Overnight Defense: Four Marines killed in 'act of domestic terrorism'

THE TOPLINE: Four marines were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire at two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The shooter was also killed, according to police.

"We are treating this as an act of domestic terrorism," said U.S. Attorney Bill Killian. "This is a sad day for the United States."

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Law enforcement officials have identified the alleged gunman as 24-year-old Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, a naturalized citizen from Kuwait, according to reports.

Without naming the suspect, FBI spokesman Ed Reinhold said the gunman first attacked a recruitment center on Lee Highway in Chattanooga before going to the U.S. Naval and Marine Reserve Center a few miles away on Amnicola Highway.

The shooter and all four victims, died at the second location, Reinhold said. He would not provide additional details.

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, President Obama said he was briefed on the shootings by FBI Director James Comey and that the bureau would lead the investigation.

"My main message right now is deepest sympathies of the American people to the four Marines that have been killed. It is a heartbreaking circumstance for these individuals who've served our country with great valor to be killed in this fashion," said Obama.

"Although the families are still in the process of being contacted, I want them to know that I speak for the American people in expressing our deepest condolences," he added. "We will be thorough and prompt in figuring out exactly what happened."

Defense Secretary Ash Carter also offered his condolences.

My thoughts and prayers - along with those of the men and women of the Department of Defense - are with the families of those killed in this senseless act of violence and with all those touched by this tragedy, including our Navy and Marine Corps family," he said in a statement.

"I am grateful to local law enforcement for their swift response. The department will continue to work with local law enforcement as they investigate this heinous crime and will support our military families in their time of grief."

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerCoronavirus poses risks for Trump in 2020 Lobbying world Pelosi-Trump relationship takes turn for the terrible MORE (R-Ohio) condemned the "cowardly attack."

"I'm deeply saddened by this loss of life, and on behalf of the whole House, offer condolences to the families who lost loved ones today," he said in a statement.

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) lamented the loss of the four military personnel.

"Our Marines don't flinch when they take on our enemies abroad," he said. "It is heartbreaking when they are attacked here at home."

Senate Foreign Relations chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerMcConnell, Romney vie for influence over Trump's trial RNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight MORE (R-Tenn.) echoed those sentiments in his own remarks.

"I am heartbroken by the tragic shootings that have taken place in my hometown," said Corker, who served as mayor of Chattanooga from 2001 to 2005. "This is a difficult day for Tennesseans and our thoughts and prayers are with all affected by this tragedy."

SENATORS TO OBAMA: DELAY UN VOTE ON IRAN DEAL: Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chafed Thursday at the idea of President Obama seeking United Nations support for an Iran deal before Congress acts.

"Acting on it at this stage is a confusing message to an independent review by Congress over these next 60 days," said the committee's top Democrat, Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDemocrats worried about Trump's growing strength Senate Democrats queasy over Sanders as nominee Schumer: Trump address 'demagogic, undignified, highly partisan' MORE (D-Md.).

"So I think it would be far better to have that vote after the 60-day review, assuming that the agreement is not effectively rejected by Congress," Cardin said.

He made the comments after meeting with Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE, who was on Capitol Hill to rally Democratic support.

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSteyer calls for Senate term limits to pass gun control legislation Cruz targets California governor over housing 'prescriptions' This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime MORE (R-Texas) also threatened to block State Department nominees, or halt department-related funding, unless President Obama blocks the U.N. from taking up the Iran nuclear deal until later this year.

Samantha PowerSamantha Jane PowerPresident Trump's strike of choice Obama reveals his top books of 2019 Former US envoy Samantha Power: Trump finding 'new ways to compensate Putin for election interference' MORE, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., on Wednesday circulated a draft resolution that would end international sanctions on Iran once the International Atomic Energy Agency verifies its compliance with a deal curbing its nuclear program.

Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he told Power that action was inappropriate.

"I'm sorry, I look at that as an affront to the American people. I look at that as an affront to Congress and the House of Representatives," he said.

Corker and Cardin sent a letter to Obama Thursday urging him to postpone a U.N. vote.

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineRepublicans give Barr vote of confidence The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' MORE (Va.), a Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, defended the administration, arguing that Congress only has authority over sanctions it imposes through legislation.

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryDemocratic insiders stay on the sidelines in 2020 race 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents John Kerry: Democratic debate 'was something of a food fight' MORE and two other senior administration officials will have a chance to testify on the deal to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee directly next Thursday.

Secretary of Energy Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizFormer diplomat Yovanovitch wins award for her work Al Franken to host SiriusXM radio show Two years after Harvey's devastation, the wake-up call has not been heeded MORE, who joined Kerry for the negotiations, and Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewLobbying World Russian sanctions will boomerang Obama talks up Warren behind closed doors to wealthy donors MORE will also testify.

The officials will face skeptical members, including some of the fiercest critics of the Iran deal -- and two Republican presidential hopefuls.

One member of the panel, Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyLawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response Schumer: Trump coronavirus response marked by 'towering and dangerous incompetence' The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders steamrolls to South Carolina primary, Super Tuesday MORE (D-Conn.) warned that a congressional rejection of the Iran nuclear deal would be an "absolute blow" to presidential legitimacy on the world stage for years to come.

"This would be an absolute blow to the legitimacy of this president, and of any president to negotiate a diplomatic agreement," the Connecticut Democrat said Thursday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday gave a full-throated endorsement of President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran.

"I've closely examined this document," Pelosi said, holding up the text to a room of reporters, "and it will have my strong support."

STILL NO PENTAGON PLAN FOR GITMO: Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain says Steyer should drop out: 'I hate that guy' Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' GOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman MORE (R-Ariz.) said he hasn't "heard a word" from the Obama administration about a plan to close the U.S. prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

He said President Obama asked him in May to visit the White House to discuss the future of the controversial detention site.

"I said, 'Okay, give me a plan. Give me a plan, okay?' Three days later, both [Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and White House counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco] came to my office and sat there and said, 'Okay, we'll get you a plan,'" McCain told reporters Thursday.

"I have not heard a word since," he added.

McCain is deep into negotiations with House lawmakers over the annual defense policy bill. The Senate version gives the administration a path to close the prison but only if it can win congressional approval.

"I'm trying to address the issue of Guantánamo on the defense authorization bill and we haven't heard a word," McCain said. "What happened? They haven't even bothered to give me an explanation as to why they are not giving me the plan."

He said the lack of a strategy from the White House "makes it harder for me to negotiate" a final version of the policy bill.

BILL INCREASES MILITARY AID TO JORDAN: Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Energy: Critics pile on Trump plan to roll back major environmental law | Pick for Interior No. 2 official confirmed | JPMorgan Chase to stop loans for fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic MacGregor confirmed as Interior deputy chief GOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman MORE (R-Fla.), a 2016 presidential contender, on Thursday introduced legislation that would ease weapon transfers to Jordan to aid in its fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"A stronger relationship with our friends in Jordan is essential to preventing ISIL from gaining more territory and massacring tens of thousands of additional innocent people and key to our efforts to defeat this group," said Rubio, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, using another name for the terror group.

The bill comes days after a nuclear agreement with Iran -- the regional rival of Sunni Arab Gulf countries -- was announced.

The bill, dubbed the "U.S.-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015," would also boost support to help Jordan handle the refugee crisis caused by the Syrian civil war and increase military ties between Washington and country's central government.

Since January, the U.S. has provided $467 million to Jordan to help with the 621,937 registered Syrian refugees in the country, the legislation noted. In February, Secretary of State JohnKerry signed a memo pledging to increase U.S. assistance from $660 million to $1 billion per year through 2017.

companion bill was passed in the House last week by unanimous consent. 

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