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Legislative Agenda Takes Back Seat to Trump’s ‘Beautiful Apartment’
Former Jeb Bush aide: ‘One step forward, one step back’

President Donald Trump opted against selling his legislative agenda in an address to supporters in Phoenix on Tuesday. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump roared, blamed, boasted, omitted and obfuscated Tuesday night at a campaign rally in Phoenix, but there was one thing he decided against doing: selling his stalled legislative agenda.

A night after delivering a measured and somewhat-detailed prime-time address that laid out his new counterterrorism-focused Afghanistan strategy, Trump’s criticism of the news media, his increasingly visible insecurities and his fixation on his political base took over just minutes into his remarks in the Valley of the Sun.

Analysis: Why Won't Trump Discuss Troop Numbers?

President Donald Trump has delegated much of the troop deployment details on Afghanistan to Defense Secretary James Mattis and the Pentagon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a speech to the nation on Aug. 21, President Donald Trump issued a clarion call on Afghanistan, effectively asking Americans to indefinitely extend their longest war at untold additional cost in lives and money. But he declined to say how many of America’s sons and daughters he plans to deploy there.

Trump did not quantify the military deployment even though it has been widely reported that he has already authorized the Pentagon to augment its nearly 8,500 strong force in Afghanistan with almost 4,000 additional service members. The first of the extra troops could arrive within days or weeks, and those numbers could grow depending on conditions in Afghanistan, officials have said.

Members of Trump’s Infrastructure Panel Resign in Protest
Administration not responsive to sound advice, letter says

The departing panelists cited President Donald Trump’s recent comments on the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More than a quarter of a blue-ribbon panel of experts that advises President Donald Trump on infrastructure security submitted a joint resignation letter to him Monday because, they wrote, his actions jeopardize U.S. security and “undermine” America’s “moral infrastructure.”

Seven members of the 27-person National Infrastructure Advisory Council, mostly Democrats, are stepping down, said Cristin Dorgelo, one of the resigning members, in an email to CQ Roll Call. Dorgelo, a senior counselor at Mission Partners LLC, was formerly chief of staff for President Barack Obama’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Senate Health Panel Will Hear From Governors, Insurance Leaders

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and ranking member Patty Murray, D-Wash., will hear from a range of policy figures in constructing a bill to stabilize the health insurance markets. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate’s key health care panel announced plans to hear from governors and state insurance commissioners early next month about ways to rein in rising prices for medical insurance purchased directly by consumers.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday set a hearing Sept. 6 with state insurance commissioners and another on Sept. 7 with governors. The committee, which has not yet said who will appear at the hearings, is also expected to announce additional sessions.

Puerto Rico Pressing On in Its Quest for Statehood
Island’s governor swore in its would-be congressional delegation last week

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló arrives for a news conference about the June 11 vote in favor of U.S. statehood at the National Press Club in Washington on June 15. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló recently swore in his dream team for political representation — two senators and five representatives to match the commonwealth’s population.

They are expected to travel to Washington soon and ask lawmakers to be seated as the official congressional delegation for Puerto Rico. 

On Afghanistan, Trump Bets On Generals He Once Criticized
President says ‘my original instinct was to pull out’

U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson (right) shakes hands with troops ahead of a handover ceremony at Leatherneck Camp in Lashkar Gah in the Afghan province of Helmand on April 29, 2017. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

Candidate Donald Trump often said he knew more when it came to the country’s foes than America’s top military leaders. But by siding with retired and current four-star generals on Afghanistan, Trump placed a big bet on a group he once believed had been “reduced to rubble.”

Trump announced Monday night at Joint Base Fort Myer Hamilton Hall in Arlington, Va., he will keep thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan despite his long-held disdain for the operation there. The president’s decision came after a months-long review by his national security team, and reports indicate he will raise the American military presence there to around 12,000.

Beefing Up Afghan Troop Level Would Be Major Shift for Trump
In 2012, he called conflict ‘complete waste,’ adding, ‘Time to come home!’

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Melissa Fusco gives candy to an Afghan boy on the streets in Logar Province in Afghanistan in 2009. President Donald Trump will address the nation Monday night on his plan for U.S. military operations there. (Courtesy Spc. Richard Jones/Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump is expected to announce Monday night that he is sending thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, breaking with his yearslong disdain for the nearly 16-year-old conflict there.

As a candidate, Trump rarely talked about the Afghanistan War and stability operation other than to disparage it. He used it as an example of why his nationalistic approach would be better than any of his Republican or Democratic foes, arguing the George W. Bush and Obama administrations had wasted billions of dollars there for little strategic gain.

Trump to Address Afghanistan Strategy Monday Night
Reports: President leaning toward keeping 4,000 U.S. troops there

President Donald Trump will make an announcement on Afghanistan on Monday night. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump will address U.S. military forces Monday evening about his new plan for the country’s nearly 16-year-old war in Afghanistan.

As a candidate and president, Trump often has maligned the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations for spending trillions too much in military operations overseas since the 9/11 attacks.

GOP Leadership Silent on Bannon’s Departure
Many House and Senate Republicans ignore White House chaos

House Speaker Paul Ryan, left, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, right, often avoid addressing controversy surrounding the presidency of Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Almost two hours after news broke Friday that President Donald Trump decided to part ways with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy  — at least at that moment — had another topic on his mind.

He retweeted a message that the chief executive sent out Friday morning, before Bannon’s ouster was reported, about elevating the country’s Cyber Command. McCarthy called it “the right move.”

Trump Says ‘Obstructionist Democrats’ Undermining National Security
President sends mixed messages before leaving for Camp David security summit

President Donald Trump, here aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford in March, lashed out at Democrats over what he says is their intent to "delay" his national security policies. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Donald Trump began the last workday of yet another chaotic week of his presidency by accusing Democrats of hindering the country’s security — while also sending some mixed signals.

About 90 minutes before his scheduled departure for a Camp David summit with his national security team on North Korea and related issues, the president took to Twitter with contradictory messages about the state of American security.