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James Mattis leaving a podium at the Pentagon. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Just on the heels of President Trump's announcement that he would be pulling troops out of Syria, Defense Secretary James Mattis announced his resignation from the Trump administration, effective at the end of February.

Why it matters: Though Trump described Mattis' departure as a retirement, Mattis painted a picture of dissenting opinion in his resignation letter, saying he was "not aligned" with the president on key decisions. Key Republican officials are reacting to the news with reverence for Mattis and hope for the future.

What they're saying
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): "General Mattis is a combination of intellect and integrity. He has been in the fight against radical Islam for decades and provided sound and ethical military advice to President Trump."
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ken.): "I believe it's essential that the United States maintain and strengthen the post-World War II alliances that have been carefully built by leaders in both parties. We must also maintain a clear-eyed understanding of our friends and foes, and recognize that nations like Russia are among the latter. So I was sorry to learn that Secretary Mattis, who share these clear principles, will soon depart this administration. But I am particularly distressed that he is resigning due to sharp differences with the president on these and other key aspects of America's global leadership."
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan: "The House is indebted to Secretary Mattis for his service. With our country’s defense in his hands, we have become a safer America at home, and a more commanding force abroad. His patriotism and grit are matched only by his humility and graciousness."
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): "Just read Gen. Mattis resignation letter. It makes it abundantly clear that we are headed towards a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances and empower our adversaries."
  • Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.): "This is a sad day. General Mattis was giving advice POTUS needs to hear. Mattis rightly believes that Russia [and] China are adversaries, and that we are at war with jihadists across the globe who plot to kill Americans. Isolationism is a weak strategy that will harm Americans."
  • Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) "Secretary Mattis served his country with honor. His resignation is a loss to our country’s leadership."

Go deeper: Read Mattis' resignation letter

Go deeper

Anti-abortion activists' Supreme Court dreams are coming true

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photos: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

This is the moment the conservative legal movement has been building toward for decades: The solidly conservative Supreme Court is about to hear two major abortion cases within a month of each other.

Why it matters: All of this is likely to end with significant new restrictions on abortion and a clear path for Republican-led states to win the next big abortion cases, too — the culmination of a long and bitter fight for control of the judiciary.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Trump's volatile return to the stock market

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals 

Donald Trump this week became both a meme stock and a social-media entrepreneur at the same time, by announcing that a new company called Trump Media & Technology Group was going to merge with an existing company listed on the stock market.

Why it matters: The medium-term promise of Trump's media company is that it will replace Twitter for anybody wanting to keep track of Trump's messages. The short-term promise is that it can be a hot new speculative vehicle for people wanting to get rich quick in the stock market.

Updated 13 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.