Iran

Some troops will stay in Syria, White House official confirms
‘The exact number has not been determined yet,’ the senior White House official said.

President Donald Trump delivered the State of the Union address, with Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, at the Capitol in Washington, DC on Feb. 5, 2019. (Doug Mills/The New York Times POOL PHOTO)

A senior White House official confirmed the Trump administration plans to keep U.S. troops in Syria even after President Donald Trump announced plans of a complete American withdrawal.

“Yes, some troops will stay in Syria,” the senior official told Roll Call Friday morning. The confirmation comes after Senate Armed Services member Lindsey Graham, a Trump confidant, announced the president decided to leave 200 U.S. forces in the war-torn country to combat the Islamic State.

Trump sounds familiar notes on defense in State of the Union
The only news was the announcement of a date and location of his second summit with North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump arrives in the House chamber to deliver his State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress in the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump stressed his principal defense positions in his State of the Union address Tuesday, without providing new details about planned troop withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan.

The only news was announcement of the date and location of his second summit with North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un — on Feb. 27 and 28 in Vietnam. Trump said he believed that if he had not been elected, the United States would “right now” be fighting a “major war” with North Korea that might have killed millions.

One speech, two Trumps
Despite softer touches, president’s State of the Union still divides

President Donald Trump greets lawmakers as he prepares to deliver his second State of the Union address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican lawmakers stood and roared Tuesday night as President Donald Trump described the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border as a hellscape awash in drugs and violent criminals moving freely into the country. Democrats sat statuesque and silent, displaying no sign that his call for cross-party cooperation resonated inside the House chamber.

Trump stood before Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and delivered what has become customary for Republican and Democratic presidents alike, saying that the state of the country is “strong” and that the American people hope “we will govern not as two parties but as one nation.”

No ‘material impact’ of foreign interference in 2018 elections, Trump administration finds
Report is second to probe foreign meddling in midterms

Acting U.S. Attorney Matthew G. Whitaker, pictured here at Roll Call office in Washington, D.C., and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen, concluded that there is no evidence of “material impact” of foreign meddling in the 2018 midterms. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

A Trump administration report found “no material impact of foreign interference,” in the 2018 elections, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday. 

The report, by Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen, is classified. But a Department of Justice press release said it, “concluded there is no evidence to date that any identified activities of a foreign government or foreign agent had a material impact on the integrity or security of election infrastructure or political/campaign infrastructure used in the 2018 midterm elections for the United States Congress. ”

ISIS strong, could get stronger if U.S. pulls out of Syria, Pentagon report warns
The ISIS command organization is intact and its fighters are “battle-hardened,” the report said

Gen. Joseph Votel, chief of U.S. Central Command (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As President Donald Trump prepares to reaffirm in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address both victory over the Islamic State and a call for withdrawing American troops from foreign battlefields, a new Pentagon report says the terrorist group is still strong and would get stronger once U.S. troops leave Syria.

A U.S.-led coalition has eliminated some 99 percent of the territory in Syria and Iraq that the Islamic State, or ISIS, once claimed as its so-called caliphate.

Parties are swapping war positions in Trump era
Plenty of members of both parties are deviating from the new script — and the battle lines are still taking shape

President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S. Dak., Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stops to speak to the cameras following his lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Wed. Jan. 9, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Under the presidency of Donald Trump, America’s political parties have scrambled their traditional positions on war and peace.

The GOP has spent the bulk of the last 17 years arguing in favor of launching and then continuing overseas wars. But now some Republicans in Washington — and most Republicans in the country at large — back Trump’s plan to withdraw most U.S. troops from far-flung battlefields.

Shutdown or national emergency? Trump plays coy in pre-Super Bowl interview
POTUS: Pelosi ‘very bad for our country.’ Her spokesman blasts his ‘recklessness’

President Donald Trump blasted Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an interview with CBS News. Her spokesman fired back as their feud continued 12 days before the government might again shut down. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump used his pre-Super Bowl interview to send mixed signals about his next move in his border wall standoff with Democratic leaders and to blast Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “very bad for our country.”

In an interview set to air Sunday morning ahead of the NFL championship game as part of CBS’s pregame coverage, the president floated a second partial government shutdown and declaring a national emergency that would allow him to access Pentagon funds for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border structure — and inevitable court challenges from Democrats and pro-immigration groups.

Why Republicans bucked Trump on Afghanistan and Syria
Podcast, Episode 138

In a rare move, the White House released this image Thursday of President Trump receiving his daily intelligence briefing from the heads of several U.S. intel services. (White House photo via Twitter)

CQ senior defense writer John M. Donnelly and Michael Rubin, a former Middle East adviser in the George W. Bush administration who’s now a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, discuss the implications of President Donald Trump’s moves to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan and Syria and the Republican-led backlash in Congress. 

 

NRA shows signs of decline, even in Trump’s America
But the group isn’t letting up on its adversarial and sometimes snarky tone

Members of the Patriot Prayer Group sing the National Anthem during an “open carry” rally in Seattle on May 20. (Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

The influence of the National Rifle Association, the nation’s highest-profile Second Amendment-rights organization and a longtime powerhouse against gun-control laws, is showing signs of potential decline.

The NRA’s own tax forms show a dip in revenue. And even as the group, now under the leadership of new president Oliver North of Iran-Contra fame, continues to spend big money on federal lobbying and political campaigns, its opponents in the gun-control movement, after decades of ever more deadly mass shootings and seemingly random incidents of gun violence, have been on the rise.

Trump refuses to express confidence in intelligence chiefs amid latest feud
‘Time will prove me right, probably’ after they broke with him on Iran, North Korea and ISIS

—President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S. D., and Vice President Mike Pence speaks to reporters following his lunch meeting with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Jan. 9. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump further escalated his feud with his hand-picked intelligence bosses Thursday when he refused to clearly say he has confidence in them after they contradicted his policies during congressional testimony.

Asked if he has confidence in Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel, Trump did not answer directly. “Time will prove me right, probably” on issues on which they differ, including: Iran, the Islamic State and North Korea.