New Jersey

Trump appointees routinely bullied State Department staffers, IG reports
Numerous employees subjected to ‘disrespectful,’ ‘hostile’ and ‘inappropriate’ treatment

Two top officials at the State Department engaged in "generally unprofessional behavior" toward staffers, the inspector general's report found. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

A long-awaited investigation by the State Department’s inspector general concluded in a report released Thursday that multiple career employees were subjected to “disrespectful,” “hostile” and “inappropriate” treatment at the hands of political appointees.

The review specifically focused on allegations of political retaliation against career employees at the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, which leads and coordinates U.S. policy toward the United Nations. For over a year, House and Senate Democrats have pushed for a thorough investigation into whistleblower complaints and news reports that political appointees were vetting career employees at the State Department and retaliating against those they deemed insufficiently loyal to President Donald Trump and his administration’s conservative agenda.

Election officials want security money, flexible standards
After 2016 Russian intrusion, slow progress seen toward securing rolls and paper ballots

Voters line up at a temporary voting location in a trailer in the Arroyo Market Square shopping center in Las Vegas on the first day of early voting in Nevada in October of 2016. Louisiana and Connecticut officials requested more money and clear standards from the federal government before voters head to the polls in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

State officials from Louisiana and Connecticut on Thursday asked for more money and clear standards from the federal government to help secure voting systems before the 2020 elections.

But the officials, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, stressed the differences between their election systems and asked for leeway from the federal government in deciding how to spend any future funding.

Trump’s new hard-line immigration rule at odds with independent voters’ views
75 percent of key voting bloc sees immigration as ‘good’ for U.S., poll finds

The “Defund Hate” campaign holds a protest on June 25 in the rotunda of the Russell Building to honor immigrants who died in federal detention. The Trump administration on Monday announced another hard-line immigration policy. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House on Monday again answered a chorus of criticism by pivoting to a hard-line immigration policy, even though it could drive away independent voters in key battleground states.

With the commander in chief on his third full day of a 10-day “working vacation” at his New Jersey golf resort, the White House deployed Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, for a rare session with reporters in the James A. Brady Briefing Room — a briefing that came two days after former Trump friend and alleged child sex-trafficker Jeffery Epstein was found dead in his New York City jail cell.

Photos from the Iowa Wing Ding
Roll Call photojournalist Caroline Brehman gives us a taste of the Iowa Wing Ding

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., waits backstage before speaking at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa Friday night. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

White House lifts pause on State, USAID spending
The move comes after a flurry of congressional criticism of OMB's funding freeze

The White House has agreed to release certain State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funding after it had been temporarily frozen. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House has released certain funds appropriated for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development that over the weekend had been temporarily frozen, a senior administration official said Friday.

The action comes after the Office of Management and Budget told those two agencies to cease spending for a range of programs that still have unobligated fiscal 2018 and 2019 balances, and would otherwise expire if not spent by Sept. 30.

After years of promises, Trump again sounds dire about China trade pact
‘Joe Biden is not playing with a full deck,’ POTUS alleges of Dem front-runner

President Donald Trump stops to briefly talk with journalists as he tours his “Made In America” product showcase at the White House in July. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday did not rule out canceling planned trade talks next month with Chinese officials, saying he is not yet ready to make a deal with the Asian economic powerhouse.

He also announced the United States is cutting all ties to Huawei, the giant Chinese telecommunications company that Beijing considers one of its industrial champions but the Trump administration contends is a national security threat. Trump left open the possibility of rebuilding that link if his team can strike a deal with China.

Trump says McConnell ‘totally on board’ with background checks
President dismisses possibility of NRA opposition to legislation

President Donald Trump says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is “totally on board” with “intelligent background checks,” but a Senate aide says McConnell hasn’t endorsed “anything specific.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday gave perhaps his strongest endorsement yet of a background checks overhaul bill for firearms purchases, and predicted Republican lawmakers would “lead” on the issue despite opposition from the National Rifle Association.

“Frankly, we need intelligent background checks. This isn’t a question of NRA, Republican or Democrat. I spoke to [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell yesterday. ... He is totally on board,” the president told reporters as he left the White House for a 10-day working vacation.

With Iowa State Fair ahead, 2020 Democrats pitch to rural America
A trio of presidential hopefuls rolled out new plans Wednesday

Presidential candidates will be visiting the Iowa State Fair this week, along with the famous butter cow. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Democratic presidential hopefuls get ready to visit the soapbox at the Iowa State Fair, they’re announcing big plans for investments in rural America.

Three senators seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination for president are the latest candidates with plans they hope will appeal to rural Iowa caucusgoers. Those include proposals from two members of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee: Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

How about a crime bill for white people instead of black people?
Crimes that keep Americans up at night are no longer out of some scene from “Law & Order”

It’s time to pass a new crime bill for the mostly white, almost entirely male, population of mass shooters who are steadily transforming our country into a shooting range to make up for their own sick frustrations with life, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — At nearly every Democratic presidential event I’ve been to this year, the candidates have talked about the devastating effects of the 1994 crime bill on the black community.

The legislation, which President Bill Clinton signed and Joe Biden, then a Delaware senator, pushed through the Judiciary Committee, was written as a response to an explosion in violent crime in urban areas across the country. In New York City, for example, there had been 2,245 murders in 1990. (There were 289 last year.)

Small dollars a big deal as GOP sees untapped potential in Trump supporters
Party effort to steer campaigns to new ‘WinRed’ system met with grumbles and suspicion

The Trump campaign has endorsed WinRed, the GOP’s new fundraising platform that the RNC is trying to get all campaigns to use. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Convinced there is untapped potential with conservative grassroots donors, Republicans have long bemoaned their lack of a fundraising tool for small-dollar donations as pervasive as the Democrats’ ActBlue. 

But since Republicans rolled out their own centralized platform earlier this year, there’s been grumbling within the party that the effort runs afoul of conservative free-market ideas.