Trump Will Make Decision On Syria Strike Tonight: BBG

Update (3:20 pm ET): Apparently, Trump's meeting with Mattis and Dunford has been a productive one.

Bloomberg reports that Trump will decide tonight whether to strike Syria - but the timing of the execution (or abstention) is undetermined.

* * *

Minutes after Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford arrived at the White House to meet with President Trump, Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Jacobs reported that, despite Trump's belligerent tweets from earlier in the day, his administration is still weighing options for military action in Syria, and no military strikes are expected to be announced on Wednesday.

The delay should not come as a surprise considering only today the US deployed the USS Truman carrier strike group and 7 warships for Syria; the crossing of the Atlantic will take at least a couple of weeks, and earlier today the Pentagon said that the ship will reach its target in "mid-May."

The news follows a Fox News report, citing satellite images, showing 11 Russian battleships leaving a port in Syria. That report sent equities higher, though it was later reported that their departure was part of a Russian military drills, according to local Russian media.

Earlier in the day, Mattis said the US was "still assessing" whether the Syrian government was behind the deadly chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town near Damascus. It also follows reports that Russia is blaming the US-funded "White Helmets" group for staging the chemical attack.

Mattis

Ironically, as the US hesitates, UK Prime Minister Theresa May - still angry over embarrassing disclosures that it jumped to conclusions when blaming Russia for the nerve-agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter - has also decided "to act" on Syria, even without the approval of Parliament, according to the BBC

Earlier this week, the UN Security Council was blocked by Russia from authorizing an investigation into who was responsible for the Syrian gas attack.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signaled restraint, saying Wednesday that he hopes cooler heads will prevail before the tensions between Russia and the West escalate into a full-blown military conflict, which some have called simply "World War III."

For his part, Trump again blamed Special Counsel Bob Mueller and the Democrats for the deterioration in US-Russia relations in a tweet this morning, just minutes after warning Putin that "nice and new and smart" missiles will be fired at "gas killing animal" Assad.

More concrete news about the US's plans for retaliation will likely surface after Trump's meeting with Mattis and Dunford ends later this afternoon. At least one US warship is anchored in the water off Syria, and is loaded with 60 tomahawk missiles should the order come down.

Finally, keep in mind this is Trump, where mood swings are not optional, and why a few hours from now there may well be a mushroom cloud in the middle east.