Executive Branch

House Republicans Increase Messaging Votes Ahead of August Recess
GOP leaders prepare for break by seeking contrast with minority party

Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., sees value in some of the messaging votes the House will take up before the August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House floor is seeing an uptick in messaging bills as Republicans prepare for a monthlong district work period in a midterm year when they are defending most of the seats in play.

Case in point was a resolution the House adopted Wednesday expressing support for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and rejecting calls to abolish the agency — a stance some progressive Democrats are pushing.

At Trump White House, One Russia Controversy Breeds Another
What did POTUS mean? No one is sure, but he declares Putin summit a ‘success’

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., center, was among those who were confused by the president’s statements about Russia on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump White House on Wednesday returned to a familiar pattern, fighting through multiple self-imposed controversies and confusing even its own allies.

President Donald Trump didn’t personally walk anything back, unlike on Tuesday. He left the mopping up to his top spokeswoman a day after he — in a rare move — admitted a mistake by amending one word of a 45-minute Finland press conference with Vladimir Putin that rattled both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

Senate to Weigh Large Cuts to Military Aid
Cuts target foreign militaries and militias trained to fight terrorists on U.S. behalf

Iraqi Kurdish fighters, also known as peshmerga, are seen driving along the frontline in October 2017 outside the town of Altun Kubri, Iraq. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The Senate will soon take up a Defense spending bill that would cut nearly $2.5 billion in military aid to foreign fighting forces, an unusually large budget subtraction some say reflects a fundamental change in lawmakers’ security priorities. 

At issue is the $675 billion fiscal 2019 Defense money bill, which Senate Appropriations approved late last month and which the chamber may take up later this month. 

Opinion: Charlotte Gambles on the Convention Las Vegas Didn’t Want
RNC 2020 goes to a blue city in a red (or purple) state. Now what?

Charlotte hosted the Democrats in 2012, and now it’s seeing red for 2020, Curtis writes. But will the payoff be worth it? (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images file photo)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Vi Lyles, the Democratic mayor of the largest city in North Carolina, said championing a bid to host the 2020 Republican National Convention was likely “the most difficult decision of my career.”

As word spread this week that Republicans have chosen Charlotte over other candidates, with a formal announcement due Friday, it’s almost certain the event will be one of the city’s biggest tests.

Democrats Call On Trump-Putin Interpreter to Testify, Republicans Say No
Marina Gross may be the only one with answers to what happened in the Trump-Putin summit

Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., D-N.J. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats looking for information about what happened during the private meeting between President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin want the U.S. interpreter to testify.

New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell called Wednesday on Reps. Trey Gowdy and Elijah Cummings, chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight committee, to ask Marina Gross to testify publicly before the committee.

State Department Nominees Could Be In For Procedural Headache
Robert Menendez warns of making life difficult if questions go unanswered

Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., left, and ranking member Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., attend a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on the nominations of Brian J. Bulatao and Denise Natali for State Department positions on July 18, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey has made a thinly veiled threat against pending State nominations if the Trump administration is not more responsive to questions about their interactions and agreements with foreign leaders.

“If the administration is unwilling to consult with this committee in a meaningful fashion on vital national security issues, then we must consider all appropriate responses with regards to nominees before this committee,” the Foreign Relations ranking member said at a Wednesday hearing.

Democrats Line Up on Floor to Call Attention to Election Security
Maneuver has been used before on other hot-button issues

Rep. Mike Quigley is among the House Democrats trying to restore election security funding to a key program. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats took turns Wednesday requesting a vote on an amendment to fund election systems protection, saying the money is needed to “prevent Russian interference” in future elections.

The procedural moves from Democrats come ahead of a vote on a Republican-led spending bill (HR 6147) that would zero out election security grants that help states to fortify their systems against hacking and cyber attacks. The Election Assistance Commission is funded at $380 million under the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill enacted earlier this year. 

Trump Again Breaks With Intel Chief Over Russia
Coats says 'warning lights are blinking' but POTUS denies threat

President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

When asked if Russia is still targeting the United States and its midterm congressional elections, President Donald Trump on Wednesday responded “no” — again breaking with his top intelligence official.

His own top intelligence brass recently warned “red lights” are blinking with regard to Moscow’s plans to again meddle in an American election, spy talk used only when a threat is imminent.

Trump Again Skips Intel Briefing After Siding With Putin
President broke with DNI Coats standing alonside Russian strongman

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive Monday for a press conference in Helsinki, Finland. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

For the second consecutive day since he broke with America’s spy agencies over Russia’s election meddling, President Donald Trump on Wednesday will not get an intelligence briefing.

The daily presidential guidance email sent out each evening by the White House initially featured only one item, an 11:30 a.m. Cabinet meeting. It was was updated Wednesday morning to include a 2 p.m. press briefing with Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

After Helsinki, Senate GOP Quietly Takes Aim at Russia
Flake, Gardner, Rubio all propose Senate takes steps to deter Russian aggression

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., plans to introduce a resolution in the Senate to "reaffirm support" for the U.S. intelligence apparatus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At least two Republican senators are urging their colleagues to do what President Donald Trump was unwilling to do at his joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday: hold Russia accountable for interfering in the 2016 election and its hyper-aggressive foreign policy.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake is working on a measure that would “reaffirm support for the intelligence community,” he said on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.