Senators learn nothing new in ‘sobering’ North Korea briefing

April 26 (UPI) — U.S. senators received a “sobering briefing” on North Korea Wednesday but said they learned nothing new in a rare visit by the full Senate to the White House.

The senators received “a long and detailed briefing” from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

But Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said the hour-long update provided “nothing you couldn’t read in the newspaper.”

“I didn’t hear anything new because I have been heavily briefed before,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It’s a very serious situation, just as I had (thought) before I went there.”

Members of both parties said they were reassured about the administration’s handling of an increasingly tense standoff with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“It was a sobering briefing,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), “and an important opportunity for the entire Senate to hear the emerging plans of the Trump administration to confront what is a very real threat to our security.”

President Donald Trump, who extended the invitation at the request of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), did not attend but briefly stopped by the closed-door meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on White House grounds.

“He welcomed senators to the White House,” Cruz said.”It was encouraging to see virtually every senator there, both Democrats and Republicans.”

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