Trump Not Present, Still Center Stage at Alabama Senate Race
Strange and Moore showcase their closing arguments to voters

Judge Roy Moore has been leading in public polling. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The two GOP candidates in the Alabama Senate race came to face-to-face Thursday night in an unusual debate, but President Donald Trump and his agenda took center stage.

The debate highlighted a central struggle in the race between Sen. Luther Strange, the candidate Trump has endorsed, and Judge Roy Moore, who has the backing of some of Trump’s allies and supporters who decry the D.C. establishment.

Mnuchin: Foreign Groups ‘On Notice’ About Business With North Korea

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discussed the Trump administration’s new sanctions on North Korea, saying the order sends a message that foreign financial institutions are “on notice.”

Military Groups Join Democrats’ Defense of Arbitration Rule
‘We will not accept a future where our military veterans’ financial protections are chipped away’

Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed in the Senate subway before a lunch in the Capitol on July 27. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Service member and veterans groups on Wednesday criticized a Republican effort to overturn the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule barring mandatory arbitration in many consumer contracts. 

The groups joined Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a member of the Senate Banking Committee, to oppose Senate Republicans’ plan to pass a measure that would repeal the CFPB rule. The rule took effect Monday, but the agency is giving companies until March 2018 to comply.

Trump, Afghan President Contradict One Another on Situation There
U.S. president sees 'hornets' nest,' but Ghani says 'victory is within our sights'

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. President Donald Trump and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani see the situation there differently, according to comments Thursday. (WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani delivered contradictory assessments Thursday of the situation on the ground as the U.S. military operation there enters its 16th year.

Addressing reporters together on the sidelines of a U.N. General Assembly session, the leaders offered their conflicting assessments a month after Trump altered America’s strategy and deployed more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to help indigenous forces and target extremist groups.

Van Hollen Confident Dems Will Invest in Alabama Special Election
'We have a terrific candidate' in Doug Jones, Maryland senator says

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, the chairman of the DSCC, said he thinks Doug Jones will energize voters to turn out, but “I’m not sure, after a bitter Republican primary, that’s going to be the case on the Republican side.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Chris Van Hollen believes Democrats will invest in their candidate in the Alabama special election to fill the remaining term of former Sen. Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump’s attorney general.

And as the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which will fight to retain current and capture new Senate seats in 2018, Van Hollen’s word carries considerable weight.

Civil Rights, Racial Disputes Fuel Divide Over Judicial Nominee
North Carolina senators defend Thomas Farr

Sens. Richard M. Burr, right, and Thom Tillis prepare for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Sept. 20. The two support North Carolinian Thomas Farr for a federal judgeship, a nomination that has raised the ire of civil rights groups and African Americans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s pick for a federal judgeship in North Carolina has drawn the opposition of the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights groups in part because of past work defending the state’s congressional redistricting plans and voter ID law, which courts have struck down as unfair to minorities.

The vacancy in the Eastern District of North Carolina has fallen victim to the Tar Heel State’s contentious politics and the Senate’s confirmation process — making it now the oldest judicial vacancy in the country at 11 years and 9 months.

Strange Still Dogged By Corruption Accusations Five Days Before Runoff
Two Alabama state reps are accusing the senator of a coverup

Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., faces former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in the Republican runoff for the Alabama Senate seat formerly held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Five days before his showdown with Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in the Republican primary runoff for the Alabama Senate special election, Sen. Luther Strange still finds himself batting away corruption accusations from state legislators in Montgomery.

State Reps. Ed Henry and Mike Ball, both Republicans, voiced concern at a joint news conference Wednesday regarding Strange’s role in an investigation that saw the conviction of former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard on 11 corruption charges.

Republicans Head Into Alabama Senate Race Homestretch
Campaigns zero in on turning out supporters

Alabama Sen. Luther Strange is counting on visits by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to carry him to victory on Sept. 26. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The biggest names in the Republican Party — from President Donald Trump to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin —  will be heading south as the GOP primary runoff in the Alabama Senate race enters the homestretch. 

Sen. Luther Strange and former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore have been fighting for the GOP nod to fill the remaining term of former Sen. Jeff Sessions, now Trump’s attorney general. As the top two contenders in the August primary, they advanced to the runoff, which in some ways has turned into a proxy battle within the Republican Party.

Analysis: Why Ryan Has Stepped Into the Senate Health Care Debate
Speaker has typically steered clear of offering advice or taking on other chamber

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has signaled the Graham-Cassidy health care measure in the Senate will get a House floor vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan doesn’t like to meddle in Senate affairs — except when he does.

Throughout July when the Senate was working through various proposals to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, Ryan frequently declined to comment on what the other chamber was considering.

GOP Primaries Could Hamper Plans on Taxes
Vulnerable Republican incumbents pose a challenge for McConnell

Alabama Sen. Luther Strange faces former Judge Roy Moore in a crucial Senate primary runoff next week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican hopes for moving an ambitious tax package in a closely divided Senate may hinge on a number of incumbents on the ballot, including Luther Strange of Alabama, who faces a tough primary runoff on Sept. 26.

The vulnerability of Republican incumbents like Strange underscores the challenges facing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as he tries to hold together at least 50 votes in his 52-member conference to pass a partisan tax plan under a filibuster-proof reconciliation bill.

Opinion: In Reaching for Deals, Will Parties Overlook Certain American Voices?
Lawmakers shouldn’t ignore divisive or unpleasant issues of justice and race

Protesters and police officers clashed in St. Louis on Sept. 17. In their recent dealings with President Donald Trump, Democratic lawmakers have shied away from social justice and race issues, Curtis writes. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“He likes us,” Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer said of his fellow New Yorker Donald Trump last week. This was after “Chuck” joined “Nancy” — House Democratic leader Pelosi from California — in a White House gathering that resulted in a deal on DACA reform, unless it didn’t.

Whatever the interpretation of what happened during that chummy get-together, and there was a different one for every person who attended or heard about it first, second or thirdhand, the president reportedly reveled in the relief of positive headlines that followed.

Podcast: What’s Moore Strange Than Alabama’s Senate Race?
The Big Story, Episode 72

Judge Roy Moore campaign worker Maggie Ford collects campaign signs after the U.S. Senate candidate forum held by the Shelby County Republican Party in Pelham, Ala., on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Moore is running in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Alabama’s Senate contest Tuesday is the first election skirmish in this year’s Republican civil war. Appointed Sen. Luther Strange is the candidate of the party establishment yet has the backing of the outsider president, Donald Trump. But former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore’s controversial conservatism has the ear of many Trump diehards. A preview from reporters who’ve seen the contest up close, Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman and The Economist’s James Astill.

Poll: North Korea Is Biggest Threat to U.S.
Economist/YouGov survey finds Americans consider regime to be top enemy

A majority of those polled in the latest Economist/YouGov survey said they want to see President Donald Trump and members of Congress compromise instead of sticking purely to political party. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Nearly three-fourths of Americans surveyed in the latest Economist/YouGov poll believe North Korea is the country’s biggest enemy as President Donald Trump continues to issue threats to Kim Jung Un’s government on a near-daily basis.

Before the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump said the United States was prepared to “totally destroy” North Korea if the regime does not give up its nuclear arms and missile program.

Trump Endorses Graham-Cassidy, Knocks Rand Paul
In morning tweet, president calls legislation ‘GREAT!’

Sen. Lindsey Graham, right, speaks at a news conference Wednesday to discuss a bill he and Sen. Bill Cassidy, far left, are pushing to overhaul the health care system. Sen. Dean Heller, Sen. Ron Johnson and former Sen. Rick Santorum look on. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump formally threw his weight behind a health care overhaul sponsored by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, and criticized another high-profile Republican for opposing it.

Trump used a pair of Wednesday morning tweets to call the bill “GREAT!” and touted its plan to provide federal “Money direct to States!”

Republican Senators Mostly Silent After Trump’s North Korea Threat
President would hit regime, military targets - not civilians, White House says

Republican Sens. Bob Corker (center), Marco Rubio (seated right) and Jim Risch (standing right) all declined to comment on GOP President Donald Trump's threat to "totally destroy" North Korea if it attacks the United States. Also pictured are GOP Sens. Cory Gardner (standing left) and Ron Johnson (seated left). (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker hurried into an elevator. Sen. Marco Rubio quickly ducked into the Capitol Visitor Center television studio. And Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain shut down reporters’ repetitive questions.

No Republican senator could be found Tuesday who was willing to question President Donald Trump’s threat before the United Nations General Assembly to “totally destroy” North Korea unless it gives up its nuclear arms and long-range missile programs, which he views as a direct threat to the sovereignty and security of the United States and its allies.