editorial

View from the gallery: Senators suffer through sniffles and sleepiness at Trump trial
House managers wrap up their presentation before an increasingly restless Senate

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is surrounded by reporters Friday as he arrives for the Senate Republicans’ lunch before the start of the day’s impeachment trial proceedings. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, one of the president’s fiercest defenders in the Senate, chuckled, bowed his head slightly and rubbed his left eyebrow.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein laughed and met the eyes of their knowing Democratic colleagues.

House managers focus on Trump’s ‘defiance’ in closing of impeachment presentation
Trump’s defense team will make the president’s case Saturday

House impeachment managers Zoe Lofgren and Adam B. Schiff, center, walk through the Ohio Clock Corridor on Friday on their way to a news conference before the start of the day’s impeachment trial proceedings. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House impeachment managers on Friday concluded their third and final day of arguments to remove President Donald Trump from office by focusing on the House investigation and appealing to authority and emotion.

Lead manager Adam B. Schiff, a former federal prosecutor, forcefully laid out the House’s case in his closing statement, arguing that Trump would “remain a threat to the Constitution” if he were allowed to remain in office. 

Comic Maz Jobrani is seriously funny about politics
Political Theater, Episode 109

Comedian and actor Maz Jobrani has thoughts about Washington, performance in the Trump era and hanging out in the fake West Wing. (Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images)

What a time to be heckled by Trump supporters when you’re an Iranian American comedian!

Ph.D. dropout and comic Maz Jobrani takes Heard on the Hill’s Kathryn Lyons “back to school” to talk Trump hecklers, his least favorite 2020 candidate and what it’s like to be in the fake West Wing in the latest Political Theater podcast

Schiff’s emotional closing appeals set expectations for his Friday finale
Former prosecutor tries to appeal to GOP senators’ sense of right and wrong

House impeachment managers Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., left, and Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., are wrapping up their arguments in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Adam B. Schiff’s prosecutorial tone changed considerably at the end of the first two days of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, a preview that his presentation finale Friday night will feature loftier rhetoric about showing courage and doing what’s right, even when it risks a career.

“Every night we say, ‘Adam save it for the end,’ and every night he outdoes the night before,” Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said.

Analysis: The Pentagon has a credibility problem, and it’s only getting worse
The Defense Department’s waffling on casualties from Jan. 8 Iran strike latest in a growing trend

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, left, and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrive for a briefing in Capitol Visitor Center for a closed-door briefing about Syria on Oct. 17. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Americans breathed a collective sigh of relief when, the morning after Iran’s Jan. 8 ballistic missile attack on Al Asad air base in Iraq, Defense Department leaders said there were “no casualties.” 

That initial assessment hasn't held up, and neither have the department's varying statements on the matter since then.

This is what a giant pile of impeachment candy looks like
If anyone is happy this week, it’s the National Confectioners Association

This is what an impeachment trial looks like. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If you’re wondering how the Senate impeachment trial is going, consider this historic photo.

A pallet of candy stands outside Sen. Pat Toomey’s office, shrink-wrapped. Notice the Hershey’s bars (milk chocolate with almonds). And the Rolos. And the stray Mike and Ikes (flavor: berry blast).

Mayors see historic opportunity in presidential race
Bloomberg, Buttigieg make presidential pitches to mayors’ conference

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a Democratic presidential candidate, touted a $1 trillion infrastructure plan at the U.S Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A promise to repair potholes won’t get a laugh at most presidential campaign events. 

But Mike Bloomberg knew his audience.

Trump administration restricts U.S. travel for pregnant foreigners
A new State Department rule targets 'birth tourism,' White House says

The rule issued by the State Department goes into effect Friday. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The State Department issued a new rule Thursday that will make it more difficult for pregnant women abroad to obtain visas to the United States, an attempt to curb what the White House is calling "birth tourism."

The department will grant visa officers more discretion to deny nonimmigrant visas to women they believe are entering the United States specifically to obtain citizenship for their child by giving birth here, a State Department spokesperson told reporters during a background briefing.

Green card gridlock: When will Congress agree on a solution?
The waiting lists for residency status grow ... and grow.

Hundreds of thousands of people may find themselves waiting for decades in green card limbo. (CQ Roll Call)

On Dec. 18, immigration reform stalwart Richard J. Durbin’s announcement on the Senate floor about a rare bipartisan breakthrough flew largely under the radar, overshadowed in the chaotic flurry of impeachment. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, and Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah had dueled two months earlier over unanimous consent requests on the Senate floor, and had since been deadlocked.

Each had pushed for his own solution to an important but often overlooked symptom of the broken U.S. immigration system: the employment-based green card backlog. Because of it, hundreds of thousands of people — overwhelmingly from India — wait in limbo, sometimes for decades.

At the Races: Trial vs. Trail

By Simone Pathé, Stephanie Akin and Bridget Bowman 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.