Defense & Cyberspace

Podcast: Why Congress Has a Russia Problem
CQ on Congress, Episode 112

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at joint press conference after their summit in Helsinki, Finland. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Democrats Press GOP for Quick Legislative Response on Russia
Several measures in both chambers designed to push back on Putin

Protesters participate in a candlelight vigil in front of the White House Wednesday to protest President Donald Trump in the wake of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Congress could consider several bills in response to concerns about Russian meddling in the upcoming election. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House and Senate Democrats are pressuring their Republican colleagues to bring to the floor legislation introduced in response to President Donald Trump’s comments — and revisions to those comments — this week on Russian interference in U.S. elections.

Democratic House leaders released a bipartisan package that includes 17 previously introduced bills that would further restrict the White House’s foreign policy and economic options when it comes to Moscow.

‘Worst Enemy’: Trump Warns Putin Even as Second Summit in Works
U.S. president breaks with predecessors, criticizes Fed over rate hike

President Donald Trump warned Vladimir Putin and criticized the media and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell in an interview with CNBC. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 8:51 a.m. | President Donald Trump continues to defend his Monday summit with Vladimir Putin and says he wants a second meeting soon — while also warning the Russian president he could become Putin’s “worst enemy.”

A day after his top spokeswoman announced Trump wants a follow-up summit in Washington this fall, the president said this of what would be a controversial visit by the Russian strongman who U.S. intelligence officials say led an interference operation in the 2016 presidential election: “I would say it’s in the works.”

Congresswomen to Trump: Appoint an Election Security Czar
Rice and Stefanik send a letter to the president as talk of Russia grips House floor

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., leaves the House Republicans' last month. Stefanik and Rep. Kathleen Rice wrote a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to appoint an elections security coordinator.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two New York congresswomen on Thursday urged President Donald Trump to appoint an election security czar to combat election meddling.

Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice and Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik sent a letter calling for a “centralized, senior position” to knock down “silos” and bring together efforts at federal agencies such as the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. 

TBT: 10 Things Dan Coats Will Miss Now That He’s Banned From Russia
Current Intelligence director made a top ten list after being sanctioned by Moscow in 2014

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was sanctioned by Russia while serving as a senator in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats served as a Republican senator from Indiana, he was one of several officials sanctioned by Russia.

At the time, Coats borrowed a tradition from fellow Hoosier, comedian David Letterman, in offering up a top ten list of things he would miss after President Vladimir Putin banned him from Russia, as Heard on the Hill featured when it happened in May 2014.

White House Says It Won’t Let Russia Interrogate Americans
Senate voted Thursday to approve measure rejecting the idea

The Monday summit between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to roil the world, including a kerfuffle over whether the administration was considering allowing former Ambassador Michael McFaul to be interrogated by the Russians. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Updated 3:19 p.m. | Facing an intense backlash, including from Congress, the White House on Thursday announced it does not plan to have allow any current or former U.S. officials to be questioned by the Russian government, part of an ongoing — and often clumsy — effort to recover from President Donald Trump’s Monday summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”

Trump-Putin II: Second Meeting Being Planned Despite Confusion
POTUS on EU fine of Google: ‘I told you so!’

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a joint press conference after their summit on Monday in Helsinki, Finland. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The White House announced Thursday it is discussing a second Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin summit in Washington with the Kremlin, despite a partisan backlash over their Monday meeting.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced President Donald Trump instructed his national security adviser, John Bolton, to invite  Putin to the U.S. capital for a second summit, even as the confusing fallout continues from their initial summit.

At Trump White House, One Russia Controversy Breeds Another
What did POTUS mean? No one is sure, but he declares Putin summit a ‘success’

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., center, was among those who were confused by the president’s statements about Russia on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump White House on Wednesday returned to a familiar pattern, fighting through multiple self-imposed controversies and confusing even its own allies.

President Donald Trump didn’t personally walk anything back, unlike on Tuesday. He left the mopping up to his top spokeswoman a day after he — in a rare move — admitted a mistake by amending one word of a 45-minute Finland press conference with Vladimir Putin that rattled both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

Senate to Weigh Large Cuts to Military Aid
Cuts target foreign militaries and militias trained to fight terrorists on U.S. behalf

Iraqi Kurdish fighters, also known as peshmerga, are seen driving along the frontline in October 2017 outside the town of Altun Kubri, Iraq. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The Senate will soon take up a Defense spending bill that would cut nearly $2.5 billion in military aid to foreign fighting forces, an unusually large budget subtraction some say reflects a fundamental change in lawmakers’ security priorities. 

At issue is the $675 billion fiscal 2019 Defense money bill, which Senate Appropriations approved late last month and which the chamber may take up later this month. 

State Department Nominees Could Be In For Procedural Headache
Robert Menendez warns of making life difficult if questions go unanswered

Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., left, and ranking member Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., attend a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on the nominations of Brian J. Bulatao and Denise Natali for State Department positions on July 18, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey has made a thinly veiled threat against pending State nominations if the Trump administration is not more responsive to questions about their interactions and agreements with foreign leaders.

“If the administration is unwilling to consult with this committee in a meaningful fashion on vital national security issues, then we must consider all appropriate responses with regards to nominees before this committee,” the Foreign Relations ranking member said at a Wednesday hearing.

Trump Again Skips Intel Briefing After Siding With Putin
President broke with DNI Coats standing alonside Russian strongman

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive Monday for a press conference in Helsinki, Finland. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

For the second consecutive day since he broke with America’s spy agencies over Russia’s election meddling, President Donald Trump on Wednesday will not get an intelligence briefing.

The daily presidential guidance email sent out each evening by the White House initially featured only one item, an 11:30 a.m. Cabinet meeting. It was was updated Wednesday morning to include a 2 p.m. press briefing with Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

When Pig Selfies Fly: Pig Book Provides Ritual Railing Against Pork
Pigs give professed pig castrator Sen. Joni Ernst plenty of space

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with a pig Wednesday at the 2018 Congressional Pig Book launch event hosted by Citizens Against Government Waste . (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Jeff Flake was at it again Wednesday, taking selfies with a potbellied pig.

Each year, the Arizona Republican attempts to snap photos with costumed pig characters, as well as Faye, the potbellied pig that serves as the mascot for the annual “Pig Book” release by watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.

After Helsinki, Senate GOP Quietly Takes Aim at Russia
Flake, Gardner, Rubio all propose Senate takes steps to deter Russian aggression

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., plans to introduce a resolution in the Senate to "reaffirm support" for the U.S. intelligence apparatus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At least two Republican senators are urging their colleagues to do what President Donald Trump was unwilling to do at his joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday: hold Russia accountable for interfering in the 2016 election and its hyper-aggressive foreign policy.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake is working on a measure that would “reaffirm support for the intelligence community,” he said on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.

Roskam Tells Trump to Speak to Putin More Like Reagan Would
GOP congressman says Trump was ‘very defensive’ in conversation about Helsinki news conference

Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., said he confronted President Donald Trump about his news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Peter Roskam said President Donald Trump delivered a “very defensive” response on Tuesday when he confronted the president about siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin at their joint news conference in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Roskam was at the White House for a meeting with Trump in which the president walked back his comments from Monday that he saw “no reason why it would be Russia” that interfered in the 2016 election, affirmed that he trusted his intelligence community’s assessment that it was Russia, and then immediately sought to undercut that assessment by saying there “could be other people also — a lot of people out there.”

Trump Stumbles Into Second Day of Putin Summit Walkback
Presidential mop-up operation begins early on Twitter

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin answer questions about the 2016 U.S election during a joint news conference after their summit on Monday in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning continued trying to portray his widely panned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as a success amid a bipartisan backlash.

Despite many reviews to the contrary, the commander in chief described a rocky NATO summit last week that was dominated by him lashing out at America’s foes as “an acknowledged triumph.”