Griffin Connolly

House Democrats will investigate Trump for allegedly directing Michael Cohen to lie to Congress
Some on Intelligence and Judiciary Committees hint at impeachment

Updated 8:02 p.m. | The top Democrats on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees said they will investigate the allegations that President Donald Trump directed his former attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations in 2016 to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, as BuzzFeed News reported late Thursday.

 

GOP congressman apologizes to Democratic rep for ‘Go back to Puerto Rico’ outburst
Rep. Jason Smith said he was referring to trip House and Senate Democrats took to Puerto Rico during shutdown

Republican Rep. Jason Smith called Democratic Rep. Tony Cárdenas and apologized Thursday for blurting out “Go back to Puerto Rico” while Cárdenas was waiting to speak on the House floor.

Cárdenas, a descendant of Mexican immigrants, accepted the Missouri Republican’s apology, said in a statement to Roll Call.

House floor erupts after GOP lawmaker shouts ‘Go back to Puerto Rico’
Spokesman says Rep. Jason Smith was referring to ‘vacationing’ Democrats who went to inspect hurricane recovery

The House floor erupted Thursday shortly before Congress adjourned for the week when Republican Rep. Jason Smith yelled a potentially racially charged remark across the aisle as Democratic Rep. Tony Cárdenas was at the podium.

“Go back to Puerto Rico!” the Missouri congressman shouted, punctuating a stream of Republican whooping and hollering at the Democratic majority for initially rejecting their request to redo a vote on a continuing resolution to reopen shuttered agencies through Feb. 28.

Louie Gohmert comes to Steve King’s defense
Texas congressman says rebuked Iowa congressman raised a ‘fair question’

GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas defended his friend and colleague Rep. Steve King on Wednesday, suggesting that King’s comments to The New York Times about “white supremacy,” “white nationalism” and “Western civilization” were misconstrued by the media and lawmakers from both parties.

Republican leaders in the House decided earlier in the week to bar King from serving on any House committees, but the House voted Wednesday to refer a censure resolution to the House Ethics Committee instead of censuring him directly.

Democrats cry foul as GSA inspector condemns Trump Hotel contract
GSA lawyers knew government lease to Trump Hotel might violate Constitution, but ‘punted’ on legal concerns

Democratic lawmakers were outraged Wednesday after the General Services Administration inspector general suggested in a report that a contract between the agency and the Trump International Hotel could be in violation of the Constitution.

In 2016 and 2017, the GSA decided to maintain its lease of the Old Post Office Building to the Trump International Hotel after Donald Trump was elected president — even though a government-issued lease to the real estate organization headed by the president of the United States represents an obvious and serious conflict of interest, the report details.

Steve King’s constituents in Iowa grapple with his ‘white supremacy’ comments
Some think Washington lawmakers are ‘overreacting,’ while others have said the Iowa Republican should resign

Top Republicans in Washington — including Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican — have called for Rep. Steve King to resign from office over his comments about white supremacy and white nationalism to The New York Times last week.

 

Acting AG Matt Whitaker agrees to testify before House on Feb. 8
Testimony will be Whitaker’s first since he took over for Jeff Sessions in October

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker have agreed for Whitaker to testify before the committee in early February, partial government shutdown or no.

The appearance is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 8, at 9:30 a.m.

Adam Schiff hiring full-time team to investigate Trump’s Russia connections
House Intelligence Committee chairman hiring more investigators to revive House Russia probe

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is sinking panel resources into a robust investigative staff to revive the probe into President Donald Trump's ties to Russia with roughly seven committee staffers directing their energy full-time.

Schiff and the Democrats have made offers to six new staffers, CBS News reported, including a corruption expert and a former prosecutor. The committee is still looking to hire six more people as Schiff restructures the subcommittee and plans targeted lines of inquiry into the president and his 2016 campaign staff’s connections with Russian officials.

South Florida official claims Rashida Tlaib might ‘blow up’ Capitol Hill
Democratic congresswoman has become lightning rod for conservative media and pro-Israel groups

A local official in South Florida accused Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of being an anti-Semite who could try to "become a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill.

Annabelle Lima-Taub, a Hallandale Beach commissioner in Broward County, Florida, signed an online petition calling for Tlaib’s removal from office and posted it to her Facebook page.

Tulsi Gabbard ‘regrets’ past anti-gay activism as she prepares for presidential race
Hawaii Democratic congresswoman announced she’s running for party’s 2020 nomination

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s positions on same-sex marriage and LGBT rights have shifted dramatically, from working for her father’s anti-gay marriage organization in the early 2000s to joining the Congressional Progressive Caucus as a U.S. House member.

The Hawaii Democrat announced Friday that she will seek the Democratic party nomination for president in 2020. She has already received criticism for her past anti-gay activism.

House conflict-of-interest rules still not up to snuff, ethics experts lament
Democratic rule changes haven’t extended to Ethics panel, watchdogs say

House Democrats have touted their new rules package for its crackdown on potential corruption among members and staffers, lobbying, and money in politics.

But the House Ethics Committee’s conflict-of-interest standards for members who own businesses small and large — from plumbing companies to the largest privately owned alcohol retailer in the country — leave a lot to be desired, multiple congressional ethics experts told Roll Call.

Kirsten Gillibrand laying tracks for 2020 presidential run
Hired former DCCC chief spokeswoman, planning NY campaign HQ and heading to Iowa

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has begun laying most of the groundwork for a 2020 presidential campaign — virtually all she has left to do now is announce she’s jumping into the race.

The New York Democrat has recruited former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chief spokeswoman Meredith Kelly to head the communications staff for her prospective campaign and a handful of other seasoned Democratic operatives for senior staff positions, The New York Times reported Friday.

Blake Farenthold Leaves Lobbying Gig Amid Lawsuit Over His Hiring
Disgraced former congressman hired less than two months after resigning amid ethics probe

Disgraced former Rep. Blake Farenthold has resigned from the lobbying gig he secured last May with a local port authority in Texas, as the port battles a lawsuit from a local newspaper over the ex-GOP congressman's hiring.

The Victoria Advocate first reported this story.

Michael Cohen Will Testify Before House Oversight Panel in February
Trump’s former personal lawyer has implicated president in campaign finance crimes

President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, will testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Feb. 7, Chairman Elijah E. Cummings announced in a press release Thursday.

For months, Cohen and House Democrats have expressed a shared interest in the former Trump fixer appearing before Congress to go public about his work for the president during his 2016 campaign and before Trump launched his political career.

Houlahan, Sherrill take leadership roles among freshman Dem moderates
Health care revamp, infrastructure and trade deals top New Democrat Coalition priorities

Freshman Democratic Reps. Chrissy Houlahan and Mikie Sherrill have been assigned leadership roles in the New Democrat Coalition, Chairman Derek Kilmer of Washington told reporters Thursday.

More than 30 freshmen joined the group in the new Congress to bring its ranks to 92 members.

Reports: Kamala Harris to launch 2020 presidential run around MLK Day
California Democrat could put campaign headquarters in Baltimore

Sen. Kamala Harris is finalizing plans to announce her entry into the 2020 presidential race around Martin Luther King Day, multiple outlets reported late Wednesday night citing sources close to the California Democrat.

Harris would be the fourth person so far to join the race for the Democratic nomination, though that number is expected to balloon to dozens of candidates by the time campaign season kicks into full swing.

Nadler sets Jan. 29 deadline for acting AG Whitaker to testify
Whitaker had asked to meet at least two weeks after government shutdown ends

House Democrats sent a letter Wednesday to acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, demanding that he appear before the Judiciary Committee by Jan. 29 and saying that the government shutdown was no excuse for delaying his testimony.

Whitaker previously wrote to Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York that he would appear before the panel in mid-February “so long as the Department is at least two weeks removed from a partial government shutdown.”

As Mark Harris runs from reporters, his path to House seat narrows
House Democrats say they won’t seat NC Republican, citing ongoing investigations into absentee ballots

Republican Mark Harris regrets running from reporters earlier this week, he said Tuesday, as the controversy drags on over his 905-vote midterm election lead in North Carolina’s 9th District.

After attending a meeting of the Mecklenburg GOP on Monday, Harris raced past reporters down a back stairwell, setting off the fire alarm and declining to answer any questions.

House Democrats target private gun sellers with bipartisan background checks bill
Universal background checks bill indicates gun law reform will remain near top of Democratic agenda

House Democrats introduced bipartisan legislation Tuesday that would require all gun sellers, including private vendors, to conduct background checks on potential buyers, indicating the issue will be a top item on the Democratic agenda during the 116th Congress.

Under current law, only federally licensed vendors must conduct background checks. Private sellers who do not have licenses do not fall under the same compliance mandate.

Former Reps. Mia Love, Luis Gutiérrez join CNN as commentators
Meanwhile, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lamar Smith head to K Street

Reps. Mia Love and Luis Gutiérrez have wasted no time finding new gigs after leaving Congress last week.

Love, a Utah Republican and the only black female Republican in the last Congress, and Gutiérrez, a longtime Chicago-based Democrat, have joined CNN as political commentators.