Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden isn't inclined to fire any senior national security officials over the chaos in Kabul unless the situation drastically deteriorates or there's significant loss of American life, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Dismissing national security advisor Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin or CIA Director William Burns would be tantamount to admitting a mistake, and the president stands by his decision.

  • While acknowledging the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has been “messy” and the Taliban captured the country quicker than he anticipated, Biden is deeply committed to his policy, the people tell Axios.
  • "I think that history is going to record this was the logical, rational, right decision to make," Biden said Sunday afternoon at the White House.
  • "Let me be clear: The evacuation of thousands of people from Kabul was going to be hard and painful no matter when it started, when we began. It would have been true if we had started a month ago — or a month from now. There's no way to evacuate this many people without pain and loss of heartbreaking images you see on television. It's just a fact."

Between the lines: Over 40 years in Washington, Biden has a reputation of being hard and demanding on his staff but also loyal. He raises his voice yet rarely fires anyone.

  • Longtime advisers are doubtful any heads will roll but caution the dynamic could change if any Americans are killed by the Taliban or other radical Islamic groups.
  • Right now, the focus is on the mission at hand, leaving little time for political machinations or recriminations.
  • In a statement Sunday, the White House said Biden and his team had "discussed the ongoing and intensive diplomatic and military efforts to facilitate transit at third-country transit hubs, affirming the importance of the contributions that more than two dozen partner nations are making to this global effort."

The big picture: While scenes of desperation and despair continue outside Kabul's airport, the world has little visibility into what's happening in the rest of the country. There've been sporadic reports of Taliban reprisals against Afghans who aided the NATO coalition during the past 20 years.

  • The White House wants the focus to be on the successful air transport out of Kabul and has been giving regular updates on the evacuation. A pool report released Sunday said some 25,100 personnel have departed on military and coalition aircraft since Aug. 14.
  • The U.S. has rescued more than 100 Americans who couldn't get to the airport, with potential additional military operations planned for outside the wire, according to internal U.S. government documents reviewed by Axios.
  • At the airport gates, a handful of Afghans have presented U.S. passports that don’t belong to them, highlighting the challenge of the broader screening effort.

Go deeper: At senior levels of Biden’s White House, officials still blame President Trump for the peace deal he cut with the Taliban and privately insist the "cupboard was bare" for any plan to evacuate Americans.

  • The president’s first instinct was to publicly fault Trump and then Afghan forces for not fighting for their country, and he called out President Ashraf Ghani by name for fleeing the country.
  • But Biden must contend with stunning footage of babies being handed over barbed wire and Afghans falling from the sky after clinging to departing planes.
  • There's also the terrifying prospect of a terrorist attack by ISIS-K targeting Americans outside of the airport walls, or the crowds of Afghans trying to get in.

Driving the news: Lawmakers from both parties are already demanding answers, with some Republicans calling for Sullivan to be sacked.

  • Some House Democrats also are considering calling for Sullivan's removal, according to the New York Times.
  • House lawmakers, who return this week, will receive a briefing Monday.
  • Some GOP senators have branded the situation in Afghanistan worse than Benghazi, the diplomatic attack they used to investigate and castigate President Obama.

Go deeper

Biden on Rittenhouse verdict: "the jury has spoken"

President Biden. Photo: Nic Antaya/Getty Images

President Biden on Friday reacted to Kyle Rittenhouse's not guilty verdict, saying that while it "will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken."

What he's saying: "I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law. Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy," Biden said, adding that federal authorities had been in contact with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) "to prepare for any outcome."

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenge to affirmative action at Harvard, UNC

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a pair of cases challenging the consideration of race in the college admissions processes.

Why it matters: The conservative high court's ruling could determine the future of affirmative action in higher education.

Europe's energy reliance on Russia is a crucial shield for Putin

Photo: Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Cracks in the NATO alliance regarding sanctions for Russia should President Vladimir Putin order troops into Ukraine are in large part based on energy supply concerns.

Why it matters: Russia holds tremendous leverage over some European countries because it provides roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas supply. In Germany, this figure is greater than 50%.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!