cabinet

Barr assures senators of his independence
AG nominee says Mueller investigation isn’t a ‘witch hunt,’ Sessions ‘probably did right thing’ in recusing himself

William Barr, nominee for attorney general, testifies during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:59 p.m. | William Barr appeared to be on a path to confirmation as the next attorney general Tuesday, after he gave senators key assurances about the special counsel probe into the 2016 elections and distanced himself from some of President Donald Trump’s comments about the investigation.

During more than seven hours of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barr avoided the kind of missteps that might cost him votes of Republicans, who have a 53-47 advantage in the chamber. But some Democrats say he did not do enough to reassure them that he would protect Robert S. Mueller III’s probe and make the results public.

Dug-in Trump to Dems: ‘Only a wall will work’ as shutdown enters 25th day
President contends polls shifting toward him, but one shows he didn’t change any minds with address

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive at the Capitol to attend a Senate Republican policy luncheon last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A day after appearing to downplay the stature of his proposed southern border wall, President Donald Trump sent a message to congressional Democratic leaders: “Only a wall will work” as a partial government shutdown over his demands enters its 25th day.

Trump sent mixed messages about his proposed border wall during a Monday speech to an agriculture conference in New Orleans. After first saying he would not “back down” on his wall demands, he appeared to downplay the proposal among his full collection of 2016 campaign promises.

Six things William Barr will tell senators at his AG confirmation hearing

William Barr, left, nominee for attorney general, meets with Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in the Russell Senate Office Building on January 9, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney general nominee William Barr will tell the Senate Judiciary Committee at a confirmation hearing Tuesday that he did not pursue the position and was reluctant to be considered for his second stint as the nation’s top law enforcement official.

Barr, 68, plans to say he put off his partial retirement because he believes he can do a good job leading the department during a time when the country is “deeply divided” and the American people must know there are places in government where the rule of law holds sway over politics.

Trump: ‘I never worked for Russia’
President rejects Lindsey Graham’s plan to reopen federal government

President Donald Trump declines to answer a final question as he departs the White House on Monday for New Orleans to address the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Monday denied working for the Russian government after a report detailing a FBI counterintelligence probe into whether he was working for Russia and against U.S. interests.

The New York Times report stated federal investigators became concerned about Trump actions around the time and after he fired former FBI Director James Comey, including admitting publicly he did so with the Justice Department’s broader Russian election meddling investigation on his mind.

Trump’s snow day Twitter rant spills into Monday with attacks on Dems
President also mocks report of FBI probe into whether he worked for Russia

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing on Marine One from the White House on Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

After a snowy Sunday of Twitter threats and jabs, President Donald Trump on Monday morning fired off more posts blaming Democrats for the now-record partial government shutdown and mocking a report the FBI opened an investigation over concerns he was working for Russia.

During a mid-December Oval Office meeting that devolved into a bickering match, the president told Democratic leaders he would “take the mantle” of any partial shutdown. With nine Cabinet agencies and other offices now shuttered for more than three weeks, Trump on Monday wrote that “Nancy and Cryin’ Chuck can end the Shutdown in 15 minutes,” referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York.

Frustrated by ‘my generals,’ Trump turns to ‘my actings’
Expert: ‘Irony is the politics are so favorable ... it suggests something more nefarious’

Senate Republicans like Wyoming’s John Barrasso, John Thune of South Dakota, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, here at the Capitol on Wednesday, do not seem concerned about the number of acting Cabinet and lower-level officials in President Donald Trump's administration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump came into office enamored with, as he called them, “my generals.” But as he learned on the job, the commander in chief grew frustrated with and replaced those retired four-star military men. Two years later, the president’s Cabinet is now stocked with a group he calls “my actings.”

Experts say the Constitution, existing laws and department-specific guidelines give Trump the authority and legal cover to keep various acting Cabinet-level and other officials in place for over 200 days — or longer, in some cases. But the law is clear as mud when it comes to whether he could simply keep a favorite “acting” in place for the duration of his administration, legal scholars say.

The border wall blitz, brought to you by Donald Trump and Mike Pence
Dramatic week ends with president touting barrier of ‘steel that has concrete inside’

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive to the Capitol to on Wednesday to urge Senate Republicans to hold the line on his proposed southern border wall and a record-tying partial government shutdown. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Eager to shift public opinion in favor of taxpayers funding a southern border wall as part of any legislation to reopen a quarter of the federal government, the White House has deployed its top guns, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, on a public relations blitz.

Several polls show about half of Americans blame the president for the shutdown, while around 35 percent blame Democrats. What’s more, Trump’s approval rating has dipped during the 21-day funding lapse that has left 800,000 federal workers furloughed and without paychecks Friday for the first time. Even a survey by Rassmussen Reports — typically more friendly to conservatives like the president — found most Republicans who responded see a wall as effective but not an emergency.

Shutdown could drag on as Trump won’t move ‘fast’ on national emergency for wall
Dug-in president calls on Congress to ’come back and vote’

President Donald Trump speaks as he is joined by Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise in the Rose Garden at the White House last week. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump signaled Friday that a partial government shutdown now in its record-tying 21st day could drag on for a while as he said he will not move “fast” to declare a national emergency to access border wall funds.

The president told reporters during a border security event in the White House’s Cabinet Room that he has the “right” and legal authority to make the move, which would allow him to access Defense Department dollars and shift them to the construction of a border barrier. But he made clear he plans to continue to press Democrats to give in to his demands before he issues such a decree.

Trump continues trying to rewrite his own Mexico paying for wall history
Reporter: ‘You proposed that in your campaign, sir.’ POTUS: ‘No.’

President Donald Trump twice on Thursday tried to explain that Mexico wasn’t going to literally write a check to pay for his southern border wall. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Friday morning continued practicing revisionist history over his campaign-trail pledge to make Mexico pay for his proposed southern border wall that has pushed a partial government shutdown into its 21st day.

The president twice on Thursday raised brows as he flatly denied ever saying that America’s southern neighbor would foot the bill for the border structure that he is struggling to obtain funds for from the U.S. Congress.

Raiding military budget for wall would contradict previous Trump administration statements
Mulvaney complained last year of key military projects being underfunded

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter flies over a piece of border fence on Nov. 7 in Mission, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

If President Donald Trump uses emergency powers to tap the military’s construction budget to bankroll a border wall, it would contradict his administration’s previous statements that the so-called milcon programs need more money, not less.

While the president signed into law last September legislation that allocated about $8.1 billion for military construction projects in fiscal 2019, that figure was nearly $800 million less than Trump proposed. And it was almost $1.5 billion less than the military services had wanted at that time.