intelligence

Trump, Abe Split on Goal for New Trade Talks
Japanese PM wants U.S. return to TPP; Trump wants ‘one-one-one’ pact

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference on Wednesday with U.S. President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe split Wednesday evening on their goals for a new round of trade talks between the longtime allies, exposing a rift in the alliance.

Abe announced the new U.S.-Japanese trade talks during a joint press conference after the first full day of a mini-summit at Trump’s resort in Florida. But Abe broke with Trump by telling reporters he wants those talks to expand the two countries levels of trade and investment in each other’s markets, and the re-entry of the United States in a trade alliance that includes 11 Asian-Pacific countries.

White House Presses Vulnerable Dems on Pompeo Nomination
Sen. Cotton dubs Foreign Relations Democrats ‘two-bit Talleyrands’

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., right, meets with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of State, in the Capitol on March 19. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House circled the wagons Wednesday around CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to become secretary of State, arguing vulnerable red-state Democrats will feel “consequences” in November if they vote against him.

The Trump administration dispatched Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas to argue Pompeo is highly qualified for the top State Department position and to press Democrats running for re-election in states won by President Donald Trump to vote in favor of his nomination.

Trump Confirms Pompeo Met With North Korea’s Kim Jong Un
Diplomacy better than ‘comparing the size of our nuclear buttons,’ Schiff says

South Koreans watch a television broadcast reporting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping at Seoul Railway Station in March. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 7:49 a.m. | President Donald Trump confirmed Wednesday that CIA Director Mike Pompeo, his nominee to become secretary of state, met last week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea,” Trump tweeted.

Trump Leaves Open Door to Kim Summit Never Happening
Meeting could happen ‘very soon’ or in ‘early June‘ or not at all, president says

President Trump gave various estimates for when he might meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - including not at all. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump set wildly opposite expectations in one sentence for his possible summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, including that it could never happen.

He first said his one-on-one meeting with Kim could happen “very soon,” before saying he expects negotiations will allow an “early June” summit to take place. But the president then moved up the possible date to “before that” before backpedaling.

White House Has Tepid Response to Corker-Kaine AUMF
NSC official: ‘Existing authorities are sufficient’

U.S. Army soldiers walk as a NATO helicopter flies overhead at Forward Operating Base Connelly in the Khogyani District in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghanistan, in 2015. (WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Updated 11:56 a.m. | The Trump administration is taking a tepid line on an authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, measure introduced Monday evening by Republican and Democratic senators, with a National Security Council official saying the president’s existing war powers are “sufficient.”

“Our position hasn’t changed,” the official said Tuesday. The 2001 AUMF, provisions in the U.S. Constitution and the force-authorization measure Congress passed and President George W. Bush made law before the 2003 Iraq war are “sufficient,” the NSC official added.

White House Provides No Internal Assessment Backing Mueller Firing Claim
After making vague contention, Sanders said: ‘I can’t go anything beyond that’

The White House is unable to provide any internal analysis to support its contention that President Donald Trump can fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

White House officials are unable to point to any internal assessment to justify their contention that President Donald Trump has the legal authority to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Many Republican and Democratic lawmakers are urging Trump to let the former FBI director complete his investigation of Russian election meddling and possible misconduct by the president and his campaign associates. Those pleas intensified last week when the president and his top spokeswoman signaled the White House has concluded he has the authority to do so.

Intel Committee Democrats Renew Calls to Declassify Parts of Haspel’s Record
Members express concerns about public information campaign supporting CIA director nominee

Sens. Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich joined Dianne Feinstein on a letter calling for declassification of information about Gina Haspel, who has been nominated to replace Mike Pompeo as the head of the CIA. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A trio of Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are signaling they have seen problematic classified information about CIA director nominee Gina Haspel’s career at the agency.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Ron Wyden of Oregon made the assertion in a letter sent Friday to CIA Director Mike Pompeo that was circulated publicly on Monday.

Comey ‘Lied in Congress,’ Trump Charges After Interview Airs
Fired FBI director calls Trump ‘morally unfit’ for presidency

A school group from Illinois touring the Newseum in Washington pauses to watch former FBI Director Jame Comey testify before a Senate panel last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Monday continued his effort to discredit James Comey, the morning after a nationally televised interview during which the former FBI director lambasted him.

Trump spent several hours Sunday morning ripping Comey ahead of a hour-long primetime interview Sunday night on ABC in which Comey said Trump is “morally unfit” for his office, lies constantly, should be voted out in 2020, and might have obstructed justice.

Analysis: Trump’s Syria Strikes Highlight Congress’ War Powers Impotence
‘I would be absolutely astonished if Congress did a thing,’ expert says

President Donald Trump, flanked by new national security advisor John Bolton, on April 9 at the White House. Four days later, he ordered new cruise missile strikes in Syria. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Even as President Donald Trump has in recent weeks built a more hawkish national security team and again fired missiles at Syrian targets, Congress is not likely to take back the war-making powers it has steadily given up.

The days leading up to Friday night’s strikes by U.S., French and British forces on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons infrastructure offered a telling illustration of how this Congress, like most since World War II, has struggled to play its constitutional role in America’s armed conflicts.

Trump Prepared to Strike Assad Again, Official Says
Aides contradict president’s ‘Mission accomplished!’ declaration

President Donald Trump would strike Syria again if Friday night’s missile strikes fail to prevent its government from again using chemical weapons. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Updated 2:54 p.m. | President Donald Trump is prepared to again strike Syria if its president, Bashar Assad, launches another chemical weapons attack, a senior administration official said Saturday.

“If this act does not succeed, we will act again,” the senior official said, referring to Friday night’s cruise missile strikes on Syrian government targets.