Richard M Burr

Will FDA keep cracking down on teen vaping, other initiatives, after Gottlieb leaves?
Scott Gottlieb, fought teen vaping and approved record numbers of generic drugs will resign next month

The outside of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters is seen in White Oak, Md.(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who launched a campaign against teen vaping and approved a record number of generic drugs, is resigning next month.

The departure raises questions about whether the agency would continue to vigorously seek to curb the exploding use of e-cigarettes among young people, among other Gottlieb initiatives. But the commissioner, in a resignation letter listing accomplishments on this and other issues, said he was “confident that the FDA will continue to advance all these efforts.”

Meet the new Senate Foreign Relations boss, not the same as the old boss
Jim Risch says he speaks regularly with the president, but does not air laundry

Sen.  Jim Risch, R-Idaho, left, is the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, working with ranking member Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Contrary to past practice, when the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has a disagreement with President Donald Trump, the public might not hear about it.

But Sen. Jim Risch says that the president himself certainly does — often from the chairman himself.

Senators want ban on Chinese Huawei tech in energy infrastructure
Letter to Cabinet comes from key members of the Senate Intelligence Committee

Sen. John Cornyn is leading senators calling for a ban of Huawei products from U.S. energy infrastructure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan group of senators, led by members of the Intelligence Committee, want the Trump administration to prohibit electrical equipment made by Huawei from being used in the U.S. energy infrastructure.

The call for a ban on the components from the Chinese technology giant came in a letter dated Monday to Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, led by Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn.

Road ahead: State of the Union, plus Cohen, Barr, Whitaker and Trump tax returns
Legislating will not be the focus of the week for the House or Senate

House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., has announced his panel will be hearing from Michael Cohen this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Normally, the State of the Union address would dominate this week’s headlines on Capitol Hill — but it just might be overshadowed by what’s scheduled to happen at the end of the week.

On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing with acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and the Intelligence Committee will conduct a closed-door deposition of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer.

Spy chiefs say Chinese, Russian cyber strengths are top threats to U.S.

From left, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, DNI Director Dan Coats, DIA Director Robert Ashley, NSA Director Paul Nakasone, and National Geospatial-Intelligence Director Robert Cardillo testify during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on “Worldwide Threats” on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

China and Russia possess cyber technologies they will increasingly unleash on U.S. companies, the military, election systems and critical infrastructure, and that poses a significant threat to national security, Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence panel in an annual hearing called the Worldwide Threat Assessment.

“At present, China and Russia pose the greatest espionage and cyberattack threats,” but other countries are catching up, the director of National Intelligence told the committee Tuesday. 

Senate Hints It Doesn’t Oppose Sanctions Relief for Russian Linked to Putin, Manafort
Oleg Deripaska will relinquish majority ownership stake in three companies in exchange for sanctions relief from U.S. Treasury

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., right, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., delivered a cautious statement Wednesday supporting the deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee signaled Wednesday that they do not oppose the Treasury Department’s decision to loosen sanctions on three companies owned by a Russian oligarch with links to Russian President Vladimir Putin and key players in Ukrainian politics, including former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Congress has 30 days to nix the deal Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has struck with Oleg Deripaska, who currently owns the largest non-Chinese aluminum producing company in the world and two other multibillion-dollar energy companies.

Shutdown-Averting Deal Quickly Hits Oily Snag
Senators hold out for Land and Water Conservation Fund reauthorization

A continuing resolution to fund the government through Feb. 8 is what lies between the Senate and its holiday break. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A measure to extend spending authority for several Cabinet departments and assorted agencies through Feb. 8 was hung up in the Senate Wednesday afternoon over a spat involving the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other items left out of the stopgap.

That’s according to Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, who expressed hope that senators could be convinced to let the measure through the chamber.

FBI Details Intelligence Staffer Probe Ahead of Sentencing
Sentencing hearing for James Wolfe scheduled on Dec. 20

James Wolfe, a former Senate Intelligence Committee aide, leaves the FBI’s Washington Field Office after being booked on June 11. A sentencing hearing for Wolfe is scheduled for Dec. 20.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The FBI faced a dilemma and had to take “extraordinary” actions when it realized in 2017 that the former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee appeared compromised in his role safeguarding information and had a clandestine relationship with a national security journalist.

Had James Wolfe been an executive branch employee, the FBI would have notified intelligence agencies if a Top Secret clearance holder was compromised so they could protect national security, federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing Tuesday.

Senators Urge No Prison Time for Intelligence Committee Aide Who Lied to FBI
Prosecutors, on other hand, recommend two years in prison for James Wolfe

Senators urged leniency for former Senate Intelligence Committee James Wolfe, who lied to the FBI. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

While federal prosecutors on Tuesday recommended a two-year prison sentence for James Wolfe, a former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee who pleaded guilty in October to a charge he lied to the FBI about his contacts with journalists, his former bosses urged the judge to show mercy. 

A letter to the judge from current committee Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina, top Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia, and former chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California urged no prison time for Wolfe, who was director of security for nearly three decades.

Richard Burr: ‘If You Lie to Us, We’re Going to Go After You’
Senate Intelligence chairman alludes to Mueller plea agreement with Michael Cohen

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr, right, appeared with Vice Chairman Mark Warner on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr said that Thursday’s guilty plea by Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former attorney, should be seen as a clear warning.

“It’s a loud message to everybody that is interviewed by our committee, regardless of where that prosecution comes from: If you lie to us, we’re going to go after you,” Burr said Friday. “Our mandate is at the end of this to get as close to the clear truth as we possibly can, and we can’t do it on conjecture. We’ve got to do it on facts.”