Monday morning news: October 21, 2019

Trump admin addresses fears of ISIS resurgence » Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is working to reassure wary lawmakers that the troop pullout in northern Syria will not fuel an ISIS resurgence. Pompeo told ABC’s This Week… 

POMPEO: I’m very confident that this administration’s efforts to crush ISIS will continue. 

But the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that assurance won’t help him sleep any better. Senator Bob Menendez said making sure ISIS is contained was more than enough cause to keep a troop presence in the region. 

MENENDEZ: The Department of Defense inspector general tells us there are still 18,000 ISIS fighters in Syria. If the 10,000 that have been detained by the Kurds get released, that’s a potential fighting force of hardened fighters of 30,000.

The Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Republican Congressman Michael McCaul said he’s also concerned. 

MCCAUL: We want to make sure at all costs that these prisons are protected. I’ve been given assurance that they are right now, but it’s a very fluid situation over there. 

Kurdish fighters have reportedly evacuated some areas along the Turkish border under the teams of the U.S. brokered ceasefire. 

Mulvaney seeks to clarify quid pro quo remarks » Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was doing damage control on Sunday follow his remarks last week. 

Mulvaney told Fox News Sunday that while the Trump administration held up aid payments to Ukraine, it did not attach political strings to that aid. But he conceded that earlier comments led many to conclude the opposite. 

Last Thursday Mulvaney answered questions about why President Trump held up some $400 million in military aid to Ukraine. He said it was largely because he was irritated by how little “lethal aide” European countries were sending to Ukraine and because he was concerned about corruption in Ukraine. But he added

MULVANEY: Did he also mention to me in the past that the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely, no question about that. But that’s it. That’s why we held up the money. 

In response to a follow-up question from a reporter, Mulvaney said—quote— “The look back to what happened in 2016 was certainly part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation, and that is absolutely appropriate.”

Yesterday, Mulvaney sought to clarify his remarks. 

MULVANEY: It’s legitimate to tie the aid to corruption. It’s legitimate to tie the aid to foreign aid from other countries. That’s what I was talking about with the three. Can I see how people took that the wrong way? Absolutely. But I never said there was a quid pro quo because there isn’t. 

President Trump said he believes Mulvaney has clarified his earlier remarks, and he has full confidence in him. 

U.S. soldiers killed in accident at Fort Stewart in Georgia » Three U.S. soldiers died and three others were injured on Sunday in a training accident in Georgia. 

Officials said the accident occurred at Fort Stewart near Savannah. The soldiers were with the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team and were in a Bradley fighting vehicle that was involved in an accident early in the morning. They were not immediately identified.

The Army says the three injured soldiers were evacuated and taken to an Army hospital, where they are being evaluated and treated.

British prime minister races to beat Brexit deadline » British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be working overtime this week as he tries to win over rebellious lawmakers ahead of next week’s Brexit deadline.

The UK is slated to leave the European Union one week from Thursday. And Johnson insists Brexit must happen on schedule even though he sent a letter to the EU asking for an extension. Lawmakers passed a law forcing him to seek a Brexit delay if a deal wasn’t ratified by now. 

JOHNSON: Whatever letters they may seek to force the government to write, it cannot change my judgement that further delay is pointless, expensive, and deeply corrosive of public trust. 

Johnson sent the letter, but he didn’t sign it. And he followed it with another letter making it clear that he doesn’t actually want an extension. 

Parliament gathered for special session on Saturday but did not vote on Johnson’s newly renegotiated divorce deal. Instead they voted on a measure to delay a vote on the Brexit plan until Parliament comes up with a plan on how to implement it. 

AUDIO: They ayes to the right 322. The nos to the left, 306.  

And passing an implementation bill will take more time. EU officials have not yet answered Johnson’s halfhearted request for another delay. 

Maleficent sequel tops weekend box office » At the weekend box office, Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil debuted in the top spot. 

TRAILER: You have done an admirable job going against your nature to raise this child. But now she will finally get the love of a real mother. 

The Disney sequel took in $36 million for the weekend—a solid opening, but short of expectations. 

That bumped Joker to second place with another $29 million. The R-rated Zombieland 2 opened in third place with $27 million. 

You can find WORLD’s reviews of current films—along with ratings and content information—at

A quick note of correction: On Friday’s program, I misspoke and referred to Democratic lawmaker Steny Hoyer as a Senator. He is of course Maryland’s Congressman from the 5th congressional district.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci) White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announces that the G7 will be held at Trump National Doral, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in Washington. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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