Foreign Policy

‘Iron Stache’ Wants to Ask a Question at Ryan’s Town Hall
Paul Ryan challenger Randy Bryce says it isn't really a town hall because questions are being screened

Wisconsin ironworker Randy Bryce said he submitted an application and questions for CNN’s town hall with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who Bryce is running against. (Randy Bryce for Congress via YouTube)

Randy Bryce, the ironworker known as “Iron Stache” who is challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan in Wisconsin’s 1st District, is trying to get in on Ryan’s town hall meeting next week.

Bryce said Monday he submitted questions for the CNN-hosted town hall that Ryan will hold on August 21 in Racine, Wisconsin. He took the opportunity to criticize the event, as well, saying that because CNN would be deciding who would attend and whose questions would be asked, it was “Definitely by definition NOT a public town hall.”

Russia Portfolio Comes in Handy for Senate Staffer
Shaheen aide Naz Durakoglu comes via Atlantic Council, State Dept., House

Naz Durakoglu is a senior foreign policy adviser to New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. (Screenshot, Middle East Institute)

Naz Durakoglu started her new job working for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in early June, shortly after the New Hampshire Democrat had pushed to add Russia sanctions to an Iran sanctions bill as it moved through the Foreign Relations Committee.

But after Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee said he would move ahead with a bipartisan effort to tighten sanctions against Moscow, Shaheen withdrew her amendments. The timing, though, put Durakoglu, as a senior foreign policy adviser to Shaheen, in the middle of discussions about how to respond to Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.

Podcast: Why You Shouldn’t Be Alarmed Over North Korea...Yet
The Week Ahead, Episode 65

President Donald Trump speaks during a security briefing on Thursday at his Bedminster National Golf Club in New Jersey. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump’s fiery rhetoric over North Korea’s nuclear program should not be taken seriously just yet, says CQ Roll Call’s foreign policy reporter Rachel Oswald, adding that Congress may take further action against Pyongyang in September.

Show Notes:

Opinion: How Trump Could Plug the Leaks
Instilling confidence might help

President Donald Trump is aggressively aligning himself with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a fight with Congress,  Jonathan Allen writes. (Wikimedia Commons)

So far, this White House has leaked like a frigate blown open from the inside and torpedoed from the outside at the same time. Some weeks, the flood of brackish water spilling onto news pages and cable television channels completely obscures the ship of state.

While there are different types of leaks — transcripts of the president’s calls with foreign leaders, information about meetings between President Trump’s proxies and Russian officials during the campaign, and self-serving rifle shots designed to empower one White House official over another — they all have the effect of further impeding Trump’s agenda and making his administration look almost as chaotic as it is.

Trump Makes Russia Sanctions Law, Then Savages Congress
President takes swipe at Senate Republicans after signing bipartisan bill

Despite his calls for warmer relations with the Kremlin, President Trump on Wednesday signed a bill slapping new sanctions on Russia. It also puts new penalties on North Korea and Iran. (Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump signed bipartisan legislation slapping new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea — then harshly criticized the legislation and the 517 lawmakers who voted for it.

Trump’s words reveal anew his growing irritation at Republican lawmakers’ inability to pass legislation he prefers and Democrats’ unwillingness to help. A statement issued by the White House after he signed the sanctions bill includes this line: “Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking.”

Scaramucci Predicts Priebus Ouster in Vulgar Call to Reporter
‘I sometimes use colorful language’

Incoming White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci verbally attacked Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon in a conversation with a New Yorker reporter — or as Scaramucci put it used colorful language. (Wikimedia Commons)

Incoming White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci told a New Yorker reporter Reince Priebus is a “paranoid schizophrenic” and said Donald Trump’s chief of staff would be asked to step down “very shortly.”

Scaramucci also blasted former Breitbart executive and White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon to New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza, accusing him of trying to build his personal brand “off the f------ strength of the president.” The former Wall Street financier also threatened to completely clean out the White House communications shop over leaks to the press.

Scaramucci Vs. Priebus: Trump’s West Wing War Goes Public
‘We have a very, very good idea of who the leakers are,’ warns ‘The Mooch’

White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci took his battle with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus public via a tweet and a cable news interview. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s incoming communications director and “friend” Anthony Scaramucci took his war with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus public Thursday, revealing a West Wing in chaos over leaks to the media.

Scaramucci, the Wall Street investment banker hired by Trump less than a week ago to enhance his communications shop, fired a warning shot at Priebus in a tweet posted late Wednesday night.

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.

The Investigations Trump Can’t Stop
Presidential pardons offer no protection from state prosecutions

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has spearheaded several investigations into the financial interests of Donald Trump and people close to him. (Courtesy Schneiderman’s office)

President Donald Trump might be able to pardon everyone he wants — possibly even himself. But that would not end his legal troubles.

Trump already fired FBI Director James B. Comey amid an investigation into allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russia. He has attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions, raising questions about whether he intends to try to remove Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel appointed by the Justice Department to head the Russia probe.

Russia Sanctions Bill Still Not a Done Deal
Corker says Senate likely to remove North Korea provisions in House-passed version

Sen. Bob Corker anticipates the Senate will remove North Korea language from a House-passed sanctions bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 11:38 a.m. | The question of when Congress will strengthen sanctions against Russia remains unclear.

The House overwhelmingly passed a package Tuesday that includes new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, sending the measure to the Senate ahead of the August recess. Only three members of the House voted against the combined bill.