The White House has refused to cooperate with the House Democrats’ investigative inquiry into a controversial July 25 phone call that U.S. President Donald Trump made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The U.S. president is alleged to have compelled the Ukrainian government to investigate corruption allegations against Joe Biden and his son by withholding aid.
US President Donald Trump confirmed on Tuesday that he does not plan to cooperate in investigations into his possible impeachment, in a process opened by Congress. White House lawyer Pat Cipollone sent a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), on behalf of President Trump, explaining the stance the president will take in the process of ascertaining whether there was pressure on Ukraine to investigate the former Vice President, Joe Biden.
The Democratic Party, which controls the US House of Representatives, is set to start the first phase of an impeachment procedure against President Donald Trump. Democrats accuse Trump of improper dealings with Ukraine. Trump announced Monday he would make public the contested phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. According to Trump, it was a “friendly and totally appropriate conversation.”
The Democratic Party, which holds a majority in the US House of Representatives, has begun official impeachment investigations into President Trump, suggesting that he has asked Ukraine for political help. Speaking Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “this week the president has admitted to asking the president of Ukraine to take actions which would benefit him politically. The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable fact [sic.] of the president’s betrayal of his Oath of Office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our national elections.”
The United States Supreme Court has okayed President Donald Trump’s usage of $ 2.5 billion (£ 2 billion) of Pentagon funds for a section of the wall on the southern border with Mexico. The court ruled by five votes against four to block a ruling by a federal judge in California that prohibited the president from spending money on the wall. The wall, which would divide the United States and Mexico, was Trump’s main campaign promise during the 2016 elections.
In a surprise decision late Friday, the Supreme Court struck down a lower court ruling, 5-4, against President Trump’s declaration of an emergency on the border with Mexico. The ruling clears the way for Trump to redirect $2.5 billion from the Pentagon to build his long-promised border wall. The ultimate issue is still to be decided by the courts, but Friday’s decision allows the money to be spent now. It follows a scathing report this week, from the Washington Examiner, that despite the central promise of his campaign, Trump had not built a single mile of new border fence since assuming office.
In its last act before the summer recess, and with the President’s help, the Democrat-controlled House passed a budget deal Thursday that increases spending, allows for more borrowing, and lifts the nation’s debt ceiling until 2021. Most Republicans— 132 of them— defied the presidential whip and voted against it. The Senate will take up the bill next week, and President Trump is expected to sign it. In once again lifting the debt ceiling, Congress has provided the solution, as only it can, to a problem it created.
Just before the weekend, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin dropped a bombshell to those paying attention to Friday news: the federal government may run out of cash by early September. “Based on updated projections, there is a scenario in which we run out of cash in early September, before Congress reconvenes,” the secretary wrote in a letter to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. “As such, I request that Congress increase the debt ceiling before Congress leaves for summer recess.” Since then, Mnuchin and Pelosi have become besties, negotiating directly, and almost continuously, by phone. Both sides want a deal before July 26, yet both sides remain far apart.
Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) shocked the political establishment when she was elected to the House of Representatives without any major political experience to speak of. Since her election Ocasio-Cortez has championed some of the most liberal and progressive policies ever to be discussed in the halls of the U.S. Congress.
If you don’t like what President Trump does, wait about five minutes. What started as a joke is quickly becoming a theme. On Friday afternoon, it was reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was planning raids in more than a dozen major cities, targeting up to 2,000 families for deportation. By Saturday, Trump tweeted the raids would be delayed another two weeks, ostensibly so that Congress could “work out a solution.” It’s the third such instance this week— and second on immigration— where Trump has threatened major action, only to pull back at the last minute.
You might have to go back to 1811 to find a freshman Member of Congress who has attracted as much national attention as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). That was when Kentucky’s Henry Clay became Speaker of the House his first day on the job. Since her shocking primary upset of Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley nearly a year ago, the ex-Bronx bartender has attracted a Twitter following nearly rivaling that of her arch-nemesis from Queens. AOC made her first appearance on a Sunday show since her election, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, and hinted at real “animus” between her fellow progressive backbenchers in Congress and the Democratic leadership, particularly on the issue of impeachment.
The ongoing struggle between the irresistible Democratic House and the immovable Republican presidency escalated again Tuesday. Along party lines, the House voted to hold Attorney General William Barr, and former White House Counsel Don McGahn, in civil contempt of Congress. In response, the Justice Department threatened to invoke Executive Privilege to block House access to documents pertaining to the U.S. Census. It’s the latest skirmish in a conflict that has consumed the capitol and paralyzed policymaking.
A gaggle of presidential hopefuls gathered in suddenly-relevant California this weekend for their first big audition. The better-than-bakers’ dozen served as headliners in San Francisco for the California Democratic Party’s state convention. A crowd of 5,000 delegates heard the pitches and policies, and may be the best look yet at what the national party’s base of activists and partisan primary voters are looking for from their presidential standard-bearer next year.
- President Trump issued the first veto of his administration Friday, blocking a congressional resolution that rejected his national emergency declaration. The move came a day after twelve Republicans joined every Senate Democrat to send the resolution to his desk. “Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it,” Trump said at an Oval Office ceremony.
- Members of the House will vote Tuesday on a resolution to block President Trump’s emergency declaration, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Friday night. If successful, it would be the first time Congress has blocked such an action since the National Emergencies Act came in to force in 1976.
- President Trump on Saturday offered to extend protections from deportation for some undocumented immigrants in the U.S., particularly those fleeing violent Central American countries, in exchange for a requested $5.7 billion to build the southern border wall.
- Before Trump announced the proposal Saturday, Democratic leaders rejected it as inadequate or even “unacceptable” as details emerged in media reports.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised he would bring the plan to a vote in Republican-controlled chamber by the end of the week, forcing members to take a public stand on the new plan. Vice President Mike Pence told reporters at the White House that work on the plan would start in Congress on Tuesday.
- “Our immigration system should be a source of pride … not a source of shame as it is all over the world,” Trump said in his plea. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted, “What we didn’t hear from the President was any sympathy for the federal workers who face so much uncertainty because of the chaos of the #TrumpShutdown.”
- The proposal capped a week of escalating clashes between the president and Mrs. Pelosi, who has refused to consider money for a border wall. After she withdrew her invitation for Mr. Trump’s State of the Union address, the president blocked Mrs. Pelosi and a congressional delegation from traveling on a military plane to visit U.S. troops Afghanistan.
- Nancy Pelosi become the first person since Sam Rayburn in 1955 to regain the Speakership, as the new 116th Congress was sworn in on Thursday. The Democrats retook the House after eight years in opposition, but Republicans increased their majority in the Senate.
- The new Congress will include a record number of women, and be the most racially and religiously diverse in American history. The vast majority of such gains came from House Democrats, although Republican Marsha Blackburn will serve as Tennessee’s first woman senator.
- Democrats face long odds at accomplishing much of their ambitious agenda, with the White House and Senate still Republican. However, they did pass a number of sweeping rules changes, and seated new committee chairs— who will now have subpoena power.
- One of Speaker Pelosi’s first official acts was to invite President Trump to deliver the annual State of the Union address on January 29. With no end in sight to the current funding impasse, it is quite possible that by that date, the government will still be shut down.
- Meanwhile, Senate Republicans’ top priority is likely to be confirming more of President Trump’s judicial nominees. The upper chamber already moved at breakneck speed over the last year, outpacing the last five presidents.
- Two full weeks (and one new Congress) after the federal government entered a partial shut down, neither congressional Democrats nor the Trump administration seem any closer to a deal. Instead, both sides dug in their positions on whether or not to provide $5 billion for President Trump’s border wall.
- At a press conference in the Rose Garden on Friday, the president confirmed a threat made to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer to keep the government closed for “months or even years.” He also hinted at using emergency powers to bypass congress and build the wall.
- The Transportation Security Administration insists an increase in employees calling in sick since the shut down began is having “minimal impact” on the agency. This was in response to a CNN report that mass call-outs by personnel forced to work without pay had affected four major airports.
- The shutdown is also having adverse effects on everyone’s favorite government agency, the Internal Revenue Service. Tax refunds may be delayed, questions may not be answered, and those requiring proof of income for loans may not be able to receive transcripts.
- Will the Democrats cave, or will President Trump declare victory and leave? Politico Magazine sat down with eleven analysts across the political spectrum to collect their thoughts on how we got here, and how we might get out.
- President Donald Trump threatened Thursday to send the military to close the US-Mexican border against an “onslaught” of migrants, stepping up his anti-immigrant rhetoric ahead of congressional elections.
- The Mexican ambassador to the United States said U.S. and Mexican officials have agreed on a plan to handle the approaching migrant caravan. He also said that they had reason to believe that the migrant caravan from Honduras heading towards the U.S. border was not the result of a grassroots effort, but was “politically motivated.”
- Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly got into an angry and profane shouting match with National Security Advisor John Bolton just steps from the Oval Office, according to reports.
- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi recently told the Harvard Kennedy School that if Democrats take back the House in the 2018 midterm elections, they will trade “nothing” in exchange for a border wall.
- A Democratic strategist says: “Where immigration was never a motivating issue for Democrats the way it’s been for Republicans, that’s starting to shift. One of the great ironies of Trump’s attacks on immigrants and people of color is that the public increasingly sees immigration as a good thing.”
- The Washington Post claims the The White House is actively considering plans that could again separate parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border, hoping to reverse soaring numbers of families attempting to cross illegally into the United States.