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READ IT: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis takes aim at Trump’s Syria pullout in resignation letter

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In his resignation letter, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis made jabs at Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria — and his apparent disagreement with it.

In the letter, the outgoing defense secretary mentioned the American military commitment to its allies — a statement that echoes bipartisan critics of the president’s Syria withdrawal who say it will alienate and endanger America’s Kurdish allies.

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“Our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships,” Mattis wrote. “While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies.”

“I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours,” he added. “It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model — gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions — to promote their own itnerests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to to provide for the common defense.”

“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,” Mattis noted.

“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects,” he wrote, “I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”

You can read the entire letter below:

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McConnell blocked by his own party from calling impeachment witnesses Trump wants for Senate trial: report

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According to a report from the New York Times, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is finding his hands tied by members of his own party who are skeptical over the appropriateness of calling some the witnesses Donald Trump  -- and a few of his House Republican enablers  -- want to appear.

As the Times notes, "While Democrats who control the House are focused on a swift impeachment vote by year’s end, the White House is almost entirely consumed by the trial that would follow in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Mr. Trump’s team believes he would have the chance to defend himself and where Democrats would almost certainly fall short of the two-thirds vote they would need to remove him from office."

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Ted Cruz hammered as ‘Putin’s stooge’ after humiliating himself on NBC to push Kremlin propaganda

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In a column for the Washington Post, conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin in publically shamed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for his conversion from Cold War Russia critic to unabashed "Putin stooge" after his performance on "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

Speaking with NBC host Chuck Todd on Sunday, Cruz attempted to push what has been described as Kremlin propaganda, asserting that "there is evidence of Ukraine interference in our election because an op-ed was written criticizing Trump’s campaign rhetoric about Ukraine." 

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Chinese diplomats unleashed to pummel the reeling Trump administration: report

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According to a report from Politico, Chinese diplomats have been unleashed, as well as urged, to attack Donald Trump's administration and the U.S. in general via social media like Twitter -- turning the president's favorite social media platform back on him.

"The tactic comes as China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has reportedly urged his diplomats to adopt a 'fighting spirit,' which has led to Chinese diplomat Lijian Zhao to describe "America as 'unjust, 'inhumane' and 'hypocritical.' He’s gone so far as to slam neighborhood segregation in Washington, D.C., and assert that 'racial discrimination, gun violence, violent law enforcement are chronic diseases deeply rooted in U.S. society," Politico reports.

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