Congress, the military and the markets have been in upheaval, and the news is too much to fit in one story. Here’s a rundown of the state of play, with links to our in-depth coverage for further reading.
The Trump administration on Thursday announced the withdrawal of about 7,000 American troops from Afghanistan in the coming months, around half of what the American military has there now.
This comes one day after President Trump abruptly ordered the withdrawal of 2,000 American troops from Syria, overruling many of his top generals and military advisers. The decision, which was announced on Twitter, plunged the administration’s Middle East strategy into disarray, rattled allies like Britain and Israel, and stranded Syria’s ethnic Kurds, who have been faithful partners in fighting the Islamic State.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is leaving the Pentagon. Mr. Trump tweeted that Mr. Mattis would be retiring in February. Shortly after, the Defense Department released a letter from Mr. Mattis to the president saying, “Because you have the right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”