Defense & Cyberspace

Trump: Deputy Who Stayed Outside During Florida Shooting a ‘Coward’
President wants ‘offensive power’ inside schools to take down gunmen

People are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school that reportedly killed and injured multiple people on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Numerous law enforcement officials continue to investigate the scene. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump dubbed an armed Florida sheriff’s deputy who remained outside the Parkland, Florida,  high school where 17 people were gunned down last week a “coward.”

Scot Peterson, a Broward County sheriff's deputy, was at the high school when a 19-year-old former student entered with an AR-15 assault rifle and began firing. Peterson, local law enforcement officials said Thursday, did not go inside to confront the gunman. Peterson has resigned.

Defense Bill’s New Lobbying Restrictions May Send Contractors Scrambling

Lockheed Martin crew members stand by a C-130J-30 Hercules cargo plane on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call)

Lobbying compliance lawyers around Washington are drawing attention to a provision in the defense authorization law Congress passed in December.

It bars retiring military officers of high rank and top Defense Department civilians who leave the Pentagon from lobbying there for two years, while some lower level officers now face a one-year lobbying ban.

White House: ‘No’ Chance Ivanka Trump Meets With North Korean Officials
President’s daughter is leading U.S. delegation to Winter Olympics closing ceremony

Ivanka Trump at a State Department ceremony last June. She is leading the official U.S. delegation to the Pyeongchang Games’ closing ceremony. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Ivanka Trump is not expected to meet with any North Korean officials later this week when she leads the White House’s official delegation to the closing ceremony for the Winter Olympic Games.

Asked if the president’s daughter and senior adviser could meet with North Korean officials while in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a senior official replied, “No.”

Kelly Admits Missteps With White House Aides’ Clearances
Embattled chief of staff to phase out interim security clearances

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, seen here with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, has altered how the West Wing handles aides’ security clearances after the Rob Porter domestic assault scandal. (AP/Andrew Harnik file photo)

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, under fire after a former staffer’s domestic abuse scandal, has admitted the Trump team mishandled aides’ background investigations, and ordered new steps in how the West Wing handles security clearances.

In a five-page memo to staffers released Friday afternoon by the White House, Kelly alluded to the Rob Porter scandal but also attempted to spread the blame for a process he said was flawed but was one he inherited.

Podcast: Pentagon Aims at Russia, China With Big Budget Boost
CQ on Congress, Episode 91

Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., escorts Secretary of Defense nominee James Mattis to the hearing room for his confirmation hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress' budget deal gives the Pentagon the money it says it needs to deter the world's other great powers. CQ defense reporter Andrew Clevenger and Mandy Smithberger of the Project on Government Oversight discuss lawmakers' reasoning in approving the big budget boost.

 

GOP Unlikely to Revisit Spending Ban on Gun Violence Research
Congress has restricted such endeavors for more than two decades

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole says it was “just not helpful to turn a funding bill into a debate over gun control.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans, at least for now, appear unlikely to allow federal funds for research on gun violence after a nearly 22-year prohibition.

Following yet another mass shooting on Wednesday, at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 dead, two key Republican appropriators said Thursday they don’t anticipate removing or altering an amendment in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that bars the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using injury prevention research dollars “to advocate or promote gun control.”

Grand Jury Indicts Russian Nationals for Election Interference
Operatives targeted Clinton, Rubio and Cruz, while largely supporting Trump and Sanders

The office of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Friday announced indictments of Russian nationals for election interference. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:25 p.m. | The Justice Department charged Russian operatives Friday with a sweeping effort to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, spending millions of dollars to wage social media campaigns, buy political advertisements and pose as grass-roots organizers to spark political rallies on American soil.

The grand jury criminal indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies landed like a bombshell in Washington, where the debate has raged over the extent of Russia’s influence in the election while President Donald Trump has waged a campaign to quell special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.

Schiff Says He Fears Mueller’s Findings Won’t Become Public
Top Intelligence Committee Democrat concerned about politicized decision-making

House Intelligence ranking member Adam B. Schiff is concerned the findings of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russian meddling in the 2016 election won’t be made public. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The complete findings of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections may not become public when the probe is completed, California Rep. Adam B. Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Friday.

“One of the issues I have raised with the deputy attorney general” Rod Rosenstein is “how are we going to deal with this when the investigations come to an end?” Schiff said, referring to findings of the Mueller probe. “Will there be a report to Congress and what will Bob Mueller be able to disclose publicly?”

Corker Lifts Blanket Hold on Arms Sales to Gulf States
Still no clear path on Gulf Cooperation Council rift

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker has lifted a months-long hold on weapon sales to Gulf countries after it failed to encourage a resolution to the ongoing diplomatic standoff between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

In a letter this week, the Tennessee Republican notified Secretary of State Rex Tillerson he was ending his eight-month blanket hold on lethal defense equipment sales to the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which comprises Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

Rohrabacher Says Kelly Blocked Trump Meeting
Congressman says White House chief of staff said meeting could risk charges of collusion if Russia was discussed

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said White House Chief of Staff John Kelly prevented a meeting between him and President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said White House Chief of Staff John Kelly blocked a meeting between the California Republican and President Donald Trump.

Rohrabacher wanted to meet with the president to discuss his meeting last summer with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whom Rohrabacher said showed him evidence that Russia did not interfere with the 2016 presidential election.  

Capitol Ink | Quagmire

Sam Johnson Donates Items From POW Camp
Texas congressman donates tin cup and toothpaste he smuggled out of ‘Hanoi Hilton’ to Smithsonian

Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, donated a tin cup and tube of toothpaste from his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam (Smithsonian's National Museum of American History).

Texas Rep. Sam Johnson donated possessions from his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to the Smithsonian Institute.

The Republican donated a tin cup and a tube of toothpaste he smuggled from the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prisoner of war camp from his seven years held captive after he was shot down.

Bipartisan Praise, and Questions, About Thad Cochran
Omnibus spending measure, future awaits veteran Mississippi Republican

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran has bipartisan support and respect, but also faces questions about how much longer he will be in office, even as he begins the task of moving an omnibus spending bill wrapping up the current fiscal year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An omnibus bill wrapping up fiscal 2018 spending could serve as a victory lap for Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, who continues to battle questions over his health and stamina in the role.

Rumors have swirled quietly for months about the 80-year-old Mississippi Republican’s future. Those whispers became louder last year after Cochran took a prolonged absence from the Senate due to health issues.

Winners and Losers in the Trump Budget in One Chart
Administration released its budget request Monday

The president’s budget request includes $1.1 trillion in discretionary funds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration submitted its fiscal 2019 budget request to Capitol Hill on Monday, outlining the president’s priorities for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Roll Call analyzed the documents and put together the following graphic on the departmental winners and losers in the proposed budget:

‘Crisis Budgeting’ Likely Ahead Despite White House Claim
‘All sorts of riders’ could bring new shutdown threats, experts say

Copies of President Donald Trump’’s 2019 budget request are unpacked by House Budget Committee staff on Monday. Experts say it won’t end Washington’s decade of ‘crisis budgeting.’ (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

White House officials contend the two-year budget deal that became law last week will end Washington’s spending crises and government shutdown threats. But President Donald Trump’s new budget request suggests otherwise.

Trump himself was lukewarm about the spending package he signed last week, which raised defense and domestic spending caps for the remaining seven-and-a-half months of this fiscal year and the next. And the president had little to say about the fiscal 2019 budget blueprint his administration sent to Capitol Hill on Monday. But his top aides painted each one as game-changing documents.