Oct 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jan. 6 panel: Trump ordered large-scale U.S. troop withdrawals after election

Memo of Trump ordering withdrawal of U.S. troops
Screenshot: MSNBC

The Jan. 6 committee confirmed in its hearing Thursday that then-President Trump signed a memo on Nov. 11, 2020, ordering the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Somalia and Afghanistan — days after the election was called for Joe Biden.

Why it matters: The committee pointed to the existence of the memo — which was first reported in Axios' "Off the Rails" series in May 2021 — as evidence that Trump knew he had lost the election and was scrambling to cement his foreign-policy legacy before leaving office.

  • Top leadership at the Pentagon viewed the hasty withdrawal as irresponsible and potentially dangerous and immediately mobilized to urge White House officials to change Trump's mind.
  • Keith Kellogg, former national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, testified to the committee: "An immediate departure that that memo said would have been catastrophic. It's the same thing with President Biden. It would have been a debacle."

Go deeper: Read the full inside account of Trump's war against his generals

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