An End to The War in Afghanistan?

Multiple news outlets are reporting that the United States government and the Taliban are negotiating towards peace in Afghanistan.

Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, the key U.S. negotiator with the Taliban, has told The New York Times that the group has agreed in principle to initial drafts of a deal.

If an agreement can be reached, it would end 17 years of bloodshed in the country as well as the longest war in U.S. history.

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SCOTUS Gives Administration a Pass

While the Supreme Court has declined to hear arguments regarding Trump’s transgender military ban, it will nevertheless permit the administration to enforce it.

Supreme Court Justices blocked district court injunctions that would have prevented the policy from taking effect pending a 9th Circuit court decision on the issue.

The court declined, however, to hear the arguments and give a ruling on the subject in a 5-4 vote.

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A Petty Game

Nancy Pelosi urged the president to write his State of the Union due to security concerns; he cancelled her delegation’s flight to NATO and Afghanistan.

What began as a legitimate national security concern has spiraled into yet another petty game for the president, who is already holding hundreds of thousands of Americans’ paychecks hostage over a project that won’t fix a problem that doesn’t exist.

And, in the process, the president revealed a previously undisclosed destination for the delegation — Afghanistan — repeating the same potentially fatal blunder he committed on his last-minute visit to the troops in December.

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Court Upholds Transgender Military Ban

In a devastating blow, a U.S. court ruled in favor Friday of the administration’s ban against transgender individuals serving in the military.

The controversial ruling overturned a previous decision made by a D.C. federal judge which blocked the ban on grounds of unconstitutionality.

While other injunctions against the case remain in effect, the administration has requested that the Supreme Court hear the case.

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President Lies to Troops About Pay Increase

During a surprise visit to the troops after Christmas, the president lied to them about a pay raise that he hasn’t given them.

Once again, the president lied to our soldiers and told them that he had secured a 10% pay increase for them, and that it was their first pay-raise in more than a decade.

The truth? Military pay has increased every year for more than 30 years, and the 2.6% increase set forth in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act is the largest in the last 9 years.

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President Reveals Special Forces in Iraq via Twitter

Donald Trump tweeted a video of himself with special forces in Iraq that were previously undisclosed during his trip to visit the troops.

The U.S. Navy SEAL team is clearly pictured in the video despite the sensitive nature of their deployment.

It is incredibly rare for a president, or the government in general, to release the identity of a specific team during their deployment, much less to release clearly identifying images.

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President Caves Under Pressure, Visits the Troops

After receiving enormous criticism for his decision not to visit the troops this Christmas, Trump decided to pay a visit to those fighting his battles after all.

His decision not to visit the troops this Christmas made him the first president not to do so since 2002.

The president was criticised for the choice on both sides of the aisle, and apparently buckled to the pressure. He and the first lady took a secret flight to Iraq this morning despite his insistence that the war is a costly mistake.

“We’re, right now, the policemen of the world and we’re paying for it. And we can be the policemen of the world, but other countries have to help us.”  — Trump

Haspel’s Testimony Sways Senate Republicans

CIA Director Gina Haspel was finally permitted to debrief the Senate behind closed doors regarding the murder of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

And it appears that what she had to say had a powerful effect on everyone present, regardless of party affiliation.

Since the debriefing, multiple lawmakers have gone on the record saying they believe Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman both ordered and monitored Khashoggi’s murder.

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Senate May Break with Admin on Yemen War

The Senate voted on first steps to open debate surrounding the United States’ tactical support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

The vote followed a closed-door briefing in which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis attempted to sway key swing votes, but failed.

The Senate voted 63-37 to advance the bipartisan measure, but White House advisors have recommended that the president veto the resolution should it pass.

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Administration Blocks Gina Haspel’s Testimony

The Senate will not be allowed to hear CIA Director Gina Haspel or any other intelligence official’s insight into U.S. journalist Jamal Kashoggi’s murder.

Shortly after Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed by Saudi operatives, CIA Director Gina Haspel was permitted to listen to audio recordings of the incident by the Turkish government along with other world leaders.

The news came just before today’s closed-door debriefing on U.S.-Saudi relations in the Senate, spearheaded by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis.

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