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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.

Go deeper

37 mins ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia structures in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.

Dave Lawler, author of World
57 mins ago - World

Biden's big Saudi reset

Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty

President Biden spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman this evening ahead of the release of a CIA report expected to implicate the king's son, and the kingdom's de facto ruler, in the murder of a U.S.-based journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

Why it matters: In one month, Biden has ended support for the Saudi war effort in Yemen, frozen a large arms deal and snubbed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) by declining to speak with him directly.