Connor O’Brien
Connor O’Brien
Defense reporter covering Congress for @politico. Markup enthusiast. Self-described Huguenot. Send me your tips and sage grouse gifs: cobrien@politico.comSource
Washington, DC
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'There will be consequences' for Russia if Navalny dies, Biden official warns

'There will be consequences' for Russia if Navalny dies, Biden official warns

"They will be held accountable by the international community," Jake Sullivan said.National security adviser Jake Sullivan did not specify what action the U.S. and its allies might take in the event of Alexei Navalny's death. | Frederic J. Brown/Pool via APPresident Joe Biden's national security adviser warned Sunday that there will be repercussions for Russia if Putin critic Alexei Navalny dies, amid reports that his health is rapidly deteriorating in prison."We have communicated to the Russian government that what happens to Mr. Navalny in their custody is their responsibility and they...

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Connor O’Brien
Apr 18
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Biden to request $715B for the Pentagon, slight increase from last year

Biden to request $715B for the Pentagon, slight increase from last year

It's a modest increase from the current level, but below the level projected by the Trump administration in its final budget.The White House is set to release the broad outlines of its fiscal 2022 budget submission on Friday. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesThe Biden administration plans to request $715 billion for the Pentagon this coming year, a modest increase from the current level but below the level projected by the Trump administration in its final budget, according to three people familiar with the proposal.That planned fiscal 2022 budget topline is up from the more than $704 billion...

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Andrew Desiderio
Apr 9
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One-third of troops turning down Covid vaccine, Pentagon officials say

One-third of troops turning down Covid vaccine, Pentagon officials say

Pentagon officials have said the vaccine will initially be voluntary because it does not have full FDA approval yet, though leaders have encouraged personnel to get vaccinated.A service member receives a Covid-19 vaccine Feb. 9 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. | U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr./Department of Defense via APApproximately one-third of troops have declined to take the coronavirus vaccine so far, Pentagon officials told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.Maj. Gen. Jeff Taliaferro, the vice director of operations for the Joint Staff, said the military...

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Connor O’Brien
Feb 17
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Austin ousts Pentagon advisory board members as he roots out Trump appointees

Austin ousts Pentagon advisory board members as he roots out Trump appointees

The Trump administration booted several members of the advisory boards after losing the election and installed political operatives and loyalists in their place.Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visits National Guard troops deployed at the U.S. Capitol and its perimeter in Washington. | AP Photo/Manuel Balce CenetaDefense Secretary Lloyd Austin has removed members of the Pentagon's advisory boards in a sweeping effort to oust a series of last-minute appointees by the Trump administration, according to defense officials and a memo obtained by POLITICO.In the memo dated Saturday, Austin fired...

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Connor O’Brien
Feb 2
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Senate hands Trump his first veto override

Senate hands Trump his first veto override

The upper chamber approved the National Defense Authorization Act with a wide bipartisan majority over the president's objections.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 1, 2021 in Washington, DC. | Liz Lynch/Getty ImagesThe Senate on Friday overrode President Donald Trump's veto of a $741 billion defense policy bill, delivering a rare bipartisan rebuke to the commander in chief in his administration's waning days.Senators voted 81 to 13 to enact the annual National Defense Authorization Act, well above the two-thirds majority needed to overturn the...

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Connor O’Brien
Jan 1
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Top House Armed Services Republican urges GOP to avoid 'distortions' of vetoed defense bill

Top House Armed Services Republican urges GOP to avoid 'distortions' of vetoed defense bill

The vote will test whether GOP members are willing to defy Trump en masse.Rep. Mac Thornberry did not explicitly urge GOP lawmakers to override Trump's veto but urged against "misrepresentations" of the defense policy bill. | Michael Reynolds/Pool via APRep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, is urging GOP lawmakers to tune out "distortions or misrepresentations" of annual defense policy legislation ahead of veto override vote next week.Thornberry didn't explicitly urge House Republicans to vote to overturn President Donald Trump's veto of the National...

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Connor O’Brien
Dec 24
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Trump vetoes defense bill, setting up showdown with Congress

Trump vetoes defense bill, setting up showdown with Congress

Two-thirds of the House and Senate must vote in favor of the bill to override the president.President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. Trump vetoed major defense policy legislation Wednesday. | AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyPresident Donald Trump vetoed major defense policy legislation Wednesday, sending the measure back to Congress for what could be the first successful override of his presidency if enough Republicans are willing to defy the commander in chief.In a statement rejecting the National Defense Authorization Act, Trump...

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Connor O’Brien
Dec 23
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Trump's defense veto would torpedo cyber overhaul amid unfolding hack

Trump's defense veto would torpedo cyber overhaul amid unfolding hack

The sprawling defense bill contains provisions meant to strengthen safeguards against foreign cyberattacks. The president may veto it because it doesn't punish social media companies.The U.S. Treasury Department building viewed from the Washington Monument, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. Hackers recently compromised myriad federal agencies including the Commerce, Treasury and State departments. | Patrick Semansky, file/APPresident Donald Trump’s promised veto of an annual defense policy bill would also sink one of the most consequential pieces of cybersecurity legislation in years, just as the...

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Connor O’Brien
Dec 18
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Congress braces for painful veto clash with Trump on defense bill

Congress braces for painful veto clash with Trump on defense bill

Lawmakers are likely to have a narrow window to override the president's veto.Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks during a press conference. | Stefani Reynolds/Getty ImagesCongress is gearing up for the first veto override of Donald Trump's presidency. The question on Capitol Hill is when that will happen — and just how messy will it be.Congressional leaders are scrambling to avoid an unusual scenario in which lawmakers are summoned back to Washington in the days between Christmas and New Year’s for a dramatic, eleventh-hour vote to overturn Trump's promised veto of a massive national defense...

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Connor O’Brien
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Dec 17
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Lawmakers vow to override Trump veto of defense bill

Lawmakers vow to override Trump veto of defense bill

Republicans and Democrats are unwilling to bend to Trump's demand to repeal legal protections for social media companies.House Armed Services Chair Adam Smith speaks during a July 9 committee hearing. | Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump is on a collision course with congressional Republicans and Democrats over the annual defense policy bill, setting up what will likely be the first and only veto override of Trump’s presidency.Trump, who has said he will veto the defense bill because it does not contain a repeal of legal protections for social media companies, has...

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Andrew Desiderio
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Dec 8
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