barack-obama

White House Middle East Victory Lap Draws Skepticism
Aides pushing a win, but headaches await return from region

President Donald Trump delivers a statement with Israeli President Reuven Rivlinon on Monday in Jerusalem. The White House says its first Middle East visit was a big success, but some Democrats are skeptical. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

The White House is describing President Donald Trump’s first dose of Middle East diplomacy as a “historic” success, but some lawmakers are skeptical that the optimistic rhetoric will become policy, and at least one is looking to block a major announcement from the trip. 

Trump spent all or parts of four days huddling with Muslim and Israeli leaders before heading to Europe on Tuesday afternoon. So confident was the White House that the first leg of Trump’s overseas diplomatic debut had gone well that they did not wait to land in Italy to declare victory.

Annual Capitol Insiders Survey: The Trump Effect
Tensions on the Hill from last year have carried over into 2017

Republicans staffers on Capitol Hill are still not comfortable with President Donald Trump, the latest Capitol Insiders Survey finds. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Last year’s election was humbling for pollsters, and the Capitol Insiders Survey was no exception. The vast majority of congressional staffers surveyed by CQ Roll Call in the days before the election — 91 percent — predicted a Hillary Clinton win. Only 6 percent thought Donald Trump could pull it off.

Still, the results reflect how Trump’s win blindsided the Washington establishment. The majority of Republican aides said consistently during the campaign that they wouldn’t vote for Trump.

Pence’s Battleground Stops, PAC Raise Eyebrows Amid Trump Scandals
VP’s office calls talk ‘ludicrous’ — but others see ‘too many coincidences’

Vice President Mike Pence leaves a meeting in the Capitol Visitor Center last Thursday. Two days later, he stopped in two presidential battleground states, Pennsylvania and Ohio, en route to his native Indiana. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence has quietly spent his weekends visiting key battleground states, raising eyebrows in political circles about just what the ambitious politician is up to as scandals threaten Donald Trump’s presidency.

Last weekend provides a glaring — and fascinating — example. The former Indiana congressman and governor returned to the Hoosier State to deliver the commencement address at Notre Dame. But his route back home included stops in two perennial presidential battlegrounds: Pennsylvania and Ohio.

By the Numbers: Trump’s First Full Fiscal Year Budget Cuts Deep and Wide
Only Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs departments would be spared

President Donald Trump's first full budget, released Tuesday, proposes big cuts to nearly every department and agency in fiscal 2018, even though they've been tightly constrained by budget caps for the past six years. Here's how the budget compares to estimates of what's currently enacted and to President Barack Obama's final full budget request:

No Apology for Israel Over Trump’s Disclosure to Russians
Tillerson: ‘I don’t know that there’s anything to apologize for’

President Donald Trump (L) speaks during a joint statement with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem on Monday. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump does not plan to apologize to Israeli leaders for disclosing sensitive intelligence provided by the Jewish country to senior Russian diplomats.

Asked by reporters Monday on Air Force One if Trump will apologize to Israeli leaders for sharing password-only classified intelligence about an Islamic State plot to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson replied: “I don’t know that there’s anything to apologize for.”

Trump: Special Counsel Part of Biggest ‘Witch Hunt’ in U.S. History
On Wednesday, POTUS said ‘no politician in history has been treated worse’

President Donald Trump broke his silence on a special prosecutor looking into possible connections between his campaign and Russia. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Bill and Hillary Clinton complained of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” during the 42nd presidency. Donald Trump increasingly portrays the 45th as plagued by the biggest “witch hunt” in American history.

Trump had been uncharacteristically silent on Twitter since the New York Times reported Tuesday evening that then-FBI Director James Comey had crafted a memo detailing a Feb. 14 conversation during which the president allegedly asked him to drop a criminal probe of the national security adviser he had fired the day before, Michael Flynn.

At the White House and in Congress, a Slow Start on Nominations and Confirmations
A detailed look at how Trump compares to past presidents

President Donald Trump has submitted fewer nominations to the Senate than his predecessors had at this point in their presidencies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

White House Cites Rumor, Innuendo in Criticizing Sally Yates
Spicer talking points echo Trump, without corresponding evidence

Former Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. listens as former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testifies during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Monday. A day later, the White House called her a supporter of Hillary Clinton and a foe of President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated at 4:35 p.m. The White House on Tuesday tried to discredit former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, suggesting her testimony a day earlier about President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser is tainted because she was a Hillary Clinton supporter, although officials provided no evidence for such a claim. 

Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked again and again about Yates’ assertion to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that she warned White House officials that Trump’s since-fired first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was compromised by Russia. In several responses, Spicer painted Yates, also fired by Trump, as an enemy of the president who was made deputy attorney general by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

McConnell Gambit on Federal Judges Begins to Pay Off
Two appellate nominees were on campaign list that produced Gorsuch

Thanks to the way Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., processed judicial nominees in the last two years of President Barack Obama’s presidency, President Donald Trump has a large slate of nominees to name to the federal bench. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Donald Trump on Monday began the final stages of a Republican strategy to give federal courts a facelift that the party has been methodically carrying out for some time.

Trump nominated 10 judges to federal benches, the first group of nominees for the 119 federal district court and circuit court vacancies he must fill, a number more than twice those that President Barack Obama inherited. The large number of empty benches was by design, with Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., deliberately slow-walking Obama administration nominees for many of those posts in the last two years of Barack Obama’s presidency.

GOP Members Pull Back Curtain, Describe ‘Hands-On’ President
Trump gave McCarthy, a former whip, call sheet as health care vote neared

President Donald Trump congratulates House Republicans after they passed legislation aimed at repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law, during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House on Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

In the end, the political novice-turned-president out-whipped a longtime vote wrangler.

House Republicans, on their second try this year, found just enough votes to pass a measure to partially repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law. As they looked for votes, senior members say President Donald Trump got his hand dirty — even giving a little tactical advice hours before the dramatic vote to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the chamber’s GOP whip from 2011 to 2014.