Overnight Defense: McCain honored in Capitol ceremony | Mattis extends border deployment | Trump to embark on four-country trip after midterms

Overnight Defense: McCain honored in Capitol ceremony | Mattis extends border deployment | Trump to embark on four-country trip after midterms
© Anna Moneymaker

Happy Friday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Ellen Mitchell, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.

 

THE TOPLINE: Congress gave the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump hits McCain on ObamaCare vote GOP, White House start playing midterm blame game Arizona race becomes Senate GOP’s ‘firewall’ MORE (R-Ariz.) its highest honor Friday, assembling under the Capitol Rotunda to pay final respects in front of his flag-draped casket as it lay in state, an occasion usually reserved for presidents.

McCain was often described as a maverick and defense hawk and bucked his party’s leadership many times, most notably last year when he sunk their proposal to repeal ObamaCare. But in their final remembrances, GOP leaders praised his devotion to public service and his principles.

The ceremony: The solemn pomp of the ceremony and the political luminaries who attended left no doubt that McCain, a harsh critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE, was one of the brightest stars of the Republican Party and a lawmaker who earned the deep respect of its leaders and rank-and-file members.

McCain’s casket was carried into the Capitol by an honor guard of soldiers, sailors and Marines, and a cordon of Capitol Police in ceremonial dress stood guard throughout the prayers and remarks.

“He treated every issue with the intensity the people’s business deserves,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Kavanaugh accuser set to testify Thursday McConnell told Trump criticism of Kavanaugh accuser isn't helpful: report MORE (R-Ky.) told the gathering, which included former President Nixon's Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Hollywood stars Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, and former senators such as John Warner (R-Va.) and Connie Mack III (R-Fla.).

Who attended: McCain’s family, including his 106-year-old mother Roberta McCain and his daughter Meghan McCain, sat in the front row.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHouse Judiciary chair threatens subpoena if DOJ doesn’t supply McCabe memos by Tuesday Rosenstein report gives GOP new ammo against DOJ Graham: There's a 'bureaucratic coup' taking place against Trump MORE (R-S.C.), McCain’s best friend in Congress, sat with McCain’s family directly behind the podium, instead of in the section reserved for current and former senators. Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who was a member of the self-described “three amigos” along with McCain and Graham, also sat with friends and family.

A who's who of other past and present political luminaries also attended, including Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump distances himself from Rosenstein by saying Sessions hired him Gowdy: Declassified documents unlikely to change anyone's mind on Russia investigation Pompeo on Rosenstein bombshell: Maybe you just ought to find something else to do if you can't be on the team MORE, Secretary of Defense James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Trump identifies first soldier remains from North Korea | New cyber strategy lets US go on offense | Army chief downplays talk of 'Fort Trump' Pompeo backed continued US support in Yemen war over objections from staff: report Stand with veterans instead of predatory for-profit colleges MORE, White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, national security adviser John Bolton, former Sen. Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinNational security leaders: Trump's Iran strategy could spark war Overnight Defense: McCain honored in Capitol ceremony | Mattis extends border deployment | Trump to embark on four-country trip after midterms Congress gives McCain the highest honor MORE (D-Mich.), former Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusOvernight Defense: McCain honored in Capitol ceremony | Mattis extends border deployment | Trump to embark on four-country trip after midterms Congress gives McCain the highest honor Judge boots Green Party from Montana ballot in boost to Tester MORE (D-Mont.) and Utah Senate candidate Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMaher makes million donation to Democratic Senate super PAC Poll: House GOP candidate leads in California swing district Super PACs spend big in high-stakes midterms MORE (R).

A few of the most prominent congressional conservatives were missing, such as Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzViral video shows O’Rourke air-drumming to the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’ after Cruz debate Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate NY Times, McCabe give Trump perfect cover to fire Rosenstein, Sessions MORE (R-Texas) and 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 (R-Ky.), whom McCain famously called "wacko birds" in 2013.

Here are more stories on the ceremony from The Hill:

-- Pence: ‘John McCain served his country honorably’

-- McCain's 106-year-old mother attends son's memorial services at US Capitol

-- Dave Chappelle pays respects to McCain at Capitol

-- Top aides from McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign not invited to funeral: report

 

MATTIS EXTENDS TROOP BORDER DEPLOYMENT: Defense Secretary James Mattis has authorized up to 4,000 National Guard troops to remain deployed along the U.S.-Mexico border until next fall, according to the Pentagon.

Mattis earlier this week gave a 12-month extension of the current deployment order, set to expire at the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jamie Davis.

The guardsmen are authorized to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) through Sept. 30, 2019.

“Nothing changes. It’s going to be the same amount of people in the same places,” Davis told The Hill.

The original order: President Trump in April signed an executive memorandum directing Mattis to bolster the Department of Homeland Security’s effort to combat a spike in border crossings. Trump said the troops would remain at the border until his proposed wall is built.

“Until we can have a wall and proper security, we are going to be guarding our border with the military,” he said.

Mattis approved as many as 4,000 troops to be deployed.

How many there are now: Currently, there are roughly 2,100 guardsmen deployed to the southern border in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California. 

The Pentagon’s April memo stipulates that the guardsmen not perform law enforcement activities or interact with migrants or other individuals detained by Homeland Security without approval. Reports in June suggested that most troops were doing support work away from the border, such as fixing flat tires or shoveling manure at horse stables.

 

TRUMP PLANS POST-MIDTERM TRIP ABROAD: President Trump is set to embark on a series of overseas trips immediately following the November midterm elections, including stops in Paris and in Buenos Aires for the Group of 20 (G-20) summit.

Trump will travel to France for an event Nov. 11 marking the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended fighting in World War I, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Friday.

The White House has previously signaled that Trump would travel to Paris for the event in lieu of holding a military parade in Washington, which Trump had blasted local officials for over its price tag.

The White House said Friday that Trump will also pay a visit to Ireland in November "to renew the deep and historic ties between our two nations" and travel to Argentina to attend the G-20 economic summit.

Trump will then travel to Colombia, "where he looks forward to discussing with the [Iván] Duque administration opportunities for even greater collaboration on security, counter narcotics, and regional affairs," she said.

The trips will come immediately after the fall midterm elections.

 

ICMYI

-- The Hill: Trump credits his policies for Iran instability: 'Now it's a question of will they survive'

-- The Hill: Trump plans to cancel funding for UN Palestinian refugee program: report

-- The Hill: Trump 'very disappointed' in Turkey's Erdogan over detained American pastor

-- Reuters: Iran moves missiles to Iraq in warning to enemies

-- Defense News: Senators order Pentagon, agencies to curb year-end spending sprees