Overnight Defense: Trump says Taliban talks 'dead' after canceled Camp David meeting | North Korea offers to restart nuke talks this month | Trump denies role in Air Force crew staying at his resort

Happy Monday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I’m Rebecca Kheel, and here’s your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.


THE TOPLINE: Washington was still reeling Monday from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump awards Medal of Valor, civilian honors to responders in Dayton and El Paso shootings Texas Democrats unveil ‘path to victory’ plan for 2020 The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Congress returns with gun violence, funding atop agenda MORE‘s revelation that he planned and canceled a Camp David summit with leaders of the Taliban.

On Saturday, Trump announced on Twitter that he canceled the meeting, which up to that point had been secret, after a Taliban attack in Kabul killed a U.S. soldier.

On Monday, Trump appeared to put the proverbial nail in the coffin on future talks, saying that peace talks with the Taliban are “dead as far as I’m concerned.”

Criticism: The revelation that Trump had invited the Taliban to Camp David drew criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike – particularly because the meeting would have been held days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that led to the war in Afghanistan.


“Camp David is where America’s leaders met to plan our response after al Qaeda, supported by the Taliban, killed 3000 Americans on 9/11,” tweeted Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThe Hill’s Morning Report – Congress returns: What to expect GOP lawmaker criticizes Trump’s planned meeting with Taliban in US Pompeo says canceled Taliban meeting was attempt at peace, Democrats attack ‘bizarre’ plan MORE (R-Wyo.), whose father was vice president during the attacks. “No member of the Taliban should set foot there. Ever.”

Cheney added that Trump was “right to end the talks.”

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerGOP lawmaker criticizes Trump’s planned meeting with Taliban in US Pompeo says canceled Taliban meeting was attempt at peace, Democrats attack ‘bizarre’ plan Amash blasts Trump for inviting Taliban leaders to Camp David week of 9/11 MORE (R-Ill.), an Air Force veteran who served in Afghanistan, similarly said it would be “unacceptable” for the Taliban to come to Camp David.

“A terrorist organization that doesn’t recognize nation states, that kills innocent women and children, that denies women the right to really even be in the same room as their husbands … to have them at Camp David is totally unacceptable,” Kinzinger said Sunday on CNN.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharEight Dem presidential candidates appear in campaign for gun safety at schools 2020 polling: A trip down short-term memory lane Yang shares video of him crowdsurfing in room full of supporters MORE (D-Minn.), a 2020 presidential candidate, called it “another example of the president treating foreign policy like some kind of game show.”

2020 Dems pile on: “He didn’t even seem to have an agreement or close to an agreement when he set the summit,” she said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro similarly called Trump’s plan “more of this erratic behavior that people are tired of.”

“This is the worst president when it comes to negotiating, I think, that we’ve had in a very long time. It’s another bizarre episode,” Castro said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Trump’s defense: Trump defended himself from the criticism Monday, telling reporters at the White House it was his choice alone to schedule and later cancel the meeting.

“I took my own advice. I liked the idea of meeting. I’ve met with a lot of bad people and a lot of good people over the course of the last three years. I think that meeting is a great thing,” Trump told reporters on the White House’s South Lawn before departing for a campaign rally in North Carolina. “Otherwise, wars would never end.”

Trump also blasted the media, as he often does, after reports that Vice President Pence and national security advisory John BoltonJohn Robert BoltonThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Congress returns with gun violence, funding atop agenda Pence, Bolton opposed Taliban meeting at Camp David: report Trump national security adviser discusses Greenland economic ties with ambassador to Denmark MORE opposed the Camp David idea.

“A lot of Fake News is being reported that I overruled the VP and various advisers on a potential Camp David meeting with the Taliban. This Story is False!” Trump tweeted Monday.

“The Dishonest Media likes to create the look of turmoil in the White House, of which there is none,” he added.


NORTH KOREA OPEN TO RESTARTING TALKS: The Afghan talks might be dead now, but the North Korea talks could be back on.

At least, North Korea is signaling they’re open to restarting talks.

First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said in a Monday statement carried by state media his country is willing to restart denuclearization negotiations with the United States later this month if the Trump administration presents satisfactory new proposals.

He also said that the country may end negotiations if the U.S. proposals are not adequate.

How talks stalled: President Trump has held three face-to-face meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnNorth Korea says it’s open to restarting nuclear negotiations with US in late September Donald Trump is a ‘sometimes socialist’ Juan Williams: Trump’s dangerous insecurity about Obama MORE to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The two held their second summit in Vietnam in February, where talks disintegrated without any concrete commitments after Kim pushed for sanctions relief before abandoning his nuclear arsenal.

Trump met with Kim again in June at the Demilitarized Zone and became the first sitting president to step into North Korea. The two sides agreed at the time to restart talks, but in the time since, North Korea has resumed regular missile launches.

Japan, South Korea and other U.S. allies have expressed alarm at the missile tests and said they violate a United Nations resolution. But Trump has repeatedly downplayed them, saying they don’t violate his personal pact with the North Korean dictator.


MCCONNELL SAYS STOPGAP NEEDED: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMajority fear mass shooting in their community: poll Top Democrats press Trump on background checks legislation The Hill’s Morning Report – Congress returns: What to expect MORE (R-Ky.) on Monday said he would make funding the government “a major focus” in September, but that a short-term continuing resolution would be needed to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

“I’m confident we can make significant progress on regular appropriations this month and then pass an interim continuing resolution to prevent any funding lapse while that work continues,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.

He added that the Senate would try to pass as many fiscal 2020 spending bills as possible but that they would need a “temporary continuing resolution for the outstanding parts of the government before the end of September.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTop Democrats press Trump on background checks legislation GOP senator on gun reform: Trump needs to ‘set some guidelines’ on what he’ll sign Congress faces sprint to avoid another shutdown MORE (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiUS conservative leader: China is more ‘fragile than we realize’ Ten notable Democrats who do not favor impeachment Majority fear mass shooting in their community: poll MORE (D-Calif.), House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyDemocrats hit HUD for missing Puerto Rico disaster relief deadline Congress faces sprint to avoid another shutdown Congress can’t even study gun violence unless it changes the law MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyCollins: Senate should vote on gun reform package this month Trump moving forward to divert .6B from military projects for border wall Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid MORE (Vt.), the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, also met Monday afternoon in Schumer’s office to discuss government funding options.

Time crunch: McConnell’s comments on Monday come as lawmakers have roughly three weeks until the Oct. 1 deadline to pass the 12 individual appropriations bills, or a stopgap, to avoid a second government shutdown of the year. Though the House has already passed 10 of the 12 bills, the Senate is starting its work on the fiscal 2020 bills this week, with the Appropriations Committee expected to advance four measures.

House Democrats are slated to vote on a continuing resolution next week. Democratic leaders haven’t said how long the resolution would cover, but a House Democratic aide told The Hill that Nov. 22 was the most likely end date, putting another funding deadline up against the Thanksgiving recess.

For defense: As mentioned, the Senate Appropriations Committee is beginning its work this week on four fiscal 2020 spending bills. That includes the defense spending bill.

The defense subcommittee is scheduled to mark up the bill Tuesday, with the full committee taking it up Thursday.


TRUMP DENIES KNOWLEDGE OF AIR FORCE VISIT TO HOTEL: Trump is denying any knowledge of an Air Force crew’s decision to stop at his Turnberry resort in Scotland, a subject that has drawn scrutiny from congressional Democrats.

“I know nothing about an Air Force plane landing at an airport (which I do not own and have nothing to do with) near Turnberry Resort (which I do own) in Scotland, and filling up with fuel, with the crew staying overnight at Turnberry (they have good taste!),” Trump tweeted Monday. “NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.”

Background: Politico first reported Friday that the House Oversight and Reform Committee has been investigating why the Air National Guard crew stopped at the Trump Turnberry outside Glasgow during a routine trip from the United States to Kuwait this past Spring, in addition to military spending around Trump’s Scotland resort.

The same news outlet also reported Sunday night that the Air Force is reviewing accommodations planning in the wake of the report.

Context: Broadly, Trump and other top officials have recently drawn scrutiny from Democrats and ethics experts over official spending at Trump properties.

House Democrats on the Judiciary and Oversight committees have requested information from the executive branch regarding efforts by Trump and other administration officials to spend taxpayer dollars at resorts owned by Trump, saying they raised possible issues with the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.

Vice President Pence was forced to defend his stay at Trump’s Doonbeg resort last week as it drew broad criticism.

Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, initially said Trump suggested he stay there, but the vice president’s office later backpedaled, saying it was solely the decision of Pence’s office and that Trump did not direct him to stay there. Trump told reporters last week that he had no involvement in the plans and that it wasn’t his idea for Pence to stay at the Doonbeg resort, a claim he reiterated Monday.

“I had nothing to do with the decision of our great @VP Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump says he had ‘nothing’ to do with Scotland, Ireland resort visits Pence, Bolton opposed Taliban meeting at Camp David: report Air Force: ‘Not unusual’ for crew to stay at Trump resort MORE to stay overnight at one of the Trump owned resorts in Doonbeg, Ireland,” Trump tweeted shortly after addressing the Air Force stay in Scotland.

“Mike’s family has lived in Doonbeg for many years, and he thought that during his very busy European visit, he would stop and see his family!”



The Senate Appropriations Committee defense subpanel will mark up the fiscal 2020 defense spending bill at 10 a.m. at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room 192. https://bit.ly/2m8JVNi

The House Oversight Committee and a House Armed Services subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Securing the Nation’s Internet Architecture” at 2 p.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2118. https://bit.ly/2kC9UfE



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