Mattis: Still assessing intel on chemical attack

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the US is still "assessing the intelligence" on the suspected chemical attack on civilians in Syria.

Posted: Apr 13, 2018 8:34 AM
Updated: Apr 13, 2018 8:35 AM

After President Donald Trump warned Russia in a tweet Wednesday that it should "get ready" for missile strikes against Syria, key lawmakers on Capitol Hill questioned whether threats of war should be made via social media while some Republican defense hawks urged Trump to act soon.

The President signaled in a morning tweet that the US would fire missiles into Syria: "Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and "smart!" You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"

GOP Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who chairs the influential Foreign Relations Committee, questioned the value of Trump's tweet and warned the inflammatory rhetoric could escalate the crisis into a "geopolitical outbreak."

Corker has called for "surgical strikes" against Syria to punish President Bashar al-Assad's government for allegedly carrying out a chemical attack against Syrian civilians last week.

"The only thing I worry about is that it's not going to happen," he said about a possible military response. "Because so many things get announced and then they never happened. I'm actually more concerned on the other side and I think every day that goes by, we actually get ourselves more fully in position where it could create a geopolitical outbreak whereas if we had just done it, before the Russians and the Iranians, and the Syrians prepped for it, we'd been in much better shape."

He continued: "Now we're announcing what we're going to do and unfortunately it puts us in a place where possibly it creates a greater conflict."

Even as Trump appeared to announce a decision to launch strikes, White House officials said no final plans had been made.

Trump has consulted allies in Europe to arrange a coordinated effort, and was planning to meet with top military leaders on Wednesday afternoon.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, welcomed Trump's consideration of "retaliatory action" even as he called the President's tweet "unconventional."

"Well, I am glad he is considering retaliatory action. Because we have seen that red lines that go unenforced just encourage further provocative action by Assad," he told reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday. "So it is unconventional, to be sure. Something I doubt any other president would have done. I don't think it caused any harm because I know Assad and Russians are expecting something to happen."

Asked how Trump should respond to the alleged Syrian chemical attack, Sen. Jim Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said the US should "go over and bomb."

"I'd be disappointed if he didn't," said Inhofe, who is a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. "Let's remember what happened a year ago, and that was very effective and he if loses the reputation we lost for eight years under Obama, we're going to lose that position as leader of the free world. I really believe that. So he needs to take action."

Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut warned that an attack wouldn't help end the civil war in Syria and said Trump must seek approval from Congress before attacking Syria.

"Trump seems to have signaled there's going to be another military attack -- that's not permissible by law," said Murphy, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee. "I think a military attack will help him feel good but I don't think it will actually change the calculus on the ground. It might make things much worse."

Murphy is pushing Congress to pass a new Authorization for Use of Military Force to OK military action against Syria, although it's not clear there is enough support in Congress to pass a new authorization.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1490496

Reported Deaths: 20500
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2039162521
Lake1001941500
Allen923541011
Hamilton72207547
St. Joseph64053755
Elkhart48903625
Vanderburgh47506523
Tippecanoe43182336
Johnson37906521
Hendricks35984459
Porter34277466
Madison28722537
Clark25552325
Vigo25251344
LaPorte23269307
Monroe22751244
Howard21818377
Delaware21391366
Hancock18487220
Bartholomew17860213
Kosciusko17769201
Warrick16642213
Wayne16062300
Floyd15640257
Grant15143296
Morgan14245231
Boone13388136
Noble11656140
Dearborn11560112
Henry11546201
Shelby11483150
Marshall11258167
Dubois11123152
Jackson10425104
Cass10121142
DeKalb10101129
Lawrence10082220
Huntington10016139
Gibson9415125
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Knox8942124
Harrison8874112
Whitley861871
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Putnam806199
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Jefferson7773124
Wabash7726139
Ripley7118112
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Daviess6455127
Scott638586
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Clay597573
Wells5902120
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Jennings586278
Fayette5735121
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Randolph5027129
Washington494368
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Newton231561
Brown226754
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Crawford215131
Switzerland194214
Martin186722
Warren174821
Union165519
Ohio122616
Unassigned0739

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2439205

Reported Deaths: 31245
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2637212065
Cuyahoga2582743018
Hamilton1696091714
Montgomery1126771604
Summit1074271391
Lucas909371160
Butler80397942
Stark754911400
Lorain63313792
Warren51040475
Mahoning50162915
Lake47051605
Clermont44631429
Delaware39611212
Trumbull38910755
Medina37850419
Licking37593408
Fairfield34482334
Greene32823422
Portage31698360
Clark30769445
Richland28751423
Wood28217297
Allen24942395
Miami23274395
Muskingum22683245
Columbiana22370403
Wayne21565356
Tuscarawas19096427
Erie18282222
Ashtabula18102342
Marion17861232
Scioto17031207
Ross16556252
Pickaway15812178
Hancock15561228
Geauga15320223
Lawrence14172186
Union1359984
Huron13584182
Belmont13554247
Jefferson13090258
Sandusky12933199
Athens12126106
Knox11721198
Seneca11631200
Darke10950198
Ashland10916178
Washington10729168
Auglaize10364142
Crawford10062175
Shelby9961157
Brown9610140
Fulton9453150
Guernsey9304117
Highland9215148
Defiance9209135
Logan9114142
Clinton8950127
Mercer8816111
Madison8730106
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Williams8014135
Putnam7863135
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Jackson7510117
Perry725998
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Morrow706382
Fayette678287
Pike632586
Hardin6311128
Gallia605891
Adams5913124
Van Wert5877121
Henry577093
Hocking5634104
Carroll4877100
Wyandot487590
Holmes4787161
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Meigs380473
Monroe303368
Noble285051
Harrison284461
Morgan280348
Vinton245145
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