Senators are to be briefed by the defence secretary, James Mattis, and Tillerson on Wednesday. Such briefings for the entire senate are not unprecedented but it is very rare for them to take place in the White House, which does not have large secure facilities for such classified sessions as Congress.
Officials said the briefing would take place in the auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which can be adapted for such an event.
Boy-oh do the questions roll out.
Why just the Senate? What does Trump see as their role in his North Korea policy and actions?
The symbolism of being commanded to come to the President’s support is all over McConnell’s and Trump’s maneuver here. But we should have expected that, right?
One carrier group in the area and not completely positioned yet is less than most analysts think required to actually conduct military action. So, this has the air of a relaxed pitch for support, right? Except for the strange venue.
The state department appeared unaware on Monday that Tillerson would be delivering the briefing.
Mattis will also be briefing the Senators.
Can this auditorium be fitted out as situation room for Senators to watch a fait accompli?
We know Trump’s preference for show-and-tell setting the framework of discussions. The Chinese leader enjoyed his Mar a Lago meal while 59 cruise missiles created an object lesson (drama, drama) for him to talk to North Korea.
Why the long section of atta-boys to Xi Jinping in Borger’s article?
In recent days Haley and other US officials have underlined China’s helpfulness in seeking to increase pressure on the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
“Working with China for the first time — they have really been our partner in trying to make sure that we hold him at bay, and I think it’s a new day when you’ve got China and the United States working together on a statement to condemn North Korea,” Haley said.
“They put pressure on him. He feels it. That’s why he’s responding this way. And I think it is a different day.”
My guess is that this “briefing” will be huge media bait tomorrow, distracting from whether the government will be shut down shortly.