Defense & Cyberspace

Senate Human Rights Caucus Lauds Mike Pence for Pressuring Aung San Suu Kyi
Vice president reportedly called for pardoning of Reuters journalists

Sens. Thom Tillis, left, and Chris Coons, heads of the Senate Human Rights Caucus, are praising Vice President Mike Pence for pressuring Aung San Suu Kyi to release two Reuters journalists. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence is getting bipartisan backing for pressing Aung San Suu Kyi over the imprisonment of two Reuters journalists in Myanmar.

Pence met with the state counsellor of the country, also known as Burma, in connection with his trip to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, which has taken him countries across Asia, as well as Australia.

Congress Relatively Mum on Raging California Camp Fire
A list of missing people spiked to more than 600 names Thursday

Few members of Congress outside of the California delegation have weighed in on the Camp Fire raging north of Sacramento. Years of drought have created a “tinderbox” in the Golden State, according to NASA. (NASA)

Despite a dramatic spike in the number of people unaccounted for as the historically deadly Camp Fire rages in northern California, members of Congress have been relatively quiet on the natural disaster. 

A list of missing people ballooned from 130 names to nearly 300 names within hours Wednesday, the Mercury News reported, and reached more than 600 names by late Thursday. Sixty-three people have died, and another three have died in a simultaneous blaze in Southern California. 

Mitch McConnell Upbeat About Path Forward for Border Funding After Meeting With Trump
Senate majority leader was among Republicans huddling with the president on Thursday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met with President Donald Trump about border security funding on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Returning from a meeting with President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was optimistic about a deal on finishing off remaining spending bills without a shutdown showdown over building a wall at the border with Mexico.

“We had a good discussion about funding the government and the other sort of end-of-year items, and we’re optimistic we’re going to be able to get that done, get the farm bill done and move on toward the conclusion of the session,” McConnell said.

Awkward Moments from Donald Trump's Veterans Day Do-Over
VA secretary managed to out-Trump embellishment-prone Trump

President Donald Trump talks to Chairman, President and CEO of Lockheed Martin Marillyn Hewson (right) and Director and Chief Test Pilot Alan Norman in front of a highly visible F-35 fighter jet during the "2018 Made in America Product Showcase" in July at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | President Donald Trump got around Thursday to commemorating Veterans Day on American soil, four days after the actual holiday and after as many days holed up in and lashing out from the White House.

Trump did speak Sunday at a rain-soaked Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial in France, where U.S. soldiers who died in World War I are buried, and he visited graves there. But he canceled a Saturday visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial because of bad weather, later blaming the Secret Service.

Border Brawl on Display at Senators-White House Meeting Today
McConnell, Shelby trek to meet with Trump about wall funding

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., front left, will be heading to the White House to discuss year-end spending deals on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Key Republican senators head to the White House Thursday afternoon to meet with President Donald Trump, hoping to resolve a border brawl that could hold up a year-end spending package and lead to a partial government shutdown.

The White House session could make clear whether Trump is prepared to give any ground in his request for a $5 billion down payment on a southern border wall — or whether he’s prepared to trigger a shutdown if he doesn’t get his way. Senate appropriators have offered only $1.6 billion in their bipartisan version of a Homeland Security spending bill.

Saudis Face Reprimand From Trump and Potentially Congress Over Khashoggi Killing
Senior adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman among those targeted

People hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia’s consulate on October 8, 2018, in Istanbul, Turkey. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The Trump administration has slapped sanctions on a senior aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and 16 others in connection to the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Treasury Department announced the penalties Thursday morning, just a few hours after the Saudi government announced it would seek the death penalty for five of 11 individuals indicted there over the luring of Khashoggi to a diplomatic facility in Turkey that ended with him being killed in a violent confrontation.

Pentagon, Homeland Security Helping Private Companies Defend Against Cyber Threats
Agreement signed in the weeks before the midterms

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Defense Secretary James Mattis have signed an agreement that is aimed at increasing defenses agains strategic cyber threats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security reached an agreement in the weeks before the midterm elections to jointly defend the United States against strategic cyber threats, including offering assistance to private companies, top officials from both agencies told lawmakers on Wednesday.

“This agreement clarifies roles and responsibilities between” the Department of Defense and the DHS “to enhance U.S. government readiness to respond to cyber threats and establish coordinated lines of efforts to secure, protect, and defend the homeland,” DHS Assistant Secretary Jeanette Manfra told a joint hearing of the House Armed Services and House Homeland Security committees.

Possible Trump-Macron Split Fuels European Power Vacuum
Bromance burned bright at first, but presidents spent weekend trading barbs

President Donald Trump, right, and French President Emmanuel Macron in April at the White House, when the two had a closer relationship than was in evidence in recent days. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is pushing away one of his few close allies, French President Emmanuel Macron, as experts warn of an emerging European power vacuum and some GOP lawmakers defend the U.S. president’s latest brash move.

The two presidents have little in common but quickly became unlikely allies. Trump is a businessman and former reality television star. Macron was a philosophy major who became a finance and economic wonk. A bromance developed, and Trump feted Macron during an official visit that included a private dinner at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate and an elegant state dinner at the White House.

U.S. Aware of All North Korea Nuclear Work, Trump Says Despite Report
President responds to report about alleged deception by Kim Jong Un

South Koreans watch on a screen reporting on the U.S. President Trump meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Seoul Railway Station on June 12. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday denied that North Korea is moving ahead with its nuclear weapons program despite a pledge from Kim Jong Un to freeze all such work.

Citing satellite images, the New York Times reported Monday that Kim is continuing work at sites he promised to Trump would cease while the two leaders — and, sometimes, their staffs — try to strike a denuclearization deal.

Democrat to Reshape Priorities on Spending Panel
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 86

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., is expected to lead the House Appropriations Committee in the 116th Congress.  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Rep. Nita M. Lowey of New York is expected to lead the powerful House appropriations panel in the new Congress and she already has a list of priorities she will be pursuing. CQ's budget and appropriations reporter Kellie Mejdrich gives us a rundown of what those are and where Lowey may find common ground or clash with the Trump administration.

Trump-Macron Bromance Shows More Signs of Fading
U.S. president offers French counterpart mocking lecture on securing Europe

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron head for Marine One following a tree-planting ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in April. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Are President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron headed for a Trans-Atlantic breakup?

After Trump’s rocky and controversial visit to Paris, which included some less-than-warm body language toward his younger French counterpart, the unlikely bromance appears to have hit choppy waters. Many U.S. lawmakers — Republican and Democrat — have warned Trump to avoid alienating close allies and want him to end a nasty trade flap with the EU. 

Thank you, Dan Crenshaw
Injured Navy SEAL an example of humor, forgiveness and leadership

That Dan Crenshaw survived his injuries to eventually run for Congress must feel like a miracle, Patricia Murphy writes. (Courtesy Crenshaw for Congress)

OPINION — As a political columnist, the hardest part isn’t finding something to write about, it’s narrowing your focus to just one topic. For today’s column, I could have written about the election mess in Florida, President Trump’s non-attendance at a Veterans Day parade in France, the fact that Nancy Pelosi could soon be second-in-line to the presidency (it could happen), or my complaint that 2020 speculation is the new Christmas decorating (too much too soon).

But after I saw Dan Crenshaw on Saturday Night Live, everything else seemed small in comparison. If you don’t know his name, you will. If you don’t know the story, here it is.

Woman Charges Trump Motorcade as He Celebrates End of WWI in France
President was not harmed

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing on Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on November 9. President Trump traveled  to France to attend ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A woman charged President Donald Trump’s motorcade as it carried him along Paris’ Avenue des Champs-Élysées for a World War I Armistice ceremony. He was not harmed.

The woman was quickly apprehended by French security officials and Trump continued to the event in his heavily armored Cadillac limousine, known colloquially as “The Beast.” The protester appeared to have written “fake peacemaker on her body,” a play on his characterization of many media outlets as “fake news.”

Three Things to Watch When Trump, Putin Land in Paris
Analysts: ‘Trump is operating from an assumption that he can bully our allies’

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron attend a Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees on July 14, 2017 in Paris. Macron will host Trump and other world leaders this weekend to mark the 100th anniversary of World War I Armistice Day. (Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)

Three days after Republicans lost control of the House, President Donald Trump departed Friday for a diplomatic weekend in Paris that will put him face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin as Democrats with their newfound House majority prepare to explore that relationship more deeply.

Trump campaigned on warming relations with Moscow after things chilled under former President Barack Obama, and kept up that hope for much of his first year in office. But lately, even the 45th president has shown with Putin, expressing doubt that things will get better anytime soon. Trump’s administration has repeatedly implemented sanctions and other tough-on-Russia policies that have further chilled relations.

Mitch McConnell Talks About Working With Nancy Pelosi
Two leaders have a long history dating to Appropriations Committee

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is talking about working with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., after Democrats flipped the House Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the most likely next speaker of the House are not strangers.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and McConnell have had to work together over the years, as long-tenured leaders of their respective conferences. And McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, noted their history goes back many years before that.