2018

Trump Wants New Chief of Staff Who ‘Believes in What We’re Doing’
Sarah Sanders suggests John Kelly should have hashed out gripes ‘behind closed doors’

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly waits to speak as press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders introduces him during a White House briefing in October 2017. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s top spokeswoman suggested her boss grew frustrated with outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly disagreeing with his policies — and sometimes taking disputes public.

“I think he brought a lot of structure to the White House that was needed at the time he came in,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said of his second chief of staff. “That being said, I think the president is looking for somebody who believes in what we’re doing.”

Pelosi Opponent Moulton Stares Down Potential Primary Challenge
Massachusetts state senator mulls opposing him in 2020

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., has antagonized some progressive groups with his opposition to Nancy Pelosi’s bid for speaker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton positioned himself as a chief antagonist to Nancy Pelosi when he joined with other Democrats to oppose her bid to reclaim the speaker’s gavel — rankling party leadership and progressive organizations.

But Moulton might soon be facing down a different kind of political rival: a primary opponent.

3 Takeaways From Trump’s Made-For-TV Oval Office Border Brawl
“You get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you,” Pelosi says

President Donald Trump argues about border security with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as Vice President Mike Pence sits nearby, silent, in the Oval Office on Tuesday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | Vice President Mike Pence looked taken aback, barely moving and saying nothing as President Donald Trump and the top Democratic congressional leaders bickered and moved the country — with each insult and barb — closer to a partial holiday season government shutdown.

The former Indiana congressman’s statuesque performance was a contrast to the kinetic scene unfolding around him, another made-for-television moment that allowed the bombastic Republican president to pick a fight with the two Democrats perhaps most reviled by his conservative base on live cable TV.

Trump Hedges on $5 Billion for Border Wall on Day of Meeting With Schumer, Pelosi
President hints at military construction of barrier, which could be problematic legally

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Just before a scheduled meeting with Democratic leaders on border security funding, President Donald Trump appeared to soften his demand for $5 billion in construction funds for his southern border wall proposal.

in a series of tweets, the president sought to build a case that portions of fencing and levee wall already built or in the works on his watch have successfully increased border security to a degree, even without the money he wants. And in a subsequent tweet, Trump foreshadows “some important announcements” in his administration’s trade talks with China; if true, any positive headlines of those talks could be drowned out by an ugly partial government shutdown that Trump likely would be blamed for.

Kevin Brady Drops Extenders, Adds Health Care Tax Rollbacks
House Ways and Means chairman deleted almost $30 billion in tax provisions

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, is eyeing two possible lame-duck tax vehicles. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady has refashioned his year-end tax package to try to maximize GOP votes for a stand-alone bill, while dropping provisions the Senate could still pick up and pass this year, possibly as part of a huge wrap-up spending bill.

Brady, R-Texas, deleted $29.9 billion worth of tax provisions, collectively known as “extenders” because they are continually revived for a year or two at a time, that faced GOP opposition in the House. That includes one revenue-raiser disliked by the coal mining industry, which would extend the current tax they pay to support disabled miners with black lung disease; the tax would otherwise be slashed substantially next year.

Senate Could Work Between Holidays for Criminal Justice Bill
More GOP support cited by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., holds a press conference in the Capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, the day after Election Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate will take up a bipartisan criminal justice bill this month after changes to the text secured more support from Republicans, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday.

Senators could turn to the new text as early as the end of this week, he said.

Mark Sanford Crashing at Son’s ‘Frat House’ as He Plots His Future
Former South Carolina governor and two-time congressman packs up offices after 25 years in public eye

Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., has been in public service for nearly all of the last 25 years. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Mark Sanford is one of roughly a third of House members taping up boxes this week and preparing for life after Congress.

His transition to private life has been equal parts odd and nostalgic, the South Carolina Republican told two local newspapers in exit interviews over the last few weeks.

Frederica Wilson Still Waiting for Apology From John Kelly
Democratic congresswoman still contends chief of staff’s ‘empty barrel’ insult had racial connotations

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., is still waiting for an apology from soon-to-be-former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the news that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly will leave his post at the end of the year, his false statements about Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson have drawn renewed outrage. But Kelly has had no change of heart.

The 24th District Democrat confirmed to McClatchy Monday that she has heard “not a word” from Kelly — despite fresh calls for him to apologize from Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

Ahead of Meeting With Democratic Leaders, Trump Repeats False Wall Claim
President to meet with Schumer and Pelosi to talk border wall funding

President Donald Trump said Democrats have resisted border security for political reasons and because they have been “pulled so far left.” (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump, just hours ahead of a key meeting on the issue with Democratic leaders, made an impassioned plea for his southern border wall — and repeated another partially false claim.

The commander in chief claimed that “large Caravans that WERE forming and heading to our Country” have ceased in Central America because of “our newly built Walls, makeshift Walls & Fences, or Border Patrol Officers & Military.”

Politically Wounded Trump Complicates Border Talks With Pelosi, Schumer
‘When he feels challenged … he pulls back to his base’

President Donald Trump arrives back at the White House on Friday evening without taking reporters' questions. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Another wild weekend — with federal prosecutors appearing to implicate Donald Trump in a pair of federal crimes and his second chief of staff leaving soon — has only complicated the president’s coming talks with Democratic leaders to avert a partial government shutdown over the holidays.

Trump is scheduled to meet in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer less than two weeks before a deadline to pass legislation to keep the Department of Homeland Security and several other agencies funded and open beyond 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 21.