Jul 26, 2018

Watchdog finds $15.5 billion "wasted" on 11-year presence in Afghanistan

Afghan commando forces on patrol. Photo: Noorullah Shrizada/AFP via Getty Images

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction on Wednesday released its initial estimate of how much money it says was wasted there — which amounts to $15.5 billion over 11 years, reports NBC News.

Why it matters: The watchdog organization calls this figure "likely … only a portion of the total waste, fraud, abuse and failed efforts." President Trump has criticized a continued U.S. military in Afghanistan as there has been American troop presence in the country for 17 years. "Trump considered pulling out U.S. forces in his first year in office before reluctantly agreeing to extending and expanding the mission after a protracted internal debate," NBC adds.

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Exclusive: Trump's "Deep State" hit list

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: WPA Pool/Getty Pool, Drew Angerer/Getty Staff

The Trump White House and its allies, over the past 18 months, assembled detailed lists of disloyal government officials to oust — and trusted pro-Trump people to replace them — according to more than a dozen sources familiar with the effort who spoke to Axios.

Driving the news: By the time President Trump instructed his 29-year-old former body man and new head of presidential personnel to rid his government of anti-Trump officials, he'd gathered reams of material to support his suspicions.

Exclusive: Anti-Sanders campaign targets black South Carolina voters

Courtesy of The Big Tent Project

The Big Tent Project, a Democratic political group focused on promoting moderate presidential candidates, has sent hundreds of thousands of mailers bashing Bernie Sanders to black voters in South Carolina who voted in the state's 2016 primary.

Why it matters: Sanders' rise to the top of the pack, as dueling moderate candidates split their side of the vote, is worrying many in the Democratic political establishment who fear a socialist can't beat President Trump.

Inside the fight over FBI surveillance powers

Carter Page. Photo: Artyom Korotayev\TASS via Getty Images

Over the past year, President Trump has told senior administration officials, including Attorney General Bill Barr, that he wants a major overhaul of national security surveillance powers and the secret court that approves them.

Behind the scenes: In one such discussion last year about the need to reauthorize government authorities to surveil U.S. citizens, Trump went so far as to say he'd rather get rid of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) altogether.