WASHINGTON, D.C. — One hundred Senators were called to the White House on Wednesday during a nearly unprecedented event to be briefed on rising tensions between the United States and North Korea.
According to a report published by Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-nuclear-usa-senate-idUSKBN17Q1LR), the briefing, which began at 3:00 pm EST, was originally scheduled to take place in the Capitol building but was moved to the White House at the request of President Trump.
The Senators are reportedly being briefed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who will chair the meeting, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis on the latest developments in North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and the threats that it’s leader, Kim Jung-un, has made against the United States. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats will also participate in the briefing.
The meeting comes on the same day that local governments throughout the Washington, D.C. area are participating in “full-scale” terror attack drills in response to the developing conflict. The drills are being carried out in multiple locations throughout the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs at the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R)-South Carolina, discussed the North Korea briefing during a dinner Monday evening at the White House with President Trump, and told reporters on Tuesday that his fellow colleagues will be advised on Trump’s plan to respond to North Korea’s recent acts of aggression.
“It’s clear to me that this president will not allow North Korea to develop an [intercontinental ballistic missile] with a nuclear weapon on top to hit America,” said Graham. “And I think the senators are gonna hear that tomorrow night.”
Sen. Ben Cardin, (D)-Md., the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Reuters that he hopes that North Korea’s recent hostilities can be countered without military action.
“It’s (the location of the meeting) their choice,” he said of Trump’s meeting request. “I hope that we hear their policy as to what their objectives are, and how we can accomplish that hopefully without dropping bombs.”