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Financial markets delivered an unwelcome gift for Jerome H. Powell when he was sworn in last week as chairman of the Federal Reserve — a nosedive.

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FBI director Christopher Wray's statement contradicts the White House, which said it was still waiting for the investigation to be finished.

The FBI director said Tuesday the bureau completed its security check on President Trump’s staff secretary Rob Porter last summer, an account that casts more doubt on the White House’s version of when officials learned of Porter’s history of domestic violence allegations.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the FBI provided a partial report on Porter last March, submitted a completed investigation in late July, and sent requested followup information in November.

“We administratively closed the file in January, and then earlier this month we received some additional information, and we passed that along as well,” Wray said. He declined to give details of what the FBI reported.

President Trump’s top intelligence advisor told senators Feb. 13 that he expects Russia to mount an operation to influence U.S. voters in the November 2018 election.

President Trump’s top intelligence advisor told senators on Tuesday that he expects Russia to mount an operation to influence U.S. voters in the November midterm elections, much as it did during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false flag personas, sympathetic spokesmen and other means to influence, to try to build on its wide range of operations, and exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on global threats. 

He added, “There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target.”

As the Senate opened a much-anticipated immigration debate Monday, lawmakers may be embarking on something rarely attempted anymore in Congress: openly and collaboratively legislating.

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The FBI headquarters is seen on February 2, 2018 in Washington, DC.
The FBI headquarters is seen on February 2, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

After years of trying to move, the FBI wants to tear down its vast headquarters building and construct a new command post on the same site in downtown Washington.

The bureau has worked for years to replace the 45-year-old concrete behemoth, which was named for FBI founder and longtime director J. Edgar Hoover.

The building is beset by crumbling concrete, outdated infrastructure to accommodate digital technology and numerous security vulnerabilities.

  • Congress
  • Budget

President Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal — with its eye-popping nearly $1 trillion annual deficit — brought swift, muted reaction from Capitol Hill, where neither Republicans nor Democrats saw much to like.

White House budgets are intended to serve as more of a blueprint for presidential priorities than a funding document. That allowed Republicans who have railed against red ink for the past decade laregly keep quiet about Trump’s $4.3-trillion proposal.

Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, the Republican chairman of the Budget Committee, reminded reporters that it is only the “first step” in the annual budget process that will ultimately be decided by Congress.

An Obamacare sign used by UniVista Insurance in Miami to sell health plans.
An Obamacare sign used by UniVista Insurance in Miami to sell health plans. (Getty Images)

Even as prospects for a new Republican push to roll back the Affordable Care Act remain dim, the White House is doubling down on the repeal effort, calling for massive cuts to healthcare assistance in its 2019 budget.

The budget blueprint – which lays out a host of Trump administration healthcare proposals – outlines nearly $1.5 trillion in cuts over the next decade to Medicaid, the government health plan for the poor.

And it would slash almost $700 billion in federal healthcare spending that helps low- and moderate-income Americans who rely on insurance marketplaces created by the 2010 healthcare law, often called Obamacare.

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(AFP / Getty Images)

Ignoring warnings from diplomats and even a powerful GOP-controlled Senate committee, the Trump administration went ahead Monday with drastic cuts to the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, the two most important arms of American diplomacy.

The budget unveiled by the White House allots $39.3 billion for the department of about 24,000 foreign and civil service employees and USAID — down from about $55 billion last year.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had embraced the cuts when the White House first proposed them, and was met with steep criticism from the foreign policy establishment and numerous members of Congress. The Senate Appropriations Committee last fall said the reductions “serve only to weaken America’s standing in the world.”

  • Russia
(Mkadeb Antonov / AFP/Getty Images)

Street names, apparently, are not immune to the diplomatic tit-for-tat between Moscow and Washington.

Moscow’s city government announced Monday that it will consider a request from a Russian parliament member to change the postal address of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to 1 North American Dead-end.

The name change request seems to be retaliation for Washington’s announcement last month that it would name part of Wisconsin Avenue in front of the Russian Embassy Nemtsov Plaza after slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.