Syria

Podcast: Jeff Flake Feels the Heat
The Big Story, Episode 68

Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake talk before the start of the Senate Foreign Relations hearing to debate the authorization for use of military force in Syria on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Jeff Flake's path to re-election is complicated. The Arizona Republican was potentially vulnerable even before President Donald Trump touched down in Phoenix to criticize him at a campaign style rally.

Now Flake, who has argued for more civility in politics, finds himself in a big fight in both the GOP primary and, if he gets past that, a compressed general election. Roll Call elections analyst Nathan Gonzales discusses the 2018 Senate race in Arizona with Roll Call leadership editor Jason Dick on the Big Story Podcast.

Analysis: Why Won't Trump Discuss Troop Numbers?

President Donald Trump has delegated much of the troop deployment details on Afghanistan to Defense Secretary James Mattis and the Pentagon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a speech to the nation on Aug. 21, President Donald Trump issued a clarion call on Afghanistan, effectively asking Americans to indefinitely extend their longest war at untold additional cost in lives and money. But he declined to say how many of America’s sons and daughters he plans to deploy there.

Trump did not quantify the military deployment even though it has been widely reported that he has already authorized the Pentagon to augment its nearly 8,500 strong force in Afghanistan with almost 4,000 additional service members. The first of the extra troops could arrive within days or weeks, and those numbers could grow depending on conditions in Afghanistan, officials have said.

Trump Thanks Putin for Expelling U.S. Diplomats
President later says he was ‘absolutely’ being sarcastic

President Donald Trump arrives for a working session at the G-20 economic summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images file photo)

Updated Friday, 8:15 p.m. | President Donald Trump thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for his decision to expel hundreds of American diplomats based in Moscow, saying it will help reduce the U.S. government’s payroll.

The Kremlin’s decision to expel 755 U.S. diplomats by Sept. 1 came after Congress overwhelmingly passed a measure aimed at imposing sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. Trump, who signed the bill on Aug. 2, expressed his appreciation Thursday for Putin’s move.

Trump Implies Nuclear Strike on North Korea is Possible
Meantime, Tillerson tries to cool tensions in the region

People at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea watch a television showing President Donald Trump on Wednesday. Trump issued an apocalyptic warning to North Korea on Tuesday, saying it faces "fire and fury" over its missile program. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump issued an implicit warning to North Korea Wednesday morning, tweeting the U.S. nuclear arsenal is “far stronger and more powerful” than it ever has been.

A day after warning the United States would hit the North with “fire and fury” if Pyongyang repeated threats that it would strike American targets, Trump took to Twitter and appeared to signal he is prepared to use nuclear weapons against North Korea if conflict breaks out.

House Passes Sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea
After procedural delays, bill sent to Senate

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., accused Iran, Russia and North Korea of seeking to undermine the United States after the House passed a bill Tuesday aimed at imposing sanctions on the three nations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A bill aimed at imposing sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea passed the House 419-3 Tuesday after being held up by technical delays for weeks. But its fate in the Senate remains unclear.

The bill was largely lauded by leadership as a bipartisan effort.

Kislyak Leaves His Post With Russiagate in His Wake
Russian ambassador’s communications with Trump advisers at center of investigations

Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak leaves after a farewell reception in Washington on July 11 hosted by the U.S.-Russia Business Council. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Sergei Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to Washington who was in contact with multiple U.S. officials in Donald Trump’s administration during the 2016 presidential campaign and the lead-up to Trump’s inauguration, left his post over the weekend, the Russian embassy announced in a Saturday morning tweet.

Kislyak was replaced in the interim by Minister-Counseler and Deputy Chief of Mission Denis V. Gonchar until his successor arrives from Moscow.

McCain Absence Felt Well Beyond Health Care
Defense, immigration are among his top priorities

Arizona Sen. John McCain frequently finds himself at the center of high policy debates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The effect of John McCain’s absence from the Senate goes well beyond the vote-counting on health care.

The Arizona Republican has long been in the middle of major legislative battles, always willing to mix it up with his colleagues and spar with reporters in the Capitol’s hallways. (Few senators would video-bomb a CNN correspondent during a live shot.)

Tiptoes on the Hill Back Into War Debate
A bipartisan push for Trump to seek fresh authority to combat terrorism

Soldiers with the New York Army National Guard patrol in New York City’s Penn Station in June following a terrorist attack in London. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Sixteen years on, Congress seems to be getting genuinely close to forcing itself into a fresh debate on how to prescribe the use of military force against terrorism.

Writing a new war authorization will not happen before the end of the year, meaning those deliberations would be influenced by the dynamics of the midterm election campaign. But proposals to force the issue onto the agenda have the potential to blossom into sleeper hits on this summer’s remarkably blockbuster-deprived roster of consequential legislation.

Judge Narrows Trump's Travel Ban Enforcement

From left, Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., and Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., protested the administration's travel ban when it was unveiled earlier this year.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Trump administration can’t stop grandparents and other relatives of someone in the United States from entering the country under its enforcement of the revised travel ban, a federal judge in Hawaii ruled late Thursday.

The ruling is a legal setback for President Donald Trump’s temporary ban against travelers from six majority-Muslim countries, and could prompt the government to take the issue back to the Supreme Court during the justices’ summer recess.

Trump Defends Eldest Son During Chummy Day with Macron
'Most people would have taken that meeting,' U.S. president declares

French President Emmanuel Macron (left) welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump prior to a meeting and joint press conference at the Elysee Presidential Palace on Thursday in Paris. (Photo by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday uttered his first verbal public defense of his eldest son’s decision to take a meeting with what was described to him as a “Russian government attorney” to discuss dirt on Hillary Clinton.

His comments came during a remarkably chummy day with new French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. The two slapped backs and exchanged numerous handshakes and laughs in front of journalists, vowing enhanced counterterrorism cooperation during a joint press conference.