The World-Herald’s Washington Bureau rounds up news highlights from Capitol Hill and beyond.

WASHINGTON — The tension was heavy Thursday when President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi both attended the National Prayer Breakfast.

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., was there and said later that it was so awkward in the room that he found himself seeking divine intervention.

“I said, ‘Dear Lord, I don’t even know what I’m praying for, but we probably need your presence right now, your spirit,’ ” Bacon said.

Indeed, it was a week when the nation’s political divisions seemed to only get worse.

Many House Republicans chanted “four more years” as Trump delivered a State of the Union address that Democrats denounced as factually challenged, partisan campaign rhetoric.

At the end, Pelosi shredded her copy of the remarks in a move Republicans blasted as out of line.

After the speech, Midlands Republicans said the president’s words were optimistic and focused on the right priorities. Each of them brought a guest who was able to watch from the gallery.

The Senate then voted down both articles of impeachment Wednesday, with all four Nebraska and Iowa senators backing the “not guilty” verdict.

Even amid some calls for the two sides to come together to tackle important issues, there wasn’t much reconciliation at the prayer breakfast the next day.

Trump held up a newspaper announcing his acquittal and took the opportunity for some not-really-even-veiled shots at opponents. That, in turn, brought fresh fire from Pelosi.

Meanwhile, the race for the Democratic presidential nomination is a mess after an Iowa caucus meltdown that could endanger the state’s first-in-the-nation status.

In other news:

Investigating Hunter Biden

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, went to the White House for Trump’s post-acquittal victory celebration Thursday and got a shoutout from the president during the event.

Grassley announced last week that he and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., are seeking records related to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

They want Hunter Biden’s travel dates and locations from the Secret Service as they “continue to investigate potential conflicts of interest to boost his business ventures in Ukraine and China.”

The impeachment inquiry centered around Trump’s attempt to get Ukraine to launch a couple of investigations, including one related to Hunter Biden’s time with a Ukrainian gas company while his father was vice president.

That company has had problems with corruption, although no criminal activity by Hunter Biden has been alleged.

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Assisting veterans

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., helped introduce legislation last week that would create a three-digit general help line for veterans to call for information about benefits and services available to them.

“Our veterans should be able to easily access the benefits they have earned fighting for our freedoms,” she said in a press release.

Border war

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., issued a statement welcoming reports that Mexico will be deploying marines in its battle against drug cartels.

“The ‘hugs, not bullets’ strategy was naive and dangerous,” he said. “President Lopez Obrador was never going to win a tickle fight with narcoterrorists who were murdering Americans along the border. We need a smart, full-scale offensive against these cartels, and this would be a long-overdue shift in Mexican security policy.”

Nebraska and Iowa’s members of Congress

Reporter - Politics/Washington D.C.

Joseph Morton is The World-Herald Washington Bureau Chief. Morton joined The World-Herald in 1999 and has been reporting from Washington for the newspaper since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @MortonOWH.

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