Evan Vucci / AP

In a tense two-hour meeting in the White House Situation Room earlier this month, President Trump argued that the U.S. was "losing" the War in Afghanistan and suggested that Gen. John Nicholson, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan be fired, NBC News reports. Per the report, Trump left the room without making a decision on U.S. strategy. A decision was expected about two months ago.

The tension: Trump's national security team proposed a strategy, as well as alternatives, but Trump wasn't satisfied and left without a decision. The advisers were reportedly "stunned," with Secretary of Defense James Mattis notably upset.

  • The key quote: "We aren't winning. We are losing."
  • He called out Mattis for a perceived failure to gain ground in Afghanistan even though Trump allowed him to increase U.S. troop deployment to the country a month ago. Trump reportedly illustrated his point with maps and Mattis reportedly told him the U.S. doesn't have an effective strategy to make advances.
  • Nicholson has told lawmakers he needs a "few thousand" additional troops, which reportedly upset the White House. Senior administration officials say the Pentagon has been considering extending Nicholson's time in Afghanistan.
  • Trump suggested the U.S. should work harder on getting mineral rights in Afghanistan, as China has successfully done.

At the table: Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, then-chief of staff Reince Priebus, plus Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, and Vice President Mike Pence.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 32,471,119 — Total deaths: 987,593 — Total recoveries: 22,374,557Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 7,032,524 — Total deaths: 203,657 — Total recoveries: 2,727,335 — Total tests: 99,483,712Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.
Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes unity message in new TV wave

A fresh Joe Biden ad, "New Start," signals an effort by his campaign to make unity a central theme, underscoring a new passage in his stump speech that says he won't be a president just for Democrats but for all Americans.

What he's saying: The ad — which began Friday night, and is a follow-up to "Fresh Start" — draws from a Biden speech earlier in the week in Manitowoc, Wisconsin:

Trump prepares to announce Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court replacement

Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Matt Cashore/Notre Dame University via Reuters

President Trump is preparing to nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, a favorite of both the social conservative base and Republican elected officials, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republican sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Barrett would push the already conservative court further and harder to the right, for decades to come, on the most important issues in American politics — from abortion to the limits of presidential power. If confirmed, she would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the high court.

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