OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Graham suggests Olympic boycott over Snowden

“There’s many things we can do, but I think the experience of canceling the Olympics the last time around wasn’t very good,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a close ally of Graham’s.

He called instead for expanding the number of people covered by legislation sanctioning Russian human rights abusers and reversing Obama's plans to scrap a missile-defense shield in Eastern Europe.

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said that he didn’t want to get into possible U.S. responses should Snowden receive asylum, which he said would be a “direct affront” to the United States.

“Snowden still has access to very sensitive information, and so our national security is at risk as well,” Menendez said. “If a country gives him asylum, then we have to look at our relationship at that country in a whole new way.”

The U.S. and Soviet Union both boycotted the Olympics in the 1980s during the Cold War.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that Obama had no plans to boycott an upcoming trip to Russia in September.

“This should not be something that causes long-term problems for U.S.-Russia relations,” Carney said.

Gillibrand sexual assault bill gains support: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) proposal to make major changes to the military’s judicial code picked up three new Senate supporters Tuesday.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was the most noteworthy new backer, as he joined Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to give the bill support from conservative Tea Party Republicans.

Cruz backed Gillibrand’s proposal in committee last month.

“I see no reason why conservatives shouldn’t support this,” Paul said at a Tuesday press conference. “The only thing I think standing in the way is just sort of the status quo.”

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) also joined the bill Tuesday, and newly sworn-in Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) was added as a co-sponsor. Markey supported the House version of the bill.

Gillibrand’s bill, which would remove the decision to prosecute serious felony cases from the chain of command, now has 35 co-sponsors.

But the measure is opposed by military leaders, as well as senior leaders on the Senate Armed Services Committee, including Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.).

Gillibrand plans to bring her bill to the floor as an amendment to the Defense authorization bill.

Rules Committee takes up Defense appropriations: The Defense Appropriations bill is going before the Rules Committee on Wednesday, where House Republicans might restrict the amendments that will get votes on the House floor.

The panel already indicated it could limit the number of amendments to the bill, which is being done out of concern for amendments on the National Security Agency, Syria and Egypt.

The bill has been considered under an open rule in recent years under which any amendment can be considered.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) vowed this week to bring forward amendments to defund the NSA’s Internet and phone surveillance activities. He submitted two similaramendments to the bill to restrict funding on the programs, according to the list posted on the Rules Committee website.

Amash was also a co-sponsor of two amendments from Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) to prevent military funds being used in Syria or Egypt without approval from Congress first.

Defense appropriations amendments by the numbers: In all, there were 151 amendments submitted to the Defense appropriations bill. A number of them could be exactly what House GOP leaders are hoping to avoid having votes on. Here’s the breakdown:

• Eight amendments involved restricting funds to Syria without congressional action or limiting military action and boots on the ground. Three were bipartisan amendments, two were Republican and one was Democratic.

• Three amendments, all Republican, dealt with Egypt. They included one to restrict U.S. military involvement and two that placed limits on providing U.S. military equipment to Egypt.

• Amash’s two National Security Agency amendments appear to be the only ones that deal with the NSA’s surveillance programs. They are both co-sponsored by Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Massie. 


In Case You Missed It:

— Graham: US should consider Olympics boycott

— White House isn’t taking sides on Gillibrand bill

— Levin ‘troubled’ by Clapper NSA testimony

— Obama urged to nix North Korean talks


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