terrorism

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.

Trump Nominee Has Blasted Lawmakers, Mormons, Immigrants
Mortensen wrote for ‘nativist hate group,’ Southern Poverty Law Center says

President Trump’s expected nominee for a State Department post has been harshly critical of Arizona’s two GOP senators, John McCain (left) and Jeff Flake. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Civil rights groups are calling on senators to reject President Donald Trump’s intention to put a former foreign service officer who has harshly criticized immigrants — along with U.S. religious leaders and key GOP lawmakers — into a State Department role overseeing refugees and migrants.

The White House announced its intention to nominate Ronald Mortensen to be assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration on Friday afternoon, as much of Washington and the country was starting a holiday weekend. But several influential immigration advocacy groups noticed — and quickly urged the Senate to block the nomination.

Administration Denies Notion Jerusalem Embassy Isolates U.S. in Region
Trump to address Monday’s opening ceremony via video, official says

President Donald Trump listens to introductions as he waits to speak to supporters at a rally on Friday in Elkhart, Indiana. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Senior administration officials on Friday dismissed the notion that President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has isolated the United States in the region.

The officials also told reporters on a morning conference call that an ample number of U.S. lawmakers are expected to attend a Monday afternoon event at the Jerusalem facility to mark its official opening. They did not, however, name names.

Opinion: On Iran, It’s Not About the Art of the Deal
Trump has plenty of room to address issues with Iran without altering nuclear accord

An Iranian surface-to-surface missile during a military parade in Tehran in 2008. The U.S. has many options to constrain Iranian ballistic missile activity outside the nuclear agreement, Misztal writes. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump has sold himself as the consummate deal-maker. But while he has been clear-eyed about the Iran nuclear accord, he has perhaps been overly focused on its shortcomings. This risks not only losing sight of the deal’s one advantage and its true costs, but also replicating his predecessor’s mistake: reducing all Iran policy issues to the agreement.

President Barack Obama’s diplomatic perseverance made the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, possible, but it also became a restraint. During negotiations, and even after the deal was struck, the Obama administration did not confront Iran on other serious issues — its bloody involvement in Syria or the 2016 capture of 10 American sailors in the Persian Gulf — for fear of upsetting the accord.

Pompeo Vows ‘Tough Diplomacy,’ Return of State’s ‘Swagger’
Trump cryptically touts U.S. activities that are ‘not even a glimmer in your eye’

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., right, meets with Mike Pompeo in the Capitol on March 19. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Flanked by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promised Tuesday to conduct “tough diplomacy” and told employees at the agency he wants to restore its “swagger.”

Trump and Pence made the short trek to Foggy Bottom on Wednesday morning for a ceremonial swearing-in of Trump’s second secretary of State. The president hailed Pompeo’s experience — as well as his own business school performance — while cryptically alluding to unspecified “things” the U.S. government is doing around the globe.

Trump Pushes DMZ as Kim Summit Site, Bashes U.S. Immigration Laws
Former reality TV star envisions ‘great celebration’ after deal with North

President Trump is interested in meeting North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un at the DMZ. (Niels Lesniewski/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump doubled down Monday on his proposal to hold his potential summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un inside the Demilitarized Zone along that country’s border with South Korea.

During a joint news conference with his Nigerian counterpart, Trump said the DMZ’s “Peace House” on South Korean soil and Singapore are candidates to host the potential summit. Trump revealed his interest in the former, saying it would allow for a “great celebration” should the two leaders strike a deal.

Macron Denounces Nationalistic Wave That Propelled Trump to White House
Post-WWII order is in jeopardy, French president warns U.S. lawmakers

French President Emmanuel Macron, center, arrives to address a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday, flanked from left by Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.,and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

French President Emmanuel Macron, addressing a joint meeting of Congress, denounced the wave of nationalistic fervor that helped Donald Trump capture the White House and urged U.S. lawmakers to seek a new and broader deal with Iran.

After spending a day and a half with Trump and first lady Melania Trump that included private meals, cheek kisses, hand-holding and backslapping, the French president broke with his political alter ego on several issues.

Macron Visit Will Highlight Iran Deal, Trade Differences
‘Iran deal will be atop the list of things Congress is watching,’ expert says

American, French and Washington, D.C., flags fly on Pennsylvania Avenue on Monday ahead of the official state visit of President Emmanuel Macron of France, who arrived later that day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It was all smiles and handshakes Monday afternoon when French President Emmanuel Macron arrived outside the West Wing. But Republican and Democratic lawmakers are expected to intently watch the youthful European leader’s talks with President Donald Trump.

Macron’s polished black limousine pulled into the White House’s West Wing entrance with a spring breeze perfectly pitching the flags of each country affixed to his hood. When the 40-year-old French president greeted his 71-year-old political alter ego, the personal bond they both often laud was on public display.

Trump, French President Macron to Disagree Privately, Official Says
French president visits next week for first state visit of Trump presidency

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes President Donald Trump prior to a meeting at the Elysee Presidential Palace on July 13, 2017 in Paris, France. (Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)

There will be ample smiles and handshakes for the camera, but don’t expect the U.S. and French heads of state to agree on much behind closed doors when they meet next week in Washington.

A number of contentious issues — from the Iran nuclear deal to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs to Syria — will be on the agenda next week when President Donald Trump hosts French President Emmanuel Macron for a visit that largely will be symbolic.

Podcast: Use of Force vs. Use of Power
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 8

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., talks with reporters in the basement of the Capitol on March 20, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators on both sides are pushing to rewrite the law authorizing military force, untouched for 16 years. Even after airstrikes on Syria the debate is likely to fade fast, White House correspondent John Bennett explains, part of a complex modern war-making power dynamic that favors presidents over Congress.

Show Notes