Dianne Feinstein

Another Trump judicial nominee backs away from college writings
Kenneth Lee’s testimony came hours before Senate confirmation of Neomi Rao, who had also backed away from college articles

Neomi Rao, nominee to be U.S. circuit judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, takes her seat for her confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Another of President Donald Trump’s appeals court picks distanced himself from college writings Wednesday, including articles about AIDS, LGBT rights, affirmative action and sexual harassment that raised concerns from Democrats.

“When you’re 18 or 19 you think you know everything, even though you really don’t,” Kenneth Lee, a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “When you’re young you think being snarky is being witty, as you get older I think you realize it frankly comes off as insensitive or tone deaf. I’ve learned that.”

Boeing faces increasing political pressure to ground 737 Max 8
Elizabeth Warren weighs in through her presidential campaign, for one

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., issued a statement from her presidential campaign that Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes should be grounded, adding to a growing chorus of concern about the airplanes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amid concerns over the safety of new Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the debate is spilling into presidential politics.

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren was among those calling for the United States to join other countries in grounding the planes on Tuesday after two crashes abroad.

Rao nomination advances amid pressure on freshman senator
Missouri’s Josh Hawley felt the full force of his party’s judicial confirmation machine

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the days before the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Neomi Rao’s nomination to the federal appeals court in Washington, Missouri Republican freshman Josh Hawley felt the full pressure of his party’s judicial confirmation machine.

“I know that there are some inside this building, and outside of it, who would prefer that I do as I’m instructed and go along to get along,” Hawley said before the committee’s Thursday vote. “And I’m sorry to disappoint them, but that is not going to happen.”

Senators want ban on Chinese Huawei tech in energy infrastructure
Letter to Cabinet comes from key members of the Senate Intelligence Committee

Sen. John Cornyn is leading senators calling for a ban of Huawei products from U.S. energy infrastructure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan group of senators, led by members of the Intelligence Committee, want the Trump administration to prohibit electrical equipment made by Huawei from being used in the U.S. energy infrastructure.

The call for a ban on the components from the Chinese technology giant came in a letter dated Monday to Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, led by Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn.

Democrats ‘went low’ on Twitter leading up to 2018
An analysis of tweets from candidates running for Senate leading up to Election Day

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., arrives for the confirmation hearing for Neomi Rao, nominee to be U.S. circuit judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 5. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — Voters in 2016 repeatedly heard Democrats cry out against negative Republican rhetoric, especially from the party’s presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“When they go low … ?” came the call at rally podiums. “We go high!” constituents would shout.

Barr nomination to get votes on the Senate floor next week
Comes after 12-10 committee vote, which reflected concerns from Democrats about how he would handle the Justice Department’s special counsel investigation

William P. Barr, left, nominee for attorney general, greets former Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, upon arriving for his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. Hatch introduced Barr to the committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:18 p.m. | William P. Barr is on track to be confirmed as the next attorney general next week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to limit debate and cut off any filibuster threats against the Barr nomination Thursday, setting up votes as soon as the Senate finishes work on a bipartisan package of public lands bills.

Appeals court nominee backpedals from college writings
“I cringe at some of the language I used,” Neomi Rao tells Senate Judiciary

Neomi Rao, nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, arrives for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s pick for an influential appeals court distanced herself Tuesday from prior writings about sexual assault and other topics during a Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing.

“To be honest, looking back at some of those writings and reading them, I cringe at some of the language I used,” Neomi Rao, a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, testified. “In the intervening two decades, I like to think that I have matured as a thinker and writer, and indeed as a person.”

Contentious nominee kicks off push to fill federal court seats
Senate Judiciary to hear from Neomi Rao, nominee for Kavanaugh’s old circuit seat

Neomi Rao, center, the administrator of White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, here at a Diwali ceremony in the White House on Nov. 13, 2018, has been nominated to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Senate Republicans this week renew their push to confirm conservative federal judges, including a nominee for a key appeals court who could evoke the contentiousness of last year’s all-out battle over Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s first confirmation hearing of the year Tuesday features Neomi Rao, nominated to the seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit left open when Kavanaugh moved to the Supreme Court.

Parties are swapping war positions in Trump era
Plenty of members of both parties are deviating from the new script — and the battle lines are still taking shape

President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S. Dak., Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stops to speak to the cameras following his lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Wed. Jan. 9, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Under the presidency of Donald Trump, America’s political parties have scrambled their traditional positions on war and peace.

The GOP has spent the bulk of the last 17 years arguing in favor of launching and then continuing overseas wars. But now some Republicans in Washington — and most Republicans in the country at large — back Trump’s plan to withdraw most U.S. troops from far-flung battlefields.

I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Trump
The State of the Union provides a spotlight for more than just the president

Get ready to see a lot of this at Tuesday’s State of the Union and its aftermath. Above, California Rep. John Garamendi, left, waits to do a TV news hit in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

All eyes will be on the House chamber this coming week, with plenty of drama surrounding both the State of the Union deliverer in chief, President Donald Trump, who just might use the occasion to declare a national emergency on the southern border, and no small number of congressional Democrats who want his job and have already declared their presidential campaigns. Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales and I talked about the dynamic on the latest Political Theater podcast.

Speaking of that chamber of rivals Trump will be facing, Stu Rothenberg has a two-part column this week about questions the Democratic Party should answer as the nomination process gets under way in earnest.