Intelligence

Give Trump a Chance, Alexander Says
Tennessee Republican strikes tone of harmony as Senate GOP tries to pass tax code overhaul

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said he would continue working with the Trump administration to advance the GOP agenda. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump was elected by the American people to navigate the U.S. through uncertain times, Sen. Lamar Alexander said Monday, and lawmakers should “give the president a chance.”

The Tennessee Republican told CNBC that while Trump “does things and says things that I don’t do, and that I don’t approve of,” he is the person that Americans “entrusted with the presidency, and I’m going to try to help him succeed.”

Senators Unlike Judicial Nominee’s Tweets
Judiciary Committee not amused by Don Willett’s social media output

Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A darling of #AppellateTwitter, Don Willett is a Texas Supreme Court justice whose wit earned 104,000 followers on the social media website before President Donald Trump nominated him to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

But the Senate Judiciary Committee took a bit of shine off the Lone Star State’s officially designated “Tweeter Laureate” on Wednesday, when senators tore into him for some tweets and even told Willett it would be a good idea to just stop tweeting altogether.

Texas Democrats on Pelosi’s Help: Meh
Senate and House hopefuls unite in calls for new party leadership

Support from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is an afterthought for the Democratic hopefuls in Texas' 23rd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When it comes to support from their party’s House leader, Texas Democratic hopefuls can take it or leave it.

In Texas’ 23rd District, all four Democrats running against Republican Rep. Will Hurd were at best lukewarm in their enthusiasm for a potential endorsement from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — with some suggesting they would not welcome the California Democrat’s help.

Tillerson: China Sends ‘Unequivocal’ Message on North Korea
Xi wants to give sanctions time to further squeeze North, secretary of state says

Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson appears on Capitol Hill earlier this year. He said on Thursday that Chinese officials say they will not stand for a nuclear-armed North Korea. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Chinese leaders have made an “unequivocal” declaration to U.S. officials that they will not tolerate a North Korea armed with nuclear weapons, says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

U.S. and Chinese officials see evidence of “stress” on key North Korean figures, including members of its military, because of recent sanctions applied since the Trump administration took office, Tillerson said, citing intelligence reports.

New Jersey’s Frank LoBiondo Won’t Seek Re-election
12-term Republican’s departure opens targeted seat

New Jersey Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo will not seek re-election in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

New Jersey Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election, a move that makes his 2nd District more competitive for 2018.

The 12-term Republican said his position as a term-limited subcommittee chairman and the disappearance of the political “middle ground” contributed to his decision.  

After Controversies, Members Want Kelly to Avoid Spotlight
Sen. Graham: Having an opinion ‘doesn’t mean you have to share it’

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly speaks during a White House briefing last month. Lawmakers from both parties say he should focus on running a less chaotic White House. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

Lawmakers from both parties, concerned that John F. Kelly has too often added to the White House chaos he was hired to tamp down, want the chief of staff to revert to managing President Donald Trump’s administration far away from the television cameras.

The retired Marine Corps four-star general and former Homeland Security secretary views his new job as that of an ultimate insider, according to senior White House aides who report to him. But in recent weeks, Kelly has at times taken on a different role — combative spokesman for the president. And that has only created more heartburn for the White House and its Republican allies on Capitol Hill.

Comey Drops His Cover on Twitter
Former FBI director drops Niebuhr on Twitter and emerges as @comey as he promotes book

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before a Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 election on June 8, 2017. (By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former FBI Director James B. Comey is no longer using Reinhold Neibuhr for cover, making his Twitter account official as he promotes his book.

The website Gizmodo discovered earlier this year while Comey was still FBI director, that he had a Twitter account with the handle @ProjectExile7 under the moniker Reinhold Niebuhr. Comey had written his college thesis about the theologian.

McConnell Skeptical of Mandatory Disclosures for Facebook, Twitter Ads
Top Republican casts it as free speech issue

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is skeptical of a legislative solution to the security issues surrounding political advertising on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is casting doubt about the idea of enacting laws requiring disclosures for political ads on Facebook and Twitter.

“I’m a little skeptical of these disclosure-type proposals that are floating around, which strikes me would mostly penalize American citizens trying to use the internet and to advertise,” the Kentucky Republican said in an interview that aired Saturday.

Trump Position on Individual Mandate in Tax Bill Complicates Task
Cotton plans to nix but key House tax-writer rejected idea Tuesday

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., wants to use the tax bill to repeal the 2010 health care law’s individual mandate. Tax-writers are skeptical. But President Trump suddenly endorsed the idea on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump threw congressional Republican tax-writers a curveball Wednesday, suddenly voicing support for using a coming overhaul measure to repeal the 2010 health care law’s individual insurance mandate.

Trump endorsed a provision being pushed by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., with whom he has met several times in recent weeks. Cotton has been working with the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees to include the repeal of the health care law’s individual mandate in a tax overhaul bill. He said if he is unable to convince the leaders of those panels to include it in their tax bills, he will try to attach it as an amendment.

Tech Companies Get an Earful From Intelligence Committee
Senators accuse executives of just not getting extent of Russian meddling

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., left, and ranking member Mark Warner, D-Va., have challenged technology companies for their response to Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Big technology companies faced a second day of public lashing on Capitol Hill, with the Senate Intelligence Committee accusing companies of a lackluster response to Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 

On Tuesday, executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter told the Senate Judiciary Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee that ads and automated non-advertising content generated by Moscow-backed companies reached hundreds of millions of Americans during the 2016 election — a number that is far higher than previous estimates offered by the companies.