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Deployed US Marines snicker at Trump’s overseas withdraw plans — because they’re unsure if he’s telling the truth

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President Donald Trump tweeted a recent decision that he’d be pulling out American troops from Afghanistan and Syria. The news came as a shock to the Pentagon and commanders overseas, neither of which had heard the policy shift was even a consideration.

In wake of the decision, members of the military admitted they “have no idea” what is happening, how they’ll move forward or what to expect in the coming weeks.

In a Wall Street Journal report, Gen. Robert Neller, the Marine Corps commandant at Bost Air Field in Afghanistan, was asked by a Marine what the president’ orders meant for those deployed.

“That’s a really good question,” he replied. “And the honest answer is I have no idea.”

“We’ve won against ISIS,” Trump said in a short Twitter this week. “We’ve beaten them and we’ve beaten them badly. We’ve taken back the land. And now it’s time for our troops to come back home.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) said in a CNN interview with Jim Sciutto that the decision seemed to indicate the policy was about bringing the troops home for Christmas. CNN’s John Avlon agreed, also noting that Trump might see it as this, and clearly not have the facts. As Neller explained, that’s far from the case.

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“Are your families asking if you’re leaving?” Neller asked a group of Marines in Helmand province. Many said they were. “You’re not leaving.”

The Journal explained that none of the commanders have details about the president’s plan to draw down the troops.

“The Marines have laughed with their leader and his honesty, but it belied a frustration among officers and personnel about the lack of details from Washington: If Gen. Neller, one of the highest-ranking officers in the American military doesn’t know what’s happening, who does?” The Journal wrote.

In another case, Gen. Austin Miller, the head of U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Afghanistan, received morning intelligence briefings that focused on news reports because there was no official communication from the White House or Pentagon.

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“I don’t think anybody really knows exactly what’s going to happen,” Gen. Neller told some Marines Friday. “I’ve read the same stuff in the newspaper you did, I have a little more knowledge than that, but not a whole lot more.”

Read the full report here.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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Here are 4 winners and 9 losers from the first 2020 Democratic primary debate

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With ten candidates on stage Wednesday, the opening debate of the 2020 Democratic primary in Miami was a packed mess. And this was only the first course in a two-part event — 10 more candidates will debate on the following night.

A crowded field makes it difficult to stand out, and that means that even after a big night like a debate, the most likely result is that not much changes. But the debate was still significant, giving candidates the chance to exceed, meet, or fall below expectations for their performances.

Here's a list — necessarily subjective, of course — of the people who came out on the top when the dust was settled, and those who came out on the bottom.

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Here are 3 ways Julián Castro stood out in the first Democratic Debate

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There were many predictions going into the first Democratic debate on MSNBC, but no one predicted that Julián Castro would break out from the crowd.

Check out the top three ways Castro stood out from the crowd.

Immigration:

The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was the outright winner of the immigration section of the debate

It should "piss us all off," Castro said about the father and his little girl who were found face-down in the shores of the Rio Grande River this week. “It’s heartbreaking."

Castro is a second generation American who got into specifics on immigration policy, calling for an outright "Marshall Plan" style of action for Guatemala and Honduras. He joined with other Democrats calling for an end to President Donald Trump's family separation policy, but he then suggested ending the "metering" of legitimate asylum seekers.

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