Richard Blumenthal

What to watch during impeachment: Napping senators
Things are getting soporific in the Senate chamber

Capitol workers wind the Ohio Clock in the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Spot the snoozing politician” is pretty much an annual tradition at the State of the Union. Now there’s a new chance to play the game.

As President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial continues, lawmakers are slouching, yawning and fidgeting — and observers in the gallery are watching for drooping eyelids.

To rein in Big Pharma over high drug prices, start with patent reform
Bipartisan proposals represent a rare bright spot in a divided Congress

Abuse of the patent system by brand-name drug manufacturers is exacerbating the financial burden faced by American patients for their prescription drugs, Lane writes. (George Frey/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — With the Senate impeachment trial kicking off and partisan tensions running high on several fronts, Americans might be forgiven for thinking that Congress has lost the ability to find common ground. But lately, and despite the proverbial odds, there is a new bipartisan consensus forming on an issue of incredible importance to millions of Americans: prescription drug pricing. Specifically, reforming the U.S. patent system to end abusive practices that are directly contributing to high drug prices.

Across the country, Americans are struggling under the weight of skyrocketing prescription drug costs. It is no secret that affording medicines and treatments is an incredible burden for too many families. On average, Americans are paying considerably more than citizens of other high-income countries for the same exact prescription drugs.

Courtroom experience a commodity as Trump impeachment trial begins
Senators with significant time in front of a judge are sought-after in the run-up to historic trial

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine says senators who’ve tried cases can get their points across with questions that are the “pithiest” and “shortest.” (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The impending impeachment trial of President Donald Trump has boosted the profile of senators who have specific experience in their background: spending time in front of a judge.

Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine, who tried cases and pressed appeals as a civil rights lawyer before he entered politics, said Wednesday that Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York has started a dialogue with him and other Democratic senators who have courtroom experience ahead of the impeachment trial.

‘Documents don’t lie’ — the other fight over evidence at Trump impeachment trial
With trial to begin next week, it's unclear Democrats have the votes to issue subpoenas

A lone protester holds a sign outside the Capitol on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The high-profile fight over potentially dramatic witness testimony at an impeachment trial of President Donald Trump has overshadowed the Senate’s possible demand for a different type of revealing cache of new evidence — withheld documents.

Senate Democrats have pushed to include in the trial documents that the Trump administration refused to turn over during the House investigation. But they need at least four Republicans to vote with all Democrats and independents for the Senate to subpoena witnesses or documents, and it's not clear they have those votes.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 9
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told senators at a GOP lunch to keep their schedules flexible for the end of next week

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks to reporters during her weekly news conference on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican senators were told by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at a lunch Thursday to keep their schedules flexible for the end of next week, when they are supposed to leave Washington for a weeklong break that includes the MLK Day holiday on January 20.

According to an attendee, McConnell said that with the possibility that Speaker Nancy Pelosi could soon send over the impeachment articles, senators should be prepared to be at the Capitol for Saturday sessions starting Jan. 18.

Judges ponder lawmaker right to sue over Trump businesses
Legal challenge rests on the constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause

A lawsuit led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., claims President Donald Trump is supposed to get consent from Congress before accepting payments or gifts from foreign governments under the Foreign Emoluments Clause. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal appeals court suggested Monday that individual members of Congress can’t pursue a lawsuit against President Donald Trump over allegations he violated a constitutional ban on financially benefiting from the office.

An attorney for more than 200 lawmakers — led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. — told a three-judge panel that Trump is supposed to get consent from Congress before accepting payments or gifts from foreign governments under the Foreign Emoluments Clause.

Targeting China, senators want Olympics to move up human rights timeline
10 senators have written to IOC President Thomas Bach

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., is leading an effort to pressure the IOC to speed up implementation of human rights standards . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Looking toward China’s hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics, senators from both parties want the International Olympic Committee to speed up the timeline for requirements designed to protect human rights in host countries.

In the letter signed by 10 senators led by Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn, the lawmakers express concern about China’s track record to IOC President Thomas Bach.

Consequential month ahead for court battles between House and Trump
Decisions expected in several cases that could determine limits of congressional power to investigate the president

The U.S. Supreme Court building at sunset on Nov. 14. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

December will bring a blizzard of action in federal courts that could ultimately settle the limits of congressional power to investigate presidents and compel testimony — and could play a role in the ongoing political drama over impeachment.

In the next two weeks, the Supreme Court and others will handle litigation about congressional subpoenas for White House and national security officials and about lawmakers’ ability to get documents related to President Donald Trump’s finances.

Senator finds out about school shooting during gun control debate
California shooting highlights Senate gun control debate in real time

Sen. Richard Blumenthal is passed a note about a school shooting on the Senate floor Thursday. (Senate Recording Studio/Screenshot)

When Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., started speaking on the floor Thursday morning, he had not yet heard about the mass shooting at a Southern California high school a little less than an hour before. During Blumenthal’s speech on gun control legislation, a staffer passed him a note alerting him to the shooting. Although he incorrectly stated that the shooting took place in Santa Clara, Calif. instead of Santa Clarita, Calif., Blumenthal quickly pointed to the massacre where two people died as a real-life example of the need for the legislation.

Senators move ahead with enhancing Olympics oversight
Commerce Committee advanced bill after debate about role of Congress

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., left, and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., are leading legislation to give Congress more authority over Olympic sports. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators moved ahead with an effort to enhance congressional oversight of U.S. participation in the Olympics on Wednesday, part of an ongoing response to recent sexual abuse scandals in sports.

The voice vote by the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to advance an amended version of a bipartisan bill came despite concerns raised by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.