Lawmakers are bracing for a chaotic week as the findings from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s Russia probe roil Washington and several controversial votes await on the floor.

Mueller handed over his report to the Justice Department last week, signaling the formal end of the closely watched, two-year investigation. But it’s only the start of the political drama over the investigation into Russia’s election interference and the Trump campaign.

Attorney General William Barr began sharing information about Mueller’s report with lawmakers on Sunday afternoon, kicking the next stage of the fight over Mueller’s investigation to Capitol Hill.

"It's the end of the beginning, but it's not the beginning of the end. … It's important to remember that whatever is concluded by Robert Mueller doesn't mean the president and his core team are free of legal jeopardy from these other proceedings,” Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsMenendez, Rubio lead Senate effort to regulate Venezuelan sanctions Dem report questions State Dept. decision to revoke award to Trump critic Senate Dem calls on Trump to apologize for attacks on McCain MORE (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters over the weekend.


Mueller, according to a four-page letter Barr sent to lawmakers, did not uncover evidence that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.

“The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” Barr wrote in his letter to the House and Senate Judiciary committees.

The letter says that Mueller made no conclusion as to whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers MORE obstructed justice in the investigation of Russia's election interference. But it also states that Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinHeavy lapses in judgment are politicizing the justice system Top Judiciary Republican reviews less-redacted Mueller report Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' MORE, after reviewing Mueller's findings, determined that they would not pursue an obstruction of justice charge — a decision likely to be fought along partisan lines in Congress.

“The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,’ ” Barr wrote.

Trump and his allies immediately claimed victory over Barr’s letter, arguing it was a sign that it was time for lawmakers and the country to move on from the Russia probe that has loomed over the first two years of Trump’s presidency.

“The cloud hanging over President Trump has been removed by this report. Bad day for those hoping the Mueller investigation would take President Trump down. ... Now it is time to move on, govern the country, and get ready to combat Russia and other foreign actors ahead of 2020,” said Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamIf you don't think illegal immigrants are voting for president, think again Graham challenges Dems to walk the walk on impeachment Hillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars MORE (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.


House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph Scalise20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform GOP to launch discharge petition on anti-BDS measure This week: Democrats revive net neutrality fight MORE (R-La.) called Barr’s letter outlining the principal conclusions from Mueller a “vindication” for Trump that “gives credence to the claims that this was a witch hunt that cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.”

But that’s unlikely to do much to quash the demands from Democrats, who are already eyeing follow-up oversight, want Mueller’s full report to be made public and want to see the underlying documents from his investigation.

“Congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the Committees can proceed with their independent work, including oversight and legislating to address any issues the Mueller report may raise. The American people have a right to know,” House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiPence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Julián Castro: Trump should be impeached for trying to obstruct justice 'in very concrete ways' Swalwell on impeachment: 'We're on that road' after Mueller report MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMJ Hegar announces Texas Senate bid Hillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars Dem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerKlobuchar on impeachment: 'I'm the jury' Where 2020 Democratic candidates stand on impeachment Pelosi downplays impeachment post-Mueller report MORE (D-N.Y.) appeared on three separate Sunday morning shows, leading the charge among Democrats in arguing that the entire report, including the underlying evidence, should be made public.

"The report should go public in its entirety and see where the chips fall," Nadler said on "Fox News Sunday," adding that he would "absolutely" take the matter all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Roughly 120 Democrats, including Pelosi, held a conference call over the weekend in which they reiterated their demand that the report be released and said they would reject classified briefings. Though classified briefings are a regular occurrence on Capitol Hill, lawmakers and the administration are likely to be locked in tense negotiations over how much of Mueller’s report will be disclosed.

Democrats also signaled that they are turning their attention to follow-up investigations both on and off Capitol Hill.

Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis Reed Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 Senators show deep skepticism on Space Force proposal Barr says 'spying' took place on Trump campaign MORE (D-R.I.) said Mueller should testify publicly and the “crucial next step is Congress fulfilling its constitutional oversight duty.”

“This report is just one of several investigations of serious misconduct by the president and his inner circle,” he said.  

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) added that “ongoing investigations in other federal prosecutorial offices as well as the FBI’s counterintelligence inquiry must be supported. Now Congress must demand transparency and full disclosure – moving forward to protect the rule of law and our democratic institutions.”

Veto override

House Democrats are expected to try to override Trump's first veto of legislation that would block his national emergency to construct the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Democrats have set an override vote for Tuesday, where they are expected to fall short of the two-thirds needed to successfully block Trump's veto. Only 13 House Republicans joined with Democrats in support of a resolution last month to block Trump's emergency declaration.

“House Republicans will have to choose between their partisan hypocrisy and their sacred oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Pelosi said in a statement earlier this month.

Democrats also don't have the votes to override Trump in the Senate, where 12 Republicans voted for the initial resolution of disapproval. They would need to pick up eight more GOP senators in order to clinch the 20 Republicans needed to get to two-thirds of that chamber.

Democrats are eyeing next steps including trying to include language in the government funding bills that limits Trump's ability to reshuffle funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall or legal challenges to Trump's emergency declaration.

Pelosi said that while overriding the veto is an uphill battle, she believes bringing the vote to the floor could help them in the courts.

“Whether we can succeed with the number of votes is not the point. We are establishing the intent of Congress,” Pelosi said during a press conference on immigration reform in New York last Wednesday.

“The president has decided to be in defiance of the Constitution, to deface it with his actions. Both houses of Congress in a bipartisan way sent him a bill that said this is how we will address border security. He had to sign the bill to keep government open,” she added.

Schumer warned that Democrats would force additional votes on resolutions of disapproval blocking Trump every six months, as allowed under the National Emergencies Act, to prolong an issue that divides Republicans.

"I believe the law allows us to bring it up every six months, and certainly we would intend to do that," Schumer told reporters.

Transgender troop ban

The House will also vote on a resolution expressing opposition to the administration's policy banning most transgender people from serving in the military.

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerJulián Castro: Trump should be impeached for trying to obstruct justice 'in very concrete ways' Dems seek to rein in calls for impeachment Democrats leave impeachment on the table MORE (D-Md.) announced the vote after the Pentagon said that it will start enforcing the transgender military ban starting in April. Under the policy, transgender people who join the military after the ban takes effect will have to serve as the gender they were assigned at birth.

Hoyer said in a statement that the transgender ban "weakens our national security by undermining our ability to recruit and retain the talented personnel we need."

The resolution, authored by Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.), states that the House "strongly urges the Department of Defense to not reinstate President Trump’s ban on transgender members of the Armed Forces" and "rejects the flawed scientific and medical claims upon which it is based."

Trump first announced the policy in a series of tweets in July 2017.

Green New Deal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Dem candidates sell policy as smart politics Overnight Defense: Trump ends sanctions waivers for buying Iranian oil | At least four Americans killed in Sri Lanka attacks | Sanders pushes for Yemen veto override vote McConnell: 'Time to move on' from Trump impeachment talk MORE (R-Ky.) is set to force a vote on the progressive Green New Deal this week as Republicans hunt for 2020 fodder.

The resolution stands no chance of getting the 60 votes needed to defeat a filibuster, with Republicans expected to oppose it and most Democrats expected to vote present.

But Republicans have seized on the proposal, spearheaded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezVA 'ain't broke' — but it can certainly be improved The Memo: GOP banks on Biden falling in primary Dems seek to rein in calls for impeachment MORE (D-N.Y.), as an example of Democrats shifting to the left ahead of the next election.

Democrats are trying to turn the tables on Republicans by trying to force them to debate if they believe climate change is real, being caused by humans and what Congress should do about it.

Schumer also wants to create a committee focused exclusively on climate change, to mirror the panel created this year by House Democrats.

“We are totally unified. Everyone knows that this bill is a sham,” Schumer told reporters before the recess.


The Senate is expected to vote on Bridget Bade’s nomination to be a judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

McConnell has set up a procedural vote on Bade’s nomination for Monday evening, where she’ll only need a simple majority to overcome the hurdle. A final vote on her nomination could take place as soon as Tuesday.

Republicans infuriated Democrats when they decided to hold a confirmation hearing for Bade and other nominees during the October recess. Republicans argue they cleared the dates with Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions Five takeaways from Mueller's report Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D-Caif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, but her staff countered that they hadn’t imagined Republicans would move forward with the hearings even if the Senate wasn’t in session.

Then-Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchHatch warns 'dangerous' idea of court packing could hurt religious liberty Former Democratic aide pleads guilty to doxing GOP senators attending Kavanaugh hearing How do we prevent viral live streaming of New Zealand-style violence? MORE (R-Utah) and Sen. Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoGraham says he's 'not interested' in Mueller testifying Senate needs to stand up to Trump's Nixonian view of the Fed Senate bill seeks to bring freedom back to banking MORE (R-Idaho) were the only two of the 21 senators on the committee who attended the hearing. Hatch didn’t ask questions of Bade.

Paycheck fairness

The House is set to take up the Paycheck Fairness Act  — spearheaded by Rep. Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroDemocratic proposals to overhaul health care: A 2020 primer Progressives threaten to derail major Dem spending proposal GOP on defensive over Dem votes on policies geared toward women MORE (D-Conn.) — on Wednesday.

The legislation includes provisions that would prevent employers from retaliating against employees for discussing salaries, require companies to prove there is legitimate reasoning for pay discrepancies and bar employers from screening potential employees based on salary history. It would also create a negotiation training program for women.

“Women and men in the same job should have the same pay, and the Paycheck Fairness Act is a strong step forward in ensuring that we close the wage gap once and for all,” DeLauro said in a statement upon its reintroduction. “This legislation addresses the issue in a comprehensive and sensible manner—and it is long overdue. Our diverse and energetic Congress is poised to act on this legislation, and I look forward to its swift passage in the House of Representatives.”

The bill is expected to easily pass the lower chamber.

Disaster aid

Senators are working to clinch a deal on disaster aid funding for a recent spate of storms, hurricanes and wildfires.

Georgia Sens. David Perdue (R) and Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonCongress punts on disaster aid amid standoff with Trump, Dems Overnight Defense: Transgender troops rally as ban nears | Trump may call more troops to border | National Guard expects 3M training shortfall from border deployment | Pentagon to find housing for 5,000 migrant children Pompeo: Russia complying with nuclear treaty that's up for renewal MORE (R) introduced legislation that would provide $13.6 billion in emergency funding. But top appropriators, including Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig Shelby20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall Conservatives urge Trump to stick with Moore for Fed Poll: Roy Moore leading Alabama GOP field MORE (R-Ala.), said he would be working to craft a broader agreement with Democrats.

McConnell has teed up a House-passed appropriations package as a shell for the Senate’s floor action, but lawmakers left Washington before the weeklong recess still trying to hash out the details.

The House previously passed its legislation in January that included $14.2 billion in disaster relief funding, but it got sidelined amid negotiating over the partial government shutdown.