Defense & Cyberspace

Rep. Tipton Files Resolution for Return of North Korea-Seized U.S. Ship
USS Pueblo has been on display in North Korea since its capture in 1968

Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., filed a resolution Tuesday seeking the return of the U.S.S. Pueblo from more than 50-year captivity in North Korea. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Scott Tipton introduced a resolution in the House this week seeking the return of a U.S. Navy spy vessel that has been in North Korean captivity for more than half a century.

Tipton’s request for the North Korean government to return the USS Pueblo comes less than a month before the planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong-Un on June 12 in Singapore.

Senate Confirms Gina Haspel to Lead CIA
Bipartisan vote does not follow partisan script

Senators confirmed Gina Haspel to become CIA director before finishing work for the week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After a number of Democratic senators announced they would support President Donald Trump’s choice of Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to run the agency, she was easily confirmed Thursday afternoon.

In what has become a bit of a regular routine, Senate leaders reached an agreement to expedite votes on a key national security nominee and prevent any threat of a weekend session.

Trump Breaks With New Security Adviser Bolton on North Korea Plan
Records appear to contradict president’s claim that no U.S. official has ever negotiated with China

President Donald Trump, seen here in the White House Rose Garden last week, broke with his national security adviser when talking about North Korea on Thursday.  (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday broke with his national security adviser, denying that his administration is following the U.S. playbook in Libya — which led to the ouster and death of itsleader at the time — as it prepares for talks with North Korea.

“The Libya model is not a model we have at all with North Korea,” the president told reporters. “With [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un, he’d be there, running his country.

FBI Director Raises Concerns about Chinese Tech Giant Trump Wants to Help
Wray defends agency, responding to political attacks from Congress and White House

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during a Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing in Dirksen Building on the bureau’s FY2019 budget Wednesday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday reaffirmed concerns about Chinese telecommunications company ZTE that President Donald Trump wants to help — and defended the agency from political attacks coming from the White House and Congress. 

At a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing about the FBI’s fiscal 2019 budget request, Wray used a question about the agency’s responsiveness to congressional oversight to highlight the importance of protecting people who provide agents information.

No Word From Kim on Canceling Nuke Summit, Trump Says
U.S. president: 'We haven't seen anything. We haven't heard anything.'

President Donald Trump greets Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the White House on Wednesday. The two leaders were scheduled to discuss a range of bilateral issues. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Updated 12:54 p.m. | President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration has received no official notification from the North Korean government about canceling a summit with Kim Jong Un over the dictator’s nuclear arms and long-range missile programs.

“We haven't been notified at all, we’ll have to see. We haven’t seen anything. We haven’t heard anything,” the president said. “We will see what happens.

Votes Roll in for Haspel After Expressing Regret Over Enhanced Interrogation
Latest comments seem to be enough to get support from Mark Warner

Gina Haspel, nominee to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has written a new letter about interrogation programs. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the CIA is making it even more clear that the program sanctioning harsh interrogations during the George W. Bush administration should not have taken place.

Gina Haspel, the current acting director of the agency, expanded upon her testimony in a letter dated Monday to Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee.

MacArthur Accuses Challenger of Embellishing Record in Afghanistan
Democrat Andy Kim frequently cites his role working for Gen. David Petraeus

Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., is calling into question the resume of his Democratic opponent. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur’s campaign is accusing Democratic challenger Andy Kim of embellishing his record as a national security adviser.

Kim has frequently referred to his time working as an Army strategic adviser in Afghanistan to then-Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Schumer, Trump Align on Jerusalem Policy While Sparring Over Iran deal
Senator praises president on embassy move

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer pushed President Donald Trump to follow through on moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is praising President Donald Trump for following through on designating the U.S. embassy in Israel in Jerusalem.

“In a long overdue move, we have moved our embassy to Jerusalem. Every nation should have the right to choose its capital,” the Democrat from New York said in a statement. “I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago, and I applaud President Trump for doing it.”

Podcast: Children's Insurance Program Sparks Divisions in Rescission Package
CQ Budget, Episode 60

After initial opposition, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is warming to the White House's rescission package. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

 

Show Notes: 

All of a Sudden, a Busy House Floor Schedule
Legislative to-do list grows ahead of 2018 midterms

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., left, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have a lot of bills they’re planning to bring to the floor in the coming weeks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House’s legislative wheels are kicking into high gear this week.

After four months of mostly sleepy floor activity — not counting the protracted fiscal 2018 spending fight that led to two partial government shutdowns and a few other bills, like a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration — the House has enough major legislation coming out of its committees to fill the floor schedule for the next two to three months.

Analysis: What Matters Most in the NDAA
Obscurities and omissions define this year’s defense authorization bill

In this year’s NDAA, House Armed Services Mac Thornberry has required cuts to agencies that handle logistics, human resources and services contracting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The massive defense authorization bill approved by the House Armed Services panel early Thursday morning is a consequential measure — but not for the reasons most people think.

The $708.1 billion bill, which the House plans to debate the week of May 21, would endorse the largest budget for defense since World War II, adjusting for inflation and when war spending is taken out of the equation.

Donnelly Becomes Second Democrat to Support Gina Haspel to Lead the CIA
Indiana senator provides an insurance vote for the Trump nominee

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., announced his support for CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel on Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate appears to be moving full speed ahead on confirming Gina Haspel as director of the CIA.

The Intelligence Committee is expected to vote to advance her nomination to the floor during a closed business meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning, and a Saturday morning announcement by Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly further reduced the suspense.

GOP Senators Express Willingness to Skip August Recess, Bundle Spending Bills
16 senators involved include vulnerable incumbent Dean Heller

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., led a Tuesday press conference about Congress’ current work pace, government funding and the confirmation backlog. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of 16 Republican senators has announced a willingness to work through August if that’s what it takes to complete spending bills and confirm more of President Donald Trump’s nominees.

Sen. David Perdue of Georgia, who has led the effort, hinted Tuesday that a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky would be forthcoming.

Administration Denies Notion Jerusalem Embassy Isolates U.S. in Region
Trump to address Monday’s opening ceremony via video, official says

President Donald Trump listens to introductions as he waits to speak to supporters at a rally on Friday in Elkhart, Indiana. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Senior administration officials on Friday dismissed the notion that President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has isolated the United States in the region.

The officials also told reporters on a morning conference call that an ample number of U.S. lawmakers are expected to attend a Monday afternoon event at the Jerusalem facility to mark its official opening. They did not, however, name names.

Brian Mast Among Candidates to be VA Secretary
Freshman lawmaker is combat veteran who served in Afghanistan

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., is among candidates to be nominated to be Veterans Affairs Secretary (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Brian Mast confirmed he has been under consideration for the nomination to be secretary of Veterans Affairs.

“It is an honor to be considered to serve my fellow veterans and their families at the highest possible level,” the Florida Republican said Thursday.