House of Representatives

GOP Lawmaker Settled His Own Harassment Case

Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), “who has taken a leading role in fighting sexual harassment in Congress, used thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to settle his own misconduct complaint after a former aide accused him last year of making unwanted romantic overtures to her,” the New York Times reports.

“A married father of three, Mr. Meehan, 62, had long expressed interest in the personal life of the aide, who was decades younger and had regarded the congressman as a father figure… But after the woman became involved in a serious relationship with someone outside the office last year, Mr. Meehan professed his romantic desires for her — first in person, and then in a handwritten letter — and he grew hostile when she did not reciprocate.”

“She later reached a confidential agreement with Mr. Meehan’s office that included a settlement for an undisclosed amount to be paid from Mr. Meehan’s congressional office fund.”

For members: Republicans Are Reeling In Pennsylvania

This is very bad news for Republicans. They’ll either have a damaged incumbent or an open seat in a very competitive district.

Secret Memo Was Actually Written by GOP Staffers

“House Republicans spent the end of the workweek telling everyone who would listen that the American people must be allowed to see a top-secret four-page document that could bring an end to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 elections,” the HuffPost reports.

“One thing about that document: Republican staffers wrote it.”

“The document, which alleges abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act during the FBI’s quiet counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign in the final months of the 2016 election, was actually compiled by Republican staffers on the House Intelligence Committee. That committee voted along partisan lines this week to allow any member of Congress to take a peek at the document themselves. Republican members soon flocked to a secure room to read the memo written by their allies — and then ran to tell the press about it.”

How Kevin McCarthy Became Trump’s Fixer

Washington Post: “From talks about the midterm elections at Camp David to a strategic interjection at a bipartisan immigration meeting, McCarthy, 52, has sought to position himself as Trump’s indispensable man in Congress, an easygoing Republican who gets him — and likes him.”

“Trump has showcased the relationship and appears to enjoy the fidelity of a high-ranking GOP leader. Before having dinner together Sunday… Trump took questions from reporters under the club portico’s ornate arches, with McCarthy standing beside him. McCarthy — who was in the Oval Office Thursday when Trump used a vulgarity to disparage immigrants — stood stone-faced and quiet as the president declared that he is ‘not a racist’ and asserted that those comments weren’t made.”

“McCarthy is aggressive but hardly alone in his embrace. Many Republicans once thought of Trump as a crude intruder but have since developed relationships with the president to try to guide and influence him.”

House Will Hold Hearings on Return of Earmarks

“The House Rules Committee said Tuesday it would hold two hearings next week on whether to restore earmarks in what GOP aides characterized as a long-delayed fulfillment of Ryan’s promises,” the Washington Post reports.

“But years after their abolishment, the subject of earmarks generates a fierce split that does not fall along party lines. Appropriators from both parties bristle, arguing that Congress has essentially ceded authority to the executive branch and lost the grease that kept their bills moving across the Hill.”

Royce Will Not Run Again

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) announced he would not run for re-election in November, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Royce, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is the eighth panel chairman to announce his retirement or run for another office ahead of the 2018 midterms.

It’s hard to imagine a more helpful retirement for Democrats. Hillary Clinton won Royce’s district by nine points in 2016.

Ryan Backs Nunes In Dispute with FBI

“Speaker Paul Ryan backed his fellow congressional Republican, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), during a meeting over the Russia investigation Wednesday, capping off a months-long dispute between the committee and the Justice Department, CNN reports.

“Over the summer Nunes served subpoenas seeking a broad range of documents connected to the dossier of compromising allegations about President Trump’s connections to the Kremlin… While Ryan had already been in contact with Rosenstein for months about the dispute over documents, Rosenstein and Wray wanted to make one last effort to persuade him to support their position… During the meeting, however, it became clear that Ryan wasn’t moved and the officials wouldn’t have his support if they proceeded to resist Nunes’ remaining highly classified requests.”

Democrats May Issue Minority Report on Russia

Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) told Greg Sargent that Democrats “are seriously exploring the possibility of issuing a minority report that details (among other things) the degree to which Republicans tried to impede a full investigation, should that end up happening.”

“In this scenario, the public would at least have a clear sense of just how far Republicans went to protect President Trump and his top officials from accountability.”

Said Himes: “It’s in both the Democrats’ and the Republicans’ interests to … write a report based on a common set of facts. It would be a tragedy if the report has a minority section that says, ‘Look, we wanted to talk to these two dozen witnesses and weren’t able to do so.'”