intelligence

CIA Releases Report Finding Haspel Not at Fault in Destruction of Torture Tapes
But some key Senate Democrats now want more answers

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., talks with reporters after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on March 20, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Central Intelligence Agency released an unclassified but partially redacted version of an internal memo Friday finding “no fault” on the part of current director nominee Gina Haspel regarding the destruction of infamous tapes.

The tapes showed the use of harsh interrogation tactics on detainees who had been subject to rendition at so-called “black sites.” Clarity about Haspel’s involvement is one key to the deputy director’s chances for Senate confirmation to be the director.

Trump, French President Macron to Disagree Privately, Official Says
French president visits next week for first state visit of Trump presidency

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes President Donald Trump prior to a meeting at the Elysee Presidential Palace on July 13, 2017 in Paris, France. (Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)

There will be ample smiles and handshakes for the camera, but don’t expect the U.S. and French heads of state to agree on much behind closed doors when they meet next week in Washington.

A number of contentious issues — from the Iran nuclear deal to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs to Syria — will be on the agenda next week when President Donald Trump hosts French President Emmanuel Macron for a visit that largely will be symbolic.

Analysis: For Trump, Wins and Losses During Abe Summit
‘The body language on trade was just really startling,’ expert says

President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a news conference at the former’s West Palm Beach, Fla., resort. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

White House aides set a low bar for their boss ahead of his two-day summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — and President Donald Trump often cleared it with ease. But experts say there were a few stumbles too.

Trump aides made clear they had no “deliverables” in mind ahead of the Tuesday-Wednesday talks, which touched on everything from a new round of trade talks to dealing with North Korea to their respective golf games. That diplomat-speak refers to agreements or other things the White House wants meetings with world leaders to produce.

Trump Continues Attack on Comey, Again Defends Flynn
President lashes out after leaks of fired FBI director’s memos about him

Then-FBI director James B. Comey testifyies before a Senate panel in 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday defended former national security adviser Michael Flynn and slammed former FBI Director James B. Comey, implying his own Justice Department should have blocked publication of the latter’s memoir.

The Friday morning tweet followed several from Thursday evening ripping into Comey as the former FBI boss continues a book tour that already has seen him describe the president as a habitual liar who is “morally unfit” for the Oval Office. Comey also has said Russia might have the ability to blackmail Trump, called for the president to be voted out in 2020, and left open the possibility that Trump is guilty of obstructing justice.

Trump, Abe Split on Goal for New Trade Talks
Japanese PM wants U.S. return to TPP; Trump wants ‘one-one-one’ pact

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference on Wednesday with U.S. President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe split Wednesday evening on their goals for a new round of trade talks between the longtime allies, exposing a rift in the alliance.

Abe announced the new U.S.-Japanese trade talks during a joint press conference after the first full day of a mini-summit at Trump’s resort in Florida. But Abe broke with Trump by telling reporters he wants those talks to expand the two countries levels of trade and investment in each other’s markets, and the re-entry of the United States in a trade alliance that includes 11 Asian-Pacific countries.

White House Presses Vulnerable Dems on Pompeo Nomination
Sen. Cotton dubs Foreign Relations Democrats ‘two-bit Talleyrands’

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., right, meets with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of State, in the Capitol on March 19. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House circled the wagons Wednesday around CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to become secretary of State, arguing vulnerable red-state Democrats will feel “consequences” in November if they vote against him.

The Trump administration dispatched Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas to argue Pompeo is highly qualified for the top State Department position and to press Democrats running for re-election in states won by President Donald Trump to vote in favor of his nomination.

Trump Confirms Pompeo Met With North Korea’s Kim Jong Un
Diplomacy better than ‘comparing the size of our nuclear buttons,’ Schiff says

South Koreans watch a television broadcast reporting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping at Seoul Railway Station in March. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 7:49 a.m. | President Donald Trump confirmed Wednesday that CIA Director Mike Pompeo, his nominee to become secretary of state, met last week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea,” Trump tweeted.

Trump Leaves Open Door to Kim Summit Never Happening
Meeting could happen ‘very soon’ or in ‘early June‘ or not at all, president says

President Trump gave various estimates for when he might meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - including not at all. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump set wildly opposite expectations in one sentence for his possible summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, including that it could never happen.

He first said his one-on-one meeting with Kim could happen “very soon,” before saying he expects negotiations will allow an “early June” summit to take place. But the president then moved up the possible date to “before that” before backpedaling.

White House Has Tepid Response to Corker-Kaine AUMF
NSC official: ‘Existing authorities are sufficient’

U.S. Army soldiers walk as a NATO helicopter flies overhead at Forward Operating Base Connelly in the Khogyani District in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghanistan, in 2015. (WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Updated 11:56 a.m. | The Trump administration is taking a tepid line on an authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, measure introduced Monday evening by Republican and Democratic senators, with a National Security Council official saying the president’s existing war powers are “sufficient.”

“Our position hasn’t changed,” the official said Tuesday. The 2001 AUMF, provisions in the U.S. Constitution and the force-authorization measure Congress passed and President George W. Bush made law before the 2003 Iraq war are “sufficient,” the NSC official added.

White House Provides No Internal Assessment Backing Mueller Firing Claim
After making vague contention, Sanders said: ‘I can’t go anything beyond that’

The White House is unable to provide any internal analysis to support its contention that President Donald Trump can fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

White House officials are unable to point to any internal assessment to justify their contention that President Donald Trump has the legal authority to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Many Republican and Democratic lawmakers are urging Trump to let the former FBI director complete his investigation of Russian election meddling and possible misconduct by the president and his campaign associates. Those pleas intensified last week when the president and his top spokeswoman signaled the White House has concluded he has the authority to do so.