russia-investigation

Capitol Ink | Mixed Messages

Progressive group spending $100,000 to pressure McConnell, vulnerable GOP senators on election security
Facebook ads, billboard in majority leader’s hometown and call-in campaign among tactics

Progressive activists are pressuring Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to pass $600 million in election security funding with a billboard in downtown Louisville, Ky., from Sept. 1 through Sept. 9. (Courtesy Stand Up America)

A national progressive group is spending over $100,000 on a campaign to pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican senators to pass a bill to provide $600 million in election security funding.

The group, Stand Up America, has rented a billboard alongside the Kennedy Bridge near McConnell’s office in downtown Louisville, Ky., from Sept. 1 through Sept. 9 that includes an image of McConnell’s face and the message, “Tell Mitch McConnell: Stop blocking election security funding.”

Election officials want security money, flexible standards
After 2016 Russian intrusion, slow progress seen toward securing rolls and paper ballots

Voters line up at a temporary voting location in a trailer in the Arroyo Market Square shopping center in Las Vegas on the first day of early voting in Nevada in October of 2016. Louisiana and Connecticut officials requested more money and clear standards from the federal government before voters head to the polls in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

State officials from Louisiana and Connecticut on Thursday asked for more money and clear standards from the federal government to help secure voting systems before the 2020 elections.

But the officials, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, stressed the differences between their election systems and asked for leeway from the federal government in deciding how to spend any future funding.

House Judiciary asks courts to order McGahn to testify
Lawsuit comes almost two months after chamber authorized the legal action

White House counsel Don McGahn’s testimony is crucial to the House’s “most solemn constitutional responsibility” to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment, the Judiciary Committee lawsuit states. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Judiciary Committee filed a lawsuit Wednesday to enforce its subpoena for former White House counsel Don McGahn, launching a separation-of-powers battle in the courts that might not be quickly resolved.

The lawsuit focuses on McGahn’s key role in the Robert S. Mueller III-led special counsel probe when it comes to potential misconduct by President Donald Trump. It points out that the Mueller report section that focuses on whether Trump tried to obstruct the investigation mentions his statements more than 160 times.

House Democrats thread the needle on impeachment in hometown town halls
The impeachment caucus now includes half of the Democratic members of the House

Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., said he does not support an impeachment inquiry, but agreed with a constituent who said that investigations are not moving fast enough at a town hall this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats back in their districts for a six-week-long congressional recess have walked a tightrope on whether to impeach the president, according to local reports. 

The impeachment caucus now includes half of the Democratic members of the House.

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Trump, a native New Yorker, never publicly got behind 9/11 responders bill
‘He back-channeled this one,’ says a White House official after president signed the measure

Jon Stewart, former host of “The Daily Show,” smiles as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks by in the Ohio Clock Corridor on July 23. The Senate later that day easily passed legislation to help 9/11 first-responders and their families, which Stewart was advocating. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Monday signed legislation to help 9/11 first-responders and the families of ones who died from health complications, even though the New Yorker and his administration never publicly got behind the bill.

Aides contend the president chose to push for “yea” votes behind the scenes.

Dan Coats leaving post as Director of National Intelligence
Trump says he will appoint Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe as Coats’ replacement

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats will be leaving his position. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Dan Coats is leaving the post as Director of National Intelligence on August 15, President Donald Trump announced Sunday.

“I would like to thank Dan for his great service to our Country. The Acting Director will be named shortly,” Trump tweeted.

Election infrastructure bill remains stalled as Senate Intelligence panel releases first volume of Russia report
Sen. James Lankford still wants to work on paper trail legislation

The Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Chairman Richard M. Burr, right, and Mark Warner, released an election security report on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the Senate Intelligence Committee was releasing the first volume of its comprehensive report into Russian election interference in 2016, a Republican senator was making clear that he still wants to get support for encouraging states to have paper audit trails and to boost the ability of election officials to get timely security clearances.

Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, who has been working with Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, told reporters Thursday that with the 2020 primaries and caucuses just around the corner, security enhancements would be meant for the next midterms.