cabinet

3 things to watch: Before any Iran conflict, Trump faces war within his own team
'Iran made a very big mistake,' president warns in cryptic tweet after U.S. drone shot down

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., are among the more promiment hawks when it comes to Iran. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS | Donald Trump is facing one of the biggest tests of his presidency after Iran shot down a U.S. military aircraft, prompting him to declare the islamic republic “made a very big mistake.”

His tweet at 10:16 a.m. Thursday broke the nearly 15 hours of essential White House silence on the missile takedown of the RQ-4 Global Hawk drone aircraft. But the U.S. commander in chief did not suggest he is ready to respond — even after a top Iranian official admitted the shootdown was meant as a “clear message” to Washington.

Trump kicks off re-election bid that could extend key legal protections into 2025
Federal statute of limitations on Mueller’s findings would expire in second term, ex-U.S. attorney says

President Donald Trump, here at a rally in Pennsylvania last month, kicked off his 2020 re-election campaign at a rally in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday night started his re-election bid, ending years of speculation that he might return to private life and opt out of seeking a second term that could provide him legal protections into 2025.

Political operatives since before he took office have suggested the 73-year-old former real estate mogul and reality television host might tire of the grueling job of president, choosing to enjoy running his businesses alongside his children in Manhattan and his various resort properties around the world. He put an end to that talk Tuesday during a raucous campaign rally in Orlando, Florida.

Trump again pressures Fed to cut rates with lukewarm comment about its chairman
President says he wants a ‘level playing field’ from central bank

President Donald Trump answers questions as he departs the White House on April 26. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday opted against giving a public vote of confidence to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as the central bank mulls a possible interest rate cut in coming weeks.

“Let’s see what he does,” the president said, appearing to suggest Powell’s future as chairman could be linked to whether the Fed answers his call and slashes rates.

Trump targets Florida electoral haul with Orlando campaign kick-off
Booming and diverse state presents challenge, and is key to re-election bid

Bikers after a Republican rally in Orlando, Fla., last November. For President Donald Trump, any hopes of winning a second term depend on him winning Florida and its 29 electoral votes again. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump will pull out all the stops Tuesday in Orlando, Florida, when he announces his re-election bid in a state he narrowly won in 2016 and needs again as he tries to reconfigure the electoral map that put him in the White House.

But Democrats are already countering his expected message of a strong economy and tough trade tactics, arguing that Trump’s tariffs are hurting middle-class voters and causing battleground states to shed jobs. That’s the message the party and many of its 2020 candidates are pushing in hopes of reversing Hillary Clinton’s 1-point loss in the Sunshine State three years ago. 

Could Donald Trump replace Sarah Huckabee Sanders with John Barron?
President never replaced his last communications director, prefers to drive own messaging

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is leaving her post later this month after a controversial tenure. There’s no frontrunner to replace her. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ voice cracked Thursday afternoon as she described her reasons for giving up her White House press secretary gig.

“I feel like it’s important for the president to be able to put somebody in place as he moves into the campaign season,” Sanders said in an impromptu gaggle in her office, also saying she wants to spend time with her three young kids. 

Trump — not lawmakers — set to be biggest challenge for new legislative affairs chief Ueland
No matter who runs Hill shop, president’s approach is ‘very unlikely to yield results,’ expert says

Wyoming Sen. Michael B. Enzi, right, introduces Eric Ueland at his confirmation hearing to be under secretary of State for management in September 2017. That nomination was later withdrawn, but Ueland will be President Donald Trump’s third legislative affairs director, starting Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eric Ueland, hand-picked by President Donald Trump to be his third legislative affairs director, has decades of experience in the D.C. “swamp” his soon-to-be boss loathes. But the former senior GOP aide will quickly learn it is the president alone who is, as one official put it Thursday, “the decider.”

Ueland has been chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and a Senate Budget Committee staff director. Experts and former officials describe him as highly qualified for the tough task of being the messenger between Trump and a Congress with a Democrat-controlled House that regularly riles up the president and a Senate where Republicans lack votes to pass most major legislation.

White House and White House appointee fight over Kellyanne Conway
Office of Special Counsel accuses Conway of violating Hatch Act as White House punches back

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is the subject of a fight between the White House and the federal Office of Special Counsel. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

A federal special counsel nominated by President Donald Trump is calling for White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to be removed from office for taking overtly political actions while fulfilling her official government duties.

But the White House is pushing back, saying the office violated Conway’s due process rights and is questioning the special counsel’s motivations.

House Oversight votes to hold Barr, Ross in contempt over census question
Democrats’ struggles with the administration over census have played into larger battles with White House

House Oversight Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., right, and ranking member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, conduct a markup Wednesday on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress as Democrats argued the pair defied subpoenas in a probe of the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The 24-15 vote followed the Justice Department earlier asserting executive privilege to withhold documents sought by the committee. Democrats claim the question would suppress noncitizen participation and would be used to draw Republican-favored maps. The administration says it is needed to enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Trump blasts Federal Reserve, U.S. Chamber over trade, interest rates
President threatens to leave business organization in what appeared to be unplanned phone interview with CNBC

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., in May. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump blasted the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Monday morning in what appeared to be an unplanned telephone interview with CNBC.

Trump again criticized the Federal Reserve Board for having raised interest rates, especially while the president said China was allowing its currency to be weakened in part to mitigate the effects of U.S. tariffs.

Justice Department pushes back against Democrats’ contempt threat over census
House Oversight panel could vote to hold Barr, Ross in contempt as early as next week

House Oversight Chairman Elijah E. Cummings could proceed with votes to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt after their refusal to comply with the panel’s document demands. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Justice Department on Thursday rejected document demands from the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee related to the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census, which could lead to votes to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress.

In a letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd, the department argued that some of the documents sought by the panel, such as letters between the DOJ and Census Bureau, are protected. The deadline to submit the documents, which are being sought under a subpoena, was Thursday.