rhode island

Reed, Menendez press Trump for ‘immediate’ info on talks with Russia’s Putin
Duo sent letter to president hours before Giuliani suggests some 2016 collusion from campaign

Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., at a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Nov. 28, 2017.  They want answers from President Trump about his conversations with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As a top lawyer for Donald Trump suggests some members of the president’s 2016 campaign worked with Russians, two top Senate Democrats want answers about whether the commander in chief properly handled sensitive information about his contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Rudolph Giuliani told CNN Wednesday evening that he has “never said” there was zero collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russians. Shifting his stance yet again about what happened during that election cycle, Giuliani now says he stated only that the president himself never colluded with Russians or was involved in any potential actions by others that might constitute a crime.

Health law appeal paused as shutdown affects federal courts
Justice Department also asks for pause in suit concerning acting AG Whitaker

Citing the shutdown, Justice Department lawyers asked for a pause in a suit challenging the appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, pictured here. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The partial government shutdown halted a major challenge to the 2010 health care law among other civil litigation on Friday, as Justice Department lawyers sought the same in a challenge from three Senate Democrats to the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued a two-page order granting the Trump administration’s request to halt the 2010 health care law case “in light of lapse of appropriations.”

White House wants $7 billion more for DHS to fund wall
More than half of the request is for a ‘steel barrier’ along the southwest border

Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin couldn’t give a timetable on when the government would open back up: “I can’t say that we’re close because the president’s made it clear he doesn’t care.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House formally asked lawmakers Sunday to provide an additional $7 billion beyond what Senate appropriators proposed in their bipartisan Homeland Security spending bill last year, with more than half earmarked for a “steel barrier” along the southwest border.

The request, outlined in a letter from Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought, doesn’t seem likely to lead to an immediate breakthrough in reopening large portions of the federal government that have been closed since Dec. 22.

Daines, Lankford to serve on both Appropriations and Finance
Last senator to serve on both panels was Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. in 1944

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., will serve on both the Appropriations and Finance committees in the 116th Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sens. Steve Daines of Montana and James Lankford of Oklahoma will become the first senators since Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. in 1944 to serve simultaneously on the Appropriations and Finance committees, according to panel historical records reviewed by Roll Call.

The two Republicans received waivers from Senate GOP conference rules that limit senators to service on just one of the four so-called Super A committees — Appropriations, Finance, Armed Services and Foreign Relations.

Trailblazers and absences define start of new Congress
Plenty of firsts, as well as some notable empty seats

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is sworn in Thursday, surrounded by children in the rostrum of the House chamber on the first day of the 116th Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The first day of a new Congress is filled with ceremony and tradition, but there were a few things that set the start of the 116th Congress apart.

For the first time in history, a new congressional session began in the midst of a partial government shutdown. The swearing-in ceremonies and celebrations were clouded by the ongoing shutdown that’s now entered a second week. About a quarter of federal discretionary spending has run out, resulting in the shuttering of agencies and federal programs. But with the legislative branch already funded, there weren’t logistical problems on Capitol Hill that would devastate a high-profile day like the opening of a new Congress.

Analysis: Get Used to Trump Tumult in U.S. National Security
Mattis resignation and troop withdrawals only the beginning

President Donald Trump confers with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford (right) during a meeting with military leaders in the Cabinet Room in October. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 12/26/18 | This week was a stormy one for American national security. But it is likely to be only a taste of things to come.

The disclosure that President Donald Trump plans to withdraw thousands of U.S. troops from Syria and possibly also Afghanistan, followed by Defense Secretary James Mattis’ resignation in protest of those moves and more, jangled nerves in Washington.

House Panel Plans Bipartisan Push Against Trump on Syria
Mac Thornberry, Adam Smith on same page as leaders of Armed Services

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, is working with Adam Smith, the panel's top Democrat, to push back on President Donald Trump's plan to withdraw from Syria. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans and Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee say they are launching an unusual bipartisan campaign to push back against President Donald Trump’s proposed withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Syria.

Texas Republican Mac Thornberry, the committee’s chairman, and Washington Democrat Adam Smith, the ranking member and likely the new chairman in the next Congress, said in separate interviews Thursday that they will join forces to try to slow or shape, if not stop, the president’s move. It was their first public comments on the issue.

For Stripped-Down Criminal Justice Bill, Less Could Be More
Sen. Kamala Harris: It’s a ‘compromise of a compromise‘

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., announced her support for the bill Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The bipartisan criminal justice overhaul bill that advanced Monday evening falls short of what lawmakers and advocates had sought to do with the measure more than four years ago — but now that’s the key to enacting the most sweeping changes to prison and sentencing laws in decades.

The latest version, on the floor via an unrelated bill, is whittled down to the provisions with the broadest support, bulked up with measures demanded by law enforcement and tough-on-crime Republicans, and tweaked to get the backing of President Donald Trump.

Democrats Press Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to Disclose More About Political Ads
Senators want voluntary disclosures about buyers of politically charged advertising

Democrats want Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to offer more voluntary disclosure about political ads. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A contingent of Senate Democratic Conference members want Facebook to voluntarily disclose more about the sources of advertising dollars on the social media platform.

The group led by New Jersey’s Robert Menendez, highlights in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg efforts by Russia to use Facebook to spread political messaging to undermine the U.S. electoral process.

Term Limits Talks Roil House Democrats
Talk of compromise on matter comes amid consternation

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been involved in talks with a few Democratic opponents to her speaker bid about term limits on party leaders and committee chairs, an idea opposed by many in her caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are at odds over whether to adopt intraparty term limits for their elected leaders and committee chairs, even as it offers them a way out of their current impasse on the race for the speakership.

The House Democratic Caucus has long wrestled with the idea of term limits. House Republicans adopted a rule in 1995 to limit committee chairs to serving three terms. Democrats kept that rule in place when they took the majority in 2007 but then decided two years later to get rid of it.