libya

Border wall, nuclear weapons to spark partisan fight at defense bill debate
House Armed Services to being marathon annual markup on Wednesday

A protester shows support for the border wall at a September 2018 rally at the Capitol. The wall is expected to be a flashpoint at the annual Pentagon policy bill debate Wednesday at the House Armed Services panel. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Adam Smith’s first bill as House Armed Services chairman will surely stir contentious debate during the panel’s markup Wednesday of the annual Pentagon policy bill, a marathon session that is expected to extend into the early morning hours Thursday.

The chairman’s mark — the Washington Democrat’s portion of the massive defense authorization bill — tees up partisan fights on Guantanamo Bay, nuclear weapons and the border wall. It says nothing on President Donald Trump’s proposed Space Force, an issue that Smith said Monday would likely find its way in the bill through a bipartisan amendment.

Meet the new Senate Foreign Relations boss, not the same as the old boss
Jim Risch says he speaks regularly with the president, but does not air laundry

Sen.  Jim Risch, R-Idaho, left, is the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, working with ranking member Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Contrary to past practice, when the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has a disagreement with President Donald Trump, the public might not hear about it.

But Sen. Jim Risch says that the president himself certainly does — often from the chairman himself.

Rep. Gowdy to Rejoin Old Firm as White Collar Criminal Defense Attorney
Oversight chairman retiring after five terms in Congress

Rep.Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is retiring in January after five terms in Congress. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Trey Gowdy will return to the private law firm in South Carolina where he worked in the 1990s and will be a white collar criminal defense attorney.

The South Carolina Republican is retiring from Congress in January after serving five consecutive terms.

Bob Corker’s Quieter Foreign Policy Legacy
Retiring Foreign Relations chairman offers advice for new members

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has advice for incoming senators: become an expert, listen to colleagues and score quieter wins with an eye to the future. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker prepares to yield his gavel and leave the Senate, he has advice for newly elected senators: gain expertise and actually listen to your colleagues.

“Some of these people obviously are coming in with large platforms. I mean, they’ve been significant figures prior to coming here,” the Tennessee Republican, first elected in 2006, said in a recent interview. “Still though, they’re going to be freshman senators and they’re going to be sitting at the end of the dais in most cases in whatever the committee.”

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.

It Turns Out Democrats Are Really Bad at Getting Mad
They’re doing their best scorched-earth impression of Mitch McConnell. It isn’t working

Fight fire with fire, says Hillary Clinton. Civility can wait. But Democrats do a pretty weak impression of Mitch McConnell, Shapiro writes. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

OPINION — Anger in politics is like the porridge in “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” — it has to be just right.

Too little anger breeds a sense of complacency and decreases the urgency of voting. Too much anger produces self-defeating rhetoric that repels the very undecided voters that you are struggling to attract.

Witnesses Increasingly Wary of House GOP Probe into DOJ, FBI Bias
Pattern of broken confidentiality agreements leaves interviewees vulnerable to selective leaks, critics say

Former FBI Director James Comey turned down a request for a private meeting with the House task force looking into potential anti-Trump bias in federal law enforcement agencies, but would “welcome the opportunity to testify at a public hearing,” his attorney wrote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Witnesses for the House GOP’s investigation into potential bias at the top levels of U.S. law enforcement have grown increasingly dubious of the probe — to the point that some actually prefer public hearings to private ones.

Case in point: Former FBI Director James Comey on Monday declined to submit to a private interview with members of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform panels, who comprise a joint “task force” examining whether “decisions made and not made” by the Justice Department and FBI during the 2016 Clinton email and Trump-Russia investigations were tinged with anti-Republican bias.

Waltz Fixes Financial Disclosure After Consulting Company Omission
Florida Republican’s company led group of defense manufacturers to Libya in 2013

(Courtesy Michael Waltz for U.S. Congress)

Florida congressional candidate Michael Waltz originally did not divulge on his financial disclosure form to run for office that he owned a 50 percent stake in a consulting firm that led U.S. aerospace and defense manufacturers on a trip to Libya in 2013 to meet with government officials there.

Waltz, the Republican candidate for Florida’s open 6th District seat and a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, has since filed an amendment to his financial disclosure form listing himself as a partner in the defense consulting firm, Askari Associates, LLC.

The Pentagon Saw a Prized Jet. John McCain Saw a ‘Hangar Queen’
Armed Services chairman was no dove, but he couldn’t stand Defense waste

Dozens of Pentagon programs felt the lash of John McCain’s tongue, from bomb-detecting elephants to oxygen-deprived jets. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Few lawmakers have ridiculed wasteful Pentagon spending or scolded military officials from the Senate floor, hearing rooms, campaign events and in reports as often as Sen. John McCain.

The Arizona Republican died Saturday after a yearlong battle with brain cancer.

Instead of Oversight, This Congress Believes in Under-Sight
Omarosa saga reminds us that no Trump offense is so big that the GOP can’t ignore it

President Donald Trump talks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Whip John Cornyn after his State of the Union address in January. No offense by the president and his administration is so big that it can’t be ignored by Republicans on the Hill, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In “Dr. Strangelove,” Stanley Kubrick’s scabrously funny 1964 sendup of nuclear war, a fanatical anti-Communist general starts pummeling the Russian ambassador for taking photographs in the inner sanctum of the Pentagon. The hapless president breaks up the scuffle by saying in an outraged tone, “Gentlemen. You can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!”

If only Kubrick were still around to do justice to Omarosa Manigault Newman taping her own firing by John Kelly in the White House Situation Room. Even the fanatical Gen. Jack D. Ripper couldn’t match the deranged fury of Donald Trump’s Tuesday tweet calling Omarosa “a crazed, crying lowlife” and viciously likening her to a “dog.”