WORLD

President Trump likes Mike Pompeo.

Trump's decision to dispatch Pompeo for a secret meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is the latest and most dramatic demonstration of how the president keeps elevating Pompeo's role.

In a turbulent administration, Trump has dismissed several top national security and foreign policy advisers, including former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The president has nominated Pompeo, the CIA director, to replace Tillerson.

Updated at 9 a.m. ET

CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a secret visit to North Korea earlier this month and met with leader Kim Jong Un — a meeting that "went very smoothly," President Trump said on Wednesday.

"A good relationship was formed," Trump said, adding that the direct contact with North Korea — a rare step for the U.S. — was intended to work out details of a possible Trump-Kim summit.

Inspectors haven't yet been able to access the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria that prompted a U.S.-led coalition to launch airstrikes against suspected Syrian chemical sites on Friday. And the parties involved are trading blame about why.

The U.S., France and the U.K. targeted chemical weapons sites in Syria early Saturday. Since the launch of more than 100 missiles, a war of words has ensued.

Updated at 2:01 p.m. ET

More than 100 missiles were launched early Saturday morning by the U.S. and its allies France and the U.K., targeting three chemical weapons sites in Syria. The mission, according to Pentagon officials, has "significantly crippled" Syrian President Bashar Assad's ability to manufacture chemical weapons. No casualties have been reported.

Russian officials condemned the U.S.-led airstrikes on three sites in Syria early Saturday, calling the attacks "treacherous and insane" and a "clear and present danger to world peace."

The U.S., U.K. and France carried out the strikes in the early morning hours on targets that U.S. officials said were linked to a Syrian government chemical weapons program. The strikes were a response to an alleged chemical weapons attack carried out by Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime on April 7.

Faced with the threat of U.S. military action and prodded by longtime ally Russia, Syria declared in September 2013 — two years into its civil war — it had ratified the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention banning the production, storage and use of chemical weapons.

A letter from Syrian President Bashar Assad sent at the time to the United Nations' then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon promised that Syria would immediately comply with its CWC obligations.

Updated at 2:03 a.m. ET Saturday

The U.S., Britain and France carried out airstrikes early Saturday against three sites in Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack last week by President Bashar Assad's regime.

As the Trump administration evaluates potential military operations against Syria, the White House has declined to explain why it believes it has the legal authority to conduct them without authorization from Congress.

But the White House does have a secret seven-page memo that may make the case.

Updated at 12 p.m. ET

Amid international outcry over an alleged poison gas attack in Syria over the weekend, Damascus said one of its air bases had come under attack, first blaming the U.S., but later Israel.

Meanwhile, President Trump says the White House will be making a decision on Syria in the next day or two, saying the reported attack was "atrocious" and "can't be allowed to happen."

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