Richard J Durbin

White House Middle East Victory Lap Draws Skepticism
Aides pushing a win, but headaches await return from region

President Donald Trump delivers a statement with Israeli President Reuven Rivlinon on Monday in Jerusalem. The White House says its first Middle East visit was a big success, but some Democrats are skeptical. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

The White House is describing President Donald Trump’s first dose of Middle East diplomacy as a “historic” success, but some lawmakers are skeptical that the optimistic rhetoric will become policy, and at least one is looking to block a major announcement from the trip. 

Trump spent all or parts of four days huddling with Muslim and Israeli leaders before heading to Europe on Tuesday afternoon. So confident was the White House that the first leg of Trump’s overseas diplomatic debut had gone well that they did not wait to land in Italy to declare victory.

Hill and Mueller Don’t Have to Clash, but It Will Not Be Easy
Congressional inquiries and prosecutors have different purposes, but the same witnesses

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel for the Russia investigation was greeted positively by lawmakers, but they disagreed on the effect his probe will have on their own investigations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional inquiries and special counsels can productively coexist, serving complementary purposes because of their reciprocal approaches, unless they’re unable to settle inevitable fights over the same documents and star witnesses.

That may be the best response to a question many on Capitol Hill started asking as soon as Robert S. Mueller III was appointed to run the government’s probe of Russian interference in last year’s election and whether Moscow collaborated with President Donald Trump’s campaign:

Lawmakers Greet Mueller Appointment With Relief
Rank and file smile, although GOP leaders remain reticent

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel by the Justice Department on Wednesday to investigate alleged Russian interference in last year’s election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By JOE WILLIAMS, LINDSEY McPHERSON and REMA RAHMAN

Even as House and Senate Republicans turned up the heat on the Trump White House for answers about the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey, Democrats got a big win when the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including any connections to the Trump presidential campaign.

Capitol Hill Remembers 'Original Godfather for Congressional Staffers'
Durbin hosts memorial service for late chief of staff Ed Greelegs

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., speaks at Ed Greelegs' memorial service on Wednesday. (Alex Gangitano/ CQ Roll Call)

At the standing room only memorial service for former Senate chief of staff Ed Greelegs, a colleague asked if other chiefs could raise their hands. More than 20 were present.

Vermont Democrat Patrick J. Leahy’s former chief of staff Luke Albee then repeated a lesson Greelegs had taught him: “You’re a much better human being, and you go through life more fulfilled if no one’s invisible.”

Lawmakers Take More Aggressive Stance After Latest Trump Allegations
Leahy: ‘When I was a prosecutor it would be called obstruction of justice’

The White House is trying to shoot down a New York Times report that President Donald Trump tried to get an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn dropped. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By JOHN T. BENNETT and NIELS LESNIEWSKI

Congressional Democrats warned President Trump may have obstructed justice by allegedly asking then-FBI Director James Comey to drop a probe of a former White House official, charges the the White House denies.

Rosenstein Cameo Adds Drama to Hectic Hill Day
Meeting with Senate Intel leaders catches observers off guard

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, prepares to leave a meeting with Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Ranking Member Mark Warner, D-Va., after a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in the Hart Building titled "World Wide Threats" on May 11, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By TODD RUGER and RYAN LUCAS, CQ Roll Call

For a longtime federal prosecutor who won bipartisan praise from lawmakers for his professional integrity, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein quickly finds his reputation in the political frying pan.

Durbin Undergoes Procedure for Irregular Heartbeat
Senate Democrat Expected to Remain in Illinois for the Week

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., has been treated for an irregular heartbeat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin underwent an outpatient procedure Tuesday morning to address an abnormal heart rate discovered during a recent physical, his office announced in a release.

The procedure to correct a condition known as an atrial flutter utilized “painless radiofrequency energy” to get rid of irregular heart tissue and restore a regular heart rhythm, according to Durbin’s office.

Senators Learning to Shrug Off Trump’s Tweets
President’s social media lobs on government funding talks largely dismissed

President Donald Trump used Twitter to jump into government funding talks but his actions had little effect on the negotiations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A number of senators shrugged off President Donald Trump’s decision to express his views on the latest government funding debate on Twitter, suggesting that the social media platform might not be the best way for the president to convey his views to Congress.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said they did not pay much attention to the president’s Twitter missives, as talks to avert a government shutdown continued.

Spending Shutdown Showdown Fizzling Out
Issues remain, but biggest fights getting knocked out ahead of deadline

From left, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Reps. David McKinley, R-W.Va., and Mike Doyle, D-Pa., attend a news conference at the House Triangle with the United Mine Workers of America on the Miners Protection Act, which would address expiring health care and pension benefits. Funding the miners’ benefits is one of the remaining issues that could affect the debate over government funding. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The first federal funding fight of President Donald Trump’s administration might be ending not with a bang but a whimper. 

House and Senate lawmakers negotiating an omnibus bill to fund the government through the end of September had said the biggest outstanding dispute was over cost-sharing subsidy payments to insurance companies that help lower-income people afford health care under the 2010 overhaul law.

Decision Day for Avoiding a Government Shutdown?
Appropriators think that decision on another stopgap bill could come today

Appropriations Committee member Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., a former chairman, says there are still some “knotty issues” to work out on a 2017 spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Appropriators think they are close to a deal to fund the government through September, but the hour is fast approaching where a stopgap might be needed to prevent a shutdown at midnight Friday.

Kentucky Rep. Harold Rogers, a former Appropriations chairman and still a senior member of the committee, described the leaders as, “within striking distance” on a fiscal 2017 spending bill.