Iran

Ros-Lehtinen Not Seeking Re-election
District that went to Hillary Clinton by 20 points last year presents Democrats with prime pickup opportunity

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., announced she would not be running for re-election in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced Sunday that she will retire from Congress, giving Democrats a pickup opportunity.

Ros-Lehtinen, the first Cuban-American woman and Hispanic woman elected to Congress, told  the Miami Herald that there was no one thing that caused her decision.

Gardner Sees ‘Refreshing’ New Focus on North Korea
Senators will be briefed on North Korea threat at the White House Wednesday

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner has been a leading voice in the Republican caucus on North Korea since he entered the Senate in 2015 after serving two terms in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators will be bused to the White House on Wednesday for a briefing on North Korea, and one Republican senator says attention on the threat is long overdue.

Sen. Cory Gardner has been among the lawmakers calling on the Trump administration to prioritize addressing the threat of North Korea launching nuclear weapons, and the Colorado Republican said it is “refreshing” to see some action.

Analysis: Syria Dispute Allows Trump to Defriend Russia
President says relations are at an ‘all-time low’

After clashing with Russia over the Syrian government’s reported chemical gas attack, President Donald Trump and his team are taking a tougher tone toward Moscow. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump and his top diplomats continued pivoting away from Russia on Wednesday amid federal and congressional investigations into possible ties between his associates and the Kremlin. 

The new tone could be music to the ears of hawkish members of the president’s own political party.

After Syria Strike, Trump Administration Talks Tough
White House’s domestic focus pivots to warning foes president will ‘act’

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a Tomahawk missile as part of strikes on Syria ordered by President Trump on Thursday evening. (Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert S. Price/U.S. Navy)

The Trump administration is suddenly warning would-be foes and touting its leader as a no-nonsense commander in chief, after focusing mostly on domestic policy for its first 77 days.

Last week, the White House was still very much concentrated on health care, a tax overhaul and other domestic agenda items. It held special advance briefings on Trump’s summit with his Chinese counterpart, addressing trade and his use of the Congressional Review Act. It centered on U.S. jobs and on rolling back Obama-era regulations to give a boost — as the administration contends — to the American economy. Trump’s aides were very much in a mode to enact his “America First” agenda, pushing his efforts to “rebuild our country,” as the president himself often puts it.

Hill Frustrated by Trump Administration’s Lack of Long-Term Syria Plan
Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker: ‘I wish we were further along’

Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, an Armed Services member, said Friday he wishes the Trump administration was closer to having a long-term Syria plan after launching an airstrike there Thursday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senior Trump administration officials did not disclose to lawmakers any long-term plans for dealing with Syrian strongman Bashar Assad or the years-old conflict in his country, further complicating President Donald Trump’s relationship with Congress.

Republican and Democratic senators expressed surprise and frustration, after a classified briefing Friday, that the new president and his team have no strategy for what comes next, following a Trump-ordered Tomahawk missile strike on a Syrian air base in response to a reported Assad government chemical attack that killed dozens of the country’s own civilians.

Analysis: Syria Strike Puts Trump’s Still-Young Presidency at Risk
Slide into deeper U.S. involvement could set up armed hostilities with Russia

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a Tomahawk missile as part of strikes on Syria ordered by President Trump on Thursday evening. (Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert S. Price/U.S. Navy)

By pounding a Syrian air base with nearly 60 cruise missiles, Donald Trump created for himself a number of political and foreign policy risks that threaten to alter his still-young presidency.

Just shy of his 80th day in office, the populist “America-first” president — should he entangle the United States into the complex Syrian conflict — could see his record-low approval ratings fall even further, while also finding himself in the same Middle East quicksand that his two predecessors found so stymying.

Senators to Trump: Stand Up to Assad, Putin
Bipartisan support for tough stand after reported use of chemical weapons by Syria

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., right, and Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., conduct a news conference Wednesday in the Capitol to decry the recent use chemical weapons that they say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used in that country’s civil war. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By NIELS LESNIEWSKI and BRIDGET BOWMANCQ Roll Call

Senators from both parties want to know if President Donald Trump has the gumption to stand up to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad — and by extension Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Pileup of Ethical Issues Gives Democrats Powerful Weapon Against Trump
Fog of suspicion continues to dog president on all sides

President Donald Trump faces a motivated Democratic opposition aiming to weaken his power and thwart his administration’s policy agenda at every turn. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A small, previously obscure federal ethics office has catalogued a burst of inquiries and complaints from the public — more than 30,000 — since Donald Trump’s election as president, compared to a few hundred in all of fiscal 2015.

The huge increase in public outreach to the Office of Government Ethics reflects an administration with unprecedented corporate entanglements and an outwardly blase approach to ethics statutes and the truth, as well as a flair for scandal and drama.

Jimmy Panetta Takes a Hard Line on Military Spending
Son of Defense secretary represents Monterey County

Rep. Jimmy Panetta, left, was sworn in to Congress alongside his father, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, also a former member of the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When the House approved the $577.9 billion fiscal 2017 defense spending bill on March 8, only 48 members — including four freshmen — voted against it. It’s politically difficult to vote against a measure that pays for the weapons U.S. forces need and supplies the funds for a 2.1 percent pay increase for Americans in uniform.

One of the freshmen was Jimmy Panetta, the youngest of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s three children. He explained that he opposed the bill because it did not spend enough. “It could have done more to help my area on the central coast of California,” Panetta says.

Federal Judges Block Trump’s Modified Travel Ban
President says ruling ‘makes us look weak’

Demonstrators hold signs at Dulles International Airport on Jan. 29 to protest President Donald Trump’s first executive order on immigration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland issued nationwide temporary restraining orders halting President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban, with one coming just hours before the executive action was set to go into effect.

A decision Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii was the second such ruling against Trump’s efforts to block temporarily certain immigrants, refugees and travelers from Muslim-majority nations from entering the country. A judge in Washington state blocked the original travel ban, which was broader in scope, shortly after it was signed Jan. 27.