Rema Rahman

GOP Leadership Silent on Bannon’s Departure
Many House and Senate Republicans ignore White House chaos

Almost two hours after news broke Friday that President Donald Trump decided to part ways with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy  — at least at that moment — had another topic on his mind.

He retweeted a message that the chief executive sent out Friday morning, before Bannon’s ouster was reported, about elevating the country’s Cyber Command. McCarthy called it “the right move.”

Pelosi Pledges to Use ‘Every Avenue’ Against Trump
House Democrats file censure of president over Charlottesville response

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pledged on Friday to use “every avenue” to challenge President Donald Trump after three House Democrats filed a resolution condemning how the president responded to the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The censure resolution denounces Trump for not immediately and specifically condemning neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups who took part in the protest and then doubling down on his comments days later, saying some of the far-right protesters were “very fine people.”

For Bobby Scott, a District Carved in Calm
Virginia Democrat takes business-as-usual approach, absent political rhetoric

NORFOLK, Va. — At a recent town hall here in Virginia’s second most populous city, Rep. Robert C. Scott patiently took questions from more than two dozen residents waiting in line. The queue stretched to the very back of a high school auditorium with some standing for the entire portion of the two-hour public meeting.

Absent was the rancor that has dominated town halls across the country this year — mostly those held by congressional Republicans facing angry crowds, upset over changes the GOP wants to make to the 2010 health care law and expressing steadfast opposition to Donald Trump’s presidency.

Trump: Military ‘Locked and Loaded’ for North Korea
President escalates threats against Kim Jong-un

President Donald Trump escalated the war of words between the U.S. and North Korea early Friday, tweeting that the military was “locked and loaded” should Pyongyang make good on its threats to strike U.S. targets.

“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely,” the president tweeted. “Hopefully [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un will find another path!”

Trump Thanks Putin for Expelling U.S. Diplomats
President later says he was ‘absolutely’ being sarcastic

Updated Friday, 8:15 p.m. | President Donald Trump thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for his decision to expel hundreds of American diplomats based in Moscow, saying it will help reduce the U.S. government’s payroll.

The Kremlin’s decision to expel 755 U.S. diplomats by Sept. 1 came after Congress overwhelmingly passed a measure aimed at imposing sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. Trump, who signed the bill on Aug. 2, expressed his appreciation Thursday for Putin’s move.

Trump: North Korea Should Be ‘Very Nervous’ if Threats Continue
President says his earlier threats could have been tougher

President Donald Trump doubled down Thursday on warnings to North Korea, saying comments he made earlier in the week implying the U.S. would hit the country with “fire and fury” could have been harsher.

“Maybe it wasn’t tough enough,” Trump said from his golf club in New Jersey. “They’ve been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years, and it’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country.”

Trump Goes Back to Flogging McConnell Over Health Care
President’s attack Thursday afternoon comes after taking more encouraging tone

Updated 4:27 p.m. | President Donald Trump took on a more threatening tone toward Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday after a meandering series of messages earlier in the day.

The president started the day with a tweet that criticized the Kentucky Republican for a second day for failing to pass a health care bill, before offering an olive branch of encouragement by lunchtime.

John Lewis Staffer Under Ethics Inquiry
Chief of staff may have been improperly paid as campaign treasurer

A probe into whether a longtime aide for Rep. John Lewis was inappropriately paid as his campaign treasurer while also serving as chief of staff has been taken up by the House Ethics Committee, the panel announced Wednesday.

An inquiry by the Office of Congressional Ethics found the Georgia Democrat’s chief of staff, Michael Collins, also made slightly more in outside income as a senior staffer than House rules allow.

Ethics Committee Extending Conyers Review
OCE recommends panel investigate $50,000 paid to staffer on leave

The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday it would extend its review of an inquiry into whether Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. paid a longtime aide more than $50,000 over a four-month period when the staffer might not have conducted official business.

A report from May by the Office of Congressional Ethics, with which the inquiry originated, detailed Conyers’ decision to place his then-chief of staff Cynthia Martin on leave without pay after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor on March 30, 2016.

Ethics Committee Drops Ben Ray Luján Sit-In Inquiry
Panels Democrats who used phones on floor need ‘additional guidance’

The House Ethics Committee cleared Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico of violating chamber rules by sending campaign-related emails during a sit-in on the House floor last June because the panel concluded members need “additional guidance” when it came to the use of electronic devices in the chamber.

While an inquiry by the Office of Congressional Ethics found there was reason to believe Luján, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, may have conducted campaign activity and asked the Ethics panel to take up the matter, the independent OCE also acknowledged that its review “raised difficult questions about the application of House rules to solicitations via email.”

Roger Williams Cleared in Auto Dealership Ethics Probe
Texas Republican denied conflict of interest over amendment

The House Ethics Committee has cleared Rep. Roger Williams in an investigation into whether his business would have benefited from an amendment he offered that would allow auto dealers to rent or loan vehicles under recall.

The Texas Republican owns an auto mall in his home state, Roger Williams Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Weatherford, Texas, which had prompted the possibility of a conflict of interest on a bill the House was considering in November 2015.

Post Office Naming Sparks Feud in North Carolina
G.K. Butterfield says 2 GOP congressmen are retaliating over Jesse Helms snub

Bills intending to rename post offices and other federal buildings routinely make their way through the House — but one is causing a rift among the North Carolina congressional delegation.

Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield told The (Durham) Herald Sun that two of his Republican colleagues are refusing to sign on to a bill he introduced that would rename a federal building after a civil rights leader in retaliation for his not supporting a bill that would rename a building after former North Carolina Republican Sen. Jesse Helms.

GOP Congress Blames White House Chaos for Failures
House and Senate Republicans say administration distracts from advancing agenda

By REMA RAHMAN and JOHN T. BENNETT

Some House and Senate Republicans are blaming an erratic Trump White House for getting in the way of advancing their shared legislative agenda, saying the constant noise from the West Wing makes it nearly impossible to get things done.

Ethics Committee Announces Probe of Guam Delegate
Inquiry of Madeleine Bordallo involves island nation living situation

The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday it was taking up a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics on a matter involving Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo.

Bordallo’s spokesman, Adam P. Carbullido, said the matter relates to an inquiry regarding her living arrangement on the island.

Scalise to Begin Rehab for Gunshot Wound
House majority whip discharged from hospital Tuesday, six weeks after shooting

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is set to begin “intensive inpatient rehabilitation” six weeks after he was shot in the hip during a congressional baseball practice in Virginia.

The Louisiana Republican, who sustained a life-threatening single rifle shot to the left hip, was discharged from MedStar Washington Hospital Center on Tuesday, the hospital said in a statement.

House Passes Sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea
After procedural delays, bill sent to Senate

A bill aimed at imposing sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea passed the House 419-3 Tuesday after being held up by technical delays for weeks. But its fate in the Senate remains unclear.

The bill was largely lauded by leadership as a bipartisan effort.

House Tees up Sanctions Bill, but Senate Path Uncertain
House to consider imposing sanctions on Iran, Russia, North Korea

A bill that aims to impose sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea is up for a vote on the House floor Tuesday and leadership involved in negotiating terms of the legislation expect it to pass with little fanfare. But the measure would still need to clear the Senate, and it is unclear what the timetable is there for consideration.

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday that among the bipartisan compromises that were reached is a provision that would allow all members of the House to bring forth resolutions of disapproval should the president decide to withdraw sanctions on the three countries.

Barbara Lee to Take AUMF Repeal to Foreign Affairs
GOP leadership drop language from spending bill

Rep. Barbara Lee on Wednesday vowed to take her long-time efforts to repeal the current Authorization for Use of Military Force, which dates to 2001 but is used for a wide range of conflicts now, to the House Foreign Affairs Committee after Republican leaders removed it from a spending bill the California Democrat successfully attached the repeal to.

Ryan Teases August Recess Delay
If Senate delivers health care bill, “we’re going to stay”

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday that if the Senate delivers a health care bill before the summer is over, he’d be open to joining Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in keeping his chamber in during at least part of the August recess.

The Wisconsin Republican said that if the Senate produced the legislation at the same time members prepare to fly home for a month, “we’re going to stay and finish health care.”

Conaway, Schiff Don’t Accept Trump Tweets as Official Word
Intel members threaten to subpoena White House over Comey tapes, memos

Top lawmakers overseeing the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation are threatening to subpoena the White House if the administration does not fully comply with the panel’s request to hand over tapes or memos that might exist of conversations between President Donald Trump and former FBI Director James B. Comey.

The White House sent a letter last week to Intelligence ranking Democrat Adam B. Schiff and Republican Rep. K. Michael Conaway, who is leading the probe, that said a series of tweets by Trump indicating he had “no idea” if there were tapes of Comey was the official White House statement on the matter.