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What's next for Assad

A man walks under a portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a street inside the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus in 2015. Photo: Youssef Kawwashan/AFP/Getty Images

Trump declared "Mission Accomplished!" on Saturday and administration officials are trying to distance him from George W. Bush's embarrassing declaration about the Iraq War in 2003. Officials are saying Trump only meant that the narrow mission on Friday night — of destroying Syrian chemical weapons facilities — succeeded.

The bottom line: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad looks perfectly safe in his Russo-Iranian cocoon.

The backdrop: Two stories, published in the wake of Trump's bombing, cast harsh light on the big picture in Syria:

  • Wall Street Journal: "Syrian armed forces on Sunday unleashed airstrikes against rebels and shelled what rescue workers said were civilian homes, demonstrating President Bashar al-Assad’s undiminished ability to wage the civil war a day after a U.S.-led missile attack."
  • Washington Post: "U.S.-led strikes against Syrian chemical weapons facilities prompted defiant celebrations in Damascus on Saturday as it became clear that the limited attack posed no immediate threat to President Bashar al-Assad’s hold on power and would likely have no impact on the trajectory of the Syrian war."

What's next: On CBS' "Face the Nation" today, Nikki Haley told host Margaret Brennan that the Trump administration will be imposing additional sanctions against Russia.

  • "Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday if he hasn't already and they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use."
Haley Britzky 12 hours ago
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The EU and U.K. want to be front and center on AI research

Theresa May visits an engineering facility.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May visits an engineering training facility in Birmingham. Photo: Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images

The EU and U.K. both announced major investments in artificial intelligence research this week, with more than 50 tech companies contributing to a £1 billion deal in the U.K., and the European Commission announcing it would be allocating €1.5 billion to AI research until 2020.

The big picture: The U.K.'s deal, as detailed in a government press release, will include funding for "8,000 specialist computer science teachers, 1,000 government-funded AI PhDs by 2025," and development for a "prestigious global Turing Fellowship" program to attract top talent. Per the release, the U.K. will also be developing "a world-leading Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation," to emphasize ethical standards with AI research. The EU's deal also includes laying out clear ethical guidelines by the end of 2018.

Mike Pompeo’s first foreign trip

Mike Pompeo
CIA Director Mike Pompeo testifies on worldwide threats. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

If he is confirmed as Secretary of State tomorrow, Mike Pompeo will embark on his first foreign trip as secretary to Brussels for the NATO Summit, Axios has learned. Bloomberg first reported the contingency planning for the potential trip.

The details: “The acting secretary John Sullivan is ready to go to the NATO summit in Brussels Thursday,” a senior administration official told Axios. “The secretary-designate Mike Pompeo is prepared to travel to the meeting of foreign ministers to reaffirm our commitment to NATO and coordinate the alliance’s response to Russian aggression.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the latest developments.