Jeff Flake

Opinion: The Grand Old Patsies
Few Republicans dare to criticize Trump over his behavior toward Putin

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., was among the Republican lawmakers who did not criticize the president directly after the Helsinki summit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Commenting after President Donald Trump’s performance in Helsinki, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell observed, “I have said a number of times, I’ll say it again: The Russians are not our friends. And I entirely believe the assessment of our intelligence community.”

Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander said in a release, “There is no doubt that Russia interfered in our 2016 presidential election.”

Opinion: As Trump Hangs Dan Coats Out to Dry, Russia Hacks On
If you really want to lose sleep at night, read a US-CERT report

President Donald Trump shows off a World Cup football given to him by Vladimir Putin. The president is fiddling as computer networks burn, Murphy writes. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

If you looked carefully at the setup for the press conference with President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday, there was something off. Something big.

Standing before a row of alternating Russian and American flags, Trump stood squarely in front of a Russian flag, while Putin spoke with his own Russian flag over one shoulder and America’s stars and stripes over the other. With Trump praising Putin and Putin defending the American president as someone who — trust him — stood firm for his country in their two-hour private confab, it was impossible at times to figure out who was on Russia’s side and who, if anyone, was speaking for America.

Blue Dog Democrats Vote With GOP More in 2018
Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider had biggest drop in party unity score

Illinois Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider saw his party unity score drop in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Blue Dog Democrats tend to move to the right in election years, which is understandable given that they typically represent swing districts.

And lately no district has swung more than Illinois’ 10th, in the affluent suburbs north of Chicago. Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider is currently serving his second, nonconsecutive term, having defeated Republican Robert J. Dold in 2016.

Lawmakers Condemn Trump Over News Conference With Putin
Republican calls it ‘shameful’ while Democrat says trip was ‘one giant middle finger... to his own country’

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at Helsinki International Airport on Sunday ahead of Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

As President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin left their joint press conference in Monday in Helsinki, Finland, to continue with their slate of meetings, lawmakers back home in Washington sent a resounding rebuke across the Atlantic to the president.

Perhaps loudest in his criticism of Trump was one of the most prominent members of his own party: Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Trump Sets Notably Low Bar for Putin Summit
President also calls European Union a ‘foe’ on trade matters

President Donald Trump waves while playing a round of golf on Sunday at Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort in Turnberry, Scotland, during his first official visit to the United Kingdom. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Updated 10:43 a.m. | President Donald Trump has a message for his critics about his upcoming meeting with Vladimir Putin: Don’t worry, it’ll be fine — just trust me. And, in a stunning remark, he called the European Union a “foe” of the United States on trade matters.

Trump continues to set low expectations for Monday’s summit with Putin amid concerns he could give into the Russian leader’s demands while getting little — if anything — in return. 

Republicans Back From Russia Have Advice for Trump Before Putin Summit
President needs to be prepared and perhaps not alone

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., led a congressional delegation to Russia recently, and he and his colleagues have some serious concerns about how the Russians will approach the upcoming summit with Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican senators who recently returned from Moscow have some advice for President Donald Trump ahead of his meeting Monday in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin: Be prepared, be careful and try not to be alone.

“He better know the right Russian psyche,” said Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby. “All he’s got to do is start with Stalin and come on up and see what’s changed.”

Trump’s Trade Policies Get a Senate Slapdown
Lawmakers support congressional authority over tariff decisions

President Donald Trump trade policies aren’t feeling the love from Congress. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators delivered a bipartisan, if nonbinding, rebuke to President Donald Trump’s trade policies on the floor Wednesday, voting 88-11 to express support for congressional authority over presidential decisions to impose tariffs for national security reasons.

The motion, offered by GOP Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, would instruct conferees on an unrelated $147 billion spending bill covering the Departments of Energy, Veterans Affairs, Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies to “include language providing a role for Congress in making a determination” under a law enabling presidents to impose trade restrictions on security grounds.

Senate Delivers Mild Rebuke to Trump on Trade
Sen. Corker secured the vote as a non-binding motion

Sen. Bob Corker offered the motion regarding trade policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Bob Corker has finally got his colleagues on the record in support of Congress playing a role in national security-related trade decisions like those made recently under President Donald Trump.

The Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee secured the vote on a motion to instruct conferees on the pending package of three spending bills, which does not have a binding effect on the members of the Appropriations Committee who will be serving on the conference committee to resolve differences with the House.

Brett Kavanaugh Must Make His Case, Senate Democrats Say
Minority cites standards GOP used for previous nominees like Elena Kagan

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, center, walks up the Capitol's Senate steps with Vice President Mike Pence for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on July 10, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh made his first appearances Tuesday on Capitol Hill, several Senate Democrats said the judge had to make his case for their support.

For instance, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont is a senior member of the Judiciary Committee that will oversee Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. He pressed Republicans to use their own standard for Elena Kagan, now a Supreme Court Justice nominated by former President Barack Obama.

Former Sen. Jon Kyl to Guide Supreme Court Nominee Through Confirmation
Arizona Republican was senior member of leadership in the Senate

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., will shepherd the forthcoming Supreme Court nominee through the confirmation process. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Arizona GOP Sen. Jon Kyl, a former senior member of Senate leadership, will help guide President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court pick through the chamber’s confirmation process.

“Former Sen. Jon Kyl has agreed to serve as the sherpa for the President’s nominee to the Supreme Court,” Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, said Monday.