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Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that President Trump "keeps getting policy that's not his policy" because he has surrounded himself with hawkish advisers who "disagree" with the president's instincts to withdraw the U.S. from the Middle East.

What he's saying:

"He keeps appointing people to represent him that think the Iraq War was just great. They love [former Vice President] Dick Cheney's position, and they still don't admit there was a mistake. So that's why he keeps getting policy that isn't his policy. But I do think his instincts are pure. He's been saying it ... for a long time that the wars have drained our treasury and that he's not in favor of these wars."
— Rand Paul

Why it matters: Trump ran in 2016 on ending "endless" wars in the Middle East, but his administration has deployed thousands of troops to the region in response to increased tensions with Iran. The president's order to kill Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani makes it unlikely that the U.S. military will end its presence in the Middle East anytime soon.

The big picture: Despite claiming to be opposed to foreign intervention, Trump has appointed hawks like former national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to key positions. They have helped shape the "maximum pressure" sanctions campaign against Iran that has contributed to heightened tensions over the past year.

Yes, but: Trump is sometimes willing to break with his hawkish advisers, as seen by Bolton's chaotic departure from the White House in September. Bolton's opinions on North Korea and Syria angered Trump, Axios' Jonathan Swan and Alayna Treene reported at the time.

Worth noting: The New York Times and Wall Street Journal both reported that Trump told associates he was under pressure to kill Soleimani from GOP hawks in the Senate whose support he will need in the upcoming impeachment trial. Axios has not independently confirmed this reporting.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Globetrotting climate envoy Kerry makes Biden team’s first visit to China

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

John Kerry became the first senior Biden administration official to touch down in China this week. He's also been the first to sit down with a string of world leaders.

Why it matters: Kerry may no longer be secretary of state, but you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise after a glance at his calendar. The unusual role could make Kerry a foreign policy force multiplier for President Biden, or potentially a source of mixed messages.

Chicago releases video of fatal police shooting of 13-year-old boy

A small memorial is seen on April 15 in Chicago where 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed by a police officer in March. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images

Chicago's independent police review board on Thursday released the body camera footage of an officer's fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo on March 29.

The big picture: Tension continues to rise nationwide in response to police misconduct and racism. Thursday's footage release comes days after officer Kim Potter fatally shot Daunte Wright in a traffic stop near Minneapolis, where the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former police officer accused of murdering George Floyd, is ongoing.

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