defense

White House Presses Vulnerable Dems on Pompeo Nomination
Sen. Cotton dubs Foreign Relations Democrats ‘two-bit Talleyrands’

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., right, meets with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of State, in the Capitol on March 19. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House circled the wagons Wednesday around CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to become secretary of State, arguing vulnerable red-state Democrats will feel “consequences” in November if they vote against him.

The Trump administration dispatched Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas to argue Pompeo is highly qualified for the top State Department position and to press Democrats running for re-election in states won by President Donald Trump to vote in favor of his nomination.

Trump Confirms Pompeo Met With North Korea’s Kim Jong Un
Diplomacy better than ‘comparing the size of our nuclear buttons,’ Schiff says

South Koreans watch a television broadcast reporting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping at Seoul Railway Station in March. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 7:49 a.m. | President Donald Trump confirmed Wednesday that CIA Director Mike Pompeo, his nominee to become secretary of state, met last week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea,” Trump tweeted.

White House Has Tepid Response to Corker-Kaine AUMF
NSC official: ‘Existing authorities are sufficient’

U.S. Army soldiers walk as a NATO helicopter flies overhead at Forward Operating Base Connelly in the Khogyani District in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghanistan, in 2015. (WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Updated 11:56 a.m. | The Trump administration is taking a tepid line on an authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, measure introduced Monday evening by Republican and Democratic senators, with a National Security Council official saying the president’s existing war powers are “sufficient.”

“Our position hasn’t changed,” the official said Tuesday. The 2001 AUMF, provisions in the U.S. Constitution and the force-authorization measure Congress passed and President George W. Bush made law before the 2003 Iraq war are “sufficient,” the NSC official added.

Trump: ‘High Crime’ Likely in California After Gov. Brown Rejects Border Troops
Nonpartisan group rejected president’s claim about barrier being built near San Diego

Members of the Kentucky National Guard 206th Engineer battalion arrive on a C-130 Hercules transport plane in July 2006 in Tucson, Arizona, to support Border Patrol agents maintaining the U.S.-Mexican border. (Gary Williams/Getty Images file photo)

Donald Trump slammed California’s Democratic governor Tuesday, contending “high crime” will rise in the state after Jerry Brown rejected the president’s request for National Guard troops along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Brown last week indicated he would deploy California Guard troops to the border — but not for the immigration enforcement mission Trump requested. Instead, the governor told the Trump administration in a letter guardsmen and women would focus on combating transnational crime groups.

Corker Releases AUMF Without an Expiration Date
Prospects for approval uncertain with expected opposition within Foreign Relations panel

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker is not concerned that the new force authorization measure does not have a commitment from leadership for a floor vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The long-awaited draft authorization to set new guidelines on the 17-year-old war on terrorism was released Monday night by senators and, to the displeasure of some Democrats, it would not impose significant restrictions on military operations, such as an expiration date.

The bipartisan Authorization for Use of Military Force of 2018 would repeal and replace the 2001 AUMF, which has been increasingly criticized for its expansive justification of all kinds of military actions against extremist groups that did not exist at the time of the 9/11 attacks. The new AUMF would also repeal the 2002 authorization that enabled the 2003 Iraq War.

Analysis: Trump’s Syria Strikes Highlight Congress’ War Powers Impotence
‘I would be absolutely astonished if Congress did a thing,’ expert says

President Donald Trump, flanked by new national security advisor John Bolton, on April 9 at the White House. Four days later, he ordered new cruise missile strikes in Syria. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Even as President Donald Trump has in recent weeks built a more hawkish national security team and again fired missiles at Syrian targets, Congress is not likely to take back the war-making powers it has steadily given up.

The days leading up to Friday night’s strikes by U.S., French and British forces on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons infrastructure offered a telling illustration of how this Congress, like most since World War II, has struggled to play its constitutional role in America’s armed conflicts.

Trump Prepared to Strike Assad Again, Official Says
Aides contradict president’s ‘Mission accomplished!’ declaration

President Donald Trump would strike Syria again if Friday night’s missile strikes fail to prevent its government from again using chemical weapons. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Updated 2:54 p.m. | President Donald Trump is prepared to again strike Syria if its president, Bashar Assad, launches another chemical weapons attack, a senior administration official said Saturday.

“If this act does not succeed, we will act again,” the senior official said, referring to Friday night’s cruise missile strikes on Syrian government targets.

Trump Orders New Syria Strikes After Assad Chemical Attack
U.S. warns Assad there will be further retaliation for future chemical attacks

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a tomahawk land attack missile during a Trump administration strike on Syrian government targets last April. (Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert S. Price)

The U.S. military — together with French and British forces — struck three targets inside Syria on Friday night, just days after Bashar Assad’s government allegedly carried out a chemical attack on a Damascus suburb and amid new U.S.-Russia tensions.

In a televised address, President Donald Trump announced that strikes against Assad's forces were “now underway.”

3 Things to Watch as Trump, Abe Try to Rekindle Bromance
U.S. tariffs on Japanese imports 'may well come up,' official says

President Donald Trump greets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he arrives at the White House on February 10, 2017. They will meet again next week in Florida (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | When President Donald Trump huddles next week with Shinzo Abe, the summit will mostly cover issues that have irritated the Japanese prime minister.

North Korea and trade relations likely will dominate the leaders’ talks at Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago resort that will span three days next week. Trump and Abe will compare notes on the North’s nuclear weapons and long-range missile programs, and the U.S. president’s planned one-on-one summit with Kim Jong Un. They also, however, will have to cover a number of prickly issues related to Trump’s trade policies and Abe’s worries that his country is drifting out of America’s economic orbit.

Podcast: Pentagon Reluctant to Enter Syrian War
CQ on Congress, Episode 98

Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., escorts Secretary of Defense nominee James Mattis to the hearing room for his confirmation hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)