Lindsey McPherson

Rosenstein Agrees to Sit for Transcribed Interview With Judiciary, Oversight Leaders
Freedom Caucus, rank-and-file panel members will not be able to participate

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has agreed to sit for a transcribed interview with leaders of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees Oct. 24, the panels’ chairmen announced Thursday evening.

The announcement comes just hours after House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, an Oversight subcommittee chairman, called on Rosenstein to resign, citing his unwillingness to cooperate with the panels’ investigation.

Blumenauer Sends Blunt Marijuana Blueprint to Democratic Leadership
Goal is to have Congress pass legislation by the end of 2019

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, one of Congress’s most vocal marijuana proponents, sent Democratic leadership a memo Wednesday outlining steps Congress should take to legalize the Schedule I drug.

“Congress is out of step with the American people and the states on cannabis,” Blumenauer wrote in the memo, citing polling showing that 69 percent of registered voters support legalizing marijuana. “We have an opportunity to correct course if Democrats win big in November.”

Democrats Spin McConnell Entitlement Comments Into Political Messaging
McConnell says Republicans cannot tackle program on their own but Democrats warn of GOP action

Democrats are spinning comments Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently made on overhauling entitlements to craft a political message that electing Republicans will lead to cuts in safety net programs. 

“Sen. McConnell gave the game up in his comment yesterday,” Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said on a press call Wednesday. “It was very clear from what he said that a vote for Republican candidates in this election is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That’s what he said.”

Pelosi Not Willing to Trade Over Border Wall, Calls It Trump ‘Manhood Issue’
‘It’s probably the worst way to protect the border,’ House minority leader says

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday there is nothing she would trade for President Donald Trump’s border wall, setting a hard negotiating stance in advance of an expected December showdown over the issue.

“It happens to be like a manhood issue for the president, building a wall, and I’m not interested in that,” the California Democrat said during a discussion at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics. 

Trump Signals He Doesn’t Believe Saudi Rulers Involved in Journalist’s Death
Tweet follows conversation with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signaled he doesn’t believe Saudi rulers were involved in the suspected murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi after a telephone conversation with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“Just spoke with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate,” Trump tweeted. “He was with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo … during the call, and told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter. Answers will be forthcoming shortly.”

Democrats Pan Trump’s Deference to Saudi King on Journalist’s Disappearance
President again siding with authoritarian leaders over U.S. intelligence officials, lawmakers say

Democratic lawmakers criticized President Donald Trump on Monday for seeming to siding with Saudi King Salman, who denied during a phone call with the president that his government was involved in the disappearance of a Washington Post journalist. 

Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was born in Saudi Arabia, has been critical of Salman in his writings. He has not been seen or heard from since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Arizona Congressional Candidate Greg Stanton Was Victim of Armed Robbery
Attacker wielded hatchet-like weapon

Arizona Democratic congressional candidate Greg Stanton was robbed Saturday outside a Thai restaurant in Phoenix by a man brandishing a hatchet-like weapon but has said he is fine, according to The Arizona Republic.

Police do not have a suspect, but Stanton believes the robbery was “a random act,” the newspaper reported.

Why Pelosi Is Likely to Be Speaker Again if Democrats Win Back House
There’s no obvious field of candidates ready to challenge her

ANALYSIS — “You can’t beat somebody with nobody.”

That political axiom explains in just six words why Nancy Pelosi is likely to be elected speaker if Democrats retake the House in November. No one has announced plans to challenge the California Democrat, and it’s unclear if anyone will after the election.

Senate Starting Campaign Recess Two Weeks Early, Gone Through Midterm Election
Upper chamber reaches agreement on nominations

Senate leaders on Thursday reached an agreement to accelerate consideration of several judicial nominations — a deal that will allow the chamber to depart two weeks early for its midterm campaign recess. 

The Senate will recess through the Nov. 6 election and is scheduled to return the following Tuesday.

Senate Republicans Ready to Limp Into Border Wall Fight
With Democratic votes needed, wall funding may not meet what Trump and House GOP want

Senate Republicans say they are willing to join their House counterparts in a postelection fight over border wall funding but recognize that their chamber will be more constrained by the need for Democratic votes.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan predicted Monday that there would be a “big fight” in December on appropriating more money for President Donald Trump’s desired wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. The Wisconsin Republican wouldn’t foreshadow how that fight would play out, but he didn’t rule out a partial government shutdown as a potential outcome.

Rosenstein House Judiciary, Oversight Testimony Kerfuffle Ensues After Subpoena Threat
Confusion emerges over deputy attorney general’s scheduling with committees

Updated 1:40 p.m. | Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was expected to testify in a closed session with the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees this week but he will not appear, according to a news release from GOP Reps. Andy Biggs and Matt Gaetz.

However, a Republican Judiciary Committee aide said the panel has many questions for Rosenstein and expects answers to those questions but noted there is not yet a confirmed date for a meeting, seeming to refute the suggestion Rosenstein was scheduled to appear.

Progressive Caucus Launches Center for Policy Development, Outreach
The center’s board raised $1.5 million to hire an initial staff of 8 to 10 people

The Congressional Progressive Caucus on Tuesday announced the launch of a center that will coordinate progressive policy development, messaging and outreach inside and outside Congress. 

The center is not yet fully operational, but it starts off with a board of directors that has spent the past four and a half months raising money to fund staff for next year.

McCarthy to Introduce Border Wall Funding Bill This Week
Speaker hopeful plays to GOP base with conservative immigration enforcement measure

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is planning to introduce a bill this week that would provide $23.4 billion more in funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall and include several other immigration enforcement measures, his spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday. 

The soon-to-be-introduced bill, first reported by Breitbart News, is red meat designed to fire up the Republican base ahead of the midterms, as well as signal to GOP lawmakers in Congress that McCarthy supports conservatives’ policy priorities. 

Ryan Promises ‘Big Fight’ on Border Wall Funding, Doesn’t Rule Out Partial Shutdown
Speaker says he doesn’t know what outcome will be in December

Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Monday refused to rule out a partial government shutdown as he promised Republicans would push hard to secure additional border wall funding in December appropriations negotiations.

“We will have a big fight about that,” the Wisconsin Republican said. 

Republicans Likely in for a Messy December Funding, Leadership Fight
Securing border wall funding key for GOP, members to watch leadership candidates’ tactics

House Republican leaders patted themselves on the back last week for appropriating a large portion of discretionary spending before the start of the fiscal year today, but they’ve also set themselves up for messy spending fight come December over border wall funding that could complicate GOP leadership elections and potentially lead to a partial government shutdown.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan promised President Donald Trump that if he let Congress punt the Homeland Security Appropriations bill — where border wall funding would be debated — until after the November midterm elections, then House Republicans would fight for the wall then.

More Problem Solvers Members Pledge to Tie Speaker Vote to Rule Changes
Bipartisan caucus now has 19 members ready to oppose a candidate for speaker if they don’t back process changes

Trying to show their push to amend House rules to create more bipartisan legislative processes is serious, the Problem Solvers Caucus announced Thursday that 19 of its members are willing to oppose any speaker candidate who won’t bring about change.

The bipartisan caucus unveiled a package of proposed House rules changes in July called “Break the Gridlock” and has been coalescing support for it on both sides of the aisle. Some of the caucus members have decided to add some oomph to their sales pitch by pledging not to support a candidate for speaker unless that person commits to enacting the rules package.

House Democrats Briefly Consider Upping Speakership Vote Threshold, Drop Proposal for Now
Idea expected to be raised again in the caucus after Nov. 6

House Democrats on Wednesday briefly discussed a proposal to require their candidate for speaker — in case they win the chamber in November — to secure 218 votes in the caucus vote instead of a simple majority. The proposal was dropped, for now.

A shift from a simple majority to a 218-vote threshold would align the caucus rules with House rules that require a speaker to be elected by a majority of the full House.

Are the GOP’s Pelosi Attacks Effective? Public Does Not Seem to Think So
Despite polls, Republicans stick with attack ads on the California Democrat

With their House majority hanging in the balance, Republicans have tried time and time again to tie Democratic candidates to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, hoping that her general unpopularity will drag the candidates down too. It doesn’t seem to be working.

A spate of recent polls have found that voters don’t care much about candidates’ views on the California Democrat. More voters care about what they think of President Donald Trump, these polls have found, supporting historical patterns in which midterm elections often become a referendum on the occupant of the White House. 

Goodlatte Announces Plans to Subpoena McCabe Memos
Memos allegedly chronicle conversations by Rod Rosenstein on the president

Updated 8:34 p.m. | House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte told reporters Tuesday evening that he plans to subpoena the Justice Department for memos Andrew McCabe wrote during his tenure as acting FBI director. The memos allegedly chronicle conversations in which Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed secretly recording President Donald Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

“I had my consultation with the Democrats so that we can issue the subpoena now in two days,” the Virginia Republican said.

Mel Watt Accuser to Testify Before House Panel
Appearance comes same day as Kavanaugh-Ford hearing over in the Senate

The House Financial Services Committee will hear testimony Thursday from a Federal Housing Finance Agency employee who has accused former Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C, the agency’s director, of sexual harassment, the same day Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused the judge of sexual assault, are scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Financial Services panel had already scheduled an FHFA oversight hearing for Thursday, where Watt is among the invited witnesses. Watt’s accuser, Simone Grimes, requested to testify at the hearing, according to a letter ranking member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., sent Monday to Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, asking he allow Grimes to do so.