Congress

Senate approves Trump trial rules, lining up a series of late nights
Chamber shot down attempts by Democrats to subpoena documents and witnesses

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives for the start of the impeachment trial on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted to approve Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s rules to govern the impeachment trial, which, despite last-minute changes Tuesday, earned no support from Democrats.

Senators adopted the updated resolution, 53-47, shortly before 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. The resolution will now give House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team 24 hours to make their arguments over three days, instead of the two days initially proposed by McConnell.

K Street firms post big earnings gains for 2019
Trade, health care and immigration issues paced lobbying spending last year

Lobbying firms are working with clients about their agendas for 2021, which will be hugely dependent upon who wins the White House this November. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

K Street’s top-tier firms posted sizable gains last year, fueled by technology, pharmaceutical and big-business interests concerned with such policy matters as trade, health care, taxation and government spending.

And lobbyists say impeachment proceedings and the 2020 campaigns haven’t yet derailed the influence industry’s agenda this year.

White House angers GOP senator with executive privilege claim on car tariff report
Other executive privilege claims could be key in impeachment trial

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., is not pleased with the administration's claim of executive privilege ona statutorily required report. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration is making a sweeping claim of executive privilege on a topic of interest to the Senate this week, and it has nothing to do with the impeachment trial.

And the White House is angering at least one Republican senator in the process.

View from the gallery: Senators struggle to sit in silence at Trump trial
Senators-turned-jurors sneak in snacks, lunge for phones during rare breaks to weigh in on arguments

Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, arrive at the Capitol on Tuesday for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lindsey Graham looked restless during the first hour of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, when none of the senators had access to their cellphones and the president’s lawyers and the House managers traded procedural arguments.

It was an unusual first day of buttoned-down decorum for the exclusive club of 100 senators-turned-jurors, who were made to stay in their floor seats, not eat, not talk and not tweet during only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history.

New press guidance for impeachment trial restricts movement
Holds freeze journalists in place before and after trial proceedings

A U.S. Capitol Police officer checks a reporter for electronic devices as he enters the Senate chamber to take his his seat in the press section on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. A magnetometer was set up in the Senate Press Gallery for the Senate impeachment trial. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Reporters covering the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump were given guidance on how their access to senators during the proceedings will be drastically impeded.

The press galleries issued guidelines for the first time on Tuesday at 10:30 am, just hours before the Senate began considering a resolution setting the ground rules for trial rules.

Impeachment comes with its own rules — or lack thereof — on standard of proof
Constitution says nothing about an impeachment evidence standard, making process political

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., and his fellow impeachment managers are seen in Statuary Hall before addressing the media on the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Jan. 21. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

What is the standard of proof senators will apply to the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump? It depends on whom you ask. 

The Constitution provides only bare-bones instructions on the impeachment framework. It does not outline a “standard of proof.”

Senators bend the rules by wearing Apple Watches to Trump trial
The ‘smart’ accessory could give senators a link to the outside world during impeachment arguments

Utah Sen. Mike Lee, left, dons his Apple Watch as he talks to Texas Sen. John Cornyn before a Nov. 6 Judiciary Committee hearing. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Correction 7:03 p.m. | The rules of decorum state that senators can’t use phones or electronic devices in the chamber during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, but what about Apple Watches?

At least seven senators had them strapped on their wrists in the chamber at the start of the trial Tuesday, despite guidelines from Senate leadership that all electronics should be left in the cloakroom in the provided storage.

Supreme Court denies request for expedited appeal of challenge to 2010 health care law
House and several blue states had requested appeal that could have led to decision ahead of election

An expedited hearing on the 2010 health care law could have led to a ruling before the election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will not hear an expedited appeal of a legal challenge to the 2010 health care law this term, which could have led to a decision this summer on whether to overturn the entire law during the heat of the campaign season.

At least five justices declined a request from several Democratic state officials and the House to fast-track an appeal of the case, Texas v. Azar. Instead, a lower court judge will reconsider how much of the 2010 health care law should fall after Congress eliminated the law's tax penalty on most Americans who did not have health care coverage. The Supreme Court could agree to hear the case as soon as its next term, which begins in October, but a decision is not likely before the November elections.

Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 21
Senate blocks every one of Schumer’s amendments on rules proposal

House impeachment managers address the media in the Capitol on the Senate trial of President Donald Trump on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted along party lines, 53-47, to block every motion Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer put forward Tuesday in an attempt to subpoena testimony from cabinet officials, State Department and White House documents, and communications regarding Ukraine.

The amendments were offered to the impeachment rules resolution and were the first of several attempts by the New York Democrat to alter the rules proposal during the first day of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. After Schumer offered his fourth amendment at about 9:30 p.m., Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a consent agreement to stack the amendment votes so they could be dispatched quickly.

2020 census begins! Decennial headcount starts in Alaska
Effort starts in remote villages before residents disperse for seasonal work in spring

U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham addresses state and Alaska Native leaders in Anchorage days before Tuesday’s first count of the 2020 census. (Mark Thiessen/AP)

By snowmobile and small plane, the 2020 census starts Tuesday in Alaska, facing the same language barriers and government trust issues that will make the count difficult on the U.S. mainland on top of actual physical obstacles like the rugged terrain where most of the state lies off the road system.

The geography of Toksook Bay, a fishing village on Alaska’s western coast that’s hosting the first count, shows the difficulty of counting the state’s residents. Many of the state’s villages, including Toksook Bay, can only be accessed by boat, plane or snowmobile. The effort starts in Alaska midwinter to count residents there before they disperse for seasonal work in the spring. 

McConnell’s impeachment rules would condense opening arguments, limit evidence
Resolution calls for two session days of arguments from House managers, Trump lawyers

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., circulated his proposed impeachment rules resolution on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday released a resolution setting time limits on the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, and is specifically seeking to limit the number of session days for opening arguments that would begin on Wednesday. 

Under text of a procedural resolution that the Senate would vote on Tuesday afternoon, the House managers would be allotted up to 24 hours over the course of up to two days, starting Wednesday afternoon, to make the case that the president should be removed from the White House.

Crimes required? Trump’s impeachment defense could set new standard
Trump defense team seizes on the lack of an article charging the president with a crime

A clerk places a tray of pens before Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., signs the articles of impeachment during an engrossment ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 15. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s defense team is arguing that a president should not be convicted by the Senate on articles of impeachment that do not include a criminal violation, putting the very definition of an impeachable offense at the center of the Senate trial set to begin Tuesday.

And some legal experts said the outcome of that debate could set a new, higher standard for removing a president from office in future impeachments.

Former Rep. Chris Collins sentenced to just over two years in federal prison
New York Republican pleaded guilty in October to insider trading charges

Former New York Rep. Chris Collins was sentenced to two years and two months in federal prison for insider trading. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Chris Collins was sentenced to two years and two months in federal prison Friday for insider trading crimes he committed, ending a legal process that evolved from the New York Republican calling the charges “meritless” shortly after he was indicted to him pleading guilty and proclaiming embarrassment for his actions.

Collins, who represented the Buffalo-area 27th District for seven years and was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for president, pleaded guilty on Oct. 1 to participating in a scheme to commit insider trading and lying to the FBI to conceal his illegal activity. He resigned from Congress the day before his guilty plea.

USDA official to resign, leaving civil rights post vacant
Lawmakers say her managerial style caused discord and discouraged employees from filing complaints

Department of Agriculture sign in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Corrected 4:50 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19 | The effort to fill the top Agriculture Department civil rights post got a setback this week with the resignation of Naomi C. Earp, the nominee for the position who has been serving as deputy assistant secretary for civil rights.

Earp, chairwoman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under President George W. Bush, has been under fire from Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, chairwoman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations.

Campus Notebook: Sen. Bob Menendez spent over $5 million in legal fees associated with corruption scandal
Capitol Police arrested someone for assault with a broomstick

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., has depleted and terminated his legal expense trust. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Millions in legal expenses for Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption scandal

The New Jersey Democrat spent $5.16 million on his defense, according to his legal expense fund filing with the Senate Office of Public Records. The trust was formed in 2014 at the beginning of Menendez’s legal woes. It allows people to make contributions to Menendez so he can fight his legal battles associated with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics inquiries and allegations of federal law violations associated with his role as a senator.