defense

Syria, Trump and Congress’ Ever-Eroding War Powers
Lawmakers lukewarm to a force-authorization measure for U.S. missile strike

President Donald Trump and his national security team receive a briefing on April 6 about an air strike he ordered on a Syrian air base. (White House photo)

President Donald Trump has gone to great lengths to break from the policies and approaches of his predecessor. Yet, when it came to justifying a round of U.S. military missile strikes in Syria, the new commander in chief dusted off a legal rationale crafted by Barack Obama’s administration.

Like the 44th president, Trump contended that the Constitution vests in the office of the presidency enough war powers to carry out some isolated military operations without lawmakers’ approval.

Analysis: Trump’s Bold Talk Replaced by ‘See What Happens’ Stoicism
From health care to North Korea to Russia, president now strikes a wait-and-see tone

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a news conference in the East Room of the White House April 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is taking a wait-and-see approach more and more often, following a 2016 campaign that espoused bold promises and exuded confidence.

Take his comments Thursday afternoon about an effort among White House officials and congressional Republicans to try again at repealing and replacing former President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law.

Government Funding or Health Bill? ‘I Want to Get Both,’ Trump Says
President’s whim will test often-fractious House GOP caucus

U.S. President Donald Trump welcome’s Italy Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni after he arrived at the West Wing of the White House, on April 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump turned up the heat on congressional Republicans Thursday, saying he wants them to send him two high-stakes bills next week: one to keep the government open and another to overhaul the health care system.

“I want to get both,” Trump said during a joint press conference with his Italian counterpart.

Opinion: Weighing the Costs of War and Diplomacy
Military action is not always the courageous choice

Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly could do more listening and learning, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

John F. Kelly is getting a lot of criticism these days, and that’s understandable. As leader of the Department of Homeland Security, the retired Marine general now has to be more sensitive to the politics of any given situation.

So when he publicly said critics of his agency’s policies — whether they come from Congress, civil rights groups or the public — should “shut up,” he came off as what he once was, a military man giving orders. When the administration, Kelly’s department in particular, is challenged on its travel bans and inconsistent immigration enforcement, Kelly could do more listening and learning.

Trump Tries to Rally Republican Voters in Georgia House Race
President credits China for turning back coal, oil shipments from North Korea

President Donald Trump criticized Democratic House candidate Jon Ossoff on Tuesday morning, urging GOP voters to get to the polls in Georgia's 6th District special election in big numbers. He painted Ossoff as a tax-hiker and "weak" on crime. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is urging Republican voters in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District to hit the polls in big numbers Tuesday, warning Democrat Jon Ossoff would “flood our country with illegal immigrants.”

And in an interview that aired early Tuesday morning, Trump flashed his dealmaker in chief approach to diplomacy when he credited China’s attempts to convince North Korea to drop its missile and nuclear arms programs.

To Save Millions, Military Grounds Planes Worth Billions
Economics ‘upside down’, expert says

The Air Force has grounded part of its fleet of C-5 Galaxy transport planes. (Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

The Air Force has grounded a big portion of its newly refurbished, multibillion-dollar fleet of C-5 Galaxy transport planes, just to avoid spending the relatively small amount of money it costs to fly them. 

In order to save $60 million in annual operating costs, the Air Force has since fiscal 2015 placed eight of its top-of-the-line C-5s in “backup aircraft inventory” status, even though they are needed to ferry troops and gear around the world, said Gen. Carlton Everhart, the four-star chief of Air Mobility Command.

After Saber Rattling, Trump More Measured on North Korea, Russia
Spicer contends president not changing stances, but 'entities' moving toward him

President Donald Trump, seen here with daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, appeared eager to reassure the world Thursday morning after talking tough on North Korea and Russia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Updated at 1:56 p.m. After a week of tough talk about North Korea and Russia, President Donald Trump on Thursday morning changed course on both issues. The shift followed an eyebrow-raising 48 hours during which the president also appeared to reverse several domestic policy stances.

Just 18 hours after declaring he is prepared to “go it alone” to deal with North Korea’s nuclear weapons and long-range missile programs, Trump struck a more measured tone in a morning tweet Thursday. And he indicated a growing confidence that Chinese President Xi Jinping will assist in addressing the North Korea challenge.

Trump: US-Russia Relations May Be at an ‘All-Time Low’
President presses NATO chief on members contributing more to alliance’s coffers

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a news conference in the East Room of the White House April 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said U.S. relations with Russia could have recently hit an “all-time low” as the two world powers clash over a sarin gas attack in Syria.

The Trump administration, citing U.S. intelligence data, contends the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out the chemical strike, which killed dozens and left children and babies dead. It was the latter images that moved Trump to order the missile strike, he said last week.

Foreign Influence in the U.S. Cloaked in Unnecessary Obscurity, Watchdog Groups Say
Outdated technology creates roadblocks to basic research on Americans lobbying for foreign governments

Recent revelations about former national security adviser Michael Flynn, center, have raised questions about loopholes in a law that requires U.S. citizens who lobby for foreign governments to register with the Department of Justice. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Want to know how much money a foreign government has spent to lobby members of Congress? How many times a lawmaker met with a lobbyist representing a foreign government? What if that person made a political donation on the same day?

Good luck finding the answers from the federal office charged with tracking American citizens who get paid to represent foreign interests in the U.S.

Trump: ‘North Korea is Looking for Trouble’
President vows to ‘solve’ problem with or without China

Chinese President Xi and President Trump, along with their wives, pose last Friday during their 24-hour summit in Florida. (Wikimedia Commons)

Five days after firing five dozen Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base, President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning threatened to “solve” the North Korea “problem” alone if China refuses to do more.

The president used two Twitter posts to send messages to Pyongyang and its lone remaining ally, China, dangling a trade deal more beneficial for Beijing in return for its help curbing North Korea’s nuclear arms and long-range missile programs.