In an interview with Mike Allen for "Axios on HBO," Republican Sen. Mitt Romney said he learned about President Trump's abandonment of the Kurds through the president's Twitter, despite sitting on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The big picture: Romney has joined a number of Republicans in condemning the president's withdrawal of troops from northern Syria, as well as Trump's portrayal of a temporary ceasefire as a victory. In an impassioned speech on the Senate floor last week, Romney said the withdrawal "will stand as a blood stain in the annals of American history."

  • In a cross-party, 354-60 vote last week, the House condemned the withdrawal. The ceasefire is also set to last only five days, and it's meant to give room for the Kurds to escape the area to avoid further clashes with Turkish-backed forces.

What they're saying: Romney noted that he learned of the move on Twitter, "like most folks." In response, Allen asked him:

  • "What's the point of even having a Foreign Relations Committee?"

Romney's response:

"Well, that's increasingly a good question. We do have a Foreign Relations Committee where people are able to deal with some of these questions — consider what's in America's best interest long term. And if that's not gonna be welcome or accepted, why — you ask a good question, which is: Why do we even have it?"
— Romney to "Axios on HBO"

Romney added that withdrawing U.S. troops without notifying the committee was particularly surprising to him because "this is an area of Syria in particular [the committee has] been focused on."

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 mins ago - Economy & Business

A white-collar crime crackdown

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

America has waited a decade for an aggressive government crackdown on white-collar crime. Now, just before the election, and in the middle of a bull market, it has arrived.

Why it matters: When times are good, investors become more trusting and more greedy. That makes them more likely to put their money into fraudulent or criminal enterprises.

  • After a decade-long bull market, there is no shortage of those frauds to prosecute.
31 mins ago - Technology

Lawyers crystal-ball the Google antitrust case

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Justice Department's antitrust suit against Google is a strong, straightforward monopoly case, competition lawyers and experts tell Axios. But that doesn't mean it'll be an easy journey for the government.

The big picture: Winning any antitrust case is a heavy lift. It's even more of a challenge to pull off victory in a future-looking case that seeks to make room for potential new competition to flourish.

The pandemic is getting worse again

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Due to a database error, Missouri had a 3 day gap in reporting from Oct. 11-13; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Every available piece of data proves it: The coronavirus pandemic is getting worse again, all across America.

The big picture: As the death toll ticks past 212,000, at a moment when containing the virus ought to be easier and more urgent than ever, we are instead giving it a bigger foothold to grow from.