legal-affairs

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.

Rising Stars 2017: Advocates
On the front lines in a new era

Seven advocates made the CQ Roll Call’s list of Rising Stars of 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

All this week, CQ Roll Call has been looking at 17 Rising Stars of 2017 — people who will now wield power and influence in a Washington that has been turned upside down by the presidency of Donald Trump.

Some of the names are familiar, others have recently burst on the scene. They include members of Congress, congressional and administration staffers, and advocates.

D.C. Home Rule Advocates to Continue Fight After Chaffetz Retirement Announcement
Others on Oversight Committee may be targeted next

Golf balls with Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s face imprinted on them were a party favor at the Americans for Self-Rule PAC launch party this week. (Courtesy Lynette Craig)

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s announcement that he will retire from Congress at the end of 2018 has made some folks in Washington, D.C., very happy.

Advocates for District of Columbia sovereignty see Chaffetz, the chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, as one of their biggest tormentors. The Republican lawmaker especially riled local groups to action by attempting to exercise the committee’s authority to overturn D.C. laws under the Home Rule Act, long a sore spot for District residents.

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.

Trump’s Chance to Fill Lower Court Vacancies Rest on Bipartisanship
Grassley is eager to begin processing judicial nominations

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley is waiting for President Donald Trump to nominate more judges for lower court posts. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With Justice Neil Gorsuch safely ensconced on the Supreme Court, the Trump administration now needs to focus on more than a hundred open federal court seats. 

Of those, 48 vacancies are considered judicial emergencies. But according to statistics maintained by the administrative office of the federal courts, only one nominee has been put forward by the White House so far.

Trump Gladhands Senators as Gorsuch Joins Supreme Court
McConnell, Grassley, Gardner, Lee and Crapo get presidential shout-outs

Neil Gorsuch, newly sworn in as the ninth Supreme Court justice, speaks at a White House ceremony on Monday as President Donald Trump looks on. (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump celebrated a rare domestic achievement on Monday as he watched Neil Gorsuch become the ninth Supreme Court justice — and he used the occasion to give a shout-out to several senators. 

The 45th president has had a rough go so far, with the failure of the Republican-crafted health care measure he backed, no measurable progress on a package of tax cuts and code changes, federal courts blocking two travel ban executive orders, and other stumbles. But a bright and warm spring day in the White House Rose Garden afforded Trump a picturesque backdrop to take a victory lap.

Sens. Corker, Cardin: Trump Has No Long-Term Syria Plan
‘They took an appropriate reaction based on what they saw,’ Corker says

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, left, and ranking Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin want to know the White House’s Syria strategy on what comes next. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House has no long-term plans to deal with the situation in Syria beyond the air strike President Donald Trump ordered Thursday evening, according to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Just hours after Trump greenlighted the firing of 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack, senators from both parties told reporters that they support the strike but want to know the White House’s strategy on what comes next.

Tense Senate Confirms Gorsuch to Supreme Court
Colorado jurist will restore conservative tilt as Scalia replacement

Neil Gorsuch is the next associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 1:41 p.m. | The Senate confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court justice on Friday on a mostly party-line vote, 54-45. Democrats Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana joined all Republicans present in voting to confirm. Republican Johnny Isakson of Georgia did not vote.

Gorsuch was supported by the fewest number of senators since Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed in 1991 on a 52-48 vote. 

In Abrupt Reversal, Trump Fires Cruise Missiles at Syria
President: Strikes in ’vital national security interest’

President Donald Trump arrives back at the White House on Feb. 6. On Thursday night, he ordered missile strikes on a Syrian air base in response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons on civilians (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

By JOHN T. BENNETT and BRIDGET BOWMANCQ Roll Call

In an abrupt policy reversal, President Donald Trump on Thursday evening ordered missile strikes on a Syrian air base after that country’s embattled regime carried out a deadly sarin gas attack that killed dozens of civilians.

Trump Seems Increasingly Resigned to US Action in Syria
‘I guess something should happen,’ president says

King Abdullah II of Jordan listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference at the White House on Wednesday. (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Thursday seemed to signal he is resigned that he might have to order U.S. military action in Syria, two days after the embattled government there killed dozens in a sarin gas attack. Lawmakers, however, have yet to coalesce around a plan that addresses the situation.

The president finds the situation in Syria at the top of his agenda after Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces carried out the deadly strike that killed more than 80 people including children and infants. Trump said he feels a “responsibility” to respond, though he once urged his predecessor to avoid intervening in Syria. And any actions could further complicate his relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Assad’s lone remaining powerful ally.