But calling Trump’s potential strike against Syria a legitimate humanitarian intervention is absurd. The most comprehensive effort to define that notion came from the Canadian government, which in 2001—in response to pleas from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan—empaneled a commission on the concept known as the “Responsibility to Protect.” That commissionoutlined several criteria that any humanitarian war must meet. No past U.S. intervention has met them fully. A new Syria strike, however, wouldn’t even come close.
One criterion was what the commission called “reasonable prospects.” A military intervention, it argued, must stand “a reasonable chance of success in halting or averting the suffering which has justified the intervention.” When Trump struck Syria for the first time last year, it may have been “reasonable” to hope an American strike would prevent Assad from using chemical weapons again. But it is utterly unreasonable today. That’s because, in the year since Trump’s strike, Assad has used chemical weapons again and again. He didn’t just apparently use them last weekend. According to armscontrol.org, he also allegedly used them on March 11, on March 7 and at least five times in January and February.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday that President Trump has broad authority to attack Syria, precluding the need for Congress to act beforehand.“The existing AUMF gives him the authority he needs to do what he may or may not do,” Ryan said during a press briefing in the Capitol.
We’re striking with the UK and France. The force is on the war.
It’s a very hot Friday here in New Orleans. I’d like to be doing anything but watching the most incompetent person in the world make kissy ass with a KGB trained despot but here it goes. How much damage to the standing, democracy, and reputation of the United States will happen because a bunch of bigoted, superstitious, white throwbacks joined a Russian conspiracy to wreck our country? Will the poster child for dementia and narcissism give away state secrets and sell out the joint goals of our NATO allies?
Has he offered us for membership in a Warsaw Pact yet?
Foreign ministries around the world are filled with anticipation over what will happen when Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meet for the first time at the G20 summit. But veteran U.S. spies who’ve studied manipulation tactics, particularly from their Russian counterparts, are confident they know what’s going to unfold.
Putin, a former KGB operations officer, will not just be practicing interpersonal diplomacy, they say. He’ll be putting his tradecraft as a spy to work. His main asset: Trump’s massive, delicate ego.
It won’t just be the expected flattery, from the spies’ perspective, though flattery is key to dealing with the “sociopathic narcissist” tendencies one ex-CIA interrogator sees in Trump. Putin is likely to stoke Trump’s ire, encourage him against his perceived enemies and validate his inclinations – particularly the ones that move U.S. policy in the directions Putin wants.
Nowhere are the stakes higher than in Moscow. The Trump-Putin meeting, say Russian politicians and Putin’s former KGB colleagues, is an overdue opportunity to equalize the Washington-Moscow relationship.
“Putin,” one-time KGB general Oleg Kalugin told The Daily Beast, “he has been in power for so many years and, by character, he knows how to handle things and how to outsmart others, including presidents of the United States.”
While everything about this meeting is momentous, the two sides are not on equal diplomatic footing. Russia’s interference in the 2016 election – something U.S. intelligence characterizes as a certainty, while Trump, again, casts doubt on that conclusion – has created a political maelstrom for Trump. Everything resulting from the meeting will be scrutinized in Washington, particularly amongst Trump’s political opposition, for signs of a quid pro quo. Meanwhile, observers have a hard time understanding what U.S. policy toward Russia, its decades-long adversary, even is anymore.
Putin is filling that vacuum. Ahead of meeting the U.S. president in Hamburg, his foreign ministry has said the agenda will concern everything from Syria to Ukraine to returning two intelligence complexes on U.S. soil – even to gay rights in Chechnya. Meanwhile, Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster has said there won’t be a “specific agenda” for discussion, beyond “whatever the president wants to talk about.” There is confusion on the U.S. side about whether McMaster’s Russia chief, the Putin skeptic Fiona Hill, will attend the meeting.
Putin, former spies say, is well-positioned to dominate the meeting.
Russia has found a huge gap in the American psyche and is moving on in. Just coddle those insecure and visibly lacking white christian men and their house marms. The Russians have stepped up the spying game here.
The officials say they believe one of the biggest US adversaries feels emboldened by the lack of a significant retaliatory response from both the Trump and Obama administrations.
“Russians have maintained an aggressive collection posture in the US, and their success in election meddling has not deterred them,” said a former senior intelligence official familiar with Trump administration efforts.
Russians could also be seeking more information on Trump’s administration, which is new and still unpredictable to Moscow, according to Steve Hall, retired CIA chief of operations.
“Whenever there is a deterioration of relations between countries — the espionage and intelligence collection part becomes that much more important as they try to determine the plans and intentions of the adversarial government,” Hall said.
Since the November election, US intelligence and law enforcement agencies have detected an increase in suspected Russian intelligence officers entering the US under the guise of other business, according to multiple current and former senior US intelligence officials. The Russians are believed to now have nearly 150 suspected intelligence operatives in the US, these sources said. Officials who spoke to CNN say the Russians are replenishing their ranks after the US in December expelled 35 Russian diplomats suspected of spying in retaliation for election-meddling.
“The concerning point with Russia is the volume of people that are coming to the US. They have a lot more intelligence officers in the US” compared to what they have in
other countries, one of the former intelligence officials says.
Russian hackers are the chief suspects in recent efforts to meddle with the computer networks that run various nuclear power plants and other energy facilities.
If Russia is indeed responsible, it suggests that they could attempt to forcibly shut down parts of America’s power grid like they are believed to have done to Ukraine in the past, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The hackers, regardless of nationality, are believed to be responsible for breaching the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation in Kentucky among a number of other facilities since May, according to the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The New York Times confirmed the joint report with security specialists who have had to cope with the hacking attempts.
‘We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States,’ Trump said at opening of highly anticipated meeting.
President Donald Trump told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday that “it’s an honor to be with you” as the two leaders kicked off their much-anticipated bilateral meeting, one that was scheduled for just 30 minutes but wound up lasting nearly two-and-a-half hours.
Neither Trump nor Putin, who were accompanied by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, respectively, offered specifics of what they would discuss once reporters left the room. Trump did not respond to a shouted question as to whether or not he would raise Russia’s efforts to interfere in last year’s presidential campaign, according to reporters in the room.
“President Putin and I have been discussing various things, and I think it’s going very well. We’ve had some very, very good talks. We are going to have a talk now and obviously that will continue,” Trump said as photographers snapped photos of the two presidents, whose meeting took place at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. “But we look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everybody concerned, and It’s an honor to be with you.”
Putin, through a translator, echoed his U.S. counterpart’s friendly welcome and said he and Trump “will really need personal meetings” in order to resolve certain policy issues.
“We have spoken on the phone with you several times before on very important bilateral and international issues. But phone conversation is never enough,” Putin said. “I’m delighted to be able to meet you personally, Mr. President. And I hope, as you have said, our meeting will yield positive result.”
It’s believed that Trump wants to “team up” with Putin in Syria. This would mean keeping brutal dictator Assad in power.
For once, Rex Tillerson is not freelancing.
Late Wednesday, ahead of the first-ever meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the secretary of state suggested that the U.S. is willing to explore “joint mechanisms” with Russia to stabilize the vicious Syrian civil war.
After a dizzying series of policy shifts on Syria, administration and congressional sources tell The Daily Beast that Team Trump is introducing the beginnings of a new strategy for Syria—one that, in the short term at least:
• leaves dictator Bashar al-Assad in power;
• acquiesces to the idea of “safe zones” proposed by Russia and its allies;
• leans on cooperation from Moscow, including the use of Russian troops to patrol parts of the country.
A knowledgeable senior administration official discussed the emerging strategy with The Daily Beast on the condition that what the official said could only be paraphrased, not quoted, as the official was not cleared to discuss the issue publicly. The account was backed up by two White House sources and a congressional source.
This is obviously an unfolding story. So, I’d consider this a live blog thread. Share what you read and hear please!
Coverage from The Guardian: ‘G20: Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin conclude lengthy meeting’.
“Putin went straight from meeting Trump to talks with Japanese leader Shinzo Abe. He apologised for his lateness due to the talks with Trump overrunning, and in opening remarks reported by Interfax, Putin said he and Trump had discussed “Ukraine, Syria, and other bilateral problems. We returned to the problems of fighting terrorism and cybersecurity”.
A lot more links are coming as reporters file their stories.
Well, it’s time to watch another reason to regret that we now have a constitutional crisis instead of Taco Trucks on every corner! The 84th AG who is supposed to be upholding the US Constitution instead of enabling those crises will undoubtedly bob and weave the questions like a little white banty rooster pecking or corn. Just exactly how many times did he meet with the Russian Ambassador and why?
When Senator Al Franken asked then-Senator Sessions at his Senate confirmation hearing on January 10 whether he “communicated with the Russian government,” he said, “I’m not aware of any of those activities.” Unprompted, Sessions then went further, saying, “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have—did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.” Then less than two months later, on March 1, The Washington Postreported that Sessions had, in fact, met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak—not once, but twice.
It was a serious omission, especially for the nation’s top law-enforcement officer, and one who is a vocal advocate for law and order. Scrambling to contain the damage, Sessions issued a statement that attempted to draw a very subtle distinction. Calling the report “false,” he said that he had “never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign.” His spokeswoman, Sarah Isgur Flores, spelled it out even more clearly: “He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign—not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee,” she said. (In fact, Franken had made no such qualification.) And a White House official insisted that Sessions had “met with the ambassador in an official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee,” not a campaign surrogate.
I’m not sure we’re going to learn anything but he may try to contradict the Comey testimony. It could be at least interesting to see how he’s treated by his former colleagues.
Sessions will dispute James Comey’s characterization of a conversation the two men had in February.
- This is a big deal, as Comey gave his account under oath.
- The former FBI director said under oath that after his Feb. 14 conversation with Trump, he told Sessions he didn’t want to have any more direct communication with the President. Comey then said that Sessions remained silent, perhaps shrugging his shoulders and nonverbally indicating that he couldn’t be of help.
- Sessions is expected to counter this, saying he responded to Comey by telling him the FBI and DOJ needed to be aware of official protocol regarding communications with the White House. The DOJ released a statement to that effect a few hours after Comey’s testimony. Sessions is expected to make the same statement under oath.
So, if you’re watching or not, we’re going to be following it here! Hang on!
I’m going to be listening into the Oral arguments made by the Justice (sic) Department appealing the stay on the Immigration Ban. Right now, Federal judges are hearing arguments about restoring Trump’s immigration and refugee executive order. Twenty-six Judges have now called the Ban unconstitutional.
We have the live audio stream here. There are other places to listen also.
A panel of three randomly selected federal judges will hear arguments from lawyers for the states of Washington and Minnesota and the Department of Justice. The arguments will be heard over telephone, so the livestream is audio-only. Each side will have 30 minutes to make its case.
This case will undoubtedly land on the desk of SCOTUS and this is the first step.
The judges are expected to then rule on the future of the executive order, although the ruling was not expected tonight. While their decision won’t determine the constitutionality of Trump’s immigration ban, it will determine whether a restraining order against Trump’s action, put in place by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, will remain.
The two states have argued that Trump’s order was likely to cause “irreparable harm” to businesses, schools, family relations and state residents’ freedom to travel and is unconstitutional because it discriminates on the basis of religion. The Justice Department said the travel restrictions are a matter of national security and the administration was excluding people from countries with ties to terrorism, not people of a certain religion.
Today, Trump suggested that the legal battle between the two states and the Justice Department could make it all the way to the Supreme Court.
“We’re going to take it through the system,” said Trump. “It’s very important for the country, regardless of me or whoever succeeds at a later date.”
On Capitol Hill today, Secretary of >Homeland Security John Kelly defended the immigration executive order, calling it “lawful and constitutional.”
Only a week old, the order has sparked protests and outcry across the country. The legal community has been grappling with the order, some travelers have been delayed, and others are wondering if they will be allowed previously approved entry into the United States.
Currently, the Judge is asking if there’s any evidence that the seven countries on the list posed the greatest risk of threat or history of threat. So far, the judges are skeptical about the proof or rationale. Clifton and Friedland have asked questions so far in the first 1/2 hour of the case provided by the Department of Justice (sic). Right now they’re asking for the number of Federal Offenses committed by people coming in from these countries.
Judges William Canby Jr., a Jimmy Carter appointee, Michelle Friedland, a Barack Obama appointee, and Richard Clifton, a George W. Bush appointee, will hear the government’s stay motion and are expected to render a decision by the end of the week.
Canby and Friedland joined to initially deny the government’s request for an immediate stay of the lower court ruling by Judge James Robart, who issued a nationwide hold on President Trump’s travel moratorium. Robart was an appointee of President George W. Bush and ruled in favor of the state of Washington’s challenge to the executive order, which was joined by Minnesota.
The states filed a brief early Monday challenging the ban, and the three-judge panel asked the federal government to reply by 3 p.m. Monday.
A ruling could come any time after that, although likely within a week, experts told the Los Angeles Times.
Of the three judges, Clifton is considered moderately conservative, while the two Democrat-appointed judges are seen as moderately liberal. The 9th Circuit is known as the most liberal federal appeals court, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Clifton, 66, received headlines a decade ago when he was a judge on the panel that upheld the imprisonment of journalist Josh Wolf. In 2006, Wolf refused to turn over videotapes of San Francisco demonstrations.
Friedland, 46, was born in Berkeley and graduated from Stanford as an undergraduate and from its law school. Before becoming a judge, she represented numerous corporate clients, as well as the University of California in constitutional cases. She lives in Mountain View.
Canby Jr., 85, is known as an expert in American Indian law. He garnered headlines in 2001 when he wrote the unanimous decision requiring the Professional Golfers Association to allow disabled golfer Casey Martin the right to use a golf cart when competing, citing the Americans with Disabilities Act. It was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
It’s just an hour so join us!!!
We’re in the cultivate patience part of the evening where the vast number of precincts in bumfuck America report first. Calm down!!! No real surprises yet!
We can wait a few more hours to clear out all the red state and rural stuff.
Just OM along with me!!!
Om President Hillary Clinton HUM
Om President Hillary Clinton Hum
Om President Hillary Clinton HUM!!!!
Thought we’d see if any one is going to watch the annual Alfred E Smith Dinner tonight. Any bets any which way to see if Donald Dumpf has any kind of sense of humor? Will Hillary come in looking like Joan Arc with a sword, shield, armor and a tightly surrounded by secret service?
Rumor has it, his inability to take a joke or seven about him uttered by President Obama at the 2011 Alfred E Smith dinner caused him to hoist himself this year on the American people.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have some tough shoes to fill — could either of them take over President Obama’s role as comedian in chief?
With 19 days left until the election, they’ll have their chance to try out Thursday night at the 71st annual Alfred E. Smith charity dinner, where many presidential candidates in the past have taken a break from the vitriol of the campaign and make fun of themselves.
It will be the last time the two will share a stage before Americans head to the polls on Nov. 8.
Both nominees are slated to attend the 9 p.m. ET white-tie event at the Waldorf Astoria, which will air live on CBSN, that benefits Catholic charities and some of the neediest children in New York. The fundraiser honors former New York governor Al Smith, who ran for president in 1928 and became the first Catholic nominee of a major party.
We’re undoubtedly going to see some awkward moments. What will the jokes actually be like at Cardinal Dolan’s little soiree? The dinner has not always been friendly or neutral politically.
A charitable foundation that takes his name was launched in 1946, two years after Smith’s death, and over the years its annual dinner has become “a ritual of American politics,” as historian Theodore H. White put it, where candidates of opposing parties would come together for a few hours of comic relief at the height of an intense campaign battle.
But the white-tie dinner itself has not been free of controversy, especially for its host. Cardinal Dolan, for example, was excoriated by conservative Catholics in 2012 when he continued the tradition by inviting President Obama, whose stance in support of abortion rights and other issues outraged some.
There was some precedent for Dolan to punt on an invitation to Obama: In 1996, then-Cardinal John O’Connor did not invite either of that year’s candidates because he did not want to give President Bill Clinton, an abortion rights supporter who was running for re-election, a church-sponsored platform that tends to show the candidates in a flattering light.
And in 2004, then-Cardinal Edward Egan did not invite either candidate, President George W. Bush or his challenger Democratic nominee, John Kerry, a Catholic who supports abortion rights.
But, what goes down tonight is kind’ve a big secret. Join us if you’re up for yucks and YUCK!!!!!Z
The dinner is such a ritual that it has its own episode of The West Wingdedicated to it. But there have been breaks in the tradition. In 1996, neither presidential candidate was invited. The official explanation was that the candidates were not able to confirm attendance, but it was widely reported that the Catholic leadership was dismayed by then-president Bill Clinton’s veto of a bill that would have outlawed late-term abortions. In 2004, the two candidates were not invited and there was speculation that it was Democratic nominee John Kerry’s pro-choice stance that was the issue.Trump and Clinton, however, are both expected to attend tonight, though neither campaign has shared details about what the candidates will say. A statement from the foundation confirming the candidates’ attendance promised that the two would “deliver the evening’s keynote speeches in the spirit of collegiality and good-humor that has become a hallmark of the gala.”In an election season filled with unusually harsh and spiteful rhetoric, some good-natured humor might be just the antidote the American people need.
We can only hope the secret service keeps Donald in a corner some where.
Are you ready? Grab the popcorn and your sense of humor, irony, and patriotism!!!