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August 22, 2017

In President Trump's new Afghanistan War policy, laid out in a speech on Monday night, he pledged a deliberately unspecified troop surge, probably of about 4,000 extra troops, and declined to set a timetable for withdrawing the U.S. military from the country. Trump sided with the former generals in his administration rather than those advocating winding down the 16-year-old war as a lost cause, prominently his recently ejected chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, so perhaps it is no surprise that the foreign policy hawks in the Republican Party were very enthusiastic about Trump's speech ...

... while Bannon's Breitbart News vehemently disagreed with Trump's decision. Specifically, the writers and editors at Breitbart took issue with Graham and other conservatives that the policy was significantly different that former President Barack Obama's.

Democrats criticized Trump's lack of details or vision. And while the reaction at Fox News was much more positive, not all Fox News regulars were on board. Laura Ingraham, a conservative radio host once considered for White House press secretary and reportedly in talks for her own Fox News TV show, sounded almost like the Democrats.

So, 2017, strange bedfellows, etc. Peter Weber

1:57 a.m.

Maverick is more than just Charlie's best friend — he's also his "seeing-eye" puppy.

Charlie and Maverick are golden retrievers, both owned by Adam and Chelsea Stipe of Mooresville, North Carolina. Charlie is almost 11 years old, and due to glaucoma, had his left eye removed in 2016 and his right in 2017. He still loves to play and go on walks, but sometimes needs a little bit of help getting around. That's where Maverick comes in.

Maverick joined the Stipe family in January. Now four months old, Maverick walks next to Charlie, guiding him where he needs to go. Chelsea Stipe told NBC Philadelphia Maverick also noticed when Charlie would lose track of a toy, and would "pick it up and put it back in front of him to re-engage playtime." It took Charlie a bit of time to get used to Maverick, but now, they're inseparable. "They're both pretty crazy and special," Chelsea Stipe said. "They're definitely our entertainment." Catherine Garcia

1:12 a.m.

At 94 years and 172 days old, Jimmy Carter is now the longest-living U.S. president.

Carter, the 39th president, was born on Oct. 1, 1924. When George H.W. Bush died in November, he was 94 years and 171 days old. Carter was also the first American president born in a hospital.

In office for one term, he has spent the last several decades dedicated to service, building houses with Habitat for Humanity and launching the nonpartisan and nonprofit Carter Center, which focuses on public policy. In 2002, he received the Nobel Prize. Carter announced in 2015 that he had cancer, which started in his liver and spread; he underwent surgery, and is now cancer-free. Deanna Congileo, a spokeswoman for the Carter Center, told NBC News the organization is "grateful" for Carter's "long life of service that has benefited millions of the world's poorest people." Catherine Garcia

12:32 a.m.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists on Thursday said "conditions are primed" for flooding in the Plains and Midwest that "could be worse than anything we have seen in recent years."

Mary Erikson, deputy director of NOAA's National Weather Service, said the "stage is set for record flooding now through May," because river levels are already high, soil moisture is above-normal, and there is substantial snowpack in the northern Plains, The Washington Post reports.

This week, there was deadly flooding in Nebraska and Missouri, and that could be just "a preview" of what might happen this spring. "This is potentially an unprecedented flood season," Edward Clark, director of NOAA's National Weather Center, said. "It may become more dire in the coming weeks." The NOAA's spring flood outlook has 200 million Americans at risk, primarily those living near the upper, middle, and lower Mississippi River basins; the Great Lakes; and the eastern Missouri River, lower Ohio, lower Cumberland, and Tennessee River basins. Catherine Garcia

March 21, 2019

In one year, Tanitoluwa Adewumi went from not knowing anything about chess to becoming New York's newest champion.

Adewumi, 8, started learning the game last year at his school, P.S. 116 in New York City. Adewumi and his family came to the U.S. from Nigeria two years ago, seeking religious asylum; they are Christians, and fled to escape the terror group Boko Haram. Adewumi's coach, Shawn Martinez, said the third-grader loves to play, and is always practicing. "He smiled every time he did anything on the board or learned something new," he told NBC New York. "I could just tell this game was for him."

Over the weekend, Adewumi kept his undefeated streak alive, winning his age group in the New York State Primary Chess Tournament. Adewumi will soon have a place to display his huge trophy: the family has been living in a homeless shelter, but a GoFundMe started for them this week has raised more than $160,000, and they will soon move into their own home. Adewumi is gearing up for the national championship in May, and is inching closer to his goal. "I want to be the youngest grandmaster in the world," he said. Catherine Garcia

March 21, 2019

While he believes President Trump is "morally unfit" to be the country's leader, former FBI Director James Comey isn't wishing that Special Counsel Robert Mueller reveals in his final report that Trump is "a criminal."

In an op-ed published Thursday night in The New York Times, Comey declares that he's just happy Trump hasn't shut down Mueller's investigation, and if it stays that way, "justice will have prevailed and core American values will have been protected at a time when so much of our national leadership has abandoned its commitment to truth and the rule of law."

Comey, who was fired by Trump in 2017, asserts that he doesn't care at all whether Mueller concludes that Trump "knowingly conspired with the Russians in connection with the 2016 election or that he obstructed justice with the required corrupt intent." He does have one hope, though: that Trump is not impeached and removed from office before his term is over.

"I don't mean that Congress shouldn't move ahead with the process of impeachment governed by our Constitution, if Congress thinks the provable facts are there," he said. His concern is that if Trump is removed from office, "a significant portion of this country would see this as a coup, and it would drive those people farther from the common center of American life, more deeply fracturing our country." Read the entire op-ed at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

March 21, 2019

Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller wrote in two internal memos that President Trump's "unplanned/unbudgeted" deployment of troops to the southern border has posed "unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency," the Los Angeles Times reports.

The memos obtained by the Times are dated Feb. 19 and March 18, and sent to Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Navy Secretary Richard Spencer. Neller wrote that because funds have been shifted to border security and recovery costs from Hurricanes Michael and Florence are high, he has had to postpone much-needed base repairs, and cancel or scale back military training in Indonesia, Scotland, Mongolia, Australia, and South Korea.

Neller added that Marines "rely on the hard, realistic training" of the exercises to "develop the individual and collective skills necessary to prepare for high-end combat." These memos, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) said, show that the Pentagon should not be diverting funding due to the whims of Trump. "If the president won't listen to the American people or Congress, then listen to the commandant of the Marine Corps," he said in a statement. Catherine Garcia

March 21, 2019

European Union leaders on Thursday offered the United Kingdom additional time to leave the bloc, delaying Brexit until May 22 if British lawmakers agree to Prime Minister Theresa May's withdrawal deal.

If not, the EU will accept a delay until April 12. The UK was set to leave the bloc on March 29.

Britain's Parliament has twice shot down May's EU deal, with lawmakers split on how to leave the EU, and if they should do so at all. "I will make every effort to make sure we can leave with a deal and move our country forward," May said. Catherine Garcia

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