independents

New national security adviser faces personality test with Trump’s inner circle
Robert O’Brien is largely a blank slate on policy, which could help him manage internal disagreements

Robert C. OBrien, serving as special envoy for President Donald Trump, arrives at a courthouse in Stockholm during the rapper A$AP Rocky assault trial in August. (Michael Campanella/Getty Images file photo)

Internal debates during President Donald Trump’s first two and a half years in office have been marked by acrimony, tension and high-stakes negotiations. So perhaps it was no surprise that Trump named as his fourth national security adviser the State Department’s lead hostage negotiator, Robert C. O’Brien.

No president has had so many national security advisers in his first term. However long O’Brien lasts in the job, his tenure will be defined less by his policy views and more by how he manages disagreements within Trump’s inner circle.

Highlighting UAW ties, Cory Booker unveils labor plan as GM workers strike
Booker’s grandfather was a union rep in Detroit and worked on an assembly line during World War II

Sen. Cory Booker is unveiling a labor policy plan amid a UAW-GM strike. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As a General Motors strike continues for a third day, presidential hopeful Sen. Cory Booker is rolling out his labor policy plan.

As part of the unveiling, the Democrat from New Jersey is embracing his family’s history with organized labor, and in particular, the United Auto Workers.

Democratic debate moderators haven’t done American voters any favors
Three debates in, candidates and media seem averse to discussing economy, jobs and growth

Moderators at the next Democratic debate should go deeper on extreme policies such as Elizabeth Warren’s assault on capitalism and Bernie Sanders’ socialist health care proposal, Winston writes. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

OPINION — The first three Democratic presidential debates — five, if you count the double features in June and July — are, thankfully, in the political rearview mirror. It turns out that despite the hours and hours spent debating, and then the hours and hours talking about the debates, and then the inevitable polls trying to pick winners and losers, the political landscape hasn’t changed much. 

A Sept. 13-15 Morning Consult poll of Democratic primary voters done after the latest debate found Joe Biden still in the lead at 32 percent. Bernie Sanders was in second place at 20 percent with Elizabeth Warren closing in at 18 percent. Everybody else huddled at the bottom with 6 percent or less. The more things change, it seems, the more they stay the same.

Far from being ignored, Andrew Yang receives too much attention
So do Gabbard, Williamson and Sanders, given their likelihood of winning nomination

Democratic presidential candidate and entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks at the Iowa State Fair in August. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More than 250 people running for the Democratic presidential nomination are polling within a couple of points of Andrew Yang, but that won’t stop his Yang Gang and some members of the media from calling for the press to pay more attention to their candidate.

Blaming a losing candidate’s lack of traction on the media is a time-honored tradition. But Yang, Marianne Williamson, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and even Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders get more attention than they deserve given their likelihood of winning the Democratic nomination.

Fed’s proposal for faster payments raises question of fraud
‘FedNow’ won’t be available for four years, but how will it handle unauthorized payments?

The Federal Reserve expects to launch a real-time payment service in four years. Fintech experts are already questioning how it will handle fraud. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Federal Reserve’s announcement last month that it would compete with private industry to launch a 24-hour-a-day real-time payment service has fintech experts raising an alarm: How will it handle fraud, which they say is inevitable with any financial system.

The Fed’s real-time gross settlement service, to be known as “FedNow,” is not scheduled to be available for at least four more years. Yet some financial services attorneys are already pondering who should bear the loss if it processes unauthorized payments.

Democrats object to Trump’s threatening Iran over Saudi oil attack
U.S. is ‘locked and loaded’ if Tehran believed to be behind strikes, president warns

President Donald Trump leaves after chairing a U.N. Security Council meeting last September. He will be back there, along with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, next week. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

The United States should not take orders about using military force against Iran even if Saudi Arabia’s government declares Tehran was behind an attack on its oil facilities, congressional Democrats are telling President Donald Trump.

Trump signaled on Sunday evening and again on Monday morning that he is standing by for Saudi officials to sort out just what happened and who launched what U.S. officials said appeared to be armed drone and cruise missile strikes on the Saudi facilities. The attacks are expected to pare Saudi production and drive up oil and gas prices — but Democrats are concerned the incident might compel Trump to launch retaliatory strikes on Iran, which they say would be contrary to American interests.

Trump vows to campaign for more House Republicans after North Carolina wins
President delivers one-hour speech to congressional GOP at their retreat in Baltimore

President Donald Trump speaks to House Republicans in Baltimore on Thursday at their annual retreat. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — President Donald Trump told House Republicans gathered here Thursday for their annual conference retreat that he plans to campaign in more of their districts to help with their 2020 races. 

“I’m going to stop at every community that I can. We’re going to make a list of 50 or so,” he said. 

North Carolina’s 9th District highlights trouble spots for both parties
McCready’s strength in Mecklenburg County underscores GOP’s suburban weakness

Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop won the special election in North Carolina’s 9th District on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Within eight minutes of each other Wednesday morning, the two House campaign committees blasted out dueling memos about what Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop’s 2-point victory in North Carolina’s 9th District means for the country’s political future.

The posturing was typical of reactions to special elections in the era of President Donald Trump. Publicly, at least, Republicans say everything is fine, while Democrats celebrate a narrow loss in a district that shouldn’t have been competitive. 

Lewandowski leads New Hampshire GOP Senate primary field, poll finds
Former Trump campaign manager trails Democratic Sen. Shaheen by 10 points in hypothetical head-to-head matchup

Former Trump campaign chairman Corey Lewandowski is considering a run for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Trump campaign manager and political commentator Corey Lewandowski would lead a GOP primary for New Hampshire’s Senate seat, a new poll shows.

Lewandowski, the president’s first campaign manager in the 2016 election who helped him navigate a crowded GOP primary field, captured 23 percent support in a hypothetical primary race, an Emerson College poll released Tuesday found.

Pelosi’s choice: cooperation or confrontation
Party progressives and 2020 hopefuls have put speaker in a predicament

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has to choose between cooperating with Republicans or confronting them, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — On ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday, Rahm Emanuel, one of the smartest strategists in the Democratic Party, had this to say of his party’s presidential hopefuls: 

“The person that appreciates, understands, and puts themselves most comfortably, based on their own history, where the voters have lived their lives, that’s going to be the candidate that shines over … the long term.”