By Justin Sink - 08/17/14 10:47 PM EDT
President Obama will return to work at the White House on Monday, but the two biggest concerns from his weeklong Martha’s Vineyard vacation — the situation in Ferguson, Mo., and the ongoing military operation in Iraq — are following him back to Washington.
The president plans to meet Monday morning with Vice President Biden and members of his national security team to receive an update on operations in Iraq, the White House said late Sunday night.
In the letter to congressional leaders, the White House described the mission as limited in duration and scope but said that the destruction of the dam would threaten U.S. personnel and facilities.
In the afternoon, the president plans to meet with Attorney General Eric Holder for an update on the simmering tensions in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, where demonstrations continue after the killing of an unarmed black teenager by local police.
On Sunday, Holder announced the federal government would perform its own autopsy of that teenager, Michael Brown.
"Due to the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family, Attorney General Holder has instructed Justice Department officials to arrange for an additional autopsy to be performed by a federal medical examiner," Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement. "This independent examination will take place as soon as possible. Even after it is complete, Justice Department officials still plan to take the state-performed autopsy into account in the course of their investigation."
The president announced last week that the FBI would be investigating the case, and that he had ordered the Justice Department to coordinate with local agencies in a bid to de-escalate tensions in the town.
The meetings with the president’s national security staff and Holder will be open only to photojournalists, meaning that reporters will not have a chance to ask Obama questions about the latest developments in either case.
A lunch scheduled for midday with Biden is completely closed to the press, despite suggestions that it was intended to offset the president’s encounter with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who, like Biden, is considering a 2016 presidential run — during Obama’s vacation last week in Martha’s Vineyard.
The president’s mid-vacation jaunt back to Washington is highly unusual. He’ll return late Sunday night — he spent the evening at a jazz concert and out to dinner with the first lady in Massachusetts — and plans to return to the Vineyard on Tuesday.
White House officials won’t say why the president felt it necessary to travel back to the White House, and Monday’s events offer little insight into why the trip was necessary.
Last week, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the administration did not "anticipate any major significant news developments out of Washington those few days."