terrorism

Trump, French President Macron to Disagree Privately, Official Says
French president visits next week for first state visit of Trump presidency

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes President Donald Trump prior to a meeting at the Elysee Presidential Palace on July 13, 2017 in Paris, France. (Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)

There will be ample smiles and handshakes for the camera, but don’t expect the U.S. and French heads of state to agree on much behind closed doors when they meet next week in Washington.

A number of contentious issues — from the Iran nuclear deal to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs to Syria — will be on the agenda next week when President Donald Trump hosts French President Emmanuel Macron for a visit that largely will be symbolic.

Podcast: Use of Force vs. Use of Power
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 8

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., talks with reporters in the basement of the Capitol on March 20, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators on both sides are pushing to rewrite the law authorizing military force, untouched for 16 years. Even after airstrikes on Syria the debate is likely to fade fast, White House correspondent John Bennett explains, part of a complex modern war-making power dynamic that favors presidents over Congress.

Show Notes

White House Has Tepid Response to Corker-Kaine AUMF
NSC official: ‘Existing authorities are sufficient’

U.S. Army soldiers walk as a NATO helicopter flies overhead at Forward Operating Base Connelly in the Khogyani District in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghanistan, in 2015. (WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Updated 11:56 a.m. | The Trump administration is taking a tepid line on an authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, measure introduced Monday evening by Republican and Democratic senators, with a National Security Council official saying the president’s existing war powers are “sufficient.”

“Our position hasn’t changed,” the official said Tuesday. The 2001 AUMF, provisions in the U.S. Constitution and the force-authorization measure Congress passed and President George W. Bush made law before the 2003 Iraq war are “sufficient,” the NSC official added.

Corker Releases AUMF Without an Expiration Date
Prospects for approval uncertain with expected opposition within Foreign Relations panel

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker is not concerned that the new force authorization measure does not have a commitment from leadership for a floor vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The long-awaited draft authorization to set new guidelines on the 17-year-old war on terrorism was released Monday night by senators and, to the displeasure of some Democrats, it would not impose significant restrictions on military operations, such as an expiration date.

The bipartisan Authorization for Use of Military Force of 2018 would repeal and replace the 2001 AUMF, which has been increasingly criticized for its expansive justification of all kinds of military actions against extremist groups that did not exist at the time of the 9/11 attacks. The new AUMF would also repeal the 2002 authorization that enabled the 2003 Iraq War.

Trump Prepared to Strike Assad Again, Official Says
Aides contradict president’s ‘Mission accomplished!’ declaration

President Donald Trump would strike Syria again if Friday night’s missile strikes fail to prevent its government from again using chemical weapons. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Updated 2:54 p.m. | President Donald Trump is prepared to again strike Syria if its president, Bashar Assad, launches another chemical weapons attack, a senior administration official said Saturday.

“If this act does not succeed, we will act again,” the senior official said, referring to Friday night’s cruise missile strikes on Syrian government targets.

Trump Orders New Syria Strikes After Assad Chemical Attack
U.S. warns Assad there will be further retaliation for future chemical attacks

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a tomahawk land attack missile during a Trump administration strike on Syrian government targets last April. (Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert S. Price)

The U.S. military — together with French and British forces — struck three targets inside Syria on Friday night, just days after Bashar Assad’s government allegedly carried out a chemical attack on a Damascus suburb and amid new U.S.-Russia tensions.

In a televised address, President Donald Trump announced that strikes against Assad's forces were “now underway.”

White House Veers From Missiles Coming to Diplomacy on Syria
VP Pence, not Trump, chairs national security meeting on response

An explosion rocks Kobani, Syria, during a reported suicide car bomb attack by the militants of Islamic State (ISIS) group on a People’s Protection Unit (YPG) position in 2014. (Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images)

The White House sent mixed signals Wednesday about its plans to respond to a chemical weapons attack in Syria, veering from warnings of inbound missiles to the possibility of a diplomatic outcome.

President Donald Trump began the day in extraordinary fashion, directly responding to a Russian official’s threat to shoot down any missiles the United States might fire at Syrian government targets. The commander in chief gave the impression an American response was imminent to the chemical attack that left over 40 people, including children, dead and dozens wounded.

Obscured By Ryan’s Exit, US-Russia Tensions Boil
Nuclear-armed powers on brink of conflict as Trump mulls military strike

President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit on July 7, 2017 in Hamburg. (AP Photo file photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump, with a single tweet Wednesday, ramped up tensions with the Kremlin and moved the United States and Russia closer to a military conflict than any time since the Cold War.

Yet most of Washington seemed fixated on other matters — especially Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s announcement that he will not seek re-election and the ensuing race to determine who will lead House Republicans after his departure. Then there was the president’s attack on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who stands between the Oval Office and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as Trump’s frustration with the ongoing Russia probe intensifies.

Trump Warns Russia Missile Strikes ‘Coming’ After Syria Chemical Attack
Mueller is 'most conflicted of all,' president tweets, 'except Rosenstein'

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Ross fires a Tomahawk land attack missile while conducting operations in the Mediterranean Sea last year. (Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert S. Price/U.S. Navy file photo)

Updated at 9:36 a.m. | President Donald Trump on Wednesday signaled his coming response to the Syrian government’s recent chemical weapons attack, tweeting his intention to launch a missile strike. He also again lashed out at the Justice Department's Russia probe.

Trump later fired off other tweets lamenting souring U.S.-Russia relations, using one to blame “bad blood” with the Russian government on what he dubbed the “Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation” being led by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III. And he went right after the deputy attorney general who legal experts say is standing between a frustrated president and pushing out or clamping down on Mueller.

Syria Strife May Cause a Trump Shift Lawmakers Like
‘We need to make Bashar al-Assad pay a price,’ Sen. Roger Wicker says

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., holds up the iconic photo of a young dead Syrian boy as he addresses the Syrian crisis during a news conference on Capitol Hill in December 2015. At left, Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump may be forced to change his mind — again. But this time, an about-face on Syria would likely bring accolades from many lawmakers who have been frustrated by his ever-shifting stances.

Another example of Trump going off course only to return to it days later could emerge early this week with the situation in Syria. Reports of a chemical weapons attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s military on the rebel-held area of Douma might prompt Trump to alter his stance of pulling U.S. forces from the war-torn country.