senate

Sessions Ducks Senate Questions on Trump-Related Probes
‘That calls for a speculative answer ... I’m just not able to do that’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions prepares to testify during the Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the fiscal 2019 budget for the Justice Department on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions reassured senators Wednesday the Justice Department will stay committed to the law in the face of criticism from President Donald Trump, who has openly disparaged the agency and actions of the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

But Sessions was coy during testimony about his role in the department’s high-profile investigations and the politics of Trump’s criticism.

A Plea for the Old School Senate: Senators Really, Really Want to Move Spending Bills This Time
Meeting on nomination rules changes gives way to talk of spending bills, comity

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., brought a chart of the Senate floor to the Rules Committee. (Rules and Administration Committee screenshot)

What could have been a contentious meeting about shortening Senate debate time for nominations turned into more of a bipartisan conversation among some of the most senior senators at taking another shot at moving regular spending bills.

“Let’s pick an appropriation bill, put some training wheels on it and head it to the floor. Let’s see how this works,” Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin said. “We’ve got to educate ourselves.”

Democrats Still Not Satisfied With CIA Disclosures About Gina Haspel
Agency making more available in a classified setting

Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico has joined with colleagues Ron Wyden and Dianne Feinstein in pressing the CIA to declassify more information on deputy director Gina Haspel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The CIA will be providing senators with an opportunity to review more classified information about President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the agency in a secure room deep beneath the Capitol.

But some senators are not convinced about the commitment to transparency about nominee Gina Haspel, the current deputy director who spent much of her career serving in clandestine capacities.

White House: No Red Flags In Multiple Jackson Background Checks
Despite Trump team's efforts, nomination appears stalled

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves Dirksen Building after a meeting on Capitol Hill with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., on April 24, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House on Wednesday continued defending embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Ronny Jackson, saying multiple background checks have turned up no red flags. And, for the first time, a senior official said an internal review could happen as his nomination appears stalled.

With his Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee confirmation hearing still on hold amid allegations he over-prescribed medication, was drunk on the job and fostered a hostile work environment, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters he has undergone four federal background checks since becoming a White House doctor.

Emmer Wins First Franken-less Minnesota Hotdish Competition
Sen. Tina Smith took over as host of the 8th annual event

Minnesota congressional delegation members, from left, Reps. Jason Lewis, Erik Paulsen, Keith Ellison, Tim Walz, and Betty McCollum, and Sen. Tina Smith pose for a selfie Wednesday during the eighth annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Tom Emmer’s “Hotdish of Champions” won the eighth annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition on Wednesday.

He was originally tied for first with Rep. Rick Nolan’s “Last Dish Effort” — aptly named because the congressman is retiring after this term — but the master of ceremonies, MinnPost Washington bureau chief Sam Brodey, broke the tie. 

We Made a List of All the Russia, Trump Investigations So You Don’t Have To
Who is looking into Russia’s role in the 2016 elections?

FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in the Dirksen Building on oversight of the FBI. Mueller is heading one of the multiple investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Hacking, Facebook ads and pee tapes. News keeps breaking around Russia’s involvement in the 2016 elections, but who’s investigating the firehose of information?

Here’s our list:

Macron Denounces Nationalistic Wave That Propelled Trump to White House
Post-WWII order is in jeopardy, French president warns U.S. lawmakers

French President Emmanuel Macron, center, arrives to address a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday, flanked from left by Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.,and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

French President Emmanuel Macron, addressing a joint meeting of Congress, denounced the wave of nationalistic fervor that helped Donald Trump capture the White House and urged U.S. lawmakers to seek a new and broader deal with Iran.

After spending a day and a half with Trump and first lady Melania Trump that included private meals, cheek kisses, hand-holding and backslapping, the French president broke with his political alter ego on several issues.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Macron in the house, hotdish competition, Flint anniversary, and golf on the Hill

Kourtney Kardashian arrives for an Environmental Working Group briefing on cosmetics reform in Russell Building on Tuesday. (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 those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

GOP Baseball Team Returns to Scene of Last Year’s Shooting
Huge media and security presence around field where gunman opened fire last year

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., in red hat, hugs Matt Mika, who was critically injured in the shooting at last year’s Republican baseball practice. The GOP team held a news conference after their first practice at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican congressional baseball coach Roger Williams hit infield practice Wednesday morning as Rodney Davis played catcher and Williams staffer Zack Barth backed them up around a flooded batter’s box.

In the outfield, lobbyist and former Hill aide Matt Mika fielded balls with teammates.

White House Uses Obama to Try to Salvage Jackson Nomination
Trump opens door to let VA nominee see himself out, Democrats question White House vetting

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, leaves the Dirksen Senate Office Building after a meeting on Capitol Hill with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House is trying to salvage Ronny Jackson’s nomination for Veterans’ Affairs secretary by citing former President Barack Obama, even after President Donald Trump publicly advised him to step aside.

Hours after Trump told reporters he would not continue as the nominee if he were in the White House physician’s shoes, a senior official shared information touting Jackson’s record. The information included praise from Obama, including the 44th president’s recommendation that Jackson, a Navy officer, be promoted ahead of his peers.