FBI Director Christopher Wray (L), CIA Director Gina Haspel (C), and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats (R) at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Washington, January 29, 2019 (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Top Republican legislators and US intelligence services slap down Donald Trump over his foreign and military policy, including Trump’s impulsive order to withdraw American troops from Syria.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a vital protector of Trump, effectively rebuked him on Tuesday
by introducing a measure denouncing “a precipitous withdrawal” of US forces from Syria and Afghanistan:
Simply put, while it is tempting to retreat to the comfort and security of our shores, there is still a great deal of work to be done. And we do know that left untended, these conflicts will reverberate in our own cities….
We are not the world’s policeman. But we are the leader of the free world. And it is incumbent upon the United State to lead.
McConnell’s measure was attached to a bill seeking to extend US aid to Israel, and to shield State and local governments refusing to do business with any company that boycotts Israel. The bill was adopted 76-22.
On December 14, Trump suddenly decided to pull out all 2,000 personnel from Syria, during a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Trump reportedly favors taking several thousand US troops out of Afghanistan, but has been checked by US officials.
Challenging Trump’s Intelligence
US intelligence heads, led by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, also pushed back Trump yesterday. In a presentation to Congress, they warned about renewed Russian efforts to interfere in US elections, assessed that North Korea will never agree to give up its nuclear weapons, and said the Islamic State — which Trump maintains is “completely defeated” in Syria — is still plotting attacks around the world.
The intelligence chiefs did not mention Trump’s priority of The Wall with Mexico.
Earlier this month, more than two-thirds of House Republicans voted to overturn the Trump Administration’s easing of sanctions on companies linked to Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, who is linked to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Last week a large majority of House Republicans voted to bar Trump from withdrawing from NATO.