Richard M Burr

View from the gallery: Hardly enough time to fidget
Rare Senate weekend session only lasts two hours

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander arrives at the Capitol on Saturday for the continuation of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s a Saturday, but nearly all the senators were in their workday suits and ties. The Kentucky delegation was one exception, with both Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul wearing khakis and blazers.

This was the fifth straight day in the Senate chamber of the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, and the 100 senators appeared for just two hours during a brief and rare weekend session when President Donald Trump’s team started its opening presentation.

Burr is giving senators fidget spinners to stay busy during trial
Impeachment arguments have tested lawmakers ability to sit still for hours at a time

A fidget spinner belonging to Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., is displayed in his Capitol Hill office on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. The toy was one of many that the senator handed out to his colleagues on Thursday ahead of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Graham MacGillivray/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Richard M. Burr is trying to help out his antsy Senate colleagues.

The North Carolina Republican is providing an assortment of fidget spinners and other gizmos to his GOP colleagues at this week’s Thursday lunch.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 23
Democrats say calling Bolton would not lead to a protracted court battle over executive privilege

Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio arrives for the weekly Senate Republican lunch on Thursday before the start of the second day of House Democrats laying out their impeachment case against President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

File updated 7:45 p.m.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, one of the Democrats running for president, said in response to a question about the possibility of a court battle about executive privilege claims by the Trump White House that the Senate should do what’s needed, even if it prolongs the chamber's impeachment trial.

Senate approves Trump trial rules, lining up a series of late nights
Chamber shot down attempts by Democrats to subpoena documents and witnesses

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives for the start of the impeachment trial on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted to approve Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rules to govern the impeachment trial, which, despite last-minute changes Tuesday, earned no support from Democrats.

Senators adopted the updated resolution, 53-47, shortly before 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. The resolution will now give House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team 24 hours to make their arguments over three days, instead of the two days initially proposed by McConnell.

Impeachment trial could sideline Iran war powers debate
Confusion about calendar abounds

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for the weekly Senate Republican policy lunch Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The confluence of a pending impeachment trial and the potential for military conflict with Iran has left senators with unusual anxiety and a lack of control over their own calendars.

Normally, a privileged resolution under the War Powers Act seeking to stop President Donald Trump from launching a war against Iran would take precedence over other Senate business — and a floor debate and vote would be expected as early as next week.

North Carolina’s Mark Meadows won’t run for reelection
Former Freedom Caucus chairman signals he may go work for Trump

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, right, is not running for reelection in 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, one of President Donald Trump’s closest allies and most vocal defenders on Capitol Hill, is not running for reelection in 2020.

In an exclusive interview with CQ Roll Call, Meadows said he knows the timing of his retirement announcement — just after House Democrats voted to impeach Trump — will be spun a thousand different ways but that he’s been mulling this decision a long time. 

Walker not running for reelection in House, will consider 2022 Senate bid
North Carolina Republican faced troubles after redistricting, said Trump will support him for Senate

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., takes the Senate subway in the Capitol on Oct. 16, 2019. Walker announced Monday that he will not seek reelection to the House next year but will consider a Senate bid in 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Walker announced Monday that he will not run for reelection in the House next year but is considering running for Senate in 2022.

“I believe the best way we can continue to serve the people of North Carolina is as a United States Senator,” Walker said in a statement. “As I have always sought to have serving people supersede our ambition, I will dedicate my full heart and efforts to finishing my term in Congress. After we have secured more conservative policy and Republican electoral victories for North Carolina, we will take a look at the 2022 Senate race and we are thankful to have President [Donald] Trump’s support.”

North Carolina’s George Holding left with few options for 2020
This is the second time redistricting has altered GOP congressman’s district

North Carolina Rep. George Holding’s new district lines are less favorable to Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

North Carolina Rep. George Holding has been here before, facing a district that doesn’t look like the one he currently represents. 

But unlike in 2016, when court-mandated redistricting moved his seat across the state and he choose to run in a different district closer to home, the partisan composition of his current 2nd District has now changed significantly, becoming virtually unwinnable for a Republican. 

Kennedy: ‘I believe what I believe’ on Ukraine's role in 2016 election
Louisiana Republican once again defends his comments on the heated topic

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., waits in the elevator in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. John Kennedy on Tuesday held fast to his belief that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election, despite the intelligence community concluding the claim is false.

“I believe what I believe. Some people believe otherwise and they’re entitled to it,” the Louisiana Republican said to reporters Tuesday.

FDA nominee to face questions on issues from vaping to salmon
It might be hard for Stephen Hahn to win over Democrats because of a pending White House vaping decision

Stephen Hahn, President Donald Trump’s choice to head the Food and Drug Administration, faces a confirmation hearing on Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. (Courtesy The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center)

When President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration appears for the first time before a Senate panel on Wednesday, he’ll likely face tough questions about some policy issues that he may not have thought much about previously.

While the nominee, Stephen Hahn, is a highly regarded cancer doctor who has helped lead a research hospital with a budget nearly the size of the FDA’s, the confirmation hearing will be a reminder of the breadth of the agency’s work.