Intelligence

Trump Administration Tries to Reassure Key Senators About ZTE Enforcement
Cornyn said administration is making clear national security and trade are in separate buckets

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said the defense authorization is expected to address ZTE. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration is trying to reassure Senate Republicans that it won’t go light on sanctions enforcement against Chinese communications equipment firm ZTE.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross huddled with a group of key GOP senators Wednesday evening.

Opinion: A Letter to Republicans About Watergate, Trump and the Judgment of History
Excuses by lawmakers won’t hold up in the end

The Watergate hearings focused on the conduct of President Richard M. Nixon more than 40 years ago. The events that led to Nixon’s downfall seem vivid and contemporary, Walter Shapiro writes. (Courtesy the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

Dear Congressional Republicans,

As you spend time with your families over the recess, I suggest that you might invest a few hours reflecting on the Nixon era in Washington.

Democrats Get Preferred Candidates in House Races in Texas
GOP sees mixed fortunes for establishment candidates in runoffs

Air Force veteran Gina Ortiz Jones won the Democratic nomination for Texas’ 23rd District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

General election matchups in Texas were set following Tuesday’s runoffs, including a few expected to be competitive in the fall. 

Democrats saw new opportunities in the Lone Star state after Hillary Clinton carried three Republican-held seats in 2016. Each of those races on the Democratic side went to a runoff after no one took more than 50 percent of the vote in the March 6 primary. A slew of Republican retirements sparked crowded GOP primaries, which led to runoffs in five open seats. The winners of most of these contests are likely to come to Congress from the Republican-leaning districts.

Democrats Won’t Get Data on Trump Campaign Intel Source
WH spox: ‘Democrats have not requested that information’

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, will not be in the room when Justice Department officials reveal information about an intelligence source and the president’s 2016 campaign to GOP lawmakers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats will be shut out of a White House-brokered meeting during which Justice Department officials will tell two House GOP chairmen about an intelligence source who provided information about President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump asked White House chief of staff John Kelly to set up the meeting, which comes after Justice officials have for months been reluctant to hand over any information on the matter to Republican members. The order to broker the meeting, slated for Thursday, came after Trump met Monday with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a session the president on Tuesday described as “routine.”

Partisan Split Over Election Security Widens as 2018 Midterms Inch Closer
House given classified briefing on what DHS, FBI, DNI are doing to secure elections at state, local levels

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, left, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee address the media after a briefing on election security with House members in the Capitol Visitor Center on May 22, 2018. FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats also attended. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats and Republicans struck drastically different tones about their confidence in federal agencies’ efforts to secure voting systems and stamp out foreign state-sponsored influence campaigns ahead of the 2018 midterms after a classified meeting on the subject for House members Tuesday.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray were among the officials who briefed lawmakers and answered their questions about what their agencies are doing to combat potential Russian, Iranian, Chinese, and other nations’ attempts to undermine the midterms.

5 Things to Watch in Tuesday’s Primaries
Outside of Texas runoffs, this week’s action is mostly on the Democratic side

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray is running in Kentucky’s 6 District Democratic primary Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Voters again head to the polls Tuesday, this time in Texas, Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky. 

Texas held its primaries in March, but more than a few of those contests advanced to runoffs since the winners did not surpass 50 percent of the vote. None has received more attention that the Democratic runoff in the 7th District. 

Navy’s Top-Dollar Stealth Fighter May Not Go the Distance
New report raises questions about multibillion-dollar program

An F-35C takes off from the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Atlantic Ocean in March. (U.S. Navy photo)

The Navy’s newest fighter jet, the stealthy F-35C, may not have the range it needs to strike enemy targets, the House Armed Services Committee said in a new report, raising troubling questions about whether the multibillion-dollar program is already outpaced by threats.

And critics say the Navy fighter — part of the Joint Strike Fighter initiative, the most expensive weapons program in history — may actually have been out of date years ago.

Photos of the Week: Rain, National Police Week and Smokey Robinson
The week of May 14 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

The dome of the U.S. Capitol is seen through rain drops on the skylight of the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A rainy week in Washington is coming to a close (though the rain seems intent on sticking around through the weekend). Some of the events this week on Capitol Hill included: a presidential visit to the GOP policy lunch, testimony from singer-songwriter legend Smokey Robinson, the premiere of Sen. John McCain's HBO documentary and oh, more rain.

Here's the entire week in photos:

Senate Confirms Gina Haspel to Lead CIA
Bipartisan vote does not follow partisan script

Senators confirmed Gina Haspel to become CIA director before finishing work for the week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After a number of Democratic senators announced they would support President Donald Trump’s choice of Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to run the agency, she was easily confirmed Thursday afternoon.

In what has become a bit of a regular routine, Senate leaders reached an agreement to expedite votes on a key national security nominee and prevent any threat of a weekend session.

FBI Director Raises Concerns about Chinese Tech Giant Trump Wants to Help
Wray defends agency, responding to political attacks from Congress and White House

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during a Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing in Dirksen Building on the bureau’s FY2019 budget Wednesday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday reaffirmed concerns about Chinese telecommunications company ZTE that President Donald Trump wants to help — and defended the agency from political attacks coming from the White House and Congress. 

At a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing about the FBI’s fiscal 2019 budget request, Wray used a question about the agency’s responsiveness to congressional oversight to highlight the importance of protecting people who provide agents information.