Elijah E Cummings

Start With Stormy, End With Strzok
Summer in the Capitol reaches peak tension

Senator here, farmer there. Montana Democrat Jon Tester is in a competitive re-election race back home. He also has a star turn in the new political documentary “Dark Money.” Listen to our Podcast about the movie. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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There’s nothing like a good knock-down, drag-out hearing about — what else? — THE 2016 ELECTION. The House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees had a good old time Thursday calmly discussing whether there was bias in the FBI’s investigation of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. In the hot seat was FBI special agent Peter Strzok, who gave as good as he got about text messages with a woman who was not his wife that were about politics. Griffin Connolly and the Roll Call video team had a good time cataloguing the seething emotions at the hearing, which featured a healthy dose of questions and allusions to infidelity. 

When Things Get Heated in the Hearing Room
Strzok shouting match is hardly the first time emotions have erupted in the paneled recesses of the Capitol

Posters depicting the men who have pleaded guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe are displayed alongside Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., as he gives his opening statement Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

FBI agent Peter Strzok felt the heat at Thursday’s House Oversight and Judiciary hearing, as tempers flared and points of order flew.  

Chairman Trey Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, brought the interrogative theatrics. “I don’t give a damn what you appreciate, Agent Strzok,” the South Carolina Republican told the witness, who was removed from the bureau’s Russia probe last year over politically charged texts.

Sparks Fly at Joint Hearing to Question FBI Agent Peter Strzok
Trey Gowdy ‘doesn’t give a damn’

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok testifies in front of the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee during a joint hearing on “‘Oversight of FBI and DOJ Actions Surrounding the 2016 Election” on’ Thursday July 12, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

For the first time in a public forum, FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok delivered an impassioned defense against claims from House Republicans that he held biases against candidate Donald Trump that affected his official agency decisions as he helped lead an investigation into ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

“Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: Not once in my 26 years of defending my nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took,” Strzok testified before a joint panel of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees.

Waters Urges More Protests Like Sanders at Restaurant, Others Plead for Civility
White House press secretary was asked to leave Virginia restaurant after protesters chanted DHS director out of another

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., urged supporters to protest Trump administration officials in public and refuse them service at restaurants and other local businesses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At least one Democratic lawmaker is encouraging her supporters to rise up in spontaneous protest and refuse service to members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet, the way press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was ousted from a Lexington, Virginia, restaurant last week.

But other Democrats decried the episode, urging their constituents not to discriminate against patrons, even if they disagree with their politics.

‘Trump Show’ Makes Tour Stop in Capitol Basement
President calls out Mark Sanford, opts against sticking to immigration

Speaker Paul D. Ryan escorts President Donald Trump to the House Republicans’ meeting Tuesday in the Capitol basement. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans might have gone into their Tuesday evening meeting with President Donald Trump expecting a discussion about immigration policy, but what they got was an episode of what might be dubbed “The Trump Show.”

The president did discuss dueling immigration bills crafted by members of the GOP conference. And he urged them to send him a bill that closes what his team dubs “loopholes” that he claims compelled his administration to institute a zero-tolerance program that prosecutes all adult migrants who try to enter the United States illegally, a misdemeanor, even if they arrive with minor children.

Analysis: Trump Repeats False Claim on Dems, Family Separation
Cummings to GOP: “We need you to stand up for these children”

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the Capitol Rotunda on Feb. 28. Despite evidence to the contrary, the president continues to repeat falsehoods about his administration’s immigration policy that separates migrant children from parents, Bennett writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday repeated his false claim that Democrats are solely responsible for his decision to separate migrant children from their parents when they attempt to illegally enter the United States.

“As a result of Democratic-supported loopholes in our federal laws, most illegal immigrant families and minors from Central America … cannot be detained together or released together, only released,” he said during remarks at a small-business conference in Washington, adding that the “crippling loopholes … cause family separation that we don’t want.”

Immigration Debate Steps on Hearing About FBI Report
‘These children are not animals, they are not bargaining chips, they are not leverage to help President Trump build his wall’

A group of mothers and their children protesting the separation of families at the southern border are escorted out of a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats used a Tuesday hearing about the Justice Department’s report on the probe into Hillary Clinton’s emails amid the 2016 campaign to turn the spotlight on the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Republicans spent the joint hearing of the Justice and Oversight and Government Reform committees putting the spotlight on the findings of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report centered on Clinton including politically tinged text messages between agents. 

Trump Uses Justice IG Report to Continue Attack on Comey
Dems’ counter-narrative: Report shows FBI aided Trump’s campaign

President Trump says a Justice Department IG report is a “total disaster” for former FBI Director James B. Comey]. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday suggested a Justice Department inspector general report that faulted the FBI for its actions during the 2016 campaign shows James B. Comey is not credible as the president tries to sow doubts about the agency’s Russia probe.

The department released the IG’s final report on the FBI’s handling of a probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of State, which contained an anecdote from one senior agent involved in that case texting another about the prospect of then-businessman and reality television star Trump becoming president: “We’ll stop it.”

Congress’ Focus on Opioids Misses Larger Crisis
‘All the bills are tinkering around the edges,’ one health official says

Targeting prescription opioids puts Congress years behind the crisis, which is largely driven by illicit nonprescription drugs. Above, heroin users at a New York City park in May. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By SANDHYA RAMAN, ANDREW SIDDONS and MARY ELLEN McINTIRE

Congress faced a startling public health and political problem throughout 2016 as the number of people dying from opioid addiction climbed. The number of Americans succumbing to drug overdoses more than tripled between 1999 and 2015, affecting a whiter and more geographically diverse population than previous drug crises. Lawmakers ultimately approved some modest policies aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse and provided $1 billion to support state efforts.

Pruitt Aide Sought Apartment, Old Trump Hotel Mattress for Boss
EPA Administrator allegedly talked to hotel about purchasing old mattress

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies during a Senate Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing in Dirksen Building on the proposed FY2019 budget for the EPA on May 16, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A top EPA aide to Administrator Scott Pruitt detailed a litany of personal tasks she performed on Pruitt’s behalf over the past year, including an exhaustive Washington apartment search and an effort to procure an “old mattress” from the Trump hotel, according to excerpts of an interview released by leading House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee Democrats Monday.

In the letter the Democrats ask the Republican chairman of the committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, to issue a subpoena for the EPA to submit all pertinent documents to the panel for review in the latest congressional response to Pruitt’s security, spending and housing issues that have dominated headlines.