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Alice Ollstein

Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.

Articles by Alice

Tierney Sneed contributed reporting.

Senators arriving at the Capitol Monday night to return to their normal business of confirming nominees and passing bills were once again confronted with and forced to respond another disaster unleashed by President Donald Trump. This time, it was news broken by the Washington Post that Trump revealed “highly classified information” to Russian government officials in their Oval office meeting last week.

Only a few Republican senators, including Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), came out strongly against the president’s actions, which reportedly included revealing foreign intelligence related to an ISIS threat that the U.S. was not authorized to share.

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House Democrats are planning to use a special procedural tool this week to force the GOP majority to vote on a bill to establish an outside, independent commission to investigate President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

The use of the discharge petition, which requires only a simply majority to pass, can enable a minority party to force a vote on a bill that the majority is blocking from the floor. But the move is unlikely to succeed, because Democrats would need more than a dozen Republicans to join them in order to secure such a vote against leadership’s wishes. But it is one of several procedural tools Democrats are using to call attention to Republicans’ muted response to President Donald Trump’s shocking decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.

The bill, co-sponsored by Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has languished in committee since it was introduced last December. It gained new life last week, when Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) backed the call for an independent commission following Comey’s ouster .

Amash is one of just two Republicans co-sponsoring the bill, along with Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). Nearly 200 Democrats have signed on.

In announcing the attempt to move the bill Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote: “The question remains: what do the Russians have on President Trump financially, politically and personally that he and Republicans in Congress want to hide?”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) office announced Monday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is scheduled to return to Capitol Hill on Thursday and talk to all 100 senators in a classified, closed-door briefing about last week’s ouster of FBI Director James Comey.

Rosenstein wrote a memo that was sharply critical of Comey’s handling of the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private emails server, and the White House initially pointed to that recommendation as the main driver for the decision to terminate Comey. Later, President Trump admitted in a TV interview that he had already decided to can Comey before reading Rosenstein’s justification.

Since then, the deputy attorney general has come under scrutiny from Democrats, including those who supported his confirmation.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) released a statement saying he hopes Democratic and Republican senators will use the Rosenstein briefing “to seek the full truth regarding Director Comey’s firing, to press the Deputy Attorney General to make way for a special prosecutor, and to ensure the administration will preserve and make public any audio recordings of conversations between the President and the former director.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is demanding a similar briefing from Rosenstein for all 400-plus House members.

“In the days since the firing of Director Comey, there has been a distressing disparity of information being made available to the Senate but not to the House,” she wrote in a public letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). “The people’s representatives on both sides of the Capitol must have the opportunity to hear from and interrogate the key figures in the FBI director’s firing.”

The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), hastily exited the hearing they were chairing Thursday morning on “worldwide threats” to huddle with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Behind closed doors, they discussed the fate of the FBI and the Senate’s respective probes into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

When they emerged, they announced to dozens of reporters that they had made arrangements for both investigations to move full steam ahead.

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In the wake of the ouster of FBI Director James Comey, several news outlets reported that Comey told both the Justice Department and senior members of Congress just days before he was fired that he needed more resources for the bureau’s investigation into alleged collaboration between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 election.

However, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday that he believes the bureau currently has the resources it needs to complete the investigation.

“I believe we have the adequate resources to do it and I know we have resourced that investigation adequately,” he said.

McCabe refused to confirm or deny reports that Comey had sought additional resources for the investigation just before he was sacked, but added that it would be unusual for the FBI to make such a request.

“We do not typically request resources for an individual case,” he said. “As I mentioned, I believe that the Russian investigation is adequately resourced.”

McCabe did emphasize that the Russia probe is a “highly significant investigation,” though, contradicting White House claims that it is “probably one of the smallest things” on the FBI’s “plate.”

When President Donald Trump took the shocking step of firing FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, he said Comey had “lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington.”

In the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Thursday hearing, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe refuted this assertion.

“That is not accurate,” the two-decade FBI veteran said in response to a question from Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) about whether rank-and-file agents no longer supported Comey.

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In the first open Senate Intelligence Committee hearing following FBI Director James Comey’s shocking ouster, Comey’s temporary successor said the bureau’s work investigating alleged connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian government will continue, and he will blow the whistle if the White House attempts to silence or influence the investigation going forward.

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The GOP effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act may have moved on to the Senate, but progressive activists across the country remain focused on punishing House Republicans for their vote.

A small handful of the 217 lawmakers who voted for the American Health Care Act are holding town halls this week during the House recess, and they have faced angry crowds. Others are being targeted by protests outside their offices, dozens are the subject of digital and TV attack ads and scathing newspaper editorials, and some have drawn new challengers for the 2018 midterm elections. The activists targeting these lawmakers say they both want them to pay a steep price for their vote but also hope GOP senators hear the message that a vote to repeal Obamacare would be politically toxic.

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