THE TOPLINE: The Trump administration on Tuesday called out Russia and China for helping North Korea evade international sanctions, publicly detailing how the two countries help Pyongyang smuggle coal.
"The intelligence community has provided to your committee today evidence of how vessels originate in China, they turn off their transponders as they move into North Korean waters and dock at North Korean ports and they onload commodities such as coal. They keep those transponders off and then they turn them back on as they round the South Korean peninsula, and they head into a Russian port," Assistant Treasury Secretary Marshall Billingslea told the House Foreign Affairs Committee, pointing to a chart of satellite images and maps he said illustrate specific examples.
"In this particular case, this vessel ... sat in that Russian port for a period of time and then headed back out to water, ultimately docking back in China with North Korea-origin coal -- sanctions evasion."
TRUMP DOWNPLAYS NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS: President Trump on Tuesday said the U.N. sanctions passed the night before against North Korea, its toughest yet, are "not a big deal."
The Hill's Jordan Fabian has more on Trump's comments:
Trump on Tuesday lauded the United Nations Security Council for unanimously approving new sanctions against North Korea, but he questioned whether they will have "any impact" on its nuclear program.
"It's just another very small step. Not a big deal … I don't know if it has any impact, but certainly it was nice to get a 15-0 vote," Trump said during a White House meeting with Malaysia's prime minister.
The president said the fresh penalties "are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen" to curb Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.
MATTIS SOUNDS ALARM ON STOPGAP: Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon chiefs to Congress: Don't default Pentagon chiefs say debt default could risk national security MORE alerted lawmakers of the effects a stopgap spending measure would have on the military as Congress passed one, warning that training, recruitment, contracting and other areas would all be curtailed.
"Longer term [continuing resolutions] impact the readiness of our forces and their equipment at a time when security threats are extraordinarily high," Mattis wrote in a letter to the leaders of the Armed Services committees dated Sept. 8. "The longer the CR, the greater the consequences for our force."
The letter was in response to a letter Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOur military shouldn't be held hostage to 'water politics' Meghan McCain blames 'toxic' hostility for 'The View' exit Beware the tea party of the left MORE (R-Ariz.) and ranking member Jack ReedJack ReedSenators ask Biden administration to fund program that helps people pay heating bills LIVE COVERAGE: Senators press military leaders on Afghanistan Top Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal MORE (D-R.I.) wrote to Mattis in August asking about the effects of a three-month and a six-month continuing resolution.
MCCAIN TO CONTINUE WORK DURING TREATMENT: Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) will work while receiving continued treatment for brain cancer, his office said Tuesday.
Via The Hill's Jordain Carney:
McCain will keep receiving treatment for brain cancer following an MRI he received at the National Institutes of Health this week.
"Following the advice of his doctors, Senator McCain will continue to receive targeted radiation and chemotherapy treatments at NIH while maintaining a regular work schedule in the United States Senate," McCain's office said on Tuesday.
The 81-year-old senator was diagnosed with brain cancer in July after he underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from above his left eye.
SENATE TO VOTE ON PAUL WAR AMENDMENT: Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulVaccine 'resisters' are a real problem Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Journalist Dave Levinthal discusses 'uptick' in congressional stock trade violations MORE (R-Ky.) has secured a vote on his amendment repealing two war authorizations after threatening to slow down consideration of the defense policy bill and block all other amendments from getting a vote.
The Hill's Jordain Carney reports:
Senators will hold a vote on Paul's amendment to sunset the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) on Wednesday.
The Kentucky Republican wants to attach a six-month sunset of the two war bills to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The 2011 AUMF passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, while the 2002 AUMF authorized the Iraq War.
The move comes after Paul said on Monday that he would slow walk the Senate's consideration of the NDAA -- an annual bill that normally passes with large bipartisan margins -- and block any of the hundreds of other amendments from getting votes.
Paul's amendment is unlikely to get added to the Senate's defense bill.
ON TAP FOR TOMORROW:
A House Foreign Affairs subpanel will hear from government officials on the fiscal 2018 budget request for Afghanistan and Pakistan at 10 a.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2172. http://bit.ly/2wO2vOB
A House Veterans Affairs subpanel will address a number of bills including the draft "Veterans Fair Debt Notice Act of 2017" at 10:30 a.m. at the Cannon House Office Building, room 334. http://bit.ly/2eTenrA
A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee will hear from outside experts on the influence of state and criminal actors in Venezuela at 2 p.m. at Rayburn 2200. http://bit.ly/2wOfOxq
Another House Foreign Affairs subcommittee will hear from outside experts on the future of democracy and governance in Liberia at 2 p.m. at Rayburn 2172. http://bit.ly/2jaItId
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