capitol-hill

Unchecked power
CQ on Congress, Ep. 184

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, talks with reporters in the Senate subway before the continuation of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Trump touts more than 100 miles of new border wall during State of Union
But all but one mile of it simply replaces old, existing barriers

A section of the border wall stretches through the Rio Grande Valley sector of the Texas border on Aug. 20, 2019. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump boasted during his State of the Union address that his administration has built more than 100 miles of barriers along the southwest border. The latest government data, however, shows that only one new mile of barrier has been constructed where none previously existed.

During his address Tuesday night to Congress, the president referred to ongoing construction of “a long, tall and very powerful wall” that echoed promises from his 2016 presidential campaign.

State of the Union: Democrats, Republicans brace for a hostile Trump
GOP lawmakers urge POTUS to move on from impeachment, but admit they do not know how he will approach speech

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., is “expecting the worst” from President Donald Trump at Tuesday’s State of the Union address as the Senate impeachment vote looms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats and Republican lawmakers are bracing for a whole new level of partisan belligerence from President Donald Trump at the State of the Union on Tuesday, less than 24 hours before the Senate is expected to vote to acquit him of both articles of impeachment he faces.

“I’m expecting the worst,” Sen. Chris Murphy told reporters Monday, saying that he would not be surprised if Trump made pointed remarks about the press, Democratic lawmakers, and the impeachment managers presenting the case against him over the last two-and-a-half weeks.

View from the gallery: Impeachment trial end in sight, senators fight common cold
Outside the chamber and in galleries, much talk of the “Senate plague”

Artists Art Lien, left, and William J. Hennessy Jr. sketch scenes from the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the Capitol on Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stood up to send a question to President Donald Trump’s defense team around 6:45 p.m. Thursday, but first he suggested an upcoming 45-minute break for dinner.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., instead of his usual response of “without objection,” changed it to a phrase that resonated with the haggard senators and others in the chamber. “I’m sure there’s no objection,” Roberts said, causing a murmur of laughter to spread even to the page delivering the paper card with McConnell’s question to the rostrum.

U.S. border officers ordered to vet Iranian American travelers, memo shows
Jayapal seeks Customs and Border Patrol meeting over agency's 'leaked' directive

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., called the practice of targeting U.S. citizens and residents at the border "absolutely unacceptable." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal said Thursday that her office was working to confirm what appears to be a Customs and Border Protection directive to field officers asking for additional scrutiny of Iranians, Palestinians and Lebanese at the U.S. border. 

“This document, if verified as coming from the Seattle CBP Field Office, matches exactly the process described by CBP leadership in a briefing last week, our own sources inside CBP, and the credible and powerful accounts from travelers who faced extreme profiling at the U.S.-Canada border,” the Democratic lawmaker said in a statement that linked to a local paper in Washington state that published the directive. 

Senate's electronic-device ban bars Parnas from chamber

Lev Parnas, a Rudy Giuliani associate with ties to Ukraine, right, and his attorney Joseph Bondy, walk through a Senate office building Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Parnas’ Wednesday morning visit coincided with the first day of the trial’s question-and-answer phase and included a trip to Sen. Chuck Schumer‘s office in the Hart  building.

Parnas once intended to spend time in the Senate Visitors’ Gallery to watch part of the impeachment trial proceedings. However, Senate rules bar the use of electronic devices in the chamber and Parnas is under court order to wear a GPS tracking device.

Burr is giving senators fidget spinners to stay busy during trial
Impeachment arguments have tested lawmakers ability to sit still for hours at a time

A fidget spinner belonging to Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., is displayed in his Capitol Hill office on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. The toy was one of many that the senator handed out to his colleagues on Thursday ahead of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Graham MacGillivray/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Richard M. Burr is trying to help out his antsy Senate colleagues.

The North Carolina Republican is providing an assortment of fidget spinners and other gizmos to his GOP colleagues at this week’s Thursday lunch.

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.

Do chatty senators really face jail time during impeachment?

Former Oregon Sen. Bob Packwood was arrested in 1988 after barricading himself inside his office, locking one door and blocking another with a chair in an attempt to prevent a quorum so that Republicans could stall debate on campaign finance legislation. The sergeant-at-arms escorted Packwood to the Senate chamber, and he was physically carried onto the floor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite a dramatic daily warning, if senators fail to stay silent during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, it’s unlikely that they’ll end up arrested. And no, there is not a Senate jail.

At the beginning of each trial day, Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger will declare, “Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! All persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment.”

Impeachment trial security crackdown will limit Capitol press access
Press pens and ‘no walking and talking’ draw criticism from press corps advocates

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., talks with reporters in the Capitol after the Senate Policy luncheons on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate sergeant-at-arms and Capitol Police are launching an unprecedented crackdown on the Capitol press corps for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, following a standoff between the Capitol’s chief security officials, Senate Rules Chairman Roy Blunt and the standing committees of correspondents.

Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael C. Stenger will enact a plan that intends to protect senators and the chamber, but it also suggests that credentialed reporters and photographers whom senators interact with on a daily basis are considered a threat.