Mike Pompeo

Lawmakers Wary of Potential Trump Cuts to Foreign Aid
Corker, Menendez doubt legality of reported plan

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., left, and ranking member Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., doubt the administration has the legal authority to impound funds in the way they are reportedly planning. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sources close to Capitol Hill and within the foreign aid community say that Trump administration officials are preparing a potential foreign aid “rescission” package that could cut between $2 billion and $4 billion in fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018 funds from the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development.

Some $200 million intended to benefit Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is thought to be on the chopping block as part of the request, sources said.

Instead of Oversight, This Congress Believes in Under-Sight
Omarosa saga reminds us that no Trump offense is so big that the GOP can’t ignore it

President Donald Trump talks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Whip John Cornyn after his State of the Union address in January. No offense by the president and his administration is so big that it can’t be ignored by Republicans on the Hill, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In “Dr. Strangelove,” Stanley Kubrick’s scabrously funny 1964 sendup of nuclear war, a fanatical anti-Communist general starts pummeling the Russian ambassador for taking photographs in the inner sanctum of the Pentagon. The hapless president breaks up the scuffle by saying in an outraged tone, “Gentlemen. You can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!”

If only Kubrick were still around to do justice to Omarosa Manigault Newman taping her own firing by John Kelly in the White House Situation Room. Even the fanatical Gen. Jack D. Ripper couldn’t match the deranged fury of Donald Trump’s Tuesday tweet calling Omarosa “a crazed, crying lowlife” and viciously likening her to a “dog.”

Trump Won’t Follow Congressional Directives on Russia and Crimea
Defense authorization signing statement effectively discards restrictions on recognizing Crimea as Russian

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin answer questions about the 2016 U.S election collusion during a joint press conference after their summit in July. Trump now objects to efforts by Congress to prevent his administration from recognizing Crimea as part of Russia. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump objects to an effort by Congress to prevent his administration from recognizing Crimea as part of Russia.

Crimea is a region in Ukraine that has been occupied by Russia for several years, with the Russian Federation having claimed to have annexed the region in March 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed the territorial matter is settled, but many in Washington disagree.

Trump’s Foreign Trips Get Low Marks New Poll Shows
Less than a third of Americans see success in Russia, North Korea summits

President Donald Trump’s foreign trips received tepid support from Americans in a new poll. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s summits in North Korea and Russia have received tepid support at home, with less than a third of Americans saying the trips were a success in an Economist/YouGov poll released Wednesday.

The June 12 meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was successful 28 percent of respondents said, while 33 percent said it was unsuccessful and 39 percent said they were not sure.

Don’t Let China Snag Another Foreign Port, Senators Warn
Possible Chinese military moves in Pakistan latest worry for lawmakers

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., and 15 other senators wants the Trump administration to work with the IMF to offer developing countries in need of infrastructure financing alternatives to Chinese credit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan group of senators is calling on the Trump administration to counter China’s economic expansion as the lawmakers fear that Beijing plans to leverage its foreign investments and lending for infrastructure projects into strategic military footholds.

Georgia Republican David Perdue, along with 15 other senators, raised the issue in a Friday letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Divide Over Israel Widens in Democratic Party
Party voices in favor of Palestinian rights, BDS are getting louder

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, here at the Capitol in March, has backed several of President Donald Trump’s domestic policies, further contributing to his country’s divide with Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the surface, it looks like the U.S.-Israel relationship is having its best year ever. In May, President Donald Trump fulfilled Israel’s dream of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and his administration is preparing a Middle East peace plan that will almost certainly have Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s blessing. Congress, meanwhile, is poised to approve $3.3 billion in new defense assistance to Israel, a new high.

But there are political undercurrents that spell trouble for what has traditionally been unquestioned U.S. support for Israel, particularly within the Democratic Party on the eve of a midterm election that could swing the balance of power in one or both chambers of Congress and perhaps profoundly and permanently change the dynamic between the longtime allies.

Officials Silent on Trump’s Turkey Sanctions Over Detained Pastor
President often announces policy moves before notifying aides and agencies

President Donald Trump welcomes President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to the West Wing of the White House on May 16, 2017. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

White House and Treasury Department officials are so far unable to provide details about which entities and individuals will be targeted by sanctions on Turkey that President Donald Trump announced Thursday, another sign how he often announces policies while his aides scramble to craft them. 

Trump tweeted Thursday morning that his administration will slap “large sanctions” on Turkey in retaliation to its imprisonment of U.S. evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, answering cries from lawmakers over charges they have called unfounded.

United States Will Not Recognize Crimea as Part of Russia, Pompeo Asserts
Secretary of state outlines position as he testifies before Senate Foreign Relations panel

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, arrives to testify at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The United States will not recognize Crimea as part of Russia, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted on Wednesday, unveiling an eagerly awaited hard position from the United States at a time of heightened tensions between the two superpowers. 

“The United States calls on Russia to respect the principles to which it has long claimed to adhere and to end its occupation of Crimea,” Pompeo said in a statement issued on the day he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Trump-Putin II Put On Ice Until Mueller Wraps Probe
White House had said goal was this fall in Washington

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during their July 16 summit in Finland. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump will not meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin again until after Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller completes his probe of Moscow’s 2016 election meddling.

The White House said last week that Trump wanted to hold a follow-up meeting to his recent summit in Finland with the Russian strongman this fall in Washington. But lawmakers from both parties have continued to criticize him over his actions there, including siding with Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies over the Kremlin’s 2016 election interference campaign.

Senators Plot New Russia Sanctions as Committee Leaders Plan Hearings
Russian election interference efforts could find time on August agenda

Sen. Lindsey Graham is among the lawmakers crafting new Russia sanctions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two of the Senate’s many Russia hawks outlined plans to draft new sanctions against the country, just as leaders of the committees of jurisdictions unveiled plans for hearings.

“Just as Vladimir Putin has made clear his intention to challenge American power, influence, and security interests at home and abroad, the United States must make it abundantly clear that we will defend our nation and not waver in our rejection of his effort to erode western democracy as a strategic imperative for Russia’s future,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey.