Afghanistan

Trump taps State Department’s top hostage negotiator to replace Bolton as national security adviser
Robert C. O’Brien served under Bolton when he was U.N. ambassador

Robert C. O’Brien was sent by President Donald Trump to Sweden in August to try to negotiate the release of rapper A$AP Rocky, who had been arrested on assault charges. (Michael Campanella/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he has selected Robert C. O’Brien to replace John Bolton as national security adviser.

“I have worked long & hard with Robert. He will do a great job!” Trump tweeted from California, where he is holding fundraising events.

Esper brings China focus as Defense secretary
Plan to seek savings in Pentagon operations could face roadblocks

In search of savings, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper is looking at spending by organization that provide back-office services to the Pentagon. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Like every new Defense secretary, Mark T. Esper says he wants to make the Pentagon more efficient. He will get some results, but not many and not quickly, experts say.

Esper, now a few months into the job, wants to save money to spend it on preparing for war against China, and to a lesser extent Russia.

Wrote the bill, read the bill: Lawmakers dominate Democratic debate
All but three of the candidates on Thursday's debate stage have served in Congress

Democratic presidential hopefuls Former Vice President Joe Biden, center, speaks as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren listen during the third Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas on Thursday. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Although the 10 Democratic presidential candidates in Thursday night’s debate talked about the importance of unity, they spent plenty of time trying to one-up each other with their own congressional records.

The debate stage was stacked with current or former members of Congress: only businessman Andrew Yang, former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg of Indiana have never served in Congress.

Senate spending bill would slash foreign military aid
Questions raised about how Pentagon is handling funds to train and equip Afghan and Iraqi forces fighting insurgencies

The Pentagon was unable to tell the Senate Appropriations Committee how many weapons purchased under one program had been ordered, received, or were in transit or lost. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee is proposing to cut more than $2 billion from U.S. military overseas aid programs largely due to mismanagement, according to documents obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Combined with cuts to previously appropriated funds, the potential reductions would affect programs to train and equip Afghan and Iraqi forces fighting insurgencies and another account to reimburse Pakistan for the same sort of efforts.

Capitol Ink | Stuck

Analysis: Bolton departure says much about Trump
The men reportedly had personality clashes, and differed on use of military force

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media as National Security Adviser John Bolton listens during a meeting on Aug. 20. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s announced firing of National Security Adviser John Bolton says more about Trump than about Bolton.

Tuesday’s move — Trump said on Twitter he had fired Bolton, but Bolton said he resigned — casts in bold relief several attributes of the president’s foreign policy and the president himself.

Trump fires National Security Adviser John Bolton
‘I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,’ Trump tweets

National Security Advisor John Bolton, center, and U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher, right, attend an international ceremony to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II in Warsaw, Poland, on Sept. 1. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced in a tweet that he has fired National Security Adviser John Bolton, saying he disagreed with many policy stances from his hawkish aide.

Bolton disputed the president’s account of his leaving the White House, tweeting moments after Trump’s announcement that he had offered to resign Monday, but Trump put him off until Tuesday.

Trump says he’s preparing report on his personal finances
House Judiciary mentions president’s finances in announcing move toward impeachment articles

President Donald Trump greets Blake Marnell of San Diego, during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20. He spoke to reporters Monday as he left the White House for another rally, this one in North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump said Monday he soon will release a report detailing his personal finances and declared secret talks he launched with Taliban leaders are “dead.”

“As far as I’m concerned they’re dead,” he said on the White House’s South Lawn as he departed for a campaign rally in 2020 battleground North Carolina. “They thought they had to kill people to put themselves a little bit better negotiating position. And when they did, they killed 12 people. One happened to be a great American soldier. … You can’t do that with me.”

Trump pressures House GOP leaders to get rid of committee chair term limits
President attacks primary foe Mark Sanford by bringing up affair with Argentine woman

Former South Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Sanford outside the Capitol. He is running for the GOP presidential nomination, drawing an early rebuke from President Trump. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Monday welcomed Congress back to Washington by pressuring House Republican leaders to make a major rule change and by trying to humiliate one of their former colleagues challenging him in 2020.

Trump started the workweek on Twitter after a number of memorable weekend tweets. He drew some GOP backlash after revealing a canceled — and highly controversial — Afghanistan peace summit at Camp David that would have put Taliban leaders within miles of the Pentagon into which their al-Qaeda allies crashed a passenger airliner 18 years ago. Some of his tweets lashed out at a singer John Legend and his TV personality wife Chrissy Teigen, while others touted books by political allies.

Amid foreign policy chaos, remembering what’s important
Maybe you don’t have a loved one deployed to a hot spot. But you should still be paying attention

Army Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez. (Courtesy U.S. Army)

OPINION — Master Sgt. Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez. Those names might not be that familiar to most. But their families, friends and fellow soldiers won’t forget them. The two Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan last week, U.S. officials said, which brings the total killed this year to 14, one more than all of last year.

This is the news that disappears quickly from the headlines, as politicians and pundits try to make sense of just what happened at the G-7 meeting in France, for instance, and the latest chaos at the top. When the Amazon is burning, and the president of the United States skips the climate change meeting, as his buddy Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro takes time to insult the wife of the host country’s leader, it’s more distracting than usual.