Robert Menendez

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 12
GOP outlines Trump defense for public hearings, Mulvaney reverses course

Republicans plan to drive home the point that both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and President Donald Trump have said there was no pressure on the Ukrainian leader to launch an investigation into Trump’s political rivals to free up a stalled U.S. military aid package for Ukraine. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images file photo)

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter Tuesday to panel Chairman Jerrold Nadler expressing concern that Democrats have moved at such a “breakneck speed” to conduct the impeachment inquiry, members and the American people won’t have the information needed to properly consider removing President Donald Trump from office.

The GOP members requested Nadler make up for “procedural shortfalls” in the House Intelligence Committee-led inquiry by ensuring that Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff transmits all evidence obtained in the inquiry to Judiciary and that the panels have an open line of communication.

How America’s mayor became America’s State Department
As Trump’s de facto secretary of State, Rudy Giuliani makes a mockery of the Senate Foreign Relations panel

He was neither nominated nor appointed to the job, but that hasn’t stopped Rudy Giuliani from acting as de facto secretary of State since Donald Trump’s election, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — With friends like Rudy Giuliani, who needs the State Department? Not Donald Trump. And as long as we’re on the subject, who needs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee? Or the full Senate? Or any of the other pillars of the U.S. government that were created to both support and oversee the executive branch.

The Senate Foreign Relations panel alone is made up of 22 senators and 75 professional staff. As one of the 10 original standing committees of the Senate, its job literally spans the globe, with jurisdiction over international treaties, U.S. foreign policy and all diplomatic nominations. All ambassador appointments are supposed to go through the committee for debate and approval, as are international treaties, declarations of war, State Department oversight and changes to official U.S. foreign policy.

Impeachment strains longstanding bipartisan support for Ukraine
Consensus built on keeping Ukraine inside the Western European camp

President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy look on during a meeting at the United Nations in New York on Sept. 25. (Getty Images file photo)

The bipartisan backing for Ukraine in its long face-off with Russia has been a hallmark of Congress’ role in foreign policymaking for decades. Congress — both parties — has generally been willing to confront Moscow more forcefully over its treatment of Ukraine than the Trump, Obama or George W. Bush White Houses.

But with U.S. policy toward Ukraine the centerpiece of the impeachment inquiry, President Donald Trump’s antipathy toward Kyiv out in the open, and Republicans not wanting to break with their GOP president publicly over Ukraine policy, concern is rising that this longstanding bipartisan consensus to keep Ukraine inside the Western European camp could erode.

Despite Ukraine heat, Pompeo seen as front-runner if he seeks Kansas Senate seat
Transcripts show State Department veterans wanted him to stand up to White House pressure

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has faced criticism over how he dealt with White House pressure to fire the ambassador to Ukraine. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Recently released transcripts in the House impeachment inquiry have led to criticism of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for not stepping up to protect diplomats from White House political pressure over Ukraine.

Republicans in Washington and his native Kansas, however, told CQ Roll Call that nothing they have heard would lead them to back off efforts to recruit Pompeo to run for an open Senate seat in the Sunflower State. They say the former four-term congressman and CIA director would be the immediate front-runner in the race. 

Former NJ Rep. William J. Hughes dies at 87
Author of machine gun ban, advocate of Jersey coastline served 10 terms

Close-up of Rep. William J. Hughes, D-N.J. on Oct. 18, 1993. (Photo by Chris Martin/CQ Roll Call)

William J. Hughes, a 10-term congressman from New Jersey who authored a ban on machine guns and who was a fierce advocate for protecting the New Jersey coast before becoming a diplomat, died Wednesday at age 87.

Harvey Kesselman, the president of Stockton University, which is home to the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy, announced the death in a letter to the university’s community on Thursday.

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 31
Another insider testifying on Ukraine behind closed doors, House passes impeachment resolution, investigators summon Bolton

Christopher Anderson, center, former aide to former U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations Kurt Volker, arrives for a closed door meeting to testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s top Russia aide on the National Security Council testified under subpoena before House impeachment investigators on Thursday, corroborating crucial elements of another key witness’ deposition outlining concerns senior Trump officials had about the president’s interactions with Ukraine.

But Timothy Morrison, the NSC’s senior director for Europe and Russia, also told lawmakers that he “was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed” between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on the now-infamous July 25 phone call in which Trump appeared to request that Ukraine investigate his domestic political rivals in exchange for military aid and a meeting at the White House.

Trump to lift sanctions because Turkey-Kurd cease-fire is ‘permanent’
‘Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand,’ president says

President Donald Trump says a “permanent” cease-fire has been reached between Turkish and Kurdish forces on Wednesday as Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo look on. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced what he called a longterm cease-fire between Turkish and Kurdish forces, saying he would lift economic sanctions he slapped on Ankara after its invasion of northern Syria.

Trump said a temporary cease-fire there “has held held, and held well,” adding it is “permanent.” He noted not much in the chaotic region can truly be, before adding: “I think it will be permanent.” Of the U.S. operation there, he said, “Now, we are getting out.”

Turkey sanctions bills likely to move despite ceasefire
Shaky ceasefire agreement halting Syrian Kurd attacks appears to not appease lawmakers, who may still vote to impose sanctions

This picture taken on October 18, 2019 from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district in Sanliurfa shows fire and smoke rising from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain on the first week of Turkey's military operation against Kurdish forces. The shaky ceasefire agreement with Turkey to halt its attacks on the Syrian Kurds does not appear to have done much to slake lawmakers’ appetite for imposing sanctions on the longtime NATO ally. (OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)

A shaky ceasefire agreement with Turkey to halt its attacks on the Syrian Kurds does not appear to have done much to slake lawmakers’ appetite for imposing sanctions on the longtime NATO ally.

President Donald Trump was quick to declare victory Thursday after Ankara agreed to a five-day ceasefire in its attacks on Kurds in northern Syria. Kurdish fighters are supposed to use that window, which the Turkish government is describing not as a ceasefire but as a “pause,” to withdraw to roughly 20 miles south of the Turkish border.

State Department official says Iran has been transferring missiles to terrorists
Administration says transfers justify abandoning the Iran nuclear deal

Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., charged it is Trump who is endangering Israel’s security with his decision to order the withdrawal of U.S. special forces from northern Syria.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The State Department on Wednesday revealed that Iran has been transferring ballistic missiles to regional partners that the United States views as terrorists.

The revelation by the special envoy for Iran policy, Brian Hook, came at the start of a contentious Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. Hook argued that evidence of Iran’s transfer of ballistic missile technology to regional extremist groups justified the Trump administration’s 2018 decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal.

Impeachment committees subpoena Perry for records
Democrats want Energy secretary to turn over files about interactions with Ukrainian officials

House Democrats have issued a subpoena for records of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s interactions with Ukrainian officials. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The chairmen of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees subpoenaed Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Thursday, demanding records about his interactions with Ukrainian officials, including the president, a central figure in their impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

In a letter, Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings and Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel requested Perry turn over files about his knowledge of a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy and his activities in and business connections to Ukraine, including with a state-run natural gas company, Naftogaz.