congressional-affairs

Shooting Survivors, Victims’ Families Tell Trump Emotional Stories
Father of Parkland victim: ‘I’m pissed … I’m never, ever going to see my kid again’

Students calling for Congress to act on gun control demonstrate on the East Lawn of the Capitol on Wednesday. Later, President Trump met with survivors of three school shootings at the White House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:38 p.m. | President Donald Trump heard powerful testimonials Wednesday from survivors and family members of teenagers killed in last week’s Florida high school shooting massacre. But he signaled his focus is on related issues, not gun control.

The president started an emotional “listening session” at the White House vowing to be “very strong on background checks” and “very strong” on tackling mental health issues. He initially only vaguely referred to also being strong on “other things,” but later floated ideas such as arming specially trained school workers, setting age restrictions on some guns and opening new mental institutions.

White House: ‘No’ Chance Ivanka Trump Meets With North Korean Officials
President’s daughter is leading U.S. delegation to Winter Olympics closing ceremony

Ivanka Trump at a State Department ceremony last June. She is leading the official U.S. delegation to the Pyeongchang Games’ closing ceremony. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Ivanka Trump is not expected to meet with any North Korean officials later this week when she leads the White House’s official delegation to the closing ceremony for the Winter Olympic Games.

Asked if the president’s daughter and senior adviser could meet with North Korean officials while in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a senior official replied, “No.”

Man Admits He Threatened to Kill Rep. Katko for Opposing Net Neutrality
Faces up to five years in prison

A man pleaded guilty this week to threatening to kill Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., and his family if he did not support net neutrality. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Syracuse man admitted he threatened to kill Rep. John Katko and his family if Katko did not support net neutrality, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Patrick D. Angelo, 29, pleaded guilty to interstate communication of a threat. He faces a maximum five years in prison and $250,000 fine.

Pence: Give Police, Families Tools for Mentally Disturbed
VP vows massive job creation via beefed-up space program

Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., D-Va., speaks with D.C.-area students and supporters as they hold a protest against gun violence with a lie-in outside of the White House on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration intends to give law enforcement and families the “tools they need to deal with” people who have health issues that might drive them to commit violent acts like mass shootings, Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday.

As during similar remarks late last week, however, the vice president did not specify how much that might cost or whether the administration will seek emergency funds or push Congress to include the required monies in fiscal 2018 and 2019 spending measures.

Spotlight on House After Senate Failure to Pass DACA Fix
White House puts pressure on House Republicans to advance conservative bill

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has said the House will only take up an immigration bill if it has President Donald Trump’s support. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s failure to advance immigration legislation last week took some pressure off House Republican leaders whose members wanted to ensure their chamber would offer a conservative counterproposal rather than just accept whatever the Senate produced.

But the White House — blamed by Democrats for killing a bipartisan Senate measure they believe could have cleared a 60-vote threshold without administration interference — is trying to keep the heat on the House.

Trump Focuses on Shooting Fallout — but Challenges Abound
Lack of common ground, White House could stop gun-access bill

D.C.-area students and supporters demonstrate against gun violence with a lie-in outside the White House on Monday after 17 people were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House is eager to portray Donald Trump as working to protect American students after the Florida high school massacre, but the president himself showed Tuesday why his staff’s intended messaging may fall flat.

West Wing aides have scheduled a series of events for later this week intended to allow Trump to appear presidential in the wake of the AR-15 killing spree by a troubled former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that left 17 dead.

Ethics Committee Acknowledges Investigation of John Duncan Jr.
Tennessee Republican campaign reportedly paid felon son $300,000

U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr., shown here in 2009, came under fire in July after reports that his campaign had made $300,000 in payments to his son, who pleaded guilty in 2013 to a felony charge of official misconduct.

The House Ethics Committee acknowledged Tuesday an investigation of Rep. John Duncan Jr, a scion of a Tennessee political dynasty who announced his retirement in July. 

Duncan, a Republican, came under fire that month after reports that his campaign paid his son, John Duncan III, almost $300,000. In the five years since the younger Duncan pleaded guilty to a felony charge of official misconduct. Those payments were made in monthly installments of $6,000 recorded as salary expenses, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. 

Rob Porter’s Ex-wives Accept Apology from Hatch
Former White House aide was Utah senator’s chief of staff

Rob Porter, right, former White House staff secretary, resigned earlier this month amid allegations of physical abuse against his ex-wives. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former White House aide Rob Porter’s ex-wives appeared to accept Sen. Orrin Hatch’s apology letters for his initial statement on the abuse allegations against their former husband.

“I feel like it’s a sincere apology,” Jennie Willoughby, one of Porter’s ex-wives, told a Washington Post reporter over the weekend. “Having been in D.C. for upwards of 12 to 13 years, I feel like this is sufficient given what I know to be true.”

Kelly Admits Missteps With White House Aides’ Clearances
Embattled chief of staff to phase out interim security clearances

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, seen here with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, has altered how the West Wing handles aides’ security clearances after the Rob Porter domestic assault scandal. (AP/Andrew Harnik file photo)

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, under fire after a former staffer’s domestic abuse scandal, has admitted the Trump team mishandled aides’ background investigations, and ordered new steps in how the West Wing handles security clearances.

In a five-page memo to staffers released Friday afternoon by the White House, Kelly alluded to the Rob Porter scandal but also attempted to spread the blame for a process he said was flawed but was one he inherited.

Analysis: Trump’s Hawks Won Senate Immigration Debate (By Not Losing)
White House remains well-positioned for coming rounds as DACA deadline looms

White House aides Stephen Miller, fourth from right, and Marc Short, second from right, were instrumental in preventing bipartisan immigration proposals President Donald Trump opposed from passing the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s immigration hard-liners proved Thursday it is possible to win even when the outcome of a battle is, on paper, a draw.

An immigration overhaul amendment backed by the administration received fewer votes Thursday than three other Senate proposals that also failed to pass the Senate. But the White House emerged from that chamber’s underwhelming and unproductive floor debate in strong shape for future fights on the issue.