House of Representatives

Pelosi In Peril?

Mike Allen: “Top Democrats tell me that if they take back the House in November, a restoration of Speaker Nancy Pelosi is no longer guaranteed.”

“In fact, some well-wired House Democrats predict she will be forced aside after the election and replaced by a younger, less divisive Dem…. Pelosi has hung in through the minority, and remains the party’s most consistent fundraiser. As for whether she’ll return as Speaker, she has just said that it’s up to the members. (Her allies note that she has never lost a leadership vote.)”

Playbook: “Nancy Pelosi has thick skin. She would love nothing more than for Democrats to win back the House majority. If people dump on her en route to the majority, fine.”

House Russia Probe Dissolves Into Fight Over Transcripts

Bloomberg: “Now that Republicans have terminated the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe, the biggest outstanding question is whether the public will ever see transcripts from dozens of its closed-door witnesses.”

“Republicans on the Intelligence panel are reversing their earlier plans to release those transcripts, while Democrats say they plan to attach the documents to their final report.”

Time for Nancy Pelosi to Go?

Walter Shapiro: “A strong case can be made that the congressional elections this year are the most important off-year contests since at least 1946 – the year when the Republicans took control of Congress for the first time since the Depression and brought a generation of virulent anti-communists like Joseph McCarthy to power.”

“For all the glib talk of a ‘blue wave’, there is a sizable risk that the Democrats could fall a few seats short of the 24 they need to win back the House. Even with, say, a three-seat majority, the Republicans would select all the committee chairmen and thwart any investigation into the misdeeds of the Trump administration.”

“That is why the moment is at hand for Pelosi to cap her congressional career by announcing – for the good of the nation and her party – that she will step down as Democratic leader.”

House Republicans Conclude No Evidence of Collusion

“House Intelligence Committee Republicans have completed a draft report in their year-long Russia probe that states they found no evidence President Trump or anyone affiliated with him colluded with Russian officials to affect the outcome of the 2016 elections, a conclusion expected to incite backlash from committee Democrats,” the Washington Post reports.

“Republicans also determined that while the Russian government did pursue ‘active measures’ to interfere in the 2016 election, they did not do so with the intention of helping Trump’s campaign, contradicting the findings of the intelligence community.”

New York Times: “The decision to end the investigation with a conclusion of no collusion hands Mr. Trump a convenient talking point even before Mr. Mueller interviews the president and possibly other key witnesses.”

Washington Has Attention-Deficit-Disorder

Politico: “Every time it seems the president has zeroed in on an issue, and appears determined to see it through — guns and immigration are just the two latest examples — he moves on to something else. And Congress, which isn’t designed to respond swiftly to national events and the wishes of the White House even in the least distracted of circumstances, simply can’t keep up.”

“The constant whiplash of priorities is getting on lawmakers’ nerves.”

Said Sen. Susan Collings (R-ME): “It’s unbelievable to me. The attention span just seems to be … it’s a real problem.”

Republicans Signal End of House Russia Probe

“Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is scheduled to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, and he could be one of the last major witnesses to appear as part of the panel’s Russia investigation,” CNN reports.

“Rep. Mike Conaway and other Intelligence Committee Republicans are signaling they’re ready to end the investigative phase of their Russia probe and move on to writing the final report, while Democrats say there are still scores of witnesses the committee needs to speak with.”

Hill Interns Required to Sign Non-Disclosure Agreements

“For unpaid interns on Capitol Hill, secrecy is so much a part of the job that on their first day, many are required to sign sweeping nondisclosure agreements,” Vox reports.

“Employment lawyers reviewed two Hill NDAs obtained by Vox and said they are written in a way that could discourage interns from speaking up about anything, potentially protecting members of Congress and their staff even in cases of harassment or abuse… Lawyers questioned the scope of the language, the absence of an exception for incidents of harassment, discrimination, or abuse, and the fact that interns are not guaranteed a copy of what they signed.”

Senators Say House Intelligence Committee Leaked Texts

“The Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee were behind the leak of private text messages between the Senate panel’s top Democrat and a Russian-connected lawyer,” the New York Times reports.

“Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the committee’s Republican chairman, and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the top Democrat, were so perturbed by the leak that they demanded a rare meeting with Speaker Paul D. Ryan last month to inform him of their findings. They used the meeting with Mr. Ryan to raise broader concerns about the direction of the House Intelligence Committee under its chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).”

“To the senators, who are overseeing what is effectively the last bipartisan investigation on Capitol Hill into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the leak was a serious breach of protocol and a partisan attack by one intelligence committee against the other.”

Gowdy Requests Documents from Carson

“Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on Wednesday requested that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson turn over all documents and communications pertaining to allegations by a high-ranking civil servant that she was the target of reprisals after sounding the alarm on agency spending,” Politico reports.

Hicks Refuses to Answer House Investigators’ Questions

“White House communications director Hope Hicks is the latest close adviser to President Trump to refuse to answer questions about the administration or transition period, posed by House investigators as part of their probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election,” the Washington Post reports.

“Democrats and Republicans emerging from the House Intelligence Committee’s ongoing interview with Hicks on Tuesday noted that she resisted answering any questions about events and conversations that occurred since Trump won the election, despite the fact that Trump has not formally invoked executive privilege with the panel.”

Democratic Memo Tears Apart Nunes Claims

Jonathan Chait: “More than a month ago, conservatives rose up in coordinated demands to ‘release the memo.’ The memo, supposedly, contained breathtaking evidence of corruption in the Justice Department. The agents of the Deep State had allegedly used a partisan memo to spy on the Trump campaign, hiding its provenance. Fox News and numerous Republicans insisted the memo gave President Trump all the cause he needed to fire Rod Rosenstein and rein in Robert Mueller.”

“Republicans managed to delay the publication of a rebuttal memo by House Democrats for several weeks. The motivation for the delay is obvious. The Democratic memo lays waste to every important accusation made by Devin Nunes. (Or, to put it more accurately, made by Trump, via Nunes.)”

Lawfare: “While the ‘Demo,’ as we’ll call it for short, certainly contains its share of political rhetoric, the facts it alleges are worth serious consideration. If they are true even in substantial measure, let alone in all of their particulars, they rather lay waste to the original Nunes document. This despite a number of redactions in the Demo that apparently were the condition of its declassification and that make it hard to parse in some places.”

Vox: “The Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo tears it apart.”