Impeachment trial takes vulnerable senators off the campaign trail, too
Some senators refraining from sending fundraising emails

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., walks through the Senate Reception Room to the Senate chamber before the start of the impeachment trial. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Doug Jones’ Senate campaign is holding an event on Friday, but the Alabama Democrat won’t be there. Instead, Valerie Jarrett, an adviser to former President Barack Obama, is hosting the forum on women in leadership in Birmingham.

Jones, the most vulnerable senator in 2020, will be in the Senate chamber for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, alternating between blue and red felt-tipped pens as he takes notes on opening arguments. Sitting with him will be the rest of his colleagues who face competitive races, either in November or sooner in party primaries.

Burr is giving senators fidget spinners to stay busy during trial
Impeachment arguments have tested lawmakers ability to sit still for hours at a time

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., leaves the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch in December. He hopes to help out his antsy Senate colleagues with a Carolina cookout. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Richard M. Burr is trying to help out his antsy Senate colleagues.

The North Carolina Republican is providing an assortment of fidget spinners and other gizmos to his GOP colleagues at this week’s Thursday lunch.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 23
House Republicans say Trump’s defense is ‘rock solid,’ not all GOP senators agree with Graham’s take on Schiff

Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio arrives for the weekly Senate Republican lunch on Thursday before the start of the second day of House Democrats laying out their impeachment case against President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

File updated 1:20 p.m.

Members of the House Republican defense team called the President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense “rock solid” in advance of Democrats continuing to present their case against the president on Thursday.

View from the gallery: Senators seek comfort and novelty during Trump trial
Senators decamp to cloakrooms, bring blankets, and sip on milk and water

Republican Sens. James M. Inhofe and Lamar Alexander enter the Senate chamber before the start of the impeachment trial in the Senate on Jan. 22. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton was among the first senators spotted ordering milk to the Senate chamber for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial Wednesday, and he took small sips to wash down what looked like a Hershey’s chocolate bar.

This was the second day of the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, and the 100 senators began to search in earnest for comfort and novelty during eight hours of opening statements from House managers.

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.

Report: Speed up drug development with artificial intelligence
But it says new legal, ethical, economic and social questions must be addressed

Senate HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander is among a group of lawmakers who requested the artificial intelligence report by the National Academy of Medicine and the Government Accountability Office. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More and improved use of artificial intelligence, and an overhaul of medical education to include advances in machine learning, could cut down significantly the time it takes to develop and bring new drugs to market, according to a new joint report by the National Academy of Medicine and the Government Accountability Office.

Before that can happen, however, the United States must address legal and policy impediments that inhibit the collection and sharing of high-quality medical data among researchers, the report said.

Taylor Swift reaches peak politics with ‘Miss Americana’
Her song ‘Only the Young’ was inspired by the 2018 midterm elections, and a new documentary is here to mythologize it all

Taylor Swift performs onstage during her 2018 Reputation stadium tour. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images file photo)

Taylor dropped a teaser Wednesday ahead of her upcoming Netflix documentary “Miss Americana” — and, in typical fashion, the internet needed to calm down.

The film, directed by Emmy Award winner Lana Wilson, takes an intimate look at the megastar turned newly minted activist’s career over the last several years: the good, the bad and the political.

What to watch during impeachment: Napping senators
Things are getting soporific in the Senate chamber

Capitol workers wind the Ohio Clock in the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Spot the snoozing politician” is pretty much an annual tradition at the State of the Union. Now there’s a new chance to play the game.

As President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial continues, lawmakers are slouching, yawning and fidgeting — and observers in the gallery are watching for drooping eyelids.

Emotional support animals could be banned from planes under DOT rule
Airlines would still have to board specially trained service dogs. No miniature horses, capuchin monkeys or peacocks.

A service dog at Dulles International Airport. (Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Snakes on a plane? Probably not —at least in the cabin.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Wednesday released a proposed rule that would let airlines ban most "emotional support" animals in airplane cabins and board only specially trained service dogs to assist people with disabilities.

Schumer says Democrats not looking to make deals over witnesses
Murphy says notion of making deal over Hunter Biden testimony is being ‘overblown’ by the media

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, right, and Sen. Chris Murphy listen as Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse speaks during a news conference before the Senate convened for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Wednesday that Democrats aren’t looking to cut deals with Republicans to hear from witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. 

Asked whether Democrats would be willing to make a deal with Republicans to allow former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden to testify in exchange for witnesses Democrats want like former national security adviser John Bolton, Schumer shot down that notion.

Life in the ‘Hakuna Matata’ White House
Political Theater, Episode 108

What’s it like covering President Donald Trump? Let us count the ways.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

There is a lot to learn from covering the White House for four years. For former CQ Roll Call White House correspondent John T. Bennett, that included realizing aides for President Donald Trump were looking into that “Hakuna Matata” thing; whether the president’s accessibility is a double-edged sword; and how to stay sane in a crazy environment.

Now as Bennett takes on a new assignment as bureau chief with The Independent of London, he shares some of the biggest lessons he got from life in the Executive Mansion in the latest Political Theater podcast.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 22
Coons lauds Schiff for 30 minutes of ‘mastery’; White House defense could begin Saturday

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, followed by Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin, leaves a news conference Tuesday. The Senate rejected all of the amendments Schumer introduced to try to change the rules for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

File updated 10:10 p.m.  

Delaware Democrat Chris Coons said House impeachment manager Adam B. Schiff’s closing 30 minutes was “compelling” and that he showed a “mastery” of the material. Coons also said that there were snacks and coffee in the cloakroom. Coons said there has not been much outreach to him from Republicans.

Congress saw more bills introduced in 2019 than it has in 40 years, but few passed
Partisan divide and Senate’s focus on confirmations among factors cited

The 116th Congress is on track to enact a lower percentage of bills than any in modern times. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It would stand to reason that representatives and senators, dissuaded by the gridlock in Congress, would hesitate to introduce legislation. After all, only 105 laws were enacted during 2019, a poor showing by historical standards.

But that’s not what happened last year. In fact, lawmakers are on a pace to introduce more bills and joint resolutions than they have since the 1970s, when Congresses routinely saw 20,000 or more introduced.

Picture Mitch McConnell as a knight riding an elephant
This chess set is no joke, and it’s selling pretty well, says inventor AJ Khubani

This election-themed chess set is no joke, as Heard on the Hill discovered when we gave it a try. (Graham MacGillivray/CQ Roll Call)

Maybe you’ve been up late at night watching MSNBC or the NFL Network, and through your bleary eyes have noticed an ad for a chess set featuring Mike Pence as a queen and Nancy Pelosi as a knight riding a donkey.

Turns out it’s not some waking nightmare, but instead an ad for the 2020 Battle for the White House Chess Set, an off-kilter idea from the same man who brought the world AmberVision glasses and the PedEgg, which is basically a cheese grater for rough feet.