Overnight Defense: Trump cancels military parade, blames DC for cost | DC mayor hits back | Pentagon warns China 'likely' training for strikes against US | Turkey refuses to release US pastor

Overnight Defense: Trump cancels military parade, blames DC for cost | DC mayor hits back | Pentagon warns China 'likely' training for strikes against US | Turkey refuses to release US pastor

Happy Friday 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 price tag rained on the parade after all.

A day after the cost for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: Dems playing destructive 'con game' with Kavanaugh Several Yale Law classmates who backed Kavanaugh call for misconduct investigation Freedom Caucus calls on Rosenstein to testify or resign MORE's military parade was pegged at $92 million and the Pentagon announced it was postponed, Trump said Friday it's now "canceled."

Trump blamed Washington, D.C. officials for the high cost. But he said he may try again next year, when he said costs will come "WAY DOWN," though it's unclear why they would come down in a year.

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"The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it," Trump tweeted Friday morning. "When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. Never let someone hold you up! I will instead attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th. Maybe we will do something next year in D.C. when the cost comes WAY DOWN. Now we can buy some more jet fighters!"

It's also unclear what parade Trump is referring to at Andrews. A spokesman for the base said Friday the next planned event is its biennial air show, scheduled for May 2019.

 

DC fires back: After Trump's tweet blaming D.C. officials, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) tweeted back, mocking him and taking credit for getting Trump to change his mind.

"Yup, I'm Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, the local politician who finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities ($21.6M) of parades/events/demonstrations in Trump America (sad)," she tweeted.

A cost breakdown from the mayor's office put the bulk the of the city's costs in policing, which it said would be $13.5 million. Other costs included traffic control, emergency medical and fire services, and public works. The federal government typically reimburses the city for events.

The D.C. Council also celebrated on Twitter, tweeting "tanks, but no tanks" after the Pentagon announced the postponement.

 

Earlier: Trump's tweet Friday came after the Pentagon announced Thursday night the parade was postponed.

"The Department of Defense and White House have been planning a parade to honor America's military veterans and commemorate the centennial of World War I. We originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019," department spokesman Col. Rob Manning said in a statement.

 

CHINA ALARM: The Pentagon is warning that China is "likely training for strikes" against the United States and its allies as it expand its bomber operations.

The warning came in an annual report on Chinese military strengthen released Thursday evening.

"Over the last three years, the PLA has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against US and allied targets," the report said, using an acronym for the People's Liberation Army.

The report also said the PLA Air Force "has been newly re-assigned a nuclear mission, which would create a nuclear triad" with the PLA Rocket Force and PLA Navy.

 

Timing: The report, as mentioned, comes out every year. But this year it is coming at a time when U.S.-Chinese tensions are already at a high over a trade war. Trade talks are expected to restart later in August.

The report also comes after the Trump administration's National Defense Strategy made countering China, as well, as Russia a central tenant as part of a return to a so-called great power competition.

 

TURKEY NOT BUDGING ON BRUNSON: A Turkish appeals court has upheld the house arrest of the U.S. pastor at the center of spiking U.S.-Turkish tensions, Turkish media said Friday.

The court rejected an appeal to release Andrew Brunson on Thursday despite threats of retaliation from the Trump administration, according to reports.

Brunson, who has lived in Istanbul for more than 20 years, was arrested in 2016 on espionage and terror-related charges related to the failed coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The White House has said the charges against Brunson are baseless.

 

Caught up in the trade war: Last week, Trump said he would double tariffs on steel and aluminum from Turkey until Brunson is released. The administration has also sanctioned two top Turkish officials. Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: US trade chief casts doubt on Canada joining new deal | House panel invites Watt accuser to testify | Brady defends GOP message on tax cuts Trump: Venezuela is 'one of the truly bad places in the world today' Treasury targets Maduro's wife, inner circle with financial sanctions MORE on Thursday threatened even more sanctions if Turkey does not release Brunson quickly.

Turkey has retaliated with its own tariffs on U.S. goods, including on cars and coal, and by threatening to boycott U.S. electronics.

"Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years. They are now holding our wonderful Christian Pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage. We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!" Trump tweeted Thursday.

 

ICYMI

-- The Hill: Trump appointee recommends NSA, Cyber Command remain under same leader

-- The Hill: Vets group seeks to hold 5K race after Trump cancels military parade: 'One K for each of Trump's military deferments'

-- The Hill: Military pilots attacked with laser beams 350 times in last 7 months: report

-- The Hill: Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulA Senator Gary Johnson could be good not just for Libertarians, but for the Senate too Conservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Senate approves 4B spending bill MORE to ask Trump to lift sanctions on Russian leaders

-- The Hill: Trump ending funding for US stabilization efforts in Syria

-- Associated Press: Mattis says further Taliban assaults likely in weeks ahead

-- Reuters: Children are poisoned by lead on U.S. Army bases as hazards go ignored