(CNN)At the same time the FBI opened a probe into President Donald Trump for possible obstruction of justice after he fired FBI Director James Comey, counterintelligence agents were investigating why Trump was acting in ways that seemed to benefit Russia, according to a source familiar with the matter. read more
Leading progressives are threatening to reject a rules package backed by Democratic leadership over a requirement they believe could thwart their most ambitious policy plans. New York Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and California Rep. Ro Khanna said Wednesday they will vote against any guidelines that include a provision known as "PAYGO," or "pay as you go," which requires that new spending be offset by matching cuts or increases in revenue. read more
Human waste overflowing from pit toilets, dogs roaming off-leash and off-roaders tearing up protected habitat describe conditions at Joshua Tree National Park during the ongoing government shutdown, forcing authorities to close all campgrounds starting at noon Wednesday, the National Park Service announced on Monday. "The park is being forced to take this action for health and safety concerns as vault toilets reach capacity. In addition, human waste in public areas, driving off road and other infractions that damage the resources are becoming a problem," the NPS said on Monday in a brief statement. read more
As senators who were either ousted in the elections or decided to retire and not seek another term reflected on their time in Congress, many expressed dismay at how divided Washington has become as lawmakers retreat to entrenched partisan positions that leave little room for compromise or common ground. ... [Democratic Sen. Bill] Nelson and outgoing Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, who also lost his seat in the midterms, suggested that an influx of big money in politics has had a corrosive effect, making an argument common to the Democratic Party. "The court's 2010 decision opened the floodgates and allowed the wealthiest Americans to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections and corrupt our democracy," Nelson said, referring to the landmark 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. read more
Veteran Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill has expressed confusion, concern and well-wishes to the youngest woman ever elected to Congress -- incoming congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. CNN reported the comments Monday as a part of an exit interview with McCaskill, the two-term Missouri senator who lost reelection in November. A CNN question about the highly-publicized rise of Ocasio-Cortez made reference to a radio ad in McCaskill's reelection campaign, where she insisted she's "not one of those crazy Democrats." Asked if Ocasio-Cortez was one such Democrat, McCaskill responded: "I don't know her ... I'm a little confused why she's the thing. But it's a good example of what I'm talking about, a bright shiny new object, came out of nowhere and surprised people when she beat a very experienced congressman," she told CNN.