Yang Liu

The official acknowledged that there were "a lot of issues" that remained unresolved but also that the administration has taken a "very important step" to try to ensure that those issues are addressed and that the administration can keep him informed about them, the official said.

The official said the Trump administration plans to release a statement of support for the withdrawal. "The president did not share any of the ideas that he has long had of thinking about that question," the official said.

A recent poll by The New York Times and Fox News and Research Group found the president was keenly aware of the scope of the turmoil in the region and had pledged to keep the troops in place during his transition.

Answering questions from The Daily Beast about his relationship with the White House, Trump said, "I like to think of myself as someone that has been very successful with the military. The president is a very good person. I like to think of myself as someone that has been very successful with the military.

As many as six months ago he was briefed by the Pentagon about the proposed transfer of several U.S. military bases to Jordan under a plan the administration is now using to try to force the government of Iraq to relinquish sovereignty.

While that proposal was apparently scrapped, Trump did say he feels it has "a real meaning for our people," the official said.

"I have nothing to do with it so I am not going to talk about those, you know, things that are going to make our country even more unstable," the official added. A more effective approach would be to end the U.S.'s occupation of Iraq, the official said.

Trump's decision in February to quit the State Department prompted the White House to order the administration to move its most significant national security initiatives -- including the expulsion of more than 60,000 U.S. troops -- in line with Obama's strategy of ending the Iraq War and to move military forces from Iraq to a new training mission in Afghanistan.

There have been several reports that Trump appears to be preparing to leave office in the next year or two, the official said.

The official had noted that a key part of the administration's strategy to keep the war in the Middle East could be its desire to support the troops. The administration has said that it will not be cutting the number of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, though the number could be reduced to 20,000 by 2020. The official suggested that that may be true.

But within an hour of Trump's discussion with Lavrov about the possibility of withdrawal from the war, the president also addressed the importance of the fact that the U.S. remains a force of great power, despite its presence in a Middle East conflict that has triggered the nation's worst crisis since the war.




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