Defense & Cyberspace

Rosenstein Agrees to Sit for Transcribed Interview With Judiciary, Oversight Leaders
Freedom Caucus, rank-and-file panel members will not be able to participate

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will sit for a transcribed interview with House Judiciary and Oversight committee leaders on Oct. 24. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has agreed to sit for a transcribed interview with leaders of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees Oct. 24, the panels’ chairmen announced Thursday evening.

The announcement comes just hours after House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, an Oversight subcommittee chairman, called on Rosenstein to resign, citing his unwillingness to cooperate with the panels’ investigation.

3 Ways Congress Can Punish Saudi Arabia
Jamal Khashoggi’s alleged murder prompts bipartisan calls for action

Saudi officials arrive at the White House on March 20 ahead of a visit by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill from Republicans and Democrats alike to impose stiff penalties on Saudi Arabia for its suspected murder of a prominent dissident journalist, as new gruesome details were leaked by Turkish intelligence on Wednesday.

The growing congressional outrage over the reported torture, beheading and dismemberment two weeks ago of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is diametrically opposed to the signals coming from President Donald Trump, who has criticized the rush to judge the kingdom. A columnist for The Washington Post, Khashoggi was a resident of Virginia.

Jack Reed Talks Tough on Saudi Arabia Arms Sales
Key Dem on Khashoggi killing: ‘This outrageous act can’t be followed by a business-as-usual arms deal’

Earlier this year, Sen. Jack Reed joined Republicans in killing a push to end U.S aid to Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Now he’s striking a different tone. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. military should stop refueling Saudi Arabian aircraft fighting in Yemen and Congress should not approve any new offensive arms sales to Riyadh, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee told reporters Wednesday.

Jack Reed of Rhode Island also told a Defense Writers Group breakfast that a multinational, independent criminal probe should be launched to investigate the disappearance and alleged murder earlier this month of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Donald Trump Complains Saudis Are ‘Guilty Until Proven Innocent’ on Khashoggi
President compares to Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process

President Donald Trump, seen here meeting with Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, in the Oval Office at the White House, has defended the Saudis as accusations of their role in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi mount. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Trump Signals He Doesn’t Believe Saudi Rulers Involved in Journalist’s Death
Tweet follows conversation with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House in March 2017. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signaled he doesn’t believe Saudi rulers were involved in the suspected murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi after a telephone conversation with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“Just spoke with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate,” Trump tweeted. “He was with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo … during the call, and told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter. Answers will be forthcoming shortly.”

Lindsey Graham Wants to ‘Sanction the Hell Out of Saudi Arabia’ Until Crown Prince Is Ousted
South Carolina senator has no doubts about murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Sen. Lindsey Graham will not return to Saudi Arabia until Crown Prince Mohamed bin  is removed from the Kingdom’s power structure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to “sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia” in the aftermath of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“You know, we deal with bad people all the time, but this is in our face. I feel personally offended. They have nothing but contempt for us,” the South Carolina Republican said Tuesday morning. “Why would you put a guy like me and the president in this box?”

Menendez, Pompeo Feud Over Diplomatic Nominees
Secretary of state accuses New Jersey Democrat of ‘putting our nation at risk’

From right, Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker arrive for a hearing on July 25. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A tiff between New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is slowing down the confirmation of nominees for the nation’s diplomatic corps, already understaffed at a time of mounting global challenges.

Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, is objecting to some State nominees over their qualifications even as he continues to press Pompeo to fulfill long-standing oversight document requests.

Former Senate Intelligence Committee Security Chief Pleads Guilty
James A. Wolfe admits to one count of making false statements to FBI

James A. Wolfe, right, seen here with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The former head of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee has pleaded guilty to one charge of making false statements to the FBI.

The guilty plea, which was announced by the Justice Department on Monday, comes along with a commitment by the government to move to dismiss related charges.

McCarthy Bill Would Fund Border Wall, Boost Speaker Bid
Legislation not likely to move this year, but raises issue profile

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has introduced legislation to fund a border wall, something that could boost his bid to lead the House Republican Conference. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has introduced legislation that includes more than $23 billion for President Donald Trump’s border security agenda and numerous enforcement provisions aimed at cracking down on sanctuary cities and undocumented criminals, a proposal that could boost his bid to lead the House GOP after next month’s elections.

The California Republican introduced the bill on Friday after visiting the El Paso, Texas, sector of the southern border on Thursday.

Republicans Laud Trump after Turkey Releases Pastor Andrew Brunson
Democrats welcome pastor home with open arms, but say there’s unfinished business with Turkey

American pastor Andrew Brunson, partially obscured at left, arrives at his home after being released from court in Izmir, Turkey, on Friday. Brunson had been under house arrest in Izmir since October 2016 while awaiting trial on charges of abetting terrorist groups and supporting Fethullah Gulen, the cleric blamed for the failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016. (Burak Kara/Getty Images)

Republican lawmakers lauded President Donald Trump and his administration and Democrats offered words of support after Turkish officials released U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson from custody on Friday.

“Thank you President [Trump], [Vice President Mike] Pence and [Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] for your work to get Pastor Brunson released,” GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Brunson’s home state, tweeted Friday after news broke that a Turkish judge had decreed that Brunson be freed and sentenced to time served since he had already been in government detention for roughly two years.

No to ‘Ambassador Ivanka’ — President Signals Daughter Won't Be UN Envoy
‘I can already hear the chants of Nepotism!’ Donald Trump tweets

President Donald J. Trump greets former President Barack Obama as his daughter, Ivanka Trump, looks on, after Trump was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Friday appeared to signal he will not nominate his daughter, Ivanka Trump, to be the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

He used a tweet to say it is “nice” that “everyone” wants his daughter to be the U.S. envoy to the global body. But then he added this: “She would be incredible, but I can already hear the chants of Nepotism!”

Senate Poised to Pass Nicaragua Sanctions Bill
Central American nation has been riveted by violent protests since spring

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is one of the sponsors of a bipartisan bill that would impose sanctions against Nicaraguan government officials. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate is poised to pass legislation that would impose sanctions against Nicaraguan government officials and place conditions on international lending to the Central American country, which has been riven by violent protests since the spring.

The bipartisan legislation from Texas Republican Ted Cruz and New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez has been added to the Senate calendar and is expected to pass by unanimous consent. The measure advanced out of the Foreign Relations Committee late last month.

Veteran Who Threatened Rep. Frank LoBiondo, Staff Is Convicted
Defendant was unhappy with VA care

Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A veteran with post traumatic stress disorder was convicted in federal court Wednesday on two counts of making threats to New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo and his staffers, according to the Department of Justice.

Over the spring and summer of 2017, Joseph Brodie, 39, of Millville, New Jersey, sought assistance from LoBiondo’s office in receiving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Senators Trigger Investigation Into Missing Saudi Journalist Who May Have Been Murdered
Jamal Khashoggi went missing after visiting Saudi consulate in Turkey

Protesters hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi  at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday. Fears are growing over his fate after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Senators on Wednesday triggered a U.S. government investigation into what happened to a prominent missing Saudi journalist, who is suspected to have been murdered last week in Turkey.

The lawmakers said they expect the investigation to look into the actions of the “highest-ranking officials in the government of Saudi Arabia,” a move that signals lawmakers on both sides of aisle are willing to confront the staunch ally.

GOP Sen. James Lankford Equivocates on Trump Claim that China Is Interfering in US Elections
President: ‘We have evidence’

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., addressed the potential for China to interfere in U.S. elections in broad strokes. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Sen. James Lankford, a member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, equivocated in an interview this week on the question of whether the Chinese government is seeking to influence the midterm elections as the president has claimed.

President Donald Trump said at the United Nations Security Council in September that “regrettably, we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election coming up in November against my administration.”