GOP senator wants classified briefing on North Korea
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranMcConnell works to salvage tax bill GOP in furious push for tax-reform votes Overnight Tech: Lawmakers want answers on Uber breach | Justices divided in patent case | Tech makes plea for net neutrality on Cyber Monday MORE (R-Kan.) wants the administration to give him a closed-door briefing on North Korea, potentially during the August recess. 

"I've asked for a classified briefing. I need more information. My intentions are to return to Washington, D.C., in the next week or two, when this briefing is scheduled," Moran told KMAN, a Kansas radio station, on Friday.

He added that as part of the classified briefing he wants details on both the "economic situation" in North Korea as well as potential military options and "capabilities." 

"What are our capabilities of taking out ... the silos, the locations of where these devices are, are they spread across the country, what do we know?" Moran asked. "What are our capabilities for missile defense? ... Do we have the ability to bring that [North Korean] missile down before it does damage to the United States or our allies?" 

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The Senate is currently scheduled to be out of town until early September. 

U.S.-North Korea tensions have been escalating amid a war of words, stoking concern about the possibility of a deadly armed conflict. Pyongyang is threatening to launch a missile into the waters near the U.S. territory of Guam. 

Moran voiced skepticism that the United States or international community would be able to change North Korea's behavior, calling it "more troubling than any time in my time in public office." 

"I guess I would say that I've become discouraged about the chances of success of diplomacy. Having said that I would not ever suggest that we ought to give up on diplomacy, the alternative ... could be horrific," he said. 

Moran added that the escalating rhetoric is "troublesome," but floated that it could be aimed at getting China to put more pressure on North Korea to change its behavior. 

"I don't know that that's the case, but as I've listened to the rhetoric it could be a message to China, not a message to North Korea. Having said that it is troublesome to see the rhetoric continue and the response is escalation, or at least escalation in rhetoric, and additional threats in this case to Guam," he told the local radio station. 

The tensions have sparked debate on whether Trump needs congressional approval before launching a strike against North Korea. 

Moran added on Friday that his colleagues should be prepared to have a "debate, discussion and potential vote." 

"I want to make sure that Congress is fully engaged. ... I think we need to have a Congress that takes its constitutional responsibilities seriously," he said. "We ought not defer to any administration."