1 Trump Refusing To Sign Spending Bill Without Border Funding
First, the Senate passed a bill to avert a government shutdown… and the measure was on the House calendar yesterday, but after meeting with President Trump at the White House it was removed – because, as Speaker Paul Ryan explained – said Trump was “legitimately concerned about border security.” He said the House would start working on a spending bill with border security. They did…and they passed it last night with a vote of 217 to 185. But it faces an uphill battle in the Senate, as it includes the much-argued about $5-billion for Mr. Trump’s border wall. This, in spite of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s vow that Trump would not receive the money he wants for his massive border wall. Speaking to reporters, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says there's no way a bill with border wall funding will pass. “Trump's allies in the House can pound their fists on the table all they want but it's not going to get a wall,” he told reporters. “They can, having caught the Trump temper tantrum fever, jump up and down, yell and scream. It's not going to get a wall.”
2 President Trump Also Pulling Half Of U.S. Troops Out Of Afghanistan
First, it was Syria – and now President Trump is reportedly planning to withdraw about half of the American troops currently serving in Afghanistan in the coming months. That amounts to about seven-thousand troops. Both the “Wall Street Journal” and “New York Times” are reporting that Trump made the decision to pull out about seven thousand soldiers at the same time he decided to pull American forces from Syria. A source tells the “Times” the decision was made to force Afghan forces to become less reliant on American troops. As we told you yesterday, not everyone is thrilled with the move – certainly not the Democrats…and not even within the Republican Party. Senator Lindsey Graham says pulling troops out of Afghanistan would pave the way toward a second 9-11 attack. On Twitter, Graham also said bringing those troops home would lead to the loss of any gains made in the war on terror. On the Hill, Graham told reporters today that Trump should listen to his top military advisers and reverse course. Of course, the President losing his most key advisor: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who will exit his post come February.
3 Mattis Retiring, Criticizing Trump On The Way Out
There may be no “good time” to lose a cabinet member – but when you’re the Commander in Chief and your Defense Secretary announces he’s leaving within 24 hours of a controversial decision about the military? That’s the pickle President Trump finds himself in – especially as the resignation letter turned in, speaks exactly to that point. We first got word that General Jim Mattis would be “retiring” in February when Mr. Trump tweeted the news. But then came the stunning language in Mattis’ farewell – that he resigned so the president could have a defense secretary "whose views are better aligned with yours." “Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world,” Mattis wrote. “Instead, we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances.” But that’s where the “views” appear to diverge as Mattis addresses the peculiar relationships President Trump has been developing in China and Russia. “I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours,” Mattis notes. “It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model… My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues.”