Defense & Cyberspace

In Mop-Up Mode, Trump Says He Accepts That Russia Meddled
President contends he has faith in U.S. intelligence agencies

President Donald Trump waves whilst playing a round of golf at Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort during his first official visit to the United Kingdom on Sunday. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he accepts the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 American election, but it is unclear if his mea culpa will be enough to assuage frustrated lawmakers.

He told reporters he has “full faith” in America’s intel apparatus a day after he sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials that his country interfered in the 2016 election that Trump won in a major upset. The president also claimed he misspoke in Finland when he said he saw no reason to believe Moscow meddled in the election.

Senators Eye New Russia Sanctions as Trump Defends Putin Summit
Corker on GOP unity with Trump: 'It feels like the dam is breaking'

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker says a few senators are crafting a resolution to call out President Donald Trump’s Helsinki performance, but he acknowledged such measures “don’t do anything.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As some senators discuss slapping new sanctions on Moscow, President Donald Trump is defending his widely panned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, tweeting he had a “great” meeting with NATO allies but an “even better” one with the Russian president.

While Trump and his team recover from a turbulent weeklong European swing in which the president attacked longtime American allies and dismissed the consensus findings of the U.S. intelligence community, one Republican senator said he senses GOP lawmakers’ insistence on standing by Trump no matter what could be weakening.

Meadows, Jordan Ask DOJ to Investigate Rosenstein
Letter alleges Rosenstein threatened to subpoena Republican staffers’ communications

Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., left, and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, are asking the Department of Justice to investigate Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two Freedom Caucus Republicans asked the Justice Department’s inspector general Monday to investigate allegations that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein threatened to subpoena the email and phone records of House Intelligence Committee staff.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina and caucus co-founder Jim Jordan of Ohio made the request in a letter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which alleges Rosenstein threatened the subpoenas in a tense January meeting about oversight requests from committee Republicans.

Russian Spy Indictment an Aftershock to Trump’s Helsinki Statements
Justice Department unveils charges hours after Finland summit

Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Justice Department further roiled an already tense Capitol Hill with an indictment Monday accusing an alleged Russian agent of efforts to influence Republican politicians during the 2016 election.

The indictment came on the heels of President Donald Trump’s joint press conference in Finland where, standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin, he rebuffed the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Analysis: Congress Mere Passenger in Trump Foreign Policy Express
Despite condemnation across the aisle, few efforts under way to alter path

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., responds to President Donald Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump just concluded a European foreign policy swing that resembled a runaway car, and Congress is merely a passenger with seemingly no intention, at least from those setting the agenda, of taking the wheel.

Germany is “totally controlled” by Russia. The European Union is “a foe.” And when asked Monday if he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin ran an effort to interfere in the last U.S. presidential election, Trump responded: “I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Lawmakers Drop the D-Word After Trump and Putin Meet
What do Elizabeth Warren, John McCain and Donald Trump have in common? They all love the word ‘disgrace’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren holds a news conference in the Capitol in March. The Massachusetts Democrat joined other lawmakers in calling President Donald Trump's meeting with President Vladimir Putin "disgraceful." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Witch hunt,” “collusion” and “13 angry Democrats” — the Justice Department’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election has spawned its very own vocabulary.

Monday saw another strong contender: the D-word.

Trump's Putin Leniency Suggests Kremlin Has Dirt on Him, Dems Say
If not kompromat, ‘what the heck could it be?’ Schumer asks

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., on Monday slammed President Donald Trump’s comments made during a summit with Russian President Putin. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The top Democrats on Capitol Hill responded to President Donald Trump siding with Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agenices by saying more forcefully the Russian president might have compromising information about him.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., last week suggested Putin might have damaging information about the U.S. businessman-turned-president. On Monday, she went a step further, saying the president’s “weakness” during the Helsinki summit “proves” the Kremlin has something on him.

‘Pathetic Rout,’ ‘Tragic Mistake’ and ‘Painful’ — John McCain Holds Little Back in Describing Helsinki
Senate Armed Services chairman lets loose blistering critique of Trump and Putin meeting

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the damage done by the Trump-Putin summit may be hard to understand. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Of all the critical statements issued about Monday’s Helsinki happenings, the one by Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain perhaps stood out the most, as the Arizona Republican accused President Donald Trump of making a “tragic mistake” in his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the joint press conference that followed. 

The Republican pulled no punches in his latest verbal fisticuffs with the president, issuing a lengthy statement from Arizona about what may he thinks may be incalculable damage to U.S. foreign policy.

Trump Takes Putin’s Word for it on Russian Meddling in Elections
Putin says charges against Russians wouldn’t have a ‘fighting chance’ in U.S. courts

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin answer questions about the possible Russian meddling in the 2016 elections during a joint news conference after their summit on Monday in Helsinki, Finland. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump said Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling into U.S. elections has hurt relations between the U.S. and Russia and has been a “disaster for our country.”

Taking questions from reporters, Putin denied his country had engaged in “so-called interference” and said it had no plans to do so in the future.

Lawmakers Condemn Trump Over News Conference With Putin
Republican calls it ‘shameful’ while Democrat says trip was ‘one giant middle finger... to his own country’

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at Helsinki International Airport on Sunday ahead of Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

As President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin left their joint press conference in Monday in Helsinki, Finland, to continue with their slate of meetings, lawmakers back home in Washington sent a resounding rebuke across the Atlantic to the president.

Perhaps loudest in his criticism of Trump was one of the most prominent members of his own party: Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Trump, Putin Address Election Meddling Charges in Helsinki
Russian president denies what U.S. agencies have concluded he ordered

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on Air Force One at Helsinki International Airport on Sunday for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Updated 11:26 a.m. | Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the Helsinki summit “a success” and a “very fruitful round of negotiations,” but he said he denied any involvement in meddling in the last U.S. election when pressed by President Donald Trump.

Putin also said he hopes stabilizing Syria could be an example of increased “joint work” between his country and the Trump administration.

Higher NATO Defense Spending May Not Help U.S. Contractors
European countries would seek to spend dollars at home, analysts say

President Donald Trump gives a news conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton at NATO headquarters in Brussels on July 12. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump emerged from the NATO summit in Brussels touting a renewed commitment from members to increase their defense spending, but U.S. defense firms might want to hold off on the champagne — at least for now.

Trump claimed that European leaders had pledged to accelerate their individual efforts to reach the goal of spending 2 percent of their country’s gross domestic product on defense, possibly hitting that target sometime next year rather than by 2024 as originally planned.

Opinion: McCain’s Legacy of Stronger Military Reflected in Senate’s Landmark Defense Bill
This year’s NDAA could be a big win for military personnel and their families

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, left, hands the gavel to House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry before a National Defense Authorization Act conference meeting in October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain has served on the committee for over three decades, helping it draft and pass dozens of National Defense Authorization Acts — some seemingly routine, others carrying historic significance.

This year’s NDAA, the annual policy bill for the Defense Department, has the potential to rank among the latter. Many provisions in the Senate version, drafted under McCain’s leadership, would have a positive long-term effect on military readiness, servicemember satisfaction and, crucially, the well-being of military families, who are often overlooked.

A Visit to the Balkans Casts Light on the Divisions in America
Balkan-like partisanship in the U.S. set to get more intense, experts say

The “Warrior on a Horse” statue in downtown Skopje, Macedonia. American politics has increasingly taken on a Balkan flavor with party affiliation coming in the way of finding policy solutions. (Boris Grdanoski/AP file photo)

SKOPJE, Macedonia — A statue depicting an ancient soldier, thrusting a sword skyward, on horseback, rises in the main square here. Across the Macedonian capital’s famed Stone Bridge is another, of Philip II, urging on his son.

But locals are quick to provide visitors to the Balkan nation this advice: Whatever you do, “do not” refer to the equine-mounted fighter as Alexander the Great. The statue is known simply as “Warrior on a Horse.” For now, at least.

Trump Sets Notably Low Bar for Putin Summit
President also calls European Union a ‘foe’ on trade matters

President Donald Trump waves while playing a round of golf on Sunday at Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort in Turnberry, Scotland, during his first official visit to the United Kingdom. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Updated 10:43 a.m. | President Donald Trump has a message for his critics about his upcoming meeting with Vladimir Putin: Don’t worry, it’ll be fine — just trust me. And, in a stunning remark, he called the European Union a “foe” of the United States on trade matters.

Trump continues to set low expectations for Monday’s summit with Putin amid concerns he could give into the Russian leader’s demands while getting little — if anything — in return.