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Top Trump aide stops short of echoing boss’ claim that economy is ‘best it’s ever been’
But Lawrence Kudlow touts wage growth and low unemployment rate

Larry Kudlow, director of President Donald Trump’s National Economic Council, says the economy under Trump will “rank up there” with previous strong economies. (Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser on Friday stopped short of endorsing the president’s repeated claim that the U.S. economy is at its strongest point in the country’s history.

“In history? I think it’ll rank up there, yes,” Lawrence Kudlow told CQ Roll Call on Friday. But he notably did not say the U.S. economy is the strongest it’s ever been as his boss heads into what pollsters and strategists in both parties say could be a photo-finish election.

Impeachment isn’t the only obstacle to legislative wins for Congress in 2020
‘Investigate and legislate’ playbook may not work for Democrats again

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony on Wednesday. Democrats have said they can “investigate and legislate,” but that could be harder to pull off this year. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

On Dec. 18, the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump. On Dec. 19, the House approved a major rewrite of a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. Those two events, just 24 hours apart, marked the culmination of a strategy Democrats have sought to execute since the day they took control of the House last year: investigate and legislate.

“Our view is we are here to make things better for our constituents and stand up for the constitutional oaths that we took,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski, a freshman Democrat from New Jersey who ousted a Republican in 2018. “Those things are not in conflict with one another. And by the way, that’s always been true. When Nixon was being impeached, Congress passed a major infrastructure bill. When Clinton was being impeached, the Congress passed major legislation.”

Historic impeachment trial begins. Now what?
CQ on Congress, Ep. 182

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., and Rep. Sylvia R. Garcia, D-Texas, walk through the Capitol Rotunda as they pass from the House to the Senate on Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats try to expand House battlefield by targeting six more districts
With legislation stalled, campaign memo recommends blaming GOP and McConnell

The DCCC has once again added Alaska Rep. Don Young, the longest-serving House Republican, to its target list. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is adding six new targets to its 2020 battlefield, hoping to flip more Republican-held seats while protecting its House majority.

Having made historic gains in the 2018 midterms, Democrats started the year on defense. Republicans need a net gain of 18 seats to retake the House, and their first targets will be the 30 districts President Donald Trump won in 2016 that are currently represented by Democrats.

Rating change: With Hunter gone, California race shifts to Solid Republican
Democrat took 48 percent against wounded incumbent in 2018

Former Rep. Darrell Issa is seeking a House comeback bid from the district recently vacated by his fellow California Republican Duncan Hunter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Corrected 2:02 p.m. | California Republican Duncan Hunter finally left the House and took any Democratic chances of winning the 50th District with him.

Hunter won reelection in 2018 by 3 points in a Southern California seat that Republicans shouldn’t have to worry about defending, considering President Donald Trump carried it by 15 points in 2016. Hunter was under indictment at the time, which shows the strength any GOP candidate should have in the district.

Cory Booker bows out, Ben Carson backs off fair housing and issues of race recede in America
Latest Democratic debate was notable for what was not mentioned

With Cory Booker leaving the Democratic presidential race, following the exits of Kamala Harris and Julián Castro, issues of justice and inequality could get short shrift on the campaign trail, Curtis writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It doesn’t take a candidate of color on a debate stage to raise issues of justice and inequality. But that has been the way it has worked out, mostly.

For example, it was exhilarating for many when then-candidate Julián Castro said in a Democratic debate, “Police violence is also gun violence,” while naming Atatiana Jefferson, killed in her Fort Worth, Texas, home by a police officer who shot through the window without identifying himself. Castro’s words were an acknowledgment of the lived experiences of many in America. He has since dropped out of the race, as has California Sen. Kamala Harris, who chided her party for taking the support of black women for granted.

Super PACs after 10 years: Often maligned but heavily used
Democrats may slam Citizens United, but they benefit from the PACs the decision unleashed

A man demonstrates against super PACs in front of the Supreme Court in January 2012 to mark the second anniversary of the Citizens United decision, which contributed to the rise of super PACs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The reelection campaign of Rep. Angie Craig, a first-term Minnesota Democrat, kicked off 2020 with an email plea to supporters: “We’ve got to overturn Citizens United.”

Noting the 10 years since the pivotal Jan. 21, 2010, Supreme Court decision, which helped spur along super PACs, the Craig campaign urged people to show their allegiance to the cause by providing their email addresses. Later, would-be donors were asked to chip in money for her campaign, even just $15.  

Trump signs ‘phase one’ China pact, first of two trade milestones this week
Senate to take up NAFTA replacement before impeachment trial begins

President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a “Keep America Great” campaign rally in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Amid the impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed the first of two significant milestones on trade — an agreement with China that amounts to a ceasefire in his war with the Asian giant.

Trump is expected to get a second win on the issue later this week, with the Senate expected to approve a revised trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. Aides say Trump plans to trumpet both as part of his reelection sales pitch that he is a good steward of the economy.

Pelosi’s poor choices helped sink her impeachment gambit
As House votes to send articles to Senate, McConnell can put a check in the win column

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff and others spoke last month about the urgency of impeaching the president, but they were fine with holding the articles of impeachment for 28 days, Winston writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — What a difference 28 days makes.

On Dec. 18, House Democrats rushed to impeach President Donald Trump on charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power, with chief prosecutor Adam Schiff actually calling him a “clear and present danger” to the nation. Speed was of the essence, they told us. So critical, in fact, that the very security of the nation depended on it.

Think impeachment has been a self-defeating crusade for Democrats? Think again
Ukraine call may be old news, but don’t discount its moral power in a trial

The punditocracy may say that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have overplayed their hands on impeachment, but the latest Iowa Poll pokes holes in that argument, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

[OPINION] DES MOINES, Iowa — The recently unveiled Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll is considered the gold standard for deciphering the opening-gun Feb. 3 Democratic caucuses. But a polling question asked of a sample of the entire Iowa electorate may be more important for understanding the upcoming impeachment trial.

The question never mentioned the words “Donald Trump.” Instead, it asked registered Iowa voters, “Do you think it is OK or not OK for a U.S. presidential candidate to try to gain political advantage over an election rival by seeking help from foreign countries?”