Defense & Cyberspace

How Donald Trump Shivved a Compromise GOP Immigration Bill
Aides were caught unaware by president's announcement

President Donald Trump greets mostly Republican members after addressing a joint session of Congress last year. On Friday, he appeared to end hopes a compromise immigration bill the conference hammered out would make it to the floor. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:03 p.m. Senior White House officials worked with House Republicans for weeks on a compromise immigration measure, but were careful to avoid saying anything publicly that would sink the measure. That changed Friday morning when President Donald Trump walked out to the White House’s North Lawn.

House Republicans reached agreement on a sweeping immigration overhaul measure after conservatives, moderates and leaders negotiated behind closed doors for weeks — with White House legislative affairs director Marc Short also involved. Members said Thursday they had reached a deal to vote on two measures: a measure favored by conservatives and a compromise version in which all sides gave some ground.

DOJ Watchdog Report on Comey Stirs Politics on Hill
Sessions calls report an opportunity to learn from past mistakes

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies during a Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday. On Friday, President Trump declared feeling “total and complete vindication.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even before the results of an internal Justice Department probe were released Thursday, that report into former FBI Director James Comey’s actions during the 2016 presidential campaign had reopened deep political divisions and fueled fresh questions about congressional oversight of the agency’s work.

That’s unlikely to change during the upcoming week of hearings and headlines on Capitol Hill about the watchdog’s report, starting with a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing slated for Monday and another before the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees set for Tuesday.

Iowa Man Sentenced to 6 Years for Tweeting Threats Against Ernst
Sentence based in part on judgment that he had ‘no intention of following the Court’s orders when released’

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, received Twitter threats from a man in her home state. The man was convicted and sentenced to six years in federal prison Wednesday.(File Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A federal judge sentenced an Iowa man to six years in federal prison for sending threatening tweets to the state’s Republican junior senator, Joni Ernst.

Joseph Hilton Dierks, 34, from Waterloo, received the sentence Wednesday after a jury convicted him on three counts of sending threatening communications, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa.

Defense Bills Seek to Protect U.S. Energy at Base in Germany
Critics slam return of ‘zombie earmark’ as Bacon says proposal will reduce reliance on Russian gas

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., says he wants to limit American dependence on Russian gas, but critics call his coal proposal a wasteful earmark. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Inhofe, Frustrated by Defense Bill Amendments, May Favor Rules Changes
Comes amid standoff over the amendments on the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill

Sen. James M. Inhofe is talking about changing the amendment rules for next year’s defense authorization. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Oklahoma Republican who has been filling in as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is talking about changing the rules ahead of next year’s edition of the annual exercise.

Sen. James M. Inhofe, the bill manager, is blasting the application of the Senate’s procedures allowing any one senator to effectively block the consideration of any other amendments.

Analysis: Trump Trip Showed New Approach to Presidency
But lawmakers doubt future presidents will follow such a path

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un participate in a Tuesday signing ceremony during a meeting on Sentosa Island in Singapore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

First, Donald Trump remade the Republican Party in his own image. And after his double-dip of G-7 and North Korea nuclear diplomacy, it’s even more obvious he’s doing the same to the presidency.

Some congressional Democrats are worried the former reality television star’s eagerness to break with decades-old norms and traditions is soiling the office and influencing future chief executives to mirror Trump’s ways. And though a handful of Republican members publicly share those concerns, most are helping him transform the highest — and long the most revered — job in the land.

Trump Gloats Over Sanford Loss, Puts Kaine On Notice
President declares there is ‘no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea’

President Donald Trump answers questions during a news conference on Tuesday following his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump roared back into Washington Wednesday morning in fitting fashion: with a tweetstorm mocking GOP Rep. Mark Sanford and lashing out at Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine.

Those social media posts followed others during his lengthy journey from Singapore in which he continued to lavish praise on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Opinion: Verdict on Singapore — Better Real Estate Deals Than Bombing Runs
Summit hype and hoopla may have the lasting significance of an infrastructure week

People at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, watch a TV report of President Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

For a president who normally adheres to his own doctrine of infallibility, Donald Trump displayed a few flickering moments of uncertainty in the aftermath of the Singapore summit.

Asked by George Stephanopoulos in an ABC interview whether he trusts Kim Jong Un to dismantle his nuclear program, Trump replied, “I do trust him, yeah. Now, will I come back to you in a year and you’ll be interviewing and I’ll say, ‘Gee, I made mistake?’ That’s always possible.”

Corker Unloads on Republicans for Being Afraid of Trump
Tennessee Republican said Republicans fear upsetting POTUS before midterms

Watch: Corker Chastises Fellow Republicans for Blocking His Tariff Amendment

 Sen. Bob Corker unloaded on his fellow Republicans for cowering from President Donald Trump.

‘Beast’ Mode: Democrats Worry Kim Is Playing Trump
GOP is willing to give him time, but Dems see ‘unprepared’ president

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un participate in a signing ceremony during a Tuesday meeting on Sentosa Island in Singapore. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Kim Jong Un peered inside as a Secret Service agent held open a door of “The Beast,” President Donald Trump’s heavily armored limousine. The surreal moment left some lawmakers speechless, with Democrats saying it showed Trump was too conciliatory toward the North Korean leader during their historic summit.

Trump and Kim wrapped their Singapore summit by signing a preliminary nuclear agreement Tuesday that is as sweeping as it is vague. It expresses the United States is “committed” to providing unspecified security assurances to the North and that Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Podcast: Will a Minibus Rescue Hill’s GOP?
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 12

Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., left, and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., talk before a Senate Appropriations Committee markup in the Dirksen Building on June 7, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file)

Republicans would love to avoid shutdown drama before the midterm but a tight timetable stands in the way. CQ’s appropriations reporter Kellie Mejdrich explains why the budgetary salvage vehicle is called a “minibus” and why it just might work.

The Other North Korean Threat: Chemical and Biological Weapons
Pentagon acknowledges armed forces are not ready

If North Korea were to attack with chemical and biological weapons, the Pentagon is not confident it is adequately prepared. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Now that the Singapore summit of President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un is in the rearview mirror, major questions remain, particularly about the part of North Korea’s doomsday arsenal that Pyongyang’s military is most likely to use in a war, one that can potentially kill millions of people, and one for which the U.S. military is woefully unprepared: chemical and biological arms.

Nuclear weapons will continue to be the top concern. But they are far from the only one. Specifically, U.S. forces in the region lack sufficient medical countermeasures, protective gear and technology to identify so-called chem-bio agents, Pentagon insiders say. And the troops are insufficiently trained, manned and equipped for such a fight, according to previously unreported Pentagon audits and Army officials. Only about 1 in 3 of the Army’s special units that deal with doomsday agents is fully prepared, the service confirmed.

How the Hill Reacted to the Trump-Kim Summit
Reaction ranges from a ‘huge deal’ to a ‘bi-lateral con job’

President Donald Trump answers a final question while departing a news conference following his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday in Singapore. Trump described his meeting with Kim as “better than anyone could have expected.” (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump made history Tuesday in Singapore as the first American president to meet face-to-face with a leader of North Korea since the Kim dynasty sprouted on the peninsula roughly seven decades ago.

At the heart of negotiations was the “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula in exchange for “security guarantees” for the North’s mercurial leader, Kim Jong Un.

Vague Pact Signed, Trump Sees ‘Arduous’ Process Ahead With North Korea
Trump shifts view of Kim, calling him ‘worthy negotiator’ and ‘very talented’

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un talk during their signing ceremony during their meeting in Singapore on Tuesday. (Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a nuclear agreement Tuesday that is as sweeping as it is vague, with the U.S. commander in chief saying it merely kicks off an “arduous” process to potentially disarm the North.

Trump bemoaned the notion that he and U.S. officials gave up a raft of concessions to Kim even before the two leaders shook hands around 9 a.m. local time in Singapore. But he announced that part of the accord includes the United States ending its joint military exercises with South Korea, which Trump called too “provocative.”

Senators Could Use Defense Bill to Push Back on Russia
Bipartisan group files amendments seeking to counter Kremlin election interference

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is among the senators preparing amendments to the defense authorization bill that seek to push back on Russian election interference. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators could find themselves debating election security this week, including how to counter potential efforts by Russia to mess with this year’s midterms.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want to use the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill as a venue for amendments related to both protection and response.