Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. 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 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!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

U.S. President Donald Trump and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in the Oval Office. Photo Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

The phone call between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump — which took place last Tuesday — has failed. Netanyahu could not convince Trump to rethink his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, an Israeli source briefed on the call told me.

Why it matters: Regardless of the formal statements issued by each nation, the Israeli government and security establishment is very frustrated with Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria. Israeli officials said the Trump administration is only interested in defeating ISIS in Syria and has no willingness to act against Iranian military entrenchment in the country. An Israeli official told me: "The Americans will support our action against Iran in Syria but the bottom line is we are on our own".

The Israeli source said Netanyahu was the one who initiated the call. The prime minister's aides asked the White House to organize the call as soon as possible last Tuesday while knowing Trump is going to have a national security council meeting on Syria the same day.

  • The Israeli source added that eventually "Netanyahu's call was too late"  and the president made clear he has made up his mind and that the pullout from Syria was a matter of time. This description of the call provided by the Israeli source comes after a report by AP last week which quoted two U.S. officials as saying the conversation between Netanyahu and Trump "grew tense" over the prime minister's reservations regarding Trump's policy decision.

The formal readouts of the call published by the White House and Netanyahu's office didn't provide any hints for the disagreement between the two leaders. The White House statement about the call said: "President Trump reiterated the commitment of the United States to Israel’s security and the two leaders agreed to continue their close coordination on countering Iran’s malign influence and destabilizing activities". Netanyahu's office statement was almost similar.

An official at the Israeli prime minister's office refused to comment on the content of the call with Trump and said: "The description of the call is an analysis by a person who didn't understand the kind of conversations and the kind of relationship Netanyahu and Trump have."

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
4 mins ago - Politics & Policy

America is anxious, angry and heavily armed

Data: FBI; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Firearms background checks in the U.S. hit a record high in 2020.

The big picture: This past year took our collective arsenal to new heights, with millions of Americans buying guns for the first time. That trend coincides with a moment of peak political and social tension.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

America on borrowed time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic recovery will not be linear as the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Despite being propped up by an extraordinary amount of fiscal stimulus and support from central banks, the state of the global economy remains fragile.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.