Intelligence

Possible Trump-Macron Split Fuels European Power Vacuum
Bromance burned bright at first, but presidents spent weekend trading barbs

President Donald Trump, right, and French President Emmanuel Macron in April at the White House, when the two had a closer relationship than was in evidence in recent days. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is pushing away one of his few close allies, French President Emmanuel Macron, as experts warn of an emerging European power vacuum and some GOP lawmakers defend the U.S. president’s latest brash move.

The two presidents have little in common but quickly became unlikely allies. Trump is a businessman and former reality television star. Macron was a philosophy major who became a finance and economic wonk. A bromance developed, and Trump feted Macron during an official visit that included a private dinner at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate and an elegant state dinner at the White House.

Mark Warner Welcomes Amazon, But Warns Big Tech
Top Democrat on Senate Intelligence wants to see more data transparency from Facebook, others

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is welcoming Amazon to Arlington County. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One of the Senate’s most tech-savvy members is applauding Amazon’s decision to locate half of HQ2 in Crystal City, but he had some strong language for the technology industry at large when it comes to data privacy.

Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who resides not far from the part of Northern Virginia that is now slated for investment and redevelopment as an Amazon campus with 25,000 jobs, said he hoped the move would further catalyze a regional technology industry boom.

House Intelligence Committee Staff Director Damon Nelson Dies
Nelson had worked for Devin Nunes since he came to Congress in 2003

Damon Nelson, staff director for the House Intelligence Committee, died Saturday following a brief illness. (Courtesy the House Intelligence Committee.)

Damon Nelson, the staff director for the House Intelligence Committee, died Saturday following a brief illness.

Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, Nelson’s boss, shared the news in a statement expressing “deep sorrow” for the death of his employee and friend. The California Republican did not provide further detail about Nelson’s illness. Nelson died at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Maryland.

Three Things to Watch When Trump, Putin Land in Paris
Analysts: ‘Trump is operating from an assumption that he can bully our allies’

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron attend a Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees on July 14, 2017 in Paris. Macron will host Trump and other world leaders this weekend to mark the 100th anniversary of World War I Armistice Day. (Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)

Three days after Republicans lost control of the House, President Donald Trump departed Friday for a diplomatic weekend in Paris that will put him face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin as Democrats with their newfound House majority prepare to explore that relationship more deeply.

Trump campaigned on warming relations with Moscow after things chilled under former President Barack Obama, and kept up that hope for much of his first year in office. But lately, even the 45th president has shown with Putin, expressing doubt that things will get better anytime soon. Trump’s administration has repeatedly implemented sanctions and other tough-on-Russia policies that have further chilled relations.

Here’s How a House Democratic Majority Might Protect Mueller If Trump Fires Him
With power to investigate and subpoena, Democrats have options to protect special counsel

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., will be one of the Democratic leaders in charge of protecting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats, with their new majority, will have an expansive new toolkit once they take control of the chamber on Jan. 3 to protect special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation — even if acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker decides to shut it down.

If President Donald Trump, through Whitaker or his full-time replacement, does indeed order Mueller to shutter his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, that would trigger a quick response from Democrats. In two months, they will wield the all-important power of subpoenaing officials.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Out, Constitutional Crisis Murmurs Begin
Ongoing feud between Trump and Sessions comes to an end

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is out just one day after the 2018 midterms in which Democrats regained control of the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions one day after Democrats regained control of the House and voiced intent to ratchet up pressure on the White House.

Trump used a tweet Wednesday afternoon to make the announcement and install Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff, as the acting attorney general.

Voters Send Mixed Signals About Trump with Split Decision
Uncertain how president governs with Dem House, GOP Senate

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center on September 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Voters sent mixed messages Tuesday about Donald Trump’s chaotic and self-described “nationalist” presidency, handing Democrats control of the House while expanding Republicans’ Senate majority.

Democratic control of the House and Republican control of the Senate likely ends the latter’s push for additional tax cuts and opens a several months-long window for some kind of sweeping bipartisan deal on infrastructure or immigration somewhat possible.

‘I Haven’t Seen Any Russians,’ Arizona Candidate Says in Sputnik Interview
GOP candidate Wendy Rogers under fire for interview with Russian outlet seen as Putin propaganda tool

Wendy Rogers, candidate for Arizona’s 1st District, did an interview with a Russian state-owned news agency. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The midterm election news blitz will come to a close soon, but one Arizona Republican candidate’s interview with a Russian government-owned news agency is drawing criticism on Election Day. 

Wendy Rogers did an interview earlier this month with Sputnik News, which NATO officials have accused of being part of a “Kremlin propaganda machine” distributing biased articles and “misinformation” to influence political opinion around the world.

DHS Detects Elections Systems Scanning
Could be hackers looking for vulnerabilities, but ‘run-of-the-mill’

Homeland Security officials have detected scanning of elections systems. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Homeland Security officials at the Washington elections command post said they had detected some “run-of-the-mill” scanning of elections systems a little past noon on Election Day.

Scanning of systems is something many hackers try to do routinely to search for vulnerabilities. In physical terms, scanning is the equivalent of a burglar walking through a neighborhood to see if any of the houses are unlocked.

Trump: Democrats Will ‘Blame Russia’ if They Lose Midterms
President in Big Sky Country: Dems would ‘invite caravan after caravan of illegal aliens’

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center on September 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was in Belgrade, Montana Saturday for the first of two rallies as he barnstorms the country in a final midterms push. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump ramped up his pre-midterm rhetoric at a rally Saturday in Big Sky Country, claiming that if Democrats do poorly in Tuesday’s elections, they will simply “blame Russia.”

His final-days campaign swing also has featured provocative comments about immigration, the economy and Democrats — and a litany of false statements. In October alone, the Washington Post's Fact Checker staff found he said over 1,000 false or misleading statements; CNN calculated he uttered 81 false statements at a rally this week alone. It’s all part of his strategy to rev up his conservative base to drive up Republican vote counts in key districts and states.