Overnight Defense: Lawmakers urge Trump not to veto Yemen resolution | Pentagon acknowledges civilian deaths in Somalia for first time | Pompeo 'confident' in third North Korea summit

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. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.

 

 

THE TOPLINE: Now that Congress has passed a resolution to cut off U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's civil war, supporters are working to convince President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE not to veto it.

As part of that, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both the House and Senate requested a meeting with Trump in a letter released Friday.

ADVERTISEMENT

"We believe that by signing this historic legislation to terminate an unconstitutional war that predates your presidency, you will set a new precedent for cooperation with both chambers of Congress to overcome such entrenched opposition to foreign-policy restraint," the nine lawmakers wrote to Trump in a letter released Friday.

"We respectfully ask for a meeting with you at your earliest convenience to discuss this legislation and the promising opportunities that can emerge from its passage."

The signatures: The letter was organized by Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaHouse to test Trump's veto pen on Saudi arms sales Sanders campaign vents frustration with media, polls Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses MORE (D-Calif.), the lead sponsor of the resolution in the House. Its co-signers include GOP Trump allies such as Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzMatt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' Matt Gaetz hints prosecutor won't press charges against threatening caller for political reasons Hillicon Valley: Twitter says Trump 'go back' tweet didn't violate rules | Unions back protests targeting Amazon 'Prime Day' | Mnuchin voices 'serious concerns' about Facebook crypto project | Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid MORE (Fla.) and Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' McConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch Overnight Defense: Iran seizes British tanker in latest escalation | US, UK to discuss situation | Trump says 'no doubt' US downed Iranian drone after Tehran's denials | Pentagon's No. 2 policy official to leave | Lawmakers worry about Defense vacancies MORE (Ky.).

The other signatories are Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall Sanders unveils plan to guarantee the 'right to a secure retirement' MORE (I-Vt.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Health care moves to center stage of Democratic primary fight | Sanders, Biden trade sharps jabs on Medicare for All | Senate to vote on 9/11 bill next week | Buttigieg pushes for cheaper insulin Senate to vote on 9/11 victims bill on Tuesday Meghan McCain slams Rand Paul over blocking 9/11 compensation funding: 'This is a disgrace' MORE (R-Utah), and Reps. Mark PocanMark William PocanHouse Democrats delete tweets attacking each other, pledge to unify The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (D-Wis.), Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalHouse Democrats delete tweets attacking each other, pledge to unify House approves bill raising minimum wage to per hour Progressive House Democrats describe minimum wage hike as feminist issue in Teen Vogue column MORE (D-Wash.), Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieOvernight Defense: House votes to block Trump arms sales to Saudis, setting up likely veto | US officially kicks Turkey out of F-35 program | Pentagon sending 2,100 more troops to border House votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran MORE (R-Ky.) and Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses Congress, stop ducking war-declaration authority on Iran MORE (D-Calif.).

The argument: In the letter, the lawmakers appeal to Trump's distaste for U.S. military entanglements abroad, saying they hope the resolution can be a "springboard to achieve our shared interest in responsibly drawing down needless conflicts throughout the world, such as ongoing U.S. military interventions in Afghanistan and Syria."

"Both during your campaign and presidency, you have spoken out against a bipartisan tendency to be drawn into costly and never-ending conflicts across the globe and its devastating impacts for American service members and taxpayers," they wrote. "You have also expressed public frustration over the resistance by some of your subordinates within the Executive Branch to your efforts to challenge this consensus."

The letter also appears to appeal to Trump's desire to deviate from former President Obama's policies, making several references to the fact that U.S. support for the Saudi-led campaign began during the Obama administration.

And the lawmakers note the resolution would have "no bearing on U.S. weapons sales to the Saudi kingdom." Trump has touted a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis as a signature achievement.

 

MILITARY ADMITS CIVILIAN DEATHS IN SOMALIA: U.S. Africa Command (Africom) has repeatedly insisted in the past that its airstrikes in Somalia have killed zero civilians.

That changed on Friday, with Africom acknowledging two civilians were killed in an April 1, 2018, airstrike.

"Credibility, transparency and accountability are fundamental to military operations," Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of Africom, said in a statement. "It is critically important that people understand we adhere to exacting standards and when we fall short, we acknowledge shortcomings and take appropriate action."

Background: The military conducted 28 airstrikes in Somalia so far this year, 47 in 2018 and 35 in 2017.

The military doubled down on its assertion of no civilian casualties as recently as last month after Amnesty International released a report alleging 14 civilians have been killed over the last two years.

But on Friday, Africom said a commander-ordered review of airstrikes since 2017 discovered the two previously unreported deaths.

The strike at issue was not one of the ones Amnesty International flagged, the statement said.

What went wrong: Africom said an internal review the same month of the strike found credible evidence that two civilians were killed.

But according to Friday's statement, that information was never properly reported to Africom headquarters, leading to commanders repeatedly telling lawmakers and the media erroneously that there have been zero civilian casualties in U.S. military operations in Africa.

Reaction: In its own statement, Amnesty International called Friday's acknowledgement an "important step forward."

"But this is only a first step," Daphne Eviatar, director of security with human rights at Amnesty International USA, continued. "We still need new investigation procedures and all cases of civilian casualties we have documented re-investigated. The family and community members of victims of these and other strikes who have had neither communication nor support from Africom will find little solace in this initial response."

 

POMPEO PROJECTS CONFIDENCE ON NORTH KOREA: It's more than a month since Trump's failed Hanoi summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and there have been few public signs of progress since then.

Still, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Trump confirms he authorized Rand Paul to negotiate with Iran Trump: 'We already started' talks to get A$AP Rocky home from Sweden MORE said Friday he is "confident" there will be another summit between the two leaders.

"I'm confident there will be," Pompeo told CBS News in an interview Friday when asked if there would be a third summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He added that he did not know when such a meeting could occur, though he hopes it will happen "soon."

"Look, we came out of Hanoi with a deeper understanding of each other, the positions that the two sides had. The two leaders were able to make progress in that respect. We didn't get as far as the world is demanding," he added.

Open communication?: Pompeo also indicated there have been discussions with North Korea since the summit, though he did not elaborate.

Asked by CBS' Norah O'Donnell whether lines of communication remain open between North Korea and the United States, and between North and South Korea, Pompeo said "yes."

"We have had conversations after Hanoi about how to move forward," he said without elaborating.

What's next: Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet at the White House next week to discuss North Korea's nuclear program.

Happening at the same time in North Korea, Kim will deliver an address to the North Korean people.

 

ON TAP FOR MONDAY

The Atlantic Council will host "China's Influence Activities: Implications for the US-Taiwan Relationship" with a keynote speech by Taiwanese politician Bi-khim Hsiao at 4 p.m. https://bit.ly/2K4Uoon

 

ICYMI

-- The Hill: Two US citizens among women's rights activists detained in Saudi Arabia

-- The Hill: Bipartisan group asks DHS, ICE to halt deportations of Iraqi nationals

-- Stars and Stripes: One sailor dead, another hospitalized in shooting at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia

-- The New Yorker: How Trump betrayed the general who defeated ISIS

-- Foreign Policy: Did India shoot down a Pakistani jet? U.S. count says no.