Congress

Things that go boom: Michael Cohen, Apollo 11 and this week

“Says who?” guy from 2016 dropped in on Capitol Hill

Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, testifies Wednesday during a House Oversight and Reform hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There was so much political theater this week, it wouldn’t fit into just one podcast. So we did two! 

Resting Cohen face

Michael Cohen, who will forever, at least to Political Theater, be the “Says who?” guy from the 2016 campaign, dropped in on Capitol Hill this week for a round robin of testimony with multiple committees about his fixer-for-Donald-Trump days. Sturm? Meet Drang. 

So naturally we asked, what kind of political effect might this have on 2020 strategies. Bridget Bowman and Simone Pathé discuss in our first Political Theater podcast of the week. We kept it to the point, punchy even. Consider it a bonus podcast.

To the Moon!

"Apollo 11" director Todd Douglas Miller, right, discusses his documentary about the iconic moon landing with Political Theater Podcast host Jason Dick. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)
“Apollo 11” director Todd Douglas Miller, right, discusses his documentary about the iconic moon landing with Political Theater podcast host Jason Dick. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

And when you have crazy busy weeks like this one, it’s nice to zoom out. In the case of podcast No. 2, that takes us all the way to the moon and back, with Todd Douglas Miller hanging out and discussing his new documentary, “Apollo 11,” which he put together using never-before-seen archival footage, a lot of it in 65mm large film format, from that seminal moment in human history. 

Yet another look at a 50-year-old event might seem not the best investment of time. But don’t be fooled. Miller’s sveltely edited movie presents the lunar mission in a fresh way, bringing viewers into a story that feels both intimate, as it zooms in on the small details of late 1960s American life, and epic, as the images and narrative move into the celestial phase and back to Earth.

Even lawmakers should geek out about it. Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, who attended the screening of “Apollo 11” on Tuesday night at the Air and Space Museum, certainly did, snapping pics with his phone of the Apollo launch, which shook the theater and led Eric Armstrong, son of the late Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong, to say the movie was the closest thing to an actual Saturn V rocket launch he’d ever seen. 

That time the Apollo 11 astronauts were all on the Hill

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 16: Astronaut Neil Armstrong, 81, speaks at a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. The medal is the highest civilian honor, and the first time the Congressional Gold Medal has been awarded to astronauts. The other medals The medals were given to Apollo 11 crew Buzz Aldrin, 81; and Michael Collins, also 81. The fourth winner was astronaut and former senator John Glenn, 90. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ-Roll Call).
Astronaut Neil Armstrong speaks at a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda on Nov. 16, 2011. It was the first time Congress’ highest civilian honor had been awarded to astronauts. Other recipients were Buzz Aldrin, background right, former Ohio Sen. John Glenn, second from right, and Michael Collins, not pictured. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawyers, guns and money

What else this week?

Oh, there was the House voting to terminate the national emergency declaration President Donald Trump invoked to build a wall on the southern border. Several Republicans crossed the aisle to support that, although it fell short of a veto-proof majority, and Trump says he will most definitely veto it if it gets to his desk.

In the event the declaration holds and the president is able to raid appropriated money from military installations and counter-narcotics programs for his pet project, the Pentagon wants Congress to replenish the funds with most haste

The House also passed, for the first time in years, stand-alone gun safety legislation. There was some aisle-crossing on that one, too

Speaking of guns! Capitol Police officers are at the whole did-I-really-leave-my-service-weapon-in-the-bathroom-thing again. No really. A cop left his Glock in a Capitol Visitor Center bathroom. Again. 

The Senate confirmed a circuit court judge, tearing up the traditional blue slip process of allowing home-state senators to weigh in on the choice.  The majority is not about to let a few decades’ worth of precedence and courtesy to get in the way of filling the judiciary with Trump’s conservative-stamped nominees. 

Once more with Cohen

Cohen, again. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Cohen, again. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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