This year, National Journal‘s Women in Washington list focuses on women who exercise powerful influence in five policy areas: energy, health care, technology, defense, and education.
Christine Wormuth, Defense Undersecretary for Policy
Wormuth became the Pentagon’s policy chief only late last month, but her time at the Pentagon dates back to the Clinton administration. She most recently served as the deputy undersecretary for strategy, plans, and force development, and has been a frequent face on the Hill defending the department’s Quadrennial Defense Review — a wide-ranging policy document. She has also held positions outside government, including as a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Deborah Lee James, Air Force Secretary
James became the second woman to lead the Air Force when she was sworn in late last year. She returned to the Pentagon — having previously served as an assistant secretary during the Clinton administration — after spending more than a decade in the private sector. So far, the biggest issue she has confronted during her tenure has been allegations of cheating on exams within the nuclear-missile force at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.
Wendy Anderson, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Defense Secretary
Anderson joined Secretary Chuck Hagel’s staff late last year, but the two go all the way back to his days in the Senate — when she was the liaison for Sen. Barbara Mikulski to the Senate Intelligence Committee, on which Hagel served. Before joining Hagel’s Pentagon staff, Anderson was chief of staff for then-Deputy Secretary Ashton Carter. She could soon have a new title: Hagel’s current chief of staff has been tapped to serve as ambassador to South Korea, and Anderson is considered a contender for the job.
Susan Rice (William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire)Susan Rice, National Security Adviser to the President
Rice is no stranger to the spotlight or to controversy. She recently took digs at Senate Republicans for holding up Obama’s ambassadorial nominees; she received mixed reviews for beating the president to the punch in expressing support for three kidnapped Israeli teens; and she is pushing gay rights as human rights on behalf of the White House. But Rice’s most infamous role in national security was her insistence, as the U.S. representative to the U.N., that the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi resulted from a protest against an anti-Muslim video rather than a planned terrorist attack.
Wendy Sherman, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs
Sherman is the State Department’s top nuclear negotiator in talks with Iran. She is also the department’s fourth-ranking official, managing a massive diplomatic portfolio including Africa, East Asia, the Pacific, Europe, Eurasia, the Near East, South and Central Asia, the Western Hemisphere, and international organizations. Sherman previously ran EMILY’s List, which helps elect Democratic women who support abortion rights. She also managed Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s first successful Senate race and served as her chief of staff.
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President Trump added five new names to his Supreme Court short list on Friday, should a need arise to appoint a new justice. The list now numbers 25 individuals. They are: 7th Circuit Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Georgia Supreme Court Justice Britt C. Grant, District of Columbia Circuit Appeals Court Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, 11th Circuit Appeals Judge Kevin C. Newsom, and Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick.
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday the Justice Department will revamp its policy for issuing guidance documents. Speaking at the Federalist Society’s annual conference in Washington Friday, Sessions said the Justice Department will no longer issue guidance that 'purports to impose new obligations on any party outside the executive branch.' He said DOJ will review and repeal any documents that could violate this policy." Sessions said: “Too often, rather than going through the long, slow, regulatory process provided in statute, agencies make new rules through guidance documents—by simply sending a letter. This cuts off the public from the regulatory process by skipping the required public hearings and comment periods—and it is simply not what these documents are for. Guidance documents should be used to explain existing law—not to change it.”
"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."
"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."