elections

Dems say Trump has meltdown at Syria meeting, calls Pelosi a ‘third-rate politician’
Amid impeachment inquiry, speaker says president appeared ‘very shaken’

President Donald Trump, second from right, pictured in December arguing with then House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, left, about border security, locked horns with the speaker again on Wednesday at a White House meeting on the situation in northern Syria. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Wednesday’s White House meeting on Syria deteriorated into a “meltdown” as Republican and Democratic leaders presented a unified front against President Donald Trump on his decision to abandon Kurdish fighters in Syria.

The two top House Democrats and the party’s top senator emerged from the West Wing following what they said was a substance-free and insult-filled few minutes with Trump.

Between a Trump and a hard place
Political Theater, Episode 96

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner has a difficult balance to strike between loyalty to President Donald Trump and his GOP followers and building a coalition of voters as he seeks reelection in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican senators up for reelection in swing states have a delicate balance to strike. They need to get almost all GOP voters in their column while reaching out to independents and Democrats. And President Donald Trump does not make that easy.

CQ Roll Call elections analyst and Inside Elections publisher Nathan L. Gonzales explains the politics. For instance, in Colorado, Republican Cory Gardner finds himself up next year in a state increasingly trending Democratic. Inside Elections rates his race a Toss-up.

Hoyer: Democrats not using inherent contempt, hope to conclude impeachment inquiry this year
Inherent contempt could be seen as ‘arbitrary’ move to enforce subpoenas, which courts are already upholding, Hoyer says

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, seen navigating through a crowd of tourists as he heads into the speaker's office last month, said Wednesday that Democrats will not use their inherent contempt power to enforce subpoenas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Wednesday ruled out Democrats using inherent contempt to enforce subpoenas and became the most senior Democrat to say the chamber should wrap up its impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump by the end of 2019.

“We made a judgment that we want the American people to understand that we are pursuing not arbitrary action but considered and thoughtful action,” the Maryland Democrat said. “I don’t mean to say by that that inherent contempt is by definition arbitrary but it may be perceived as arbitrary.”

Key takeaways from the latest House and Senate fundraising reports
Reports provide new clues in competitive races

Democrat Mark Kelly once again outraised Arizona GOP Sen. Martha McSally according to recent fundraising reports. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When it comes to the battle for Congress, fundraising reports can provide clues about who’s in trouble and who’s mounting a strong campaign.

It’s still early in the 2020 cycle, but an analysis of reports for this year’s third quarter in House and Senate races that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates as competitive sheds new light on where donors in both parties are directing their money. The reports were due by midnight Tuesday.

Kurds are ‘no angels’ and their fight with Turkey is ‘not our problem,’ Trump says
In rare split, McConnell had sharp words about president’s decision to abandon Kurds in Syria

President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office on Wednesday while Italian President Sergio Mattarella listens. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday continued distancing the United States from Kurdish forces in Syria who once were Washington’s chief ally in fighting the Islamic State group.

Trump’s decision to remove American forces who were positioned between Turkish troops and the Kurds has angered both Republican and Democratic members. Both chambers are expected to soon approve a resolution condemning his decision, which he says is necessary to help bring an end to what he calls America’s post-9/11 “endless wars.”

Fundraising update: Some House freshmen raising more than embattled senators
Democrats continuing to tap large groups of small donors

Texas Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw raised more money during the third quarter than two of his party’s most embattled senators. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More than a year out from the 2020 elections, new disclosures show House members continue to set the pace for congressional fundraising, with several freshmen raising nearly as much as or more than some of the most vulnerable GOP senators and their Democratic challengers.

That’s especially true of House Democratic freshmen, some of whom are continuing a trend started last year when, as candidates, they raised more in the quarters leading up to Election Day than Senate candidates.

Democratic impeachment holdout touts legislative focus over inquiry he’s not backing
South Carolina’s Joe Cunningham spent recess discussing climate change, infrastructure, trade

South Carolina Rep. Joe Cunningham, here examining a turtle excluder device while touring a shrimp boat in Mount Pleasant, S.C., on Monday, is one of seven House Democrats not supporting the impeachment inquiry. (Lindsey McPherson/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Rep. Joe Cunningham spent his final day of a two-week district work period here Monday talking to local fishermen about adjusting to climate change and to a conservation group about banning offshore drilling — top issues for constituents of his coastline district.

Cunningham, the first Democrat to represent the 1st District in more than a quarter century, did not talk about the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, except to answer reporters’ questions about why he has not endorsed it. The constituents he interacted with Monday did not broach the topic with him, although some complimented him generally for how he’s navigating a political tightrope.

Taking lead on impeachment legal message, Trump gives GOP cover to defend him
Campaign official says GOP is benefitting from inquiry with voter registration, donation surges

President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn., on Thursday. His legal argument on impeachment is that he committed no crime. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Senior White House officials and House Republicans are basing their counter-impeachment arguments on House Democrats’ process rather than legal arguments — but President Donald Trump is again doing his own thing and arguing the probe is invalid because, he says, he committed no crimes.

The president has no formal legal training, but that is not stopping him from leading his own legal defense, using tweets and public comments to claim House Democrats have no grounds to impeach him — and the Senate no reason to remove him — because he never outright asked Ukraine’s new president to investigate a leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, in exchange for U.S. aid.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to endorse Bernie Sanders for president
Fellow “squad” members, Omar and Tlaib, are also throwing support behind Vermont independent

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is expected to endorse Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is expected to endorse Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president this weekend, a source with knowledge of the endorsement confirmed Tuesday night.

Sanders also picked up the support of two other House Democratic freshmen. Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar endorsed him on Tuesday, while CNN reported that Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib would be backing the Vermont independent’s campaign. 

Indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter fails to get local GOP endorsement in crowded primary
Six-term California Republican has secured San Diego GOP’s primary endorsement in all of his prior elections

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., faces a tough “top-two” primary field that includes at least three other well-known GOP candidates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federally indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter failed to earn the endorsement of his local Republican Party on Monday despite representing San Diego County in the House for more than 10 years.

It was the first time the six-term GOP congressman from California’s 50th District has failed to capture the endorsement.