Executive Branch

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.

Trump Set to Sign Farm Bill, Minus the Food Stamp Changes He Wanted
Planned signing comes a day before current stopgap government funding expires

Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Pat Roberts expect to attend the farm bill signing later this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers expect President Donald Trump to sign the farm bill legislation Thursday even though it excludes Republican priorities Trump supported such as changes to food stamps.

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas and ranking member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan plan to be at the White House, though the former said Tuesday that he doesn’t have a time or any details.

New Jersey Police Seek Immigrants’ Trust, Get Pushback From ICE
Tensions rise in sanctuary clash between state, federal law enforcement

Immigration rights protesters take over the Senate steps of the Capitol in 2017. In New Jersey, police will no longer be permitted to ask about a suspect’s immigration status. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ten New Jersey law enforcement officers — including stern-looking state troopers and local police chiefs — are the stars of a series of unusual videos in which they seek the trust of undocumented immigrants, each explaining in a different language that police in the Garden State are not allowed to turn them over to federal immigration officials.

Long Hill Township Police Chief Ahmed Naga speaks in Arabic, and State Police Lt. Col. Fritz Fragé makes the pitch in Haitian Creole. And the top cop in the State Police, Col. Patrick Callahan, says in English that “we cannot do our jobs without the trust of the communities we serve.”

Senate Sends Criminal Justice Bill to the House
Action comes after years of debate, bipartisan support

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,resisted bringing the criminal justice bill to the floor initially, but he ultimately supported it. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted 87-12 to pass an amended criminal justice overhaul bill on Tuesday, sending a bipartisan measure that almost did not make it to the floor to what backers said was a clear and swift path to becoming law.

The bill, which was brought to the floor as an amendment to an unrelated measure, survived initial indifference from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a series of amendments from Republican opponents, and the addition of some other amendments before ultimately earning an overwhelming bipartisan final vote.

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.”)

Senators Preparing to Punt Spending Fight to February
Democrats rejected latest GOP border wall offer

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier Tuesday that he would consider punting the appropriations fight into next year, with the caveat he had to see what the White House was willing to accept. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 8:07 p.m. | Congressional leaders are moving closer to a stopgap funding bill that would save Christmas, but push off final decisions on fiscal 2019 spending until early February.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby said the Senate was preparing to advance a continuing resolution for all seven unfinished spending bills that would last until early February.

Poll: Democrat Leads GOP Governor in Kentucky
Republican Matt Bevin is unpopular and trails potential challengers

Polling shows Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, right, is potentially vulnerable in his 2019 re-election bid. That could affect the 2020 re-election bid of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, left. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new poll of next year’s gubernatorial race in Kentucky shows Democrats in position to extend their nationwide winning streak beyond the 2018 midterms.

Aside from taking back the House majority, Democrats also gained seven governorships around the country. And the party could pick up two more next year with wins in Kentucky and Mississippi, while re-electing Gov. John Bel Edwards in Louisiana.

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.

Judge Unexpectedly Delays Michael Flynn Sentencing
Judge signals he’s prepared to send former national security adviser to jail despite agreement with prosecutors

Michael Flynn, former national security adviser, leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse after a federal judge delayed his sentencing Tuesday. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Trump national security and campaign adviser Michael Flynn will not be sentenced for lying to the FBI until March.

A federal judge agreed to delay the sentencing of the former Trump official after signaling to Flynn and his attorneys that he was prepared to send Flynn to prison unless he learned more about his cooperation with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.