President Trump gave a triumphant statement from the White House on Wednesday, claiming despite widespread criticism that while his decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria led to a "short-term outburst," it resulted in a "great outcome."

"Over the last five days, you have seen that a ceasefire that we established along Syria's border has held and it has held very well beyond most expectations. Earlier this morning, the government of Turkey informed my administration that they would be stopping combat and their offensive in Syria and making the ceasefire permanent. ... I have, therefore, instructed the secretary of the treasury to lift all sanctions imposed on Oct. 14. ... This was an outcome created by us, the United States, and nobody else, no other nation."

The big picture: Trump's decision led directly to a Turkish offensive against America's Kurdish allies and the escape of ISIS detainees. And while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was condemned internationally for the invasion, the outcome Trump described rewards him handsomely — with a long-sought "safe zone" negotiated with Russia on the Syrian border and the removal of all U.S. sanctions imposed by Trump, who was effusive in thanking Erdogan today for stopping the offensive.

  • Trump said a small number of U.S. troops are "protecting the oil" in Syria and will continue to do so, a move that is complicated logistically, legally and in terms of the message it sends about America's presence in the Middle East. He said of the oil, "We'll be deciding what we’re going to be doing with it in the future."
  • Facing claims he betrayed the Kurds by clearing a path for Erdogan to attack them, Trump declared that he'd "saved the lives of many, many Kurds" by helping end the offensive.
  • He continued to portray Syria and the wider Middle East as a hopelessly violent place, saying the U.S. can't hope to solve "ancient sectarian and tribal conflicts" before adding: "Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand."

Go deeper: Russia and Turkey capitalize on Trump's Syria exit

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Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 30,804,120 — Total deaths: 957,348— Total recoveries: 21,062,785Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 6,766,631 — Total deaths: 199,268 — Total recoveries: 2,577,446 — Total tests: 94,211,463Map.
  3. Education: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning
  4. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  5. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19.
  6. World: Guatemalan president tests positive for COVID-19 — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

America’s rapid and urgent transition to online school has come with a host of unforeseen consequences that are only getting worse as it continues into the fall.

The big picture: The issues range from data privacy to plagiarism, and schools are ill-equipped to deal with them, experts say.

The positions of key GOP senators on replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks to reporters on Capitol Hill last Thursday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With President Trump planning to nominate his third Supreme Court justice nominee by next week, key Republican senators are indicating their stance on replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just over six weeks out from Election Day.

The big picture: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has vowed that "Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate." But Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) told Alaska Public Media, "I would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. We are 50 some days away from an election."