Presidential race

On Afghanistan, Trump Bets On Generals He Once Criticized
President says ‘my original instinct was to pull out’

U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson (right) shakes hands with troops ahead of a handover ceremony at Leatherneck Camp in Lashkar Gah in the Afghan province of Helmand on April 29, 2017. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

Candidate Donald Trump often said he knew more when it came to the country’s foes than America’s top military leaders. But by siding with retired and current four-star generals on Afghanistan, Trump placed a big bet on a group he once believed had been “reduced to rubble.”

Trump announced Monday night at Joint Base Fort Myer Hamilton Hall in Arlington, Va., he will keep thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan despite his long-held disdain for the operation there. The president’s decision came after a months-long review by his national security team, and reports indicate he will raise the American military presence there to around 12,000.

GOP Leadership Silent on Bannon’s Departure
Many House and Senate Republicans ignore White House chaos

House Speaker Paul Ryan, left, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, right, often avoid addressing controversy surrounding the presidency of Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Almost two hours after news broke Friday that President Donald Trump decided to part ways with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy  — at least at that moment — had another topic on his mind.

He retweeted a message that the chief executive sent out Friday morning, before Bannon’s ouster was reported, about elevating the country’s Cyber Command. McCarthy called it “the right move.”

Rohrabacher: Assange Info Will Have ‘Earth-Shattering Political Impact’
California congressman met with Wikileaks founder in London

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said Wikileaks founder Julian Assange “reiterated his aggressive denial” that the Russians had anything to do with the Democratic National Committee hack. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who the congressman said denied that Russia was involved in sending him emails from the Democratic National Committee

WikiLeaks published emails from the Democratic National Committee, which led to the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Opinion: Stuck on the Back Bench? Why Not Run for President
Last House member to win presidency was in 1880 — it was an accident

An engraving of President James A. Garfield’s assassination. Not since Garfield has a sitting House member so much as won an electoral vote in a presidential election. (Engraving from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper)

No sitting House member has won an electoral vote for president since 1880, when Ohio’s James A. Garfield captured the White House — and he didn’t even mean to run for the job.

In fact, the Ohio legislature had just voted to appoint Garfield to a Senate term — for which he would have been seated in March 1881 — when the GOP met in Chicago to pick its nominee for the presidency in the summer of 1880.

‘Kid Rock’ May Be Ineligible for Michigan Ballot
Elections bureau would decide whether Robert Ritchie can use stage name

A truck with a Kid Rock for Senate decal was seen on a Virginia highway earlier this month. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)

Robert Ritchie may end up challenging Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in Michigan next year, but his stage name, Kid Rock, may not be allowed to appear on the ballot.

Kid Rock is a household name to Americans under the age of 50, and voters might be attracted to vote for him, as a middle finger to the political establishment. But it’s not immediately clear whether his famous stage name would appear on the ballot or if he’d be required to run under his less-known given name. 

Merkley’s Mild Town Hall in a Red County
Oregon Democrat talks health care to a receptive audience

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkeley chat with constituents after a town hall in Dallas, Oregon, on Wednesday. (Nathan L. Gonzales/CQ Roll Call)

DALLAS, Ore. — With a divided country and two divided parties, town halls are supposed to be ground zero for angst, anger, and animosity, but not in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Donald Trump carried Polk County in the last presidential election but Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley found a largely sympathetic audience Wednesday at his town hall meeting here in its county seat.

Roughly 150 people gathered at the Oregon National Guard’s Col. James W. Nesmith Readiness Center on the outskirts of Dallas (population: 16,345, according to a sign when you enter town), to hear from one of their senators and enjoy the air conditioning on a sweltering afternoon.

Trump Thanks Putin for Expelling U.S. Diplomats
President later says he was ‘absolutely’ being sarcastic

President Donald Trump arrives for a working session at the G-20 economic summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images file photo)

Updated Friday, 8:15 p.m. | President Donald Trump thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for his decision to expel hundreds of American diplomats based in Moscow, saying it will help reduce the U.S. government’s payroll.

The Kremlin’s decision to expel 755 U.S. diplomats by Sept. 1 came after Congress overwhelmingly passed a measure aimed at imposing sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. Trump, who signed the bill on Aug. 2, expressed his appreciation Thursday for Putin’s move.

Blumenthal Says He Won’t Be ‘Bullied’ By ‘Slurs’ From Trump
Connecticut Democrat says he will keep talking about Mueller

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal is pushing back against what he called “slurs” from President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he will not be thrown off from talking about legislation designed to insulate special counsel Robert S. Mueller III by what the Connecticut Democrat called “slurs” being hurled at him on Twitter by President Donald Trump.

Mueller is overseeing the investigation of efforts by Russia to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, as well as of an expanding web of related activity that may prove criminal in nature.

Senators Seek to Protect Mueller From Trump
Work will take place to reconcile two bills over recess

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has broad support among senators. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What’s the best way to keep President Donald Trump from firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III? Senators and their staffs on both sides of the aisle will be trying to figure that out over the next few weeks.

Sen. Chris Coons hopes lawmakers will come together quickly to craft a bill to provide Mueller with some insulation from Trump. The Delaware Democrat is the lead co-sponsor on a bill introduced by North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis that would create a right of action for a special counsel to seek legal recourse in the event of a firing.

Millennials and Gen Xers Eclipse Boomers in the Voting Booth — but Will It Matter?
But population shift has yet to impact elections, researchers say

Millennials and Gen Xers have overtaken older generations as the largest voting bloc, the Pew Research Center reports. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

American politics are on the cusp of a revolution. And it has nothing to do with President Donald Trump.

That’s because younger generations — who are generally more liberal and reluctant to identify with either political party — are overtaking their older counterparts for the first time since the baby boomers began to dominate every aspect of American life in the last half of the 20th century, researchers say.