defense

White House, North Korea still don‘t define ‘denuclearization’ the same way
Trump and aides downplay expectations for summit with Kim Jong Un next week

A ballistic missile during a "Victory Day" parade in 2013 in North Korea. President Trump will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next week in Vietnam. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Just days before President Donald Trump will be face-to-face again with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the two sides remain divided on one of the biggest issues at the heart of their second summit.

Among the many unresolved issues as Trump and Kim prepare for another meeting Wednesday and Thursday in Hanoi, Vietnam is a common definition of what “denuclearization” would mean for the reclusive Asian country. A senior Trump administration official told reporters on a call Thursday morning that one of the top agenda items for the leaders’ second meeting is trying to agree to a “shared understanding of what denuclearization is.”

‘The dumbest f---ing idea I’ve ever heard’ and other highlights of the Senate’s European adventure
Senators have been traveling the globe this week, with many attending conferences in Europe

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., reportedly told the acting Defense secretary that pulling all troops from Syria by April 30 was “the dumbest f---ing idea I’ve heard .” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Over President’s Day weekend, it might have been easier to get a quorum of the U.S. Senate together in Europe than in Washington.

After contentious border moves, stakes only get higher for Trump
‘The real rough water for President Trump still lies ahead,’ GOP insider says

South Koreans watch on a screen at the Seoul Railway Station on June 12, 2018, showing President Donald Trump meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images file photo)

ANALYSIS — “Stay tuned” is a common refrain from White House aides when asked about the many cliffhangers created by President Donald Trump. But remarkably, even after three topsy-turvy months that culminated Friday in a wild Rose Garden appearance, that West Wing mantra will apply doubly over the next few weeks.

Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency at the southern border to unlock Pentagon funds for his proposed border wall came wrapped in an announcement press conference during which he veered from topic to topic, undercut his own legal position, often appeared dispassionate when discussing the emergency declaration, and made more baseless claims. That matter is already embroiled in court fights, putting perhaps his biggest campaign promise in legal limbo, and has appeared to created new distance between him and some Senate Republicans.

White House: Wall funds would be ‘back-filled’ in 2020 budget request
Trump will take money from Pentagon and Treasury that would bring total wall funding to $8 billion

President Donald Trump talks to reporters during a meeting of his cabinet on Tuesday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Senior White House officials said Friday that the funds President Donald Trump will take from the Pentagon and the Treasury Department to pay for his wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would be “back-filled” in his 2020 budget request.

That means U.S. taxpayers would pay for every penny of the wall in fiscal 2019 — even though Trump long promised that Mexico would pay for it.

Legal fight expected for Trump’s national emergency declaration
Experts predict high court will back his power to do so, but maybe not accessing military monies

President Donald Trump, here addressing reporters on Jan. 10, will sign a government shutdown-avoiding bill and declare a national emergency at the border to access Pentagon funds for his proposed southern border barrier. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency at the southern border to redirect military funds to his border wall project after lawmakers gave him $4.3 billion less than his $5.7 billion ask. But the move is expected to bring court fights that could sink his plan. 

A House-Senate conference committee could only agree to give the president just shy of $1.4 billion for the barrier project as conferees struck a deal needed to avert another partial government shutdown. The president — who earlier this week said he couldn’t say he was happy about the contents of the compromise — reluctantly agreed to sign it into law after the Senate and House sign off during floor votes Thursday.

GOP congressman who supports border wall deployed to the border
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger is a reconnaissance pilot in the Air National Guard

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., is a reconnaissance pilot and was deployed to the U.S. southern border this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who supports President Donald Trump’s push for a wall at the southern border, was deployed there this week with his Air National Guard unit, his office reported.

In addition to representing Illinois’ 16th District, Kinzinger is a lieutenant colonel in the Guard who flies reconnaissance aircraft, conducting aerial surveillance.

Bill would honor Rep. Walter Jones by repealing AUMF
Late North Carolina Republican was among the fiercest critics of 2001 military force authorization

Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., motions to an aide during a news conference in 2011 to announce legislation he co-sponsored calling for an exit strategy from Afghanistan. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

A new bill named after the late Rep. Walter B. Jones, who left behind a legacy of dogged opposition to war, would repeal the military force authorization passed in the days after the 9/11 attacks.

Colleagues and constituents have heaped praise on the longtime North Carolina Republican, who died Sunday on his 76th birthday and whose funeral will be held Thursday at his parish church in Greenville.

Democrats could stymie nuclear arms race after US leaves pact
2020 presidential hopefuls have already thrown support behind legislative efforts

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley has introduced legislation that would prohibit funding for the flight-testing, acquisition and deployment of U.S. ground-launched ballistic missiles with ranges banned by the INF treaty. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress can do little to halt the U.S. withdrawal from a nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, if President Donald Trump is determined to do so. But Democrats could have opportunities to shape and even block the administration’s plans to build up the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Earlier this month, the White House announced it would leave the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in six months. The Kremlin quickly responded that it too would cease honoring its arms control commitments under the accord, though the United States and NATO have long accused Russia of already violating the treaty by deploying an intermediate-range, ground-launched cruise missile.

Inhofe open to ‘exaggerated’ war budget
Armed Services chairman begrudgingly supports Trump’s gambit, setting the tone for other Republicans

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said $750 billion is needed for national defense in fiscal 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee told reporters Tuesday he would begrudgingly support a huge increase in the Pentagon’s war budget for programs unconnected to warfare if that is necessary to bankroll another boost to defense spending.

Oklahoma Republican James M. Inhofe said $750 billion is needed for national defense in fiscal 2020, compared to $716 billion in fiscal 2019. How that hike is achieved, he said, is of secondary importance.

Foreign Relations chairman says Trump has met reporting burden on Khashoggi murder; other senators disagree
‘The administration has been very forthcoming, the State Department has been very forthcoming,’ says Jim Risch

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch said the Trump administration has met its reporting requirements. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee insists that the Trump administration has been responsive to congressional requests for information about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, despite claims to the contrary from several colleagues. 

“We received a response to the inquiry that we made last fall,” Sen. Jim Risch said. “I’ve said we have been briefed on this matter numerous times, met with not all of the 17 intelligence agencies, but a good number of the intelligence agencies.”