Showing posts with label Trump-Dangerous. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trump-Dangerous. Show all posts

February 20, 2019

Trump Tried To Rush Nuke Technology to Saudis in Potential Violation of The Law


The Trump administration sought to rush the transfer of American nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in potential violation of the law, a new report from the House Oversight and Reform Committee alleges.
Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings' staff issued an "interim staff" report Tuesday, citing "multiple whistleblowers" who raised ethical and legal concerns about the process.
"They have warned about political appointees ignoring directives from top ethics advisers at the White House who repeatedly and unsuccessfully ordered senior Trump administration officials to halt their efforts," the report states. "They have also warned of conflicts of interest among top White House advisers that could implicate federal criminal statutes."
A new interim report from the House Oversight Committee details Trump administration officials' efforts to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, pictured here, visited the U.S. in March 2017..Andrew Cabellero-Reynolds/AP

The committee's report alleges that the major drivers behind the effort to transfer U.S. nuclear technology were retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who served as the president's national security adviser, and Thomas Barrack, who chaired Trump's inauguration committee. Flynn was fired in February 2017 for lying about conversations with the Russian ambassador to Vice President Pence and the FBI.
For about seven months in 2016, including during the presidential transition, Flynn served as an adviser to IP3 International, a private company seeking to build nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia.

The whistleblowers told the committee that Flynn continued to advocate for IP3's plan even after he joined the White House as the president's national security adviser in 2017.
The Atomic Energy Act requires that Congress approve any transfer of nuclear technology to a foreign country. The committee's report states that a senior director at the National Security Council (NSC), Derek Harvey, "reportedly ignored ... warnings and insisted that the decision to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia had already been made."
The NSC's lawyers realized that Flynn had a possible conflict of interest that could violate the law, the whistleblowers said, and told NSC staff to stop working on the nuclear technology transfer plan. Despite Flynn's firing in February 2017, the plan appeared to continue to progress with Barrack's support.
The committee announced that it intends to launch an investigation into this matter "to determine whether the actions being pursued by the Trump administration are in the national security interests of the United States, or, rather, serve those who stand to gain financially as a result of this potential change in U.S. foreign policy."
Shortly after the release of the report, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., announced that his panel would be coordinating with Cummings' staff to explore these allegations.
Tuesday's disclosure of a plan to sell nuclear technology comes as the United States considers its relationship with the Saudi government in the wake of the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi
Following his death, the House and Senate have both passed resolutions to limit U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led coalition fighting in the Yemeni civil war. The Senate also passed a resolution by voice vote — reflecting unanimity — that was fashioned to "hold Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi."
The report also comes as President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is scheduled to travel next week for a trip to the Middle East that includes a stop in Riyadh, the Saudi capital. 
The White House did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the committee's report.
NPR's Ayesha Rascoe contributed to this report.

January 28, 2019

Congress Trying to Save NATO from TRUMP (and Putin)


The idea that the United States could withdraw from NATO is surreal.

The alliance, now numbering 29 countries, has been the foundation of trans-Atlantic stability and prosperity for seven decades. It continues to keep a predatory Russia at bay and diminish the danger that American soldiers might once again have to fight on European soil.

Yet in Donald Trump’s go-it-alone presidency, the possibility of America’s withdrawal has become such a concern that Congress is taking steps to prevent it.

The Democratic-led House on Jan. 22 voted 357-22 for a bipartisan bill that would tie Mr. Trump’s hands by refusing him any federal money to pay the costs of leaving the alliance.

The Republican-led Senate should quickly follow, either approving the House measure or a separate bill proposed by a bipartisan group of senators that requires Mr. Trump to obtain approval from two-thirds of the Senate to “suspend, terminate or withdraw U.S. membership in NATO.” If the president refused to abide by a Senate vote preserving NATO membership, the bill would then prohibit the use of federal funds for withdrawal. 

It seems obvious that leaving NATO would be a foreign policy debacle, eroding American influence in Europe and emboldening Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, who wants to weaken NATO so he can expand his political and military sway.

Despite all that, there is no sign that Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, would stop such a move if Mr. Trump were to make it, as he has repeatedly threatened to do. 

Mr. Trump’s own skepticism has long been apparent. He has questioned the alliance’s purpose and hectored the allies to pay more for defense. Spending has risen, but it also rose under Mr. Trump’s predecessors, who urged greater military spending but never wavered in their commitment to NATO.

Now the threat is growing: Several times last year, the president privately told senior administration officials that he wanted to withdraw from NATO, viewing it as a drain on the United States.

Wisely, his national security team, especially then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, stopped him. But Mr. Mattis recently resigned with a parting rebuke about the importance of alliances. While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, the national security adviser, are viewed as NATO supporters, neither has shown the sort of backbone Mr. Mattis did. 

An ominous sign was Mr. Pompeo’s recent Fox News interview in which he was asked if the United States would send soldiers to defend NATO member Montenegro. Mr. Pompeo replied, “I’m not going to get into hypotheticals.” Except it’s not a hypothetical. Under the treaty’s Article 5, NATO members pledge to defend fellow members if they are attacked.

Can the Trump administration be counted on or not? The president has already pulled out of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, and he is threatening to ditch the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

Whether lawmakers have the power or the spine to override or prevent a decision by Mr. Trump to end the nation’s NATO commitments remains an open question. Many legal scholars say he can pull out of treaties unilaterally without Congress’s consent, but others say Congress has made clear that NATO is different. It’s time for Congress to pre-empt any possible debate about this question.

The House voted overwhelmingly to block President Trump’s threat to quit the Atlantic alliance. The Senate should promptly follow suit.

By The Editorial Board....The New York Times
The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.

December 21, 2018

5 Instances That Gen. Mattis Reined In The Bull To Not Break Out Off The Corral and Go intoThe China Shop

Image result for mattis and the bull                                                                         Related image

The Week reports 5 things General Mattis successfully reined in the bull,  which would have destroyed our sense of security and for sure now, or later, lead us to war.

When James Mattis resigned as defense secretary Thursday, the "guardrails" in Trump's administration came off, as The Associated Press somewhat worryingly put it.
Mattis has gained a reputation for trying to prevent Trump from indulging in his worst foreign policy impulses. With Mattis on his way out (he'll officially step down in February), let's take a look back at some of the instances of Mattis successfully reining the president in. Brendan Morrow
1. Killing Assad. Last year, Trump reportedly called for the assassination of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying, "Let's f---ing kill him! Let's go in. Let's kill the f---ing lot of them," according to Bob Woodward's book Fearper The Washington Post. Mattis immediately told an aide, "We're not going to do any of that."
2. Pulling out of Afghanistan. Trump reportedly told his advisers in 2017 that he wanted to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, but he ended up deploying 3,000 more at Mattis' direction, per Politico. In a speech, Trump said that his "original instinct" was to pull out but that he changed his mind after "many meetings." The same day Mattis resigned, it was reported that Trump would be pulling troops out of Afghanistan.
3. Sending troops to the border. Politico also points out that Trump wanted to send active-duty troops to the southern border in April 2018, but Mattis pushed back, sending National Guardsmen instead. Trump eventually did deploy troops in the fall, but Mattis broke from the president by saying these troops would not use force.
4. Torturing people. On the campaign trail, Trump promised to reinstitute torture methods like waterboarding. He never did, and Mattis seems to be a key reason for that; Trump said he was "impressed" by a conversation he had in which Mattis told him these methods are not useful, per The New York Times.
5. Pulling out of Korea. Trump, according to Woodward's book, expressed frustration with the U.S.'s presence in the Korean Peninsula, The Washington Post reports. Mattis had to convince him why this is necessary, saying, "We're doing this in order to prevent World War III."

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