Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the most presidential of them all?
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 57

Leah Askarinam of Inside Elections discusses the expansive Democratic presidential field with Political Theater's Jason Dick. (Toula Vlahou/CQ Roll Call)

Initial 2020 House race ratings are here
Republicans are on the offense but also running against history

Reps. Max Rose of New York, second from left, and Joe Cunnigham of South Carolina, second from right, here with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at the State of the Union, are among 31 Democrats holding seats the president carried in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After losing a net of 40 House seats in last year’s midterms, Republicans have plenty of offensive opportunities in 2020. But winning back the majority will not be easy.

On paper, the path back to 218 may look simple for Team GOP because it winds through favorable territory. There are 31 Democrats who currently represent districts that President Donald Trump carried in 2016, and Republicans need to gain 18 or 19 seats to regain House control (depending on the outcome in North Carolina’s 9th District).

Trump says Mueller report release timing ‘totally’ up to Barr
The president was asked after CNN reported Wednesday Mueller’s report could be finalized next week

William P. Barr, nominee to he Attorney General of the United States, speaks during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

During a Wednesday meeting with his Austrian counterpart, President Donald J. Trump said the release of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report would be “totally” up to Attorney General William Barr.

The president was asked after CNN reported Wednesday that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report could be finalized next week.  Trump said releasing it — perhaps while he is in Vietnam — would be “totally” up to Attorney General William Barr.

State lawmakers seek ban on Amazon-like incentives
Lawmakers in at least 3 states are pushing bills banning incentives similar to what Amazon received for its HQ2

Boxes with the Amazon logo turned into a frown face are stacked up after a protest against Amazon in the Long Island City neighborhood of the Queens borough on November 14, 2018, in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Lawmakers in at least three states are pushing similar bills that would ban the states’ power to give corporate incentives like the kind offered to Amazon to locate its second headquarters.

The bills in New York, Illinois and Arizona would ban the states from offering incentives to any specific company. Existing state incentive agreements would remain in place under the bills. The proposals create a challenge for lawmakers who don't want to implement a prohibition on the incentives in their own states unless other states do as well.

‘The dumbest f---ing idea I’ve ever heard’ and other highlights of the Senate’s European adventure
Senators have been traveling the globe this week, with many attending conferences in Europe

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., reportedly told the acting Defense secretary that pulling all troops from Syria by April 30 was “the dumbest f---ing idea I’ve heard .” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Over President’s Day weekend, it might have been easier to get a quorum of the U.S. Senate together in Europe than in Washington.

After adopting the conference report that funded the rest of the government for the balance of the fiscal year last week, senators quickly dispersed to their home states, or international destinations for key foreign policy meetings. More than a dozen senators stopped in Germany to meet with allies at the Munich Security Conference, as part of multiple congressional delegations.

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

Mark Harris, left, is set to testify before the North Carolina State Board of Elections on Wednesday. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

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.

Lawmakers are bracing for a Commerce Dept. report on car import tariffs
The department has sent Trump its report on whether or not to impose new duties on imported vehicles

U.S. Department of Commerce building in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As President Donald Trump studies a Commerce Department report on the impact of car imports, lawmakers and industry groups are bracing for yet another hit on trade.

On Sunday, the Commerce Department sent Trump its long-awaited report on whether or not to impose new duties on imported vehicles under a national security rationale. The report’s contents have not been released to the public or apparently to members of Congress.

Money to Bern: Sanders raises $6 million in 24 hours
How that stacks up against other Democratic presidential rollouts

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, is an early frontrunner in 2020 grassroots fundraising. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Bernie Sanders raised just under $6 million from about 223,000 people in the 24 hours after he announced his bid for president — making the Vermont senator the clear frontrunner in grassroots fundraising.

Contributors also pledged about $600,000 in donations that will recur each month, the Sanders team announced.

After contentious border moves, stakes only get higher for Trump
‘The real rough water for President Trump still lies ahead,’ GOP insider says

South Koreans watch on a screen at the Seoul Railway Station on June 12, 2018, showing President Donald Trump meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images file photo)

ANALYSIS — “Stay tuned” is a common refrain from White House aides when asked about the many cliffhangers created by President Donald Trump. But remarkably, even after three topsy-turvy months that culminated Friday in a wild Rose Garden appearance, that West Wing mantra will apply doubly over the next few weeks.

Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency at the southern border to unlock Pentagon funds for his proposed border wall came wrapped in an announcement press conference during which he veered from topic to topic, undercut his own legal position, often appeared dispassionate when discussing the emergency declaration, and made more baseless claims. That matter is already embroiled in court fights, putting perhaps his biggest campaign promise in legal limbo, and has appeared to created new distance between him and some Senate Republicans.

Echoes of the AUMF in Trump’s national emergency declaration
End run around Congress on domestic spending could diminish yet another power of the legislative branch

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said both constitute an "unconstitutional power grab." (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency last week to get his way on funding for his border wall, legal scholars warned the move dramatically tilted the balance of power in favor of the White House.

In some ways it parallels the hobbling of Congress’ war authority 18 years ago.

New York City’s progressive elites gambled and lost over Amazon
Democrats’ unforced error on HQ2 deal delivered a gift to Republicans

Amazon pulling out of its second-headquarters deal with New York City represents a big loss for Democrats, Winston writes. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — “I think it’s a bluff, first and foremost.”

Those were the words of New York City Council deputy leader Jimmy Van Bramer to Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on Feb. 11. Cavuto had asked Van Bramer about the possibility of Amazon walking away from its historic deal to locate one of its second headquarters in Queens because of anti-deal efforts stirred up by Van Bramer and others, most notably Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and state Sen. Michael Gianaris.

There was just one thing missing from this voter reform hearing — a Republican
In a state like Georgia, the GOP will have to both acknowledge voter suppression and lead the effort to end it

When Stacey Abrams described a “systemic breakdown” in the electoral process, there were no Republicans around to hear her, Murphy writes. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — What are the chances that Republican lawmakers will work with Democrats to make changes to restrictive voting systems in the United States that have benefited Republicans in recent elections, either deliberately or accidentally?

That’s going to be the question going forward for the House Administration Elections Subcommittee, which is holding a series of field hearings around the country to examine the 2018 elections and the fundamental question of whether all U.S. citizens have equal and unfettered access to the right to vote, no matter their income or ethnicity.

Capitol Ink | Emperor Trump

Trump to nominate Jeffrey Rosen as Rosenstein replacement
Deputy attorney general has come under frequent criticism from the president

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein attends the Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Sept. 4. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House announced Tuesday night that President Donald Trump plans to nominate Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general.

Rosenstein has been overseeing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Russia’s 2016 election meddling and related actions by the president and his associates. He said earlier Tuesday he plans to leave in mid-March.