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Senate to be briefed on Trump Syria policy

The Senate will get a briefing on President Trump‘s Syria strategy on Wednesday, according to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). 

 
Schumer, speaking at a weekly press conference, told reporters that both Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley will attend the closed-door meeting with senators.
 
“Finally, after we pushed for two weeks, we are getting a briefing tomorrow. Secretary Esper, Gen. Milley and others will be there,” Schumer told reporters.
 
In addition to Milley and Esper, a senior Senate official said that Gen. “Frank” McKenzie, who oversees U.S. Central Command, acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and James Jeffrey, Trump’s Syria envoy, will also be at the briefing.
 
He noted that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will not attend the closed-door briefing, adding that Pompeo “seems to be running away from talking to us.”
 
The briefing comes weeks after Trump announced that he was pulling back U.S. troops from northern Syria, paving the way for Turkey’s military invasion. 
 

Esper said last week that the Pentagon was sending armored vehicles into Syria to defend oil fields. Trump also announced on Sunday that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, had been killed in a raid over the weekend. Both are likely to be raised during Wednesday’s closed-door briefing. 

 
“We want to know a plan,” Schumer said. “For the sake of our national security, for the sake of the safety of our dear homeland, President Trump and his administration needs to answer the questions, what’s the plan? What’s the strategy.” 
 
The meeting comes after senators initially expected to be briefed earlier this month. But both full House and full Senate briefing were canceled, with the administration meeting with the House Armed Services Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee instead. 
 
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, warned at the time that the consequences of Turkey’s invasion may be “irreversible.”
 
Updated: 4:55 p.m.

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