Presidential race

Republicans Are 4-0 Defending Seats, but Could Still Be in Trouble
In each of the contested special elections, Democrats performed better than they had in years

Karen Handel gives her victory speech Tuesday night in Georgia after winning the 6th District special election. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Wednesday was a day for Republicans to rest easy. After winning the Georgia and South Carolina special elections Tuesday, the party avoided losing any congressional seats vacated by members who entered President Donald Trump’s administration.

But it’s not all good news for the GOP (or bad news for Democrats). In each of the four races where Republicans were defending seats — Kansas’ 4th, Montana’s at large seat, South Carolina’s 5th and Georgia’s 6th — Democrats did better than they had in any of those districts’ congressional elections since at least 2010.

DNC Said No Thanks to Help After Hack
Former Homeland chief says feds could have done more

Jeh Johnson, who formally led the Department of Homeland Security, said in hindsight there was more the federal government could have done to prevent hacking and election interference. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday the Democratic National Committee turned down help from the FBI after its system was hacked — and that he had not known about it for months.

“What are we doing? Are we in there?” Johnson said he asked when he became aware of the intrusion. He said the response he received was that the FBI had spoken to the committee but “they don’t want our help.”

Grassley to Justice Department: No Answers, No Nominee
Judiciary chairman wants responses to at least 15 letters first

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley is holding up the nomination of the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley is tired of his requests to the Justice Department going unanswered — and he’s fighting back yet again.

The Iowa Republican announced Thursday that the committee won’t advance the nomination of Stephen Boyd to be assistant attorney general for legislative affairs until he gets responses to at least 15 letters, some due more than six months ago.

Trump: DOJ Pivots to Obstruction After Failing to Prove Collusion
President tweets Russia probe being ‘led by some very bad and conflicted people!’

President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in the Rose Garden on Friday during which he called former FBI Director James Comey a liar. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Updated at 8:32 a.m. | President Donald Trump is contending the Justice Department is examining whether he obstructed justice because investigators were unable to prove his presidential campaign colluded with Russia.

Trump made the claim, and called the overall probe “phony,” as he often does, in a tweet around 7 a.m. Thursday. It came after some of the president’s surrogates have attempted to ding the credibility of former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is now leading the DOJ investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Report: Mueller Investigating Whether Trump Obstructed Justice
Special counsel’s shift of focus would only deepen president’s legal woes

Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Justice Department’s special counsel investigating Russia’s meddling in last year’s presidential election is now also reportedly examining whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

Robert Mueller, the former FBI director now leading the DOJ probe, is looking into whether the 45th president is guilty of a federal crime, The Washington Post reported Wednesday evening.

Scalise, Shot at Baseball Practice, Known as Behind-the-Scenes Mover
Republican Whip has been credited with moving signature bills, working with Trump

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, right, celebrates the Republicans’ win in last year’s Congressional Baseball Game with Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the Hill, Rep. Steve Scalise works behind the scenes to convince other Republicans to line up behind his Party’s agenda.

But on the baseball field during the annual Congressional game, he plays up the middle: He’s the second baseman.

White House Changes Subject to Health Care
Democrats happy to discuss issue they see as winner for them

As Attorney General Jeff Sessions was testifying on the Russia scandal, both the White House and Democrats wanted to talk about health care. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday fanned the flames of the Russia scandal that hangs over Donald Trump’s presidency, the White House appeared eager to change the subject to health care.

And that appears to be just fine with Democrats amid a messaging war over the Republicans’ crafting of a replacement for the 2010 health care law that Trump claims will be “far better” than the Obama-era system.

Sanders Gets First Endorsement for 2020 Presidential Race
Ro Khanna notes Sanders has ‘trust at a time when people don’t trust anyone in politics’

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has polled as the most popular politician in the wake of the 2016 election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna got an early start talking about the 2020 presidential election on Monday when he tweeted that Rep. Bernie Sanders should “absolutely run again in 2020!”

Khanna went on to say Sanders “has vision, stamina, and most importantly, trust at a time when people don’t trust anyone in politics.”

Sessions to Testify in Public Hearing on Tuesday
Attorney general follows explosive Comey testimony before Intelligence panel

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the investigation into possible ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify Tuesday in an open hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee for its ongoing probe into Russia’s interference in last year’s presidential election.

The public hearing was announced Monday by Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner.

Democrats Stick to Health Care Message Amid Russian Intrigue
Party sees health care as more salient campaign issue

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., says health care is the issue that concerns her constituents the most, adding that she has gotten “zero questions about Russia.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite the daily drip about Russia and the Trump administration, national Democrats who hope to exploit Republicans’ vulnerabilities in 2018 are focusing their messaging squarely on health care before the July 4 recess.

Just minutes after former FBI Director James B. Comey concluded his testimony Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee — in which he said the president lied to the America people — the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee blasted out a release.