Intelligence

Sen. Rick Scott asks FBI to brief senators on Russian voter hacking in Florida
The FBI confirmed to Scott that two counties had voter files accessed by Russia ahead of the presidential election in 2016, he said

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., speaks with reporters on Feb. 14, 2019. Scott said the FBI confirmed to him on Wednesday that two counties had voter files accessed by Russia ahead of the presidential election of Donald Trump in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:36 p.m. | Sen. Rick Scott has asked the FBI to provide a briefing to any interested senators on Russian intrusion into Florida voter files.

Scott, who was the governor of Florida, said the FBI confirmed to him on Wednesday that two counties had voter files accessed by Russia ahead of the presidential election in 2016.

These Democratic women don’t want to be ‘show ponies’
Political Theater: Episode 73

Democratic House freshmen banding together to help each other raise money to keep their seats in 2020 are, from left, Reps. Mikie Sherrill, Abigail Spanberger, Elissa Slotkin, and Chrissy Houlahan, along with Rep. Elaine Luria. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Five Democratic freshmen, all women with military or intelligence backgrounds, are banding together to help each other fundraise for their 2020 races. They all flipped Republican districts in 2018, and they know winning districts like theirs is the key to holding and expanding the House majority in 2020. 

After a few months in Congress, they’ve figured out who are the “workhorses” and who are the “show ponies,” in the words of Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin, and they’re tired of the latter getting all the attention. Along with Slotkin, Reps. Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey and Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania are fighting to hold the majority.

Trump downplays China trade ‘squabble,’ rattles sabre at Iran
POTUS: ‘We would send a hell of a lot more troops than’ 120,000 reportedly being mulled

President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he leaves the White House here on April 5. He was back on the South Lawn talking about Iran and China on Tuesday morning. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump called stalled trade talks with America’s biggest economic rival, China, just “a little squabble,” even as Congress and the markets are increasingly unnerved by it, and, touching on another foreign policy hot spot, suggested he would send more than 120,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East to confront Iran.

The remarks came after The New York Times reported the administration is considering sending troops to the Middle East. The president already has ordered a carrier strike group and bomber wing to the region. 

What’s that thing crawling over my hand at the spy museum?
Newly relaunched, $162 million International SpyMuseum in L’Enfant Plaza doesn’t ‘tell people what to think’

D.C.’s revamped spy museum opened last weekend. Above, the “Finding Bin Laden” exhibit.  (Courtesy International Spy Museum)

The woman encouraged the visitor to slip his hand into the mystery black box. “You should feel a tarantula or spider,” she explained.

He couldn’t feel it, so Jackie Eyl, who helped design the exhibit, plunged her hand in. “Ooh! It just touched me!” she exclaimed, somehow still surprised despite her familiarity with the contraption.

How Congress can break through Trump’s stonewalling
As Trump stands firm against subpoenas, Congress looks for speed in the courts

(Composite by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s “we’re-fighting-all-the-subpoenas” strategy threatens to stall congressional oversight with protracted legal fights, but House Democrats have options to try to avoid those delays and pry loose information.

Lawmakers need to push judges for quick action, legal experts say. They can also press forward with subpoenas that seek testimony from witnesses who aren’t in the government, putting them outside of Trump’s executive privilege reach. Forcing the Trump administration to go to court to try to stop their efforts can also work to their advantage if the courts allow the requests to stand while the legal process churns forward.

Washington goes slow on self-driving cars, and states don’t mind
State-level policymakers were among those who sank bills in Congress last year

An Uber self-driving car navigates the streets of San Francisco last year. California was one of the first states to enact rules of the road for vehicles using automation, and others have followed suit. Meanwhile, federal lawmakers have failed to act. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

SAN RAMON, Calif. — Electronic chimes sounded as the self-driving minibus halted its crawl through the parking lot of an upscale office park here. There was no obvious reason for the stop, so its operator made a note to report it, then used a touch screen to restart the shuttle’s test drive.

The bright red, 12-passenger vehicle, which maxes out at 12 mph and was designed by French firm EasyMile, is part of an effort to use autonomous technology to improve access to transit stations in the area. But first, as the unscheduled stop on a breezy April day showed, the shuttle needs extensive testing to make sure it’s safe for public roads.

Trump pledges to reject dirt from other countries on 2020 foes
POTUS has new warnings for China and Iran, including even more tariffs for Asian rival

President Trump (right) speaks as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán looks on in the Oval Office on Monday. (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Monday vowed to reject any dirt on his 2020 opponents that originates in a foreign country, just a week after his personal attorney canceled a trip to Ukraine allegedly to search for just that.

Trump also threatened to slap tariffs on even more Chinese-made goods as the two economic powerhouses barreled toward a full-scale trade war as markets around the globe dropped significantly. 

Confused by Congress’ bills? Maybe AI can help
House clerk is working on an ‘artificial intelligence engine’ that will compare legislation

The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, led by Reps. Derek Kilmer and Tom Graves, got an AI preview on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As lawmakers grapple with how to shape legislation dealing with artificial intelligence, the clerk of the House is developing an AI tool to automate the process of analyzing differences between bills, amendments and current laws.

That’s according to Robert F. Reeves, the deputy clerk of the House, who on Friday told the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress that his office is working on an “artificial intelligence engine” that may be ready as soon as next year.

Trump team struggles with Iran, global tests after months of Mueller probe battles
Former official: ‘Provocative actions against Iran’ seem to have imprint of John Bolton

National security adviser John Bolton has struck a hawkish tone on Iran and other global hotspots despite President Donald Trump’s “America first” philosophy. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

After months of mostly battling domestic political foes, the Trump White House is suddenly juggling a handful of potentially volatile situations from South America to the Middle East to East Asia.

President Donald Trump, his top White House aides and outside surrogates have largely spent the months since November’s midterm elections pre-butting, then rebutting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on Russian election meddling. But since its release last month, the commander in chief has been forced to deal with Venezuela’s political strife, a defiant North Korea, a chill in trade talks with China and a newly aggressive Iran.

Democratic female freshmen signal Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t represent them
Democrats with military, CIA backgrounds unite to fundraise for each other

Democratic House freshmen banding together to help each other raise money to keep their seats in 2020 are, from left, Reps. Mikie Sherrill, Abigail Spanberger, Elissa Slotkin, and Chrissy Houlahan, along with Rep. Elaine Luria. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Five freshman Democratic women in the House want the world to know that the newcomers receiving the most attention so far in the 116th Congress aren’t reflective of the women who ran and won in tough districts last fall.

At an event to tout their formation of a joint fundraising committee to tap each other’s donors (and hopefully bring in more), the five, all with military or intelligence backgrounds, never mentioned New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by name.