leadership

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.

Senate floor debate beckons amid spending bill impasse
Under stopgap law, lawmakers have about five weeks to reach funding agreement

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby says there’s a “good chance” the chamber can start debating spending bills next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate next week could debate a package of spending bills that have received bipartisan support in the Appropriations Committee, according to Chairman Richard C. Shelby.

“I’ve been hearing that and conversations lend me to think there’s a good chance,” the Alabama Republican said Wednesday, noting that the final decision is up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “I think there are five, six, seven appropriations bills that we could pass if we get to the floor.”

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.”

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 16
Hoyer’s timetable for impeachment investigation, Trump defends Giuliani and says Obama tried to influence 2016 election

An aide and members of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s security team stand outside the deposition of George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, in the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Wednesday he wants Democrats’ impeachment inquiry to wrap up “sooner rather than later.”

Asked if that meant weeks, Hoyer said it’s more likely months but hopefully not a lot of months and that his hope is that it could conclude by the end of the year.

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.

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 15
Trump accuses Democrats of selected leaks, and Democrats provide an impeachment update

Fiona Hill, President Donald Trump’s former Russia adviser, arrives at the Capitol to testify before Congress as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, and Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday they would not comply with congressional subpoenas.

“If they enforce it, then we will see what happens,” Giuliani told ABC News.

Road Ahead: Turkey sanctions unite chambers; impeachment ramps up with Congress’ return
After a two-week recess, lawmakers return to a full plate

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to balance work on the impeachment inquiry with other priorities. Above, Pelosi with fellow California Democrat Adam B. Schiff, the House Intelligence chairman, on Oct. 2. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is returning from its two-week recess and although both chambers were expected to take up bipartisan proposals against President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, a Monday night executive order may change the calculation.

Opposition to the president’s move had united lawmakers despite the ongoing impeachment inquiry that has ratcheted up partisan divisions. Key congressional Republicans have slammed Trump’s decision to remove U.S. forces from northern Syria, where the troops have been a shield for U.S.-allied Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group. But the announcement Monday night of an executive order slapping new sanctions on Turkey over its military operations against Kurdish forces in Syria has the support of South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Biden, for the first time, backs Trump impeachment
Former VP answers critics who say he has been too soft in countering president's charges about Ukraine

Joe Biden speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake on August 9. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Former Vice President Joe Biden, one of the 2020 Democratic frontrunners, on Wednesday made his first outright statement in support of the impeachment of President Donald Trump, saying he poses a “threat” to the United States and “has already convicted himself.”

Biden has said previously only that he backed the impeachment inquiry by House Democrats. 

Former ethics czar warns impeachment letter ‘mistakes Trump for a king’
Georgetown prof: ‘Politically, the letter is strong;’ former GOP staffer calls it ‘bananas’

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20. He is refusing to cooperate with House Democrats' impeachment inquiry. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS | Experts agree a letter the White House sent to House Democrats stating a refusal to cooperate with their impeachment inquiry is legally flimsy and is mostly about politics.

“Put simply, you seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff and two other senior Democrats.