Chris Coons

Republican Senators Mostly Silent After Trump’s North Korea Threat
President would hit regime, military targets - not civilians, White House says

Republican Sens. Bob Corker (center), Marco Rubio (seated right) and Jim Risch (standing right) all declined to comment on GOP President Donald Trump's threat to "totally destroy" North Korea if it attacks the United States. Also pictured are GOP Sens. Cory Gardner (standing left) and Ron Johnson (seated left). (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker hurried into an elevator. Sen. Marco Rubio quickly ducked into the Capitol Visitor Center television studio. And Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain shut down reporters’ repetitive questions.

No Republican senator could be found Tuesday who was willing to question President Donald Trump’s threat before the United Nations General Assembly to “totally destroy” North Korea unless it gives up its nuclear arms and long-range missile programs, which he views as a direct threat to the sovereignty and security of the United States and its allies.

Word on the Hill: POW/MIA Recognition Day
Bottomless rosé wines, and the future of health care

Arizona Sen. John McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five and a half years. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which honors missing service members and their families.

Currently in Congress, there are two lawmakers who endured time as prisoners of war during the Vietnam War: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas.

Word on the Hill: Highest Congressional Honor for Dole
Historical society lectures, cancer advocates, and former member updates

Legislation to give former Sen. Bob Dole the Congressional Gold Medal is headed for the president’s desk. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amid all the action in Congress this week, you might have missed a vote honoring former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan.

The House approved on Tuesday a bill, introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., to present Dole with the Congressional Gold Medal. It had already passed in the Senate, where it was introduced by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. The measure now moves to President Donald Trump’s desk.

Mattis Warns U.S. Could Bring ‘Total Annihilation’ to North Korea
President won’t rule out preemptive strike after nuclear test

President Donald Trump, shown here while signing a proclamation to declare Sunday as a National Day of Prayer for victims of  Hurricane Harvey, won’t rule out attacking North Korea after its regime conducted another nuclear test. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

 

 

Word on the Hill: Can’t Get Enough Hamilton
West Africa CODEL, and Newseum’s future

Alexander Hamilton. Reproduction of painting by John Trumbull. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Obsessing over Alexander Hamilton isn’t just for historians anymore, thanks to the hit Broadway show, “Hamilton,” and now the Library of Congress.

For the first time ever, the papers of Alexander Hamilton are online in their original format. The library holds the largest collection of his papers in the world, which includes 12,000 items dating from 1777 until he died in 1804.

Senators Seek to Protect Mueller From Trump
Work will take place to reconcile two bills over recess

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has broad support among senators. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What’s the best way to keep President Donald Trump from firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III? Senators and their staffs on both sides of the aisle will be trying to figure that out over the next few weeks.

Sen. Chris Coons hopes lawmakers will come together quickly to craft a bill to provide Mueller with some insulation from Trump. The Delaware Democrat is the lead co-sponsor on a bill introduced by North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis that would create a right of action for a special counsel to seek legal recourse in the event of a firing.

Some Notable Confirmations, Honors as Senate Wraps Up for Recess
Chamber approves Kay Bailey Hutchison, Mark Green, honors Bob Dole

The Senate on Thursday confirmed former Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to be U.S. ambassador to NATO. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate wrapped up its summer session Thursday after confirming a large bloc of executive nominees, including a former senator and former House member. It also approved awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to former Sen. Bob Dole, the 94-year-old Kansas Republican whose long service included stints at majority and minority leader and who has continued to advocate causes ranging from the rights of the disabled to veterans issues. 

Among the 69 nominees confirmed in multiple en bloc packages, by voice vote and by unanimous consent, was a former member of the club, Texas GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, President Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. ambassador to NATO. Her selection comes at a time when relations with NATO have frayed in light of Trump’s criticism of fellow NATO signatories and his icy relationship with top NATO leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

Trump Considering Vetoing Bipartisan Sanctions Bill, Scaramucci Says
Spokesman says president might negotiate ‘a tougher deal’ against Moscow

Incoming White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci said Thursday that President Donald Trump might veto a Russia-Iran-North Korea sanctions bill that got 419 votes in the House. (Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump might veto a House-passed measure that would slap new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea so he can “negotiate” tougher penalties against Moscow, says incoming White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci.

In an unscheduled and combative phone call to CNN’s “New Day” morning show, which Scaramucci said came after a 15-minute talk with Trump, the former Wall Street financier made clear the president has not ruled out rejecting a bill that got 419 Republican and Democratic votes, with only 19 members in the 435-seat body voting against it.

Coons: Senate Can Reassert Foreign Policy Clout
Chance to ‘make the Senate great again’

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., suggests that the Trump Administration’s conflicting statements provide the Senate with an opportunity to reassert its clout on foreign policy matters.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Trump administration’s often conflicting statements regarding foreign affairs have provided the Senate an opportunity to reassert its clout in directing U.S. foreign policy, Sen. Chris Coons suggests. 

In a public sit-down conversation with former Sec. of State Madeleine Albright on U.S. global leadership this week, the Delaware Democrat said that “one unexpected outcome of the Trump administration may be to make the Senate great again” by forcing the chamber to draft bipartisan legislation to fill the gaps the Trump administration leaves.

Senators Look for Path on New War Authorization
Current authorization dates to 9/11 attacks

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said he would only pursue a new war authorization if it had bipartisan consensus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators on Tuesday gamely struggled to see if there was a way to set aside longstanding partisan differences over a new authorization for use of military force amid expanding military campaigns in Syria and Iraq, and under a new president who has delegated significant tactical authority to his commanders.

The Trump administration is waging its anti-ISIS campaign under the authority of the 2001 AUMF, which Congress passed shortly after the September 11 attacks. Sixteen years later, experts on both sides of the aisle increasingly agree the authorization (PL 107-40) has been stretched beyond almost all legal recognition to justify the occasional air strike on Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria and even far-flung groups like Al-Shabab in East Africa.