This Thursday's show starts with a look at a planned withdrawal of US troops from Syria.
About 2,000 American troops are in the Middle Eastern country. Syria has been in the midst of a civil war since 2011, and members of the US military were first deployed there in 2015 to help in the fight against the ISIS terrorist group. Last month, US president Donald Trump announced that his administration was taking steps to pull all US troops out of Syria.
The statement reportedly came as a surprise to several American officials, and it appeared to lead to the resignation of US Defense Secretary, James Mattis. The day after President Trump's plan was made public, Secretary Mattis sent him a letter that said the president has the right to a defense secretary whose views are better aligned with those of the commander in chief.
President Trump has said that ISIS is mostly gone, that withdrawing US troops from Syria would save lives and billions of dollars, and that it follows through on a campaign promise he made. Critics have said that ISIS terrorists could reemerge if US forces leave Syria too soon, and that the withdrawal could cause more instability in the Middle Eastern country.
At first, President Trump said the pullout would happen within 30 days, but the New York Times reported on Monday that the president had extended that time frame to four months.
While debate over the US role in Syria was taking place, President Trump and first lady Melania Trump made a surprise visit to another Middle Eastern country where US troops are deployed. Their trip to Iraq took place the day after Christmas.
Up next today, the US stock market just wrapped up a wild year. There was extra reason for the applause on December 26. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, an index of 30 significant stocks, had its biggest day in history, rising more than 1,000 points. This happened the same year as its biggest drop in history. The Dow closed down more than 1,100 points on February 5. Overall, analysts say 2018 was the worst year for stocks since 2008, but it was also the year the Dow hit its all time record high. So extreme volatility, major changes in stocks, driven by everything from inflation fears and interest rate increases to rising wages.