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Tax Overhaul Challenges Unified Republican Government
Contentious House provisions spark interest in bipartisan Senate plan

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had planned to pass a tax overhaul by August, a timeline that has slipped amid intraparty divisions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

BY LINDSEY MCPHERSON AND JOE WILLIAMS

Republican leaders are applying a lesson learned from health care to the tax overhaul debate: build consensus before releasing a bill.

Congressional Day Care Wait List Up to ‘Several’ Years
266 children waiting for the call

Staffers pay anywhere from around $1,000 to $1,400 a month for child care on the Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By ALEX GANGITANO and KATHERINE TULLY-MCMANUS

If you’re a House staffer and thinking about having a baby in three years, you probably should get on the congressional day care wait list now.

ISIS Strategy Gets an Update
National security officials outline Trump administration changes

Defense Secretary James Mattis and other officials outlined new tactics in the fight against ISIS. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senior national security officials Friday outlined what they claim is a new approach to addressing the Islamic State, the same day President Donald Trump left for an extended overseas trip with the first leg of the journey touching down in the Middle East, in Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Trump has authorized a change in tactics in the fight against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. The tactical shift moves to a campaign aimed at surrounding and then seizing ISIS’ urban strongholds in order to prevent the escape of fighters.

Trump’s Cyber Executive Order is More Study than Action
‘Sounds good, but where is the budget?’

(Kiran Foster/Flickr CC BY 2.0)

President Donald Trump’s executive order on cybersecurity this month tracks the recommendations of a presidential commission that late last year urged federal agency heads to identify and fix weaknesses in the government’s information technology systems. 

But cybersecurity experts say it’s less the action many are looking for and more of an indication that the government is still studying the problem.

Lawmakers Greet Mueller Appointment With Relief
Rank and file smile, although GOP leaders remain reticent

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel by the Justice Department on Wednesday to investigate alleged Russian interference in last year’s election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By JOE WILLIAMS, LINDSEY McPHERSON and REMA RAHMAN

Even as House and Senate Republicans turned up the heat on the Trump White House for answers about the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey, Democrats got a big win when the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including any connections to the Trump presidential campaign.

Controversial Sheriff Says He’s Taking Homeland Security Post
‘It’s going to be a huge learning curve for me’

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke appears on stage of the Quicken Loans Arena after speaking on first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18, 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who has been a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, said Wednesday he’s taking a job at the Homeland Security Department.

Clarke, whose name has been previously floated for administration jobs, told WISN-AM that he’s taking a job at DHS that involves liaising with state and local law enforcement agencies. The post does not require Senate confirmation.

Spy Work With Allies Could Chill After Trump Intel Spill
‘If this becomes habit with Trump or routine, then we’ve got a big problem with intelligence partners’

From left, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, appear during a Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing in Hart Building titled "World Wide Threats" on May 11, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s decision to share with Russian officials highly classified information provided to the United States by an ally could chill cooperation with partner intelligence services, particularly if it becomes a routine occurrence.

The Washington Post reported Monday that the president divulged sensitive data about an alleged Islamic State plot to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador during a meeting in the Oval Office last week. The material was given to the United States by Israel, according to The New York Times.

Trump Appears to Confirm Report He Gave Russians Classified Info
After partial denials from aides, president claims ‘absolute right’ to share data

President Donald Trump concludes his remarks at the 36th annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service at the Capitol on Monday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump appeared to confirm a report that he discussed highly classified information with senior Russian officials last week, contradicting some of his top aides while claiming an “absolute right” to do so.

Around 7 p.m. Monday, the president dispatched National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster to partially deny a Washington Post report that he revealed highly classified information about Islamic State plot involving laptop computers and passenger airliners gleaned by a U.S. ally to senior Russian officials. McMaster told reporters the article “as it came out tonight, is false.” He said no intelligence sources or methods were disclosed — something not alleged in the Post article.

A Senator Out of His Shell, and Under Trump’s Skin
Connecticut’s Blumenthal at the center of opposition to president

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal makes his way through the Senate subway in the Capitol after a meeting of Senate Democrats on May 10. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Of the 157 tweets President Donald Trump has sent in the last month alone, just six have singled out individuals for ridicule. And half of those have been directed at Richard Blumenthal.

The senior senator from Connecticut, who’s made reticence and prudence the guideposts of his first four decades in political life, is projecting a very different sort of persona these days. While presenting himself in public as quietly as ever, he’s become one of president’s most incisive Democratic antagonists on an array of topics.

Spy Agencies Gear Up for Fight Over Surveillance Authority
Battle could echo debate over 2015 Patriot Act renewal

From left, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo, appear during a Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing in Hart Building titled "World Wide Threats" on May 11. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act will pit civil liberties advocates who oppose the warrantless eavesdropping authority it provides, against law enforcement agencies that say it’s crucial to their efforts to combat terrorism.

The provision allows law enforcement to snoop on the communications of foreigners believed to be overseas, although American officials acknowledge that the communications of Americans are sometimes swept up as well — something known as “incidental collection.”