'Start Here': Backlash over decision to withdraw US troops from Syria

It's Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. Let's start here.

1. Syria withdrawal

President Donald Trump is facing bipartisan backlash for his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from a key part of Syria, allowing Turkey to launch a military operation there and likely strengthening ISIS.

"It's time to bring our people back home," he told reporters on Monday. "We're not a police force. They're policing the area, we're not a police force."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of the president's strongest supporters, was among several Republicans who denounced the president's move, calling it a "disaster in the making."

"This was an abrupt decision," ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz tells "Start Here" today. "Pentagon leaders were blindsided, many others were blindsided, [and] they were certainly blindsided on the Hill."

2. Trump taxes

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the president to block a subpoena from the Manhattan District Attorney's office for his personal tax returns.

The judge rejected Trump's lawyers' claim that a sitting president can't be investigated, calling it "repugnant to the nation's governmental structure and constitutional values."

The president appealed the decision and was granted an emergency stay to stop the subpoena from taking effect.

The case could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court and set a precedent, according to ABC News' Aaron Katersky, "It's the Justice Department's opinion that a sitting president can't be charged with a Crime, but the Constitution has never explicitly said whether a sitting president can be investigated for a crime or part of a criminal investigation."

3. Diplomatic immunity?

The wife of a U.S. diplomat has fled the U.K. and is now claiming diplomatic immunity in the wake of her alleged involvement in a fatal car crash.

The 42-year-old American woman was being treated as a suspect in a traffic collision that killed 19-year-old Harry Dunn on a motorcycle in the village of Croughton, England, according to police. Officials said she initially cooperated and told investigators she had no plans to leave Britain.

"It does appear that perhaps she was driving on the wrong side the road," ABC News Senior Foreign Correspondent Ian Pannell says. "Apparently she'd only been in the country for three weeks... so in some sense it's quite an innocent explanation, but it's exacerbated the entire situation, not just for the parents, but for the police and for government officials."

The U.S. State Department confirmed that the Aug. 27 incident involved "a vehicle driven by the spouse of a U.S. diplomat assigned to the United Kingdom." The U.S. government is in "close consultation with the appropriate British officials," the spokesperson told ABC News in a statement Saturday.

"Start Here," ABC News' flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day's top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.


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Doff your cap:

Pvt. Hunter Nines is about to join a war nearly as old as he is.

The 18-year-old discussed with ABC News his impending combat deployment to Afghanistan -- his first with the Army.

"I didn't have a lot of thoughts on Afghanistan in particular," said Nines, who was 7 months old when U.S. troops first arrived there. "I honestly just had the notion of I wanted to serve, and wherever that is, that's where I'll go."

The Blackhawk helicopter mechanic will be serving with the 10th Mountain Division's 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, which soon will be deployed to Afghanistan for the sixth time. Read more about his story HERE.
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