Dan Coats

Senior WH Official: ‘Military Preparations’ Are Underway for N. Korea
U.S. soon will attempt to influence Kim via ‘economic dimension of national power’

A North Korean ballistic missile during a “Victory Day” parade in 2013. A senior Trump administration official on Wednesday alluded to “military preparations” underway to possibly confront the North. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

The Trump administration is preparing a range of options — including plans for military operations — to deal with North Korea and its nuclear arms and missile programs.

National security officials are crafting possible diplomatic, economic and military responses to deal with the Hermit Kingdom, a senior administration official told reporters Wednesday at the White House.

Congress Wants to Hear Trump’s Syria Policy — and Fast
Members say Trump needs to consult them before taking any more action

The top Democrats on Capitol Hill, Charles E. Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, both advocate a role for Congress in future actions in Syria by the Trump administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle say they are waiting to hear President Donald Trump’s plan for his next step in Syria.

Many lawmakers — including some of Trump’s most vocal critics — offered support in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. bombing of a Syrian airbase Thursday night. But they said Trump needs to consult Congress before he takes any more steps.

In Abrupt Reversal, Trump Fires Cruise Missiles at Syria
President: Strikes in ’vital national security interest’

President Donald Trump arrives back at the White House on Feb. 6. On Thursday night, he ordered missile strikes on a Syrian air base in response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons on civilians (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

By JOHN T. BENNETT and BRIDGET BOWMANCQ Roll Call

In an abrupt policy reversal, President Donald Trump on Thursday evening ordered missile strikes on a Syrian air base after that country’s embattled regime carried out a deadly sarin gas attack that killed dozens of civilians.

The Bipartisan Effort to Make Senate History
Lack of Senate retirements could be unprecedented

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein appears more likely to run for a fifth full term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For all of the moaning and groaning about Washington being dysfunctional, members of Congress aren’t exactly tripping over each other to get out of town.

So far, all of the Republican and Democratic senators up for re-election this cycle seem intent on seeking another term. And if that trend continues, it would be historic. 

Opinion: And Now for Something Easy, Like Tax Reform
Legislation will need Democratic votes to succeed

UNITED STATES — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wants to get tax reform passed and signed by August. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Health care reform did not go well for the White House last week. OK, it blew up. But Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is still bullish about getting tax reform passed and signed by August. 

“Health care and tax reform are two very different things,” he told Mike Allen of Axios last Friday, hours before the Obamacare vote was canceled amid GOP infighting. “Health care is a very complicated issue … in many ways, [tax reform] is a lot simpler. It really is.”

White House Rejects Intel Committee Wiretap Conclusions
Press secretary instead lashes out at press

Trump stands by his unfounded assertion that Obama ordered wiretaps of Trump Tower. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By REMA RAHMAN and JOHN T. BENNETT CQ Roll Call

The White House on Thursday blasted the House and Senate Intelligence committees that deduced there was no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claim that he had been wiretapped by the prior administration at Trump Tower during the election.

Senate Intel Leaders: No Wiretapping at Trump Tower
Lawmakers and House members find no evidence to back Trump’s claim

Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner, left, and Chairman Richard M. Burr wrote in a joint statement that they saw “no indications” that Trump Tower was bugged before or after the 2016 election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The top two lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee joined their House counterparts on Thursday to confirm that there is no evidence to back President Donald Trump’s claim that he was under surveillance by the prior administration.

Chairman Richard M. Burr, a North Carolina Republican, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said in a joint statement there were “no indications” to back up Trump’s assertion.

Former Senator Dan Coats Easily Confirmed as Intelligence Director
Retirement will have to wait

Former Sen. Dan Coats won confirmation Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Sen. Dan Coats can formally say goodbye to his brief retirement.

His former Senate colleagues confirmed the Hoosier, 85-12, to be President Donald Trump’s director of national intelligence Wednesday afternoon, in one of their last actions before a long St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Senators Ask White House: Where Are the Nominees?
Vice President assures GOP lawmakers names are coming

Rod Rosenstein, nominee for deputy attorney general, and Rachel L. Brand, nominee for associate attorney general, faced the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican senators are eager to continue pushing through President Donald Trump’s executive branch nominees, but they are increasingly concerned about the slow pace of nominations being sent to the Capitol for the people who will be tasked with much of the nitty-gritty work of government. 

“I continue to ask for additional names to come forward, and I’m assured that they will be soon,” Republican Policy Committee Chairman John Barrasso said Tuesday.

Cabinet-Level Nominees Play the Waiting Game
Politics, paperwork and holdings slowing things down

Four Cabinet-level nominees remain to be confirmed. Clockwise from top left, Dan Coats for director of national intelligence, Alexander Acosta for secretary of Labor, Robert Lighthizer for U.S. trade representative and Sonny Perdue for secretary of Agriculture. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call, Alan Diaz/AP, Chambersandpartners.com, Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Farm groups thought they’d have a new Agriculture secretary by now after a long wait to find out who would be the nominee. But they’re growing anxious again over the delayed confirmation of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. 

President Donald Trump has accused Democrats of keeping him from filling his Cabinet, but Perdue’s nomination appears to be on hold because the Senate Agriculture Committee has yet to receive his paperwork.