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Trump may keep troops in Syria — despite campaign promise to end ‘never-ending wars’

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President Donald Trump is learning why being the U.S. president isn’t all rallies and fun state dinners; it’s about difficult decisions.

New York Times reporters Maggie Habermann and Eric Schmitt wrote Sunday that Trump is considering leaving some troops on the ground in Syria, even though he wants to pull out and bring all troops home.

One plan proposed by the Pentagon says that a few hundred special forces would be left on the ground in Syria, while the rest would be shipped to Iraq. Trump also just sent troops to Saudi Arabia, despite a campaign promise to bring troops home.

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“If Mr. Trump approves the proposal to leave a couple of hundred Special Operations forces in eastern Syria, it would mark the second time in 10 months that he has reversed his order to pull out nearly all American troops from the country,” wrote The Times. “Last December, Mr. Trump directed 2,000 American troops to leave Syria immediately, only to relent later and approve a more gradual withdrawal.”

The reporters also noted that it would be one of the most significant political reversals over the last few days after his own party pressured him. The other being the withdrawal of Trump’s resort being used for the G-7 summit next year.

Trump decided abruptly last Sunday to withdraw all troops from Syria so that Turkey could bomb the Kurds, who they’ve always opposed. Turkey then bombed the area until Vice President Mike Pence rushed to Turkey to negotiate a 120-hour pause to the shelling.

For the past week, Trump has been under attack by not only Democrats but Republicans for bungling the situation in Syria, where the Kurdish forces were driving out ISIS.

A “senior administration official said it was highly likely that troops would be kept along the Iraqi border area — away from the cease-fire zone that Vice President Mike Pence negotiated with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey last week,” wrote The Times. “The main goal would be to prevent the Islamic State from re-establishing all or parts of its religious state, or caliphate, in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

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The official also said that the president is “balancing competing impulses: achieving the ultimate goal of bringing United States forces home from Syria — part of a signature campaign promise to pull American troops from ‘endless wars’ — and ensuring that efforts to contain and diminish ISIS continue.”

Read the full piece from The New York Times.

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Trump’s latest and most ludicrous con job

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Donald Trump is con artist in chief of the United States. His many apparent and impeachable crimes, such as the Ukraine scandal, collusion with Russia and violations of the Emoluments Clause, flow from that fact. Of course, Trump’s long con involves millions and perhaps even billions of dollars. But Trump’s big score, his ultimate goal, is permanent control of the presidency of the United States and the power for him and his family and allies to engage in legal theft indefinitely.

This article first appeared on Salon.

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I was an impeachment skeptic. Here’s why I’m now convinced Trump must be removed

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Despite all the uncertainty surrounding impeachment, we can capture the current moment succinctly: President Trump’s fate hinges on whether Republican senators are more fearful of losing in a primary or in the general election. Now that the live impeachment hearings are about to fuel nationwide prime-time programming, those senators’ fears are likely to intensify.

While that dynamic will determine whether Trump will be removed from office, it doesn’t tell us whether he should be.  I am generally an impeachment skeptic. My recent book—Impeaching the President: Past, Present, Future—argues that impeachment should be regarded as a last resort that, as a general proposition, is inappropriate in a president’s first term.  The American people are capable of rendering judgment and should be given the first crack.

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House Republicans have 3 key defenses of Trump’s Ukraine extortion campaign — and they’re all terrible

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To any halfway objective observer, the first day of public hearings in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, which are ongoing as of this writing, have not gone well for Trump’s defenders.

Bill Taylor, the top US ambassador in Kyiv, and veteran State Department official George Kent came off as principled and non-partisan as they delivered damning testimony about the Trump regime’s multifaceted campaign to coerce the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation into fringe right-wing conspiracy theories designed to deflect blame for interfering in the 2016 election from Russia and onto Ukraine.

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