Oct 16, 2017

Trump says U.S. 'not taking sides' in Iraq clashes

Trump speaks with reporters in the Rose Garden after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump, asked today about clashes between Iraqi and Kurdish forces in Iraq said: "We don't like the fact that they are clashing. We're not taking sides, but we don't like the fact that they are clashing."

Why it matters: The Kurdish military accused Iranian-backed forces of ramping up the pressure on the Kurds in the region in the first place, per Newsweek. After Trump's decision to de-certify the Iran deal without fully pulling out, Tehran is likely watching the U.S. stance in the region closely. Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer said Trump's failure to take sides in the dispute could be a "[b]ig green light" for the Iranian government to increase its influence in Iraq.

Go deeper: Dispute between Kurds, Iraqi government escalates in Kirkuk

Go deeper

Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

49 mins ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.