Apr 4, 2018

White House: Fight against ISIS in Syria coming to "rapid end"

Donald Trump at a luncheon with the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Photo: Chris Kleponis, Pool / Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday the "military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being almost completely destroyed." An announcement on America's future military involvement in Syria will be made “relatively soon,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said, per the AP.

The big picture: If the U.S. pulls out, it would likely be a gift to Iran, Syria, and Russia, which have been backing Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. It would also raise security concerns for Israel, which has called for stronger action to counter Iran’s presence and influence in Syria.

  • Trump’s national security team held an “all hands-on deck” conversation about how to proceed militarily in Syria, Coats told reporters Wednesday, per the AP.
  • Trump told reporters at the White House yesterday that he wants to "get out" of Syria as he believes the U.S. has completed its mission of defeating ISIS.
  • If the U.S. withdraws, this would harken back to Trump's campaign days when he railed against past U.S. leaders for ensnaring the U.S. in conflicts abroad.
  • It would contrast with Trump’s decision to remain in Afghanistan indefinitely even though he had said he wanted to withdraw troops there as well. What he said then: "My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts. But all of my life I heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.”

What the White House is saying this morning:

"The military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being almost completely destroyed," Sarah Sanders said in a statement. She also said "The United States and our partners remain committed to eliminating the small ISIS presence in Syria that our forces have not already eradicated."
— White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders

Go deeper: The administration’s recent mixed messages on Syria.

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Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know so far

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Milwaukee Molson Coors brewery complex on Wednesday, including the shooter, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at an evening press conference with local police.

What's happening: Police said "there is no active threat" just before 6 pm ET, but noted the scene remains active. Police chief Alfonso Morales told reporters that officers have "more than 20 buildings we have to secure" at the complex and they do not currently have all employees accounted for, as more than 1,000 were at the complex during the shooting.

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Live updates: CDC confirms possible community spread of coronavirus

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

U.S. clinicians have found the novel coronavirus in a person who did not recently return from a foreign country nor have contact with a confirmed case, the CDC said Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

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Trump assigns Pence to lead U.S. coronavirus response

Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced at a press briefing Wednesday evening that he'll be putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of leading the administration's response to the coronavirus.

The big picture: In the wake of a market sell-off and warnings from health officials that there's a real threat of the coronavirus spreading in the U.S., Trump sought to reassure the nation and Wall Street that the U.S. is "ready" for whatever comes next.

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