The Jan. 6 committee confirmed in its hearing Thursday that then-President Trump signed a memo on Nov. 11, 2020, ordering the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Somalia and Afghanistan — days after the election was called for Joe Biden.
Why it matters: The committee pointed to the existence of the memo — which was first reported in Axios’ “Off the Rails” series in May 2021 — as evidence that Trump knew he had lost the election and was scrambling to cement his foreign-policy legacy before leaving office.
- Top leadership at the Pentagon viewed the hasty withdrawal as irresponsible and potentially dangerous and immediately mobilized to urge White House officials to change Trump’s mind.
- Keith Kellogg, former national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, testified to the committee: “An immediate departure that that memo said would have been catastrophic. It’s the same thing with President Biden. It would have been a debacle.”