Mattis’ Confirmation Hearing Is This Week

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Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of defense, arrives for a meeting with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee which would conduct Mattis’ confirmation hearing, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Legendary retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis will face the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing for Defense secretary on Thursday, Jan. 12.


In order to be confirmed, however, Congress will also need to pass a bill excusing him from the seven-year cooling off period required between military service and the cabinet position. He retired in 2013 after 44 years as a Marine.

To shore up support for the waiver, Mattis has been meeting with senators all week. He has won Republican favor, and Democrats largely view him as a positive choice as well. This is good news, as his waiver must pass through the House and the Senate, and the latter will require at least favorable 60 votes.

Though some Democrats and veterans are worried about the deterioration of civilian rule over the military, only a few lawmakers thus far have publicly opposed his nomination, like Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Marine Corps veteran Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona.

To address these concerns, prior to introducing any such waiver, the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on civilian control of the military with testimony from external experts at 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 10.

Both the House and Senate are expected to vote on the waiver over the next several weeks. Military Times suggested it is possible that Mattis will be cleared before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

Guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) Sailors participate in a memorial for the shipÕs namesake, Robert D. Stethem. Navy diver, Steelworker 2nd Class Robert Stethem, who was returning from an assignment in the Middle East, when he was taken hostage aboard TWA 847 commercial airliner. The flight was hijacked by terrorists, and Stethem was shot to death after being tortured by the terrorists on June 15, 1985. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Danny Ewing Jr.)

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.

A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.

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The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.

Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."

That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.

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SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.

Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.

Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.

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Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.

For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.

On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."

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ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is ready to act on its southern border with Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said, after warning that it could take unilateral steps if the U.S. does not establish a "safe zone" in northeast Syria this month.

"Our preparations along our borders are complete," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday before departing to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting.

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