the-big-story

Podcast: After Charlottesville, Civil Rights Under Trump at the Fore
The Big Story, Episode 67

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies during the Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Last weekend’s bloody Virginia demonstrations incited by white supremacists will focus new attention on how the Trump administration is altering the Justice Department’s approach to hate crimes and other civil rights issues, CQ legal affairs reporter Todd Ruger explains. It’s a big test for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, already under fire from the president and because of his own record on race.

Show Notes:

Podcast: Why You Shouldn’t Be Alarmed Over North Korea...Yet
The Week Ahead, Episode 65

President Donald Trump speaks during a security briefing on Thursday at his Bedminster National Golf Club in New Jersey. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump’s fiery rhetoric over North Korea’s nuclear program should not be taken seriously just yet, says CQ Roll Call’s foreign policy reporter Rachel Oswald, adding that Congress may take further action against Pyongyang in September.

Show Notes:

Podcast: Alabama's Strange Election Turns Anti-McConnell But Pro-Trump
The Big Story, Episode 66

GOP candidate for Senate Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., speaks with attendees after the U.S. Senate candidate forum held by the Shelby County Republican Party in Pelham, Ala., on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Sen. Strange is running in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

CQ Roll Call's senior political reporter Bridget Bowman says Republicans competing for Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat in Alabama are striving to tell primary voters just how much they support Donald Trump and, perhaps surprisingly, are using Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a punching bag.

Podcast: Inside the Senate’s Struggle With Civility
The Big Story, Episode 65

Senators are heading home for summer break, after a health care implosion highlighted the partisan ill will that’s festered all year. Ed Pesce, who edits CQ’s Senate coverage, explains how hardline GOP procedural tactics have taken the chamber to a new low, and what could get civil deliberations back on track.

Podcast: What's the Spiel With Democrats' Better Deal?
The Big Story, Episode 64

From left, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., attend a rally with House and Senate Democrats to announce "A Better Deal" economic agenda. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Podcast: Why Republicans Haven’t (Yet) Said Nyet to Trump on Russia
The Big Story, Episode 63

CQ Roll Call columnist Walter Shapiro and senior editor David Hawkings consider the Watergate scandal and what its rhythms reveal about why today’s GOP lawmakers are still taking a wait-and-see approach to the sprawling, sometimes confusing connections between the Russians and President Donald Trump.

Podcast: Short Recess, Long on Goals
The Big Story, Episode 62

The Senate will stick around Washington a little longer in August, shortening its recess to focus on an ambitious agenda. The list of things to do could include confirming the new FBI director. CQ Roll Call Senior Senate Reporter Niels Lesniewski and Leadership Editor Jason Dick break down what is doable.

Podcast: GOP’s Health Care Puzzle Not Solved by Protests, Parades
The Big Story, Episode 61

Protesters march around the Capitol to voice their opposition to the GOP health care legislation on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell likened his search for 50 senators willing to vote for the same repeal-and-replace legislation to solving a Rubik’s Cube, a task not helped by many GOP skeptics getting besieged back home this July 4 recess. Roll Call reporters Bridget Bowman and Niels Lesniewski see no reason to predict the health care impasse is about to be broken.

 

Podcast: McConnell’s Health Care Seesaw
The Big Story, Episode 60

From left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., after announcing there would be no vote on the health care bill this week. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate majority leader hasn’t abandoned hope of finding 50 votes for the year’s top GOP priority. But postponement over the July Fourth break won’t make it easier to bridge the gap between those focused on Obamacare’s repeal and those worried about too stingy a replacement, Roll Call’s Niels Lesniewski and David Hawkings explain.

Show Notes:

Podcast: What We Learned From 2017’s Special Elections
The Big Story, Episode 59

Campaign workers decorate the ballroom with balloons for Jon Ossoff's election night watch party in Atlanta, Ga., on special election day, Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)