AP Fact Check: Trump Muddles Facts on US Syria Withdrawal - NBC4 Washington
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AP Fact Check: Trump Muddles Facts on US Syria Withdrawal

Despite what Trump suggests, American forces in Syria won't be returning home in mass numbers anytime soon

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Trump Clashes With Dems During Syria Meeting

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walked out of a meeting with President Donald Trump after Trump had what Democrats described as a meltdown. The meeting took place after the House voted to condemn Trump's unilateral decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019)

    President Donald Trump muddled the facts Wednesday on America's withdrawal from Syria and the conditions on the ground there, as he distanced himself and the U.S. from the ongoing Turkish invasion into Syria.

    He suggested incorrectly that the Syrian Kurds who fought alongside U.S. forces against the Islamic State group deliberately released ISIS prisoners and wrongly said Americans have been in the Syria conflict for 10 years.

    A look at his claims and the reality:

    U.S. INTERVENTION IN SYRIA

    'Two-Faced': Trump Hits Back at Trudeau After NATO Hot Mic Moment

    [NATL] 'Two-Faced': Trump Hits Back at Trudeau After NATO Hot Mic Moment
    President Donald Trump hit back at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling him "two-faced" after Trudeau was overheard gossiping about Trump with a gaggle of other world leaders and a British royal princess.
     
    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019)

    TRUMP: "We were supposed to be in Syria for one month. That was 10 years ago."

    THE FACTS: Previous administrations never set a one-month timeline for U.S. involvement in Syria.

    The U.S.-led coalition began airstrikes on Islamic State militants in Syria in September 2014. About a year later, the Pentagon said that teams of special operations forces began going into Syria to conduct raids and start up efforts to partner with the Kurdish forces. Then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter made it clear to Congress at that time that the Pentagon was ready to expand operations with the Kurds and would continue to do so as needed to battle IS, without setting a specific timeline for completion.

    ‘I’m Insulted’: Stanford Law Professor Pamela Karlan Calls Out Top GOP Lawmaker

    [NATL] ‘I’m Insulted’: Stanford Law Professor Pamela Karlan Calls Out Top GOP Lawmaker

    Stanford Law Professor Pamela Karlan said she was insulted by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., after he said in his opening statement that witnesses at Wednesday’s impeachment hearing may not have read and digested Rep. Adam Schiff’s, D-Calif, report or the Republican’s response to the report “in any real way” and the hearing was not about “the facts.”

    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019)

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    PRISON RELEASE

    TRUMP: Speaking about ISIS detainees, Trump said: "People let some go. They opened a couple of doors to make us look as bad as possible." Later he described the ISIS detainees as "people that probably the Kurds let go to make a little bit stronger political impact."

    GWU Law Professor: 'If You're Going to Accuse a President of Bribery, You Need to Make It Stick'

    [NATL] GWU Law Professor: 'If You're Going to Accuse a President of Bribery, You Need to Make It Stick'

    George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley says the House's case for a bribery charge against President Donald Trump is "not good enough."

    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019)

    THE FACTS: That's an exaggeration. There is no evidence that Kurdish forces, who fought ISIS for years with U.S. and coalition troops, deliberately opened prison doors to let militants out.

    According to U.S. and defense officials, fewer than 100 prisoners have escaped and Kurdish fighters are still guarding the prisons. Officials say that some of the Kurdish forces have moved north to fight the invading Turks, but many remain to secure the prisons, which hold about 2,000 foreign fighters and another 10,000 Iraqis and Syrians who fought with ISIS. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity to describe ongoing military operations.

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    Key Findings of Fact from 'The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report'

    [NATL] Key Findings of Fact from 'The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report'

    The House Intelligence Committee released a report outlining evidence for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019)

    LEAVING SYRIA

    TRUMP: "Our soldiers are mostly gone from the area."

    THE FACTS: They're actually mostly still there.

    Harvard Law Professor Feldman: ‘The Words Abuse of Office Are Not Mystical or Magical’

    [NATL] Harvard Law Professor Feldman: ‘The Words Abuse of Office Are Not Mystical or Magical’

    Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on why he thinks President Donald Trump’s actions are impeachable.

    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019)

    Trump is correct that close to 30 U.S. troops moved out of two outposts near the border area where the Turkish attack was initially centered. But the bulk of the roughly 1,000 U.S. troops deployed to Syria are still in the country.

    According to officials, most of the U.S. troops have largely been consolidated into two locations in the north, including an airfield facility in the western part of the country known as the Kobani landing zone. A small number of troops left in recent days with military equipment, and more recently the withdrawal of forces began but so far not in large numbers. Officials say the withdrawal will take weeks.

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    COMING HOME

    TRUMP: "It's time to bring our soldiers back home."

    THE FACTS: Despite what Trump suggests, American forces in Syria won't be returning home in mass numbers anytime soon.

    While the U.S. has begun what the Pentagon calls a deliberate withdrawal of troops from Syria, Trump himself has said that the 200-300 U.S. forces deployed to a southern Syria outpost in Al-Tanf will remain there. Also, while the U.S. forces are leaving Syria, that doesn't mean they are automatically coming home. Instead, military officials are developing plans to station U.S. forces in nearby locations, including Iraq and possibly Jordan, where they will still be able to monitor and, if needed, continue to conduct operations against ISIS.