President Donald Trump, concerned that investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections cast doubt over his legitimacy, has consistently dismissed and denigrated such probes. The decision by Dianne Feinstein, as the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, to unilaterally release the transcript of closed testimony by Fusion GPS co-founder ...

A coordinated operation is underway between the White House and Republican members of Congress to undermine Special Counsel Robert A. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, just as the inquiry begins to zero in on President Trump and his closest advisers. Their joint campaign is ...

President Donald Trump’s new national security strategy foreshadows a more muscular projection of U.S. interests abroad and defense of its people, businesses and borders at home, through a strengthened U.S. military and more aggressive trade negotiations, diplomatic outreach and military maneuvering. Its hawkish approach signals a switch to “gray zone” ...

It’s always the cover-up. That was the starting point for unraveling Nixon’s Watergate and Reagan’s Iran-contra affair. I covered both scandals and believe special counsel Robert Mueller III is going down the same path taken years ago by special prosecutors Archibald Cox (Watergate) and Lawrence Walsh (Iran-contra). The pattern is ...

The fallout continued Thursday over President Donald Trump’s retweeting of anti-Islam videos originally posted by a British far-right fringe group. British Prime Minister Theresa May, on a foreign trip to Jordan, told reporters that “retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do,” Reuters reported. Cipher Brief experts weighed ...

President Donald Trump’s trip to the region comes at an opportune time. The subject of North Korea will dominate much of the discussion in Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing. Let’s begin in Japan. Prime Minister Abe comes to these discussions after an election victory that gives him greater domestic support and ...

In an otherwise forgettable February 2017 interview, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly asked Donald Trump how he could respect Russian President Vladimir Putin, who O’Reilly labeled as a “killer.” Trump shockingly defended Putin by commenting, “There are a lot of killers. We have killers. Well, you think our country is so ...

The Kremlin is likely celebrating the indictment of President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager and the guilty plea by another campaign adviser, according to former intelligence officials. That’s because the news out of Washington on Monday plays directly into Moscow’s desire to sow chaos and distrust in the United States ...

President Donald Trump has turned his own obviously failed condolence phone call last Tuesday to 24-year-old, Myeshia Johnson, widow of 25-year-old, Army Sgt. La David Johnson, into a political fight between himself and Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL). The feisty, African-American congresswoman, who is a friend of the Johnson family ...

It's time for Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to use his congressional panel rather than just his mouth or tweets, to confront President Donald Trump. The committee has held 16 hearings since Congress returned in September, but skipped topics like Pyongyang that Trump has ...

The fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq is nearing its second major victory this year as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – an allied anti-ISIS militia umbrella group – close in on the last remaining pockets of ISIS forces in their self-proclaimed “capital” of Raqqa. The success of the ...

President Donald Trump used his debut address at the United Nations General Assembly to threaten that the United States would have “no choice but to totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies and to criticize the Iran nuclear deal as an “embarrassment” to the U.S. ...

President Donald Trump has made it clear that he thinks the international accord to reign in Iran’s nuclear program was the “worst deal ever.”  And he has twice reluctantly certified that Iran is in compliance.  But The Guardian is now reporting that the White House is pressuring intelligence officials to ...

In the early days of our republic, George Washington warned against “entangling alliances.” In 1821, after strenuous debate, John Quincy Adams decided not to speak in favor of Greek Independence because we “go not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” We, Americans, have always had a desire to stick ...

President Donald Trump on Tuesday returned to his stance that there is “blame on both sides” for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia at a white nationalist rally. "You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people — on both ...

Afghanistan is now President Donald Trump’s war, but it’s wider than just that country. Having refused to accept a strategy and operational plan presented to him last month by Defense Secretary James Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford, as well as National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, all of whom have ...

President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced he would nominate Christopher Wray to serve as the next FBI director as Congress prepares to hear from James Comey, who he fired from the job in May. Comey is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence committee on Thursday. In his opening statement, ...

President Donald Trump’s penchant for making misleading or false statements has been well documented. Former CIA Director John Brennan last week offered a possible reason – one that should be a concern with any Trump descriptions of his one-on-one meetings, particularly when it comes to foreign leaders. Trump, according to ...

It has been a tumultuous first six months for the Trump Administration, as the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has dominated the headlines, and frustrated and preoccupied the president. Still, the White House released a statement on Thursday touting its national security successes. It ...

A Trump administration “cover up” is underway. I am not talking about the concealing of activities related to the criminal investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence or the firing of FBI Director James Comey – although given Sunday's public disclosure of an additional Trump campaign ...

Leaders of the world’s 20 most powerful economies met for the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, last week to discuss a wide range of multilateral issues, including international trade, climate change, and international security. This was also a chance for U.S. President Donald Trump to meet face to ...

Saturday, on the sidelines of the G-20 in Hamburg, President Trump sat down with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, for more than an hour-and-a-half of "substantive" discussions. Nonetheless, Washington as a practical matter no longer has a "China policy." That’s a good thing. twiett Why? Among other reasons, not having such a ...

President Donald Trump immediately brought up the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election during his first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, according to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey ...

The President of the United States Donald Trump visited Warsaw, the capital of Poland, on Thursday, the president’s first trip to the Central-Eastern Europe (CEE) since his inauguration. The visit took place on the eve of the G20 summit. Choosing Poland as his first stop was not a coincidence and ...

It was good to see President Donald Trump acknowledge on Twitter recently that the Russians did indeed conduct cyber attacks and influence operations against the United States during last year’s presidential elections.  In his inimitable style, Trump unsurprisingly made the acknowledgement while criticizing the Obama administration for knowing of the ...

On Friday, The Washington Post published a detailed account of the challenge the Obama administration faced in the run up to the 2016 presidential election as the U.S. intelligence community repeatedly raised concerns of Russian hacking. The story is striking in the regret expressed by former Obama officials and the ...

Current and former Intelligence Community heads say intelligence briefings must shift under President Donald Trump to acknowledge his tendency to be what National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Deputy Director Susan Gordon described as a “fire and forget” type of leader. During a discussion at The Cipher Brief’s Annual Threat Conference in Sea ...

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko dropped in to briefly meet President Donald Trump on Tuesday, a low-key visit that comes weeks before the U.S. leader’s expected sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin and as fighting flares in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian armed forces. Experts told The Cipher Brief ...

President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced he would nominate Christopher Wray to serve as the next FBI director as Congress prepares to hear from James Comey, who he fired from the job in May. Comey is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence committee on Thursday. In his opening statement, ...

The current Administration’s top leadership on defense, diplomacy and intelligence – the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, and Director of National Intelligence – all agree that climate change is happening and presents risks to the United States that must be addressed. For example, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, in ...

What’s the outcome of President Trump’s trip last week to the Middle East? I’ll focus mainly on what may be the after effects of the first days of his trip in Saudi Arabia, where he was treated like a visiting potentate. “The House of Saud played Donald Trump like a ...

President Donald Trump's first overseas visit was "Trumpist" in its ambitions, ambiance, and expanse: the three monotheistic religions, NATO, EU, and G-7 gatherings; a whirlwind of cultural experiences; and "finally Make America Great Again" with commercial and arms sales, investments, and gestures. But the core of the visit was reassurance ...

President Trump’s first foray into the world of foreign affairs hinged on one issue: can he convey a sense of trustworthy personal and U.S. leadership? Rhetorically, he did fine but at home he proposed a budget that guts his ability to follow through. In Riyadh and at NATO, he proclaimed ...

When it comes to Russia, is President Trump following his own guideline, America First, and if not, why? The infamous May 10 Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergei Kislyak provided another example of the odd way Trump avoids being critical of Moscow. I am ...

On the night of March 10, 2004, Deputy Attorney General James Comey and FBI Director Robert Mueller sped to George Washington University Hospital and stopped two of President George W. Bush’s aides from getting the signature of Attorney General John Ashcroft, gravely ill, on a legally dubious National Security Agency ...

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he had an "absolute right" to share highly classified information from a U.S. ally about an ISIS terror threat with Russia. Trump's tweets came the morning after top White House national security officials declared the story, which was first reported by the Washington Post, as ...

President Donald Trump is defending his "absolute right" to share information for "humanitarian reasons" with Russia following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak last week. In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Trump said he had shared "facts pertaining to ...

President Trump’s first trip overseas beginning Friday will test his ability to stay on script, limit impulsive, off-hand, public remarks, and stop controversial tweeting, all of which have caused him trouble here at home and abroad. The schedule will take him first to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he will meet ...

John Sipher, a former member of the CIA’s senior intelligence service, appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Wednesday morning to discuss U.S. President Donald Trump’s sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey. “The timing is a bit fishy because there really is nothing new here, right? The information that they are ...

When Yitzhak Rabin met with President Gerald Ford on his first visit to Washington as Israel’s Prime Minister in 1974, he sought to cash in on Ford’s earlier promise to him that he would move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem if he ever became president. Ford remembered the ...

It might be a “ridiculous standard,” as President Donald Trump put it, but presidents are measured by their first 100 days in office. In fact, even Trump has bought into it. On the 90th day of his administration, he proclaimed, “No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days.” ...

As we approach President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in the White House, it remains difficult to discern U.S. policy toward Russia.  The Administration has yet to articulate a clear policy, and its actions and words send mixed messages regarding American intentions toward Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin.  There ...

As the Trump Administration marks 100 days in office, there have been shuffles in the National Security Council, a strike in Syria, tough talk on North Korea, and plans for a controversial travel ban. What did the Trump team get right? And what was off the mark? The Cipher Brief ...

The apparent shift by the Trump Administration towards more traditional foreign policy has been welcomed by many inside, and more outside, of the U.S., as the global security system depends on a strong American role. Nevertheless, even a more ‘normal’ Trump foreign policy harbors risks, known and unknown. The known ...

When President Barack Obama nominated Michele Flournoy to be Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, she became the highest-ranking woman in the Pentagon’s history.  She was rumored to be Hillary Clinton’s pick for Secretary of Defense.  And after President Donald Trump’s election, General James Mattis asked her to be his ...

President Donald Trump may be the only world leader impressed with the impact of the recent United States use of Tomahawk missiles in Syria and later the giant, GBU-43/B MOAB bomb in Afghanistan. Although both those American military actions have not affected fighting in either Syria or Afghanistan, Trump and ...

On April 6 – the same day Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner dined with President Xi and his wife at Mar-a-Lago – the Chinese government provisionally approved three of the trademarks, according to the Associated Press, effectively giving Ivanka’s company monopoly rights to sell her brand of accessories and spa services ...

President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that “North Korea is looking for trouble” following Pyongyang’s threat to use nuclear force against the United States.  North Korea’s official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said, “Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the U.S. ...

In his first summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping offered his counterpart a Chinese calligraphy scroll with the aphorism “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Despite the lofty stakes involved in one of the world’s most important bilateral relationships, the achievements ...

The lessons Donald Trump takes away from last Thursday’s U.S. Tomahawk missile strike against Syria’s Shayrat Air Base are more important than the ones learned by Bashar al-Assad. For President Assad, it was simply don’t use sarin poisonous gas against civilian targets or perhaps next time, it won’t be another ...