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Monthly Archives: May 2019


Mark Landler and Eileen Sullivan
9 hrs ago

WASHINGTON — The White House’s directive to hide a Navy destroyer named after Senator John McCain during President Trump’s recent visit to a naval base in Japan was driven, administration officials said on Thursday, by a fear of bad visuals — the name of the president’s nemesis clearly visible in photographs of him.
In truth, it would have been a bad visual for only one person: Mr. Trump.
Yet an effort to airbrush an American warship by covering its name with a giant tarp and then hiding it with a barge demonstrates how anxious the Trump administration has become about the grudges of the president. It also shows the extraordinary lengths officials in the bureaucracy are willing to go to avoid provoking Mr. Trump.
Sailors from the McCain were not invited to Mr. Trump’s speech on another ship, the Wasp, at the Yokosuka Naval Base, although crew members from most other American ships at the base were, a Navy service member based at Yokosuka said.
When several sailors from the McCain — wearing uniforms that bore the ship’s name and insignia — turned up anyway at the Wasp to hear Mr. Trump’s speech, they were turned away, the service member said. The service member, who requested anonymity because he was not allowed to speak publicly, said that a gate guard told the two sailors they were not allowed on the Wasp because they were from the McCain.
The hide-the-ship scheme, which Mr. Trump insisted he knew nothing about but called a “well meaning” gesture, drew a torrent of criticism on Thursday from retired military officers. They said it was an egregious attempt to politicize the armed forces, while Democratic lawmakers termed it petty vindictiveness against a dead war hero.
The episode came at the end of a visit in which Mr. Trump had already sided with a foreign dictator against his national security adviser over the threat posed by North Korean missiles, and joined the North Korean regime in heaping ridicule on a former vice president, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The email instructing the Navy to obscure the ship, the John S. McCain, came from the White House military operations office, after consultation with a White House advance team working in Japan, according to an administration official. The Navy initially complied with the order by hanging a tarp over the ship’s name. But higher-level officers got wind of the plan and ordered the tarp removed and the barge moved before Mr. Trump arrived.
“It sounds like someone in the chain of command made a boneheaded mistake in judgment,” said Jack Keane, a retired Army general who advises Mr. Trump and said he once tried to broker a reconciliation between him and Mr. McCain.
It is not clear, in any event, if Mr. Trump even saw the McCain during his brief visit. He arrived in Yokosuka on Marine One, and addressed the sailors in a hangar bay below decks on the Wasp.
The acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, has denied knowing about the White House directive. But questions about why the Navy has acquiesced to it are likely to dog Mr. Shanahan when he goes before the Senate for his confirmation hearing in the coming weeks.
Mr. Trump is not the first president to politicize the military: George W. Bush famously landed on the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and spoke to sailors under a banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” during the Iraq war. Nor is he the first president to nurse grudges: Richard M. Nixon once ordered a reference to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” deleted from a speech because it was a “Kennedy song,” played at the funeral of Robert F. Kennedy.
But Mr. Trump has taken both habits to greater extremes. Some of the nearly 1,000 sailors and Marines at his speech in Japan wore round patches emblazoned with a likeness of Mr. Trump and the words “Make Aircrew Great Again” — a play on his campaign slogan — on their flight suits.
Critics said Mr. Trump’s animus for Mr. McCain set off a cascade of decisions by lower-level officials that not only dishonored the senator’s memory but also disrespected the sailors who serve on the McCain. In addition to Mr. McCain, the ship is named after his grandfather, John S. McCain Sr., a Navy admiral during World War II, and his father, John S. McCain Jr., an admiral in the Vietnam War era.
“It’s beyond petty,” Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement. “It’s disgraceful, and the White House should be embarrassed.”
The McCain had already suffered tragedy. The ship, which fired missiles during the Iraq war and survived cat-and-mouse games with Chinese vessels in the South China Sea, was docked at the base in Yokosuka for repairs after a deadly crash off the coasts of Singapore and Malaysia in August 2017, when it collided with a merchant marine vessel. Ten sailors died in the accident.
Mr. McCain took a personal interest in the ship, visiting it in 2015 in Vietnam, where he had been held as a prisoner of war. Cmdr. Micah Murphy, who took command of the ship after the accident, once served as a legislative fellow to the senator. He declined to comment on Thursday.
Mr. Trump said he would not have ordered the ship to be hidden, but he declined to apologize to the sailors who had been kept out of his speech. And he expressed sympathy for the motivations of his staff.
“Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn’t like him, O.K.?” Mr. Trump told reporters. “They were well meaning, I will say. I didn’t know anything about it. I would never have done that.”
“So, I wasn’t a fan of John McCain — I never will be,” he added. “But certainly, I couldn’t care less whether or not there’s a boat named after his father.”
Mr. Trump repeated his reasons for why he disliked Mr. McCain.
“John McCain killed health care for the Republican Party, and he killed health care for the nation,” Mr. Trump said, a reference to the late senator’s critical vote against the president’s health care proposal in July 2017.
Critics faulted Mr. Trump for what they said was a petty war of words against Mr. McCain, who died last year of brain cancer. They also derided him for what they said were his attempts to divide the military.
“We have a long history of keeping our military apolitical,” said Representative Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee who is a former Pentagon official. “The president’s team felt it was appropriate to politicize this event.”
The email from the White House urging the Navy to move the McCain or make sure it was out of sight put officials in a difficult position. The McCain is still undergoing repairs, and moving it from its berth would be tremendously difficult, time consuming and set back the repair schedule.
Navy officials struggled to explain why a tarp was hung over the ship’s name, and later, where the president was scheduled to visit. The tarp, they said, was part of efforts to repair the hull; the barge was a painting barge.
But other officials offered a different account. They said the initial decisions were made by midlevel officers in Japan, working with the White House advance team. The tarp and barge were removed after more senior Navy officials, in Japan and at the Indo-Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii, thought better of complying with the White House request.
There were similar questions about the status of the sailors. Two ships at the base did not participate in the president’s visit: the McCain and the Stethem. Their sailors were given 96-hour weekend liberty for Memorial Day. Sailors from the other ships did not get the long liberty.
Officials claimed there was not room for all of the sailors to hear Mr. Trump on the Wasp, an amphibious assault vessel. But they did not explain why the McCain and Stethem were excluded, arguing only that ships were selected to have a broad representation of the sailors on the base. The Navy said that if any sailors were turned away from the Wasp, it was because the space on that ship was scarce.
Defenders of Mr. Trump said it was hard to imagine that he would penalize sailors because of his feelings for Mr. McCain.
“I expect he would see the sailors on the ship and want to talk to them,” Mr. Keane said, “and deflect the fact that the ship is named after Senator McCain.”
But other former military officers were withering in their condemnation of the White House and of the Navy’s role. Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired Army general who served in the Clinton administration, said on Twitter that if Mr. Shanahan knew about the White House’s order, he should resign.
Democrats vying to challenge Mr. Trump in 2020 lost no time in seizing on the episode.
“John McCain was a war hero, should be treated as a war hero — anything less than that is beneath anyone who doesn’t treat him that way,” Mr. Biden said to reporters in Delaware.
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, said: “This is not a show. Our military is not a prop. Ships and sailors are not to be toyed with for the benefit of a fragile president’s ego.”

Meghan McCain
✔ @MeghanMcCain

Trump is a child who will always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dads incredible life. There is a lot of criticism of how much I speak about my dad, but nine months since he passed, Trump won’t let him RIP. So I have to stand up for him.

It makes my grief unbearable.

Rebecca Ballhaus
✔ @rebeccaballhaus
NEW: The White House wanted the USS John McCain “out of sight” for Trump’s visit to Japan. A tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of the trip, and sailors—who wear caps bearing the ship’s name—were given the day off for Trump’s visit. w/@gluboldhttps://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-wanted-uss-john-mccain-out-of-sight-during-trump-japan-visit-11559173470?emailToken=ca887c08f025f5a5b7a01dbde32c838etBzq0FwbTXJrUQ8MUigaUjoAwWzGVOHT66U4wF7JggEVN49VMPJcywDwL4QIC90yIeTde53bioBxoijKFGMKce+lggzjkFmquqfBI+eoiwkN6qJGKPyIRwCj2ZtjqkkRe2VMQFp9bRWUdJs0k7z4QA%3D%3D&reflink=article_imessage_share …
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Reporting was contributed by Eric Schmitt, Annie Karni, Julian E. Barnes, John Ismay, Emily Cochrane and Noah Weiland from Washington, and Helene Cooper from Singapore.

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Speech by a smart person highlighting future paths for Graduates. MA

Deirdre Fernandes 8 hrs ago

CAMBRIDGE — German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered a sharp and not-so-veiled rebuke of President Trump and his brand of nationalism during her commencement speech at Harvard University on Thursday.

Merkel never mentioned Trump by name, but warned graduating students of the dangers of building walls and approaching the world’s problems — from climate change and trade to terrorism and forced migration — with an isolationist, go-it-yourself philosophy.
“Tear down walls of ignorance and narrow-mindedness,” Merkel told a sea of Harvard students and their family members, alumni, and university leaders who gathered for the annual rite of passage. “Changes for the better are possible if we tackle them together. . . . Take joint action in the interests of the multilateral, global world.”

Merkel, who has served as chancellor since 2005 and announced that she will step down in 2021, has a fraught relationship with Trump. They have clashed on issues of trade and immigration, with Trump threatening tariffs on European cars because of the trade imbalance between the countries. Trump has also taken to Twitter to suggest that Merkel is “ruining Germany.”
On Thursday, Merkel argued that protectionism and trade conflicts jeopardize both countries and “the very foundations of our prosperity.”
She also took what was seen by many in the audience as an apparent dig at Trump’s frequent and often unrestrained Twitter postings, and urged graduates to “take a moment to stop, be still, think, pause. Certainly, that takes courage,” Merkel said to a rousing ovation from the crowd. “That requires us not to describe lies as truth and truth as lies.”
Merkel was one of nine notable figures to receive an honorary degree from Harvard during its 368th commencement ceremony events this week. The German leader, who grew up in East Germany before the country was unified and who was trained as a chemist, is considered one of the most powerful politicians in Europe.
Her presence was also a reminder of how far Europe and the United States have come in a couple of generations. Merkel reminded students that her parents were about their age at the end of Hitler’s reign, and she spoke in front of Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, who is Jewish and whose mother survived the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Merkel, who spoke mostly in German and used a translator, spent much of her speech reflecting on her career and her country’s transformation this past century. She noted that post-war Germany was shaped at a Harvard commencement ceremony more than 70 years ago, when retired General George Marshall gave a short speech outlining a massive aid plan for Europe that helped turn Germany from a US enemy to a close ally.
She also stood by the European Union, even as it has come under attack by Trump, nationalist forces in Europe, and Britain, which is trying to leave the membership.
However, when Harvard’s alumni president suggested in her introduction that Merkel was the “defacto leader of the European Union,” the chancellor shook her head in disagreement.
For Merkel, the speech offered an opportunity to defend the ideas that have been the backbone of the US-European relationship since after World War II and why they remain relevant to the next generation of leaders.
“The transatlantic partnership based on democracy and human rights has given us benefits on all sides that have lasted more than 70 years,” she said.
Merkel recalled being a young scientist in communist East Germany, where the government prosecuted political dissidents and monitored its citizens. She would pass the Berlin Wall, which separated her from democratic West Germany, on her way to work and have “to turn away from freedom at the last minute,” Merkel said. “The Berlin Wall literally stood in my way.”
But that barrier eventually came down in 1989 as a wave of anti-communist protests swept across much of Europe.
“The fall of the Berlin Wall allowed me to step out into the open,” Merkel said.
Merkel did not speak directly to Trump’s call for a wall at the US-Mexico border to deter immigration at the southern border.
Critics have argued that the wall would be an ineffective way to curb illegal crossings and limit drug trafficking, and they have accused the president of using fear tactics and demonizing Central American immigrants.
Merkel counseled the 2019 Harvard graduates to remain optimistic that they can address the challenges ahead, including climate change.
But she reminded them to remain vigilant.
“Freedom is never something that can be taken for granted,” Merkel said. “Walls can collapse, dictatorships can disappear, we can halt global warming, we can eradicate starvation, we can eliminate diseases, we can give people, especially girls, access to education. . . . Let us surprise ourselves by showing what is possible.”
Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at deirdre.fernandes@globe.com.

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Mitch McConnell said he’d work to fill any Supreme Court vacancy in 2020.How far would you trust this head Neer do  well?

The silence and impotent utterings of this so called leader should be troubling to us all no matter what party we ascribe to. His actions have been as divisive as TOTUS. He can smile since his retirement and investments are secure and he allowed the high court be shifted to an extreme which will affect us all.

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Tim Eagan Comic Strip for May 30, 2019 Stuart Carlson Comic Strip for May 29, 2019 Mike Luckovich Comic Strip for May 30, 2019 Tom Toles Comic Strip for May 30, 2019 Phil Hands Comic Strip for May 30, 2019


Each day it becomes more apparent that we are in the grip (slippery though it may be) of what could be equated to the “Star Wars” saga. Our Senate is under the thumb of a bullying sycophant who with the aide of 500 plus neer do wells is running the US toward another unnecessary conflict. Totus has created a whirlwind of chaos as has been his M.O. for most of his life. He realized early on that chaos would hide his ineptitude and allowing him to seemingly ride to the rescue of a crisis he created. The real world does not work this way and it is up to the voters to resolve the issue. While we as voters are not ever perfect in our selections we have the ability to make corrections in subsequent election cycles. Information is the most powerful tool we have in order to have good government and we need to use our abilities to read and listen in a broader sense than we currently do. The “entertainment and opinion” news(?) is not the answer as their content is extremely slanted for effect and usually have no substantial truth in their message. The proven way to get information is to access several sources and get what is true. Consider the idea that voting is a test you study for with the passing grade being better government.

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To Those who support TOTUS-Wakeup! This delusional person has your future in his small mind and hands. He operates on perceived personal assaults on him as well as his ineptitude in the office. MA.
POLITICS 05/22/2019 11:47 am ET Updated 5 Days ago

By Paige Lavender and Igor Bobic
Plans to talk about infrastructure collapsed when Trump decided to hold an impromptu press conference about the Mueller probe. Negotiations over a bipartisan infrastructure package meant to overhaul the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges and waterways collapsed suddenly on Wednesday after President Donald Trump walked out of a previously scheduled meeting with top congressional Democrats at the White House.
Democrats waited about 15 minutes for Trump. Once he arrived, he spoke for about three minutes before leaving the room. In a press conference at the White House Rose Garden just afterward, Trump said he would not deal with Democrats on infrastructure matters until they ceased investigations of his administration following special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
The president then accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), one of the participants in the meeting, of being inconsiderate for saying earlier Wednesday that Trump “is engaged in a cover-up.”
In the press conference, Trump stood behind a sign reading “no collusion, no obstruction” and argued he’s “the most transparent president in history.”
“This meeting was set up a number of days ago … all of a sudden I hear last night they’re going to have a meeting right before this meeting to talk about the I-word,” Trump said, referring “impeachment,” not “infrastructure.”
Pelosi did call a meeting Wednesday morning to brief her caucus on the various efforts to oversee Trump’s administration. House Democrats have reportedly pushed the speaker to begin impeachment proceedings, with more and more speaking out publicly about the need to hold Trump accountable.
That apparently upset Trump, who refused to discuss infrastructure with Democratic leaders just before his press conference.
According to a source familiar with the meeting, Trump walked into the room, did not shake anyone’s hand or sit in his seat, and said talks over infrastructure, trade and farm assistance would have to wait until congressional investigations are done. He then walked out without acknowledging anyone in the room.
“He just took a pass,” Pelosi told reporters, surmising Trump left the room because of “a lack of confidence on his part.”
“I pray for the president of the United States and I pray for the United States of America,” she added.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), meanwhile, said Trump’s behavior during their meeting would “make your jaw drop.” He described the president greeting lawmakers with curtains closed in the room, accusing the White House of orchestrating a pre-planned stunt.
Sen. Chuck Schumer on Trump’s actions during his meeting with lawmakers
“It’s clear this was not a spontaneous move on the president’s part; it was planned,” Schumer said of Trump’s dismissal of infrastructure talk. “When we got in the room, the curtains were closed, there was a place for him to stand to say why he wouldn’t do infrastructure, then he went to the press with pre-made signs.”
Trump has criticized Democrats for continuing their inquiries around Mueller’s investigation. He also engaged in a public battle this week with GOP Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), who accused the president of engaging in “impeachable conduct.”
“They would have loved to have said we colluded. … These people were out to get us,” Trump said of the Mueller probe. “This was a one-sided, horrible thing. The bottom line is they said there’s no collusion, no collusion with Russia.”
Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation did not find enough evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mueller’s report says it “uncovered evidence of numerous links (i.e., contacts) between Trump Campaign officials and individuals having or claiming to have ties to the Russian government,” but that the links were not “sufficient to establish or sustain criminal charges.”
Although Mueller declined to make a formal determination on whether Trump obstructed justice, he laid out 10 instances of potential obstruction by Trump, and the report explicitly states that it “does not exonerate” Trump.
″[I]f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice,” the report says, “we would so state.”
Ryan Reilly and Sebastian Murdock contributed to reporting.

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By Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times 12 hrs ago

We’ll say this for President Trump: When he misunderstands something, he misunderstands it more than anyone else in creation.
Take the business of tariffs. Trump is unshakably convinced that his tariffs are a tax on China. He repeated this grossly erroneous claim just Thursday, during his announcement of a new $16 billion bailout for farmers harmed by, yes, his tariff war.
“Just so you understand,” he said, “these tariffs are paid for largely by China. A lot of people like to say by ‘us.’ ”
Well, the people who say that are economists and other experts who have done the math, and found that the tariffs Trump has imposed on imports from China cost American consumers $68.8 billion last year, though some of that spending got funneled back to some domestic producers in the form of higher prices (which their customers, of course, paid).
But our main topic here is that $16 billion bailout, and what it says about who pays for Trump’s trade war and how much. The newly announced bailout comes on top of $12 billion in emergency farm aid he announced last year, aimed heavily at soybean farmers whose exports to China have fallen to zero, thanks to the trade war.
As Jordan Weissmann observes in Slate, the $28 billion total is “about what the U.S. spent last school year on Pell grants for college students.” That raises doubts about Trump’s priorities.
To get a sense of where these expenses fall, it’s worthwhile to follow the money. The $68.8 billion tariff cost estimated by a team of economists led by Pablo D. Fajgelbaum of UCLA, is reflected in the prices of imports, which are passed through almost entirely to U.S. consumers.
The money is paid by importers to the U.S. government, which can redistribute it to the direct victims of the trade war, such as farmers, if it wishes. But that’s a narrow recompense. It doesn’t help collateral victims, such as the buyers of foreign-made washing machines, the median price of which rose to $835 from $749 after tariffs were imposed on the appliances (at the behest of Whirlpool, a domestic manufacturer). It won’t help the estimated 40,000 beer industry workers who have lost their jobs, in part because of tariffs on the aluminum used to make cans, according to industry reports. Nor will it help others who lose their jobs if the tariffs foment a general economic slowdown.
Nor are the agricultural bailouts evenly distributed within the farm sector. They’re heavily concentrated among Midwestern growers, including soybean farmers, leaving dairy farmers and others wanting. It’s proper to note that the pain in this sector isn’t a direct result of U.S. tariffs, which at least return some money to the Treasury: It’s the result of retaliatory tariffs from China and other trading partners, which destroys foreign demand for U.S. production. No one pockets any gains from these tariffs; they’re simply a deadweight loss to international trade.
As farmers are well aware, the bailouts won’t compensate them for the longer-term damage to their export prospects. Soybean farmers can’t count their losses simply in terms of lower annual exports while the tariffs are in effect; they’re fearful, rightly, that when former customers such as the Chinese turn to other countries for their supplies, they may never come back. “The noose is getting tightened a little bit more than it was before,” Michigan farm spokesman Jim Byrum said a couple of weeks ago.
So U.S. consumers are paying a tax to the U.S. government in the form of higher prices for imported goods. Some of those funds are circulated back into the economy as emergency aid — but it’s not going back to all the consumers who paid the tariffs. Nor is its certain that the tariff revenue is actually going to the trade war victims: The government is running a deficit, caused in considerable part by the tax cuts enacted in December 2017, which largely benefited corporations and the wealthy. Arguably, it’s their tax breaks, not the losses of soybean farmers, that are being subsidized by Trump’s tariff revenue.
Moreover, because the farm losses are due to foreign, not domestic, tariffs, no revenue at all is coming to the United States as a result. The bailouts are our expense, completely. That’s another way in which the tariffs are paid not by China, but by “us,” Mr. Trump. See how it works?
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Hiltzik writes a daily blog appearing on latimes.com. His business column appears in print every Sunday, and occasionally on other days. As a member of the Los Angeles Times staff, he has been a financial and technology writer and a foreign correspondent. He is the author of six books, including “Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age” and “The New Deal: A Modern History.” Hiltzik and colleague Chuck Philips shared the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for articles exposing corruption in the entertainment industry.
©2019 Los Angeles Times

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Where is “Botch: McConnell in all of this? As a “leader” he should be on the front line of this and other poor decisions made by this Administration. Another clear case of aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise. MA

By David Brown 11 hrs ago

The Trump administration on Friday notified Congress it plans to sell $8.1 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates without congressional approval — a move that has incensed members from both parties who have sought to cut off military aid for the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen.

The decision covers 22 pending transfers of munitions, aircraft parts, and other supplies “to deter Iranian aggression and build partner self-defense capacity,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Normally such sales are subject to congressional approval. But Trump is using a loophole in the Arms Export Control Act that allows him to bypass the process in case of emergency. The move is similar to Trump’s declaration of a border emergency this year, which allowed him to divert military funds to pay for border barriers.
Pompeo, who cited previous instances in which the arms sales authority was used by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, said the step was critical to help allies maintain their armed forces in a period of “increasing regional volatility.” And he lashed out at Congress for delaying the shipments.
“These national security concerns have been exacerbated by many months of Congressional delay in addressing these critical requirements, and have called into doubt our reliability as a provider of defense capabilities, opening opportunities for U.S. adversaries to exploit,” Pompeo said.
But he insisted that the decision would be “a one-time event.”
“This specific measure does not alter our long-standing arms transfer review process with Congress,” he insisted.
Nonetheless, the move was deeply unpopular on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have sought to halt arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen. The coalition has been blamed for rising civilian deaths in that country.
Trump recently vetoed legislation that would restrict American support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
In a statement Friday, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) confirmed that the relevant committees had been notified of the pending sales.
“There is no new ‘emergency’ reason to sell bombs to the Saudis to drop in Yemen, and doing so only perpetuates the humanitarian crisis there,” Murphy said. “This sets an incredibly dangerous precedent that future presidents can use to sell weapons without a check from Congress.”
Murphy said he’s looking into new legislation to restrict the sales. “We have the constitutional duty to declare war and the responsibility to oversee arm sales that contravene our national security interests,” he said. “If we don’t stand up to this abuse of authority, we will permanently box ourselves out of deciding who we should sell weapons to.”
Several other members of Congress have announced their intention to block any further weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“Every bomb sold to Saudi Arabia is another bomb for Saudi bomber jets to drop on Yemeni hospitals, weddings, markets, and school buses,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), an outspoken opponent of America’s involvement in Yemen, said in a statement. “Any claim from President Trump that selling weapons to Saudi Arabia constitutes an ‘emergency’ is a farcical attempt to obscure the shameful reality that ‘made in the U.S.A’ bombs are killing innocent civilians and fueling the world’s worst humanitarian emergency in Yemen.”
Pompeo insisted, however, that the administration sees little choice but to bypass Congress. “The United States is, and must remain, a reliable security partner to our allies and partners around the world,” he said. “These partnerships are a cornerstone of our National Security Strategy, which this decision reaffirms.”

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Why is that “BOTCH” can’t see the forest for the trees?. Maybe it’s because Nancy would become President? MA

By Tom Coleman Special to The Star
May 22, 2019 08:35 PM, Updated May 24, 2019 08:32 AM
US President Donald Trump reacted to a freshman Democratic congresswoman’s diatribe predicting his impeachment while using a vulgarity, by saying “You can’t impeach somebody doing a great job.” By AP
According to the redacted Mueller report, candidate Donald Trump, along with members of his team, on multiple occasions welcomed Russian interference on his behalf during the 2016 presidential campaign. For example, the report details a meeting between the Trump campaign chairman and a Russian intelligence asset where polling information and campaign strategy were shared.
While Mueller did not find sufficient evidence that Trump or his campaign had violated a criminal statute, the net effect was that the Trump campaign encouraged a foreign adversary to use and misrepresent stolen information on social media platforms to defraud U.S. voters. Because the presidency was won in this way, the president’s election victory brought forth nothing less than an illegitimate presidency.
Mueller presents a strong case that in addition to receiving campaign help from Russian operatives, the president obstructed justice — a crime in itself. Mueller declined to charge the sitting president because of current Department of Justice regulations that prohibit it. That policy is wrong in my opinion, and must be changed in the future when reason and rationality return to our politics.
What should be done now? There are some Democratic members in the House majority who want to put off any discussion of impeachment until after the 2020 election. They believe it will only strengthen the hand of the president, who will claim he is a victim and will respond with his mantra of, “No collusion, no obstruction, case closed.” Other Democratic members of Congress want impeachment proceedings to begin.
The political calculus not to pursue impeachment is understandable. Current polls show a majority of voters do not favor it. But critical times require exceptional leadership. Lawmakers of both parties should not blindly follow the polls but instead follow the evidence and their conscience. Politics should not rule the day. Partisan politics is what got us to this dangerous place — so dangerous, I believe, that the survival of our democracy is at risk.
Contemplate the possible behavioral problems of a Trump untethered from the law and who is frequently untethered from reality. Would we be surprised if he were to repeatedly brandish his get out of jail card while breaking, at will, democratic norms, presidential precedents and criminal statutes? Trump said early in his campaign that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?” Are we now at that point?
Because DOJ regulations put a president above the law while in office, I believe the only viable option available is for the House of Representatives, under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, to open its own investigation, hold public hearings and then determine if they should pursue removal of the president through impeachment. There is a trove of evidence in the Mueller report indicating Trump has committed multiple impeachable offenses, including abuse of power and lying to the American public. Both were part of the articles of impeachment brought against President Richard Nixon. This process would allow a full public review of wrongdoing, while providing Americans an opportunity to obtain a better understanding of the consequences to our national security and the lingering threat to our democracy.
If this process leads to impeaching Trump in the House of Representatives and also results in convicting him in the Senate, his illegitimacy would survive through Vice President Mike Pence’s succession to the presidency. Because the misdeeds were conducted to assure the entire Trump-Pence ticket was elected, both former candidates — Pence as well as Trump — have been disgraced and discredited. To hand the presidency to an illegitimate vice president would be to approve and reward the wrongdoing while the lingering stench of corruption would trail any Pence administration, guaranteeing an untenable presidency. If Trump is impeached, then Pence should not be allowed to become president. The vice president should resign or be impeached as well if for no other reason that he has been the chief enabler for this illegitimate president.
Alternatively, the 25th Amendment to the Constitution provides for the removal of a president. It sets forth a cumbersome procedure requiring the vice president to convince a majority of the Cabinet to recommend removal to Congress because the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office. By a two-thirds vote, Congress could then end a presidency. The removal of the president and replacement with the vice president would have the same result as if the president had been impeached. The vice president would succeed to the presidency.
In addition to these constitutional provisions, the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 sets the order of officials who are in line to succeed a president, regardless of the reason. The first three officials listed are the vice president, the speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate. If the vice president were unable to ascend to the presidency for whatever reason — for example resignation or impeachment — then the speaker would become president. Today that individual is Rep. Nancy Pelosi. It is unknown whether she would agree to serve as president or that the majority of the House would want her to do so.
The Constitution does not require the speaker of the House actually to be a member of the House of Representatives. Under these circumstances, with the specter of a national crisis looming over the vacancy of the presidency and vice presidency simultaneously, consideration should be given by House members to draft a nationally-known individual for speaker who would appeal to the vast majority of Americans. That person, after being sworn in as speaker, would ascend to the highest office in the land. Under the provisions of the 25th Amendment, the new president would nominate a vice president, who would take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both chambers of Congress.
What if House Democrats decide not to embark on impeachment? If that were the case, I believe the public would conclude Democrats are no better than the Republicans who have enabled Trump for the past two years, putting party above country. It could hand Trump a second term. Failure to pursue impeachment is to condone wrongdoing. To condone wrongdoing is to encourage more of it. To encourage wrongdoing is to give up on the rule of law and our democracy. To give up on the rule of law and democracy invites autocracy and eventually dictatorship. History has taught us this outcome. In my lifetime, it has occurred in other places including the Soviet Union and Germany, as well as in Russia and Venezuela today.
Tom Coleman is a former Republican U.S. representative from Missouri. He has served as an adjunct professor at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and at American University.

Read more here: https://www.kansascity.com/opinion/readers-opinion/guest-commentary/article230713224.html#storylink=cpy

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