Afghanistan

House managers stick to script on first day of Trump trial arguments
Democrats lean heavily on witness testimony over eight hours on the Senate floor

California Rep. Adam B. Schiff speaks during a news conference Wednesday with the other House impeachment managers before the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump resumes at the Capitol. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House impeachment managers on Wednesday dutifully stayed on message throughout the second full day of the Senate impeachment trial, arguing that the findings of the House’s impeachment inquiry provide ample evidence to warrant the removal of President Donald Trump from office.

The team of seven managers took turns presenting their case, starting with House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, who led the impeachment inquiry.

Trump undercuts military messages on brain injuries
President describes injuries from Iranian strikes as ‘headaches’

President Donald Trump’s description of potential military brain injuries as “not very serious” stands in contrast to the military’s call for such injuries not to be minimized. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s comment Wednesday that U.S. troops suffering concussion-like symptoms had “not very serious” injuries clashed with a yearslong, hard-fought U.S. military campaign to spread the message that a brain injury is not something to be minimized.

Trump was referring to at least 11 cases of troops in Iraq reporting symptoms that officials said may or may not turn out to be so-called traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs.

An agonizing dispute among terror victims
Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund splitting payouts under questionable rationale

Kenneth Feinberg, former administrator of the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, said he does not understand the rationale for paying out 9/11 victims from the fund. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four decades ago, William Daugherty, a former CIA operative, was held hostage in Iran for 444 days. His wait for the financial compensation policymakers had promised him will now be a lot longer than that.

A fund created in 2015 for the Iran hostages and other victims of state-sponsored terrorism has become a new source of cash for relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks waged by al-Qaida terrorists on New York and Washington. President Donald Trump in November signed into law a measure that divided the fund in half, splitting the revenue between two competing groups: victims of state-sponsored terrorism like Daugherty and the 9/11 families.

Max Rose backs Mike Bloomberg, who donated to his 2018 opponent
Rose is one of the most vulnerable House Democrats running in 2020

New York Democratic Rep. Max Rose endorsed former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg picked up his first congressional endorsement Monday, with New York Democratic Rep. Max Rose backing his bid, even though Bloomberg donated to Rose’s 2018 opponent.

Bloomberg gave $5,400, the maximum allowed from an individual, to Republican Rep. Dan Donovan in April 2018, Federal Election Commission documents show. The donation came two months before the June primary, when Donovan was facing a challenge from former GOP Rep. Michael G. Grimm. Donovan went on to win the primary but lost to Rose by 6 points in November. 

Authorizing conflict: AUMF and Congress explained

A protester dressed as President Donald Trump participates in the No War With Iran rally outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The United States hasn’t officially declared war since World War II. Instead, conflicts such as the Vietnam War, The Gulf War and the War on Terror are initiated courtesy of an Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF

Watch as CQ Roll Call’s Foreign Policy reporter Rachel Oswald explains AUMF, how it’s used and the implications behind President Donald Trump’s recent military actions against Iran.

Freshman national security Democrats seize political moment

From left, Reps. Abigail Spanberger, Mikie Sherrill, Chrissy Houlahan, Elissa Slotkin and Xochitl Torres Small conduct a meeting in the Capitol in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the hours after the targeted killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and with concern rapidly mounting about the potential for a direct military confrontation with Iran, several high-profile House liberals announced plans to constrain President Donald Trump’s ability to wage war.

But it was a lesser-known and more moderate freshman — Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, a former CIA analyst who did three tours in Iraq focusing on the country’s Iranian-backed Shiite militias — whom Speaker Nancy Pelosi ultimately tapped as the face of Democrats’ arguments for putting guardrails on Trump’s Iran strategy.

Meet the lawmakers who bucked their parties on vote to limit Trump’s war powers
Eight Democrats opposed the resolution, while three Republicans supported it

New York Democratic Rep. Max Rose said he refused “to play politics with questions of war and peace” before opposing a war powers resolution Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated Jan. 10 11:30 a.m. | The House voted largely along party lines Thursday to adopt a resolution directing President Donald Trump to not use military force against Iran without congressional approval unless it was necessary to defend Americans.

But 11 lawmakers, mostly Democrats, bucked their parties on the vote. Most of those Democrats face competitive reelections this year.

Trump suggests Iran downed Ukrainian airliner, potentially by accident
U.S. officials haven't publicly stated what caused the crash yet

President Donald Trump arrives at the White House after a rally in Michigan on Dec. 19, 2019. (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner earlier this week — possibly by mistake.

“Well, I have my suspicions,” he told reporters following an energy event in the White House. “It’s a tragic thing. … Somebody could have made a mistake on the other side. … It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood.

Duncan Hunter resigns from Congress
Convicted congressman set to be sentenced in March

Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., resigned from Congress on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Duncan Hunter submitted his resignation from Congress on Tuesday, marking the end of an 11-year stint in the House marred by his misuse of campaign funds for a variety of endeavors, including spending money on Lego sets, movie tickets, a $14,000 family vacation to Italy and flights for his family’s pet bunny rabbit.

In his resignation letters to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Hunter said his resignation would be effective Jan. 13. “It has been an honor to serve the people of California’s 50th District, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years,” he wrote. 

Congress OKs covering Taliban travel expenses, with conditions
Pentagon policy bill includes exemption from laws that bar aid to terrorist groups

A group of Taliban in Badakhshan province have dropped weapons and joined the Afghan government. They join the government after US-Taliban peace talks have been halted on 18 September 2019 in Badakhshan, Afghanistan. ( Mohammad Sharif Shayeq/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Congress is allowing the Pentagon to spend up to $15 million this year for logistical support for peace talks in Afghanistan, and lawmakers have tried hard to ensure the money does not effectively benefit the Taliban.

But the Pentagon, in requesting the money earlier this year, said it is "likely" some of the funds will at least indirectly help the Taliban, and the authors of the new defense authorization measure had to explicitly exempt the proposed spending from laws that bar aid to terrorist groups.