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Trump taps State Department’s top hostage negotiator to replace Bolton as national security adviser
Robert C. O’Brien served under Bolton when he was U.N. ambassador

Robert C. O’Brien was sent by President Donald Trump to Sweden in August to try to negotiate the release of rapper A$AP Rocky, who had been arrested on assault charges. (Michael Campanella/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he has selected Robert C. O’Brien to replace John Bolton as national security adviser.

“I have worked long & hard with Robert. He will do a great job!” Trump tweeted from California, where he is holding fundraising events.

As background checks talks stall, Trump casts Beto O’Rourke as scapegoat
POTUS: Candidate’s debate remark ‘Convinced many that Dems just want to take your guns away’

Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke speaks during a town hall event in Alexandria, Va., in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Washington fails to enact legislation to strengthen federal firearms background checks or otherwise deal with mass shootings, President Donald Trump suggests the blame will fall on a former House Democrat who wants his job.

With talks toward a measure that could pass a Democratic-controlled House and a GOP-run Senate showing no tangible signs of progress, Trump has vacillated from supporting beefed-up background checks to endorsing a amorphous plan focused on mental health issues he says is the root cause of mass gun massacres.

Senate panel wants probe into nuclear weapons glitches
Panel is concerned that problems might reflect fundamental oversight shortcomings that have broader implications

An Air Force F-16C carries a B61-12 bomb on a test flight at Nellis AFB, Nev. Problems with commercially manufactured electrical components have caused months of delays. (Staff Sgt. Brandi Hansen/U.S. Air Force photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee wants to order the Energy Department to launch an investigation into technical problems that have recently plagued U.S. nuclear weapons programs.

The committee’s mandate is buried deep inside the report accompanying the $48.9 billion Energy-Water spending bill that the committee approved on Sept. 12.

Senate Moms group balances parenting and politics

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, here in April 2018 with her newborn baby, Maile, is just one of many moms working in the Senate. A staffer group Senate Moms meets every second Tuesday of the month to discuss parenting issues. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On Tuesday afternoon in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, nearly 30 women from various Senate offices gathered over lunch, and you’d hardly know they worked in opposing offices. Republican and Democratic policies weren’t necessarily among the topics of conversation, but “co-sleeping,” on the other hand, was.

That was part of the conversation in the most recent “Senate Moms” group which convenes on the second Tuesday of every month (with the exception of August) and while it sounds like a club exclusive to mothers, it’s far from maternal-only; Dads and expecting parents are welcome, too.

Health care group backs Democrats with seven-figure ad campaign
Effort boosts freshmen who flipped red districts

Iowa Rep. Abby Finkenauer is among the 10 beneficiaries of a seven-figure ad campaign by the Democrat-aligned group Protect Our Care. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Democrat-aligned group focused on health care is seeking to give 10 vulnerable House members an early political boost through a new $2 million ad campaign.

Protect Our Care plans to launch a digital ad campaign Wednesday to promote the work by 10 Democratic freshmen on health care issues, touting votes to protect preexisting condition protections.

Esper brings China focus as Defense secretary
Plan to seek savings in Pentagon operations could face roadblocks

In search of savings, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper is looking at spending by organization that provide back-office services to the Pentagon. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Like every new Defense secretary, Mark T. Esper says he wants to make the Pentagon more efficient. He will get some results, but not many and not quickly, experts say.

Esper, now a few months into the job, wants to save money to spend it on preparing for war against China, and to a lesser extent Russia.

Greta Thunberg goes to Washington, an epicenter of climate inaction
Teen climate activist testifies Wednesday at joint House hearing

Greta Thunberg, center right, sits with fellow youth climate activists at a Tuesday press conference on Capitol Hill to discuss climate change. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The Swedish teenager who has become a symbol for a young generation worried about climate change is in Washington this week to help change minds — a hard thing to do in a capital locked in partisan combat.

Greta Thunberg, who famously traveled to the U.S. last month in a sailboat so as to avert the carbon emissions of an airliner, is making the political rounds in Washington, appearing at a student protests outside the White House last week, and a news conference with Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday.

Congress responds to an Olympic cry for help with oversight hammer
Sens. Moran and Blumenthal want legislative action this fall

Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, a survivor of sexual abuse by Larry Nassar, here at a July 2018 press conference on Capitol Hill, is among the abuse victims seeking action to protect future athletes. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With less than a year before the world gathers to ignite the Olympic flame in Tokyo for the 2020 summer games, two senators are pushing legislation that would provide the most significant congressional oversight in a generation of the board governing U.S. participation.

Spurred by numerous allegations from Olympic athletes of sexual abuse, a bill by Sens. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, and Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, would make it easier for Congress to effectively fire members of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, or to decertify a governing body like USA Gymnastics in response to future scandals.

Health care riders, farm payouts slow stopgap deal
Bill pulled from House Rules agenda late Tuesday afternoon

Montana Sen. Jon Tester is among those objecting to potential provisions in a stopgap spending bill needed to keep the government open after Sept. 30. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Trade assistance for farmers hit by retaliatory tariffs and the details of several health care program extensions were standing in the way of agreement on a stopgap funding measure Tuesday, sources said.

According to a senior Democratic aide, the bill was likely to include an increase in the Commodity Credit Corporation’s $30 billion borrowing cap that the Trump administration asked for earlier this month. But provisions on “accountability and transparency” were still under discussion, the aide said.

Corey Lewandowski sounds like a Senate candidate

Corey Lewandowski, the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, rebuffed Democrats’ questions at a House Judiciary Committee hearing. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared before a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday on possible presidential obstruction of justice.