Mitch McConnell on Sept. 24, 2019. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the U.S. withdrawal from Syria would set back years of fighting ISIS and other terrorists and allow Iran and Russia to expand their influence in the area, in a Washington Post op-ed on Friday.

Why it matters: McConnell, the most powerful Republican in the Senate, has sharpened his criticism for President Trump's actions in Syria one day after the U.S. reached a cease-fire agreement. That agreement did not prevent clashes from breaking out between Kurdish and Turkish forces on Friday and has not restrained other Trump allies from criticizing his decision to leave the region prior to Turkeys military operation.

"Even if the five-day cease-fire announced Thursday holds, events of the past week have set back the United States’ campaign against the Islamic State and other terrorists.
Unless halted, our retreat will invite the brutal Assad regime in Syria and its Iranian backers to expand their influence. And we are ignoring Russia’s efforts to leverage its increasingly dominant position in Syria to amass power and influence throughout the Middle East and beyond."
... To keep pressure on Islamic State terrorists, deter Iranian aggression and buy our local partners more leverage to negotiate with Bashar al-Assad to end the underlying conflict, we should retain a limited military presence in Syria and maintain our presence in Iraq and elsewhere in the region."

The bottom line: McConnell said the U.S. withdrawal of troops and escalating Turkish-Kurdish hostilities are "creating a strategic nightmare for our country."

Go deeper: Fighting eases after flare between Turks and Kurds in Syria

Go deeper

Trump claims TikTok will be banned if not sold by Sept. 15

President Trump said Monday that TikTok will be shut down in the U.S. if it hasn't been bought by Microsoft or another company by Sept. 15.

Why it matters: Trump appears to have backed off his threat to immediately ban TikTok after speaking with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who said Sunday that the company will pursue discussions with TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance to purchase the app in the U.S.

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 18,147,574 — Total deaths: 690,573 — Total recoveries — 10,753,815Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 4,687,828 — Total deaths: 155,062 — Total recoveries: 1,468,689 — Total tests: 56,812,162Map.
  3. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  4. Business: Virtual school is another setback for retail — The pandemic hasn't hampered health care.
  5. Public health: Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign for schools.

Filing suggests Manhattan DA is investigating Trump for possible fraud

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP

The Manhattan District Attorney's office suggested for the first time Monday that it's investigating President Trump and his company for "alleged bank and insurance fraud," the New York Times first reported.

The state of play: The disclosure was made in a filing in federal court that seeks to force accounting firm Mazars USA to comply with a subpoena for eight years of Trump's personal and corporate tax returns.