WASHINGTON (CNN) - The head of the Senate Armed Services committee said Thursday that he needed more information on how the nominee for deputy secretary of defense would handle conflicts of interests in his Pentagon post.
President Obama has nominated William Lynn, an undersecretary of defense during President Clinton's second term, to be deputy to Secretary Robert Gates.
Lynn was a senior vice president at Raytheon, which has billions of dollars in Defense Department contracts. It is is the maker of the Army's Patriot missile system and the Navy's Tomahawk missile and is developing a global positioning satellite communication system for the Air Force.
As deputy secretary, Lynn would be involved in the process of budgeting and acquisitions, in addition to running the day-to-day operations of the Defense Department.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The U.S. Senate approved the nomination of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state Wednesday by a vote of 94-2.
The two no votes came from Republican Sens. David Vitter of Louisiana and Jim DeMint of South Carolina.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– President Obama has wasted no time handling the Bush administration's unfinished business.
White House officials tell CNN Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel sent a memo Tuesday to all agencies and departments of the federal government. The memo halts further consideration of pending regulations throughout the government until a legal and policy review can be conducted by the Obama administration.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Senate is set to vote Wednesday on whether to confirm Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, objected Tuesday to the confirmation, preventing the Senate from voting by unanimous consent. His objection means that the Senate will hold a roll call vote on Clinton's nomination Wednesday.
Cornyn said he knows Clinton will be confirmed, but said he delayed the vote because he wanted more time to talk about the foundation run by Hillary Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton signed an agreement with the Obama transition team pledging to limit foreign donations and to release annual disclosures of new donations to his foundation.
White House officials tell CNN Obama Chief Staff of Staff Rahm Emanuel sent a memo Tuesday to all agencies and departments of the federal government. The memo halts further consideration of pending regulations throughout the government until a legal and policy review can be conducted by the Obama administration.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Senate will be in session at 3 pm on Inauguration Day, primarily to confirm several top Obama nominees. It’s unclear who will be confirmed, but there is a list of nominees whose confirmations could be called up as early as Tuesday.
It’s known Senate leaders hoped to clear most of the national security-related positions, but there is no final list who will be confirmed Tuesday, and Democrats and Republicans say they may not know until the afternoon.
The confirmations will have to be approved by unanimous consent, meaning no senators object to the person being confirmed. There are no roll call votes scheduled Tuesday.
A preliminary list of potential confirmations circulated to senators follows after the jump:
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President-elect Barack Obama and his transition team will be wasting no time getting to work Tuesday, according to two sources close to the Obama transition team.
Twenty senior staff on Obama’s team have already had their paperwork cleared to enter the White House Tuesday, as soon as Obama is sworn in as the country’s 44th president. Vans will take them from the Capitol to the White House as soon as the swearing in is completed.
Some senior staff will stay behind to attend the traditional lunch with the new president, but even those staffers will get to work quickly. They’ll be arriving at the White House even as the inaugural parade snakes through Washington.
Related: Obama plans ambitious first week
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Incoming President Barack Obama is planning to meet with top military leaders on Wednesday to discuss the war in Iraq and move to begin implementing his campaign promise of removing all combat troops within 16 months, according to two transition officials familiar with the matter.
The meeting with the Joints Chief of Staff and other top military commanders will be on Obama's first full day in office, which suggests the new President wants to send a signal to supporters that despite his heavy focus on the financial crisis he will also address Iraq early in the new administration.
In an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" shortly after his election victory, Obama indicated he would move quickly to start implementing his plan to withdraw troops when asked when the redeployments would begin.
"Well, I've said during the campaign, and I've stuck to this commitment, that as soon as I take office, I will call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, my national security apparatus, and we will start executing a plan that draws down our troops," Obama said. "Particularly in light of the problems that we're having in Afghanistan, which has continued to worsen. We've got to shore up those efforts."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General-designate Eric Holder conceded during his confirmation hearing Thursday that the government's options for regulating the possession of firearms have been narrowed in the wake of the Supreme Court's 2008 ruling that the Second Amendment ensures an individual right to bear arms.
"Reasonable restrictions are still possible," Holder said, including measures such as a ban on the sale of what are called "cop-killer" bullets.
But, he granted, "we're living in a different world" since the high court's 5-4 ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller.
Holder said that he previously viewed the Second Amendment as a "collective right" to bear arms, not an individual right.
The Heller ruling, Holder said, was a "very significant opinion."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Asked during his confirmation hearing Thursday whether the president has an "inherent authority" to engage in warrantless surveillance, Attorney General designate Eric Holder said the president would be "well advised" to work "within the dictates" of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Holder indicated that a president's power to conduct surveillance is "at its zenith" when the president acts in concert with the intent of Congress as laid out in FISA.
He also said that the U.S. Army Field Manual would be a "good place to start" for the purpose of establishing a uniform standard for torture techniques. He indicated that he did not believe that restricting interrogations to the rules of the Field Manual would impair the ability of the government to successfully combat terrorism.
Holder noted that law enforcement tools like the Patriot Act had to be enforced in a manner consistent with the country's values and "great tradition" of supporting civil liberties.
When asked whether he would support a criminal investigation of Bush administration officials for possible violations of national security and civil
liberties laws, Holder responded that while "nobody is above the law," he also didn't "want to criminalize policy differences that may exist" between the outgoing and incoming administrations.