Rand Paul

White House Middle East Victory Lap Draws Skepticism
Aides pushing a win, but headaches await return from region

President Donald Trump delivers a statement with Israeli President Reuven Rivlinon on Monday in Jerusalem. The White House says its first Middle East visit was a big success, but some Democrats are skeptical. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

The White House is describing President Donald Trump’s first dose of Middle East diplomacy as a “historic” success, but some lawmakers are skeptical that the optimistic rhetoric will become policy, and at least one is looking to block a major announcement from the trip. 

Trump spent all or parts of four days huddling with Muslim and Israeli leaders before heading to Europe on Tuesday afternoon. So confident was the White House that the first leg of Trump’s overseas diplomatic debut had gone well that they did not wait to land in Italy to declare victory.

Opinion: Trump Policies on Voting and Criminal Justice Quietly Move Country Backward
Plans proceed despite chaos in the White House

President Donald Trump’s policies threaten voting rights and criminal justice reforms, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While the Trump administration is in a state of perpetual turmoil, some of its promised policies are proceeding as planned. Support from a Republican Congress is softening with each cringe-worthy headline about slips, leaks and feuds; still, its members, mindful of the president’s loyal base, are proceeding with caution.

And when you step back from the chaos, don’t expect to see any progress on other issues — such as voting rights and criminal justice reform — that once promised a bit of bipartisan cooperation. 

At Center for American Progress, a Tryout for 2020 Ideas
D.C. gathering alternates between liberal goals, Trump reaction

California Sen. Kamala Harris took aim at the administration’s approach to drug policy at Tuesday’s Center for American Progress gathering. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Potential Democratic presidential candidates took center stage Tuesday for what might prove to be the kickoff of the 2020 campaign, but the popular characterization of the progressive policy confab as a “CPAC for liberals” might have missed the mark.

The Center for American Progress’ 2017 Ideas Conference looked like the kind of muted 2020 cattle call one would expect from a gathering in the ballroom of the Georgetown Four Seasons in Washington. Missing were the raucous crowds that overtake the sprawling gathering at National Harbor for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

Senators Push Back on Trump Drug Abuse Actions
Republicans pledge to fight funding cuts, shifts in criminal enforcement policy

West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito says she will push back against efforts to cut funds to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump pledged to tackle prescription drug abuse and the flow of illegal drugs into the country. But his White House efforts are off to a rocky start so far.

Earlier this year, Trump appointed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to lead a opioid crisis task force. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, along with other administration officials including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have embarked on a listening tour of areas ravaged by the opioid epidemic.

Rand Paul Wants to Know if Intelligence Community Spied On Him
Makes public details of request to President Trump

Sen. Rand Paul wants to know if he was under surveillance. (George LeVines/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Rand Paul is renewing a request to know if he was subject to surveillance by the intelligence community during the Obama administration.

“This inquiry goes beyond just myself and my office,” the Kentucky Republican said in a statement Friday. “The American people need to know if their elected representatives in the Legislative branch have been swept up in Executive branch surveillance.”

Word on the Hill: Party Time
Burgers in Cannon today

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks with her husband, Paul, center, and Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey at an Atlantic/CBS News pre-party before the 2016 White House Corespondents’ Association Dinner. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner is a day away. But Friday is a big night for parties to start the weekend off.

RealClearPolitics, the Distilled Spirits Council, the National Restaurant Association and the Beer Institute are joining for the first annual Toast to the First Amendment. It is from 7 to 10 p.m. at the National Restaurant Association, 2055 L St. NW.

Analysis: Syria Strike Puts Trump’s Still-Young Presidency at Risk
Slide into deeper U.S. involvement could set up armed hostilities with Russia

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a Tomahawk missile as part of strikes on Syria ordered by President Trump on Thursday evening. (Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert S. Price/U.S. Navy)

By pounding a Syrian air base with nearly 60 cruise missiles, Donald Trump created for himself a number of political and foreign policy risks that threaten to alter his still-young presidency.

Just shy of his 80th day in office, the populist “America-first” president — should he entangle the United States into the complex Syrian conflict — could see his record-low approval ratings fall even further, while also finding himself in the same Middle East quicksand that his two predecessors found so stymying.

Congress Wants to Hear Trump’s Syria Policy — and Fast
Members say Trump needs to consult them before taking any more action

The top Democrats on Capitol Hill, Charles E. Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, both advocate a role for Congress in future actions in Syria by the Trump administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle say they are waiting to hear President Donald Trump’s plan for his next step in Syria.

Many lawmakers — including some of Trump’s most vocal critics — offered support in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. bombing of a Syrian airbase Thursday night. But they said Trump needs to consult Congress before he takes any more steps.

In Abrupt Reversal, Trump Fires Cruise Missiles at Syria
President: Strikes in ’vital national security interest’

President Donald Trump arrives back at the White House on Feb. 6. On Thursday night, he ordered missile strikes on a Syrian air base in response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons on civilians (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

By JOHN T. BENNETT and BRIDGET BOWMANCQ Roll Call

In an abrupt policy reversal, President Donald Trump on Thursday evening ordered missile strikes on a Syrian air base after that country’s embattled regime carried out a deadly sarin gas attack that killed dozens of civilians.

Is Trump Capable of Picking Primary Fights With Incumbents?
Threats could embolden House hard-liners, Republicans say

President Donald Trump has tweeted about challenging members of the House Freedom Caucus, led by North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There are primary threats, and then there are primaries.

President Donald Trump’s tweets last week calling for House Freedom Caucus members to be challenged have left the political class scratching its head and pondering alliances that defy conventional logic.