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April 26, 2017

Amid U.S.-North Korean tensions so high that defense analysts warn one misstep could lead to war, all 100 senators are meeting at the White House Wednesday afternoon for a special, unusual briefing on North Korea from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, intelligence chief Dan Coats, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It isn't clear if President Trump will attend at all, though a senior administration official told CNN "if he attends — which is not determined — it will just be a brief drop-by."

The briefing was arranged by the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and several senators seem unclear why they are traveling down the street on a fleet of buses instead of meeting at the Capitol. "That meeting is a Senate meeting led by Leader McConnell, just utilizing our space," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday. "We're not there to talk strategy." A McConnell spokesman said President Trump offered the auditorium at the Eisenhower Office Building when McConnell requested a briefing. "I, frankly, don't understand why it's not easier to bring four people here than it is to take 100 there," said Sen. Angus King (I-Maine).

A U.S. nuclear submarine docked in South Korea on Tuesday, the same day North Korea conducted its largest-ever live-fire military exercises to mark the anniversary of its military founding. The USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group is headed toward the Korean peninsula, and on Wednesday, the U.S. began setting up the U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system in South Korea, and is conducting a previously scheduled Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test from California. "The real question now is somebody going to make a stupid mistake, because some kind of minor escalation could get out of hand," Bruce Bennett, a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation, told CNN. You can watch part of the North Korean exercises and a live report from CNN's Will Ripley in Pyongyang below. Peter Weber

November 18, 2017

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) was caught on a hot mic Saturday commenting that the Republican Party is "toast" if it becomes the party of President Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, both of whom are subject to multiple serious allegations of sexual misconduct.

Flake was speaking to an Arizona ally, Mesa Mayor John Giles, after a town hall meeting with constituents. "If we become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast," Flake can be heard saying.

"And I am not throwing smoke at you, but you're the guy that could, just for fun — think about how much fun it would be — just to be the foil, you know, and to point out what an idiot this guy is," Giles replied. The mayor appeared to be referring back to a town hall question he asked about Flake running for president in 2020, a reference which would make Trump, rather than Moore, the "idiot" in question. After Giles' comment, a third man made Flake aware his microphone was still on so he could turn it off.

The senator has not been shy about his opposition toward Trump. In October, he announced he would not seek re-election to the Senate in a dramatic speech condemning the president on the Senate floor. Watch Flake's hot mic moment below. Bonnie Kristian

November 18, 2017
Daniel Slim/Getty Images

The Pentagon on Friday released data on sexual assault in the military from 2013 to 2016. Reports of sexual assault rose considerably during that time, from 3,604 cases in 2012 to 6,172 in 2016.

However, increased reports does not always mean increased incidents of sexual assault, as the Department of Defense estimates one-half to two-thirds of sexual assaults in the military go unreported. The DoD report argues the total number of sexual assaults actually declined from 2014 to 2016 — from about 20,300 to about 14,900 — even as reports multiplied.

This is not the first time similar data has been collected and published, but it is the first time it has been broken down by base, showing where each assault was reported. Among the bases with higher assault report counts were Norfolk, Virginia, with 270 reports in fiscal year 2016, 211 reports at a collection of bases in South Korea, and 199 at Fort Hood, Texas.

Read The Week's guide to the military's sexual assault epidemic here. Bonnie Kristian

November 18, 2017
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The Argentine navy has been unable to make contact with one of its submarines, a diesel-powered craft carrying 44 crewmembers, since Wednesday, Argentine officials confirmed Saturday. Naval authorities have ordered "all terrestrial communication stations along the Argentine coast to carry out a preliminary and extended search of communications," and the U.S. military is assisting the search with aerial surveillance.

The ARA San Juan has been in service since 1983 and has operated without incident throughout most of that time. It was on a routine trip up the eastern coast of South America to its home port of Mar del Plata when communications capabilities apparently failed without warning. The submarine crew did not send an SOS signal before going silent, and the ship was last seen near the San Jorge Gulf, about halfway through its journey from the southern tip of the continent. Naval policy dictates the sub should surface after spending this much time incommunicado.

The ARA San Juan is due to arrive in Mar del Plata on Sunday. Bonnie Kristian

November 18, 2017

AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young died Saturday, three years after he was diagnosed with dementia and retired from the band. He was 64. "With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band," said a statement posted on AC/DC's Facebook page. "He took great pride in all that he endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed."

Born in Scotland and raised in Australia, Young co-founded AC/DC in 1973 with his brother Angus Young as lead guitarist. "As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special," Angus wrote in the Facebook post. "He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever." Their brother George, who also worked in the music industry, died last month at 70. Bonnie Kristian

November 18, 2017

The Navy on Friday confirmed responsibility for an obscene sky drawing made by a practicing aircrew over the town of Okanogan, Washington, northeast of Seattle.

The crew of an EA-18G Growler attack jet flew the plane in a pattern that "left a condensed air trail resembling an obscene image to observers on the ground," a Navy representative said. "The Navy holds its aircrew to the highest standards and we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value," officials added, "and we are holding the crew accountable" for the phallic drawing.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it will not be involved unless there was a safety violation because the agency "cannot police morality." Bonnie Kristian

November 18, 2017
AFP PHOTO/KCNA VIA KNS/Getty Images

Beijing said in state media reports Saturday that "the traditional friendly relations between China and North Korea was founded and cultivated by both countries' former old leaders, and is valuable wealth for the two peoples." The comments come after meetings in Pyongyang between representatives of both governments Friday.

The timing of the talks so soon after President Trump's conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping during Trump's tour of Asia has led to speculation that Beijing may have conveyed a message from Washington. Pyongyang said Friday that nuclear diplomacy will not proceed unless the U.S. and South Korea stop conducting joint military exercises. Bonnie Kristian

November 18, 2017
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday drew a contrast between Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who is "accepting responsibility, apologizing" for sexual misconduct allegations made against him, and President Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, "who have done neither."

Her remarks came a day after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, should have resigned over the Monica Lewinsky scandal, while allowing that the political climate surrounding sexual misconduct was different in the 1990s. "Things have changed today, and I think under those circumstances, there should be a very different reaction," Gillibrand said. "And I think in light of this conversation, we should have a very different conversation about President Trump, and a very different conversation about allegations against him."

Gillibrand is historically a Clinton ally, and her comments are the latest development in the Democratic Party's renewed debate and division over sexual harassment and assault accusations against Bill Clinton. Clinton defenders argue it is disingenuous to suggest the former president escaped consequences for his behavior by putting him in the same category as Trump and Moore. Bonnie Kristian

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