Overnight Defense: Senate to vote on defense picks Friday | 41 detainees left at Gitmo | North Korea may be prepping missile launch

Overnight Defense: Senate to vote on defense picks Friday | 41 detainees left at Gitmo | North Korea may be prepping missile launch
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THE TOPLINE: President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE will be sworn in on Friday, and his defense nominees could be getting to work soon after.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that the upper chamber will take up at least two of Trump's nominees on Friday.

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"Senators on both sides of the aisle have expressed support for the president-elect's key national security nominees," he told reporters.

Democrats will allow for a "day one" vote on retired Gens. James Mattis and John Kelly, Trump's picks to lead the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security, respectively.

"I looked at their records and I rely on advice from some colleagues on both sides of the aisle ... and I think they would be very good nominees," Schumer said, asked why Democrats were allowing votes on Mattis and Kelly.

The Hill's Jordain Carney has more here.

OBAMA RELEASES MORE GITMO DETAINEES: President Obama revealed Thursday that four more detainees have been transferred out of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility as he took a parting shot at Congress for blocking his eight-year effort to close the prison.

In a letter to the Republican leaders of Congress, Obama said that 41 detainees remaining, down from the 45 the Pentagon said were there on Tuesday.

"Of the nearly 800 detainees at one time held at the facility, today only 41 remain," Obama wrote a letter to Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Utah governor calls Bannon a 'bigot' after attacks on Romney MORE (R-Utah).

"There is simply no justification beyond politics for the Congress' insistence on keeping the facility open," Obama continued. "Members of Congress who obstruct efforts to close the facility, given the stakes involved for our security, have abdicated their responsibility to the American people.

The Hill's Rebecca Kheel has more here.

NORTH KOREA MAY BE PREPPING MISSILE LAUNCH:  North Korea could be making preparations for a missile launch to test President-elect Donald Trump , Reuters reports.

U.S. intelligence officials said that there are indications that Pyongyang could hold a launch in the coming days or weeks. The timing of such a missile test is unclear, but South Korean media has reported that a launch could be timed to Trump's inauguration on Friday.

A missile launch could be a test of how the Trump administration will handle such provocations from Pyongyang, a U.S. official who monitors North Korea told Reuters.

The Hill's Max Greenwood has more here.

B-2s STRIKE ISIS CAMPS IN LIBYA: Two U.S. B-2 bombers struck two ISIS camps in Libya Wednesday night, dropping more than 100 munitions and killing more than 80 militants, the Pentagon announced Thursday morning.

The strikes destroyed two camps located 45 kilometers southwest of Sirte, which was the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's stronghold in the country until a joint U.S.-Libya military operation, Operation Odyssey Dawn, routed the group last month.

Pentagon officials said the strikes were to take out "squirters" who fled Sirte and were trying to reorganize and reconstitute.

The Hill's Kristina Wong has more here.

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW:

Donald Trump becomes our 45th president. Keep checking in at TheHill.com for updates on Inauguration Day.

ICYMI:

-- The Hill: Obama's last Gitmo transfers sent to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

-- The Hill: Dem senators to Trump pick: Probe if adviser violated Russia sanctions

-- The Hill: Chelsea Manning to Obama: Thanks for 'giving me a chance'

-- The Hill: Carter: 'I'm very confident in our force'

-- The Hill: Trump to visit CIA on Saturday: report