2018

Could Donald Trump replace Sarah Huckabee Sanders with John Barron?
President never replaced his last communications director, prefers to drive own messaging

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is leaving her post later this month after a controversial tenure. There’s no frontrunner to replace her. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ voice cracked Thursday afternoon as she described her reasons for giving up her White House press secretary gig.

“I feel like it’s important for the president to be able to put somebody in place as he moves into the campaign season,” Sanders said in an impromptu gaggle in her office, also saying she wants to spend time with her three young kids. 

Trump — not lawmakers — set to be biggest challenge for new legislative affairs chief Ueland
No matter who runs Hill shop, president’s approach is ‘very unlikely to yield results,’ expert says

Wyoming Sen. Michael B. Enzi, right, introduces Eric Ueland at his confirmation hearing to be under secretary of State for management in September 2017. That nomination was later withdrawn, but Ueland will be President Donald Trump’s third legislative affairs director, starting Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eric Ueland, hand-picked by President Donald Trump to be his third legislative affairs director, has decades of experience in the D.C. “swamp” his soon-to-be boss loathes. But the former senior GOP aide will quickly learn it is the president alone who is, as one official put it Thursday, “the decider.”

Ueland has been chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and a Senate Budget Committee staff director. Experts and former officials describe him as highly qualified for the tough task of being the messenger between Trump and a Congress with a Democrat-controlled House that regularly riles up the president and a Senate where Republicans lack votes to pass most major legislation.

White House and White House appointee fight over Kellyanne Conway
Office of Special Counsel accuses Conway of violating Hatch Act as White House punches back

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is the subject of a fight between the White House and the federal Office of Special Counsel. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

A federal special counsel nominated by President Donald Trump is calling for White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to be removed from office for taking overtly political actions while fulfilling her official government duties.

But the White House is pushing back, saying the office violated Conway’s due process rights and is questioning the special counsel’s motivations.

Ethics report on former Schweikert chief of staff raises questions about lawmaker’s conduct
Schweikert says he will not let ethics cloud deter re-election efforts

Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., said the ethics investigation into him and his chief of staff was prompted by a disgruntled former employee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. David Schweikert’s former chief of staff used official funds on a six-day trip to Arizona in which he attended Super Bowl XLIX; separately, he made impermissible contributions to his boss and received income beyond the House’s outside earned income limit for his position, according to a report made public Wednesday by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Many of the allegations into the former chief of staff, Richard Oliver Schwab, Jr., relate to Schweikert, who is under the scrutiny of a House Ethics Committee investigative subcommittee.

‘Running with Beto’: The offstage version of Beto O’Rourke
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 77

Beto O’Rourke’s campaign for Senate in Texas provided plenty of fodder, warts and all, for David Modigliani’s ‘Running with Beto’ documentary on HBO. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Filmmaker David Modigliani got to first base with Beto O’Rourke. At an amateur club baseball game in Austin, Texas, in early 2017, O’Rourke, center fielder for the Los Diablitos de El Paso, singled and introduced himself to Modigliani, first baseman for the Texas Playboys Baseball Club, and said he was a congressman running for Senate.

This anecdote doesn’t make it into Modigliani’s documentary for HBO, “Running with Beto,” but it fits right into the movie’s vibe. O’Rourke’s “Let’s put on a multimillion-dollar Senate campaign” approach did not suffer from a lack of exposure, but Modigliani casts it in a different light by showing more than just the Texas Democrat’s armpit-sweat and crowd-surfing, DIY schtick. He wanted to document someone like O’Rourke “trying something new” in Texas, where Democrats “have been banging their heads against the wall for 30 years.”

Rep. Greg Pence tweaked his campaign finance report ‘to avoid confusion ... from hostile reporters,’ spokesman says
Report had said Pence spent thousands on ‘lodging’ on Trump International Hotel

Rep. Greg Pence, R-Ind., amended campaign finance reports to address questions about spending at Trump International Hotel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Greg Pence, facing scrutiny for spending campaign funds on overnight stays at the Trump International Hotel, tweaked his campaign finance filings Tuesday “in order to avoid confusion here from hostile reporters,” a spokesman said.

A report to the Federal Election Commission shows that Pence, the brother of Vice President Mike Pence, has spent$22,064 at the Trump's hotel in Washington since December for various fundraising-related expenses.

Beto O’Rourke ‘very likely’ to back Democrat over GOP friend Rep. Will Hurd, reversing his 2018 position
Hurd defeated Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones by 1,000 votes in 2018 midterms, as O’Rourke declined to endorse her

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke indicated Wednesday that he will “very likely” endorse the Democratic nominee running against his friend Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke will “very likely” support the eventual Democratic nominee challenging one of his best friends in Congress, GOP Rep. Will Hurd. It’s a reversal from O’Rourke’s vow of neutrality in the 2018 midterm elections.

Gina Ortiz Jones, a former Air Force intelligence officer who raised more than $6 million in her failed bid to unseat Hurd in 2018, recently announced she is jumping into the race to challenge Hurd again in 2020. O’Rourke indicated Wednesday that he does not plan to repeat his neutrality vow and, instead, “will be supporting” Ortiz Jones if she emerges victorious from the Democratic primaries.

Ex-Rep. Dana Rohrabacher joins ‘Craigslist of weed’ board
California Republican was a longtime champion of cannabis while in Congress

Former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., has joined the board of a company dubbed the “Craigslist of weed.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has become a major shareholder and advisory board member of BudTrader, a California-based marijuana advertising website that has been christened the “Craigslist of Weed.

“I’m proud to announce I’ve joined [BudTrader] as a shareholder and advisory board member, so I may continue the fight for cannabis legalization on a national level,” the California Republican tweeted earlier this week.

‘Case closed!’ Trump declares, even as Mueller fires warning shot on obstruction
Special counsel says if he had found no evidence of presidential crimes, he would have said that ‘clearly’

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is seen on a monitor in the Russell Building on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, making a statement at the Department of Justice on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Kelly O'Donnell of NBC News listens in the background. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:21 p.m. | “The case is closed!” President Donald Trump declared minutes after special counsel Robert S. Mueller III formally concluded his investigation — even though the former FBI director fired a shot directly across the president’s bow.

Mueller on Wednesday delivered his first spoken public words in two years, saying his investigation was never going to end with indicting the 45th president because such a move would be “unconstitutional” due to Justice Department guidelines that prohibit it. What’s more, Mueller repeated what his 448-page report did: That he and his team did not conclude that Trump committed no crimes — a potential signal to House Democrats that he favors impeachment proceedings.

Iranians set up fake social media accounts to influence 2018 midterms, new report says
‘They promoted material in line with Iranian political interests,’ new report says

A new report says Iran may have orchestrated an influence campaign during last year’s midterms that followed the same playbook as Russia’s from 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Iranians posing as Americans set up fake accounts on social media platforms between April 2018 and March 2019 and espoused policy views on both sides of the U.S. political spectrum, in a replay of the Russian playbook from 2016, according a report by the threat intelligence firm FireEye released Tuesday.

Some of those who were impersonated included Republican political candidates who contested House races, the firm said.