Overnight Defense: Fallout from Syria strikes | Corker introduces terrorism war authorization | Dem opposition to Pompeo grows

Overnight Defense: Fallout from Syria strikes | Corker introduces terrorism war authorization | Dem opposition to Pompeo grows
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Happy Monday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Rebecca Kheel, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond.

 

THE TOPLINE: The dust is settling in Syria after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump warns Iran's Rouhani: Threaten us 'and you will suffer' Pompeo: Iran's leaders resemble the mafia NYT's Haberman: Trump 'often tells the truth' MORE, along with the leaders of France and the United Kingdom, ordered a missile strike on Syrian chemical weapons facilities Friday night.

On Monday, the administration had been expected to slap new sanctions on Russia over its support for the Syrian regime after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyTrump was right to ditch UN’s plan for handling migrants The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia Overnight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart MORE announced the move Sunday.

But the White House walked that back, with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying Monday morning that "we are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future."

Here's a recap of the key details of the strike:

What happened: The U.S., French and British militaries launched 105 missiles at three targets at about 9 p.m. Friday eastern time.

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The targets were the Barzah Research and Development Center, a center for the development and production of chemical and biological weapon; the Him Shinshar chemical weapons storage site, the primary location of Syria's sarin gas; and the Him Shinshar chemical weapons bunker.

Was it successful: Trump declared "mission accomplished" on Twitter, and the Pentagon said Saturday that the airstrikes "successfully hit every target."

And while Russia claims Syria shot down 71 of the missiles, the Pentagon says nothing was successfully intercepted.

Still, it remains to be seen whether the stated goal -- to deter Syrian President Bashar Assad from using chemical weapons again -- was achieved.

What happens next: The Trump administration is slated to brief the House and Senate on the strikes Tuesday.

As for whether the strikes herald a new U.S. strategy, the White House says no.

"The U.S. mission has not changed -- the President has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible," Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Sunday night. "We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return. In addition we expect our regional allies and partners to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region."

 

WAR AUTHORIZATION INTRODUCED -- BUT NOT FOR SYRIAN REGIME: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCongress has five ways to show American power against Russia History argues for Democratic Senate gains GOP to White House: End summit mystery MORE (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineAudience bursts out laughing after GOP Senate candidate says Trump is ‘standing up’ to Russia Graham would consider US-Russia military coordination in Syria Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick MORE (D-Va.) introduced their long-anticipated new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) Monday.

The timing means it's being read in the context of the Syrian strikes, but the senators have been working on the AUMF for months, and it is meant only for non-state terrorist groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda.

The Foreign Relations Committee is aiming to mark up the bill the week of April 23, but it's unclear whether it has a chance beyond that.

Here's a breakdown of what the AUMF would do:

-- Authorizes "all necessary and appropriate" actions against al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS and "associated forces."

-- Provides a list of existing associated forces and allows the president to add to that list within 30 days after the passage of the bill.

-- Requires the president to notify Congress 48 hours after striking a new associated force or using military action in a new country. It also gives Congress a 60-day window to block further military action against that group or in that country.

-- Establishes a process for reviewing the AUMF every four years without sunsetting the authorization.

-- Repeals the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs.

 

POMPEO WATCH: Secretary of State nominee Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump warns Iran's Rouhani: Threaten us 'and you will suffer' Pompeo: Iran's leaders resemble the mafia US commander: Challenge with North Korea is making progress despite lack of trust MORE's path to clearing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is getting more precarious.

On Monday, committee member Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDem senator ties Kavanaugh confirmation vote to Trump-Putin controversy Full interview: Chris Murphy speaks out on the Trump-Putin meeting and what it means Dem senator: NATO has become 'functionally obsolete' under Trump MORE (D-Conn.) said he will not vote for Pompeo.

"I hope my concerns will prove to be unwarranted, but they mean I cannot support Director Pompeo's nomination," Murphy said in a statement. "I will vote no."

Murphy follows Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who announced his opposition Sunday.

"Now more than ever, we need a Secretary of State who will stand strong for vigorous U.S. diplomacy," Kaine said in a statement. "I believe that Mike Pompeo would exacerbate President Trump's weaknesses rather than uphold our diplomatic legacy."

Why it matters: Committee Republican Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia GOP leader blocks resolution backing intelligence community on Russia Rand Paul blocks Sanders's Russia resolution, calls it 'crazy hatred' against Trump MORE (Ky.) has vowed to vote against Pompeo. That means Pompeo needs at least one Democrat on the committee to be favorably reported out.

Kaine voted for Pompeo as CIA director. The only other committee Democrat to have voted for Pompeo for CIA director was Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenErnst: Intelligence agencies should question Trump’s interpreter, not Congress Overnight Defense: More Trump drama over Russia | Appeals court rules against Trump on transgender ban | Boeing wins Air Force One contract | Military parade to reportedly cost M Top Dem lawmaker pushing committee for closed-door debrief with Trump’s interpreter MORE (D-N.H.), who has not yet said definitely how she will vote now.

Pompeo can still go to the Senate floor without committee approval, but it would be a rare and controversial move to do so.

 

BORDER DEPLOYMENT UPDATE: California's guardsmen won't be participating yet in President Trump's border patrol mission, officials confirmed Monday.

Robert Salesses, the Pentagon's deputy assistant secretary for homeland defense integration, said California declined a specific request to commit 237 guardsmen to two sectors near the Mexican border, San Diego and El Centro.

The tasks were operational support responsibilities, including motor transport, maintenance, radio communication, heavy equipment operations, some planning and administrative tasks and surveillance camera operations.

What's next: California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) earlier said he would accept federal funding to add 400 California Guardsmen, but insisted the troops not be used for immigration enforcement.

Salesses and Acting CBP Deputy Commissioner Ronald Vitiello were hopeful Monday that those troops could be used in a later phase of the border mission.

"There will be other missions that we're planning for the future state of this operation and so we'll continue to see if those fit better," Vitiello said.

Salesses also said "we are in a continuing dialogue, discussion" with the state.

 

VA NOMINEE MAKES THE ROUNDS: Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Ronny Jackson met with Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonOvernight Defense: Trump inviting Putin to DC | Senate to vote Monday on VA pick | Graham open to US-Russia military coordination in Syria Senate to vote Monday on Trump's VA nominee GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE MORE (R-Ga.) on Monday afternoon.

"I appreciated meeting with Dr. Jackson today to discuss his nomination to serve as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs," Isakson said in a statement after the meeting. "The VA needs a leader who is able to work with Congress to implement legislative solutions and oversee a large and multifaceted department. I congratulate Dr. Jackson on his nomination, and I look forward to chairing his confirmation hearing and learning more about his plans for the VA."

Jackson's scheduled to meet with committee ranking member Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterTrump Jr. to hold fundraiser for Manchin challenger History argues for Democratic Senate gains Overnight Defense: Trump inviting Putin to DC | Senate to vote Monday on VA pick | Graham open to US-Russia military coordination in Syria MORE (D-Mont.) on Tuesday morning. A notice from Tester's office promises the senator will press Jackson on the issue of VA privatization.

President Trump announced last month Jackson would be nominated to replace ousted VA Secretary David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinTrump loyalists purge VA of longtime staffers who don’t support agenda: report Poll: Majority in some GOP districts say Republicans 'more corrupt' than Dems On paper, Wilkie is the perfect candidate for VA secretary, but his qualifications go further MORE, but the nomination was officially sent to the Senate on Monday.

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW:

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Adm. Philip Davidson to be commander of U.S. Pacific Command and Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy to be commander of U.S. Northern Command at 9:30 a.m. at the Senate Dirksen Office Building, room G-50. https://bit.ly/2H7IhAU

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2019 budget request for the National Guard and the reserves at 10 a.m. at Dirksen 192. https://bit.ly/2JSKhyT

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on U.S. policy in Yemen with testimony from officials from the State and Defense departments at 10 a.m. at Dirksen 419. https://bit.ly/2EKvJh4

The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on "Promoting DOD's Culture of Innovation" at 10 a.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2118. https://bit.ly/2H2gyBJ

The House Appropriations homeland security subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Coast Guard's fiscal 2019 budget at 10 a.m. at Rayburn 2359. https://bit.ly/2H7QwRW

A House Foreign Affairs Committee subpanel will hold a hearing on the U.S.-Taiwan relationship at 2 p.m. at Rayburn 2172. https://bit.ly/2EOM3xm

A Senate Armed Services subcommittee will hold a hearing on Navy shipbuilding programs at 2:30 p.m. at the Russell Senate Office Building, room 232A. https://bit.ly/2DWV5ru

A House Armed Services subcommittee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2019 missile defense budget at 3:30 p.m. at Rayburn 2118. https://bit.ly/2qBJquD 

 

ICYMI:

-- The Hill: Top cyber official to leave White House

-- The Hill: US, UK blame Russia for coordinated cyberattacks on internet devices worldwide

-- The Hill: Opinion: Monica Crowley: Syrian airstrikes show Trump has learned from history

-- The Washington Post: Inside the Marines' new mission in Afghanistan: Taking back territory previously won

-- Bloomberg: Boeing cited by Pentagon over quality concerns going back years

-- Associated Press: Allies vague on evidence linking Syria to chemical attack