Jul 3, 2019

Tanks on the 4th of July

A Bradley Fighting Vehicle, with the Lincoln Memorial in the background. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

For the first time since the U.S. defeated Iraq in the original Iraq War of 1991, two M1 Abrams tanks will roll through D.C. on Thursday as part of a military parade requested by President Trump.

Why it matters: "Pentagon officials have long been reluctant to parade tanks, missiles and other weapons through the nation’s capital like the authoritarian leaders of North Korea and China," NYT notes.

  • "But Mr. Trump believes that the inclusion of tanks and other weapons ... would help to transform the capital city’s annual event into the kind of military celebration he has long wanted."
People pose in front of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the Lincoln Memorial. Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP/Getty Images

Driving the news: Local officials are concerned that the heavy vehicles (Abrams tanks can reach 70 tons) could damage local roads — especially around the National Mall.

  • D.C.'s City Council to Trump, via tweet: "We have said it before, and we’ll say it again: Tanks, but no tanks.”
  • Trump on Monday: "You've got to be pretty careful with the tanks because the roads have a tendency not to like to carry heavy tanks, so we have to put them in certain areas."
Two M1A2 Abrams tanks (the closest ones) and other military vehicles sit on guarded rail cars in D.C. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Another point of concern: "The National Park Service is diverting nearly $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees primarily intended to improve parks across the country to cover costs" of the parade, the Washington Post reports.

  • "By comparison, according to former Park Service deputy director Denis P. Galvin, the entire Fourth of July celebration on the Mall typically costs the agency about $2 million."
  • WashPost: "The cost of a military parade Trump wanted to stage last year was about $92 million, including $50 million in Defense Department expenses, defense officials said at the time."
One of two Bradley Fighting Vehicles is parked next to the Lincoln Memorial. Photo: Andrew Harnik

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Top Senate Democrat says State Dept. is working on new Saudi arms deal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters on May 20. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote in a CNN op-ed on Wednesday that he learned that the State Department is currently working to sell thousands of additional precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Why it matters: Democrats say that Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general who was ousted on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recommendation, was investigating the administration's previous effort to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.

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Data: Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

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