foreign-policy

Trump thumbs nose at impeachment, Dems by hosting Putin’s top diplomat
Russia expert on Oval meeting: ‘It could either enable or obstruct progress on Ukraine’

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference to unveil articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

As President Donald Trump live-tweeted his reaction to House Democrats’ impeachment articles, his spokeswoman vowed he would “continue to work on behalf of this country.” Hours later, that business included huddling privately with Vladimir Putin’s top diplomat in the Oval Office.

Trump essentially thumbed his nose at Democrats as they continued linking his July 25 telephone conversation with Ukraine’s president to an alleged affinity for Russia’s as he hosted Sergey Lavrov, Putin’s minister of foreign affairs. If Lavrov steps foot in the Oval Office, it’s a safe bet there is a controversy nearby.

NDAA provision targets Chinese rail cars and electric buses
Defense bill bars spending federal dollars on vehicles made by state-owned or controlled companies

While other transit systems have two years to implement the spending provision, Washington’s Metro system would have to abide by it immediately.  (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Tucked in the conference report of the NDAA is a provision aimed at blocking Chinese companies from building rail cars or buses used in U.S. transit. 

The final version of the conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act released Monday night would bar federal dollars from being used to purchase passenger rail cars or buses from state-owned or state-controlled enterprises, such as those from China.

Do points of order eat up all of a committee’s time?
There are rules in the House Judiciary Committee to ensure that both parties get their allotted time

Rep. Jamie Raskin reads a copy of “The Federalist Papers” during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

While there were a number of them in Monday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, points of order do not take up the opposing party’s time in House Judiciary committee proceedings, according to Communications Director Shadawn Reddick-Smith, and there are several rules in place to ensure that. 

Final defense authorization authorizes epic spending and puts guardrails on Trump
Agreement creates new branch of military with Space Force within Air Force

An F-35 flies past the U.S. Capitol dome in June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A House-Senate conference committee has filed a $735.2 billion defense authorization bill for fiscal 2020 that creates a new branch of the military and erects guardrails to keep the president from straying too far afield in foreign policy.

According to a bipartisan summary of the bill by the House and Senate Armed Services committees made public Monday night, the measure would authorize $658.4 billion in so-called base budgets, mainly at the Defense and Energy departments, plus an additional $71.5 billion for overseas campaigns and $5.3 billion for disaster relief.

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 10
Democrats went without impeachment article from Mueller investigation

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler announces the charges against President Donald Trump as, from left, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and chairmen Maxine Waters, Richard Neal and Adam Schiff listen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans are raising issue with the lack of an impeachment hearing with minority witnesses, as GOP members of the Judiciary Committee have repeatedly requested.

“We will avail ourselves of every parliamentary tool available to us in committees and the House floor in order to highlight your inaction,” they wrote in a letter Tuesday.

House Democrats hurtle toward Trump impeachment
Judiciary panel could draft articles this week, possibly lining up a full House vote before Christmas

A poster depicts California Rep. Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, as “missing” on Monday at the House Judiciary Committee. Schiff’s absence was one of the themes pressed by Republicans during the lengthy hearing on the impeachment of President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are moving swiftly toward the impeachment of President Donald Trump, and lawmakers tasked with drafting articles of impeachment Monday made what could be their final pitch to the American people.

The House Judiciary hearing was the first since Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California called last week on relevant committee heads to “proceed with articles of impeachment.” And the lengthy proceeding, which featured often testy exchanges between members and staff, appeared to be one of the last items on the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry to-do list.

DOJ watchdog finds problems, not politics in Trump campaign probe
Report does not back president’s most sweeping criticisms of FBI investigation

Michael Horowitz, inspector general of the Justice Department, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The FBI had enough evidence to launch a criminal probe into members of President Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election, and political bias did not motivate that decision, a Justice Department watchdog concluded.

But DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz also identified “significant concerns” with how the FBI handled aspects of the investigation, particularly how it handled applications to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page to a secret court that oversees such requests.

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 9
Judiciary hears findings of impeachment investigation in contentious hearing

Daniel Goldman, left, majority counsel for the House Intelligence Committee, and Steve Castor, minority counsel, are sworn in to the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing Monday on the Intelligence Committee’s report on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s gavel got a workout when Republicans raised a number of objections, unanimous consent requests and parliamentary inquiries in the committee’s impeachment hearing on Monday.

“The steamroll continues!” ranking member Doug Collins said as Nadler called upon Barry Berke, counsel for House Democrats. Republicans were shouting over each other and Nadler’s gavel as they attempted to submit their dissatisfaction with the proceedings.

White House tells Dems it won’t cooperate with Judiciary impeachment hearings
Top lawyer tells Congress to end proceedings

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone indicated the White House would not participate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone signaled to House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler Friday that President Donald Trump will not have his attorneys take part in his panel’s remaining impeachment hearings.

“As you know, your impeachment inquiry is completely baseless and has violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness,” he wrote in a brief letter that never states the White House will not participate but makes Trump’s feeling about the probe clear.

At Trump White House, that elusive China trade deal is always ‘close’
On Oct. 11, president saw final deal in a few weeks. Eight weeks later, talks drag on

A container ship sits docked at the Port of Oakland in May in Oakland, California. The Trump administration has yet to finalize an elusive trade pact with China that has at times shaken global markets. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

ANALYSIS — A trade agreement with China that President Donald Trump boastfully announced nearly two months ago remains stalled, despite a top White House economic adviser’s Friday pledge that a final deal is “close.”

On Thursday, the often-verbose president was notably succinct when a reporter asked about the on-again/off-again/on-again China trade negotiations, including whether he would follow through on a threat to slap 15 percent tariffs on $160 billion worth of Chinese-made items on Dec. 15.