President Trump and his top national security advisers briefed congressional lawmakers Wednesday on what a senior aide called the “very grave threat” posed by North Korea, but they offered few details about the administration’s strategy to pressure Pyongyang.
Administration officials emphasized in a pair of private briefings — one open to all senators and held at the White House complex and one for House members on Capitol Hill — that they were developing a range of economic, diplomatic and military measures in the wake of a series of provocations from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime.
Lawmakers said they came away convinced that the Trump administration recognized the urgency of the mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula, where Pyongyang conducted a failed missile test last week and drew international condemnation for the launch.
But several members of Congress said the administration remained vague about its efforts to confront Pyongyang beyond tougher talk from Trump.
“There was a definite degree of resolve that we’ve got a bad situation on our hands and they’re ratcheting up the importance of this,” said one Republican senator, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss a private meeting. “One of the things that I surmised from it was that as much as anything else, perhaps they wanted to prepare everybody for the fact that this could escalate quickly. That’s my own read on it.”
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