intelligence

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.

Reed, Menendez press Trump for ‘immediate’ info on talks with Russia’s Putin
Duo sent letter to president hours before Giuliani suggests some 2016 collusion from campaign

Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., at a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Nov. 28, 2017.  They want answers from President Trump about his conversations with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As a top lawyer for Donald Trump suggests some members of the president’s 2016 campaign worked with Russians, two top Senate Democrats want answers about whether the commander in chief properly handled sensitive information about his contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Rudolph Giuliani told CNN Wednesday evening that he has “never said” there was zero collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russians. Shifting his stance yet again about what happened during that election cycle, Giuliani now says he stated only that the president himself never colluded with Russians or was involved in any potential actions by others that might constitute a crime.

Adam Schiff hiring full-time team to investigate Trump’s Russia connections
House Intelligence Committee chairman hiring more investigators to revive House Russia probe

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is adding more investigative manpower to his committee staff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is sinking panel resources into a robust investigative staff to revive the probe into President Donald Trump's ties to Russia with roughly seven committee staffers directing their energy full-time.

Schiff and the Democrats have made offers to six new staffers, CBS News reported, including a corruption expert and a former prosecutor. The committee is still looking to hire six more people as Schiff restructures the subcommittee and plans targeted lines of inquiry into the president and his 2016 campaign staff’s connections with Russian officials.

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.

Virginia senators concerned that shutdown could jeopardize security clearances
Furloughed workers cite compounding problems, such as health insurance lapse

Brian Uholik, right, a furloughed Justice Department employee, holds his infant daughter Wynnie while discussing with his wife Jamie how the government shutdown has impacted their family during a roundtable discussion with government employees and Sens. Mark Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Brian Uholik is a proud father of a new baby daughter, but he’s also a furloughed trial attorney at the Department of Justice.

Uholik was among the federal employees from Northern Virginia who met Friday morning with Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both Democrats who have been pushing for a quick end to the partial government shutdown.

USPS IG clears conservative group of wrongdoing in Spanberger file release
At least 6 other former employees had their files improperly released after FOIA requests, IG found

The U.S. Postal Service improperly released a highly sensitive personnel file of Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., to a conservative opposition research group last summer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Postal Service inspector general officially cleared a prominent conservative research group of any wrongdoing for getting its hands on Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s complete and unredacted official personnel file last summer.

America Rising, a conservative opposition research group contracted by dozens of conservative PACs and campaign committees each election cycle to dig up dirt on Democratic candidates, went through the proper channels, submitting a Freedom of Information Act request for Spanberger’s file to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the IG concluded in its report released in late December.

Trump and Walls, Decisive Force, Op-Sec and Falsehoods: Four Takeaways from His Iraq Visit
White House slammed for revealing elite troops‘ presence there

The Southern border is a long way from Iraq, but President Donald Trump talked about it on his visit to the troops in the Middle East on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump led his remarks to U.S. military troops Wednesday in Iraq with an order: “Let’s have a good time.” What followed was a combat zone version of one of his signature campaign-style rallies.

“I don’t know if you folks are aware of what’s happening,” the commander in chief told troops assembled to hear his remarks at Al-Asad Air Base, referring to a government shutdown that now is in its sixth day. Lawmakers typically try to refrain from criticizing a president when he is on foreign soil. But this president could not resist criticizing Democrats on Iraqi soil.

Amid Crises, Trump Slips Out of Washington to Visit Troops in Iraq
President had caught flack for opting against a warzone visit in first 23 months in office

President Trump quietly left Joint Base Andrews early Wednesday morning on Air Force One to make his first visit as commander in chief to U.S. troops deployed in a combat zone. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Amid a government shutdown and multiple crises at home, President Donald Trump slid out of the White House early Wednesday morning for a holiday season trip to visit troops in Iraq.

Trump faced bipartisan criticism for not visiting any U.S. forces deployed in combat zones since he took office in January 2017. There were rumors last week that he might travel to Iraq or Afghanistan during what had been planned as a 16-day holiday season vacation at his South Florida resort, but White Houses, for security reasons, keep such trips under wraps.

Paul Ryan Aide, Rep. Adam Kinzinger Received Steele Dossier Early, Court Documents Show
Longtime associate of Sen. John McCain and Obama’s top Russia expert also received report

A court memo shows former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele gave his report on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s connections to Russia to Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, left, and an aide to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan . (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger and a longtime aide to Speaker Paul D. Ryan each were given an early look at the final report added to the infamous “Steele dossier,” court documents in a lawsuit against BuzzFeed News show.

Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence agent who compiled the unsubstantiated research booklet in 2016 about Donald Trump’s connections to Russia before he became president, gave the report to Kinzinger and Jonathan Burks, Ryan’s longtime chief of staff, after he completed it on Dec. 13, 2016, according to the court memo.

Senate Hints It Doesn’t Oppose Sanctions Relief for Russian Linked to Putin, Manafort
Oleg Deripaska will relinquish majority ownership stake in three companies in exchange for sanctions relief from U.S. Treasury

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., right, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., delivered a cautious statement Wednesday supporting the deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee signaled Wednesday that they do not oppose the Treasury Department’s decision to loosen sanctions on three companies owned by a Russian oligarch with links to Russian President Vladimir Putin and key players in Ukrainian politics, including former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Congress has 30 days to nix the deal Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has struck with Oleg Deripaska, who currently owns the largest non-Chinese aluminum producing company in the world and two other multibillion-dollar energy companies.