'Start Here': Trump cancels US-Taliban peace talks and Congress returns amid pressure to act on guns

Here's what you need to know to start your day.

September 09, 2019, 6:06 AM

It's Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Let's start here.

1. Taliban talks

In a surprise announcement over the weekend, President Donald Trump revealed he canceled plans for secret peace talks with Taliban leaders at Camp David.

Negotiations were initially set for Sunday, just days before the anniversary of Sept. 11, but Trump said he called off talks after a Taliban attack in Afghanistan last week killed 12 people, including a U.S. service member.

On ABC's "This Week," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the militant group's leaders were not negotiating in good faith and "overreached" when they killed an American. The Taliban said in a statement that the canceled negotiations "would not harm anyone else but the Americans themselves."

It's unclear now where discussions stand on a U.S.-Taliban deal as the president has vowed to withdraw some of the 14,000 remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan, according to ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz on "Start Here."

"One of the issues here is President Trump clearly wants to get out of there, clearly wants to cut the troops -- he's been saying that for a long time, so the Taliban knows that," she says. "That's not a great negotiating strategy if they know you want to cut down the troops and they just wait you out."

2. Gun polling

Pressure is building on Congress and Trump to act on gun legislation as lawmakers return to Washington, D.C., following a summer of multiple mass shootings.

Fifty-eight percent of Americans believe stricter gun laws would reduce gun violence, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, with 89% supporting background checks for all gun purchases, including private and gun show sales.

The public support may be there on gun reform, but any movement in Congress will come down to whether the president will back gun measures, according to ABC News Political Director Rick Klein.

"If something is going to happen, it's going to be because President Trump wants it to happen," he says.

PHOTO: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer joins Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as she signs the budget package at the Capitol in Washington, Aug. 1, 2019.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer joins Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as she signs the budget package at the Capitol in Washington, Aug. 1, 2019.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

3. Dorian's aftermath

The death toll from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas has increased to 45 as hundreds of people are still missing.

As rescue officials continue to battle flooding and debris to reach some of the communities that were devastated by the massive storm, the future of the Bahamas is uncertain, says ABC News' Marcus Moore, who was hunkered down in Marsh Harbour when Dorian hit as a Category 5 hurricane.

"These islands will be in the process of rebuilding for quite some time ... without a doubt, this is going to take years," he tells "Start Here."

PHOTO: People search for salvageable items as they make their way through an area destroyed by Hurricane Dorian at Marsh Harbour in Great Abaco Island, Bahamas on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019.
People search for salvageable items as they make their way through an area destroyed by Hurricane Dorian at Marsh Harbour in Great Abaco Island, Bahamas on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019.
Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP

4. Boris' Brexit

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has said he would "rather be dead in a ditch" than ask Brussels to delay the Oct. 31 deadline for Britain's exit from the European Union, is standing by his Brexit plan despite Parliament voting to require him to request an extension.

"His whole mantra is that he is the man who's going to deliver Brexit at the end of the month," ABC News Foreign Editor Marcus Wilford tells the podcast. "The question is, what's he going to do?"

Johnson could defy Parliament and ignore the legal mandate to ask for a delay, or he could resign in the face of a coalition of opposition parties that remains united against his calls for new elections and his minority government, according to Wilford.

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