Iraq

Numerous Inauguration Protests: From Nonviolent Chants to Bricks-in-Windows
Inauguration Day protests throughout D.C. take different tones

A shattered window of a Starbucks shop in downtown D.C. on Friday. (Matt Rhodes for CQ Roll Call)

On Inaugural Day in Washington, some twenty-something, left-leaning protesters dressed in black threw bricks into the windows of local storefronts. Elsewhere, sixty-something antiwar activists held up colorful signs and coordinated peaceful chants.

And while police used pepper-spray to break up some demonstrators in downtown D.C., on another street a man wearing a cherry-red Make America Great Again baseball cap calmly chatted in the middle of 7th Street NW with a young man wearing a dark hood that enveloped his face.

Report: Gabbard Makes Secret Trip to Syria
The congresswoman took a 'fact-finding' trip to Syria aiming to end the six-year civil war

A spokeswoman for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, shown here at a rally held by labor, environmental, and consumer groups in November, confirmed the congresswoman’s trip to Syria on Wednesday. (Tom Wiliiams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was reported to be returning on Wednesday from a secret trip to Syria, which her aides described as a “fact-finding” mission to end the conflict there.

Gabbard spokeswoman Emily Latimer said the representative “felt it was important to meet with a number of individuals and groups including religious leaders, humanitarian workers, refugees and government and community leaders,” Foreign Policy reported.

Photos of the Week: Confirmation Hearing Frenzy on Capitol Hill
The week of Jan. 9 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, and Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, prepare for Sessions’ Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Russell Building’s Kennedy Caucus Room on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A total of seven confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks kicked off on the Hill this week. Meanwhile, a back-and-forth erupted between the parties over a student painting being taken down from the Cannon House Office Building.

Clicking Through Confirmation Hearing Roulette
Senators seek reassurances from the adults in the Cabinet

There are high hopes for Defense Secretary-designee James Mattis from lawmakers nervous about the president-elect and other Cabinet picks, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Back in the days when remote controls for changing channels were a brag-to-the-neighbors luxury accessory, Mad magazine developed a series of comic features called Television Roulette. They recreated what the dialogue supposedly might sound like if you clicked fast on a Sunday night from, say, Steve Allen to a Drano commercial to Ed Sullivan.

Modern video feeds and the clustering of three Trump Cabinet hearings on Thursday morning allowed you to play a similar game that could be called Confirmation Roulette. At times it went like this:

VA Health Chief Shulkin Picked by Trump for VA Secretary

President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday his pick for Veterans Affairs secretary, David J. Shulkin. (Courtesy Veterans Health/Flickr)

President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday he will tap David J. Shulkin, who is now head of the Veterans Health Administration, to be secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The president-elect said “at least” 100 interviews were conducted for the top job to lead the troubled agency that has struggled to deliver care to veterans at a time of increased demand and budgetary pressure.

Sessions Will Follow the Law, But He Won’t Lead on It
Job requires someone who is aware of oppression and discrimination

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’s answers on the first day of his attorney general confirmation hearing on Tuesday were “deeply unsatisfying and basically meaningless,” Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It sounds so good that Jeff Sessions said it over and over again when Democratic senators pressed him on how he would approach the job of attorney general: I will follow the law.

It’s what he said when Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin asked what he would do with “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Ditto when Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked him about gay rights and abortion rights. 

Kelly Says He'll Quit Advisory Positions with Defense Contractors

Retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly has pledged to quit advisory and board member roles with defense contractors and consulting firms if he is confirmed as Homeland Security secretary, according to disclosures filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. 

Kelly appears before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for his confirmation hearing Tuesday afternoon.

Will Mattis Be 'Voice of Caution?'

The Washington Post reports: "The Iranian-supplied rockets were raining down on Gen. James N. Mattis’s troops throughout the spring and summer of 2011 with greater and greater intensity."

"Six American soldiers were killed by a volley in eastern Baghdad in early June. A few weeks later, three more Americans died in a similar strike, driving the monthly death toll to 15. It was the worst month for U.S. troops in Iraq in more than two years, and Iran’s proxies were vowing more rockets and more bloodshed."

Report: Former Bush Aide Considering Run Against Cruz
Matthew Dowd might launch long-shot bid against Texas senator

Matthew Dowd is mulling an independent challenge to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. (Andrew Toth/Getty Images for AWXII file photo)

Can a former top aide to President George W. Bush run as an independent in Texas, take on Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, and win? 

We might get to find out. 

Trump Contradicts Himself on Assange
President-elect says he’s a ‘big fan’ of ‘intelligence’

President-elect Donald Trump said he is not in agreement with WikiLeaks head Julian Assange but he has praised the organization in the past. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President-elect Donald Trump denied Thursday that he ever supported WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in two morning tweets.

Trump said the “dishonest media” is wrong in reporting that he agrees with Assange, adding that “the media lies to make it look like I am against ‘intelligence,’ when, in fact, I am a big fan.”