INTL

Barr makes no mention of Mueller ahead of Tuesday testimony
Attorney general filed a statement with House Appropriations focused on Justice Department priorities

William Barr, nominee for attorney general, prepares for a break during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Hart Building on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If House lawmakers want to hear more from Attorney General William Barr about the status of the special counsel report, it looks like they will have to bring it up themselves.

Barr filed a written statement Monday with the House Appropriations Committee ahead of his testimony Tuesday that focuses on the Justice Department’s priorities for its $29.2 billion request for fiscal 2020 — and leaves out any mention of the Russia investigation.

Schiff under siege: Republicans cite Intelligence Committee’s ‘vendetta’ against Trump
California Democrat shrugs off GOP criticism: ‘I would expect nothing less’

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., holds a media availability on the Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation in 2017. Republicans have dinged Schiff for statements about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia now seen as hyperbolic at best. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans have made House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff their new bogeyman as they run a victory lap over Attorney General William Barr’s report on the special counsel investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Republicans have called for Schiff to resign as chairman for repeatedly declaring he had seen evidence of collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump, including a claim that “there is more than circumstantial evidence.”

Senators want ban on Chinese Huawei tech in energy infrastructure
Letter to Cabinet comes from key members of the Senate Intelligence Committee

Sen. John Cornyn is leading senators calling for a ban of Huawei products from U.S. energy infrastructure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan group of senators, led by members of the Intelligence Committee, want the Trump administration to prohibit electrical equipment made by Huawei from being used in the U.S. energy infrastructure.

The call for a ban on the components from the Chinese technology giant came in a letter dated Monday to Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, led by Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn.

Trump drags Schiff again in morning Twitter screed
The president suggested Schiff’s sweeping probe of all things Trump is merely a partisan hit job

President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress in the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, as Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., listen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Just three days after calling for cross-party unity in Washington, President Donald Trump on Friday again lashed out at House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, suggesting his sweeping probe of all things Trump is merely a partisan hit job.

The president used his Tuesday State of the Union address as a plea to Democrats to work with him and other Republicans to achieve legislative “greatness.” But just 16 hours later, he mockingly slammed the California Democrat after Schiff announced the panel would investigate Trump’s 2016 campaign, possible nefarious ties to Moscow and whether the former real estate mogul’s potential interest in financial gain has influenced his decisions as chief executive.

Groups call for House Intel to open initial meeting

There are calls for House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., to comply with House rules and open Wednesday’s committee meeting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Intelligence Committee is scheduled to hold its initial organizational meeting of the year on Wednesday, but outside groups are claiming the closed meeting violates House rules.

House Rules require that business meetings be open to the public and the press, but allows a committee to vote to close the open session for a few specific reasons, including discussion of national security or law enforcement information.

Spy chiefs say Chinese, Russian cyber strengths are top threats to U.S.

From left, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, DNI Director Dan Coats, DIA Director Robert Ashley, NSA Director Paul Nakasone, and National Geospatial-Intelligence Director Robert Cardillo testify during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on “Worldwide Threats” on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

China and Russia possess cyber technologies they will increasingly unleash on U.S. companies, the military, election systems and critical infrastructure, and that poses a significant threat to national security, Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence panel in an annual hearing called the Worldwide Threat Assessment.

“At present, China and Russia pose the greatest espionage and cyberattack threats,” but other countries are catching up, the director of National Intelligence told the committee Tuesday. 

FBI Details Intelligence Staffer Probe Ahead of Sentencing
Sentencing hearing for James Wolfe scheduled on Dec. 20

James Wolfe, a former Senate Intelligence Committee aide, leaves the FBI’s Washington Field Office after being booked on June 11. A sentencing hearing for Wolfe is scheduled for Dec. 20.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The FBI faced a dilemma and had to take “extraordinary” actions when it realized in 2017 that the former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee appeared compromised in his role safeguarding information and had a clandestine relationship with a national security journalist.

Had James Wolfe been an executive branch employee, the FBI would have notified intelligence agencies if a Top Secret clearance holder was compromised so they could protect national security, federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing Tuesday.

Senators Urge No Prison Time for Intelligence Committee Aide Who Lied to FBI
Prosecutors, on other hand, recommend two years in prison for James Wolfe

Senators urged leniency for former Senate Intelligence Committee James Wolfe, who lied to the FBI. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

While federal prosecutors on Tuesday recommended a two-year prison sentence for James Wolfe, a former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee who pleaded guilty in October to a charge he lied to the FBI about his contacts with journalists, his former bosses urged the judge to show mercy. 

A letter to the judge from current committee Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina, top Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia, and former chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California urged no prison time for Wolfe, who was director of security for nearly three decades.

Richard Burr: ‘If You Lie to Us, We’re Going to Go After You’
Senate Intelligence chairman alludes to Mueller plea agreement with Michael Cohen

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr, right, appeared with Vice Chairman Mark Warner on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr said that Thursday’s guilty plea by Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former attorney, should be seen as a clear warning.

“It’s a loud message to everybody that is interviewed by our committee, regardless of where that prosecution comes from: If you lie to us, we’re going to go after you,” Burr said Friday. “Our mandate is at the end of this to get as close to the clear truth as we possibly can, and we can’t do it on conjecture. We’ve got to do it on facts.”

Democrats Want More Security Clearances for House Intel Aides
There are too many top-secret documents and not enough staffers, they say

Adam Schiff, shown here at a 2017 news conference on the president’s ties to Russia, says the House Intelligence Committee has a “very small staff” for a very large job. More security clearances could help. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A long-stalled effort to hire more staffers with security clearances to help the House Intelligence Committee will get fresh momentum in the 116th Congress, as Democrats take leadership roles.

California Rep. Adam B. Schiff, who will likely be the next chairman, said he’s looking for ways to provide panel members’ personal staffs with top secret clearances so they can review classified information. Schiff said he will work with U.S. intelligence agencies to determine the best way to meet lawmakers’ needs.