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U.S.-Iran confrontation escalates as Trump threatens ‘obliteration’ after Rouhani’s insult
Schumer: ‘The danger of bumbling into war is acute‘

Then-Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., conduct a news conference in the Capitol after a briefing with senators on the Iran nuclear deal in September 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Responding to Iranian officials calling his White House “mentally retarded,” President Donald Trump called their latest statement “ignorant and insulting” before warning them he is prepared to use “great and overwhelming force” against their country.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani used the same televised Tuesday address that included an insult for Trump and his staff to say new sanctions the Trump administration slapped on some of their top leaders “useless.” He sharply criticized Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton, as “a source of belligerence and aggression” in the region. (Bolton for years has advocated a U.S. policy of seeking regime change in Tehran.)

When sanctions become weapons of mass disruption
A popular foreign policy tool can often have unintended consequences

Russian state energy firm Gazprom is leading work on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is the target of a sanctions bill by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Ted Cruz. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

These days, it seems lawmakers believe every foreign policy challenge can be resolved by imposing sanctions.

Worried that Russia will interfere in the 2020 presidential election? Concerned about the international community bringing Syria’s Bashar Assad in from the cold? Horrified by China’s mistreatment of its Uighur Muslim community? There are sanctions bills for all of them.

Trump kicks off re-election bid that could extend key legal protections into 2025
Federal statute of limitations on Mueller’s findings would expire in second term, ex-U.S. attorney says

President Donald Trump, here at a rally in Pennsylvania last month, kicked off his 2020 re-election campaign at a rally in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday night started his re-election bid, ending years of speculation that he might return to private life and opt out of seeking a second term that could provide him legal protections into 2025.

Political operatives since before he took office have suggested the 73-year-old former real estate mogul and reality television host might tire of the grueling job of president, choosing to enjoy running his businesses alongside his children in Manhattan and his various resort properties around the world. He put an end to that talk Tuesday during a raucous campaign rally in Orlando, Florida.

Senate Democrats prioritize defense amendments to boost election security
Schumer makes public push for McConnell to allow NDAA votes on election security

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is prioritizing election security amendments to the NDAA. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

In one of the few chances they have to offer amendments this year, Senate Democrats are trying to prioritize efforts to keep Russia from further meddling in U.S. elections.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer made that clear Tuesday morning, highlighting Democrat-led efforts to amend the fiscal 2020 national defense authorization measure that is in line for floor consideration after several nomination votes.

Trump — not lawmakers — set to be biggest challenge for new legislative affairs chief Ueland
No matter who runs Hill shop, president’s approach is ‘very unlikely to yield results,’ expert says

Wyoming Sen. Michael B. Enzi, right, introduces Eric Ueland at his confirmation hearing to be under secretary of State for management in September 2017. That nomination was later withdrawn, but Ueland will be President Donald Trump’s third legislative affairs director, starting Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eric Ueland, hand-picked by President Donald Trump to be his third legislative affairs director, has decades of experience in the D.C. “swamp” his soon-to-be boss loathes. But the former senior GOP aide will quickly learn it is the president alone who is, as one official put it Thursday, “the decider.”

Ueland has been chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and a Senate Budget Committee staff director. Experts and former officials describe him as highly qualified for the tough task of being the messenger between Trump and a Congress with a Democrat-controlled House that regularly riles up the president and a Senate where Republicans lack votes to pass most major legislation.

Homeland, Judiciary Democrat asks Pelosi to form election security task force
Rep. Lou Correa cites Mueller's findings as a need for a group to help head off future attacks

Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., is asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi to form a select committee that would examine election security proposals. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Lou Correa is asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi to form a task force to examine proposals for combating foreign influence and ensuring U.S. electoral systems are secure, according to a letter obtained by CQ Roll Call.

The House Homeland Security and Judiciary Committee member wrote to his fellow California Democrat citing Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings that foreign actors compromised U.S. election security as reason such a group is needed.

Democratic lawmakers ‘astonished’ by Trump’s claim that taking foreign ‘dirt’ is routine
Mitt Romney calls it 'unthinkable' to accept information from foreign government to influence elections

President Donald Trump argued accepting intelligence on a political opponent from foreign sources, which is illegal under federal campaign finance laws, is routine by presidential candidates and congressional campaigns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers pushed back strenuously on President Donald Trump’s claim during a television interview Wednesday that accepting “dirt” on political opponents from foreign sources is routine.

Democrats responded incredulously to Trump’s statement that he would accept intelligence on a political opponent from another country if offered, and that doing so is common practice in congressional campaigns. 

Capitol Ink | MNGA

Capitol Ink | Barr-tleby the Scrivener

Trump: ‘Something pretty dramatic’ could happen with Mexico as tariffs loom
POTUS to allies at D-Day anniversary event: ‘Our bond is unbreakable’

President Donald Trump throws a MAGA hat to the crowd during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., in May. He has been critical and upbeat about talks with Mexico that could prevent his proposed tariffs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Thursday breathed life into Republican members’ hopes that his administration might opt against imposing tariffs on goods entering the country from Mexico. And he also took a shot at Republican lawmakers who oppose the tariffs.

Mexican government officials met Wednesday at the White House with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other administration officials. The two sides are slated to meet again Thursday — though Pence is scheduled to travel to Virginia and Pennsylvania for D-Day anniversary and political events.