defense

Senators remain skeptical of Space Force
Lawmakers agreed space defense is important, but many logistical questions remain

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford (center) is seen while protesters hold up signs before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on April 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. The acting defense secretary is pitching the idea of creating a Space Force as a separate branch of the military to Congress. (Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

Top Pentagon officials on Thursday deployed old arguments to argue for a new military service within the Department of the Air Force focused specifically on space.

The United States risks losing its competitive edge in space to Russia and China unless the Pentagon stands up Space Force to defend extraterrestrial military and commercial interests, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Trump piggybacks on Barr comments on 2016 ‘spying’
President says he might be open to a small deal with North Korea to keep talks alive

President Trump in the Oval Office Thursday before he took questions from reporters as First Lady Melania Trump looks on. (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday alleged there was “unprecedented” and “illegal” spying into his 2016 campaign, and also signaled he could be open to a smaller deal with North Korea to keep talks alive.

Trump was asked if he agrees with comments made — and then clarified —during Senate testimony Wednesday by Attorney General William P. Barr said “spying did occur” before closing the session with this clarification: “I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I am saying I am concerned about it and looking into it — that’s all.”

Trump tries to revive North Korea talks in meeting with South Korea’s Moon
Experts see Moon urging U.S. leader to pursue ‘small deal’ with Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House on Thursday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump will try to revive his push to strip North Korea of its nuclear weapons when he hosts South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday. The visit comes as lawmakers worry about Kim Jong Un’s arsenal, with experts encouraging talks in hopes of even a “small deal.”

Trump’s second nuclear disarmament summit was cut short in late February after he and Kim reached an impasse over several issues, including the latter’s demand for some sanctions to be lifted before he started dismantling his atomic arms and long-range missile programs. Trump has signaled he was at least partially distracted during the meetings in Vietnam by his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s testimony before a House panel at the same time.

Trump likely to put economic, military ties ahead of human rights with Egypt’s Sisi
POTUS expected to warn Egyptian leader against closer military ties with Russia, official says

President Donald Trump welcomes Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi during his arrival at the White House in 2017. Trump is expected to try to keep the Egyptian leader from drifting too close to Russia during their meeting on Tuesday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

When Donald Trump welcomes Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to the White House on Tuesday, expect the U.S. president to stress military cooperation even amid questions about that country’s human rights record.

Human rights groups are accusing Sisi’s government of torturing political foes and using death sentences against opponents. What’s more, the Egyptian parliament has approved constitutional changes that would extend Sisi’s time in office.

Trump’s double backtrack ‘probably won’t matter very much’
Teflon president not likely to pay any political price for health care, border retreats

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., John Thune, R-S. Dak., Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., look on at the Capitol on Jan. 9. His recent moves have irked his own party. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Donald Trump irked even his fellow Republicans last week with his health care and border closure pushes, only to back off both, capping one of the most turbulent weeks of his chaotic presidency. But it’s unlikely to hinder his re-election fight.

Eager to hit the campaign trail with a reprise of many of the same themes that fueled his 2016 bid, Trump caught his party off guard by trying once again to repeal and replace the entire Obama-era health care law, before delaying any vote until after Election Day 2020. At the same time, he threatened for days to shutter ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border, before replacing that threat with one to first slap tariffs on Mexican-made automobiles.

Lawmakers cheer NATO chief despite Trump criticisms of alliance
Jens Stoltenberg draws standing ovation

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi escorts NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg through Statuary Hall to his address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The head of NATO Wednesday gave a historic speech to Congress that was as much about celebrating the military bloc as it was about U.S. lawmakers signaling their continued commitment to the alliance amid a period of turbulent trans-Atlantic relations.

“Together, we represent 1 billion people,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said of the 29 nations that make up the Western military alliance. “We are half of the world’s economic might and half of the world’s military might. When we stand together, we are stronger than any potential challenger economically, politically, and militarily.”

Air Force halts deliveries of Boeing tankers for second time
The planes were refused after Boeing failed to resolve issues with tools and parts being left in plane compartments

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson walks through the Capitol Senate subway stop on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Air Force is again refusing to accept Boeing’s KC-46 Pegasus tankers after the company failed to resolve issues with tools and parts erroneously left in the plane’s compartments, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told lawmakers Tuesday.

The tankers, based on a 767 commercial jet, are the latest problem for the domestic aerospace giant, which has been under intense scrutiny since the recent fatal crashes of two 737-Max planes.

Threatener-in-chief: Trump keeps border closure idea alive — without committing
‘Trump’s default when there is threatening news is to create a crisis on the border,’ prof says

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House February 22. On Tuesday, he was again threatening to close the southern border — except when he wasn’t. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS - Consider Donald Trump the threatener-in-chief. It’s simply how the president starts any negotiation he deems worthy of having.

The president has made countless threats about everything from nuclear war with North Korea to firing various Cabinet officials to cutting off foreign aid to shuttering legal points of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border to trying again this year to push a health care overhaul bill through both chambers of Congress.

Trump refuses to raise budget caps, complicating his re-election fight
‘Doesn’t sound like a winning position for Republicans,’ former GOP aide says

President Donald Trump speaks on Jan. 4 at the White House, flanked, from left, by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Democratic lawmakers want to raise caps on federal spending. So do many Republicans. But despite the desires of each party’s congressional leadership, President Donald Trump is refusing to go along, possibly complicating his re-election bid.

In its latest federal spending request, the White House proposed a steep hike in the Pentagon budget for fiscal 2020 — an unsurprising move by a Republican president who has vowed to “rebuild” the U.S. military. But Trump and his team would keep existing spending caps in place.

At Michigan rally, Trump accuses Dems of ‘poisoning’ country with Mueller probe
President claims ‘total exoneration’ even though special counsel saw signs of obstruction of justice

Supporters wave caps as they listen as President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally on April 28, 2018 in Michigan. He was back in the state for another rally on Thursday night. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump wasted no time at his second re-election rally taking a victory lap in the wake of Attorney General William P. Barr revealing a lengthy Justice Department did not find a criminal-level conspiracy between his 2016 campaign and Russians.

The president lashed out at congressional Democrats, saying they “have now got big problems” because, after accusing him and his associates of colluding with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton, they have broken their “trust” with the American people with a “sinister effort to undermine our historic election victory.” He accused Democrats of “poisoning” American democracy because “they refuse to accept the results of one of the greatest presidential elections — probably, No 1. — in our history.”