Florida

Trump, House Republicans meet to line up support for new NAFTA
The USMCA would replace NAFTA, if simple majorities in the House and Senate approve it.

President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S. Dak., Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stops to speak to the cameras following his lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Wed. Jan. 9, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with a number of House Republicans later Tuesday as the White House steps up efforts to increase support for the proposed trade agreement to replace NAFTA.

The afternoon meeting comes after Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer courted House Democrats earlier this month with closed-door meetings on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. It would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement if simple majorities in the House and Senate approve it.

Mueller report isn’t changing 2020 campaign dynamics — yet
Conclusions have emboldened some Republicans, but Democrats still aren’t talking about Russia

While some Republicans like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham used the Mueller report to double down on defending Trump, Democrats signaled they’d continue their 2018 focus on economic issues  — and not the Russia investigation — heading into 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As news of the just-completed Russia investigation engulfs Washington, not much has changed on the campaign trail — for either party.

The full report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has yet to see the light of day. And with the 2020 elections more than a year and a half away, plenty could change between now and then. But so far, the calculation on both sides isn’t too different from the past two years.

Lindsey Graham wants attorney general to testify on Mueller report

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., holds a press conference in the Capitol to discuss the Mueller report on Monday, March 25, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham plans to call Attorney General William Barr to testify in a public hearing about the Russia investigation and his conclusions that President Donald Trump did not obstruct justice.

“I’m asking him to lay it all out,” the South Carolina Republican said Monday at a press conference at the Capitol. But he stopped short of saying Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III would be asked to testify as well.

Democratic committee chairmen shift focus to Barr as House investigations forge ahead
House Democratic leaders want to examine what led attorney general to his conclusions

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler made it clear that Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of the Mueller report doesn’t answer a number of questions into the investigation into possible obstruction of justice. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The key Democratic-controlled House committees investigating President Donald Trump and his administration are forging ahead with their probes into the president, his finances, and allegations of nepotism despite special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s conclusion publicized Sunday that he could not “establish” a case that that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 elections.

But while House Democrats continue with their investigative work, they made clear Sunday that Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of Mueller’s key findings does not quell their appetite for information about Mueller’s 22-month probe.

Caribbean Islands becoming hot spots for Chinese investment
Marco Rubio, says he is ‘very concerned’ about China’s efforts to extend influence into Latin American and the Caribbean

The Freeport Container Port on Grand Bahama Island. (iStock)

On Grand Bahama Island, some 55 miles off the continental United States, a Hong Kong-based company has spent approximately $3 billion developing and expanding a deep-water container port.

The Freeport Container Port’s Chinese and Bahamian backers expect to benefit from increased shipping through the region as a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal, not to mention an overall boost in trade between China and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Some Republicans want an apology over Mueller investigation
Republicans celebrating a win, some calling for apologies, but members from both parties still want to see the full report

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III “did not establish” collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia but left the question of whether the president obstructed justice up to Attorney General William Barr. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional Republicans claimed victory Sunday that a letter from Attorney General William Barr summarizing the special counsel investigation ended the debate about whether Donald Trump’s campaign knowingly colluded with the Russian government.

But Democrats said the letter did not adequately allay their concerns about whether the president is guilty of obstruction of justice, and demanded that the attorney general hand over the full Mueller report and its underlying documents.

Congress set aside $1 billion after Parkland. Now schools are starting to use it
From panic buttons to metal detectors, communities take a page from Fort Knox

Communities around the country are beginning to spend the money that Congress designated for school safety in the wake of mass shootings last year. Above, the March for Our Lives drew young people to downtown D.C. in March 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Amid the rolling farmland of southwest Iowa sits the 7,800-population town of Creston, where the school district boasts of a “state-of-the-art school safety and security system” with a command center to monitor nearly 200 cameras, or roughly one for every seven students.

But the school superintendent isn’t done yet, thanks to a $500,000 grant from a program Congress stuffed into an omnibus spending bill a year ago. He plans to buy mobile metal detectors that could also be set up at football games, a shooter alert system that can sense when a gun goes off in one of the three schools and notify police, a “panic button” system and a new entry system.

Mueller report doesn’t say what GOP says it does
Mueller’s primary mission was to see if he could establish an actionable case, and Barr’s letter said he couldn’t

President Donald Trump returns to the White House on Sunday after spending the weekend in Florida after Attorney General William Barr released his summary of the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — The way GOP lawmakers reacted to Attorney General William Barr's letter to Congress on Sunday outlining the key findings of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s final Russia investigation report, you would think special counsel prosecutors went out of their way to prove Trump’s innocence on collusion and obstruction allegations.

But statements from Republican leaders in both the House and Senate — and in the White House — do not accurately reflect the direct quotes from Mueller’s report that Barr included in his letter.

Trump spikes football, saying Mueller probe was ‘illegal takedown that failed’
Democrats signal that they don’t think the game is over yet

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally near Trump Tower in New York on Saturday. Grassroots pro-Trump organizations from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania called on supporters to gather, rally and network among members. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — “No collusion. No collusion,” President Donald Trump said before he had even reached a group of reporters last week on the White House’s South Lawn.

That was Wednesday. A few hours later, scuttlebutt began to circulate around Washington that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III was about to deliver his report on Russia’s 2016 election meddling and possible obstruction of justice by the president. Mueller did so two days later, and Attorney General William Barr summarized the former FBI director’s findings two days after that in a letter to lawmakers.

Barr: Mueller ‘did not establish’ Trump-Russia collusion, but obstruction questions remain
White House says AG’s summary of special counsel report exonerates president

Special counsel Robert Mueller walks with his wife Ann Mueller on March 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. Special counsel Robert Mueller has delivered his report on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election to Attorney General William Barr. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

That assertion is, of course, the opposite of what Mueller wrote in his report, according to Barr’s summary.

“While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” from obstruction of justice charges, Mueller wrote.