Afghanistan

Ailing Rep. Walter Jones to have private swearing-in ceremony
NC Republican has been sidelined since September but has shared few details about his health

Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., has missed votes since September. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Walter Jones will be sworn into the new session of Congress privately at his home in Farmville, North Carolina, because he could not be in Washington this week due to an unspecified illness.

“Congressman Jones has been dealing with a medical issue and will be sworn in today,” spokesman Joshua Bowlen said.

GOP Rep. Walter Jones Suggests Trump Pay for Part of His Wall
‘The president might consider pledging some of his own funds’ If Mexico won’t pay, Jones says

Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., suggested last week that President Donald Trump should consider paying for the wall with some of his own money. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Walter Jones is worried that President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall will add to the federal debt — so worried, in fact, that he’s proposing the president pony up some of his own money for the wall.

“If Mexico isn’t going to be made to pay for a wall, that means funds must be found internally,” the North Carolina Republican said in a statement Friday.

Amid Crises, Trump Slips Out of Washington to Visit Troops in Iraq
President had caught flack for opting against a warzone visit in first 23 months in office

President Trump quietly left Joint Base Andrews early Wednesday morning on Air Force One to make his first visit as commander in chief to U.S. troops deployed in a combat zone. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Amid a government shutdown and multiple crises at home, President Donald Trump slid out of the White House early Wednesday morning for a holiday season trip to visit troops in Iraq.

Trump faced bipartisan criticism for not visiting any U.S. forces deployed in combat zones since he took office in January 2017. There were rumors last week that he might travel to Iraq or Afghanistan during what had been planned as a 16-day holiday season vacation at his South Florida resort, but White Houses, for security reasons, keep such trips under wraps.

Trump Forces Mattis Out Early as Defense Secretary
Mattis' deputy will assume acting role on Jan. 1

Defense Secretary James Mattis, photographed in early 2018, will end his nearly two-year tenure as top Pentagon chief on Jan. 1, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning that Defense Secretary James Mattis will be replaced Jan. 1 by his deputy — nearly two months before his planned departure. 

Mattis issued a resignation letter earlier this week to Trump,  stating that he had grown too disillusioned by his boss’s treatment of other U.S. allies and his “America first” philosophy. He had planned to remain in place through February to give time for an orderly transition, then came this latest presidential tweet. 

Analysis: Get Used to Trump Tumult in U.S. National Security
Mattis resignation and troop withdrawals only the beginning

President Donald Trump confers with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford (right) during a meeting with military leaders in the Cabinet Room in October. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 12/26/18 | This week was a stormy one for American national security. But it is likely to be only a taste of things to come.

The disclosure that President Donald Trump plans to withdraw thousands of U.S. troops from Syria and possibly also Afghanistan, followed by Defense Secretary James Mattis’ resignation in protest of those moves and more, jangled nerves in Washington.

Senate, House Convene as Some Government Agencies Shut Down
Talks between White House and Senate Democrats over Trump’s border wall come up short

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives at the Capitol for a rare Saturday session of the Senate. With no progress made in the impasse over funding President Donald Trump’s border wall that has caused a partial government shutdown, the Senate adjourned until after Christmas three hours after convening. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate and House convened in a rare Saturday sessions after nine Cabinet-level departments and several other federal agencies ceased operations Saturday morning in the latest government shutdown of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney issued a memo to the heads of executive departments and agencies late Friday directing them to implement shutdown plans for departments not funded by the spending bills for fiscal 2019 that have become law.

Illness Will Make Rep. Walter Jones Miss the Rest of This Session
Jones to return in January to serve out his final term in office

North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones has been granted a leave of absence for the duration of the congressional term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones’ unspecified illness will cause him to miss votes for the remainder of the 115th Congress.

Jones’ House colleagues granted the leave of absence on Dec. 11 by unanimous consent, according to the Congressional Record.

Bustos Announces DCCC Senior Staff, With New Female Executive Director
Allison Jaslow will be the committee’s executive director in 2018

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., is the new DCCC chairwoman.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Cheri Bustos, the new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman, announced her senior staff hires for the 2020 cycle Thursday. Her campaign manager Allison Jaslow will be the committee’s executive director. 

The DCCC is shifting to defense in 2020 after flipping 40 seats to take over the House. The committee will be tasked with protecting vulnerable new members, including 31 Democrats running for re-election in districts President Donald Trump won in 2016.

The President Who Walled Himself Into a Corner
Maybe another president might have gotten away with playing the terrorism card to justify his wailing

Donald Trump could learn a thing or two from the Berlin Wall, Shapiro writes. Above, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other dignitaries place flowers at the Berlin Wall Memorial in 2014, commemorating the 25th anniversary of its fall. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Walls work. Just ask the East Germans.

Of course, the Berlin Wall, with its 15-foot-high concrete walls topped by barbed wire, only stretched for 28 miles across the divided city. And border guards killed nearly 200 East Germans as they tried to flee to freedom in the West.

Trump to Nominate Top Army General for Joint Chiefs Chairman
Gen. Mark Milley has been Army chief of staff since 2015

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, second from right, applauds President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in January with, from left, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, and Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump said Saturday he intends to nominate Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to replace Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The commander-in-chief hinted Friday he intended to make the personnel announcement during the Army-Navy football game he will attend in Philadelphia Saturday.