After weeks of shifting messages that baffled American allies, the Pentagon on Friday confirmed it is pushing ahead with President Trump's controversial Syria drawdown. The abrupt pull out of some 2,000 uniformed forces had sparked fears in the region and bipartisan outrage in Washington. But in remarks amid his eight-day swing through the Middle East, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rejected concerns the U.S. was shrinking from the fight against ISIS or its friends in the region, declaring "when America retreats, chaos often follows."
"The age of self-inflicted American shame is over, and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering," Pompeo said.
At home, the federal government missed its first paycheck Friday as the partial government shutdown barrels into its fourth week. For some 800,000 federal workers and a nation relying crippled government services, from food safety inspections to cleanups at toxic Superfund sites, hopes for compromise remain grim over an impasse both parties insist they are winning.
Some Republicans are now calling on President Trump to make good on his threat to declare a national emergency to build his promised barrier, if no deal is struck. Though pessimistic the move could pass Congressional or legal muster, many in Washington see few other exits from a shutdown set to become America's longest in history.
On Capitol Hill, House Democrats announced Thursday that Michael Cohen will be testifying before the House Oversight Committee in February. The move is an opening volley for congressional Democrats eager to confront the president. And it comes on the heels of allegations that Paul Manafort shared internal Trump campaign polling with Russian associates, a move the president claims "he didn't know anything about."
And this Saturday, Julián Castro is expected to formally declare his presidential candidacy. With November 3, 2020 a mere 662 days away, the former Obama housing chief joins a flurry of prominent Democrats already making the case for their budding presidential bids, from nationwide book tours to blasting the president on the stump in Iowa. The 2020 hopefuls will face tough questions from a base that has grown more progressive since the election of the 45th president.
"No doubt defeating Donald Trump is the priority. But we have to be more than a party standing against Donald Trump,".
"We have to stand for something."
We'll question Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (@SecPompeo).
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader), R-Calif., will sit down with us.
Jeh Johnson was Homeland Security secretary under President Obama. We'll talk to him.
As we look ahead to the 2020 campaign, we'll hear from former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro (@JulianCastro). The former mayor of San Antonio will talk with us from the city he once led.
And as always, we'll turn to our panel for some perspective on the week that was:
- Michael Crowley (@michaelcrowley) of Politico
- Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) of The Atlantic
- David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) of The Washington Post
- Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) of The Washington Post
On television, the radio, and streaming online, don't miss America's premier public affairs program this weekend. Click here for your local listings.