Tom Cotton

Trump’s Space Force Order Would Need Congressional Action
Senate could be final stumbling block to creation of new service branch

Ohio Rep. Michael R. Turner, who chairs the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, is waiting for a Pentagon report before evaluating the need for Space Force. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the Pentagon to create a new service branch dedicated to military operations in space.

“I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” Trump said at the White House, indicating that the proposed service would be completely separate from the other five existing services.

Analysis: Deep GOP Rift on Immigration Isn’t Easy to Fix
Look a little closer, and it’s clear the debate goes far beyond Dreamers

While the debate about citizenship for Dreamers has grabbed headlines, Republicans are fighting over something even more fundamental — the future of legal immigration. Above, immigration advocates march near the White House in September. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At first glance, the Republican Party’s latest bout of immigration infighting appears to orbit around one key disagreement: Should so-called Dreamers be given a path to citizenship?

Look a little closer, and it’s clear the rift goes far beyond Dreamers. What Republicans are struggling with is a fundamental dispute over the core values of the U.S. immigration system and who may benefit. And the same disagreements that have previously doomed the prospects of a deal threaten to do so again in this newest round of negotiations in the House.

Senators Push Defense Amendment to Restore ZTE Sanctions
Proposal would effectively block ZTE from American technology — again

Sen. Tom Cotton is leading a bipartisan effort to restore penalties on ZTE. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan contingent of senators wants to use the defense authorization to restore penalties against Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE that were eased Thursday morning.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas joined Democratic Sens. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Charles E. Schumer of New York in filing the legislation as an amendment to the defense programs bill. Senators are expected to begin amendment debate on the broader legislation early next week.

Lawmakers Pushing Drone Legislation Hear Threat Warnings
Law enforcement and intelligence officials testify about domestic threats posed by drones

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson says he hopes to attach a drone bill to this year’s NDAA. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The Islamic State and other international terrorist groups are perfecting the use of drones to deliver explosives. Meanwhile, traffickers in the United States have already flown drugs over border fences and contraband over prison walls with drones. U.S. law could be falling behind the threat.

Federal officials testified Wednesday at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing that outdated statutes constrict the government’s ability to research and counter reckless or malicious drone use.

Trump Lowers Expectations for Revived North Korea Summit
President: ‘We’re not going to go in and sign something on June 12’

South Koreans watch a television broadcast about meetings between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping in March. Kim sent President Trump a letter that was delivered to him in the Oval Office on Friday. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

In a stunning eight-day reversal, Donald Trump on Friday announced his denuclearization summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will occur on June 12. But the U.S. commander in chief immediately tried to lower expectations for its outcome.

“You people are going to have to travel because you’re going to be in Singapore on June 12,” he told reporters during an impromptu South Lawn gaggle following a historic meeting with one of Kim’s top lieutenants. “I think it’ll be a process. … But the relationships are building, and that’s a positive thing.”

Dems Blame Trump for Nixed Kim Summit, GOP Applauds Move
President warns North Korea, saying U.S. military is ‘ready’

President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he walks across the South Lawn while departing the White House on Tuesday for New York. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Updated 12:28 p.m. | Democratic lawmakers said Thursday that President Donald Trump canceled a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because his administration was ill-prepared for the sensitive talks, but GOP members hailed the move as strategically prudent.

A few hours after the White House released a letter he penned to Kim informing him the talks are off — for now, at least — Trump delivered a hawkish warning to the North Korean dictator. The U.S. commander in chief said his military is “ready” and “by far” the most powerful in the world, contending it has been “greatly enhanced.”

Trump Administration Tries to Reassure Key Senators About ZTE Enforcement
Cornyn said administration is making clear national security and trade are in separate buckets

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said the defense authorization is expected to address ZTE. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration is trying to reassure Senate Republicans that it won’t go light on sanctions enforcement against Chinese communications equipment firm ZTE.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross huddled with a group of key GOP senators Wednesday evening.

Sinema Breaks Record at ACLI Capital Challenge Race
Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher is fastest member of Congress for second year in a row

Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, number 120, watches as Reps. Mike Gallagher and Kyrsten Sinema celebrate their victories at Wednesday’s ACLI Capital Challenge. (Bian Elkhatib/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:30 p.m. | Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona was the fastest female lawmaker and set a new course record for her division at the 37th annual ACLI Capital Challenge three-mile race Wednesday.

Sinema finished in 22 minutes and 3 seconds to break the course record of 22:41 held by former Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt of Ohio.

Haspel’s CIA Director Confirmation Hearing, in Photos
33-year career intelligence officer faces opposition to lead agency

Gina Haspel, nominee to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is sworn in before testifying during her confirmation hearing in the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The focal point of the week on Capitol Hill kicked off Wednesday with a series of arrests. The confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee for Gina Haspel to be director of the CIA drew attention from anti-torture protesters and members on both sides of the aisle.

As a 33-year veteran of the intelligence agency, Haspel’s involvement in post-9/11 “enhanced interrogation” tactics has been at the center of the controversy over her nomination.