Tag: Congress

Navy Looks at Accelerating Super Hornet Transitions

Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy is looking at ways to accelerate the phase-out of F/A-18C “Classic” Hornet strike fighters from its carrier air wings and replacing the last few squadrons with F/A-18E Super Hornets, a Navy spokeswoman said.

“As we balance operational requirements and our initiatives to build the most capable and ready forward-deployed force, we are identifying the most efficient and effective way to safely transition the last four Navy operational Hornet squadrons to Super Hornets,” Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld, public affairs officer for commander, Naval Air Forces, said in an e-mail to Seapower.

“In order to provide our most capable warfighting force forward, the Navy began the first of the final transitions of our four operational F/A-18C Hornet squadrons to F/A-18E Super Hornet squadrons in July, with an expected completion in [fiscal] ’19. Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131, was the first of the four squadrons to begin the transition last month.”

The other three F/A-18C squadrons, all based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., are VFA-34, VFA-37 and VFA-83.

“Accelerating the transition to Super Hornets will allow cost savings and reduce depot maintenance workload,” Groeneveld said. “As the Navy approaches the end of the extended service life for Hornets, the cost per flight hour continues to increase. Additionally, there are shortages in the Department of the Navy’s spare parts and supply system that have contributed to flight line readiness challenges, as well as our ability to extend the service lives of these airframes.”

She also said the transitions give the Navy the opportunity to select its best-condition Hornets for use by the Marine Corps and by Navy support and reserve units, such as Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center, Fighter Composite Squadron 12, Reserve squadron VFA-204 and the Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.

The Navy is confident it will be able to continue to support all operational requirements as it completes transition of the Hornet fleet to Super Hornets,” she said.

Congress has supported the Navy’s requirements for increased Super Hornet procurement to bridge the gap to the fleet introduction of the F-35C Lightning II strike fighter. The first fleet squadron to make the transition to the F-35C will be VFA-147 in 2018.


US Navy: More Virginia-class submarines can be built

United States Navy Virginia-class SSN

A new plan to build more attack submarines could be supported by the U.S. industrial base with careful planning and sufficient funding, a U.S. Navy report to Congress has concluded.

Titled “The Submarine Industrial Base and the Viability of Producing Additional Attack Submarines Beyond the Fiscal Year 2017 Shipbuilding Plan in the 2017-2030 Timeframe”, the report was delivered to Congress in early July.

The U.S. Navy did the study in order to evaluate whether the two major shipbuilders – Huntington Ingalls Industries and General Dynamics-Electric Boats – could continue building two Virginia-class even after the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine program starts construction.

Current plans would see the shipbuilders drop their Virginia-class submarine from two to one boat a year once the Columbia program starts in the 2020s.

However, maintaining the two-a-year building pace would allow the navy to receive additional seven Virginia boats and increase the total number of boats built between 2017 and 1030 to 29 instead of 22.

While the navy assessed the industrial base was theoretically capable of maintaining this construction tempo, it did note that adequate and timely funding would be needed to allow the two major shipbuilders to prepare facilities, workforce and the supplier base for the increased workload.

The increased submarine production would allow the navy to achieve the number of 66 attack submarines in service – as outlined in the navy’s 2016 force structure assessment – in fiscal year 2048.


Senator McCain says he is not surprised by expulsion of US diplomats from Russia

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

US Republican Senator John McCain is not surprised by Moscow’s decision to send hundreds of US diplomats from Russia after the US Congress adopted a bill providing for further tightening of the regime of unilateral sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea.

“Not surprising Putin throws out US diplomats, but he & his cronies will still pay price for attacking our democracy,” the senator wrote on Twitter.

McCain is one of those senators who are most critical of Russia. The lawmaker repeatedly called for new anti-Russian sanctions.

On July 28, the Russian Foreign Ministry proposed the US party to “equal the number of diplomatic and technical staff members working in the US Embassy in Moscow and in consulates general in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok to the exact number of Russian diplomats and technical staff members who are working in the US before September 1.” “This means that the total number of staff working in US diplomatic and consulate entities in Russia will be reduced to 455 people,” the ministry said in a statement. “In case the US authorities take new unilateral actions to reduce the number of our diplomats in the US, it will be responded in kind.”

In addition to that, Russia is suspending the use of the warehouses and the property in Serebryany Bor in Moscow by the US Embassy as of August 1.

On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted in an interview with VGTRK host Vladimir Solovyov that a total of 755 US diplomats are to leave Russia.

US House of Representatives passes bill to toughen sanctions on Russia

AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

The House of Representatives of the US Congress on Tuesday passed a bill to toughen unilateral US sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea.

A total of 419 lawmakers supported the bill, with only three votes against.

The bill brings to the legislative level the anti-Russian sanctions, imposed by executive orders of former US President Back Obama over the political crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s reunification with Crimea.

The amendment will also concern restrictions that Obama imposed in late 2016 against the Russian citizens, whom Washington suspected of cyberattacks on US political institutions.

The document will be passed to the Senate, where it enjoys widespread support from both Democrats and Republicans.
If approved by the parliament, the bill will be forwarded to US President Donald Trump. If the US president signs it into law, it would be possible to remove the sanctions only by adopting another legislation.

The US administration won’t have the right to lift sanctions independently.

The US leader has previously voiced his readiness to sign the document.

Source: TASS Russian News Agency.



Architects of ‘80s military buildup talk to senators about Navy expansion

The $13 billion aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)

The architects of the 1980s military buildup came before senators Tuesday to explain how they were able to rebuild and expand the Navy by 75 ships in just seven years under conditions not so different than they are today.

The Navy at the time faced shortfalls due to budget cuts, it was struggling with cost overruns, and shipbuilding programs were stagnating, testified former Navy Secretary John Lehman.

“As a result, we as a nation were losing our ability to deter disturbers of the peace,” he told the Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee. “The same situation with very different actors is true today.”

But while members of the subcommittee are unanimous in their support for a similar buildup today from 276 ships to 355, there are differences.
Today’s Congress remains deadlocked over spending, and this huge military expansion lacks the push of a broadly popular president.

Ronald Reagan enjoyed a 58 percent approval rating six months into his presidency; President Donald Trump’s rating this week were under 40 percent.

William Schneider, who served as a former associate director in Reagan’s office of management and budget, said Reagan was able to build “very effective collaboration” in Congress to fund the very substantial increase in defense.

“His success in building a 600-ship Navy was a remarkable story of committed executive and legislative branch leaderships,” he said.
Lehman told the committee that the 1980s effort was successful because it had a cohesive strategy based on the nation’s vital defense interests that enjoyed widespread bipartisan support as well as support from the White House, budget office, the Pentagon and the Navy and Marine Corps.

In addition, there was a deep commitment to discipline in procurement, reigning in the kind of cost overruns that have plagued the building of the design and construction of the first Ford-class aircraft carrier. That means completing and freezing the design before going out to bid and ensuring there is accountability to keeping to the fixed price, he said.

With 22 Defense Department administrators able to sign on for increased spending, the only way to keep that discipline is to hold someone accountable, he said.

“There should be one person where the buck stops and that has got to be the service secretary,” he said.

Everett Pyatt, former Secretary of the Navy for Shipbuilding and Logistics, said another way to avoid runaway costs is to abolish incremental funding for ships. By approving the full amount for a complete ship up front, they were able to control the costs and not get into the kinds of problems today’s military is facing. He said he just learned of $700 million “buried in the post-delivery cost” for the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier.

“For a ship that’s already been delivered – I don’t understand that,” he said.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the subcommittee, praised the witnesses for “thinking outside the box” when they reactivated and modernized ships that had been decommissioned early rather than building all new.

He said the subcommittee along with their counterparts in the House have adopted the 355-ship Navy Ships Act into the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.

But Democratic senators on the subcommittee warned that the Navy buildup won’t be possible without commitment by Congress to repeal the Budget Control Act, which caps defense spending with the threat of automatic across-the-board cuts known as sequestration.

“One thing is clear,” said ranking member Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii. “If we do not deal with the [Budget Control Act], we will end up cutting the size of the Navy.”

Source: Stars and Stripes.

First meeting for Trump and Putin: what will the power dynamics reveal?

The Guardian, By Julian Borger, World Affairs Editor, 3 July 2017

Hamburg will this week play host to one of the strangest encounters in modern history, when Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet on the margins of the G20 summit.

It will be their first meeting as presidents but less clear – and reflecting the unusual circumstances surrounding the event and their relationship – is whether it will be their first meeting at all. Over the past few years, Trump has variously claimed to have either met Putin and “got along great”, or to have never met him.

The power dynamics between the two leaders will be analysed around the world: one of them is widely believed to have helped engineer the election of the other, who is reportedly under investigation at home for colluding in that venture. Trump’s words and body language will be subject to immense scrutiny for signs of Putin’s leverage.

The Russian leader is also expected to push for Moscow’s take on international relations – that of the interests of leading powers taking precedence over the existing order.

For a man given to outbursts of temper and personal attacks Trump has always treated Putin with delicacy, and his admiration for his Russian counterpart has never been in question.

Putin has been far more cautious. He has called Trump “colourful”, which the American took for a compliment although the Russian word used was double-edged, with positive and negative connotations.

“You can rest assured that the Kremlin has prepared well in advance for this meeting, both with a complete analysis and dossier of Mr Trump himself as well as the goals that the Kremlin’s wishes to advance,” said Heather Conley, director of the Europe programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC.

Putin goes into the meeting with other advantages. His control of foreign and national security policy is untrammelled, while Trump is hemmed in. Attempts to relax sanctions on Russia as a sweetener to rejuvenate the Washington-Moscow relationship have been blocked while Congress is in the process of not just intensifying the sanctions but wresting the power to lift them away from the White House.

National security council (NSC) staff have also pushed back on demands for “deliverables” to use as bargaining chips with which Trump might strike a face-to-face deal of the kind he prided himself on in his real estate and reality TV years.

Trump wants the meeting with Putin to be a formal affair, but his own advisers have resisted giving the Russian leader one of his principal goals – normalcy and acceptance following Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and military intervention in eastern Ukraine.

Amid all that uncertainty, Trump’s national security adviser, Herbert Raymond McMaster, told journalists last week that the meeting would be unstructured and free ranging. “There’s no specific agenda. It’s really going to be whatever the president wants to talk about,” McMaster said, adding that the talks would not “be different from our discussions with any other country, really”.

Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond McMaster

The Kremlin does have an agenda, however, and despite remarks from a spokesman that the Russians would “try to fit” a Trump meeting into Putin’s very tight schedule, it sees the meeting as critical for redrawing the bilateral relationship.

“I was very surprised by General McMaster’s comments, both by what appears to be a lack of US policy preparation for this critical meeting and his comment that the US-Russian relationship is not different from that with any other country,” Conley said.

Maxim Suchkov, a member of the Moscow-based Russian International Affairs Council, said foreign policy experts had been invited by the foreign ministry as early as March to “brainstorm” ideas about what Moscow should be offering and asking for.

Suchkov said that Russian diplomats were thinking about the relationship in “four big baskets”, including regional issues such as Ukraine and Syria, establishing military channels of communication, and economic relations. The biggest and vaguest of the four involved the contours of the international order, and in particular “what world would the US and Russia want to live in peacefully”.

The Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, set out in a speech on Friday what such a new order would look like: in place of the west seeking to impose “pseudo-liberal values” across the globe there would be a balancing of the national interests of major powers, he said.

In an echo of one of Trump’s campaign points, Lavrov described Nato as “unable to provide a proper response to the growing main threat of modern times, which is terrorism”. Moscow’s persistent theme is that Nato should be left to sink into redundancy while the US and Russia cooperate on counter-terrorism.
“I proceed from the premise that Mr Putin and Mr Trump understand their national interests,” Lavrov told a Moscow audience. “They want to overcome the current abnormality and start negotiating specific issues that affect bilateral relations, including business interests and the resolution of international problems.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Henry Kissinger, who has been a guest of Trump’s at the White House, was in the room as Lavrov spoke, and the Russian foreign minister applauded him for having followed a balance-of-powers approach when he was making US foreign policy during the cold war.

Suchkov said Moscow’s immediate demand was the return of two Russian diplomatic compounds, in Maryland and New York, from where its officials were expelled by the Obama administration in December in retaliation over the Kremlin’s interference in the election campaign.

The White House led by Trump has explored handing back the sites, perhaps stripped of diplomatic immunity, but the issue is politically fraught in Washington at a time when the city is gripped by the Russia investigations.

Outside the Oval Office, however, there is entrenched opposition to any relaxation of sanctions that would imply acceptance of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its military intervention in east Ukraine, a formerly covert operation which Lavrov officially acknowledged for the first time in his Moscow speech on Friday.

The US Senate has voted by 98 to 2 to strengthen sanctions on Russia. The House is expected to vote on the measures in the days following the Trump-Putin meeting. Any unilateral action by Trump in Hamburg to relax pressure on Moscow is liable to cause a backlash in Washington.

Whether or not the president and his associates are found to have directly colluded with Moscow, there is no question Trump has offered a softer, less judgmental, relationship with Russia. There is likewise little doubt Putin ordered his intelligence services to skew the election in Trump’s direction.

In Hamburg, meeting face-to-face with a US president hobbled by constraint, the Russian leader will be looking for what he can salvage from that investment.



The $13 Billion Aircraft Carrier That Has Trouble With Planes

The USS Gerald R. Ford. Photographer: Ridge Leoni/U.S. Navy via Getty Images.

Bloomberg Politics, by Anthony Capaccio, 15 June 2017

The newest and costliest U.S. aircraft carrier, praised by President Donald Trump and delivered to the Navy on May 31 with fanfare, has been dogged by trouble with fundamentals: launching jets from its deck and catching them when they land.

Now, it turns out that the system used to capture jets landing on the USS Gerald R. Ford ballooned in cost, tripling to $961 million from $301 million, according to Navy documents obtained by Bloomberg News.

While the Navy says the landing system has been fixed, the next-generation carrier built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. still hasn’t been cleared to launch F/A-18 jets carrying a full complement of fuel tanks under their wings, a handicap that could limit their effectiveness in combat.

The twin issues underscore the technical and cost challenges for the planned three-ship, $42 billion Ford class of carriers that is drawing increased congressional scrutiny. The Navy and Trump want to increase the carrier fleet from 11 authorized by law to 12.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain has long criticized the Navy’s management of the Ford program and joined a congressional effort that capped funding for the first carrier at $12.9 billion and for a second ship under construction, the John F. Kennedy, at $11.4 billion. He grilled Navy officials on the carrier’s costs at a hearing of the committee on Thursday.

John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) Construction Progress September 2016 SeaWaves Magazine.

While it’s encouraging to see the Ford “finally delivered to the Navy,” the Arizona Republican said, the service’s funding request for it exceeds the congressional budget cap by $20 million. Now, McCain said, the Navy wants to award a construction contract for the third ship that’s $1.6 billion more than the previous one.

“This is unacceptable for a ship certified to be a repeat design that will deliver just three years later,” he said.

General Atomics

The surge in costs for the development phase of the advanced arresting gear — built by General Atomics to catch planes landing — was borne by the Navy under terms of that contract. In addition, the program acquisition costs of the three systems built so far more than doubled to $532 million each from $226 million, an increase which must be paid by closely held General Atomics.

General Atomics spokeswoman Meghan Ehlke referred all questions to the Navy “per our contract.” Captain Thurraya Kent, a Navy spokeswoman, said the contractor forfeited all bonus fees it could have made during the 2009-2016 development phase and the service is reviewing the company’s master schedule for the John F. Kennedy weekly. The Navy also has placed personnel at the company’s facility in Rancho Bernardo, California, to monitor progress.

Most of the cost increase was driven by an underfunded technology phase that didn’t allow enough time for the discovery and correction of problems and for the technology to mature before the start of the development phase, Kent said. It’s “a lesson the Navy will ensure is applied to all future programs,” Kent said.

The Navy reported the cost increase to Congress last month because it breached thresholds established under a 1982 law for major weapons systems. It’s separate from the 22 percent increase since 2010 for construction of the carrier, which resulted in Congress imposing the $12.9 billion cost cap.

Trump, who has repeatedly complained about the high cost of major weapons systems — and then taken credit for reining them in — did that in a Coast Guard commencement address on May 17. The Ford “had a little bit of an overrun problem before I got here, you know that. Still going to have an overrun problem; we came in when it was finished, but we’re going to save some good money.”

‘It’s No Good’

Trump said “when we build the new aircraft carriers, they’re going to be built under budget and ahead of schedule, just remember that.” Still, the Government Accountability Office said in a new report Tuesday that the John F. Kennedy’s cost estimate “is not reliable and does not address lessons learned” from the Ford’s performance.

Trump scoffed at the carrier’s troubled electromagnetic launch system in a Time magazine interview last month, saying it doesn’t work and “you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out.” Saying the Navy should stick with an old-fashioned steam-driven catapult, he added, “The digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.”

Until the catapult problem, which was discovered in 2014, is resolved it limits how much combat fuel can be carried in planes being launched from the carrier’s deck.

That “would preclude normal employment” of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the radar-jamming Growler version because “the aircraft are limited in the types of missions that they can accomplish” without added under-wing fuel tanks, Army Lieutenant Colonel Roger Cabiness, spokesman for the Pentagon’s testing office, said in an email. He said the Navy asserts that testing on the ground has solved a software flaw that caused excessive vibrations of those fuel tanks.

F/A-18F Super Hornet with a full compliment of fuel tanks. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Christopher L. Jordan. (RELEASED)

Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley told the Senate committee Thursday that fixing the vibrations was simply part of a “systems tuning effort” for each plane that will launch from the carrier.

“The Navy estimates the software problem will be resolved and software updates incorporated” on the carrier for testing at sea during the vessel’s post-shakedown phase between May and November of 2018, Michael Land, spokesman for the Naval Air Systems Command, said in an email. He said actual launches of jets with wing tanks will follow in 2019.

The Navy still has time to fix the catapult issue. Though the Ford has been delivered, the ship is not scheduled to be declared ready for operations until 2020, with first actual deployment planned for about 2022, according to spokeswoman Kent.


NAVAIR Commander Proposes Cost Savings Strategies for F-35, V-22

Boeing V-22 Osprey.

SEAPOWER, By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor, 15 June 2017

ARLINGTON, Va. — The commander of Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) said that the Navy could save millions of dollars by use of a seven-year multiyear procurement of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and “pulling forward” advance procurement of materials for the F-35 Lightning II strike fighter.

Regarding the idea of an economic order quantity (EOQ) for the F-35, Vice Adm. Paul A. Grosklags, testifying June 13 on the fiscal 2018 budget proposal before the Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee, said, “What we’re specifically asking for is taking approximately 4 percent of the [fiscal] ’19 and 4 percent of the [fiscal] ’20 EOQ and pulling it forward and executing with the [fiscal] ’18 EOQ. It’s a total across all the services, about $660 million, that we would pull forward.”

U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II

Grosklags said the move would enable “Lockheed and the other vendors to buy those long-lead materials and get the economic order quantity cost savings. What outside agencies have told us is the savings associated with pulling that money forward would be about $800 million across the three services, with the reduction in aircraft unit cost. So, it’s not additional money.

“It’s money that would already be spent in [fiscal] ’19 or [fiscal] ’20 for those lots of airplanes,” he said. “It does not commit the services nor the Congress to actually buying a set number of aircraft in those years. So, it is not a multiyear procurement. We are committing to absolutely nothing, other than a cost savings.”
Grosklags also touted the savings that could accrue with a seven-year multiyear program to complete the procurement of the Osprey.

“Typically, we ask for five years for a multiyear,” he said. “Seven years would enable us to buy the remaining total of 67 Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force aircraft that are currently in the three services’ plans, notwithstanding increasing the Marine Corps requirement. Otherwise, if we just got the five-year multiyear, we would have about 20-plus aircraft hanging out two years.

“The savings get us to 10 percent per aircraft,” he said. “We’re looking at about $650-plus millions of savings across that seven-year multiyear. It is a bit unusual to ask for seven vice five, but we think it’s justifiable giving the savings and the fact that if we leave two years hanging out at the end, those aircraft will certainly cost us more than if we were able to include them in the multiyear.”


Trump fires away on Twitter after London attack

On Sunday, The President tweeted: ‘We must stop being politically correct.’

POLITICO, By Nolan D. McCaskill and Rebecca Morin, 6 June 2017

President Donald Trump on Sunday called for an end to political correctness, suggesting that terrorism “will only get worse” if the U.S. doesn’t “get smart” and reinstate his administration’s travel ban.

“We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don’t get smart it will only get worse,” the president warned in a tweet Sunday morning.

Trump’s initial response to Saturday’s terror attack in London — which claimed seven lives, left dozens more hospitalized and ended with police shooting dead three attackers — urged the courts to reinstate the travel ban.

“We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” the president wrote Saturday night, minutes before assuring London and the United Kingdom that the U.S. will do whatever it can to assist in wake of the attack.

On Sunday, though, the president took a different tack, stoking fears from his personal Twitter account while also criticizing London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, and noting “we are not having a gun debate right now … because they used knives and a truck!”

Authorities said a white van mounted the pavement on the London Bridge on Saturday night, hitting a number of pedestrians. The van later drove to Borough Market, a venue with many bars and restaurants on the south side of the river Thames and very close to London Bridge. The attackers jumped out of the van and stabbed a number of people but were shot dead by police within eight minutes of the first emergency call.

Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, told the BBC that no words could describe the grief and anger London feels.

“I’m appalled and furious that these cowardly terrorists would deliberately target innocent Londoners and bystanders enjoying their Saturday night. There can be no justification for the acts of these terrorists, and I’m quite clear that we will never let them win, nor will we allow them to cower our city of Londoners,” Khan said.

He added that Londoners will see an increased police presence over the next few days but said there’s no reason to be alarmed by that.

Although, after the Westminster attack, Khan said he believed that the threat of terror attacks are “part and parcel of living in a big city” and encouraged Londoners to be vigilant to combat dangers.

Trump, who drew criticism for promoting a Drudge Report tweet that NBC’s “Nightly News” refused to share because “the info is unconfirmed,” mischaracterized Khan’s remark Sunday.

“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” Trump said. His social media director, Dan Scavino, urged Khan to “WAKE UP!!!!”

Khan criticized Trump during the U.S. presidential campaign, tweeting in May 2016 that his “ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe” and “risks alienating mainstream Muslims.”

Later Sunday, Trump spoke at Ford’s Theatre in Washington. He offered “unwavering support” to the British while reiterating his determination to put an end to such attacks. “We renew our resolve, stronger than ever before, to protect the United States and its allies from a vile enemy that has waged war on innocent life,” the president said, according to pool reports.

During 2015-16, candidate Trump proposed a “Muslim ban,” but his administration has maintained that its executive order is not a ban on Muslims entering the country but rather a national security directive to keep Americans safe.

After a rampage at a casino in Manila, Philippines, early Friday, Trump labeled it a terrorist attack. But authorities said the incident was likely a robbery attempt.

Trump has often tweeted following terrorist attacks. In April, the president wrote that a shooting on Paris’ Champs Elysées “will have a big effect on presidential election.” Authorities said the attack was “likely terrorist-related.” And following an attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England,

Trump called the attacker an “evil loser” during remarks while he was overseas in Bethlehem.
Trump has asked the Supreme Court to revive his complex and controversial travel ban executive order, which has been repeatedly blocked by lower courts — even after the administration introduced a revised order in March.

The Justice Department on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily lift injunctions barring officials from carrying out Trump’s directive to suspend visa issuance to citizens of six majority-Muslim countries and halt the flow of refugees to the U.S. from across the globe. The high court could review the legality of the travel ban this fall.

Republicans in Congress, however, are skeptical about the fate of the ban. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Sunday that she disagrees with the president’s view that the travel ban needs to be enacted now.
“I think that the travel ban is too broad, and that is why it has been rejected by the courts,” she told “Face the Nation” on CBS. “The president is right, however, that we need to do a better job of vetting individuals who are coming from war-torn countries into our nation, but I do believe that the very broad ban that he has proposed is not the right way to go.”

Asked on “Fox News Sunday” whether the Supreme Court would reinstate Trump’s travel ban, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) couldn’t say.

“I don’t know what the court will decide,” he said.

Trump spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May by phone on Saturday, according to a readout from the White House, which said the president “offered his condolences” and “praised the heroic response of police and other first responders.”

May said Saturday that the attack was being treated as a “potential act of terrorism,” which she confirmed on Sunday.

“We believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face as terrorism breeds terrorism, and perpetrators are inspired to attack not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots after years of planning and training — and not even as lone attackers radicalized online — but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack,” May said. “We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are.”

Jeremy Corbyn, head of the opposition Labour Party, refrained from campaigning for this week’s election for part of the day, but came out swinging in the evening. He accused May and her government of trying to protect Britain “on the cheap.”

“You cannot protect the public on the cheap,” Corbyn said Sunday. “The police and security services must get the resources they need not 20,000 police cutsI”

The Anne Frank Center, a nonprofit that focuses on civil and human rights activism, condemned Trump’s first response Saturday, tweeting “SHAME ON YOU … for dedicating your first Tweet after tonight’s #LondonBridge attack to your immoral #MuslimBan.”

“Terrorism includes violence that destroys people, as well as prejudice that destroys people’s souls. The response cannot be a #MuslimBan,” the center said Sunday.

James Randerson contributed to this report.