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Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer Donald Cook as the ship departs Larnaca, Cyprus on April 9.
Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer Donald Cook as the ship departs Larnaca, Cyprus on April 9. (MC2 Alyssa Weeks / U.S. Navy)

President Trump said Thursday that an attack on Syria could take place "very soon or not so soon at all!"

The president made the statement in a tweet Thursday morning. Trump on Wednesday had warned Russia to "get ready" for a missile attack on its ally Syria, suggesting imminent retaliation for last weekend's suspected chemical weapons attack. But on Thursday, Trump wrote: "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place."

At stake in Syria is the potential for confrontation, if not outright conflict, between the U.S. and Russia, former Cold War foes whose relations have deteriorated in recent years over Moscow's intervention in Ukraine, its interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and, most recently, its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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Mick Mulvaney took his seat before a congressional committee Wednesday for the first time since his controversial appointment to be the nation’s top consumer financial watchdog and boldly declared he didn’t have to say a word.

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(Associated Press)

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Paul D. Ryan, who announced Wednesday he would not run for reelection, has plenty of time to consider a presidential run, especially if you measure in Sen. Bernie Sanders years, the liberal Vermont independent who is still mulling a presidential bid at the age of 76.

“He’s got 28 years,” Gingrich said in a phone interview from Italy, adding that Ryan can go home, spend time with his family, earn some money, run for governor of Wisconsin and then still forge a presidential campaign. “He’s got at least six presidential elections in front of him.”

But Gingrich is not surprised Ryan is leaving the speakership.

  • Russia
(Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump continues to lash out at special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in the wake of Monday’s FBI raids targeting his longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

In a tweet on Wednesday morning, he called the Russia investigation “Fake & Corrupt” and referred to Mueller as the “most conflicted of all,” except for Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel’s work because Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions recused himself.

Trump did not explain why he believes Mueller is conflicted, a charge that could lay the groundwork for attempting to fire him as special counsel. But previously the president has complained that Mueller should be precluded from leading the investigation because, among other reasons, Trump interviewed him as a potential FBI director after firing James B. Comey last year.

With news that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) won’t seek another term in 2018, Bakersfield Republican Kevin McCarthy is expected to make a bid for the position, assuming Republicans keep their majority.

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  • Congress
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), seen here speaking to reporters recently at the Capitol, has decided not to run for reelection.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), seen here speaking to reporters recently at the Capitol, has decided not to run for reelection. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) will not seek reelection in November, he told colleagues Wednesday, throwing an already fractious House into tumult and dealing another blow to Republican hopes of holding onto power in Congress.

The announcement comes as Republicans already face serious prospects of losing their majority in the House in this fall’s midterm election. Ryan has been a key fundraiser for Republican candidates, and his decision to call it quits is almost certain to be a demoralizing blow to the party’s candidates and donors. 

The speaker's move came less than three years after he took office as a compromise candidate on the resignation of Ohio Rep. John A. Boehner. His tenure as speaker will have been among the shortest in the past century.

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Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan meets with reporters following a closed-door Republican strategy session on Capitol Hill on March 6.
Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan meets with reporters following a closed-door Republican strategy session on Capitol Hill on March 6. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan will not run for reelection to Congress, he plans to tell colleagues today.

Two people with knowledge of the Wisconsin Republican’s thinking said Ryan has decided against seeking another term. Both sought anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. 

The news will come as another serious and demoralizing blow to GOP hopes of holding the party’s congressional majority in this fall's midterm election.

This image released by the Syria Civil Defense is said to show victims of a chemical weapons attack in the rebel-held city of Douma.
This image released by the Syria Civil Defense is said to show victims of a chemical weapons attack in the rebel-held city of Douma. (Associated Press)

After several days of deliberating a response to an alleged Syrian gas attack, President Trump tweeted a promise on Wednesday to attack the country with “nice and new and ‘smart!’” missiles despite Russia’s vow to counter them.

Trump’s tweet was a response to Russian threats to shoot down any missiles headed toward Syria. Russia is allied with the government of Syrian strongman Bashar Assad.

“Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’” Trump wrote. “You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”