Defense & Cyberspace

Power struggle begins atop the House Appropriations Committee
CQ Budget, Ep. 129

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., speaks with reporters as she leaves a House Democratic caucus meeting in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lowey retirement sparks Democratic Appropriations scramble
Contested battle expected for top spot on powerful House spending panel

New York Rep. Nita M. Lowey announced her retirement last week at the end of the 116th Congress. Who will replace her as the top Democrat on House Appropriations? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey’s decision to retire at the end of the 116th Congress will set off a lengthy and contentious campaign among her colleagues to determine who will become the top Democrat on the spending panel.

Unlike the Senate, which predominantly relies on seniority to determine who serves as a chairman or ranking member, the House weighs several factors before deciding who will lead a committee. And right now, assuming Democrats keep their House majority next year, signs may be pointing in the direction of Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who will be the third-ranking Democrat on the powerful committee in 2021. 

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 14
Members to get more inside information from administration officials on Trump and his circle’s dealings with Ukraine

Fiona Hill, President Donald Trump’s former Russia adviser, arrives at the Capitol on Monday to testify in the House's impeachment inquiry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House committees will hear from more administration insiders this week on details of the delay of an aid deal to Ukraine as they continue their impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.

Fiona Hill, Trump’s former Russia specialist on the National Security Council, testified Monday to members of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, who are looking for details of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and those of others connected to the president. 

McAleenan out at Homeland Security, Trump says
Trump to name new acting secretary next week

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan testifies during an appropriations hearing on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan is leaving his job, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter.

“We have worked well together with Border Crossings being way down. Kevin now, after many years in Government, wants to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector,” Trump wrote.

Federal judge rules Trump border wall declaration unlawful
Diversion of military funds violates fiscal 2018 omnibus spending law

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 20: A section of the border wall stretches through the Rio Grande Valley sector of the Texas border on Aug. 20, 2019. (Photo by Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

A federal judge ruled Friday that President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to divert military funding to a southern border wall is unlawful.

In a 33-page ruling, U.S. District Judge David Briones said Trump’s effort to divert more than $6 billion that Congress provided for military projects violates the fiscal 2019 omnibus spending law. 

Trump announces 'substantial' trade deal with China - but it's weeks from being final
U.S. won't raise some existing tariffs to 30 percent, Mnuchin says

A container ship sits docked at the Port of Oakland on May 13, 2019, in Oakland, California. Chinese and U.S. officials, after trading tariffs and barbs for months, are again negotiating toward a potential trade pact. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Friday announced his administration has reached a “substantial” trade pact with China that includes some backing off of tariffs, but he signaled work remains to finalize the elusive pact.

The Trump administration has agreed to keep existing tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese-made goods at current levels rather than raising them to 30 percent, as Trump had threatened to when talks previously stalled.

White House warns Turkey it might ‘shut down’ its economy over Kurdish strikes
Trump to sign order giving himself ‘very significant authorities’ to impose stiff sanctions

President Donald Trump welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey outside the West Wing of the White House in 2017. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Treasury Steven Mnuchin announced Friday that President Donald Trump has given himself broad new sanctions powers to slap “primary and secondary sanctions” on senior Turkish officials over that government’s military strikes in Syria, which were enabled by the U.S. pullback of its own troops.

Mnuchin described the powers, which Trump will codify later Friday via an executive order, as “very significant authorities.” The EO will not, however, put new sanctions in place.

Sondland’s hotel business getting backlash over his role in Trump-Ukraine affair
US ambassador to the EU did not show up for testimony this week, prompting Oregon Rep. Blumenauer to call for boycott of his Portland-based chain

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, addresses the media at the US embassy in Romania in September. (Daniel Mihailescu/AFP via Getty Images)

The attorney for Gordon Sondland, a top Trump administration diplomat at the heart of the House's impeachment investigation into the president, criticized Oregon Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer for urging people to boycott the diplomat’s Portland-based hotel chain.

“Congressman Blumenauer’s irresponsible attempt to hurt a homegrown business that supports hundreds of jobs in our local economy is just shameful and ought to outrage all Oregonians,” Jim  McDermott, Sondland’s lawyer, said in a statement to multiple local news outlets this week.

Profanity and personal attacks: 3 takeaways from Trump’s raucous Minneapolis rally
President signals he sees Joe Biden as his biggest — perhaps only — 2020 threat as he tries to flip state

President Donald Trump on stage Thursday night during a campaign rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis. He said Rep. Ilhan Omar and Somali refugees will help him flip Minnesota in 2020. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — Donald Trump was in a mood Thursday night when he stepped on stage in Minneapolis, the first time he had campaigned since facing his own possible impeachment. What played out was a plethora of presidential profanities and personal attacks.

As Trump veered from topic to topic at the Target Center, he hit the usual themes of a thriving economy and his get-tough trade talks with China. He vowed to win Minnesota, a state he lost to Hillary Clinton by only 1.5 percentage points in 2016. And he accused House Democrats of engaging in an impeachment “crusade” to block what he often describes in so many words as a second term to which he’s somehow entitled because they know — deep down — they can’t defeat him at the ballot box.

After ‘Lock him up’ chant, Trump describes Democrats’ impeachment probe as ‘crusade’
President rallies supporters in Minnesota, a state his campaign sees as winnable in 2020

President Donald Trump attends a rally in Greenville, N.C., on July 17. He was in Minneapolis on Thursday night, trying to flip a state Hillary Clinton won in 2016. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Thursday night painted House Democrats as “desperate” and cashing in an “insurance policy” by launching an impeachment inquiry in a last-ditch effort to block him from securing a second term.

“Democrats are on a crusade to destroy our democracy,” the president said to boos from an arena crowd in Minneapolis. “We will never let that happen. We will defeat them.”

Senate Intelligence Committee in focus on C-SPAN and the big screen this fall
Don’t mess with the intel panel

Annette Bening plays former Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein in the upcoming political thriller “The Report.” (Courtesy MovieStillsDB)

It’s going to be a big couple of months for the Senate Intelligence Committee, both on Capitol Hill and at the box office.

Chairman Richard M. Burr and ranking Democrat Mark Warner find themselves once again at the epicenter of the biggest political story in Washington, tasked with leading the Senate’s review of President Donald Trump’s interactions with Ukraine that seem all but certain to result in impeachment by the House.

Biden, for the first time, backs Trump impeachment
Former VP answers critics who say he has been too soft in countering president's charges about Ukraine

Joe Biden speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake on August 9. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Former Vice President Joe Biden, one of the 2020 Democratic frontrunners, on Wednesday made his first outright statement in support of the impeachment of President Donald Trump, saying he poses a “threat” to the United States and “has already convicted himself.”

Biden has said previously only that he backed the impeachment inquiry by House Democrats. 

Former ethics czar warns impeachment letter ‘mistakes Trump for a king’
Georgetown prof: ‘Politically, the letter is strong;’ former GOP staffer calls it ‘bananas’

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20. He is refusing to cooperate with House Democrats' impeachment inquiry. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS | Experts agree a letter the White House sent to House Democrats stating a refusal to cooperate with their impeachment inquiry is legally flimsy and is mostly about politics.

“Put simply, you seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff and two other senior Democrats.

CBP Chief: Harassing journalists 'absolutely unacceptable'

Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan talks to reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room Tuesday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, told reporters at the White House on Tuesday that it is “absolutely unacceptable” for his officers to stop a journalist “because they’re a journalist.” He was responding to a question, based in part, on an Oct. 3 incident between Defense One editor Ben Watson and a CBP officer at Dulles International Airport. Defense One’s report on the exchange alleged that “A U.S. passport screening official held a Defense One journalist’s passport until he received an affirmative answer to this repeated question: ‘You write propaganda, right?’” and characterized the officer’s actions as harassment.

The question in Tuesday’s briefing came from Andrew Feinberg, who said this was one of a number of such incidents involving CBP officers over the last year.

White House to House Dems: Impeachment inquiry ‘violates the Constitution’
Speaker Pelosi has rejected GOP claim that a floor vote is required to launch a formal probe

President Donald Trump and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte talk to reporters in the Oval Office at the White House on July 18. His administration notified House Democrats Tuesday it will not cooperate with their impeachment probe. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

White House officials announced Tuesday they will refuse to cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry focused on President Donald Trump’s request that Ukraine’s president investigate Joe Biden and son Hunter.

The move amounts to the latest escalation in the three-week-old impeachment saga, with the White House arguing Speaker Nancy Pelosi has set up a “legally unsupported” probe by opting against holding a floor vote on whether to launch a formal impeachment inquiry.