Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Trump at the United Nations | Ukraine controversy, Iran take center stage | Trump denies threatening military aid to Ukraine on call | Senate Dems to force vote on border emergency

Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Trump at the United Nations | Ukraine controversy, Iran take center stage | Trump denies threatening military aid to Ukraine on call | Senate Dems to force vote on border emergency
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Happy Monday 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: President TrumpDonald John TrumpUPS, FedEx shut down calls to handle mail-in ballots, warn of 'significant' problems: report Controversial GOP Georgia candidate attempts to distance from QAnon Trump orders TikTok parent company to sell US assets within 90 days MORE is at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) this week, where a host of global flashpoints and controversies have followed him.

Hanging over Trump's visit to New York is the controversy over his conversations with Ukraine’s president in which Trump reportedly pressured his counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenOn The Money: Economists flabbergasted after Congress leaves with no deal | Markets rise as the economy struggles | Retail sales slow in July Congress exits with no deal, leaving economists flabbergasted Trump touts NYC police union endorsement: 'Pro-cop all the way' MORE’s son Hunter Biden.

Trump on Monday denied he threatened to withhold military aid if Ukraine didn’t investigate the Bidens.

"I did not make a statement that you have to do this or I’m not going to give you aid," Trump told reporters on the sidelines of UNGA.

"I wouldn't do that. With that being said, what I want is I want — you know, we’re giving a lot of money away to Ukraine and other places. You want to see a country that's going to be not corrupt," Trump continued.

Trump later said it would “probably” have been appropriate if he did put pressure on Ukraine but again insisted that he didn’t.

"I put no pressure on them whatsoever. I could have. I think it would probably, possibly have been OK if I did. But I didn’t. I didn’t put any pressure on them whatsoever," Trump continued.

More on the Ukraine controversy: President Trump is facing an escalating controversy surrounding a whistleblower complaint said to be centered on his communications with Ukraine’s leader. Here are five things to know about the complaint and the whistleblower process.

Also... Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerIn the next relief package Congress must fund universal COVID testing Ocasio-Cortez's 2nd grade teacher tells her 'you've got this' ahead of DNC speech New poll shows Markey with wide lead over Kennedy in Massachusetts MORE (D-N.Y.) demanded on Monday that Republicans investigate the whistleblower complaint. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcGrath reshuffles campaign in home stretch to Senate election GOP senator draws fire from all sides on Biden, Obama-era probes Chris Wallace rips both parties for coronavirus package impasse: 'Pox on both their houses' MORE (R-Ky.) knocked Democrats on Monday, accusing them of trying to "politicize" the issue. Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP senator draws fire from all sides on Biden, Obama-era probes Has Congress captured Russia policy? Graham on Harris: 'No issue' as to whether 'she is an American citizen' MORE (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Monday urged President Trump to release as much information as possible about what he said to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky regarding Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Iran also tops agenda: With this year’s UNGA coming on the heels of the attack on Saudi oil facilities and the U.S. debate on whether to strike Iran in response, Iran is also expected to be a major topic at this week’s gathering.

Trump has all but ruled out a meeting with Iran’s president, who will be in New York.

"Nothing is ever off the table completely, but I have no intention of meeting with Iran," Trump said Sunday.

Trump administration officials are expected to try to take the opportunity to rally an international coalition to help rein in Iran.

In a joint statement, the U.K., France and Germany blamed Iran for the Saudi attacks.

“It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack,” the statement said. “There is no other plausible explanation. We support ongoing investigations to establish further details.”

Trump on the Nobel Peace Prize: During his meeting with Pakistan’s prime minister on the sidelines of UNGA, Trump mused that he would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "if they gave it out fairly."

During a spirited exchange with Pakistani reporters, one reporter suggested to Trump that he would "definitely" be deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize if he's able to mediate a solution to the tensions in the disputed Kashmir region.

“I think I’m gonna get a Nobel Prize for a lot of things, if they gave it out fairly, which they don’t," Trump said.

Other meetings Monday: Trump’s day at UNGA also included him headlining a religious freedom event and making an unscheduled but brief stop at the United Nations Climate Action Summit that he had planned to skip.

More to watch: The Hill’s Brett Samuels and Morgan Chalfant took a look at what to expect from UNGA this week.

In addition to Ukraine and Iran, there are questions about trade talks with China and what tone Trump will take in his address, among other things.

Catch up on that here.

 

 

ICYMI: TROOPS HEADING TO MIDEAST: You’d be forgiven for missing this since it was announced after 6 p.m. Friday, but Trump has approved sending more U.S. troops and missile defense equipment to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in response to the oil facility attacks.

Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOne hundred days later, Esper still must explain landmine policy reversal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearance Overnight Defense: Trump reportedly considering replacing Esper after election | FBI, Air Force investigating after helicopter shot at in Virginia | Watchdog says UK envoy made inappropriate comments on religion, race, sex MORE made the announcement at the Pentagon.

The Defense secretary said the deployment is meant to “send a clear message that the United States supports our partners in the region ... ensure the free flow of resources necessary to support the global economy” and to “demonstrate commitment to upholding the international rules based order that we have long called on Iran to obey."

The details: They are still unclear.

Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford, who had just returned from presenting Trump with a range of military options on Iran, would not say how many troops would be deployed, but acknowledged it would not number in the thousands.

Dunford said he will talk with leaders from U.S. Central Command and Saudi partners over the weekend to “work the details of the deployment."

“We’ll be able to share that with you next week. We haven’t decided on specific units,” he said.

 

WALL VOTE THIS WEEK: Senate Democrats plan to force a vote this week on whether to nix President Trump's emergency declaration on border wall funding.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday that Republicans "will be forced to vote later this week on the president's emergency declaration, which he is using to steal money from our military to fund a border wall."

"My Republican colleagues face a choice about whether or not to have the Senate enforce its role as a check on the executive branch," Schumer said from the Senate floor.

The vote is expected to take place as soon as Wednesday, but has not been officially scheduled.

Timing: The decision to force the vote comes after the Trump administration began notifying congressional leadership and lawmakers who would have projects affected by the declaration that they were going to move forward with their plan to redirect $3.6 billion in emergency declaration funding.

This will the second time the Senate has voted on nixing the emergency declaration. The first time in February cleared Congress, but Trump vetoed it.

Under the National Emergencies Act, Democrats can force additional votes on resolutions of disapproval blocking Trump every sixth months —prolonging the political headache for Republicans.

 

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ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

A House Foreign Affairs Committee subpanel and House Judiciary Committee subpanel will hold a joint hearing on the administration’s travel ban at 10 a.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2141. https://bit.ly/2l7Xix1

A Senate Foreign Relations Committee subpanel will hold a hearing on the Syria Study Group’s final report at 2:30 p.m. at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room 419. https://bit.ly/2mivuWP

 

ICYMI

-- The Hill: Bolton replacement inherits tough challenges — including Trump

-- The Hill: Trump's top adviser on Asia to serve as deputy national security adviser

-- The Hill: FBI arrests Army soldier who allegedly discussed bombing news network

-- The Hill: Opinion: Trump is digging a deeper hole by adding more Iran sanctions

-- Associated Press: Afghan officials: 40 civilians killed in anti-Taliban raid

-- The New York Times: Trump’s hold on military aid blindsided top Ukrainian officials

-- The Wall Street Journal: For Trump, long odds on securing new U.N. action against Iran