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Democrats protest, but Senate confirms Steven Menashi to federal appeals court
Nominee for Second Circuit described as ‘bottom crawler’ by Democratic leader

Steven J. Menashi was confirmed to the federal bench on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The man Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer described as a “bottom crawler” was confirmed Thursday to a lifetime appointment on the federal appeals court based in his home state of New York.

Schumer and other Democrats have opposed many of President Donald Trump’s nominees to be federal judges that have been called up for votes by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. But the opposition to Steven J. Menashi has been more voracious than for most.

Trump's Energy nominee bats away questions about Perry and Ukraine
Brouillette also tells confirmation hearing about mining potential of the Arctic

Dan Brouillette, nominee to be Secretary of Energy, walks to the witness table after speaking with committee members before the start of his confirmation hearing Thursday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s nominee to become secretary of Energy distanced himself Thursday from the House impeachment inquiry of the president, telling senators he does not have direct knowledge of efforts to overhaul the board of a Ukrainian government-owned energy firm.

Speaking at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Dan Brouillette, the No. 2 at DOE, said he was aware Secretary Rick Perry met with people interested in changing the corporate structure of Naftogaz, the Ukrainian company.

Pelosi sidesteps using Trump’s name in discussing funding talks
At weekly presser, speaker refers to ‘the administration,’ not president or White House

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, pictured talking to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer during the Democrats news conference on Tuesday, indicated Thursday that she doesn’t want President Donald Trump to be involved in appropriations negotiations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday went out of her way to avoid acknowledging President Donald Trump and the White House when asked about appropriations negotiations, as a Nov. 21 deadline to continue funding the government approaches. 

At her weekly press conference, a reporter asked Pelosi about her working relationship with the White House, noting that Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution the same week the House is conducting hearings to determine whether Trump should be impeached.

One of Government Publishing Office’s most important customers might soon be in charge
Hugh Halpern has confirmation hearing to be GPO director

Hugh Halpern, nominee to serve as director of the Government Publishing Office, testified at the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Not every nominee shows up for a confirmation hearing ready to show off his own personal copy of the House Manual. Then again, not every nominee is Hugh Halpern.

Halpern, the longtime Republican staff director of the House Rules Committee and subsequently director of floor operations for Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, is President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the Government Publishing Office.

Watch: Rodney Davis and Eleanor Holmes Norton show off their scooter skills (or lack thereof)
Holmes Norton is an advocate for allowing electric scooters on the Capitol campus

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton tries out an e-scooter at a Capitol Hill safety demonstration on Wednesday. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., attended an e-scooter safety demonstration on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon, hosted by the Micromobility Coalition. Holmes Norton is an advocate of allowing e-scooters on the Capitol campus.

“Let’s bring the Congress into the 21st century,” she said Wednesday.

New Trump call emerges in Taylor's testimony

William Taylor, the senior U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, testifies Wednesday at the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

William Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, on Wednesday told members of the House Intelligence Committee that he had recently learned about a July 26 phone call between President Donald Trump and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

Taylor told the committee that one of his aides asked Sondland after the phone call about the president’s thoughts on Ukraine. Sondland replied, “President Trump cares more about the investigations of [former Vice President Joe] Biden,” according to Taylor’s account of the aide’s conversation.

House leaders give modernization panel more time
A second year of work ahead for committee that seeks to make Congress more efficient

Chairman Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., right, and vice chairman Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., are seen during a Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress meeting in the Capitol in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Like most any fixer-upper endeavor, renovating Congress for the modern era will take at least a year longer than originally planned.

The House’s temporary Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress is on track to get more time to finish its effort to update the legislative branch amid the increasing political polarization of the 2020 elections. The House Rules Committee approved a rule Wednesday extending the modernization panel through next year. The full chamber will vote Thursday, making the extension official.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 14
Each side’s impeachment strategy emerges in first day of hearings; Pelosi invites Trump to testify

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and other House Republicans conduct a news conference after the first day of impeachment inquiry public hearings on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Two central figures in the new evidence linking President Donald Trump more closely to the U.S.’s request for Ukraine to investigate the president’s political rivals are scheduled to testify before lawmakers in the coming days.

Acting Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor told lawmakers in the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday that one of his aides overheard Trump asking Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland over the phone about the status of “the investigations” just a day after his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Impeachment frenzy? Not so much in the other Washington
Even among Democrats, impeachment trails health care, climate change

“You don’t see the inside-the-Beltway frenzy because we’re not inside the Beltway,” Herrera Beutler said of her constituents' attitude toward impeachment of the president. (Jacob Fischler/CQ Roll Call)

VANCOUVER, Wash. — At three official events throughout her southwest Washington district last week, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s constituents bemoaned the lack of national unity seen during World War II, related troubling stories of new mothers struggling with insufficient health care and watched their children sing at a Veterans Day commemoration.

They did not ask the five-term Republican, a target of House Democrats’ campaign arm, about the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Campaigns look to capitalize on first impeachment hearings
Both parties used different strategies on the campaign trail

Campaigns sought to capitalize on national attention on Wednesday’s impeachment hearing that featured testimony by senior diplomats William Taylor, center, and George Kent, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Loath to waste a national spotlight, campaigns on Wednesday sought to take advantage of the first public impeachment hearing in two decades, though groups pushing Republicans seemed more willing to urge angry voters to contribute as the hearing unfolded while Democrats were more low-key.

War rooms for the Democratic and Republican national committees each issued dueling fact checks as the House Intelligence panel began public hearings into whether President Donald Trump committed an impeachable offense by withholding military aid while pressing Ukraine to investigate a chief political opponent. But the similarities between the parties’ approaches stopped there.