Trump’s potential arrest hangs over Capitol Hill
The potential arrest of former President Trump is hanging over Capitol Hill this week, as lawmakers prepare for — and react to — what could be the first indictment of an ex-president in U.S. history.
Trump suggested on his Truth Social account over the weekend that he will be arrested on Tuesday as part of the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into hush money paid to adult-film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election, adding to the speculation that the New York City prosecutors are nearing the end of their probe.
The former president in his social media post also called on his followers to protest and “TAKE OUR NATION BACK” — evoking memories of Jan. 6, 2021, and raising concerns about political violence that are likely to grow through the week.
Also this week, a House committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on TikTok, which will feature testimony from the platform’s chief executive. And, House Republicans are bringing the Parents Bill of Rights to the floor, an education-focused measure that leans into culture war issues that have become a central part of the GOP platform. House Republicans will start the week in Orlando for their issues conference.
On the Senate side, senators are scheduled to consider legislation that would repeal war authorizations for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the 1991 Gulf War. And senators could vote on a resolution to overturn a Biden administration water regulation, which the House approved earlier this month.
Potential Trump arrest reverberates on Capitol Hill
Trump’s Saturday arrest warning set off a political firestorm over the weekend, with GOP lawmakers running to the ex-president’s side amid the looming indictment. The controversy is likely to grow as the week progresses.
On Saturday, hours after Trump posted on Truth Social, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he was “directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.”
“Here we go again — an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump,” he added on Twitter.
During a Sunday press conference at the House GOP’s issues conference in Orlando, McCarthy said he has spoken with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chair of the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, about the matter.
“This applies directly to that and I think you’ll see actions from them,” he added, later noting that action could come on Monday.
McCarthy on Sunday added that people should not protest in response to a potential Trump arrest, an apparent attempt to tame Trump’s call to his followers amid concerns over political violence.
“I don’t think people should protest this stuff,” McCarthy said in Orlando when asked about Trump’s statement, suggesting that Trump was calling on individuals to “educate people about what’s going on.”
“He’s not talking in a harmful way, and nobody should. Nobody should harm one another in this, and this is why you should really make law equal because if that was the case, nothing would happen here,” he later said.
Earlier on Sunday, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said he disagreed with McCarthy’s assessment of the situation, taking aim at the weaponization subcommittee, which he said “is really more appropriately named the Committee to Protect Insurrectionists.”
House committee to hold a hearing on TikTok
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Thursday at 10 a.m. focused on TikTok, as lawmakers up the pressure against the social media app amid security concerns over its ties to China.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is slated to make his first appearance before a congressional committee in the hearing titled “TikTok: How Congress Can Safeguard American Data Privacy and Protect Children from Online Harms.”
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have voiced worries about the national security and privacy risks TikTok presents because the app — owned by China-based ByteDance — can collect data on users’ activity on the app and their devices overall. Last year, Congress passed and President Biden enacted a measure that bans TikTok from government devices.
The Biden administration, however, accelerated the feud against the platform last week when it threatened to ban TikTok in the U.S. if ByteDance does not sell its stake in the platform. Chew told The Wall Street Journal in an interview last week that divesting the company from ByteDance would not solve national security concerns.
In a statement announcing the hearing, Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) zeroed in on the privacy concerns surrounding TikTok.
“Americans deserve to know the extent to which their privacy is jeopardized and their data is manipulated by ByteDance-owned TikTok’s relationship with China,” Rodgers said. “What’s worse, we know Big Tech companies, like TikTok, use harmful algorithms to exploit children for profit and expose them to dangerous content online.”
“We need to know what actions the company is taking to keep our kids safe from online and offline harms,” she added.
House to take up Parents Bill of Rights
House Republicans are taking up their Parents Bill of Rights this week, emphasizing a culture wars issue that has assumed an elevated place on the GOP agenda since the 2021 elections.
The legislation, which stretches 24 pages, seeks “To ensure the rights of parents are honored and protected in the Nation’s public school.” House Republicans rolled out the bill at an event earlier this month.
The measure, which McCarthy designated H.R. 5, would compel school districts to post their curriculum publicly, allow for in-person meetings with parents and inform parents of any instances involving violence or assault that take place at school, among other tenets.
The legislation comes as Republicans lean into the topic of education after Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) emphasized parental rights in the classroom in his successful campaign.
During a press conference at the annual House GOP issues conference in Orlando, Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) said the legislation “should be a nonpartisan issue.”
“You talk to parents across this country — whether they’re Republicans, Democrats or Independents — they support making sure that parents are the primary decisionmakers when it comes to their kids’ education,” she said.
Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said the Parents Bill of Rights “really represents the fabric of America,” adding “parents have a say in their kids’ education.”
Lawmakers previously introduced the legislation in November 2021.
On Monday and Tuesday, however, House Republicans will be in Orlando for their issues conference, during which they are expected to strategize for the coming weeks. One topic of discussion will likely be debt ceiling negotiations, as the summer deadline inches closer.
The potential arrest of Trump, however, is already casting a shadow over the retreat. McCarthy was asked about the former president a number of times during his press conference on Sunday.
Senate to consider war authorizations for Iraq, Gulf War
The Senate this week will consider legislation to repeal two authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF): one from 2002 allowing the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and another for the 1991 Gulf War.
The Senate advanced the legislation in a bipartisan 68-27 vote last week, allowing a vote on final passage to happen as early as this week. Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) sponsored the measure.
Both war authorizations are still active since they have not been repealed, meaning they can still be used by presidents when weighing military moves. Trump cited the 2002 Iraq AUMF when he authorized a 2020 strike on Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.
It remains unclear if the House will take up the war authorizations. However, McCarthy on Sunday said there was a “clear opportunity” for a vote.
“This is one of the discussions we’ll have here, it’s something a number of members have talked about and have to go through foreign affairs, but I think it has a clear opportunity to come to the floor,” McCarthy said when asked if he supports the measure.
Senate could vote to overturn Biden water regulation
The Senate this week could vote on a resolution that seeks to overturn a Biden administration water regulation, following House passage earlier this month.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the vice chair of the Republican conference, had initially said the measure would be voted on last week, but it never came to the floor for a vote. A GOP aide said the measure could receive a vote this week.
The resolution, which the administration has said Biden would veto, would overturn a regulation that determines which waters must be subject to certain federal regulations. The Biden administration, generally speaking, has a wider perspective than the Trump administration of what bodies of water should be protected.
The House cleared the measure in a bipartisan 227-198 vote. A spokesperson for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a moderate who is up for reelection in 2024, told The Hill earlier this month that the senator will vote in favor of the disapproval resolution.
Al Weaver and Emily Brooks contributed.
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