cabinet

Shovels Down: White House Drives Dagger Into Infrastructure Bill
Administration ‘optimistic’ about a farm bill this year, Short says

Workers take a break near the presidential inauguration construction site on the West Front of the Capitol on Dec. 8, 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House formally drove a dagger into the passage this year of the kind of massive infrastructure package called for by President Donald Trump.

What is on the White House’s legislative agenda for the rest of the year includes another tax package, a farm bill, more federal judiciary nominations — and possibly immigration legislation.

Trump Says MS-13, North Korea Show Democrats Have ‘Lost Touch’
President lashes out after Dems blame him for summit cancellation

President Donald Trump addresses the press before departing for Dallas, Texas, where he made an appearance at at the National Rifle Association convention earlier this month. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday said congressional Democrats “have lost touch,” accusing the opposition party of rooting against his attempts to disarm North Korea and coddling members of the violent MS-13 gang.

The president on Thursday thanked a bipartisan group of lawmakers who helped pass a bill that eases financial regulations before he signed it at the White House. But the next morning, he tweeted that “Democrats are so obviously rooting against us in our negotiations with North Korea.”

Analysis: Giuliani Escalates Effort to Erode Legitimacy of Mueller Probe
Trump lawyer attacks Sessions, Comey and casts president as victim of ‘crimes’

Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani prepares to speak at the Conference on Iran earlier this month shortly after being added to President Donald Trump’s legal team. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Former FBI Director James Comey is a “proven liar” and Attorney General Jeff Sessions “didn’t step up” to shut down an “unjustifiable investigation.” Those were just two of the claims made Friday by Rudy Giuliani, one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers, as he continued an escalating effort to erode the legitimacy of the Justice Department’s Russia probe.

As Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team continue their probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, possible coordination with the Trump-Pence campaign, and whether the president obstructed justice, Giuliani — joined by Trump and others — are executing a strategy intended to raise doubts about the necessity of the investigation, whether Mueller and the FBI are out to get Trump, and the special counsel’s tactics.

Trump Breaks With New Security Adviser Bolton on North Korea Plan
Records appear to contradict president’s claim that no U.S. official has ever negotiated with China

President Donald Trump, seen here in the White House Rose Garden last week, broke with his national security adviser when talking about North Korea on Thursday.  (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday broke with his national security adviser, denying that his administration is following the U.S. playbook in Libya — which led to the ouster and death of itsleader at the time — as it prepares for talks with North Korea.

“The Libya model is not a model we have at all with North Korea,” the president told reporters. “With [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un, he’d be there, running his country.

Trump Wants Full Border Wall Funding This Year
At event on sanctuary cities, president attacks California officials

President Donald Trump outlines his plan to lower the price of prescription drugs during a speech in the White House Rose Garden on Friday. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump has threatened a government shutdown unless Congress hands him more funding for his proposed southern border wall. Now he’s demanding full funding for the project this year.

Trump said he will attempt to secure full funding for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall during the next congressional appropriations process. That would mean he will demand both chambers approve up to $25 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border barrier, a figure pitched earlier this year by senior White House officials.

EPA’s Pruitt Faces Bipartisan Criticism at Senate Spending Panel
Discussion of agency’s budget takes back seat to scandals

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt faced some hard questions when he appeared before a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt faced a bipartisan lashing at a Senate Interior-Environment Appropriation Subcommittee hearing where agency scandals largely eclipsed discussion of the fiscal 2019 budget.

“I am concerned that many of the important policy efforts that you are engaged in are being overshadowed because of a series of issues related to you and your management of the agency,” Subcommittee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said as she kicked off a hearing on the EPA’s fiscal 2019 budget.

Trump Taps McConnell Brother-in-Law, Big GOP Donor, for Labor Post
Tech entrepreneur nominated to lead Labor Department pension agency

A brother-in-law of Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has been nominated for a position in the Labor Department. She is shown here testifying as her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., looks on during her confirmation hearing in 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Family connections can help when you’re applying for a new job — especially in Washington.

Just ask one of President Donald Trump’s latest executive branch nominees, who is married to the sister of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who’s married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. 

Trump Renews Call for Cop Killers to Get Death Penalty
Using campaign-trail rhetoric, Pence vows to ‘make America safe again’

President Donald Trump, right, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrive for a fallen police officers’ memorial followed by the weekly Senate Republican Policy luncheon in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday renewed his call for individuals convicted of killing police officers to receive the death penalty, but his White House has yet to produce a proposal to turn his campaign pledge into policy.

During the 2016 presidential election, candidate Trump often vowed, if elected, to sign an executive order that he contended would force convicted cop killers to be put to death. He renewed that call in December. But he has yet to sign such an executive action and his administration has yet to send Congress legislative language on the matter.

Lawmakers Concerned About Trump’s Pledge to Save China’s ZTE
Schumer claims U.S. president’s help would ‘make China great again’

A ZTE-made mobile device. Trump says he will help the Chinese firm avoid collapse. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Members from both parties reacted skeptically Monday to President Donald Trump’s intention to help troubled Chinese telecommunications company ZTE, saying they were concerned he was reversing his pledge to get tough on Beijing.

Trump campaigned, in part, on altering the United States’ trading relationships with the rest of the world, taking a particularly hard line against China and its practices. In 2011, he went so far as to say “China is raping this country.” So a Sunday tweet by the president raised eyebrows when he announced an effort with Chinese President Xi Jinping to “give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast.”

Opinion: John McCain’s Empty Seat at the Gina Haspel Hearing
Perspective as a POW and torture victim would have helped clarify the debate

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would have helped clarify the debate over whether Gina Haspel should be the nation’s next CIA director, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The second Republican presidential debate of the 2008 campaign season was held in Columbia, South Carolina — the conservative state where John McCain’s dreams of upending the George W. Bush juggernaut died in 2000. So when Brit Hume from Fox News asked McCain a question about waterboarding and other forms of torture, the prudent political strategy would have been to pander to GOP fears of terrorism.

But for McCain, the only presidential candidate to have ever been a prisoner of war, this was not an abstract topic. In 1968, after he refused early release from a Hanoi prison camp, McCain was so brutally beaten by his North Vietnamese captors that he was driven to the brink of suicide.