Oct 7, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 463 words, a 2 minute read.

1 big thing: Trump goes it (mostly) alone

The Trumps with the president and first lady of Turkey last month in New York City. Photo: Turkish Presidency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Just when he needs his Republican allies the most, President Trump is sowing confusion about the fate of Kurds and ISIS in Syria.

  • Trump this morning: "I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home."
  • Trump this afternoon: "If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!)"

Why it matters: There is increasing concern that removing U.S. troops will allow Turkey to commit ethnic cleaning against the Kurds — and make it harder to keep ISIS prisoners locked up.

  • A Republican lawmaker told Axios' Jonathan Swan and Margaret Talev that there could be significant global security risks if tens of thousands of ISIS fighters and refugees in detention camps guarded by Kurdish forces get out.
  • It's not clear what happens to the camps if Turkey attacks the Kurds and the situation could become a "sh*tshow," the lawmaker said.

What they're saying: Even loyal Trump defenders like Sen. Lindsey Graham are apoplectic about his "shortsighted and irresponsible" decision.

  • Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell: "A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup."
  • Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy: "If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you, America should keep their word."
  • Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade, who urged McCarthy to "call the president before it's too late."

But Rand Paul stands with Trump: "So many neocons want us to stay in wars all over the Middle East forever. [Trump] is absolutely right to end those wars and bring the troops home."

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Kremlin Press Service/Handout/Anadolo Agency/Getty Images

Meanwhile, in Russia: Vladimir Putin did another odd photoshoot in the Siberian taiga.

2. What you missed
  1. Three House committees subpoenaed the Trump administration for documents related to the president's efforts to push Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. Go deeper.
  2. An India-based budget lodging company said it is raising $1.5 billion in Series F funding at a $10 billion valuation. Why it matters.
  3. An appeals court granted Trump an emergency stay today after he lost a key court ruling over his tax returns. Go deeper.
  4. Private equity takeovers result in significant job losses, according to a landmark new study. Go deeper.
3. 1 📺 thing

Photos: Jemal Countess/Getty Images; Tristar Media/Getty Images

Here comes Jeff Daniels as James Comey, courtesy of the CBS TV miniseries based on the Comey memoir "A Higher Loyalty," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

  • "Daniels, a two-time Emmy winner, is wrapping his starring run as Atticus Finch in Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird on Nov. 3 (Ed Harris will take over the role after that). He starred in Hulu's limited series The Looming Tower in 2018 and is set to star in Showtime drama Rust."

P.S. Brendan Gleeson will play President Trump.

Mike Allen