Jerrold Nadler

House Judiciary panel advances background check bill
Democrats are using new majority to press gun control legislation

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., introduced the background checks bill that the House Judiciary Committee approved Wednesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A sharply divided House Judiciary Committee approved legislation Wednesday to bolster background checks for gun sales, the opening barrage in Democrats’ push to use their new majority to press gun control legislation they have backed for years.

To do so, Democrats needed to defeat numerous efforts from Republicans to amend the bill. It was one of two measures considered during a marathon meeting, highlighting not only the political hurdles to enacting the legislation but also how Democrats believe it could make a difference with voters in 2020.

Bill to ‘repatriate’ deported veterans gets new life in Democratic House
Bipartisan bill would provide path to citizenship for immigrant veterans deported after committing nonviolent crimes

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, was one of two lawmakers to re-introduce a bill this week to help immigrant veterans gain permanent legal status in the U.S. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two lawmakers have revived a bipartisan bill to bring deported veterans back to the United States as permanent legal residents and open up an expedited path to citizenship for pre-9/11 noncitizen veterans.

This week, GOP Rep. Don Young of Alaska and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of Texas reintroduced their bill from last Congress — the “Repatriate Our Patriots Act.” It had floundered in 2017’s GOP-controlled Judiciary Committee.

House Democrats hire Obama ethics czar for oversight of Trump, DOJ
Norm Eisen will advise House Judiciary Committee as it investigates Trump and his Justice Department

Chairman Jerrold Nadler prepares to conduct the House Judiciary Committee markup of a resolution authorizing issuance of a subpoena to Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Obama administration ethics czar Norm Eisen has been hired by the House Judiciary Committee as it probes the Department of Justice and other aspects of the Trump administration and seeks to shield the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference.

Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York has said that protecting the Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into the 2016 election, including possible ties between the Trump campaign team and Russia, is the committee’s No. 1 priority.

Whitaker tells House he hasn’t messed with Mueller probe
The acting AG told the committee his department complied with and hasn’t changed special counsel regulations during his tenure

Acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker arrives for a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Rayburn Building titled "Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice," where he is expected to be questioned about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker told the House Judiciary Committee on Friday that he has not interfered with the special counsel’s Russia investigation and hasn’t promised the White House anything about the probe or informed anyone there about it.

Not that it was easy for Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., to get him to say that.

Photos of the week: A polar plunge, SOTU and hearings are in full swing
The week of Feb. 4 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Members react as acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker informs Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., his five minute questioning period was over during a House Judiciary Committee hearing. Whitaker was questioned about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on Friday. Appearing from left are Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Nadler, Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga.( Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s February on Capitol Hill and that means that many of the organizing efforts of a new Congress are well underway, and committees have begun their work for the year. 

In addition to the State of the Union on Tuesday, members of the House Judiciary panel met Friday to question acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker about the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 

Whitaker hearing begins with theatrics, quickly turns contentious
‘Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up,’ Whitaker said to Nadler, after the chairman went over his time limit

Members react as acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker informs Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., his five minute questioning period was over, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Rayburn Building titled “Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice,” where he was questioned about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on Friday, February 8, 2019. Appearing from left are Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Nadler, Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee Friday started off with theatrics, following days of will-he-or-won’t-he speculation over whether he’d even appear.

The hearing quickly turned contentious before Whitaker even had a chance to speak.

Through Whitaker, Trump officially declares war on House oversight
In acting AG’s letter to House Judiciary, administration indicates it will resist disclosing president’s conversations with aides

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker leaves the House chamber Tuesday after President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — The Trump administration on Thursday moved its first chess piece in what is expected to be a contentious match between the White House and House Democrats as the latter seek documents and testimony for their oversight investigations of the president and his Cabinet.

In a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler on Thursday, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he would bail on his scheduled hearing on Friday unless Nadler assured him he would not file a subpoena to compel Whitaker to disclose his conversations with the president on hot-button topics or force Whitaker to invoke “executive privilege.”

Whitaker will skip House hearing if Democrats don’t pull subpoena threat
Judiciary Chairman Nadler wants to keep subpoena in his back pocket in case it’s needed

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said he hopes not to have to use a subpoena to compel testimony from acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, but “Unfortunately a series of troubling events over the last few months suggest that we should be prepared.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he will bail on his scheduled testimony in the House Judiciary Committee on Friday unless Democrats assure him they will not file the subpoena they voted to authorize along party lines on Thursday.

At the heart of the disagreement — and why Democrats green-lighted the preemptive subpoena-in-reserve in the first place — is Democrats’ wariness that Whitaker will avoid answering certain questions about his communications with President Donald Trump about the special counsel investigation of Robert S. Mueller III and other hot-button issues by citing, without effectively asserting, “executive privilege.”

Whitaker hearing is first big test of Trump’s ‘executive privilege’ strategy
Acting attorney general will be first White House official to be questioned by new Congress

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is expected to get a number of questions from the House Judiciary Committee about any conversations he had with White House officials, including the president, about his role overseeing the special counsel investigation. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s testimony at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Friday will offer a first glimpse into how the Trump administration plans to comply with — or stall — House Democrats’ oversight inquiries.

The hearing, slated for 9:30 a.m., will put to the test the White House counsel’s strategy for invoking executive privilege on certain conversations between the president and his close advisers.

House Democrats to put Trump’s child separation policy back under microscope
Judiciary, Homeland Security Committees announce oversight hearings for border policy

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will appear before the House Homeland Security Committee in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Homeland Security Department’s policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border will be back in the spotlight during a House Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled Feb. 12.

Chairman Jerrold Nadler and fellow Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who chairs the subcommittee on immigration and citizenship, announced a lineup of witnesses Monday in a joint press release. Those scheduled to testify Feb. 12 include the chief of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and top advisers from the Justice Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Department of Health and Human Services.