Mattis, Dunford to brief Congress on Syria strikes

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are expected on Capitol Hill Tuesday for House and Senate briefings in the wake of U.S. air strikes against Syria, according to multiple sources familiar with the planning.

Mattis and Dunford’s briefings with lawmakers come as President Donald Trump faces questions from both sides of the aisle about Friday night’s strikes against sites that administration officials portrayed as integral to Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons program.

Trump said he would avoid any open-ended military commitment in Syria in an address to the nation announcing the strikes. The move drew support from Republican leaders and most in the party’s rank-and-file, but left some in the GOP echoing Democratic concerns about the nation’s long-term strategy against Assad.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday that the strikes were "missed opportunity" absent a broader strategy in Syria. Conservative Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) were among the House Republicans blasting Trump’s strikes as requiring congressional authorization.

Mattis and Dunford will brief House members on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. and senators on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., according to sources familiar with their plans.


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