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Capitol Ink | Full Speed Ahead

On impeachment, Pelosi prevailed over Judiciary panel to narrow focus
Articles filed represent latest example of how Nadler’s committee has been marginalized

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and, from left, committee leaders Jerrold Nadler, Maxine Waters and Eliot L. Engel listen as House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff speaks at a news conference Tuesday to announce articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Judiciary Democrats spent roughly seven months investigating a litany of allegations that President Donald Trump abused his power, but the charges laid out in the articles of impeachment unveiled Tuesday don’t reflect any of that work.

The result is the latest sign that the panel with sole jurisdiction over drafting articles of impeachment has been marginalized as its probe became overshadowed by allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his domestic political rivals, withholding a White House meeting and congressionally appropriated security assistance as leverage.

Democrats ‘got completely rolled’ in NDAA talks, critics say
Litany of progressive provisions fails to make conference committee report

Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan is calling for a national conversation on repeated increases to defense spending. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The final defense authorization measure for the current fiscal year represents a victory for Republicans.

That’s the word from a large number of angry Democrats in Congress, their supporters and, more discreetly, from many Republicans.

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.

Pelosi and Pence eye voters with USMCA agreement
Democrats and Trump appear to see the agreement as a rallying issue as they head into 2020 elections

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., conduct a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal agreement on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed victory for House Democrats Tuesday, saying they had reshaped a trade agreement designed to replace the long vilified 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement that organized labor has blamed for manufacturing jobs lost to Mexico.

In a sign of the potential political importance of the agreement to a core constituency, Pelosi and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., repeatedly thanked Richard Trumka, president of the influential AFL-CIO, for prodding Democrats to get the best deal possible for enforcement of new ambitious labor laws in Mexico that include workers’ right to form unions to negotiate for better pay and work conditions.

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. 

Florida Republican Ted Yoho announces he won’t seek a fifth term
Tells radio station he is honoring term limits pledge

Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., said Tuesday he will not seek another term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Republican Ted Yoho said Tuesday on a local radio show that he would not run for reelection in 2020, honoring a pledge that he would not seek more than four terms in Congress.

Yoho, a large-animal veterinarian, made his announcement on Florida’s WSKY radio, according to the station’s website. His departure brings the number of retiring House and Senate members to 25, all but six of them Republicans.

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.

Rothenberg’s Best & Worst of 2019 Year-End Awards
This year is more than represented by the worst

Congratulations to Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who tops Stuart Rothenberg’s list of Most obnoxious Republican members of Congress for 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — It’s December, and that means it’s time for another of my “Best & Worst of the Year” columns. And since it has been a pretty awful year, there should be a lot of worsts.

As always, I’ll offer a set of nominees for each category. Then I’ll pick my winner. But you too can play along at home by selecting your choices. If you disagree with me, I really don’t care. Amuse yourselves, and send any complaints about my categories or my “winners” to Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia.

Homeland Security announces easing of facial recognition rule
Lawmakers, civil rights groups and tech companies have raised privacy concerns

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has clarified that facial recognition scans at airports remain voluntary for U.S. citizens. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Homeland Security officials continue to step back from their published plan to require use of facial recognition technology on American citizens at U.S. airports when they arrive from or depart to international destinations.

The Trump administration’s proposed mandatory use of the technology was included in the so-called unified agenda, published in late November, which sets out the regulatory changes agencies intend to pursue in coming months. The proposal sought to expand mandatory facial recognition at U.S. airports “to provide that all travelers, including U.S. citizens, may be required to be photographed upon entry and/or departure.”