Apr 7, 2017

McConnell said he would consider an AUMF

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Friday he would consider an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) so long as it strengthened the President's hand. He warned that Obama's requests for new AUMFs were too "restrictive" since they would have limited future executive action:

I would be interested in taking a look at an AUMF if the president feels like he needs it…if it strengthens his hand.

Why it matters: Some Senators are saying the 2001 Bush-era AUMF doesn't give Trump the authority to escalate beyond airstrikes in Syria.

On the airstrikes: McConnell added he is generally supportive of the strikes Trump carried out in Syria: "I think the president had the authority to do what he did and I'm glad he did it," adding, "The Russians are not our friends."

On solutions:

  • For Syrian refugees: McConnell wouldn't comment on whether Trump should let refugees into the U.S., but said it would be beneficial to create a safe zone in Syria, "which would require some military action…so people don't feel like they have to run for their lives."
  • For dealing with Assad: "I don't see how there can possibly be any settlement in Syria that includes Bashar al-Assad."

Go deeper

America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.

Top NSC official may be moved after "Anonymous" rumor fallout

President Trump at the Daytona 500. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Top Trump administration officials are in discussions to reassign deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council, per two sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Coates' working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as "Anonymous" — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion for climate change research

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.