Science

Charleston mass murderer got his gun because of background check gaps, internal report shows
Four years later, Congress and White House have made little progress on gun legislation

Mourners enter Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2015 after a mass shooting by Dylann Roof, a self-declared white supremacist, left nine people dead. (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images file photo)

Dylann Roof got the pistol he used to kill nine people in a historic black church in South Carolina without a completed background check because of gaps in FBI databases, legal restrictions on how long the FBI can keep data on gun purchasers and other breakdowns in the system, according to an internal report obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Four years after the 2015 attack at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston — and several more high-profile mass shootings — a bipartisan group of senators is still trying to hammer out a deal with the White House on background check legislation. 

Justice Department slow to answer Congress on gun background checks
House Appropriations has asked Attorney General William Barr to clarify April testimony

The House Appropriations Committee has asked Attorney General William Barr to clarify testimony he gave Congress in April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House lawmakers are still waiting for Attorney General William Barr to answer written questions after he misstated key data about gun background checks during testimony in April.

The questions revolve around a controversial provision in federal law that lets gun dealers sell firearms before a background check is completed if that takes longer than three business days.

Texas Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson says she’ll run for one final term
Longtime lawmaker chairs House Science, Space and Technology Committee

Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson is running for one final term in Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Longtime Texas Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson is running for one final term in Congress. Her decision was first reported by the Dallas Morning News on Wednesday.

“I fully intended to retire after my current term, but with much pressure and encouragement, I have agreed to one more term,” Johnson told constituents in a voicemail this week paid by her campaign, the newspaper reported. Her chief of staff confirmed the decision to CQ Roll Call.

Impeachment panels demand Rick Perry travel, meeting records
Letter makes plain House Democrats view Perry as a key figure in their impeachment inquiry

Energy Secretary Rick Perry testifies during a House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building on June 25. House Democrats have ordered Vice President Mike Pence to turn over documents, including records from Energy Secretary Rick Perry and the department he runs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Chairmen of three House committees leading the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump on Friday demanded Vice President Mike Pence turn over documents related to the president’s campaign to pressure Ukraine for political objectives, including records from Energy Secretary Rick Perry and the department he runs.

The Department of Energy did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

2020 strategy: If you can’t beat ’em — move
Pete Sessions becomes third Republican ex-member to try comeback in different district

Former Texas Rep. Pete Sessions is one of three Republicans making comeback bids to the House from a different district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Texas Rep. Pete Sessions on Thursday became the third former Republican congressman to announce a 2020 comeback bid in a different district from the one he previously served, joining Darrell Issa of California and Bobby Schilling, who once represented Illinois and now is running in Iowa. 

Sessions represented suburban Dallas for 22 years, but lost his bid for a 12th term in Texas’ 32nd District to Democrat Colin Allred by nearly 7 points last November.

Crime or ‘high crime?’ Trump’s Ukraine call spurs legal debate
At heart of dispute is when does seeking foreign assistance in an election cross the line

Attorney General William Barr testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in May. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Justice Department sparked fresh debate Wednesday about when seeking foreign assistance in an election becomes a federal crime, with officials deciding President Donald Trump did not cross a legal line in his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy now at the center of a Democratic push toward impeachment.

The department said its review of the call — in which Trump asked Ukraine to “do us a favor” and talk to his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr about opening a potential corruption investigation connected to Trump’s main political rival — did not find a “thing of value” that could be quantified as campaign finance law requires.

Trump’s smoking-gun summary
Republicans face a choice: follow the course of honor or continue in servitude to an unethical president

Republicans have a choice to make following the release of the reconstruction of President Donald Trump’s July 25 conversation with the new Ukrainian leader, Shapiro writes. (Composite by Chris Hale/Getty Images)

OPINION — We now have the smoking-gun summary, the most incriminating White House document since Watergate. Even with ellipses and maybe redactions for national security reasons, the reconstruction of Donald Trump’s July 25 conversation with newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is chilling in its specificity.

Instead of subtly alluding to Joe Biden or hinting that a little private help might be appreciated, Trump instead bluntly instructed Zelenskiy, “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great.”

FAA misled Congress on inspector training, federal investigator finds
FAA appears to have misled Congress in its responses to questions about employee training and competency, an inspector’s letter said

Boeing 737 MAX airplanes are seen after leaving the assembly line at a Boeing facility on August 13, 2019 in Renton, Washington. A federal investigator has released a new letter that says the FAA appears to have misled Congress in its responses to questions about employee training and competency. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

The FAA appears to have misled Congress in its responses to questions about employee training and competency leading up to grounding of 737 Max jets in March, according to a federal investigator.  

Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner, in a letter Monday to President Donald Trump, said Federal Aviation Administration safety inspectors “lacked proper training and accreditation” to certify pilots, including those flying the Boeing 737 Max, putting air travelers at risk.

US ambassador with coal ties arrives as UN begins climate talks
Craft could mold process by which the U.S. gets out of the Paris climate agreement

Kelly Craft attends her Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing in June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As world leaders gathered at the United Nations in New York for a climate change summit Monday, America’s new ambassador to the global body was focused on other business.

“Our warming earth is issuing a chilling cry: stop,” U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in his opening remarks. Germany announced climate mitigation pledges. Pope Francis delivered a call to action in a video message. French President Emmanuel Macron praised young people for demanding political action to rein in emissions.

White House: Trump supports stopgap funding bill
Funding measure would keep government running until Nov. 21

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing from the White House on Sept. 16 in Washington. (Chen Mengtong/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump plans to sign the stopgap spending bill that the Senate is expected to send him this week, a senior White House official said Monday. That would avoid another partial government shutdown for now, though the fight over border wall spending and other partisan hangups will simply be punted 51 days, to just before Thanksgiving. 

The continuing resolution passed the House by a vote of 301-123 last week, which eclipsed the number necessary to override a potential presidential veto. That doesn’t appear to be a likely scenario now, though it remains uncertain whether the president will change his mind. The Senate’s veto override threshold is 67 votes.