Overnight Defense: Congress pauses to mourn George H.W. Bush | Haspel to brief senators on Khashoggi killing | Soldier is fourth to die from Afghan IED blast

THE TOPLINE: Work in Washington is slowing down this week as the nation mourns the death of former President George H.W. Bush.

On Monday, Bush's remains were flown from Houston to Joint Base Andrews on Air Force One's "Special Air Mission 41."

Bush, a naval aviator during World War II, was then taken to the Capitol, where he is lying in state until Wednesday. A national day of mourning has been declared for all day Wednesday.

Here is the schedule of memorial events going forward this week:

7:30 p.m. ET Monday: The public can begin paying its respects at the Capitol.

All day Tuesday: Bush lies in state at the Capitol.


8:45 a.m. ET: End of public viewing at the Capitol.

10 a.m. ET: Departure ceremony from the Capitol.

11 a.m. ET: Funeral at the Washington National Cathedral.

1:15 p.m. ET: Departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews as Bush's remains are flown back to Houston.

5:30 p.m. ET: Arrival ceremony at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston.

6:45 p.m. ET: Arrival ceremony at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston.

7:45 p.m. ET: Bush lies in repose at St. Martin's Episcopal Church until 7 a.m. ET Thursday.


11 a.m. ET: Funeral service at St. Martin's Episcopal Church.

12:15 p.m. ET: Departure ceremony at St. Martin's Episcopal Church before Bush's casket is taken by train to College Station, Texas.

4:45 p.m. ET: Arrival ceremony at Texas A&M University.

5:15 p.m. ET: Burial in a family plot behind the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, alongside his wife and former first lady, Barbara, and daughter Robin.

Sully's mission: After Barbara Bush's death in April, Bush over the summer got a service dog, a yellow Labrador named Sully.

Over the weekend, Bush spokesman Jim McGrath shared a photo on social media of Sully sleeping next to Bush's casket with the caption, "Mission complete."

With his mission for Bush done, Sully will join the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center's Facility Dog Program, according to America's VetDogs, the organization that paired Bush and Sully.

Sully will work alongside two other dogs to "assist with physical and occupational therapy to wounded soldiers and active duty personnel during their journey to recovery at Walter Reed Bethesda," the organization said on Facebook.

Funding fight on backburner: With Bush's death, the Senate has postponed votes until Wednesday, while the House canceled votes for the entire week.

Lawmakers faced a Friday deadline to pass funding for part of the government or else there will be a partial shutdown.

While lawmakers and President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE were previously girding for a shutdown fight over funding for his proposed border wall, Bush's death diminished the appetite for a showdown this week.

"If they come to talk about an extension because of President Bush's passing, I would absolutely consider it and probably give it," Trump said this weekend.

With the House canceling all votes this week, a two-week continuing resolution is expected to pass there by unanimous consent.

A reminder that the Pentagon is one of the departments that already has a full year of funding, so it isn't part of the latest funding row. But several other agencies involved in national security, such as the State Department and Department of Homeland Security, are still awaiting full-year funding.


HASPEL BRIEFING: CIA Director Ginal Haspel is heading to Capitol Hill to brief senators on the killing of Saudi dissent journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Haspel will brief Republican and Democratic leaders of the Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Appropriations committees on Tuesday.

Two sources confirmed the plans to The Hill. The Wall Street Journal first reported the briefing.

Background: Last week, Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisWatchdog: Former Pentagon spokeswoman misused staff for personal errands Senate panel advances Pentagon chief, Joint Chiefs chairman nominees The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment MORE and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Kim Kardashian West thanks Trump, Kushner for helping efforts to free A$AP Rocky from Swedish jail Trump directed officials to work to free rapper A$AP Rocky after arrest in Sweden: reports MORE briefed the whole Senate on U.S.-Saudi relations and the Yemen civil war in an effort to head off a resolution that would end U.S. military support for the Saudis in the war.

The briefing, though, backfired for the administration, as senators found the presentation unconvincing and voted 63-37 to advance the resolution.

Lawmakers were also upset at Haspel's absence, as they wanted to hear the CIA's assessment on the death of Khashoggi directly from her.


Going forward: Haspel's briefing comes ahead of another expected floor showdown on the Yemen resolution.

Senators were initially expected to take up the resolution and vote on amendments this week.

But, as noted above, Senate votes have been delayed until Wednesday. That leaves little time in the schedule this week for Yemen.

"I'm thinking this might not happen until Monday," Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (R-Tenn.) said. "It gives us a little time to think it through and to make sure we end up with a good policy."


ANOTHER AFGHANISTAN DEATH: The deadliest attack this year against U.S. troops in Afghanistan got deadlier Monday.

The Pentagon announced Monday a fourth death from the Nov. 27 improvised explosive device blast in Ghazni province.

Sgt. Jason Mitchell McClary, 24, from Export, Pa., died Sunday, in Landstuhl, Germany, as a result of his injuries from the blast.

McClary -- who was supporting the U.S.-led combat mission in Afghanistan, Operation Freedom's Sentinel -- was assigned to 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

What happened: The Taliban, which has been resurgent in the Ghazni area, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Pentagon previously announced that Army Capt. Andrew Ross, 29, of Lexington, Va.; Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Emond, 39, of Brush Prairie, Wash.; and Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan Elchin, 25, of Hookstown, Pa., were killed in the explosion.

Two other U.S. service members and a U.S. contractor were also injured in the attack.

The incident is still under investigation, Monday's release said.

Airpower surge: Over the weekend, The Hill's Ellen Mitchell took a look at how the Trump administration's bombing campaign in Afghanistan has escalated as peace talks with the Taliban remain elusive.

Manned and unmanned aircraft have dropped more than 10,300 bombs over Afghanistan during President Trump's first two years in office, including 4,361 in 2017 and a record 5,982 weapons as of Oct. 31.

That amount of dropped munitions has not been seen since the first years of former President Obama's tenure, around the start of a major surge in the country, according to figures from U.S. Central Command.

The U.S. military under the Obama administration dropped more than 9,200 bombs on Afghanistan in the same time frame: 4,184 in 2009 and 5,100 in 2010. The number peaked at a 10-year high in 2011, with roughly 5,400 dropped.

Latest effort: On Sunday, the State Department announced that its special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, was leaving on a trip to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The trip is focusing on ways to "to support and facilitate an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan, empowering the Afghan people to decide their nation's fate" and "to coordinate closely on efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table with the Afghan government and other Afghans," according to the press release.


TRUMP WANTS ARMS TALKS WITH PUTIN, XI: Trump returned from this weekend's Group of 20 summit in Argentina with arms control on his mind.

In a Monday morning tweet, Trump said he was "certain" he would one day discuss a "meaningful halt" in an arms race with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race. The U.S. spent 716 Billion Dollars this year. Crazy!" he tweeted.

This weekend: Trump met with Xi this weekend, and the two leaders declared a breakthrough on trade negotiations. They also discussed North Korean denuclearization efforts.

Trump did not have formal meeting with Putin while in Argentina, but the two leaders did have an "informal" conversation.

"As is typical at multilateral events, President Trump and the First Lady had a number of informal conversations with world leaders at the dinner last night, including President Putin," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Saturday.

Arms control record: Critics have accused Trump of fueling an arms race himself with moves to pull out of arms control treaties and to bulk up the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

"Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all," Trump said in December 2016.

Most recently, Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia, the Cold War-era pact that bans ground-launched missiles with certain ranges.

'Crazy' spending?: One part of the Monday tweet that raised eyebrows was Trump's assertion that this year's $716 billion defense budget is "crazy."

In the past, Trump has repeatedly touted the figure a sign he strongly supports the military and is restoring it to its former glory after a so-called readiness crisis.

But more recently, he has ordered the Pentagon to plan a defense cut, citing rising deficits. 

Asked about the tweet while speaking to reporters ahead of his meeting with India's defense minister, Mattis said he had "not seen the tweet."

At least one budget expert said the tweet appears to represent a "significant shift."

"This looks like a significant shift (perhaps a curve ball) in the defense debate and a definite sign of downward pressure on the defense budget from the Trump administration itself," Todd Harrison, defense budget expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in his own tweet.


REAGAN RECAP: The annual Reagan National Defense Forum was this weekend in Simi Valley, Calif.

Mattis was there and made a bit of news.

Notably, he said Russia tried to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections as it had during the 2016 presidential election.

"There is no doubt the relationship has worsened. He tried again to muck around in our elections this last month," Mattis said. "We are seeing a continued effort around those lines."

Mattis said the Trump administration and other NATO allies have pressed Russia repeatedly on un-democratic actions, but to no avail.

"This is a very complex situation because clearly Mr. Putin is a slow learner," Mattis said. "He is not recognizing that what he is doing is actually creating the animosity against his people."

Mattis stakes out funding position: Mattis also warned in his speech against cutting the defense budget.

"Cutting defense will not close the deficit, and I would suggest doing so would be disservice to troops and the American people they serve and protect, because we all know here today that America can afford survival," he said.

The line appeared to be an implicit criticism of Trump's plan to cut his fiscal 2020 defense budget proposal.

In October, citing concerns about growing deficits, Trump ordered the Pentagon to plan a $700 billion budget for fiscal 2020. That's a $16 billion cut from this year and $33 billion less than originally planned for 2020.

As noted above, though, Trump is now calling this year's $716 billion defense budget "crazy."



The Wilson Center will host a symposium on "The Arctic and U.S. National Security" starting at 8 a.m. Scheduled speakers include Alaska Republican Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiPoll: McConnell is most unpopular senator Overnight Defense: Highlights from Defense pick's confirmation hearing | Esper spars with Warren over ethics | Sidesteps questions on Mattis vs. Trump | Trump says he won't sell F-35s to Turkey Epstein charges show Congress must act to protect children from abuse MORE and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanAlarm sounds over census cybersecurity concerns Senate sets new voting record with Iran war measure Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need exit strategy with Iran | McConnell open to vote on Iran war authorization | Senate panel advances bill to restrict emergency arms sales MORE and Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz. Livestream at https://bit.ly/2Ecg2DI.

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, nominated to be commander of Central Command, and Lt. Gen. Richard Clarke, nominated to be commander of Special Operations Command, at 9:30 a.m. at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room G-50. https://bit.ly/2T7ABVO

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for the nominees to be ambassadors to Mongolia, Brunei and Cambodia at 9:30 a.m. at Dirksen 419. https://bit.ly/2zPao6H

Immediately following the confirmation hearing, a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee will hold a hearing on China with testimony from State Department officials at Dirksen 419. https://bit.ly/2E9ZSKN

Senate Foreign Relations will hold a confirmation hearing for the nominees to be director general of the Foreign Service, ambassador to Australia and ambassador to Yemen at 2:30 p.m. at Dirksen 419. https://bit.ly/2Uaxygf



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