Stories by Joel Rubin

Expert Voices

After Khashoggi briefings, rift widens between White House and Congress

Senator Lindsey Graham speaks to press after a closed door briefing by Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel
Senator Lindsey Graham after the closed-door briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, on December 4, 2018. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Senators from both parties have expressed dismay at the results of the delayed and incomplete CIA briefing on Jamal Khashoggi's murder, implying that Secretaries Pompeo and Mattis were not forthcoming at their own briefing the week before. Some senators have also publicly expressed clear views that Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing, counter to the White House narrative.

The big picture: The Khashoggi fallout has created a breach in confidence between the executive and legislative branches of government on national security, even while the same political party controls both branches. When Democrats take control of the House next month, tensions are likely to worsen.

Expert Voices

After meeting cancellations, more headaches await Trump at G20

U.S. President Donald Trump walks toward a group of reporters to answer questions while departing for the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires
President Trump outside the White House, before departing for the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, on November 29, 2018. Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

President Trump is flying to Argentina today for the G20 Summit, and, after he canceled a meeting with Russian President Putin and downgraded another with Turkish President Erdogan, it's already off to a rocky start.

What to watch: The summit will be fraught with strategic problems. On Trump's plate will be questions about European security in the face of Russian military aggression; America’s Middle East plans now that Saudi Arabia is becoming an international pariah and the Senate has moved to reject the administration's support for the Yemen war; U.S. plans to disregard international asylum standards along the Mexican border; and rising global concerns about climate change.

Expert Voices

Back in majority, House Democrats will shape national security agenda

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 23, 2018, with Adam Schiff and Eliot Engel. Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

Congressional Democrats are going to have a prime seat at the national security table for the first time in eight years. Poised to take control of critical House committees are Eliot Engel (Foreign Affairs), Adam Smith (Armed Services), Nita Lowey (Appropriations) and Adam Schiff (Intelligence).

What to watch: House Democrats will likely focus on defining policy differences with President Trump — on climate change, nuclear nonproliferation, international alliances and human rights. How they advance this agenda will have a decisive impact on whether Democrats can turn national security into a winning issue ahead of the 2020 elections.

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