The Latest: Bolton, Dunford set to travel to Israel, Turkey

December 31, 2018 - 3:10 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and Syria (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump's national security adviser and top military adviser will travel to Israel and Turkey early next month to discuss the president's slowed plans to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria.

John Bolton will be joined on the trip by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, and the U.S. envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey.

National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis says the trio will "to discuss the deliberate and coordinated withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, and increased cooperation with the Turkish military and other partners."

On Sunday, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Trump had initiated a "pause" on his surprise decision to withdraw all roughly 2,000 American troops in Syria. Trump has faced bipartisan criticism since announcing the drawdown two weeks ago.

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10:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is complaining that he's getting "bad press" for his decision to pull American troops out of Syria. He tweeted Monday that he's just making good on his campaign promise against U.S. involvement in "never ending wars."

Trump says he's withdrawing 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria. He said Islamic State militants are "mostly gone" and he wants to bring the troops home. A drawdown of troops in Afghanistan also appears to be in the works.

The decision was roundly criticized by his national security advisers and prompted Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to step down.

Trump says he's the only person in America who could say "I'm bringing our great troops back home, with victory" and get "bad press."

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