Overnight Defense: Trump draws ire for wanting Russia back in G-7 | Movement on defense bills expected next week | Air Force grounds B-1 fleet over safety issue

Overnight Defense: Trump draws ire for wanting Russia back in G-7 | Movement on defense bills expected next week | Air Force grounds B-1 fleet over safety issue
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Happy Friday and welcome to Overnight Defense. We're Rebecca Kheel and Ellen Mitchell, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond.

 

THE TOPLINE: President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE's presence at the G-7 summit this weekend was bound to be tense after his decision to levy steel and aluminum tariffs on allies.

But he further rankled feathers before he even left Washington by suggesting Russia should be allowed to rejoin the group.

Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn before leaving for Canada to attend the G-7 summit, Trump said he has been "Russia's worst nightmare" but argued the country should be a part of the economic talks.

"With that being said, Russia should be in this meeting," he said. "Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting?"

Russia was ousted from the then-Group of Eight in 2014 in order to punish Moscow for annexing Crimea and supporting pro-Kremlin separatists in eastern Ukraine.

U.S. reaction: Lawmakers in both parties criticized Trump, saying he was comforting U.S. adversaries while antagonizing U.S. allies.

"This is weak. Putin is not our friend and he is not the President's buddy," Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order to protect US networks from Chinese tech | Huawei downplays order | Trump declines to join effort against online extremism | Facebook restricts livestreaming | FCC proposes new tool against robocalls MORE (R-Neb.) said in a statement, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"President Trump is turning our foreign policy into an international joke, doing lasting damage to our country, without any rhyme or reason," Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer wants investigation into Chinese-designed New York subway cars Getting serious about infrastructure Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

"Now watch President Trump grovel at the feet of our adversary and punish our strongest allies," Senate Minority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinIraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran Muslim lawmakers host Ramadan iftar to break fast at Capitol Let's stop treating student borrowers like second-class citizens MORE (D-Ill.) said in a tweet.

"No, Russia should not be added to the G-7," Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget Jeff Daniels blasts 'cowardice' of Senate Republicans against Trump WANTED: A Republican with courage MORE (R-Ariz.) wrote on Twitter.

"The president has inexplicably shown our adversaries the deference and esteem that should be reserved for our closest allies," Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainPelosi receives John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award Romney: Trump 'has distanced himself from some of the best qualities of the human character' MSNBC host: Barr 'the most dangerous person' who works for Trump MORE (R-Ariz.) said in a statement.

"Those nations that share our values and have sacrificed alongside us for decades are being treated with contempt. This is the antithesis of so-called 'principled realism' and a sure path to diminishing America's leadership in the world," McCain added.

International reaction: The United Kingdom also pushed back on Trump's suggestion that Russia rejoin the Group of Seven of the world's top industrialized economies.

"We should remind ourselves why the G8 became the G7 -- it was after Russia illegally annexed Crimea," a senior government source from the United Kingdom said.

"Since then we have seen malign activity from Russia in a whole variety of ways, including on the streets of Salisbury in the UK. Before any conversations can take place about Russia rejoining, it needs to change its approach," the source added.

 

DEFENSE BILLS NEXT WEEK: The Senate will take up the $716 billion National Defense Authorization Act early next week.

The bill moves ahead after a brief snag caused by Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race MORE (R-Pa.), who objected on Wednesday to starting debate on the bill, setting off a procedural delay.

Lawmakers then voted 92 to 4 Thursday in a procedural vote to end other debate. They will vote a second time at 5:30 p.m. on Monday to proceed with the NDAA.

Amendments: The past couple years have seen hundreds of amendments filed on the Senate NDAA, only for none to be voted on individually amid the objections of senators who want votes on their amendments as well.

It remains to be seen whether this year will be any different. Sen. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Trump nominates Shanahan as Pentagon chief | House panel advances bill to block military funds for border wall | Trump defends Bolton despite differences Trump nominates Shanahan as Pentagon chief Iran, Venezuela puts spotlight on Trump adviser John Bolton MORE (R-Okla.), who is managing the bill on the Senate floor in Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) absence, told reporters Thursday he was hopeful there will be 15 roll call votes on amendments.

In the meantime, he said, senators are working on a "manager's package" of noncontroversial amendments.

Cyber: Our cyber colleague Morgan Chalfant reports on one of the amendments filed:

Senators are trying to pass legislation aimed at securing U.S. election systems from cyberattacks by inserting the measure into annual defense policy legislation.

Sens. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordBipartisan group of senators introduce legislation designed to strengthen cybersecurity of voting systems Dems push to revive Congress' tech office US-China trade talks end without announcement of deal MORE (R-Okla.) and Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharHarris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers GOP senators split over antitrust remedies for big tech Fox's Brit Hume fires back at Trump's criticism of the channel MORE (D-Minn.) have introduced a new version of the Secure Elections Act as an amendment to the NDAA.

The lawmakers, backed by a bipartisan group of co-sponsors, originally introduced the legislation last December amid rising fears over threats to voter registration databases and other digital systems as a result of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In the House: Meanwhile, after its defense subcommittee approved a Pentagon spending bill behind closed doors this week, the full House Appropriations Committee is set to mark up the bill next week.

The bill would provide the Pentagon $674.6 billion for fiscal 2019. That includes $606.5 billion in base discretionary funding, which is about $900 million less than the Trump administration requested but $17.1 billion more than this year's spending level.

The bill would also provide $68.1 billion for a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account.

The markup is scheduled for noon Wednesday in a room to be determined.

 

AIR FORCE GROUNDS B-1 FLEET OVER SAFETY CONCERNS: The Air Force has grounded all B-1B Lancer bombers over safety concerns with the ejection seat, the service said Friday.

"During the safety investigation process following an emergency landing of a B-1B in Midland, Texas, an issue with ejection seat components was discovered that necessitated the stand down," Air Force spokesman Major William Russell said in a statement.

The statement notes that the order was issued Thursday

"As issues are resolved, aircraft will return to flight," Russell added.

Why is it important?: The B-1 is a major component of the U.S. long range bombing fleet, and was used in the U.S. strikes against Syria's chemical weapons facilities in April. It carries the largest payload of any aircraft in the Air Force.

What the investigation entails: The Air Force said the investigation is to "to prevent future mishaps or losses" and that it would be led by experts "who investigate the incident and recommend corrective actions."

Following a string of deadly flight mishaps, the Air Force last month said it was ordering a one-day safety review for all flying and maintenance wings by May 21.

"The safety of Airmen is the command's top priority. The Air Force takes safety incidents seriously and works diligently to identify and correct potential causes," Russell said.

 

ON TAP FOR MONDAY

The mayor of Hiroshima will discuss what his city and others are doing to reduce the risk of nuclear war at 10 a.m. at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. http://ceip.org/2JBY9QJ

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden will speak about Russian active measures at 5 p.m. at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. https://bit.ly/2kVobAG

 

ICYMI

-- The Hill: Chinese hackers stole sensitive data from Navy contractor: report

-- The Hill: House approves first 2019 spending bills

-- The Hill: Dennis Rodman to travel to Singapore during Trump-Kim summit

-- Associated Press: US military plans for future at Guantanamo because of Trump

-- NBC News: U.S. officials prepare to thwart Chinese spying at Singapore summit

-- Washington Post: Military members stationed overseas fret as flying pets home gets harder