cabinet

Trump unveils his ’Ric Flair doctrine’ — after another border wall pitch
Buried in president's hawkish remarks was assessment Iranian leaders ‘want to talk’

President Donald Trump delivers in the East Room of the White House in September. He was in a hawkish mood while talking U.S. military missiles at the Pentagon on Thursday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | President Donald Trump — in a Pentagon address that included digs at Democrats and a border wall pitch — warned potential foes like Iran that the United States is a “good player,” but could quickly become the dirtiest player in the game if provoked.

The commander in chief arrived at the Pentagon Thursday morning for remarks, ostensibly about a Defense Department review of the country’s missile defense arsenal and his administration’s plan to expand and upgrade it. But just like Monday while addressing farmers at a conference in New Orleans, the president spent about half his remarks bashing congressional Democrats, describing a bleak situation at the U.S.-Mexico border and lobbying for a “steel” border barrier.

White House challenges predictions of political hit if shutdown slows economy
Trump aides, Democrats both view floating new proposal as friendly fire

President Donald Trump, flanked by Senate Republican leaders, speaks in the Capitol on Jan. 9. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senior White House officials say they are unconcerned about a downgraded internal assessment of the partial government shutdown as a drag on the U.S. economy or polls that show most Americans mostly blame President Donald Trump for the impasse.

Instead, the president’s top aides on Wednesday said they are focused on the “long-term” health of the economy, which has shown signs of slowing in recent months as some economists warn that clouds of recession could be forming.

Pence signals little progress with China since Trump-Xi agreement
U.S. ‘remains hopeful’ Chinese officials will engage in serious talks

Vice President Mike Pence walks through Statuary Hall on his way to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office in the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 8. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday signaled that the Trump administration has made little progress in trade talks with China, even after what the White House portrayed as a breakthrough late last year.

Pence painted a picture of a new lull in U.S.-China trade talks even after President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed Dec. 1 over local steaks in Argentina to call a truce in what had been a tense tariff war that threatened to slow the global economy.

Barr assures senators of his independence
AG nominee says Mueller investigation isn’t a ‘witch hunt,’ Sessions ‘probably did right thing’ in recusing himself

William Barr, nominee for attorney general, testifies during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:59 p.m. | William Barr appeared to be on a path to confirmation as the next attorney general Tuesday, after he gave senators key assurances about the special counsel probe into the 2016 elections and distanced himself from some of President Donald Trump’s comments about the investigation.

During more than seven hours of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barr avoided the kind of missteps that might cost him votes of Republicans, who have a 53-47 advantage in the chamber. But some Democrats say he did not do enough to reassure them that he would protect Robert S. Mueller III’s probe and make the results public.

Dug-in Trump to Dems: ‘Only a wall will work’ as shutdown enters 25th day
President contends polls shifting toward him, but one shows he didn’t change any minds with address

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive at the Capitol to attend a Senate Republican policy luncheon last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A day after appearing to downplay the stature of his proposed southern border wall, President Donald Trump sent a message to congressional Democratic leaders: “Only a wall will work” as a partial government shutdown over his demands enters its 25th day.

Trump sent mixed messages about his proposed border wall during a Monday speech to an agriculture conference in New Orleans. After first saying he would not “back down” on his wall demands, he appeared to downplay the proposal among his full collection of 2016 campaign promises.

Six things William Barr will tell senators at his AG confirmation hearing

William Barr, left, nominee for attorney general, meets with Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in the Russell Senate Office Building on January 9, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney general nominee William Barr will tell the Senate Judiciary Committee at a confirmation hearing Tuesday that he did not pursue the position and was reluctant to be considered for his second stint as the nation’s top law enforcement official.

Barr, 68, plans to say he put off his partial retirement because he believes he can do a good job leading the department during a time when the country is “deeply divided” and the American people must know there are places in government where the rule of law holds sway over politics.

Trump: ‘I never worked for Russia’
President rejects Lindsey Graham’s plan to reopen federal government

President Donald Trump declines to answer a final question as he departs the White House on Monday for New Orleans to address the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Monday denied working for the Russian government after a report detailing a FBI counterintelligence probe into whether he was working for Russia and against U.S. interests.

The New York Times report stated federal investigators became concerned about Trump actions around the time and after he fired former FBI Director James Comey, including admitting publicly he did so with the Justice Department’s broader Russian election meddling investigation on his mind.

Trump’s snow day Twitter rant spills into Monday with attacks on Dems
President also mocks report of FBI probe into whether he worked for Russia

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing on Marine One from the White House on Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

After a snowy Sunday of Twitter threats and jabs, President Donald Trump on Monday morning fired off more posts blaming Democrats for the now-record partial government shutdown and mocking a report the FBI opened an investigation over concerns he was working for Russia.

During a mid-December Oval Office meeting that devolved into a bickering match, the president told Democratic leaders he would “take the mantle” of any partial shutdown. With nine Cabinet agencies and other offices now shuttered for more than three weeks, Trump on Monday wrote that “Nancy and Cryin’ Chuck can end the Shutdown in 15 minutes,” referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York.

Frustrated by ‘my generals,’ Trump turns to ‘my actings’
Expert: ‘Irony is the politics are so favorable ... it suggests something more nefarious’

Senate Republicans like Wyoming’s John Barrasso, John Thune of South Dakota, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, here at the Capitol on Wednesday, do not seem concerned about the number of acting Cabinet and lower-level officials in President Donald Trump's administration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump came into office enamored with, as he called them, “my generals.” But as he learned on the job, the commander in chief grew frustrated with and replaced those retired four-star military men. Two years later, the president’s Cabinet is now stocked with a group he calls “my actings.”

Experts say the Constitution, existing laws and department-specific guidelines give Trump the authority and legal cover to keep various acting Cabinet-level and other officials in place for over 200 days — or longer, in some cases. But the law is clear as mud when it comes to whether he could simply keep a favorite “acting” in place for the duration of his administration, legal scholars say.

The border wall blitz, brought to you by Donald Trump and Mike Pence
Dramatic week ends with president touting barrier of ‘steel that has concrete inside’

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive to the Capitol to on Wednesday to urge Senate Republicans to hold the line on his proposed southern border wall and a record-tying partial government shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Eager to shift public opinion in favor of taxpayers funding a southern border wall as part of any legislation to reopen a quarter of the federal government, the White House has deployed its top guns, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, on a public relations blitz.

Several polls show about half of Americans blame the president for the shutdown, while around 35 percent blame Democrats. What’s more, Trump’s approval rating has dipped during the 21-day funding lapse that has left 800,000 federal workers furloughed and without paychecks Friday for the first time. Even a survey by Rassmussen Reports — typically more friendly to conservatives like the president — found most Republicans who responded see a wall as effective but not an emergency.