rhode island

Senate confirms Barr amid questions about Mueller report
The Senate voted to confirm Barr as the next attorney general, mostly along party lines

William P. Barr, left, nominee for attorney general, greets former Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, upon arriving for his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Hart Building on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. Hatch introduced Barr to the committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

William Barr takes over the Justice Department on Thursday at a pivotal moment for the nation’s legal landscape, with his tenure closely tied to how he will handle the special counsel’s Russia investigation and any political pressure from the White House.

The Senate voted 54-45 to confirm Barr as the next attorney general, mostly along party lines. Senators have strong clues that he will continue the Trump administration’s conservative policies and legal arguments on immigration, civil rights enforcement and LGBT employment discrimination.

Reed: Congress should be consulted on any Colombia deployment
The top Democrat on Senate Armed Services warned generals against planning military intervention in Venezuela without congressional input

Chairman James Inhofe, R-Okla., left, and ranking member Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., attend a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Hart Building on the U.S. Central Command on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, testified. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee warned generals on Thursday against planning a military intervention in Venezuela without first seeking congressional input.

“Congress must be consulted if there is any military action beyond the current planning for the evacuation of U.S. citizens and embassy personnel" in Venezuela, Jack Reed of Rhode Island told Adm. Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command.

It’s still the year of the woman, if this pizza chef has her way
Every week Ruth Gresser will offer up a cheesy, saucy concoction inspired by female politicians

Ruth Gresser, right, is bringing back her pizza promotion celebrating women who lead. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

After last year’s elections swept a record number of women into office, they’re finally getting some dough. Literally.

“I’m sure there would be many people who would say that there shouldn’t be any politics in pizza,” said chef Ruth Gresser, who owns D.C. mainstay Pizzeria Paradiso. But that hasn’t stopped her from creating a yearlong homage to women who lead.

Housing finance agency confirmation hearing could involve dueling mortgage plans
The Senate Banking hearing could show the likely direction of efforts to overhaul agencies that are huge players in the national mortgage market

Ranking member Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, left, and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., attend a Senate Banking Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled “Oversight of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission,” on December 11, 2018. Jay Clayton, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, testified. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration’s still undisclosed plans to end the federal conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be a focus of upcoming confirmation hearings for the nominee of the federal agency overseeing the two government sponsored enterprises.

Democrats such as Senate Banking ranking member Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, have said they’re concerned about the suitability of Mark Calabria, the nominee to run the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The committee hasn’t said when it will hold a hearing on Calabria’s nomination.

Concerns pile up in Senate over Trump’s troop withdrawal
Lawmakers in both parties voice worries about slaughter, getting it right, as top general says he was ‘not consulted’

Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Armed Services members from both parties worried aloud at a hearing Tuesday that looming U.S. troop withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan could risk squandering years of costly effort.

The senators expressions of concern came a day after the Senate voted 70-26 to approve a resolution that would oppose a “precipitous” withdrawal from Syria or Afghanistan. And it came on the same day as President Donald Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address, which is expected to include a call to all but terminate America’s nearly two decades of post-9/11 wars.

Sheldon Whitehouse takes aim at funding disclosure for court briefs
Rhode Island Democrat writes to chief justice about planned legislation

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., has concerns the Supreme Court is not fairly enforcing a rule that prohibits someone from filing an amicus curiae when contributors to the effort are anonymous. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse told the Supreme Court that he intends to introduce legislation this year meant to shed light on the funding behind groups that frequently file briefs aimed at influencing the outcome of high-profile cases.

The Rhode Island Democrat often decries how high-dollar, dark money donations can be funneled through advocacy groups to anonymously press political agendas through the Supreme Court and lower appeals courts — what he dubs “judicial lobbying efforts.”

Judiciary panel sets Barr vote, ‘ginormous loophole’ or no
Lingering questions for attorney general nominee aren’t enough to slow confirmation process

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., left, and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., still have questions for the president’s attorney general nominee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:40 p.m. | The Senate Judiciary Committee will press attorney general nominee William Barr about a possible “ginormous loophole” in his commitment to make public what the special counsel investigation finds about President Donald Trump.

Committee member Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, on Tuesday highlighted two possible ways in which Barr’s commitment to transparency could actually mean he would release no information about Trump or anyone else who is not charged with a crime.

Reed, Menendez press Trump for ‘immediate’ info on talks with Russia’s Putin
Duo sent letter to president hours before Giuliani suggests some 2016 collusion from campaign

Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., at a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Nov. 28, 2017.  They want answers from President Trump about his conversations with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As a top lawyer for Donald Trump suggests some members of the president’s 2016 campaign worked with Russians, two top Senate Democrats want answers about whether the commander in chief properly handled sensitive information about his contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Rudolph Giuliani told CNN Wednesday evening that he has “never said” there was zero collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russians. Shifting his stance yet again about what happened during that election cycle, Giuliani now says he stated only that the president himself never colluded with Russians or was involved in any potential actions by others that might constitute a crime.

Health law appeal paused as shutdown affects federal courts
Justice Department also asks for pause in suit concerning acting AG Whitaker

Citing the shutdown, Justice Department lawyers asked for a pause in a suit challenging the appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, pictured here. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The partial government shutdown halted a major challenge to the 2010 health care law among other civil litigation on Friday, as Justice Department lawyers sought the same in a challenge from three Senate Democrats to the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued a two-page order granting the Trump administration’s request to halt the 2010 health care law case “in light of lapse of appropriations.”

White House wants $7 billion more for DHS to fund wall
More than half of the request is for a ‘steel barrier’ along the southwest border

Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin couldn’t give a timetable on when the government would open back up: “I can’t say that we’re close because the president’s made it clear he doesn’t care.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House formally asked lawmakers Sunday to provide an additional $7 billion beyond what Senate appropriators proposed in their bipartisan Homeland Security spending bill last year, with more than half earmarked for a “steel barrier” along the southwest border.

The request, outlined in a letter from Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought, doesn’t seem likely to lead to an immediate breakthrough in reopening large portions of the federal government that have been closed since Dec. 22.