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President Trump called on the Syrian government to release American journalist Austin Tice during a White House press conference on Thursday.

What Trump's saying: "Recovering Americans held captive and imprisoned abroad continues to be a top priority for my administration. We have one young gentleman Austin Tice, and we are working very hard with Syria to get him out. We hope the Syrian government will do that. ... Syria, please work with us, and we would appreciate you letting him out."

  • "If you think about what we've done, we've gotten rid of the ISIS caliphate in Syria. We've done a lot for Syria. ... It would be very much appreciated if they would let Austin Tice out immediately."

Context: Tice, a Marine Corps veteran from Texas, left for Syria in 2012 to work as a freelance photojournalist in the midst of the Syrian civil war. He was believed to be detained three days before his 31st birthday and has been missing since. The FBI speculates that Tice was kidnapped while reporting in a suburb outside of Damascus.

Go deeper: Journalist Austin Tice thought to be alive six years after kidnapping

Go deeper

21 mins ago - Health

COVID-19 pandemic was "preventable disaster," WHO-commissioned report says

A health worker gives a COVID-19 test to a woman in Oakland, California. Photo: Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group

The COVID-19 pandemic was a "preventable disaster" that exposed weak links "at every point" of the preparedness process, according to a World Health Organization-commissioned report published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The report by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response criticized governments worldwide for being unprepared for the pandemic despite the prevalence of past "global health threats," such as Ebola, Zika, and SARS outbreaks.

Don McGahn agrees to House panel interview on Russia report

Former White House counsel Don McGahn during a discussion at the NYU Global Academic Center in Washington, D.C., in 2019. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former White House counsel Don McGahn agreed Wednesday to speak with the House Judiciary Committee about the Russia investigation that led to the impeachment trial of former President Trump — with certain conditions, per a court filing.

Why it matters: The agreement ends a two-year standoff after McGahn, a key player in former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, repeatedly refused to agree to a subpoena for testimony — resulting in the matter being taken to court.