Afghanistan

Trump State of the Union guests highlight reelection messaging
Taxes, immigration, abortion among issues expected on campaign trail

Vice President Mike Pence claps while Speaker Nancy Pelosi rips up a copy of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address after his remarks to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The guest lists for the 2020 State of the Union underscored both the messages for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign and the way in which congressional Democrats will be on offense against him and his GOP supporters on Capitol Hill.

From an appeal to his base through a typical hard line on immigration and Iran to a broader audience through talk of the benefits of 2017 Republican-led tax cuts and the state of the economy, the president’s guests set up a series of bullet points for the speech-writing team behind the teleprompter text.

The SOTU guest list: Who are lawmakers bringing?
Did John Bolton’s invite get lost?

Former Washington National Jayson Werth was a guest of Rep. Rodney Davis at President Donald Trump's State of the Union address in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is on deck to deliver his third State of the Union, and what he’ll say about impeachment is the big question of the night.

Whether he lets fly with the “i”-word or avoids it, congressional Democrats are trying to move on — or at least that’s what they’re signaling with the guests they’ve invited.

House votes to curb Trump's power to attack Iran
11 Republicans join Democrats to limit presidential actions

Rep. Barbara Lee sponsored the amendment to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday passed, on bipartisan votes, two related measures designed to prevent President Donald Trump from launching military attacks on Iran.

The two votes were the latest sign of lawmakers’ growing willingness in recent years to exercise their war powers muscles after decades of disuse.

He was ‘Mr. Foreign Aid’
Gerry Connolly first learned Capitol Hill’s global reach as a committee staffer in the ’80s

Virginia Rep. Gerald E. Connolly worked through three leadership changes in the Senate as a staffer for the Foreign Relations panel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“Tectonic” is the word that comes to mind when Gerald E. Connolly thinks back on his early days in Washington.

The year was 1979, and the future congressman was fresh out of graduate school. He landed a job as a staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Key Votes 2019: How vulnerable members voted
They’re facing tough races in November, but not all bucked their parties much

Maine Sen. Susan Collins went against a majority of her fellow Republicans on 60 percent of key votes in 2019, according to a CQ Roll Call analysis. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate held 10 votes identified by CQ Roll Call as “key votes” for 2019, and the House had a dozen. Below is a selection of members projected by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales to have competitive races, the percent they stuck with their party on those votes and their overall unity score for 2019.

[CQ Roll Call’s Key Votes in 2019]

House managers stick to script on first day of Trump trial arguments
Democrats lean heavily on witness testimony over eight hours on the Senate floor

California Rep. Adam B. Schiff speaks during a news conference Wednesday with the other House impeachment managers before the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump resumes at the Capitol. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House impeachment managers on Wednesday dutifully stayed on message throughout the second full day of the Senate impeachment trial, arguing that the findings of the House’s impeachment inquiry provide ample evidence to warrant the removal of President Donald Trump from office.

The team of seven managers took turns presenting their case, starting with House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, who led the impeachment inquiry.

Trump undercuts military messages on brain injuries
President describes injuries from Iranian strikes as ‘headaches’

President Donald Trump’s description of potential military brain injuries as “not very serious” stands in contrast to the military’s call for such injuries not to be minimized. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s comment Wednesday that U.S. troops suffering concussion-like symptoms had “not very serious” injuries clashed with a yearslong, hard-fought U.S. military campaign to spread the message that a brain injury is not something to be minimized.

Trump was referring to at least 11 cases of troops in Iraq reporting symptoms that officials said may or may not turn out to be so-called traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs.

An agonizing dispute among terror victims
Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund splitting payouts under questionable rationale

Kenneth Feinberg, former administrator of the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, said he does not understand the rationale for paying out 9/11 victims from the fund. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four decades ago, William Daugherty, a former CIA operative, was held hostage in Iran for 444 days. His wait for the financial compensation policymakers had promised him will now be a lot longer than that.

A fund created in 2015 for the Iran hostages and other victims of state-sponsored terrorism has become a new source of cash for relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks waged by al-Qaida terrorists on New York and Washington. President Donald Trump in November signed into law a measure that divided the fund in half, splitting the revenue between two competing groups: victims of state-sponsored terrorism like Daugherty and the 9/11 families.

Max Rose backs Mike Bloomberg, who donated to his 2018 opponent
Rose is one of the most vulnerable House Democrats running in 2020

New York Democratic Rep. Max Rose endorsed former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg picked up his first congressional endorsement Monday, with New York Democratic Rep. Max Rose backing his bid, even though Bloomberg donated to Rose’s 2018 opponent.

Bloomberg gave $5,400, the maximum allowed from an individual, to Republican Rep. Dan Donovan in April 2018, Federal Election Commission documents show. The donation came two months before the June primary, when Donovan was facing a challenge from former GOP Rep. Michael G. Grimm. Donovan went on to win the primary but lost to Rose by 6 points in November. 

Authorizing conflict: AUMF and Congress explained

A protester dressed as President Donald Trump participates in the No War With Iran rally outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The United States hasn’t officially declared war since World War II. Instead, conflicts such as the Vietnam War, The Gulf War and the War on Terror are initiated courtesy of an Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF

Watch as CQ Roll Call’s Foreign Policy reporter Rachel Oswald explains AUMF, how it’s used and the implications behind President Donald Trump’s recent military actions against Iran.