politics

Trump Signals Defeat on Wall Demand as Christmas Crisis Deadline Nears
Democrats ‘fight to the death’ to block barrier project, president gripes

President Donald Trump argues about border security with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer , right, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as Vice President Mike Pence listens in the Oval Office last week. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump signaled defeat Wednesday on his threat to shut down nearly half the federal government over his border wall funding demand, possibly pulling the country back from the brink of a Christmas crisis.

His morning tweet and spokeswoman’s comments Tuesday marked another abrupt reversal for the 45th president, who last week roared at the top two congressional Democrats that he would “take the mantle” and shut down parts of the government unless they gave him $5 billion for his border barrier.

Here Are the House Members Who Have Skipped Votes This Lame-Duck Session
Most of the absentees are members who lost re-election, ran for another office or are retiring

The lame-duck session of Congress has seen its fair share of absenteeism in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

More than 40 percent of House members have missed at least one vote this lame-duck session, leading to attendance problems that have prohibited the outgoing Republican majority from advancing legislation that Democrats don’t want to help them pass — and a smaller subset have missed at least half of all lame-duck votes.

There have been only 20 House roll call votes since the lame-duck session started on Nov. 13, but 17 members have missed at least half of them. Of those 17 repeat offenders, 11 are Republicans and six are Democrats.

To Prevent Election Meddling, Invest in Black Voters, Groups Say
Russian disinformation campaign seized on long history of suppressing black votes

A voter enters the polling station at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Ala., to vote in the 2017 special election to fill Jeff Sessions' seat in the U.S. Senate. In the foreground is a historical marker noting a 1963 civil rights march to the courthouse to register African-American women as voters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Political leaders seeking to prevent future meddling in American elections could take a lesson from the Russians: Invest in black voters.

That’s one takeaway from reports this week that Russian operatives disproportionately targeted African-Americans during the 2016 election, according to groups that seek to increase black participation and representation in American politics. 

It’s the President’s Latest TV Drama. Call It ‘Trump Show: Shutdown’
POTUS cast himself as maestro, but Republicans lack Christmas crisis-averting plan

Can President Donald Trump extract himself and Congress from the the shutdown-related dramatics he has fanned? (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS | Republicans — despite controlling the House, Senate and White House — have no firm plan to avert a partial government shutdown scheduled to start on Friday night. But for President Donald Trump, that’s just when he feels most in control.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said Tuesday afternoon during an unrelated event. “It’s too early to say.” (Translation: Stay tuned to “The Trump Show.”)

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Pillow talk, Senator Hatch’s Office has spoken, and staffer shuffle

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for it. We look, but we don’t find everything. We want to know what you see too.

Judge Lights Into Michael Flynn: ‘You Sold Your Country Out’
‘I’m not hiding my disgust... for your criminal offense,’ judge tells Flynn in dramatic courtroom tirade

Former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is greeted by protesters and supporters as he and his wife Lori Andrade arrive at the Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington on Tuesday before his sentencing for lying to the FBI about his communication with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan suggested that former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn could have been charged with treason during a fiery tirade at the three-star general’s sentencing hearing Tuesday.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team of prosecutors did not charge Flynn with treason, and multiple legal experts have said it would be extraordinarily difficult for them to prove such a charge.

White House: Trump Willing to Use Other Funds for Wall to Get Deal
White House would go along with deal as long as it can use funding from other sources to get closer to $5 billion

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House might go along with the Senate plan “as long as we can couple that with other funding resources that would help us get to the $5 billion.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders seemed to endorse a potential spending deal that would include all of the remaining appropriations, including a Senate Homeland Homeland Security bill with $1.6 billion in wall-related funding.

But as usual, there was a catch — President Donald Trump might insist on flexibility to use other funds already identified to get closer to his desired $5 billion.

To Trump, Flynn Merely Under ‘Tremendous Pressure,’ But Cohen Is a ‘Rat’
‘Good luck today in court to General Michael Flynn,’ POTUS tweets

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, speaks during a rally for then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Sept. 16, 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning issued a prebuttal to anything Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser and campaign aide, might reveal when he is sentenced by a federal judge later in the day.

The retired Army three-star general last year pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign cycle. Flynn once egged on Trump rally crowds in chants of “lock her up,” referring to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of State.

Illness Will Make Rep. Walter Jones Miss the Rest of This Session
Jones to return in January to serve out his final term in office

North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones has been granted a leave of absence for the duration of the congressional term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones’ unspecified illness will cause him to miss votes for the remainder of the 115th Congress.

Jones’ House colleagues granted the leave of absence on Dec. 11 by unanimous consent, according to the Congressional Record.

Who Might Run for Alexander’s Tennessee Senate Seat in 2020?
All eyes are on outgoing Gov. Bill Haslam and Rep.-elect Mark Green

Outgoing Gov. Bill Haslam, seen here at a rally with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in 2016, is a likely candidate for the open Senate seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander’s announcement on Monday that he won’t seek a fourth term opens up a 2020 Senate seat in a state President Donald Trump carried by 26 points in 2016.

All eyes are on outgoing Gov. Bill Haslam, who could clear the field and would likely be a successor in the same Republican mold as Alexander.