Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's abrupt withdrawal of American forces from northern Syria is forcing the Pentagon to acknowledge the possible revival of an Islamic State sanctuary that could be used to carry out attacks throughout the Middle East and West, reports Politico.

Between the lines: While the Department of Defense is considering options such as drone campaigns and commando raids, it would be difficult to trail and gain intelligence on ISIS members without troops on the ground, per Politico.

What they're saying:

  • Retired lieutenant general Michael Nagata told Politico, "Our goal was the defeat of the Islamic State, and they’re undefeated. Given how dramatically the strategic situation has now changed, the [U.S.-led] coalition may now have to recalibrate. Defeat has just become a much more difficult goal.”
  • Eric Robinson, an Army veteran formerly with the National Counterterrorism Center, said, "There’s a direct relationship between presence on the ground and understanding the potential danger. The unknown will be the capability and intent of the Islamic State in northeastern Syria to conduct external operations. Our ability to understand that has just been dramatically reduced," per Politico.

Go deeper... Trump on potential ISIS escapees: "They will be escaping to Europe"

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Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The first Trump v. Biden presidential debate was a hot mess

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

This debate was like the country: Everybody’s talking. Nobody’s listening. Nothing is learned. It’s a mess.

  • We were told President Trump would be savage. Turned out, that was a gross understatement. Even the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, got bulldozed.

Why it matters: Honestly, who the hell knows?

Pundits react to a chaotic debate: “What a dark event we just witnessed”

The first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden in Cleveland on Tuesday night was a shouting match, punctuated by interruptions and hallmarked by name-calling.

Why it matters: If Trump aimed to make the debate as chaotic as possible with a torrent of disruptions, he succeeded. Pundits struggled to make sense of what they saw, and it's tough to imagine that the American people were able to either.

Trump to far-right Proud Boys: "Stand back and stand by"

Asked to condemn white supremacist violence at the first presidential debate on Tuesday, President Trump said the far-right Proud Boys group should "stand back and stand by," before immediately arguing that violence in the U.S. "is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem."

Why it matters: Trump has repeatedly been accused of failing to condemn white nationalism and right-wing violence, despite the FBI's assessment that it's the most significant domestic terrorism threat that the country faces. The president has frequently associated antifa and the left-wing violence that has afflicted some U.S. cities with Biden, despite his condemnation of violent protests.