Mike Rounds

Armed Services panel to huddle on three top Pentagon nominees
Joint Chiefs vice chairman nominee faces stiff headwinds

The committee will probably vote overwhelmingly to give its consent to Army Secretary Mark Esper becoming the next Pentagon chief. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Armed Services Committee, in a closed-door meeting Thursday, is expected to approve the president’s choice for Defense secretary and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and to discuss the embattled nomination of the Air Force general tapped to be the military’s No. 2 general, committee members and staff said Wednesday.

The committee will probably vote overwhelmingly to give its consent to Army Secretary Mark Esper becoming the next Pentagon chief, clearing the way for a Senate vote in the coming days to confirm him. The panel is also expected to send to the floor the nomination of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to be the next Joint Chiefs chairman.

Esper approval likely, but sexual assault allegations slow Joint Chiefs vice chair pick
Kirsten Gillibrand told CQ Roll Call that she would not support even giving Hyten a vote

The Senate Armed Services committee is expected on Thursday to approve Secretary of the Army and Secretary of Defense nominee Mark Esper as the next Pentagon chief. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:05 p.m. | The Senate Armed Services Committee, in a closed-door meeting Thursday, is expected to approve the president’s choice for Defense secretary and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and to discuss the embattled nomination of the Air Force general tapped to be the military’s No. 2 general, committee members and staff said Wednesday.

The committee will probably vote overwhelmingly to give its consent to Army Secretary Mark Esper becoming the next Pentagon chief, clearing the way for a Senate vote in the coming days to confirm him. The panel is also expected to send to the floor the nomination of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to be the next Joint Chiefs chairman.

House demands to see Trump’s cyberwarfare directive
But senators who oversee the Pentagon are not as concerned

Rep. Jim Langevin chairs the Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities. He’s part of a bipartisan group asking the Trump administration to share its secret cyberwarfare directive. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

A small but significant quarrel is emerging between a bipartisan team of lawmakers in the House and the Trump administration over how the Pentagon is going about using its newly minted authority to strike back against adversaries in cyberspace.

Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Armed Services Committee and its emerging threats subcommittee — in a rare instance of bipartisan pushback against the White House — have repeatedly asked administration officials for a still-secret memo issued by President Donald Trump that lifted earlier restrictions on U.S. Cyber Command’s operations against adversaries.

House to Trump: Cough up cyberwarfare directive
Administration's decision to withhold policy doc from Congress is highly unusual, members say

The Trump administration has has made clear that the Pentagon is boosting its cyber operations — both defensive and, increasingly, offensive. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Thursday voted to require the White House to give Congress a cyberwarfare directive that senior members say the administration has refused to turn over for nearly a year.

The language, which would force the administration to turn over “all National Security Presidential Memorandums relating to Department of Defense operations in cyberspace,” sailed through the chamber on a voice vote as part of a package of noncontroversial amendments to the annual defense policy bill.

America is woefully unprepared for cyber-warfare
From hacks to misinformation campaigns, its adversaries are winning in the virtual battleground

The U.S. military is increasingly adept at mounting cyberattacks in places like Russia and Iran, but America’s computers are almost completely defenseless. (iStock)

War in cyberspace is fully on, and the United States is losing it, according to about two dozen national security experts.

The U.S. military is increasingly adept at mounting cyberattacks in places like Russia and Iran, but America’s computers are almost completely defenseless. Without strong protections, offensive attacks can be invitations for disaster instead of deterrents.

S.D. lawmaker accuses Rep. Dusty Johnson of ‘DC-style ambush’ to keep her out of Senate race
Johnson denies accusations of intimidation, said conversation was ‘friendly’

A state lawmaker in South Dakota has accused Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S. D., of trying to intimidate her to keep her out of the race for South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds’ seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A state representative in South Dakota has alleged a “DC-style ambush” to intimidate her into forgoing a run for the Senate.

State Rep. Scyller Borglum said Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson, acting as a surrogate for Sen. Mike Rounds, intimidated her in a private meeting in an effort to dissuade her from launching a primary challenge to Rounds. 

Trump, aides intensify post-Mueller offensive against Democrats
Saying president is ‘open’ to a meeting, Kellyanne Conway asks: ‘Where are they?’

President Donald Trump, alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., talks to the media about the Mueller report before a Senate Republican policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senior White House officials continued their post-Mueller report offensive Tuesday against Democrats by contending the opposition party is obsessed with investigating President Donald Trump and unwilling to negotiate on legislation.

The new line of attack came after Trump and his team on Monday went on the offensive by accusing some involved in investigating him with “treasonous” acts and hit Democrats with a charge of attempting to “overthrow” the federal government. But by Tuesday, the White House said it was ready to open talks on infrastructure and drug pricing legislation —alleging that Democrats refuse to come to the table.

Trump takes post-Mueller victory lap to Hill, but ‘he didn't really dwell on it’
Senators say POTUS mostly focused on trade as administration pivots to health care fight

President Donald Trump alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., (left) and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., talks to the media about Robert S. Mueller III’s report upon arriving for the Senate Republican Policy luncheon in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s post-Mueller victory lap included a Tuesday strategy session with Senate Republicans, but several members said Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III finding no criminal conspiracy with Russia in 2016 was not the focus of his visit.

“He didn’t really dwell on it. He just simply made it very clear that he felt really good about the fact that their report came out and it said exactly what he had been saying all along that there was, you know, no collusion between him and the Russian government,” Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota said.

Ditch Columbus Day? Some Places Already Have
Sen. Mike Rounds’ state celebrates indigenous people instead, and has since 1990

The statue of Christopher Columbus is framed by wreaths left over from the Columbus Day celebration in front of Union Station in Washington in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s still a federal holiday. But more and more places are moving to replace Columbus Day.

South Dakota did it first, in the 1990s. “It’s about reconciliation. It’s about trying to bring people from different cultures, different backgrounds, different races together,” said Republican Sen. Mike Rounds.

Senators Cheer Trump Order on Election Meddling, but Want More Action
Democrats, especially, are skeptical of president’s commitment

Banking Chairman Michael D. Crapo and ranking Democrat Sherrod Brown have been holding a series of hearings on Russia sanctions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators are pleased to see the Trump administration doing something about election interference, but they don’t think Wednesday’s executive order will be enough.

Some of the concern comes from the fact that even if federal agencies report evidence of Russian evidence to interfere in the 2018 midterms, President Donald Trump could still waive the imposition of sanctions.