U.S. Senate appropriators moved recently to cut nearly 90 percent of fiscal 2014 funds for developing a new B-61 nuclear gravity bomb “tail kit,” adding to a list of funding disputes over controversial updates to the weapon, Inside Defense reported.
Appropriations committees in the House and Senate have funded certain B-61 refurbishment efforts at levels far below ceilings set by the Armed Services committees in each chamber. The Senate’s defense appropriations draft would provide the Air Force tail-kit project with $6 million in the coming budget cycle, a whopping $62 million less than was authorized.
For their part, House defense appropriators left the tail-kit line item with a bit more funding: $55 million of the $68 million authorized. Lawmakers at that committee said the dollar figure the service had requested was “ahead of need,” the website reported.
In May, the Defense Department told Congress it expects the tail-kit effort to ultimately cost more than $3.7 billion, Inside Defense reported separately last Wednesday.
A legislative insider said the reduction would dovetail with the Senate Appropriations Committee’s move earlier this summer to provide $168 million less than the Obama administration had requested for the next fiscal year to modernize other B-61 components.
Separately, House and Senate appropriators rejected an Air Force request for $33 million in fiscal 2014 to lay groundwork for equipping F-35 fighter jets to carry the B-61 bomb. That effort is not scheduled to begin until later this decade.
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President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."