legal-affairs

White House flashes urgency on shutdown — but actual goal is murky
Do Trump and Pence want to ‘resolve this’ or blame Dems for missed paychecks?

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive for lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Jan. 9. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS | Though faint, a crucial missing element to ending a partial government shutdown in its 29th day, was almost visible Saturday: Senior White House officials flashed a sense of urgency to end their standoff with Democrats.

But what was less clear on a cold and damp evening in Washington was whether White House officials bucked their own views about the stalled talks because they are eager to end the stalemate or eager to blame Democrats if nearly one million furloughed federal workers don’t get paid again next Friday.

Trump offers trade of Dreamers-for-wall that Democrats quickly reject
Shutdown likely to plod on with no end in sight as White House downplays economic impact

President Donald Trump floated a border security and immigration package Saturday he says would help “Dreamers” and allow him to build a U.S.-Mexico border barrier. But Democrats insantly panned it, and the partial government shutdown will drag on with no breakthrough. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Saturday pitched what he described as a plan that could end a partial government shutdown — but Democrats made their opposition clear before he uttered a single word about it.

His new offer amounted to a somewhat surprising  and sudden reversal for Trump and senior White House officials. That is because earlier this week, a senior White House official indicated the president was opposed to making a new offer unless House and Senate Democrats made the next move. It also appeared insufficient for Democrats as furloughed federal workers begin lining up at food banks and came amid worries about the shutdown’s effect on an already slowing U.S. economy.

Trump vs. Pelosi: 5 takeaways from their tit-for-tat as shutdown plods on
Nixing Afghanistan trip also was a direct blow to House Dems’ oversight plans

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and President Donald Trump have continued trading barbs in recent days. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump continued their high-stakes game of tit-for-tat Friday, even as the 28-day partial government shutdown plodded on with no signs of any restart of negotiations. 

White House aides scurried about Friday, initially declining to directly address a bombshell report that Trump directed former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. (Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later called the story “categorically false.”)

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

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff indicated his committee will probe a report that President Donald Trump directed former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

 

Trump unveils his ’Ric Flair doctrine’ — after another border wall pitch
Buried in president's hawkish remarks was assessment Iranian leaders ‘want to talk’

President Donald Trump delivers in the East Room of the White House in September. He was in a hawkish mood while talking U.S. military missiles at the Pentagon on Thursday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | President Donald Trump — in a Pentagon address that included digs at Democrats and a border wall pitch — warned potential foes like Iran that the United States is a “good player,” but could quickly become the dirtiest player in the game if provoked.

The commander in chief arrived at the Pentagon Thursday morning for remarks, ostensibly about a Defense Department review of the country’s missile defense arsenal and his administration’s plan to expand and upgrade it. But just like Monday while addressing farmers at a conference in New Orleans, the president spent about half his remarks bashing congressional Democrats, describing a bleak situation at the U.S.-Mexico border and lobbying for a “steel” border barrier.

Reed, Menendez press Trump for ‘immediate’ info on talks with Russia’s Putin
Duo sent letter to president hours before Giuliani suggests some 2016 collusion from campaign

Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., at a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Nov. 28, 2017.  They want answers from President Trump about his conversations with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As a top lawyer for Donald Trump suggests some members of the president’s 2016 campaign worked with Russians, two top Senate Democrats want answers about whether the commander in chief properly handled sensitive information about his contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Rudolph Giuliani told CNN Wednesday evening that he has “never said” there was zero collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russians. Shifting his stance yet again about what happened during that election cycle, Giuliani now says he stated only that the president himself never colluded with Russians or was involved in any potential actions by others that might constitute a crime.

White House challenges predictions of political hit if shutdown slows economy
Trump aides, Democrats both view floating new proposal as friendly fire

President Donald Trump, flanked by Senate Republican leaders, speaks in the Capitol on Jan. 9. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senior White House officials say they are unconcerned about a downgraded internal assessment of the partial government shutdown as a drag on the U.S. economy or polls that show most Americans mostly blame President Donald Trump for the impasse.

Instead, the president’s top aides on Wednesday said they are focused on the “long-term” health of the economy, which has shown signs of slowing in recent months as some economists warn that clouds of recession could be forming.

Pence signals little progress with China since Trump-Xi agreement
U.S. ‘remains hopeful’ Chinese officials will engage in serious talks

Vice President Mike Pence walks through Statuary Hall on his way to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office in the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 8. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday signaled that the Trump administration has made little progress in trade talks with China, even after what the White House portrayed as a breakthrough late last year.

Pence painted a picture of a new lull in U.S.-China trade talks even after President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed Dec. 1 over local steaks in Argentina to call a truce in what had been a tense tariff war that threatened to slow the global economy.

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

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 8, 2019. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

Barr assures senators of his independence
AG nominee says Mueller investigation isn’t a ‘witch hunt,’ Sessions ‘probably did right thing’ in recusing himself

William Barr, nominee for attorney general, testifies during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:59 p.m. | William Barr appeared to be on a path to confirmation as the next attorney general Tuesday, after he gave senators key assurances about the special counsel probe into the 2016 elections and distanced himself from some of President Donald Trump’s comments about the investigation.

During more than seven hours of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barr avoided the kind of missteps that might cost him votes of Republicans, who have a 53-47 advantage in the chamber. But some Democrats say he did not do enough to reassure them that he would protect Robert S. Mueller III’s probe and make the results public.