Capitol Ink | EPA2 Emissions

Mnuchin's ‘Batman’ Flap is No Joke, Ethics Experts Say
“It reflects a lack of concern for the ethics rules.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin arrives in the House Chamber before President Donald Trump addressed a joint session of Congress in the Capitol, February 28, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s disclaimer before promoting a movie he produced does not clear him of potential violations of ethics rules, experts said.

Mnuchin’s comments last week urging people to send their children to “The LEGO Batman Movie” prompted Sen. Ron Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee, to inquire this week on the Treasury secretary’s progress of divesting his financial assets. 

Burr: Too Early to Draw Conclusions on Russia-Trump Team Contact
Burr and Warner update Senate Intelligence Committee investigation

Burr, right, and Warner, left, lead the Senate Intelligence Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee effectively rebuked the White House Wednesday, declining to rule out whether people associated President Donald Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign.

“We would be crazy to try to draw conclusions from where we are in the investigation,” Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. said, standing next to ranking member Mark Warner at a press conference. “I think Mark and I are committed to let this process go through before we form any opinions.”

Over the Years, Capitol Shootings
Without access to open records, timing is unclear about particulars of incidents

Police mark shell casings on Independence Avenue near the U.S. Capitol after a woman nearly hit U.S. Capitol Police officers, which resulted in an officer firing shots on Wednesday morning, March 29, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By JASON DICK and GILLIAN ROBERTSCQ Roll Call

It was a jarring beginning to the workday when Capitol Police walkie talkies started blaring “shots fired” shortly before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Trump Slowly Wades Back Into Choppy Health Care Waters
White House signals desire for more methodical try at repleacing Obama's 2010 law

Ready to try again? Rep. Greg Walden and other lawmakers might get another shot at reworking the health insurance system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House is inching ever-so-slightly toward another try at a health care overhaul package -- and Trump administration officials signaled on Wednesday they want a more methodical process this time.

In the hours and days after President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., decided to pull a GOP-crafted measure aimed at repealing and replacing the Obama administration’s 2010 health law, the chief executive and his top aides signaled the effort was dead.

Warren and Carper Question Ivanka Trump’s White House Arrangement
Senators ask who would enforce ethics violations

Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Thomas R. Carper want to know more about the White House’s arrangement with Ivanka Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to know how ethics laws will affect Ivanka Trump as she goes to work in the White House without, apparently, being a government employee.

The Massachusetts Democrat joined Sen. Thomas R. Carper of Delaware in a Wednesday morning missive to the Office of Government Ethics questioning the White House’s arrangement with the daughter of President Donald Trump.

Why Committee Chairmen Should Be Concerned About Trump
White House has sent veiled warnings to appropriators, tax writers and authorizers

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., holds a news conference in the Capitol last Wednesday. The embattled chairman’s recent actions offer a cautionary tale for his colleagues. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS | For Republican committee chairmen, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes has had a month that amounts to a cautionary tale.

One day, you can be the respected chairman of one of the last remaining bipartisan committees on Capitol Hill. A few weeks later, your ranking member is calling for you to step aside from the most important probe the panel has done in years. Such is life for Republican committee chairmen in the Trump era.

Opinion: And Now for Something Easy, Like Tax Reform
Legislation will need Democratic votes to succeed

UNITED STATES — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wants to get tax reform passed and signed by August. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Health care reform did not go well for the White House last week. OK, it blew up. But Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is still bullish about getting tax reform passed and signed by August. 

“Health care and tax reform are two very different things,” he told Mike Allen of Axios last Friday, hours before the Obamacare vote was canceled amid GOP infighting. “Health care is a very complicated issue … in many ways, [tax reform] is a lot simpler. It really is.”

Word on the Hill: Focus on Girls
March Ratness and March Madness

Girl Scouts will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A briefing entitled “Creating Opportunities for Girls to Thrive and Learn” is taking place on Capitol Hill today. It’s co-sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine and Reps. Susan W. Brooks, R-Ind., and Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J.

The event is hosted by Girls Inc., YWCA USA, and Girl Scouts of the USA. The groups hope to create a series of briefings focused on issues facing girls and young women.

Capitol Ink | Chairman Clouseau

White House Looks Forward to Fired Acting AG Testimony
Aide denies trying to block Sally Yates from talking to Congress

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer at a recent briefing in the White House. On Tuesday, he denied reports that the administration tried to prevent a former acting attorney general from testifying about Russia. (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump White House on Tuesday denied it tried to prevent the former acting attorney general whom President Donald Trump fired from testifying before a House committee about Russia.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said a Washington Post article, which reported just that, was inaccurate. He said the the president would prefer that Yates, the Obama administration’s last deputy attorney general and who was acting attorney general during the Trump administration’s first days, testify.

Paul Ryan Defends Devin Nunes on Russia Probe
Intelligence Chairman Under Fire from House Democrats and Senate Republicans

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is expressing confidence in the House Intelligence chairman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Despite calls from Democrats for House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes to step aside from an investigation of Russian meddling in U.S. politics, and even ridicule from GOP quarters, the California Republican doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said “no and no” when asked at a news conference whether Nunes should recuse himself and whether the Wisconsin Republican knew the source of intelligence Nunes apparently received on White House grounds about potential incidental collection of communications of Trump campaign associates.

Super PAC Ad Calls for Special Prosecutor Into Trump-Russia Ties
American Bridge targets Manafort’s ties to Putin ally

Democratic super PAC American Bridge 21st Century highlights ties between former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin in a new ad. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new ad from a Democratic super PAC pushing for a special prosecutor to investigate possible ties between President Donald Trump and Russia is directed toward millennial women.

American Bridge 21st Century is releasing a series of videos chronicling various Trump aides’ ties to Russia.

Trump Criticizes Ongoing House Probe of Russian Election Meddling
President also says Freedom Caucus found way to 'snatch defeat from the jaws of victory'

President Donald Trump used a series of Monday night tweets to question a House panel's probe of potential ties between his 2016 campaign and Russia. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Updated at 8:27 a.m. President Donald Trump used a Monday night Twitter tirade to question the ongoing House investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, showing little concern that his comments might taint the probe.

Previous presidents have been careful to avoid creating any perception that they are using the powers or political heft of the office to influence congressional or federal law enforcement investigations. Trump’s top spokesman, Sean Spicer, has mostly done the same when asked about separate probes being conducted by the House and Senate Intelligence committees.

Abortion Opponents Look for a Home in Democratic Party
Some Democrats think a bigger tent gives party best chance in 2018

Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur has voted against recent GOP restrictions on abortion but thinks her party should have a big tent on the issue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For supporters of abortion rights, the Democratic Party has become the only real option.

But as the party struggles to make inroads in red states, where its economic message may resonate more than its social values, some Democrats think there needs to be more flexibility on that issue.