Dec 24, 2018

Top general on details of Trump's withdrawal plans: "I have no idea"

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's sudden orders to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan — and Defense Secretary James Mattis' subsequent resignation — have left even the most high-ranking U.S. military officials questioning what they should be telling their troops on the ground, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“I don’t think anybody really knows exactly what’s going to happen. I’ve read the same stuff in the newspaper you did, I have a little more knowledge than that, but not a whole lot more.”
— Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps.

The big picture: Military commanders have reportedly received "no timelines, hard numbers or orders" from the Pentagon — “Nothing formal, just tweets,” said Navy Secretary Richard Spencer. One official told the Journal that the resignation of Mattis was "more devastating" than the withdrawal, while another said that the defense secretary's exit in late February would allow for "adequate continuity." This was, of course, before Trump revealed Sunday that Mattis would be forced out by Jan. 1.

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Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,273,402 — Total deaths: 375,683 — Total recoveries — 2,697,873Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,811,277 — Total deaths: 105,147 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  3. Public health: Nearly 26,000 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes have been reported to federal health officials —Coronavirus looms over George Floyd protests across the country.
  4. Federal government: Trump lashes out at governors, calls for National Guard to "dominate" streets.
  5. World: Former FDA commissioner says "this is not the time" to cut ties with WHO.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The virus didn't go away.
Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

St. John's clergy: Trump used church as prop, Bible as symbol of division

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Clergy of the historic St. John's Episcopal Church expressed furor and confusion over President Trump's visit on Monday, which he claimed was to honor the establishment after George Floyd protestors sparked a small fire on the property Sunday night.

The big picture: Park rangers and military police deployed tear gas and physical force to disperse peaceful protestors from Lafayette Park, which surrounds the White House, so Trump could walk to "pay respects" to the church — and a St. John's rector on the scene revealed in a Facebook post that she was left "coughing" from the tear gas.

Updates: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh day across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The latest: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted early Tuesday that he'd just left the Bronx and the police commissioner was sending additional assistance to problem areas. Protesters were "overwhelmingly peaceful" Monday, he said. "But some people tonight had nothing to do with the cause + stole + damaged instead," he added.