Overnight Defense: Republicans to hold hearings on Obama's Gitmo plan

Overnight Defense: Republicans to hold hearings on Obama's Gitmo plan
© Greg Nash

THE TOPLINE: Republicans pressed hard against President Obama's plan for closing the military prison, a day after he presented his long-awaited proposal to Congress.

The plan would transfer some detainees abroad, prosecute others and move the rest to facilities in the United States, an idea the GOP has uniformly panned.

Here's a rundown of Wednesday's Gitmo developments:

AG: TRANSFERRING DETAINEES TO US STILL ILLEGAL:  "The Obama administration is legally prohibited from bringing detainees from Guantánamo Bay to the United States, Attorney General Loretta Lynch maintained on Wednesday," writes The Hill's Julian Hattem.

"That is the state of the law," Lynch testified in a House Appropriations subcommittee. "It's certain that we would be prohibited from doing so. I'm not aware of any efforts to do so at this time, in any event."

Read the story here.

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MCCONNELL: OBAMA MUST RULE OUT EXECUTIVE ACTION: "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators near deal on sexual harassment policy change Blankenship third-party bid worries Senate GOP Overnight Finance: Trump signs repeal of auto-loan policy | Justices uphold contracts that bar employee class-action suits | US, China trade war 'on hold' MORE (R-Ky.) wants the White House to rule out any unilateral action to close Guantánamo Bay and move detainees into the United States," reports The Hill's Jordain Carney.

"It's time the president finally rule that option out categorically," McConnell said Wednesday. "My own hope is that the commander in chief will not put his own chain of command in the position of having to carry out an unlawful direct order."

Read the story here.

REPUBLICANS PROMISE HEARINGS: Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: Pompeo lays out new Iran terms | Pentagon hints at more aggressive posture against Iran | House, Senate move on defense bill Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Sarah Sanders: ‘Democrats are losing their war against women in the Trump administration’ MORE (Ariz.), and Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteThe Hill's Morning Report: Koch Network re-evaluating midterm strategy amid frustrations with GOP Audit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years MORE (N.H.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Graham: Trump will 'end North Korea’s threat to the American homeland' in his first term Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers weigh in after Texas school shooting MORE (S.C.), who sit on the Senate Armed Services Committee, promised Wednesday to hold hearings on President Obama's plan to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. Still, they don't expect the plan, which they mocked as "gibberish," to advance beyond that.

Read their plans here.

POWELL WEIGHS IN: Republicans who oppose President Obama's plan to close Guantanamo Bay because it isn't specific enough should ask for more details before taking a position, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday.

"The complaint seems to be that they don't have a specific plan up there, and that's a complaint we can deal with," Powell said in an interview on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports." "Have the administration talk to members of Congress and put forward elements of a specific plan."

Read Powell's comments here.

 

IN OTHER NEWS:

ARMY CHIEF WANTS ALASKA BRIGADE: "Army Chief Gen. Mark Milley said Wednesday he is recommending that the Army not remove troops stationed in Alaska because of the threat from Russia," writes The Hill's Kristina Wong.

"I've concluded, after four, five, six months here of pretty intensive study that Russia is not only acting aggressively in Europe, they're also asserting themselves in the Pacific, and specifically in the Arctic," Milley said during a Senate appropriations defense subcommittee hearing.

Read the rest here.

 

ON TAP FOR THURSDAY:

The House Armed Services Committee has hearings on:

-- "Full Spectrum Security Challenges in Europe and their Effects on Deterrence and Defense"

-- "Department of the Navy 2017 Budget Request and Seapower and Projection Forces"

The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a nomination hearing for Brad Carson, to be under secretary of Defense for personnel and readiness; Jennifer O'Connor, to be general counsel of the Department of Defense; and Todd Weiler, to be an assistant secretary of Defense for manpower and reserve affairs.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has a hearing with Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryJohn Kerry to NYU Abu Dhabi: We can't address world problems by 'going it alone' Juan Williams: Trump's dangerous lies on Iran Pompeo: US tried, failed to achieve side deal with European allies MORE testifying on the State Department's 2017 budget request.

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee holds a hearing on the Pentagon's 2017 budget request with Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and comptroller Mike McCord.

 

ICYMI:

-- The Hill: GOP: Carter overruled Joint Chiefs chairman on Gitmo transfer

-- The Hill: Senate foreign policy chairman: Russia the winner in Syria's civil war

-- The Hill: Jailed American's 80-year-old father imprisoned in Iran, family claims

-- Agence France-Presse: 'Nothing to indicate' US strike in Libya killed two Serbs

-- Institute for the Study of War: Security in Afghanistan has been deteriorating

 

Please send tips and comments to Kristina Wong, kwong@thehill.com, and Rebecca Kheel, rkheel@thehill.com 

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