Technology & Innovation

Trump Wants $5 Billion for Border Wall Amid Shutdown Threat
President continues to peg immigration issue as a winner for the GOP

Hundreds of women crowd the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building to protest President Trump's immigration policy on June 28. On Monday, he called for $3.4 billion more for his southern border wall than GOP and Democratic senators are proposing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump laid down a key marker for the autumn federal funding debate, saying Monday he wants around $5 billion this year for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall. The demand could increase the odds of a government shutdown.

The amount he endorsed during a White House immigration event, which he also touted last week at a fundraiser in Utica, N.Y., is the same as that proposed in a House Homeland Security funding measure for next fiscal year. But there’s a catch: the Senate’s version of that funding measure proposes only $1.6 billion for the project.

Steve Bannon’s Bleak Message for GOP: Blue Wave=Trump’s Impeachment
Not a typical midterm year, former WH political strategist warns

Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist to Donald Trump, warns that if Republicans don’t stop the blue wave, the president will face impeachment. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images file photo)

Former White House chief political strategist Steve Bannon has a bleak message for Republicans looking to retain control of the House in the 2018 midterms: If you don’t stop the blue wave, your heads won’t be the only ones that roll — President Donald Trump’s will, too.

Last week, Bannon announced the launch of his initiative, Citizens of the American Republic, to help the GOP keep its House majority by tying a Democratic victory in November to impeachment.

Ben Foster and Being Part of a ‘Continuing Conversation’ About Veterans
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 32

Ben Foster, left, discusses his latest movie "Leave No Trace," with Political Theater host Jason Dick. (David Banks/CQ Roll Call)

“For being an actor, being of the generation of the desert war, these questions are ever-present,” Ben Foster says about a body of work that has seen him portray veterans of America’s current conflicts. For the Boston native, veterans’ re-entry to civilian life is part of what he says is “a continuing conversation” he says is important. His latest movie, “Leave No Trace,” is the story of a veteran who is “slipping through the cracks.” For a country still at war and embroiled in extensive debate about veterans, and their well-being, it is a timely movie. Foster discussed the movie recently with Political Theater. 

Hacking an American Election Is Child’s Play, Just Ask These Kids
Amidst election insecurity in Georgia, kids at this year’s DefCon show how easy systems are to hack

Daisy Capote, a Miami-Dade election support specialists, checks voting machines for accuracy at the Miami-Dade Election Department headquarters in Doral, Florida last week in preparation for the state’s primary later this month. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In March, Hawaii Democrat Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Securing America’s Elections Act to require the use of paper ballots as backup in case of alleged election hacking. Now voting advocates are suing Georgia to do the same thing.

Some voting systems are so easy to hack a child can do it. Eleven year old Emmett Brewer hacked into a simulation of Florida’s state voting website in less than 10 minutes at the DefCon hacking conference last week in Las Vegas, according to Time

Abuse Allegations Loom Over Minnesota Race to Replace Ellison
Female candidates dominate 5th District Democratic-Farmer-Labor primary

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison vacated his 5th District seat to run for state attorney general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic candidates running for Rep. Keith Ellison’s seat in Minnesota’s deep-blue 5th District are pushing voters to the polls Tuesday, as abuse allegations against the congressman threatened to send them off-message in the campaign’s closing hours.

The three front-runners for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor nod in Tuesday’s primary declined to take sides when asked at a candidate forum Monday about allegations that Ellison physically abused a former girlfriend — which he has denied. The six-term congressman vacated the 5th District seat to run for state attorney general. 

3 Takeaways From the Pence ‘Space Force’ Sales Pitch
Vice president ignores white elephant: a skeptical military and Congress

Space Force was on the mind of Vice President Mike Pence, seen here in the Rotunda last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s a new applause line in President Donald Trump’s campaign spiel.

It’s not quite up there with “Crooked Hillary” or demanding professional football players who kneel for the National Anthem to “get the hell out of here.” Crowds react with loud cheers when the president touts his envisioned “Space Force.”

Border Apprehensions Down Two Months Running
Trump administration officials say the dip is directly tied to Trump’s zero-tolerance initiative

A Border Patrol agent Nicole Ballistrea watches over the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014. Since then, border apprehensions have plummeted. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

For the second month in a row, the number of individuals caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally at the southwest border declined, drawing praise from administration officials who say it is directly tied to President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance initiative.

In the month of July, border apprehensions declined by 7 percent, according to data released by Customs and Border Protection on Wednesday. In July, a total of 31,303 individuals were apprehended compared to 34,095 in June and 40,333 in May.

Trump Takes Post-Election Victory Lap Despite Close Races
Experts still forecasting tough races ahead for Republicans

Republican congressional candidate Troy Balderson celebrates after giving his victory speech Tuesday night in Newark, Ohio. He holds a lead, but the race with Democrat Danny O'Connor remains too close to call. (Justin Merriman/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is taking a victory lap after Tuesday’s congressional and gubernatorial elections, but the president’s football-spiking might be premature.

Trump first tweeted Wednesday morning that Republicans went “5 for 5!” In another tweet about 45 minutes later, the president declared GOP candidates “have now won 8 out of 9 House Seats” that have been up for grabs since he took office. He also slammed the “Fake News Media,” contending its coverage would make “you would think we are being clobbered.”

Legal Fight Over DACA Amps Up Pressure on Reluctant Congress
As another court ruling unfolds in Texas, clamor for legislative solution only grows

Dreamers protest outside of the Capitol calling for passage of the Dream Act as Congress works to find a way to end the government shutdown on Sunday evening, Jan. 21, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress could face more pressure to protect “Dreamers” because of court decisions about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows people who were brought to the United States as undocumented children to live and work here temporarily.

Still, even with the additional pressure from the court rulings, lawmakers are unlikely to pass any legislation in the months preceding the November midterm elections.

Why West Hollywood Hates Trump’s Walk of Fame Star
Local city council voted Monday to call for the star’s removal

President Donald Trump walks from the West Wing to Marine One on his way to Joint Base Andrews Friday, July 20, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The West Hollywood city council stirred up renewed controversy Monday over President Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The star, installed nearly a decade before Trump’s presidential run, has become a target of animus against the president among his detractors in the famously liberal enclave. 

Library of Congress Awards $27.3 Million Data Center Contract
Accenture will develop long-planned project

The Library of Congress has awarded a multi-million dollar contract to Accenture for a new data security and storage center. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Contracting giant Accenture was awarded the $27.3 million contract to build the long-planned new data center for the Library of Congress.

The federal services arm of Accenture announced the three-year contract to build both a physical data center and other hosting environments, including cloud services.

Sen. Rand Paul Invites Top Russians to U.S. as They Claim No Election Interference
‘We all do it,’ Kentucky Republican has said of election interference

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., invited top Russian government officials to the U.S. later this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Rand Paul invited top Russian government officials to visit the U.S. later this year to continue a dialogue on important national security issues, he announced Monday.

The Kentucky Republican, who is leading a legislative delegation in the country this week, met with Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs. That committee is the Russian equivalent of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee that Paul sits on.

Abolishing ICE Doesn’t Have to Mean Firing Federal Workers, Advocate Says
Cesar Vargas of the Dream Action Coalition says ‘priorities are terribly misguided’

Hundreds of women crowd the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building to protest Trump’s immigration policy in June. Capitol Police moved in to make arrests to clear the area. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Abolish ICE movement has split the Democratic Party. Some say the agency, formally the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Homeland Security Department, has lost all credibility for its involvement in separating immigrant families. Others say it’s the policy that is problematic, not the federal workers who carried it out.

Republicans, meanwhile, see it as a boon for their election prospects. President Donald Trump has cited it in fundraising appeals.

So... How Does the White House Really Feel About Russia?
Trump undercuts security officials again with ‘the Russian hoax’

President Donald Trump on Thursday dismissed criticism of his Finland summit with Vladimir Putin just hours after his national security team warned Putin is overseeing an ongoing campaign to upend the U.S. political system. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images file photo)

Senior U.S. national security officials were clear Thursday afternoon: The Kremlin was involved in meddling in the 2016 American election and continues to be oversee efforts to do so again. Hours later, however, President Donald Trump described himself and Russian President Vladimir Putin as buddies.

As it often does, the Trump White House on Thursday sent mixed — starkly opposite, really — messages about Moscow’s ongoing hostile actions to upend the American political system and U.S.-Russian relations. The confusion leaves those very officials and lawmakers — including Republicans who have criticized Trump as too weak on Putin — still searching for the official administration stance on election meddling and posture toward America’s Cold War rival.

Former Maloney Staffer Feels the Pain of New Deportation Policy
Maria Martinez’s family immigration story ended in tragedy

Maria Martinez, second from right, with, from left, her father Martin Martinez, her brother Martin Martinez Jr. and her mother Julia Ochoa. (Courtesy Maria Martinez)

Maria Christina Martinez was 18 years old when nine Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents rolled up in black SUVs outside her family’s Newburgh, New York, apartment at 6 a.m.

They were looking for her father, Martin Martinez.