Fdd's overnight brief

January 14, 2020

In The News


Iranian authorities warned protesters not to stage further antigovernment demonstrations, as a video appeared to show security forces using tear gas to contain protests over the weekend. – Wall Street Journal

Antigovernment protests in Iran, which broke out after the country’s military shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, present the Trump administration with an opportunity to appeal to moderates who might agree to negotiations with the U.S., according to administration officials. – Wall Street Journal

Iranians staged protests Monday for the third straight day, with anger at the government intensifying after it admitted it shot down a Ukrainian airliner it mistook for a hostile aircraft amid heightened tensions with the United States last week, killing all 176 people on board. – Washington Post

President Donald Trump’s embrace of anti-government protesters in Iran is another departure from his predecessors, who feared such overt support could backfire and inadvertently help hard-liners in the Islamic Republic. – Associated Press

Iran’s judiciary said Tuesday arrests have been made over the accidental shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed all 176 people on board just after takeoff from Tehran. – Associated Press

The demonstrations that erupted after Iran admitted to accidentally shooting down a passenger plane during a tense standoff with the United States last week are the latest of several waves of protest going back to the 1979 Islamic Revolution — all of which have been violently suppressed. – Associated Press

A flurry of diplomatic visits and meetings crisscrossing the Persian Gulf have driven urgent efforts in recent days to defuse the possibility of all-out war after the U.S. killed Iran’s top military commander. – Associated Press

Iran will punish all those responsible for the accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane, President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Tuesday, adding that the “tragic event” would be investigated thoroughly. – Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that the victims of the Ukrainian airliner shot down in Iran would still be alive if the recent escalation of tensions in the region had not happened, according to a transcript of an interview with Global News TV. – Reuters

The son of a leader of Iran’s opposition Green movement was arrested on Monday, according to website Sahamnews. – Reuters

Accusations of lethal force against protesters in Iran should be fully investigated, a spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday, saying reports of violence against those protesting the downing of a civilian airliner were “worrying.” – Reuters

Five countries whose citizens were killed when an airliner was shot down by Iran last week will meet in London on Thursday to discuss possible legal action, Ukraine’s foreign minister told Reuters. – Reuters

A senior investigator from Iran is expected to visit Ukraine in coming days and will determine whether a Ukrainian laboratory is suitable to decode black boxes from a plane that crashed last week, a senior Ukraine security official said on Monday. – Reuters

Britain is keeping the security of its embassy in Tehran under review after Iran briefly arrested London’s envoy to the country, foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Monday. – Reuters

Iran will severely respond if Britain makes “new mistakes,” Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday, a day after Tehran briefly detained the U.K envoy for attending an “illegal” rally. – Reuters

Iran is unlikely to block the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s busiest oil-shipping channel, in reprisal for the killing of Qassem Soleimani for fear of aggravating its Gulf allies and China, regional analysts said on Monday. – Reuters

President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago if Iran’s increased aggression resulted in the death of an American, according to five current and former senior administration officials. – NBC

Iran denied a “cover-up” Monday after taking days to reveal an airliner was accidentally shot down last week, a disaster that sparked demonstrations and calls for a fully transparent investigation. – Agence France-Presse

At least two presenters working for the Iranian state broadcaster IRIB have announced they have quit their jobs, with a third saying she quit some time ago after having told lies on behalf of the state for 13 years. – The Guardian

Hundreds of students at a prestigious Iranian university have openly denounced their Islamist rulers in a third day of protests since the government admitted to accidentally downing a Ukrainian passenger jet. – Voice of America

Tod Lindberg writes: America’s problem with Iran isn’t rooted in longstanding enmity with the Iranian people, or even in the clerical dictatorship per se. It’s a security problem: Iran is a revisionist power and a regional threat. Vietnam decided to be neither. Iran should make the same choice. – Wall Street Journal

Eli Lake writes: Wurmser predicted that many Iranians would welcome a strike on a senior commander such as Soleimani. […]That remains to be seen. What is already evident, however, is that in the aftermath of Soleimani’s death the Iranian leadership has committed a series of errors — from shooting down the Ukrainian jet to lying about it afterward — that has weakened its position at home and abroad. – Bloomberg

Rep. Warren Davidson writes: After an astonishing airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Maj. General Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s destabilizing force is on notice. While the strike sent shocks around the world, those who pay attention to volatile Middle East politics know it was a long time coming. […]There is a time for war, and a time for peace. But, it is always right and just to defend America against aggression by others. – The Hill

Amy Zegart writes: In the past two weeks, escalating hostilities brought the United States to the brink of yet another conflict in the Middle East—this time with Iran. But such a conflict might not look much like the others that American forces have fought in the 21st century. – Defense One

Anthony H. Cordesman writes: The Quds force is only part of a much broader and steadily growing mix of Iranian asymmetric warfare capabilities. Its role must be kept in careful perspective in evaluating the threat of any major escalation in the tensions and military exchanges between Iran and the United States and the risk of a major war in the Gulf. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Christian Oliver writes: The shooting down of the plane epitomizes both the incompetence of the regime, and the fact that the nation’s brightest and best look to emigrate. The list of fatalities from the flight manifest was a harrowing litany of not only children and newly married couples, but doctors, engineers and scientists. – Politico


On Sunday, residents of a rebel-held pocket in northwestern Syria saw white leaflets drop from the sky, carrying a message from the government: It’s time to leave. […]The warning was issued on the day that a cease-fire brokered by Turkey and Russia took effect, as Russia and its allies promised to halt airstrikes. – Washington Post

Just two days after the UN Security Council approved a limited measure to authorize cross-border aid into Syria, government militias shelled the demilitarized zone of the countryside in Idlib Province on Monday, violating a cease-fire announced by Russia and Turkey last week. – Jerusalem Post 

Dozens of militants and Syrian regime forces have defected and Iranian militias are on high alert after a series of airstrikes in recent days have targeted their positions in areas near Al-Bukamal in the Deir Ezzor area of eastern Syria. – Jerusalem Post


Turkish prosecutors on Tuesday ordered 176 soldiers detained over suspected links to the network that Ankara says was behind a coup attempt three-and-a-half years ago, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported. – Reuters

A state-owned Turkish company as invited Malaysia to join the country’s indigenous fighter program, the TF-X, following Ankara’s suspension from the U.S.-led F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. – Defense News

Ozlem Kayhan Pusane writes: In order to advance its interests more effectively going forward, Turkey needs to focus on improving relations with Western civil society, not just governments. It should also identify and incorporate more modern and diverse methods in the area of public diplomacy with an effective system of coordination among different actors involved in this endeavor. Turkey has a story to tell the world — but it needs to get better at telling it. – War on the Rocks


The Palestinian Authority security forces arrested 195 Hamas members in the West Bank during the last week of December 2019, Hamas said Monday. The arrests, which are seen as another sign of the continued tensions between the PA and Hamas, are likely to hamper efforts to hold new presidential and parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. – Jerusalem Post

The Israeli Foreign Ministry engaged in a rare rebuke of a foreign country for Holocaust revisionism on Monday, issuing a statement condemning Ukraine for its “public glorification” of Holocaust collaborators and “antisemitic ideologists.” – Times of Israel

Poland’s largest Jewish communal group expressed its support for Polish President Andrzej Duda’s decision to withdraw from a major Holocaust memorial event in Jerusalem. – Times of Israel


More than two hours before Iran fired its first salvo of missiles at the large base here in western Iraq last week, American soldiers took cover in concrete bunkers that once belonged to Saddam Hussein’s military. – Wall Street Journal

American troops were informed of an impending missile barrage hours before their air base in Iraq was struck by Iran, U.S. military officials said Monday, days after the attack that marked a major escalation between the longtime foes. – Associated Press

Young Iraqis who drove mass protests demanding sweeping political reforms are worried that the conflict between the U.S. and Iran, which is playing out in part on Iraqi soil, is killing their momentum. – Associated Press

The United States will work with Iraqi leaders to ‘get to the right place’ on U.S. troop deployment in the country, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday, following a request from Baghdad last week to prepare to pull them out. – Reuters

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo played down Iraqi demands to expel U.S. troops, saying the country’s leaders have “privately” told him in repeated phone calls that they want U.S. troops to stay, despite their public pronouncements to the contrary. – Bloomberg


Lebanon has regained its full voting rights at the United Nations after paying part of what it owes the world body, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday. – Reuters

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said on Tuesday that “obstacles” had prevented the formation of a new government which was expected last week. Aoun said Lebanon was currently paying the price for 30 years of wrong financial policies. – Reuters

Lebanese protesters used sandbags and bricks Monday to block a main street outside the country’s central bank, protesting financial policies they say deepened a liquidity crunch. – Associated Press


Libya’s rival leaders have left Moscow without reaching agreement on a cease-fire deal proposed by Russia and Turkey in an effort to bring an end to the country’s long-running civil war. – Associated Press

Eastern Libyan forces, which have been trying to seize the capital Tripoli held by the internationally recognized government, said they are “ready and determined” to achieve victory, the forces’ official Facebook website said on Tuesday. – Reuters

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed on Monday a ceasefire in Libya initiated by Turkey and Russia, but cautioned that the United Nations must lead the process of rebuilding the country. – Reuters

Germany plans to hold a summit aimed at plotting a path to peace in Libya on Jan. 19, two participants in the preparatory negotiations said on Monday, – Reuters


Middle East & North Africa

A U.S. citizen detained in Egypt for more than six years died Monday after a lengthy hunger strike and pressure from U.S. officials failed to secure his release. – Washington Post

More than 300 prisoners are staging a hunger strike in a Cairo prison to protest punishment beatings and other harsh treatment in detention, a day after an Egyptian-American dual citizen died in custody, opposition activists said. – Wall Street Journal

Former Irish president Mary Robinson, who heads the group of prominent former leaders founded by Nelson Mandela, says the U.S. assassination of Iran’s top general has made the Middle East more “volatile” and “unstable.” – Associated Press

Japan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates should work together to de-escalate the tense situation in the Gulf, a Japanese foreign ministry official said on Monday, relaying comments by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. – Reuters

Giorgio Cafiero writes: With Sultan Haitham determined to maintain his predecessor’s independent foreign policy based on balance, tolerance, and diplomatic engagement, officials in Washington would be wise to realize Oman’s value as an important American ally and work closely with Sultan Qaboos’ successor. – Middle East Institute

Carlo J.V. Caro writes: The alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia has been one of the main characteristics of American foreign relations in the Middle East for the past six decades. Various presidential administrations, both Democratic and Republican, have supported this alliance unconditionally. [ …]But the truth is that the United States does not need Saudi Arabia to maintain its hegemony. […]The truth is the time has come for the US to downgrade Saudi Arabia as its main strategic partner. To fill the gap, the US can reinforce its relations with Qatar. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that he could seek exemptions of U.N. sanctions placed on North Korea to bring about improved inter-Korean relations that he believes would help restart nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington. – Associated Press

South Korean President Moon Jae-in faced a barrage of questions about purges of prosecutors looking into corruption in his administration, in the latest sign that the scandals could weigh on upcoming national elections. – Bloomberg

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday it was too early to be pessimistic about stalled decentralization dialogue between the United States and North Korea, adding that Pyongyang has not yet shut the door to more talks. – Reuters


U.S. talks with China to complete a first-stage trade deal had hit an impasse around Thanksgiving, raising fears a nascent accord would collapse again—and with it, hope for a halt to the nearly two-year-old trade war. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. Treasury Department dropped its designation of China as a currency manipulator just two days before negotiators from Beijing and Washington are set to sign the first phase of the trade deal between the two countries. – Wall Street Journal

President Trump’s trade war with Beijing reduced the U.S.’s trade deficit with China last year, although Chinese manufacturers still export far more to the U.S. than vice versa. – Wall Street Journal

China’s economy grew at its slowest rate in three decades in 2019, according to an AFP poll of economists, after a year marked by weaker domestic demand and a bruising trade war with the United States. – Agence France-Presse

Chinese diplomacy has found a new voice on Twitter — and it’s not entirely diplomatic. The communist government has recently embraced the social media platform — despite blocking it within China — deploying its foreign ministry and a growing army of diplomats to tout or defend its policies to a global audience. – Agence France-Presse

President Trump’s decision to schedule a signing ceremony Wednesday for the United States-China trade deal with negotiations still ongoing is viewed as a sign that he plans to essentially declare victory in the trade war, for now, while he faces reelection. – Washington Examiner

Separatists will “leave a stink for 10,000 years”, the Chinese government’s top diplomat said on Monday, in Beijing’s most strongly worded reaction yet to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s re-election on the back of a message of standing up to Beijing. – Reuters

Tom Rogan writes: The ground is set for the United States and China’s trade agreement Wednesday. This “phase one” of an intended two-phase deal is a win for President Trump, but one that China will work hard to undermine in the near future. […]So, yes, this trade deal is good. But U.S. red lines on intellectual property and communications infrastructure must stand firm in phase two. – Washington Examiner

Jude Blanchette and Bonnie S. Glaser write: These realities underpin Beijing’s clear and consistent calls for restraint by both the United States and Iran over the past week. As Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said on January 4, “Peace and stability in the Middle East and the Gulf region should be safeguarded.” Put another way, China now has too much at stake in the region to see it devolve into chaos. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Andres Ortega writes: The United States and Europe could come to regret letting Beijing win the race to govern digital technology if they do not bridge their divide; together, the United States and Europe are a “formidable pair.”68 Changing China’s behavior is only possible with alliances and a coordinated response from key partners and economies. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


A Pakistani court revoked a guilty verdict and death sentence for the country’s last military ruler, suggesting that the country’s powerful army is reasserting itself after a brief spasm of judicial opposition. – Wall Street Journal

An Indian court ordered Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp and Alphabet Inc.’s Google to preserve data connected to an attack on a university campus earlier this month in the latest attempt by authorities in the country to wrangle more control over the messaging and search giants. – Wall Street Journal

U.S. President Donald Trump is planning his maiden India visit in February, an official said, in a trip that may coincide with an impeachment trial that is likely to get underway in Washington next week. – Bloomberg

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet decided on Tuesday to use about 507 million yen ($4.6 million) from this fiscal year’s budget reserves for the Self-Defense Forces in the Middle East, the finance ministry said. – Reuters

Shanghai ended all official relations with the city of Prague on Tuesday after the Czech capital chose to partner with Taipei instead of Beijing. – Associated Press

Oriana Skylar Mastro writes: There is no time to waste. To avert conflict, Washington needs to place its full attention on the Indo-Pacific strategy now. If the United States continues to direct its focus on conflicts elsewhere, armed reunification will become an even more attractive option to Beijing. The repercussions will be felt in that region for generations. – LA Times


Russian military spies have hacked a Ukrainian gas company that is at the heart of an impeachment trial of President Trump, who sought last year to pressure Ukraine to investigate the company and its links to Joe Biden’s son, according to a cybersecurity firm. – Washington Post

The Justice Department’s watchdog accused a former top FBI counterterrorism official of leaking information to the media in October 2016 about the arrest of a Russian hacker, a Washington Examiner review revealed. – Washington Examiner

Turkish and Syrian heads of intelligence met in Moscow on Monday, in the first official contact in years despite Ankara’s long-standing hostility to President Bashar al-Assad, a senior Turkish official and Syrian news agency SANA said. – Reuters

Leonid Bershidsky writes: Putin, however, is overplaying his hand. Even his Soviet predecessors’ bluster had its limits; that’s why they tried to justify their murderous errors rather than deny them for years. Russia eventually will have to admit its part in the MH17 tragedy. One can try to put off taking the consequences, but one can’t wish them away. – Bloomberg


Britain, France and Germany will take the first step toward reimposing international sanctions on Iran on Tuesday, European diplomats said, their first significant response to Tehran’s escalation of its nuclear program. – Wall Street Journal

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure to side with President Trump as the United Kingdom’s diplomatic dispute with Iran escalates after the detention of London’s ambassador to Tehran. – Washington Examiner

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday called on U.S. President Donald Trump to replace the Iranian nuclear deal with his own new agreement. – Reuters

Restrictions imposed by Hungary on the financing from abroad of non-governmental organizations are incompatible with EU law, according to an opinion issued Tuesday by the European Union’s Court of Justice. – Associated Press

With its low birth rate and fast-ageing population, Europe is facing a demographic crisis, one that economists fear could hit growth and public finances. While the global population overall is getting older, Europe is an extreme example of this trend, particularly in the continent’s south and east, which have been hit by record-low fertility rates and emigration.  – Financial Times


On Wednesday, Washington imposed sanctions on South Sudan’s first vice president, after adding two government ministers to its blacklist in December, accusing them of perpetuating the conflict. – Wall Street Journal

France announced Monday that it will send hundreds more soldiers to West Africa, and five presidents of countries in the region said they welcome the support in the fight against a surge of Islamist violence. – Washington Post

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that a U.S. military withdrawal from West Africa would be a problem for France, but he was confident he could convince President Donald Trump that the fight against Islamist militants in West Africa was vital. – Reuters

Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou has replaced the head of the army after two of the country’s deadliest attacks in living memory killed at least 160 soldiers and prompted a rethink in the battle against jihadist groups, the government said. – Reuters

Audu Bulama Bukarti writes: Third, and last, comprehending the real story of Boko Haram’s emergence and increasingly dangerous operations can help to expose early warning signs about similar groups in the future. This is essential if policymakers are to have any chance of preventing marginal groups possessed of local grievances but inspired by transnational jihadist ideas from transforming into large-scale armies that terrorize and threaten to undo entire nations. – Hudson Institute

The Americas

Attorney General William Barr called the December attack by a Saudi aviation student that killed three people at a Florida Navy base an act of terrorism, escalating pressure on Apple Inc. to help unlock a pair of the gunman’s iPhones that could provide more information about his radicalization. – Wall Street Journal

The man accused of stabbing five people during a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, N.Y., pleaded not guilty Monday to federal hate-crime charges. – Wall Street Journal

The two assailants who shot up a Jersey City, N.J., kosher grocery cased the shop for months ahead of the attack, made a bomb strong enough to injure and kill people up to five football fields away and researched other Jewish centers, officials said. – Wall Street Journal

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board, meanwhile, said Monday that Iranian officials have invited it to participate in analysis of the voice and flight data recorders from the Ukrainian jetliner. – Associated Press

Editorial: This weekend the Sanders campaign called Mr. Biden’s position on the Iraq war “appalling” and released a video of the former Vice President expressing support for the war in summer 2003. […]But Mr. Sanders wants to unleash Democratic antiwar passions that Barack Obama used to topple Mrs. Clinton in 2008. Instead of getting boxed in, Mr. Biden can lean on his experience to force a debate on the importance of American engagement for avoiding war in a world full of threats. – Wall Street Journal

Latin America

The Trump administration on Monday blacklisted seven Venezuelan officials involved in a chaotic play for control of the legislature aimed at cementing President Nicolás Maduro’s hold on all levers of power. – Wall Street Journal

A former high-ranking judge in Cuba has joined an antigovernment activist in revealing information from secret government documents that show the government is holding thousands of inmates on dubious charges and has the highest incarceration rate in the world. – New York Times

Armed conflict in Colombia could heat up in 2020 and there could even be bombings in cities if dissidents from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) follow through with plans to pressure the government into a new peace deal, an expert mediator said on Monday. – Reuters


House lawmakers trying to reduce the projected $1.1 trillion cost of maintaining the F-35 over 60 years are considering options including eliminating the Pentagon’s central office in charge of the fighter jet built by Lockheed Martin Corp. – Bloomberg

The U.S. Navy reportedly has footage and documents related to a UFO video that caused a sensation when it was leaked in 2017. But it won’t reveal any of it because releasing the info and footage “would cause exceptionally grave damage to the National Security of the United States,” the Navy said in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by UFO researcher Christian Lambright. – Huffington Post

The surface navy is taking a serious look at how it trains individuals and watch teams in maritime warfighting skills, taking a similar approach to the recent effort to bolster navigation, shiphandling and seamanship skills, the head of the surface force told USNI News. – USNI News

The Navy needs a bigger fleet – and while ongoing budget talks don’t sound promising for the buildup of manned warships that some had envisioned, the surface force is working hard to quickly bring unmanned vessels into the force to expand its reach and capability. – USNI News

The Navy will put a laser weapon on a Littoral Combat Ship for the first time this year, amid efforts to boost the LCS’s lethality and to develop and field a family of laser systems. – USNI News

Amphib USS Bataan (LHD-5) is operating in the Red Sea as tensions between the U.S. and Iran continue to simmer, USNI News has learned. – USNI News

The push to grow the U.S. Navy by about 20 percent was given a new lease on life, politically speaking, with a renewed push from the White House and acting secretary of the Navy. But the fundamental issue applies: The Navy can’t tack on a significant number of extra ships without more funding. – Defense News

Leonardo’s single engine TH-119 design was selected to be the US Navy’s TH-73A training helicopter replacing aged TH-57 Sea Ranger, the Defense Department announced Monday. – Defense News

The U.S. Navy’s yearlong fight to convince lawmakers it needed a significant investment in unmanned ships the size of offshore patrol vessels resulted in a kind of half-victory. – Defense News

The Army is undertaking a multiyear effort to improve and modernize its tactical battlefield network. However, up to this point, tactical networks were relatively stovepipped and the process of connecting networks — whether in the same theater or across the world — required an extremely laborious process. – C4ISRNET

On a tight timeline but with additional funding, the U.S. Army is attempting to field a new long-range assault aircraft by 2030. – Defense News

The U.S. Army recently tested a system that helps defenders wipe the skies of just the unfriendly aerial robots. – Defense One

A set of small, uninhabited Pacific islands, very close to China, may be the destination of some of America’s most sophisticated and controversial future weapons: hypersonic missiles that remain nimble even at five times the speed of sound. – Defense One

Trump Administration

A former senior U.S. Treasury Department official pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to give a reporter sensitive financial information about former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and others connected to the president. – Wall Street Journal

Senate Republicans signaled Monday they would reject the idea of simply voting to dismiss the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump as the House prepares to send the charges to the chamber for the historic trial. – Associated Press

For all of the Trump administration’s insistence that the threat of an “imminent” attack led to the American drone strike on Iran’s top general, U.S. officials behind the scenes say the strike was motivated as much, if not more, by a broader effort to rein in a dangerously emboldened Iran. – Associated Press

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he opposes a Senate resolution asserting that President Donald Trump must seek approval from Congress before engaging in further military action against Iran. – Associated Press

President Donald Trump fueled controversy on Monday over his decision to kill Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani by saying “it doesn’t really matter” whether Soleimani posed an imminent threat to the United States. – Reuters

President Donald Trump clearly had authority to kill Qassem Soleimani, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said on Monday, adding that the White House consulted with his department before the strike on the Iranian commander. – Reuters

The Democratic chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said on Monday he was “disappointed and frustrated” that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had declined to testify at a committee hearing on Iran set for Tuesday. – Reuters

The Senate vote on halting military action against Iran is up in the air, with the upcoming impeachment trial and Tuesday’s presidential debate scrambling the timing for floor action. – Politico