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Weekend Work for the Senate? The Bluff That Won’t Go Away
Upon Wednesday return, a quickly defused musing of weekend work

Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., seen here walking by a nonfunctioning elevator in the basement of the Capitol, and other senators returned from recess on Wednesday and were hit promptly with a threat of weekend work, which fizzled quickly. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators returned to Washington on Wednesday and scarcely had time to head to lunch before their leaders unsheathed the threat of weekend work, an oldie but goodie bluff that was taken off the table before dinner time. 

Returning around noon from a two-week recess that was to stand in for the traditional month-long state work period, the chamber’s official order of business was considering the nominations of two judges to be on the 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals: First A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr., then  Julius Ness Richardson. The plan all along has been to confirm those two South Carolinians, then turn to a two bill appropriations package consisting of the Defense and Labor-HHS measures, at some point. 

3 Key Points in Manafort Defense’s Closing Argument
Prosecutors bear the burden of proof in the U.S., Manafort’s lawyers remind jury

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, here in November 2017, faces up to 305 years in prison if the Eastern Virginia jury finds his guilty on all charges. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Paul Manafort’s lawyers presented their final argument Wednesday, defending the former Trump campaign chairman from 18 charges of tax evasion, bank fraud, and bank fraud conspiracy.

Manafort faces up to 305 years in prison if the Eastern Virginia jury finds him guilty on all charges.

Ben Foster and Being Part of a ‘Continuing Conversation’ About Veterans
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 32

Ben Foster, left, discusses his latest movie "Leave No Trace," with Political Theater host Jason Dick. (David Banks/CQ Roll Call)

“For being an actor, being of the generation of the desert war, these questions are ever-present,” Ben Foster says about a body of work that has seen him portray veterans of America’s current conflicts. For the Boston native, veterans’ re-entry to civilian life is part of what he says is “a continuing conversation” he says is important. His latest movie, “Leave No Trace,” is the story of a veteran who is “slipping through the cracks.” For a country still at war and embroiled in extensive debate about veterans, and their well-being, it is a timely movie. Foster discussed the movie recently with Political Theater. 

Rep. Meng: Amend Constitution to Lower Voting Age to 16
The last constitutional amendment was passed in 1992

Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., announced Wednesday that she’s interested in lowering the voting age to 16. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Democratic Rep. Grace Meng introduced an amendment to the Constitution to lower the nationwide voting age to 16 years old.

The 26th Amendment — passed in 1971 — guarantees the right to vote to eligible citizens who are 18 years old or older, which shifted the voting age down from 21. Meng’s legislation would rewrite the amendment to include 16- and 17-year-olds in federal, state and local elections.

Trump Revokes Former CIA Director John Brennan’s Security Clearance
President is reviewing access to one current and eight former officials

President Donald Trump, here on the Hill in June, has revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John O. Brennan, citing his “erratic conduct and behavior.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced he has revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John O. Brennan and is reviewing the status for eight other former officials as well as one current official. 

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders read a statement from Trump on the security clearance reviews at the start of her daily press briefing. 

Hacking an American Election Is Child’s Play, Just Ask These Kids
Amidst election insecurity in Georgia, kids at this year’s DefCon show how easy systems are to hack

Daisy Capote, a Miami-Dade election support specialists, checks voting machines for accuracy at the Miami-Dade Election Department headquarters in Doral, Florida last week in preparation for the state’s primary later this month. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In March, Hawaii Democrat Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Securing America’s Elections Act to require the use of paper ballots as backup in case of alleged election hacking. Now voting advocates are suing Georgia to do the same thing.

Some voting systems are so easy to hack a child can do it. Eleven year old Emmett Brewer hacked into a simulation of Florida’s state voting website in less than 10 minutes at the DefCon hacking conference last week in Las Vegas, according to Time

Democrats Continue Camera Shy Ways With Brett Kavanaugh
Senate courtesy meetings continue, but with nary a photo op

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh arrives to meet with Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., in the Hart Senate Office Building on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic senators have, at least from Republican states, started meeting with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but they are mostly avoiding the press when doing so. 

With senators back in town, meetings with President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court resumed Wednesday, with a pair of Democrats on the agenda.

She Has Congress’ Loneliest Job
Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner appeals to colleagues as anniversary of Hurricane Maria approaches

Jenniffer González-Colón, here at an October 2017 news conference on disaster funding, is Puerto Rico’s first female resident commissioner. And that’s not the only reason she stands out in Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In Congress, you have to know your place. Alliances matter, and traditions are as tough as weeds.

Not that Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s lone voice in Washington, needs reminding.

Report: Former Rohrabacher Opponent Target of Cyberattack
California Democrat Hans Keirstead’s campaign was the target of a phishing attack

Democrat Hans Keirstead was the target of a successful cyberattack. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Democratic House candidate Hans Keirstead was the target of a successful cyberattack during his campaign in California’s 48th District against pro-Russia GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher

Rolling Stone reported that in August 2017, Keirstead fell for a phishing email that asked him to enter his password for his work email address, which he also used for his campaign. The campaign also reported efforts in December to hack into the campaign’s website and “hosting service,” and an effort in January to hack into the campaign’s Twitter account. Only the phishing attack in August was successful.