Texas

Trump’s defenders try to narrow impeachment case to one call
Defense attorneys use similar strategy in bribery or corruption cases

Intelligence ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., left, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, listen as former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies Friday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump and his congressional allies spent the first week of impeachment inquiry hearings trying to refocus the public’s attention to what they cast as the most important piece of evidence: the summary of Trump’s call to the president of Ukraine on July 25.

In the House Intelligence Committee, at press conferences and on Twitter, their message has sought to narrow the Democrats’ case to the facts of that one major event — and then attack it as insufficient to impeach the president.

Legality of Wolf, Cuccinelli appointments to DHS questioned
Key House Democrats cite new documents in request for review

Chad Wolf, seen here during an Oct. 29 White House task force meeting, was sworn in Wednesday as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The leaders of the House Oversight and Homeland Security panels on Friday challenged the legality of recent top appointments at the Department of Homeland Security, including newly installed acting secretary, Chad Wolf.

Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., the acting Oversight and Reform Committee chairwoman, have asked the U.S. Comptroller General to conduct an “expedited review” to determine whether the Trump administration acted legally when it appointed both Wolf and his predecessor, Kevin McAleenan, as acting DHS secretary. They also question Wolf naming Ken Cuccinelli to serve as deputy director.

GOP ‘storm the SCIF’ stunt could jeopardize classified briefings
Bipartisan memo warns lawmakers of consequences for them and the House

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., speaks during a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center outside a deposition related to the House impeachment inquiry on Oct. 23, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee responded this week to efforts by House Republicans to access the secure facility in the basement of the Capitol during a closed-door impeachment deposition on Oct. 23, issuing a memo about breaches of security and warning lawmakers of potential consequences.

The memo, dated Thursday, reminds lawmakers that all members and staff who have access to classified information take an oath to not disclose any such information and that access to classified information and secure areas are on a “need to know” basis.

Photos of the Week
The week of Nov. 15 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Retired Marine Paul Masi of Bethpage, N.Y., pauses by the name of high school classmate Robert Zwerlein at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day. Masi served in the 7th Engineers in Vietnam. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ousted ambassador gives deeply personal account of firing by Trump
Yovanovitch describes feeling 'shocked and devastated' reading transcript of Trump call with Ukrainian president

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch takes her seat for the House Select Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was removed from her post by President Donald Trump, spent much of her Friday before the House Intelligence Committee disputing allegations that she worked against Trump while in Kyiv and describing in vivid detail the shock of being targeted by the president.

The career diplomat is a key witness in the impeachment inquiry into Trump's dealings with Ukraine, and the drama surrounding the hearing was only fueled by tweets Friday from Trump blasting Yovanovitch, who said she already felt threatened by the president.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 15
Ousted ambassador to Ukraine defends herself against ‘smear campaign,’ Trump attacks her during testimony

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies during the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Friday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was removed from her post by President Donald Trump, spent much of her opening statement before the House Intelligence Committee on Friday dismissing allegations that she worked against the president while in her post in Kyiv.

[Former ambassador to Ukraine talks of Foreign Service ‘degradation’ under Trump]

DeFazio wants to go big on infrastructure despite hurdles
Plan embraces automated vehicles and intelligent transportation roadways

House Transportation Committee chairman Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., is pushing an ambitious bill that could help House Democrats show they are trying to do big things beyond impeachment (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats are renewing their push for a major infrastructure bill without the support they once hoped to get from President Donald Trump.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter A. DeFazio, D-Oregon, presented a comprehensive infrastructure plan during a closed-door meeting of House Democrats late Thursday. The legislation is still being drafted, he said, and he declined to offer any cost estimates.

Trump’s fight against subpoenas reaches Supreme Court
Dual cases put justices at center of legal battle over limits for investigations into a sitting president

President Donald Trump’s attorneys on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to reverse an order from a federal appeals court in New York that requires accounting firm Mazars USA to comply with a state subpoena for Trump’s financial and tax records. Another Trump lawsuit related to Mazars, one centered on congressional power to enforce subpoenas during impeachment or other oversight probes, will land at the high court on Friday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s fight-all-the-subpoenas strategy finally reached the Supreme Court late Thursday, putting the justices in the middle of a heated legal fight over the limits for investigations into a sitting president.

Trump’s attorneys asked the Supreme Court to reverse an order from a federal appeals court in New York that requires accounting firm Mazars USA to comply with a state subpoena for Trump's financial and tax records.

Ethics Committee investigating Alcee Hastings relationship with staffer
Hastings is the third member or delegate since October that has been investigated for an alleged sexual relationship with a subordinate

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., is under Ethics Committee scrutiny for a relationship with a subordinate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday it is investigating Rep. Alcee L. Hastings and whether his relationship with a staffer, Patricia Williams, violates rules that forbid members from having sexual relationships with any subordinates in the House.

“I have cooperated with the Committee since May 14, 2019. As they continue to conduct their work, I stand ready to fully cooperate with their inquiry,” the Florida Democrat said in a statement.

In the West, an outsize role for Texas in the 2020 elections
Battles for Senate and numerous House seats will drive interest in Lone Star State

Sen. John Cornyn’s reelection and a handful of House seats where Republicans have retired make Texas one of the key states to watch next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If there’s an abiding lesson from 2016, it’s that national public opinion in the presidential race is not as important as the votes of individual states. Republican Donald Trump won by taking 304 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 227, even as Clinton beat him by 2.9 million votes and 2.1 percentage points nationally.

In 2020, Democrats will be looking to recapture states Trump won that went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And many of those states will also be prime battlegrounds in the fight for control of the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of four seats to take a majority (three if they win the White House and the vice president can break 50-50 ties), while Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to retake the House.