Heard on the Hill

The scandal with no name continues to vex Washington
Ukraziness? Snakes on Ukraine? Badfellas? What should we call it?

Protestors holds signs on Nov. 13 outside the Longworth Building where top diplomats William Taylor and George Kent testified before the House Intelligence Committee. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Two years ago, official Washington failed to come up with a name for … the thing that happened two years ago. Most everyone settled on Trump-Russia or the Russia investigation or the Mueller probe or any number of unimaginative appellations.

Well, here we are again, nearly two months into yet another Donald Trump scandal with no name. “Why is there not a catchy, gate-like name for this Ukraine scandal yet?” asked one Twitter user in October. “It’s like the writers aren’t even trying anymore.” Indeed, John Oliver, the host of “Last Week Tonight” on HBO, could only come up with “Stupid Watergate 2.” Jimmy Kimmel recently coined “Ukraziness.” Other attempts have been made online, some better than others: Snakes on Ukraine. Zelenscheme. Crackpot Dome. Red Hat.

Inside the impeachment hearing room

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee during a hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump in Longworth Building on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Tim Ryan was once a star quarterback, with Congress as his backup
Ohio Democrat recalls how he got his start on Capitol Hill

Before he was a congressman, Ohio’s Tim Ryan was an intern and a staff assistant for his predecessor, Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tim Ryan “caught the bug” for Congress first as a summer intern in 1994 and then as a staff assistant the following year for a fellow Ohioan, the late and colorful Democratic Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.

He recalls meeting Traficant during his senior year in high school, when Ryan was the star quarterback of his team. The two bonded over their football experiences. Ryan was recruited to play for Youngstown State, but an injury cut short his college football career. 

‘We’re not going anywhere’: Actress Angelica Ross on Hill for Transgender Day of Remembrance
The American Horror Story actress and activist is a vocal member of the trans-community

Angelica Ross attends the WorldPride Opening Ceremony Benefit Concert at the Barclays Center in New York City. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Actress and trans-activist Angelica Ross was on Capitol Hill Wednesday in light of the 20th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day that honors the lives lost due to anti-trans violence.

“In 2019, at least 22 trans people have been killed, the majority of them Black trans women,” Ross said in a tweet, calling it an “epidemic.”

‘MY GUY’: Ariana Grande joins list of Bernie Sanders supporters
‘thank u, next’ takes on a new meaning

Ariana Grande tweeted her support for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We haven’t seen Bernie Sanders smile quite as big as when he’s standing next to Ariana Grande.

The global pop star posted her support for the 2020 presidential hopeful on Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday afternoon.

Capitol Hill comes together for police officer’s 11-year-old daughter after cancer diagnosis
Ella, daughter of Capitol Police officer Bret Sorrell, has been diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma

From left, Tate, Ella and Bret Sorrell. (Photo courtesy of the Sorrell family)

Halloween is a time for siblings to engage in war after a night of trick-or-treating. Battles ensue over who got the most candy. On a good night, a civilized “trade” might take place.

But this year, 11-year-old Ella and her 8-year-old brother Tate were on the same team. While Ella spent her night at Children’s National Hospital, Tate was out doing “double duty” trick-or-treating and making sure his older sister didn’t miss out.

Mark Ruffalo hopes his ‘Dark Waters’ film leads to environmental ‘revolution’
The actor's new legal thriller is already generating Oscar buzz

Actor and producer Mark Ruffalo speaks during a press conference to discuss the ‘Fight Forever Chemicals’ campaign on Nov. 19. The campaign coincides with the release of his film “Dark Waters,” inspired by the story of Robert Bilott, a corporate defense attorney who discovers a community has been dangerously exposed for decades to deadly chemicals. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Mark Ruffalo wants a revolution.

“Are we a country that is going to be responsive to people and make sure that our people remain healthy?” star of the upcoming film “Dark Waters,” asked a crowd gathered Tuesday on Capitol Hill. “Or are we going to be responsible only to the bottom line of corporations and their greed? Because right now the people are losing.”

Louie Gohmert’s daughter wrote a song about ‘my father’ and it’s, well, you listen ...
Music runs in the family, from father to daughter

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, might be the subject of the new BELLSAINT single “Much Like My Father." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Louie Gohmert has three daughters. Caroline, the middle child, is a musician who lives in California under the artist name BELLSAINT. And her latest single is called “Much Like My Father.”

“Everybody loves you / But there’s poison in the water / You get away with everything / Much like my father,” BELLSAINT begins.

Reps. Dan Crenshaw and Sheila Jackson Lee were front row at Kanye West’s ‘Sunday Service’
Kanye brings ‘Kongress’ together

Kanye West, center, speaks during Sunday Service at The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York on Sept. 29, 2019, in New York City. (Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Who says bipartisanship doesn’t exist? 

Texas Reps. Dan Crenshaw and Sheila Jackson Lee proved us wrong at Kanye West’s highly talked about Sunday Service at Lakewood Church in Houston, per Crenshaw’s Instagram.

California ice cream shop milks D.C. impeachment hearings
I scream, you scream for “Im-peach-mint Pie” ice cream?

California-based Smitten Ice Cream debuts "Im-Peach-Mint Pie" flavor in light of Washington's impeachment hearings (Courtesy Smitten Ice Cream)

You can run, but you can’t hide from the buzz that continuously surrounds congressional testimonies — even if you mute your Twitter notifications.

The House impeachment hearings continue to inspire clever cocktails around D.C. such as the “Quit Bro, Go” at Capitol Lounge and “Impeachment Please” at Union Pub.

Photos of the Week
The week of Nov. 15 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Retired Marine Paul Masi of Bethpage, N.Y., pauses by the name of high school classmate Robert Zwerlein at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day. Masi served in the 7th Engineers in Vietnam. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Kennedy calls for removal of VH1 series ‘Cartel Crew’
In letter, Louisiana senator says reality show is ’glorifying a brutal, deadly lifestyle’

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., sent a letter to VH1 requesting the cancellation of “Cartel Crew.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A 67-year-old senator isn’t the first person that comes to mind when one thinks about “reality TV” backlash, but at the tail end of 2019, weirder things have happened.

Sen. John Kennedy’s office released a letter Thursday asking VH1 to cancel “Cartel Crew,” a show that follows the journeys of relatives of cartel members who “set out to live legit lives and make names for themselves outside of the drug world,” according to the show’s website.

Watch: Rodney Davis and Eleanor Holmes Norton show off their scooter skills (or lack thereof)
Holmes Norton is an advocate for allowing electric scooters on the Capitol campus

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton tries out an e-scooter at a Capitol Hill safety demonstration on Wednesday. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., attended an e-scooter safety demonstration on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon, hosted by the Micromobility Coalition. Holmes Norton is an advocate of allowing e-scooters on the Capitol campus.

“Let’s bring the Congress into the 21st century,” she said Wednesday.

Therapy dogs provide paws to impeachment hearing stress
Capitol Hill wasn’t entirely miserable on Wednesday

Heard on the Hill correspondent Kathryn Lyons with therapy dogs Zamboni and Spumoni, who were on Capitol Hill on Wednesday for an event run by Pet Partners and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council to help provide staffers stress relief. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

First high-tension impeachment hearings in a generation got you stressed? Then take a little, ahem, “paws” from the proceedings and allow therapy dogs Lola, Zamboni and Spumoni to soothe some of those, um, “ruff” feelings.

The pups came to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, courtesy of Pet Partners and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, to spread some positive vibes among the two-leggers, and timing of their appearance couldn’t have been more opportune as the House Intelligence Committee began its first public hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. 

Senate and Marines begin Christmas toy drive for disadvantaged kids
Annual Toys for Tots drive runs until Dec. 4

Sens. Jon Tester of Montana, left, and Johnny Isakson of Georgia during last year’s toy drive. (Courtesy U.S. Office of Senate Photography)

The Senate is teaming up with the U.S. Marines for its annual mission to provide Christmas toys for disadvantaged children during the holiday season.

The chamber on Tuesday night unanimously approved a resolution introduced by Sens. Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Jon Tester of Montana that allows the Senate to collect toys for the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots drive.