Intelligence

Trump vs. Pelosi: 5 takeaways from their tit-for-tat as shutdown plods on
Nixing Afghanistan trip also was a direct blow to House Dems’ oversight plans

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and President Donald Trump have continued trading barbs in recent days. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump continued their high-stakes game of tit-for-tat Friday, even as the 28-day partial government shutdown plodded on with no signs of any restart of negotiations. 

White House aides scurried about Friday, initially declining to directly address a bombshell report that Trump directed former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. (Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later called the story “categorically false.”)

Pelosi spokesman says White House leaked commercial travel plans to Afghanistan
Alternate plan was canceled after State Department warned against it

A bus is seen of the East Front of the Capitol after members of the House disembarked, after an overseas CODEL was postponed by President Trump on Thursday, January 17, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The shutdown feud between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump escalated Friday after the California Democrat’s office revealed it had made commercial travel arrangements to continue an Afghanistan trip the president tried to cancel — but the administration leaked their plans.

There was already a security risk with the speaker and her congressional delegation continuing the overseas troop visit after Trump announced Thursday where they’d be going. But the heightened threat from Trump leaking the commercial travel plans led the delegation to call off the trip for now, a Pelosi spokesman said.

No Trump-Pelosi talks planned as explosive report complicates shutdown endgame
Report: President directed Michael Cohen to lie about Moscow Trump Tower project

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive at the Capitol to meet with Senate Republicans on Jan. 9. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:45 p.m. | There are no shutdown talks with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Donald Trump’s Friday schedule and no invitations for any have been extended, even as White House aides claim the president put the kibosh on her Afghanistan trip in part to keep her on U.S. soil to cut a deal.

What’s more, an explosive report that Trump directed his former personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie during testimony to Congress likely will only drive the White House and Democrats further apart, making a border security deal needed to reopen the government even harder as Washington becomes increasingly toxic.

House Democrats will investigate Trump for allegedly directing Michael Cohen to lie to Congress
Some on Intelligence and Judiciary Committees hint at impeachment

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff indicated his committee will probe a report that President Donald Trump directed former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 8:02 p.m. | The top Democrats on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees said they will investigate the allegations that President Donald Trump directed his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations in 2016 to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, as BuzzFeed News reported late Thursday.

 

Trump abruptly cancels military support for Pelosi overseas trip
Treasury delegation‘s Davos trip is also off

Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is seen on a bus originally scheduled to take a congressional delegation to their flight for an overseas trip. Minutes earlier, President Donald Trump had postponed all congressional trips, so Engel was subsequently dropped at the Rayburn Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:33 p.m. | In apparent retaliation to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plea that President Donald Trump delay his State of the Union address due to the government shutdown, Trump has canceled all military support for a previously unannounced congressional delegation trip the speaker was scheduled to take.

“Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over,” Trump wrote in a letter to Pelosi.

They raised millions and lost. Now what?
Democrats who were top fundraisers look to stay involved in politics

Kentucky’s Amy McGrath was one of the top Democratic fundraisers of the 2018 cycle in her unsuccessful challenge to GOP Rep. Andy Barr. (Jason Davis/Getty Images file photo)

Democrats who ran for the House in 2018 shattered fundraising records, some even surpassing Senate candidates. But not all of the cycle’s top fundraisers ended up winning their races. 

That’s left a number of candidates — with high profiles and massive donor lists — pondering their next moves. And some are still eyeing careers in politics. 

Steven Mnuchin makes case to GOP to allow easing of sanctions on Russian companies
Visited Senate Republican lunch ahead of votes on Schumer resolution

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged the Senate to ease relief on Russian companies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is making the case to Senate Republicans that they should stop an effort to block sanctions relief against three Russian companies.

But as he left Tuesday’s Senate Republican lunch, Mnuchin did not seem certain about the vote count ahead of an expected Tuesday afternoon vote on a motion to proceed to a resolution disapproving of the sanctions relief proposed for En+ Group plc, UC Rusal plc and JSC EuroSibEnergo.

Adam Schiff hiring full-time team to investigate Trump’s Russia connections
House Intelligence Committee chairman hiring more investigators to revive House Russia probe

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is adding more investigative manpower to his committee staff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is sinking panel resources into a robust investigative staff to revive the probe into President Donald Trump's ties to Russia with roughly seven committee staffers directing their energy full-time.

Schiff and the Democrats have made offers to six new staffers, CBS News reported, including a corruption expert and a former prosecutor. The committee is still looking to hire six more people as Schiff restructures the subcommittee and plans targeted lines of inquiry into the president and his 2016 campaign staff’s connections with Russian officials.

Frustrated by ‘my generals,’ Trump turns to ‘my actings’
Expert: ‘Irony is the politics are so favorable ... it suggests something more nefarious’

Senate Republicans like Wyoming’s John Barrasso, John Thune of South Dakota, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, here at the Capitol on Wednesday, do not seem concerned about the number of acting Cabinet and lower-level officials in President Donald Trump's administration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump came into office enamored with, as he called them, “my generals.” But as he learned on the job, the commander in chief grew frustrated with and replaced those retired four-star military men. Two years later, the president’s Cabinet is now stocked with a group he calls “my actings.”

Experts say the Constitution, existing laws and department-specific guidelines give Trump the authority and legal cover to keep various acting Cabinet-level and other officials in place for over 200 days — or longer, in some cases. But the law is clear as mud when it comes to whether he could simply keep a favorite “acting” in place for the duration of his administration, legal scholars say.

Virginia senators concerned that shutdown could jeopardize security clearances
Furloughed workers cite compounding problems, such as health insurance lapse

Brian Uholik, right, a furloughed Justice Department employee, holds his infant daughter Wynnie while discussing with his wife Jamie how the government shutdown has impacted their family during a roundtable discussion with government employees and Sens. Mark Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Brian Uholik is a proud father of a new baby daughter, but he’s also a furloughed trial attorney at the Department of Justice.

Uholik was among the federal employees from Northern Virginia who met Friday morning with Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both Democrats who have been pushing for a quick end to the partial government shutdown.