syria

Trump and Walls, Decisive Force, Op-Sec and Falsehoods: Four Takeaways from His Iraq Visit
White House slammed for revealing elite troops‘ presence there

The Southern border is a long way from Iraq, but President Donald Trump talked about it on his visit to the troops in the Middle East on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump led his remarks to U.S. military troops Wednesday in Iraq with an order: “Let’s have a good time.” What followed was a combat zone version of one of his signature campaign-style rallies.

“I don’t know if you folks are aware of what’s happening,” the commander in chief told troops assembled to hear his remarks at Al-Asad Air Base, referring to a government shutdown that now is in its sixth day. Lawmakers typically try to refrain from criticizing a president when he is on foreign soil. But this president could not resist criticizing Democrats on Iraqi soil.

Amid Crises, Trump Slips Out of Washington to Visit Troops in Iraq
President had caught flack for opting against a warzone visit in first 23 months in office

President Trump quietly left Joint Base Andrews early Wednesday morning on Air Force One to make his first visit as commander in chief to U.S. troops deployed in a combat zone. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Amid a government shutdown and multiple crises at home, President Donald Trump slid out of the White House early Wednesday morning for a holiday season trip to visit troops in Iraq.

Trump faced bipartisan criticism for not visiting any U.S. forces deployed in combat zones since he took office in January 2017. There were rumors last week that he might travel to Iraq or Afghanistan during what had been planned as a 16-day holiday season vacation at his South Florida resort, but White Houses, for security reasons, keep such trips under wraps.

Trump Says Syria Pullout Should Be ‘No Surprise’; Says US Not ‘Policeman’
Members of both parties criticized the abrupt decision

President Donald Trump surprised lawmakers of both parties when he announced he would pull troops out of Syria. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Thursday defended his decision to remove all U.S. military troops from Syria, calling the move “no surprise” and describing it in the verbiage of his “America first” philosophy.

The commander in chief surprised lawmakers of both parties Wednesday morning when he announced his move and declared victory against the Islamic State group inside the war-torn country. Senior national security aides on Wednesday afternoon were unable to describe any withdrawal plan or firm exit date as the Pentagon referred reporters to the White House and it referred them to the Pentagon for details that apparently were not crafted before the announcement.

White House Shocked by Lawmakers’ Shock Over Trump‘s Syria Decision
White House, Pentagon cannot point to any troop withdrawal plan or final exit date

President Donald Trump is gearing up to withdraw troops from Syria. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 4:05 p.m. | President Donald Trump on Wednesday abruptly declared victory against the Islamic State inside Syria and ordered the Pentagon to withdrawal all American military troops from the war-torn country. Lawmakers were blindsided, but senior administration officials claimed there was no reason for their confusion.

The commander in chief’s decision should have been “no surprise” to lawmakers, said a senior administration official who briefed reporters Wednesday afternoon. She declined to discuss whether Trump caught his Cabinet-level or White House national security officials off guard or whether there had been internal discussions prior to Wednesday morning.

Putin, Xi Set to Test ‘America First’ Trump at G-20
Coons says president should ‘end the tariffs’ during dinner with Chinese leader

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a joint press conference after their summit in July in Helsinki. They are scheduled to meet again at a G-20 summit this weekend in Argentina. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images file photo)

Donald Trump takes his “America first” presidency to Argentina on Thursday for a high-stakes G-20 summit, but lawmakers and experts warn his go-it-alone approach could hamstring his own goals on China, Russia and North Korea.

Trump is expected to pose for the usual “family photo” with the other world leaders gathered in Buenos Aires. There will be one-on-one meetings with allies such as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in as Trump looks to build a unified front against North Korea. And there will be face-to-face talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been much more critical than Trump of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman after Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Three Things to Watch When Trump, Putin Land in Paris
Analysts: ‘Trump is operating from an assumption that he can bully our allies’

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron attend a Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees on July 14, 2017 in Paris. Macron will host Trump and other world leaders this weekend to mark the 100th anniversary of World War I Armistice Day. (Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)

Three days after Republicans lost control of the House, President Donald Trump departed Friday for a diplomatic weekend in Paris that will put him face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin as Democrats with their newfound House majority prepare to explore that relationship more deeply.

Trump campaigned on warming relations with Moscow after things chilled under former President Barack Obama, and kept up that hope for much of his first year in office. But lately, even the 45th president has shown with Putin, expressing doubt that things will get better anytime soon. Trump’s administration has repeatedly implemented sanctions and other tough-on-Russia policies that have further chilled relations.

Trump Counterterrorism Plan Drops Obama Climate Change Focus
White House buries strategy under Pence’s tough China address

National security adviser John Bolton rolled out a new counterterrorism plan Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump has approved a new U.S. counterterrorism strategy, but it drops the Obama administration’s treatment of climate change as a driver of violent Islamic extremist groups.

Asked if the Trump plan identifies climate change as a destabilizing force in the Middle East that fuels extremist groups, national security adviser John Bolton replied: “I don’t think climate change is a cause of international terrorism.”

Trump Attacks Bob Woodward, Warns Syria’s Assad
President calls ‘Fear: Trump in the White House’ ‘total fiction,’ tells Assad to resist using chemical weapons

President Trump is at war with a new foe, veteran journalist Bob Woodward. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump denied allegations in a coming book by journalist Bob Woodward that he directed Defense Secretary James Mattis to “kill” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“That was never even contemplated, nor would it be contemplated,” the president said Wednesday.

White House Furthers Trump Threat to Iran
Tehran must change or 'pay a price,' Bolton says

President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room at the White House on May 8. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The White House on Monday continued an escalation of threatening rhetoric toward Iran that started with President Donald Trump warning Tehran about “consequences” that no other country has ever experienced.

National Security Adviser John Bolton said he spoke to Trump “over the last several days, and President Trump told me that if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before.”

‘Worst Enemy’: Trump Warns Putin Even as Second Summit in Works
U.S. president breaks with predecessors, criticizes Fed over rate hike

President Donald Trump warned Vladimir Putin and criticized the media and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell in an interview with CNBC. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 8:51 a.m. | President Donald Trump continues to defend his Monday summit with Vladimir Putin and says he wants a second meeting soon — while also warning the Russian president he could become Putin’s “worst enemy.”

A day after his top spokeswoman announced Trump wants a follow-up summit in Washington this fall, the president said this of what would be a controversial visit by the Russian strongman who U.S. intelligence officials say led an interference operation in the 2016 presidential election: “I would say it’s in the works.”