Senate Opts Against Limiting Trump’s War Powers
Measure to cease most military actions in Yemen shot down

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, here at a rally at the Capitol last year, pushed a resolution to end most U.S. military operations in Yemen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amid a whirlwind day of White House news, President Donald Trump on Tuesday retained the expanded war powers he inherited from his post-9/11 predecessors, as the Senate shot down a measure that would have ordered him to cease most U.S. military operations in Yemen.

Trump scored a victory on behalf of the executive branch’s ability to launch and sustain military operations in new countries without first getting authorization from Congress. Amid pressure from Republican leaders, the White House and the Pentagon, the chamber killed a resolution, 55-44, offered by a bipartisan group of senators that would have required Trump to cease all U.S. military action against groups other than al-Qaida in Yemen.

Yemen Vote in Senate, Russia Meddling Add to U.S.-Saudi Summit Intrigue
Senate to vote on Yemen war measure while crown prince is on U.S. soil

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, says the chamber will vote on a resolution calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Yemen this week, the same time Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud will be in the United States. Saudi Arabia has increasingly found itself bogged down in the Yemeni civil war. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Russia’s actions in the Middle East and South Asia are among the most-pressing topics President Donald Trump wants to discuss with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud when they huddle Tuesday, and an upcoming vote in the Senate on Saudi Arabia’s neighbor Yemen could add to the agenda as well. 

Trump and Salman — who has rocketed up the leadership totem pole of Saudi Arabia’s royal family — are scheduled to meet at the White House for a mini-summit. A senior administration official told reporters Monday that along with Russia’s often double-dealing in the region, trying to “push” Saudi leaders to seek a serious political solution to the conflict in Yemen and combating Iran will be atop the agenda.

Amid Reports of McMaster Exit, White House Says Relationship With Trump Is ‘Good’
Could hawish John Bolton be the next national security adviser?

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, left, was announced as the new national security adviser by President Donald Trump in early 2017 at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. (Jenna Johnson/Washington Post/Print Pool file photo)

President Donald Trump might be ready to fire Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and bring in his third national security adviser after just 14 months in office — amid signals the president is poised to execute a West Wing purge.

While Trump’s spokeswoman on Thursday night tried to shoot down the notion that McMaster’s ouster is imminent, she did not directly deny it was in the works.

Trump Upends GOP Plan to Avoid ‘Scary’ Appearance
‘This is the commander in chaos,’ Sen. Robert Menendez says

President Donald Trump talks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn after his State of the Union address in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The ousting of a secretary of State once elicited more than shrugs from lawmakers, but not in the era of Donald Trump. His erratic approach to the presidency has become the norm, and that could run counter to the best efforts of his party’s congressional leaders.

Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday morning via a tweet, announcing he would replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. The move, in the works for months as the two clashed, came as House and Senate Republican leaders were hoping for several weeks of legislative progress — and even some high-profile bipartisan votes. For instance, the Senate was preparing for votes on a financial regulation bill that had broad support among Republicans and the backing of key Democrats.

Tillerson Termination Adds New Priorities to Senate Calendar
Weeks in April and May could be consumed by State, CIA nominations

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will need to clear some floor time for the nominations of Mike Pompeo to lead the State Department and Gina Haspel to run the CIA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Whatever the Senate might have wanted to focus on in April and May will now have to compete for time with a new priority thrust upon it by President Donald Trump.

Once senators got past the initial shock of Trump’s Twitter announcement Tuesday that he was ousting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, they quickly moved toward paving the way to debate and confirm CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Tillerson’s successor, as well as Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to lead that agency.

Opinion: Pompeo’s Rendezvous With Senatorial Waterboarding
Secretary of state designee faces the most anti-Trump committee in Congress

CIA Director Mike Pompeo is slated to succeed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. But he will face one of the most grueling confirmation hearings since President Donald Trump took office, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the realm of the 21st century Sun King, Donald J. Trump, there is room for only one Rex, the president himself.

The style of Tuesday morning’s surprise sacking of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made corporate human relations departments seem warm and nurturing in comparison. Trump fired the highest-ranking Cabinet member — the official who is fourth in line for presidential succession — in Halloween fashion by trick or tweet.

Opinion: Trump Can’t Help Stepping on His Own Message
President hurts himself, perhaps his party’s chances — and obscures his accomplishments

President Donald Trump deserves more credit than he’s getting for his first year in office, Winston writes, but he has struggled to manage his message. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

As the firestorm known as Iran Contra began to ebb, a new White House director of communications joined the Reagan team to help rebuild the presidential persona and move beyond what had been a grueling and damaging scandal.

A consummate communications professional, Tom Griscom had been a reporter, Majority Leader Howard Baker’s press secretary and the head of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee before landing at a prestigious D.C. public relations firm. That’s when Baker came knocking one more time.

Deadline Approaches on Tim Scott’s Low-Income Tax Incentive
Governors have until March 21 to designate distressed communities where investors can get tax breaks

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott greets diners at Dell’z on the Macon, a vegan restaurant opened in 2017 in the Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood of South Charleston with nonprofit support. (Courtesy Sen. Tim Scott)

It took three years for Tim Scott to rally his Senate colleagues around a tax plan he thinks will encourage investment in low-income communities.

Now Scott, who was born in a poor community in South Carolina, has until late March to get as many state officials as he can to sign on. He’s doing it with a national “opportunity” tour of low-income areas, including upcoming visits to Florida and Ohio.

Dave McCurdy, a Retiring Optimist Pushing Back on ‘Disciples of Declinism’
Former Intelligence chairman and current head of AGA reflects on two public careers

Former Oklahoma Rep. Dave McCurdy, president of the American Gas Association, will retire in February 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After nearly four decades in Washington, former Rep. Dave McCurdy is still an optimist.

Even as the former Democratic congressman from Oklahoma and current head of the American Gas Association prepares for retirement, he says there is a lot Congress can learn from the swamp so easily derided by public officials who struggle to step out of their partisan foxholes.

Rex Tillerson Out, Pompeo In as Secretary of State
CIA replacement would be first woman to head agency if confirmed

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testifies before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the fiscal 2018 budget request for the State Department on June 13, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Gina Haspel, deputy CIA director and a career CIA employee, is Trump’s pick for CIA director.

“He will do a fantastic job!” Trump tweeted of Pompeo. “Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!”