Iraq

Rep. Lamar Smith Out of Touch With Science, Challenger Says
Aerospace engineer — a veteran — is taking on Science committee chairman

Lamar Smith chairs the House Science Space and Technology Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP Rep. Lamar Smith, the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, is getting a Democratic challenger who says Smith is out of touch with science and his constituents.

Joseph Kopser announced Tuesday that he is taking on Smith, who is running for re-election for a 17th term in Congress in the solidly Republican central Texas district. Kopser, a combat veteran who served in Iraq and earned a Bronze Star, is one of a slew of candidates in science and technology fields running for elected office as political outsiders.

Trey Gowdy’s Path to Oversight Gavel Gets Smoother
Steering Committee will pick next Oversight chairman after break

Rep. Trey Gowdy wants the chairmanship of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and after Rep. Jason Chaffetz leaves Congress, he has a good chance to get it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Trey Gowdy’s bid to be the next chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee keeps getting easier as a key potential rival says he won’t run and predicted the South Carolina Republican is likely to wield the gavel, even as the deadline to make a bid draws near.

Any serious bid to challenge Gowdy will need to get under way soon, as Speaker Paul D. Ryan is giving members interested in the post until June 1 to let the House Republican Steering Committee know, according to a Ryan spokeswoman. The Steering Committee is on track to vote on the next chairman the week following the Memorial Day recess.

ISIS Strategy Gets an Update
National security officials outline Trump administration changes

Defense Secretary James Mattis and other officials outlined new tactics in the fight against ISIS. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senior national security officials Friday outlined what they claim is a new approach to addressing the Islamic State, the same day President Donald Trump left for an extended overseas trip with the first leg of the journey touching down in the Middle East, in Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Trump has authorized a change in tactics in the fight against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. The tactical shift moves to a campaign aimed at surrounding and then seizing ISIS’ urban strongholds in order to prevent the escape of fighters.

Actual Witch Hunt Trumped What Trump Has Faced, Salem Rep Says
Moulton counter-tweet: ‘This is false’

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., hit President Donald Trump for calling the probe into his campaign’s ties with Russia “the single greatest witch hunt in political history.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton used a bit of literal gallows humor to push back against a tweet by President Donald Trump asserting that a probe into ties between his campaign and Russia was “the single greatest witch hunt in political history.”

Moulton represents Salem, the home of the infamous Salem Witch Trials, which were popularized in the Arthur Miller play, “The Crucible.”

Cloud of Scandals Follow Trump Overseas
Lawmakers warn of stalled domestic agenda

President Donald Trump exits Air Force One on Feb. 6 at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. On Friday, he leaves on a five-country swing amid several domestic scandals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ned T. Johnston via Wikimedia Commons)

A cloud of scandal and uncertainty will follow Donald Trump to five countries on his first overseas trip as president beginning this weekend. And it could only grow more ominous by the time he returns.

When Trump boards Air Force One on Friday, he will leave behind a growing pile of smoldering scandals, mostly of his own creation.

Duckworth Leads Capital Challenge Wheelchair Team to Keep Promise to Herself
Illinois Democrat pledged to do more after losing legs in Iraq

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth competed in her first marathon four years after losing her legs in Iraq. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Serving as captain of the wheelchair team in the 36th annual ACLI Capital Challenge on Wednesday is part of a pledge that Sen. Tammy Duckworth made to herself after losing her legs while serving in Iraq.

“When I was in the hospital, I made a promise to do more than I could before I was wounded,” the Illinois Democrat said. “My recovery goal wasn’t just to get by — it was to go beyond what I thought I could ever do.”

How to Watch Trump’s Defense of Travel Ban on TV
Federal appeals court hearing arguments

Protesters greet international travelers at Dulles International Airport in Virginia on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Protests erupted at airports around the country following President Trump’s first executive order restricting travel from several Islamic countries. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A second federal appeals court will hear arguments Monday over whether the Trump administration should be able to implement its revised travel ban, this time with an expected audience of millions watching via live video stream.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit hears one hour of arguments on the case starting at 12:30 p.m. ET in a Seattle courtroom. Interested viewers can tune in via the court's live stream or on C-SPAN's website.

A List of Notable Presidential Firings Since 1951
Most were terminated outright; others left before the White House officially acted

Douglas MacArthur (CQ Roll Call Archive Photo)

On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump put Washington in a tailspin when he fired FBI Director James B. Comey. Twitter was abuzz with reminiscences of presidential firings-past, so Roll Call set out to catalogue the last 66 years or so of presidents telling top officials to "take a hike."

Here's President Harry S. Truman through Trump:

Trump Administration Ponders Demands of Wartime Footing
Steel, aluminum sector studies pegged to national security concerns

U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II fighter jets perform an aerial refueling mission off the coast of northwest Florida in 2013. The Lockheed Martin-made jets contain specialty aluminum products the Trump administration is concerned as it studies the needs a wartime military buildup would bring. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen/via Wikimedia Commons)

The Trump administration, swept into office by its inward-focused “America First” message, is rattling its saber. President Donald Trump’s tough talk about North Korea and missile strikes in Syria get most of the attention, but his team is suddenly openly discussing what it would take to put key U.S. industries on a war footing.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus describes his boss’s foreign policy as a mix of America First isolationism that helped him win the presidency, and a willingness to stand up to harsh dictators such as those in Syria and North Korea. At first glance, that definition of Trump’s foreign policy seems disjointed.

Tenney’s Son Received a Surprise Call From Trump Before Deployment
Sen. David Perdue tipped off the president about deployment of lawmaker's son

Rep. Claudia Tenney’s son left for Iraq on Saturday. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York GOP freshman Rep. Claudia Tenney’s son received a phone call from President Donald Trump before he deployed to Iraq on Saturday.

Before Marine Corps 1st Lt. Trey Cleary left for a six-month deployment, he was surprised to hear Trump’s voice on the other end of a Friday phone call, Syracuse.com reported.