Iran

After Helsinki, Senate GOP Quietly Takes Aim at Russia
Flake, Gardner, Rubio all propose Senate takes steps to deter Russian aggression

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., plans to introduce a resolution in the Senate to "reaffirm support" for the U.S. intelligence apparatus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At least two Republican senators are urging their colleagues to do what President Donald Trump was unwilling to do at his joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday: hold Russia accountable for interfering in the 2016 election and its hyper-aggressive foreign policy.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake is working on a measure that would “reaffirm support for the intelligence community,” he said on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.

Trump, Putin Address Election Meddling Charges in Helsinki
Russian president denies what U.S. agencies have concluded he ordered

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on Air Force One at Helsinki International Airport on Sunday for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Updated 11:26 a.m. | Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the Helsinki summit “a success” and a “very fruitful round of negotiations,” but he said he denied any involvement in meddling in the last U.S. election when pressed by President Donald Trump.

Putin also said he hopes stabilizing Syria could be an example of increased “joint work” between his country and the Trump administration.

Trump Shifts Tone on NATO, But Says He Could Pull Out Without Congress
Trump says he convinced allies to up spending, but NATO secretary-general stops short of agreeing with that

President Donald Trump, here at the Capitol last month, changed his tone about NATO as he was leaving a summit in Belgium. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump was in damage control mode Thursday morning, declaring a tense NATO summit a success even while saying he could withdraw the United States from the alliance without the consent of Congress.

The U.S. commander in chief spent Wednesday and Thursday morning lambasting other NATO members — especially Germany — and turned the annual alliance meeting into a spectacle of ill will amid whispers, including from some GOP lawmakers, that he was working to undermine it. But by midday Thursday in Brussels, Belgium, he was taking credit for allegedly securing pledges from the other leaders to pay more into NATO’s coffers.

Tariffs Not Enough to Outsmart China, Experts Tell Lawmakers
Two House Foreign Affairs subcommittees held hearing Wednesday

The Senate-passed defense authorization bill includes a seven-year ban on sales of U.S-made parts to ZTE Corp., a Chinese telecommunications company. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

The United States will have to use more than trade tariffs to force China to curb policies designed to give its state-owned enterprises a competitive edge over U.S. companies and undermine America’s technological future, experts on China told two House Foreign Affairs subcommittees on Wednesday.

The witnesses, at a hearing on Chinese trade practices, recommended strategies including using a new Justice Department anti-trust enforcement division that scrutinizes violations by foreign governments. They also said the United States should band together with trading partners to increase pressure on China to change discriminatory policies on intellectual property. In addition, the witnesses favored action on legislation in a House-Senate conference committee that would expand national security reviews of Chinese business transactions involving high-tech.

US Spending Less to Secure World’s Nuclear Bomb Materials
Slowdown in nonproliferation spending contrasts with nuclear weapons upgrade

President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget request for “core” nuclear nonproliferation programs at the Energy Department is fully 18 percent lower than the level of funding such programs had eight years ago. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Terrorists are avowedly trying to build nuclear bombs, but U.S. spending to safeguard the world’s atomic materials has dipped in recent years — and President Donald Trump plans to keep it that way, according to budget documents, independent experts and lawmakers.

An Energy-Water spending bill passed last week by the Senate in a package with two other spending measures proposes a slight increase for nuclear security programs. But it would still leave the budget for those efforts far below what it was just a few years ago.

Analysis: Top Brow-Furrowing Moments From Trump’s Tax Bash
‘The economy is indeed doing well,’ president says before addressing newsroom murders

President Donald Trump on Friday asked invited guests if they were aware that the U.S. economy is the world’s largest. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

This might be remembered as the week President Donald Trump, back in campaign mode, got his sharp-tongued rhetorical groove back. And he kept it up Friday, even while making his first public remarks about a shooting at a Maryland newsroom that occurred roughly 30 miles from the White House and left five dead.

The president came to the White House’s East Room for a long-scheduled event on the six-month-anniversary of a GOP tax law he signed in late December with a prepared statement about the Annapolis shooting at the Capital Gazette office.

Senators Want More Art in Trump’s North Korea Dealings
Measure seeks more congressional oversight of process

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., wants more congressional oversight of any deal President Donald Trump makes with North Korea. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Barely six months ago, the bills introduced in Congress on North Korea were generally of two kinds — those that wanted tougher economic sanctions on Pyongyang, or those that sought to curb President Donald Trump from launching an attack on the North without congressional input.

But with the Trump-Kim Jong Un summit more than two weeks old, and few details emerging on the exact nature of the deal reached in Singapore, the mood has shifted in Congress.

Supreme Court Rules Trump’s Travel Ban Is Legal
Decision splits court along ideological lines

The Supreme Court issues rulings on the travel ban and on California’s abortion law on Tuesday.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A sharply divided Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the latest version of the administration’s controversial travel ban, backing an early and central piece of President Donald Trump’s promised tough-on-immigration agenda.

The 5-4 decision split the court along familiar ideological lines, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the other four conservatives ruling that Trump had a sufficient national security justification for a policy that on its face “says nothing about religion.”

Energy Panel Advances Bills to Support New Nuclear Plants
Bills will help maintain nuclear in the domestic electricity mix, lawmakers say

Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, who chairs the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, says the bills will help establish a coherent and defined federal nuclear policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A quartet of bills meant to ease the path to commercialization of new nuclear reactors moved out of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee Thursday.

The bills are intended to speed up Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing for so-called advanced reactors, including smaller units, and to spur a domestic fuel supply. Lawmakers have proposed the bills as a way to help nuclear retain its place in a domestic electricity mix increasingly powered by natural gas and cheap renewable sources, such as wind and solar.

Wall Street Regulator Coddles Big Banks but Clobbers Small Firms
Lenient treatment from the SEC leaves misconduct unchecked

Protesters call for higher taxes on big banks in 2012. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images file photo)

JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest financial services firm, has paid $28 billion to settle cases brought by federal agencies in the past 10 years, most of them related to the 2008 financial crisis.

Yet the massive fines extracted from banks like JPMorgan for their role in the Wall Street meltdown have done little to deter other types of misconduct in the decade since, and one reason is lenient treatment from the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to our analysis of SEC enforcement records with a Georgetown University law professor.