Trump administration to brief senators on Syria strikes

Trump administration to brief senators on Syria strikes
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Top Trump administration officials are heading to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to update lawmakers on last week’s missile strikes on Syria.

A Democratic leadership aide said Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Air Force outlines plan for biggest force since end of Cold War | Trump admin slashes refugee cap | Mattis accuses Russia of meddling in Macedonia's NATO bid It’s long past time to tie the president’s hands Mattis warns of Russian meddling in Macedonia's bid for NATO: report MORE and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford will brief House members in the Capitol Visitors Center auditorium at 2:30 p.m. 

The administration officials are then expected to head across the Capitol to meet with senators. 

“There will be an all-Senators briefing tomorrow afternoon,” Don Stewart, a spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMurkowski echoes calls for Kavanaugh, accuser to testify McConnell rips Democrats for handling of Kavanaugh nomination Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow MORE (R-Ky.), said in a tweet.  

McConnell’s office declined to say who would represent the administration in the briefing. But a Senate source told Reuters that Mattis and Dunford would take part in that chamber's briefing as well. 

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The closed-door meetings come after Trump announced late Friday during a televised address at the White House that he had ordered "precision strikes" on targets in Syria associated with the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The strikes targeted three sites near the capital of Damascus and in Homs, roughly 100 miles north.

Trump said during a White House address that the U.S. would “sustain” pressure on Syria until the Assad government “stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”

But Defense Secretary James Mattis later said no additional strikes against Syria were planned, telling reporters “this is a one-time shot.”

It’s unlikely that Congress will draft new legislation to address Trump's legal authority to take military action against Assad’s government. A war bill that senators are hoping to unveil as soon as Monday is not expected to touch on the issue of Syria. 

But senators, including Republicans, urged the Trump administration to lay out its Syria strategy to Congress in the wake of the strikes. 

“Moving forward, it is vitally important that the Trump administration honors the Constitution by working with Congress on further military action. The United States is not at war with the people of Syria and I anticipate that the Administration will quickly present their long-term intentions to the American people,” GOP Sen. James Lankford (Okla.) said in a statement.

Rep. Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceOvernight Defense: Congress reaches deal preventing shutdown | Pentagon poised to be funded on time for first time in years | House GOP rejects effort to get Putin summit documents GOP rejects effort to force release of documents about private Trump-Putin meeting Lawmakers press Trump officials on implementing Russia sanctions MORE (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the administration “needs to begin fully explaining its strategy for the months ahead.”

—Updated at 2:55 p.m. Melanie Zanona contributed.