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White House Middle East Victory Lap Draws Skepticism
Aides pushing a win, but headaches await return from region

President Donald Trump delivers a statement with Israeli President Reuven Rivlinon on Monday in Jerusalem. The White House says its first Middle East visit was a big success, but some Democrats are skeptical. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

The White House is describing President Donald Trump’s first dose of Middle East diplomacy as a “historic” success, but some lawmakers are skeptical that the optimistic rhetoric will become policy, and at least one is looking to block a major announcement from the trip. 

Trump spent all or parts of four days huddling with Muslim and Israeli leaders before heading to Europe on Tuesday afternoon. So confident was the White House that the first leg of Trump’s overseas diplomatic debut had gone well that they did not wait to land in Italy to declare victory.

Pittenger Draws Democratic Challenger in North Carolina
Marine veteran and businessman is first-time candidate in 9th District

North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger is a DCCC target in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The road through North Carolina doesn’t look easy for House Democrats, but the party is targeting four seats (all of which President Donald Trump won by at least 9 points) in their effort to expand the 2018 battlefield.

Democrats have talked up their efforts to land veterans and businesspeople in red districts this year. Now they’re getting a candidate that checks both of those boxes in North Carolina’s 9th District. 

No Apology for Israel Over Trump’s Disclosure to Russians
Tillerson: ‘I don’t know that there’s anything to apologize for’

President Donald Trump (L) speaks during a joint statement with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem on Monday. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump does not plan to apologize to Israeli leaders for disclosing sensitive intelligence provided by the Jewish country to senior Russian diplomats.

Asked by reporters Monday on Air Force One if Trump will apologize to Israeli leaders for sharing password-only classified intelligence about an Islamic State plot to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson replied: “I don’t know that there’s anything to apologize for.”

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.

Opinion: Trump Policies on Voting and Criminal Justice Quietly Move Country Backward
Plans proceed despite chaos in the White House

President Donald Trump’s policies threaten voting rights and criminal justice reforms, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While the Trump administration is in a state of perpetual turmoil, some of its promised policies are proceeding as planned. Support from a Republican Congress is softening with each cringe-worthy headline about slips, leaks and feuds; still, its members, mindful of the president’s loyal base, are proceeding with caution.

And when you step back from the chaos, don’t expect to see any progress on other issues — such as voting rights and criminal justice reform — that once promised a bit of bipartisan cooperation. 

Take Five: Rep. Francis Rooney
Florida Republican on thinking globally with the Pope

Florida Rep. Francis Rooney says being in politics has put a dent in his boating and sailing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Freshman Rep. Francis Rooney, 63, a Florida Republican, talks about being ambassador to the Vatican, seeing the Capitol Visitor Center as a hole, and boating in his home state.

Q: What has surprised you about being in Congress so far?

A Senator Out of His Shell, and Under Trump’s Skin
Connecticut’s Blumenthal at the center of opposition to president

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal makes his way through the Senate subway in the Capitol after a meeting of Senate Democrats on May 10. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Of the 157 tweets President Donald Trump has sent in the last month alone, just six have singled out individuals for ridicule. And half of those have been directed at Richard Blumenthal.

The senior senator from Connecticut, who’s made reticence and prudence the guideposts of his first four decades in political life, is projecting a very different sort of persona these days. While presenting himself in public as quietly as ever, he’s become one of president’s most incisive Democratic antagonists on an array of topics.

Judges Again Wrestle With Trump’s Words on Travel Ban
Intent, statements and authority are the ‘nub’ of the case

Another federal appeals court considered Monday whether to let the Trump administration implement its revised travel ban, grappling with the president’s comments about his reasons for the executive order and whether courts should second-guess him on a national security issue.

The three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit who heard the case in a Seattle courtroom didn’t clearly reveal whether they would side with President Donald Trump or the challengers during more than an hour of arguments carried live on television and the court’s live video stream.

Strange Touts Role in Resignation of Governor Who Appointed Him
Senator’s role as Alabama attorney general in two prominent cases is questioned after he touts them in ad

The new ad from Strange shows actors representing politicians getting hosed down in a car wash. Credit: Screenshot

Sen. Luther Strange's new campaign ad leads with an image of politicians writhing in pain while getting sprayed down while standing in a car wash. According to the voiceover, this symbolizes Strange cleaning up corruption in Montgomery, Ala. during his time as state attorney general. 

But in the two primary cases cited by Strange — the resignation of Gov. Robert Bentley and the prosecution of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard — his role was more ambiguous.