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Former Vice President Mike Pence at a July summit in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo: Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Vice President Mike Pence accused President Biden in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Tuesday of showing "weakness" toward the Taliban and insisted the crisis in Afghanistan wouldn't have happened if U.S. troops left the country sooner.

Why it matters: There's a hot debate about which U.S. administration owns this disaster. Biden blames his predecessor, former President Trump, for empowering the Taliban and leaving them "in the strongest position militarily since 2001." Now Pence says it's the fault of Biden alone.

What he's saying: In the WSJ op-ed, Pence argues that the Trump plan for exiting Afghanistan by May 1 was sound, and that Biden caused the current crisis by delaying the withdrawal and showing "weakness" toward the Taliban.

  • "There was no plan to transport the billions of dollars worth of American equipment recently captured by the Taliban, or evacuate the thousands of Americans now scrambling to escape Kabul, or facilitate the regional resettlement of the thousands of Afghan refugees who will now be seeking asylum in the U.S. with little or no vetting," Pence wrote.

The other side: The Biden administration argues that the struggle to evacuate eligible Afghans is due in part to the fact that the Trump administration left no plan to do so and undercut the existing visa and refugee processes.

  • Biden argues it was actually Trump who set the current train in motion by reaching a vague deal with the Taliban that promised a U.S. withdrawal by May 1 without sufficient planning around how that would be accomplished.

Go deeper: How Kabul fell so fast

Go deeper

House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress

Steve Bannon. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The House of Representatives voted 229-202 on Thursday to hold former Trump strategist Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The Justice Department will now consider bringing criminal charges against Bannon, marking a significant escalation in the Jan. 6 committee's efforts to enforce subpoenas against Trump allies who refuse to cooperate.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats target billionaires

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

After failing to get a deal on other planned tax increases, key Senate Democrats are pivoting to a billionaires' income tax to pay for President Biden's social spending.

The big picture: No advanced economy has attempted anything similar on such a scale.