie “The Report” is primarily about the CIA’s torture program, but it’s not without a bit of career advice for young congressional aides.

One of the oldest lessons in Washington, D.C., is that you never know where you are going to run into people later in their careers.

Hill leaders get high marks from Hill staffers
But aides aren’t happy about lack of legislative accomplishments, survey finds

Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Charles E. Schumer and Kevin McCarthy received high ratings from Hill staffers in the most recent Capitol Insiders Survey. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times file photo)

As Democrats prepared to take control of the House in 2019, some plotted against Nancy Pelosi, the presumed speaker. Lawmakers like Tim Ryan of Ohio and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts argued that it was time for new blood at the top and a generational shift in the Democratic Party.

Pelosi deftly squelched the revolt and a year’s worth of polling of congressional staffers by CQ Roll Call shows that she has consolidated her power. CQ Roll Call surveyed aides five times in 2019, in January, March, April, September and October, and Pelosi received glowing reviews from Democratic staffers for her job performance.

House Republicans overlook oversight in Trump defense
Some experts view Republican questions at impeachment proceedings as a betrayal of Congress’ constitutional role

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan questions Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, on Wednesday as House Intelligence ranking member Devin Nunes looks on. Both have asked questions that directly or indirectly sought information on the identify of the whistleblower. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Tactics that House Republicans have used during the ongoing impeachment hearings to defend President Donald Trump’s interests come at a cost to Congress’ constitutional role as a check on the president, some congressional watchers warn.

Republicans clearly have a duty to test the credibility and potential bias of witnesses at the House Intelligence Committee and to vigorously object to what they see as an unfair and overly partisan process.

Tim Ryan was once a star quarterback, with Congress as his backup
Ohio Democrat recalls how he got his start on Capitol Hill

Before he was a congressman, Ohio’s Tim Ryan was an intern and a staff assistant for his predecessor, Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tim Ryan “caught the bug” for Congress first as a summer intern in 1994 and then as a staff assistant the following year for a fellow Ohioan, the late and colorful Democratic Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.

He recalls meeting Traficant during his senior year in high school, when Ryan was the star quarterback of his team. The two bonded over their football experiences. Ryan was recruited to play for Youngstown State, but an injury cut short his college football career. 

FDA nominee faces bipartisan grilling on Trump's vaping plan
Stephen Hahn pressed on whether he would work to curb spike in youth vapers

Stephen Hahn, nominee to be commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Medical executive Stephen Hahn faced a bipartisan grilling in his nomination hearing Wednesday about whether he would, if confirmed to lead the Food and Drug Administration, challenge the president to release a promised tobacco flavor ban.

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee ranking member Patty Murray, D-Wash., pressed Hahn on whether he would “stand up” to the White House in order to curb a sharp spike in young people's exposure to nicotine through the growing vaping industry, including the rise of Juul Labs Inc. 

Senate holds off on vote avoiding shutdown, keeps stopgap funding vehicle
Sen. David Perdue announced the Senate would instead vote at 11:30 a.m. Thursday to send the stopgap bill directly to the president’s desk

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., exits the Senate subway in May. Lankford and other senators are working to pass a continuing resolution, averting a Thursday shutdown and giving the House and Senate more time to come up with compromise versions of fiscal 2020 spending bills to the president’s desk next month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate no longer plans to change the legislative vehicle for a monthlong stopgap spending bill, following hours of back-and-forth discussions Wednesday.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., told reporters Wednesday afternoon that he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., hoped to change the legislative vehicle and approve the temporary funding bill by the end of the day.

‘We’re not going anywhere’: Actress Angelica Ross on Hill for Transgender Day of Remembrance
The American Horror Story actress and activist is a vocal member of the trans-community

Angelica Ross attends the WorldPride Opening Ceremony Benefit Concert at the Barclays Center in New York City. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Actress and trans-activist Angelica Ross was on Capitol Hill Wednesday in light of the 20th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day that honors the lives lost due to anti-trans violence.

“In 2019, at least 22 trans people have been killed, the majority of them Black trans women,” Ross said in a tweet, calling it an “epidemic.”

Pentagon official says Ukraine asked about military aid in July
Ukrainians may have known about the hold on aid package this summer, undercutting GOP impeachment arguments

Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of Defense, right, and David Hale, undersecretary of State for political affairs, are sworn in before they testify before the House Intelligence Committee during a hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump on Nov. 20. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Laura Cooper, a Pentagon expert on Ukraine, told the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday evening that Ukrainian embassy staff in Washington contacted her office in July with questions about the White House’s hold on military aid promised to their country.

Cooper’s testimony adds a new twist to the House impeachment inquiry, into the connection between the hold on that aid and President Donald Trump’s desired politically motivated investigations into a Ukrainian energy company and the Biden family.

Plaintive lawmakers lament bygone era at Boehner, Isakson tributes
Two ceremonies at the Capitol on Tuesday felt more wistful than celebratory

Former Speaker  John Boehner, R-Ohio, stands next to his portrait after its unveiling in Statuary Hall in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

They were ostensibly celebrations, but listening to the lamenting politicians addressing the audiences at each one, they felt more like funerals. Speaker after speaker delivering elegies for a bygone era when bipartisanship and cooperation held sway.

One honored a man who became Speaker of the House before his own unruly caucus drove him into retirement. The other celebrated a man who overcame early political losses, but went on to serve with a quiet cooperative style before health problems limited his ability.