Dan Coats

No new legislative momentum after election security briefings
House has passed legislation, but there is no plan for moving a Senate bill

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks with reporters as he leaves the closed briefing on election security in the Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Marco Rubio emerged from a closed briefing on the Trump administration’s efforts to secure elections and made a renewed push for his own bipartisan deterrence legislation, even as he acknowledged there has not been momentum.

“In my view, they’re doing everything you can do,” Rubio said of the administration efforts. “Election interference is a broadly used term, and understand this is psychological warfare. It’s designed to weaken America from the inside out, to drive divisions internally so we fight with each other, to undermine our confidence in the elections and in our democracy and particularly to undermine individual candidates either because they don’t like that candidate or because they know someone else.”

Stew’s next stop
Longtime McConnell spokesman is heading to the Association of Global Automakers

Don Stewart is leaving the Senate after more than two decades. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Don Stewart, the outgoing deputy chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a Senate fixture for more than two decades, has his next destination.

Stewart is expected to finish up in the Kentucky Republican’s office this week before starting at the Association of Global Automakers on March 25.

5G technologies could challenge US spy agencies
“They’ll be swimming in an ocean of data that they can’t begin to parse,” Himes says

Extraordinary data speeds with little delay are one of the key promises of 5G technology. (David Becker/Getty Images file photo)

An avalanche of new technologies enabled by 5G wireless networks and artificial intelligence will pose new challenges for U.S. spy agencies as they strive to stay ahead of adversaries. These new technologies are set to fundamentally alter how data is collected, stored, and transmitted.

“We would find ourselves at a disadvantage relative to our opponents around the globe if we didn’t adopt and adapt” to these technological advances, said Rep. Jim Himes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee’s newly created Strategic Technologies and Advanced Research Subcommittee. The panel will focus on how U.S. intelligence agencies use emerging technologies. “Are we adopting and adapting technology within the intelligence community as rapidly as we need to?” is among the questions it intends to probe.

ISIS strong, could get stronger if U.S. pulls out of Syria, Pentagon report warns
The ISIS command organization is intact and its fighters are “battle-hardened,” the report said

Gen. Joseph Votel, chief of U.S. Central Command (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As President Donald Trump prepares to reaffirm in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address both victory over the Islamic State and a call for withdrawing American troops from foreign battlefields, a new Pentagon report says the terrorist group is still strong and would get stronger once U.S. troops leave Syria.

A U.S.-led coalition has eliminated some 99 percent of the territory in Syria and Iraq that the Islamic State, or ISIS, once claimed as its so-called caliphate.

Photos of the Week: Powerful women take over powerful committees, Barr interviews and museums reopen
Roll Call’s photographers take from this week in the Capitol

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., waits for William Barr, nominee to he Attorney General of the United States, to arrive in his office for their meeting on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Trump refuses to express confidence in intelligence chiefs amid latest feud
‘Time will prove me right, probably’ after they broke with him on Iran, North Korea and ISIS

—President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S. D., and Vice President Mike Pence speaks to reporters following his lunch meeting with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Jan. 9. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump further escalated his feud with his hand-picked intelligence bosses Thursday when he refused to clearly say he has confidence in them after they contradicted his policies during congressional testimony.

Asked if he has confidence in Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel, Trump did not answer directly. “Time will prove me right, probably” on issues on which they differ, including: Iran, the Islamic State and North Korea.

Trump warns border security conference committee before talks begin
President answers rare rebukes from intel chiefs, Mitch McConnell in early morning tweetstorm

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell  after delivering his address to a joint session of Congress in 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 9:06 a.m. | An early rising President Donald Trump appeared eager to drive Wednesday’s agenda, sending a warning during his daily “executive time” to the special committee trying to avert another government shutdown and defending his Middle East policy after a rare GOP rebuke.

A House-Senate conference committee trying to craft a border security package Trump will support will meet Wednesday for the first time, and the president let them know funding for a border barrier needs to be in any legislation they craft ahead of a Feb. 15 deadline.

Spy chiefs say Chinese, Russian cyber strengths are top threats to U.S.

From left, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, DNI Director Dan Coats, DIA Director Robert Ashley, NSA Director Paul Nakasone, and National Geospatial-Intelligence Director Robert Cardillo testify during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on “Worldwide Threats” on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

China and Russia possess cyber technologies they will increasingly unleash on U.S. companies, the military, election systems and critical infrastructure, and that poses a significant threat to national security, Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence panel in an annual hearing called the Worldwide Threat Assessment.

“At present, China and Russia pose the greatest espionage and cyberattack threats,” but other countries are catching up, the director of National Intelligence told the committee Tuesday. 

Lawmakers Want to Push Back at Saudi Arabia With or Without Trump
Question may be whether there is a veto-proof majority for legislation

Sen. Lindsey Graham expects bipartisan support for sanctions against Saudi Arabia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At least when it comes to Congress, Tuesday’s afternoon statement from President Donald Trump might not prove helpful to the cause of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi royal family.

Even some of Trump’s strongest supporters on Capitol Hill are insisting the legislative branch will act to respond to the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, even though there is still no sign of it on the legislative agenda.

Under Democratic Control, Russia, Spy Agencies, Tech to Get Greater Scrutiny, Schiff Says
If House flips majority, top Democrat on Intelligence Committee says expect more oversight

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, says the panel would conduct more oversight under Democratic control. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Democrats take the House in next week’s election, the House Intelligence Committee plans to exercise greater oversight over U.S. intelligence agencies, finish the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and probe threats posed by new technologies, according to Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, who would become chairman of the panel.

If Democrats win, “we must refocus the committee on conducting serious oversight of the intelligence community and the Trump Administration’s direction to the intelligence agencies we oversee,” Schiff told CQ Roll Call in an email.