China says US orders it to close its consulate in Houston

U.S. orders China to close its consulate in Houston amid rising tension

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Eastern Oregon residents eye revolt to join Idaho amid daily protests in Portland

Quiz: Who said these famous quotes in history?

NIH’s ‘Shark Tank’-style competition helps develop rapid coronavirus test

Quiz: Can you pass a European history test?

War footing: Trump takes on Putin, China in international power battle

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Victor Davis Hanson

Why the current cultural revolution isn’t like the ‘60s

Cal Thomas

They’re coming for our guns (really)

Michael McKenna

Progressives must destroy American history to complete their new order revolution

View all

Question of the Day

Should schools re-open in the fall?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

A firetruck is positioned outside the Chinese Consulate Wednesday, July 22, 2020, in Houston. Authorities responded to reports of a fire at the consulate. Witnesses said that people were burning paper in what appeared to be trash cans, according to … more >

Print

By Lauren Meier

The Washington Times

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The U.S. on Wednesday ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, citing efforts to protect American intellectual property.

The move marks the latest in a series of increasing escalation between Washington and Beijing over trade, human rights, technology and national security.

While the Trump administration did not provide details behind the reason it is closing the Chinese consulate in Houston, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed to action being taken by the White House to end alleged intellectual property theft.

SEE ALSO: Rubio: Chinese Consulate in Houston is a ‘front’ for ‘massive spy operation’

“The United States will not tolerate [China‘s] violations of our sovereignty and intimidation of our people, just as we have not tolerated [its] unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs, and other egregious behavior,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

One day prior, the Justice Department accused the Chinese government of running an elaborate cyberhacking operation aimed at stealing secrets from Western companies, including U.S. businesses racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic that began in China six months ago.

Federal prosecutors claimed that two Chinese hackers were working with the government in Beijing to steal hundreds of millions of dollars and secrets through a yearslong operation that has recently targeted biotechnology companies, including one in Maryland and another in Massachusetts.

“President Trump has said, ‘Enough, we’re not going to allow this to continue to happen,’ ” Mr. Pompeo said while on an official visit to Copenhagen.

Back in Houston, firefighters responded to calls of papers being set ablaze on the consulate’s property but were denied entry to the grounds, local news reported.

Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, on Wednesday said the Chinese consulate in Houston is basically a front for a massive spy operation after the State Department ordered the consulate to close.

“So this consulate is basically a front. … It’s kind of [the] central node of a massive spy operation — commercial espionage, defense espionage — also influence agents to try to influence Congress,” Mr. Rubio, the acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on Fox Business Network.

Mr. Rubio said the closure was “long overdue” and predicted that China would close one of the United States’ facilities in China as a response.

China has condemned the U.S.’ move to shut down the consulate.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said during a news conference Wednesday that “the unilateral closure of China’s consulate general in Houston within a short period of time is an unprecedented escalation of its recent actions against China.”

He warned of firm countermeasures if the U.S. does not reverse itself. Besides its embassy in Beijing, the U.S. has five consulates in mainland China, according to its website. They are in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan and Shenyang.

At the height of the coronavirus outbreak in China, the U.S. in January closed its consulate in Wuhan and has since decided to not reopen the facility.

• David Sherfinski contributed to this story, which is also based on wire reports.

Trump forgoes insults of past, calls Mexico cherished friend

Trump forgoes insults of past, calls Mexico cherished friend

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Strategic considerations’: John Roberts’ swing votes all about politics, court watchers say

Quiz: Can you pass the Declaration of Independence test?

Misguided ‘defund police’ movement undercuts effort to change culture, experts warn

Quiz: Do you remember the 2000s?

Mayflower Hotel speech drove liberal media overkill, empty Russia scandal

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Andrew P. Napolitano

America’s tyrants and anarchists squeeze personal liberties in a vise

Tammy Bruce

Marxist mobs sweep into cities, call for defunding of police, tear down statues and create havoc

Joseph Curl

CNN loved Obama trip to ‘majestic’ Mount Rushmore, hates Trump visit to ‘racist’ monument

View all

Question of the Day

Should Bubba Wallace apologize, as Trump suggested?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this April 5, 2020, file photo, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks at the National Palace in Mexico City. For his first foreign trip as president, López Obrador travels to Washington Tuesday, July 7, 2020, to meet with … more >

Print

By DEB RIECHMANN and JILL COLVIN

Associated Press

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump, who has denigrated Mexican migrants and threatened the U.S. ally with crippling tariffs, welcomed President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to the White House on Wednesday with lofty language and he called America’s southern neighbor a cherished partner. Trump said the countries’ economic and security relationship was reaching new heights.

Trump’s affectionate words were in stark contrast to the days when he called Mexicans “rapists” and railed against migrants entering the United States illegally. Lopez Obrador had cordial words for Trump, too, saying that while the two leaders have disagreed, it was better to find common ground and avoid slinging insults.

“Instead of remembering the insults, things like that, against me, we have received from you President Trump an understanding and respect,” Lopez Obrador said. “Some people thought ideological difference differences would inevitably lead to confrontations.”

TOP STORIES

Coronavirus 'strike teams' issue citations to 52 California businesses

Coronavirus death rate keeps dropping even as alarm grows over summer surge

CNN loved Obama trip to 'majestic' Mount Rushmore, hates Trump visit to 'racist' monument

Back home, Lopez Obrador has received criticism for making this his first foreign trip as president, just four months before the election. With no meetings planned with former Vice President Joe Biden, Lopez Obrador seemingly is banking that Trump will win a second term.

The meeting was billed as a celebration of economic ties and the new North American trade agreement, which took effect July 1. Critics in Mexico worry that Lopez Obrador is being used as a political pawn to bolster the Trump campaign.

Lopez Obrador arrived at the White House after morning stops at the Lincoln Memorial and a statue of Benito Juarez, a former Mexican president and national hero. Culminating the visit was a planned White House dinner with about 20 U.S. and Mexican business leaders, including Carlos Slim, one of the richest men in the world.

Trump and Lopez Obrador discussed the United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal. It replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was blamed for prompting U.S. companies to shift manufacturing to Mexico. The visit could give Trump an opening to bash his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, for voting for NAFTA when he was a senator..

The Democratic Party chairman, Tom Perez, recalled Trump’s insults of Mexicans and said the president was now trying to take credit for a trade deal that Democrats in Congress helped make possible.

“Latino communities, immigrants, and the American people deserve a president with the empathy and experience to lead us forward, not a demagogue who cheers on bigotry from the White House,” Perez said, urging voters to elect Biden.

A former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson, questioned the timing of the visit and Mexico’s decision not to meet with Democrats. In a letter to Trump last week, a dozen Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus denounced the meeting with Mexico’s president as an effort to distract voters from rising cases of coronavirus in the United States and said it was a “blatant attempt” to politicize relations between the allies.

Jacobson, ambassador from 2016 to 2018, said she saw no important reasons for Lopez Obrador to make the trip. Canada’s prime minister and Trump rival, Justin Trudeau, decided not to come to Washington celebrate the agreement, citing scheduling conflicts.

Jacobson expected López Obrador, who is known as AMLO, to hear that he needs to improve the investment climate in Mexico, because without it, the deal alone will not pull his economy out of its recession.

With the U.S. looking to reduce its supply chain in China, Mexico is well-positioned to step into the void, administration officials told reporters on a call outlining the visit. Cooperation between the two countries allowed the flow of goods to continue across the U.S.-Mexico border despite shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the White House.

Mexico is the largest U.S. trading partner in goods, and during the pandemic the two nations worked closely to keep supply chains going so plants in both countries would not have to close because of a lack of parts from the other, officials said.

Mexicans remain wary of Trump, whose denunciations are intended to rally his most loyal supporters. Trump has threatened tariffs to strong-arm Mexico into playing an uncomfortable role in U.S. immigration policy and insisted that Mexico will pay for a border wall meant to keep migrants out of the U.S.

López Obrador has avoided fights with Trump and the two have a surprisingly warm relationship despite coming from different ends of the political spectrum. Trump flashed a thumb’s up as he and a military honor guard greeted Lopez Obrador to the White House and they posed for pictures.

Lopez Obrador, a veteran leftist, likes to point out that Trump helped Mexico reach a deal with other oil-producing nations to cut production and aided Mexico in obtaining more ventilators to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. Both presidents talk about a blossoming friendship that seems to stem from their pursuit of nationalist agendas.

If Trump were to win a second term, López Obrador could be calculating he would have a friend for the remaining four years of his administration. If Biden were to take the White House, the Mexican leader would hope the new American president would respect the importance of the bilateral relationship and not hold a grudge.

___

Associated Press writer Christopher Sherman in Mexico City contributed to this report.

Susan Rice: Donald Trump doing ‘our arch-enemy’s bidding’ with Vladimir Putin G-7 invite

Susan Rice: Trump doing ‘our arch-enemy’s bidding’ with Putin G-7 invite

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Morale is lower with White officers’ in wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

Grim math of the border: Media hypes ‘haunting’ deaths, ignores thousands of rescues

Quiz: Can you match the nickname to the Major League Baseball player?

Benjamin Netanyahu maintaining vow to annex West Bank land by July 1

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Michael McKenna

GOP cannot waste opportunity to address roots of ‘systemic racism’

Cheryl K. Chumley

America groans under the weight of disunity

Everett Piper

Al Gore, U.N. secretary-general and other elitists call for a ‘great reset’ of the global economy

View all

Question of the Day

Would you vote by mail if given the option?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

National Security Adviser Susan Rice walks to Marine One on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base with President Barack Obama to travel to Antalya, … more >

Print

By Tom Howell Jr.

The Washington Times

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Sunday accused President Trump of doing “our arch-enemy’s bidding” by inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Group of Seven summit amid a debate over intelligence that alleges Moscow offered bounties to Taliban fighters willing to target U.S. soldiers.

Ms. Rice, who served as President Obama’s national security adviser from 2013 to 2017, also said the president is surrounded by “sycophants and weaklings” who are too afraid to give him the full picture on Russia.

“We still, I want to remind you, have credible intelligence that the Russians are trying to kill U.S. servicemen and women in Afghanistan,” she told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “This is not the time to be handing Putin an olive branch. This is the time to be working up options to punish him. And yet, that’s not what happened.”

TOP STORIES

Sheriff vows to deputize gun owners if protests turn violent

Jesus as lesbian is Hollywood's next affront

'Rattled' Republicans beg Trump to stop the bleeding as reelection doubts creep in

Capitol Hill leaders are receiving classified intelligence hearings on the alleged bounty payments to Taliban fighters, which were first reported in the New York Times.

Some reports say the administration was aware of the intelligence and put it in a presidential briefing earlier this year. But the White House says the president was never informed about the issue because intelligence officials hadn’t reached a consensus on the information.

Mr. Trump went a step further on Twitter, calling the story a “hoax” designed to hurt him and the GOP in an election year.

The president’s critics say he should be weighing forms of retaliation while the information is vetted, instead of moving to invite Mr. Putin to a G7 summit the U.S. is set to host later this year. Russia was ousted from the club of nations after annexing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Ms. Rice slammed the president’s decision-making amid rumors former Vice President Joseph R. Biden is vetting her as a potential running mate this November.

She is reportedly being considered alongside Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Tammy Duckworth, as well as Rep. Val Demmings, among other women.

Last month, Ms. Rice said in an interview that she would “certainly say yes” if asked to be Mr. Biden’s running mate.

Speaking to NBC, she said she just wants to help Democrats.

“I am going to do everything I can to help get Joe Biden elected and help him succeed as president,” Ms. Rice told NBC’s Meet the Press.” “Whether I’m his running mate or a door-knocker, I don’t mind. I just want to get Joe Biden elected and see the Democrats control the Senate and retain the House.”

• Lauren Meier contributed to this report.

US peace envoy looks to start of talks to end Afghan war

US peace envoy looks to start of talks to end Afghan war

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Morale is lower with White officers’ in wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

Grim math of the border: Media hypes ‘haunting’ deaths, ignores thousands of rescues

Quiz: Can you match the nickname to the Major League Baseball player?

Benjamin Netanyahu maintaining vow to annex West Bank land by July 1

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Scott Walker

Celebrating an exceptional country on Independence Day

Daniel N. Hoffman

Gina Haspel and CIA stream recruitment efforts

Michael McKenna

Collins is GOP’s best bet in Georgia; Loeffler should recognize that

View all

Question of the Day

Would you vote by mail if given the option?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

FILE – In this March 9, 2020 file photo, Washington’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, attends Ashraf Ghani’s inauguration ceremony at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan. According to a statement released Thursday, July 2, 2020, by the U.S. Embassy in … more >

Print

By KATHY GANNON

Associated Press

Thursday, July 2, 2020

ISLAMABAD (AP) – Washington’s peace envoy told Pakistani officials that Afghanistan’s Taliban and Kabul’s political leaders were close to starting negotiations to decide the face of a post-war Afghanistan, a crucial next step in a U.S. deal signed with the Taliban in February, according to a statement released Thursday by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

Zalmay Khalilzad was in the region to pave the way for intra-Afghan negotiations expected to begin sometime this month. No date had been set, but Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said late Wednesday the first round would be held in Doha, where the Taliban maintain a political office.

Both sides must still release the remainder of prisoners laid out in the deal, which calls for the Afghan government to free 5,000 Taliban and the insurgents to release 1,000 government personnel. So far, the government has freed 3,500 and the Taliban about 700.

TOP STORIES

Barr orders legal action against governors whose COVID-19 actions infringe on civil rights

Tom Hanks insults millions of 'p—y' Americans who won't wear masks: 'Shame on you'

Corey LaJoie to drive 'Trump 2020' car in NASCAR Brickyard 400

“Ambassador Khalilzad noted how close the sides are to starting intra-Afghan negotiations and the importance of resolving remaining issues quickly, underscoring the promise peace holds for regional stability and development,” the embassy statement said of his meetings in Pakistan with the army chief and foreign minister.

Earlier this week, U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to Taliban chief negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. In Monday’s video call, Pompeo “made clear the expectation for the Taliban to live up to their commitments, which include not attacking Americans,” according to the State Department.

Khalilzad’s latest foray into the region comes as the White House is embroiled in a controversy over whether Russia paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants or drug dealers close to the Taliban to kill U.S. and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan.

U.S. President Donald Trump has denied knowing about the suspected bounties. Russia has called the charges nonsense and the Taliban said they have not needed financial incentives from foreign intelligence agencies to wage war against U.S. and NATO troops.

The New York Times first reported the bounties, which were confirmed by The Associated Press. U.S. intelligence officials also said they were looking at whether bounties were involved in the deaths of U.S. soldiers in early 2019, particularly, and an April 2019 attack that killed three U.S. soldiers, as well as in so-called insider attacks in which Afghan National Army soldiers turned on their U.S. allies and killed them.

Khalilzad was appointed in September 2018 to open direct peace talks with the Taliban, however until mid- 2019 both the United States and Taliban were locked in battle as both sides sought to improve their negotiating position with military victories. The killing of a U.S. soldier in a Taliban attack on the capital Kabul in in September 2019 prompted President Trump to declare peace talks with the Taliban dead.

They restarted in December and on Feb. 29 this year the deal was signed in Doha. At the time, the agreement was touted as Afghanistan’s best chance at peace in decades of war.

Under the deal, the Taliban have committed to fighting terrorist groups, not supporting terrorist groups and ensuring Afghanistan is not used by anyone to attack the U.S. or its allies.

The Taliban also said they would not attack U.S. and NATO troops but would continue their fight against Afghan National Security Forces. One of the first items on the agenda of intra-Afghan negotiations is apparently a permanent cease-fire.

Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen said, however, that no talks will begin until all 5,000 Taliban listed in the agreement are freed. However, President Ghani on Wednesday said the government will announce on Sunday the final list of Taliban who will be released, suggesting some would not be freed and instead replaced by other prisoners.

The Taliban have said there could be no exceptions to the names on their list, which was approved by the U.S. during negotiations.

Khalilzad will hold videoconferences with Afghan leaders rather than travel to Kabul because of the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic. Afghanistan has recorded more than 32,000 infections but the real number is thought to be much higher.

Khalilzad, who was also in Uzbekistan was to also travel to Doha, where he is to meet Taliban negotiators.

______

Associated Press Writer Tameem Akhgar contributed to this report

White House aware of Russian bounties in 2019: AP sources

White House aware of Russian bounties in 2019: AP sources

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Morale is lower with White officers’ in wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

Grim math of the border: Media hypes ‘haunting’ deaths, ignores thousands of rescues

Quiz: Can you match the nickname to the Major League Baseball player?

Benjamin Netanyahu maintaining vow to annex West Bank land by July 1

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Clifford D. May

Meet the global leadership restrainers: Making America second-rate again

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

Oxford professor Archie Brown’s ignorant assessment of Ronald Reagan

Charles Hurt

Beware, President Trump, of the enthusiasm gap …

View all

Question of the Day

Would you vote by mail if given the option?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this Nov. 30, 2017, file photo, American soldiers wait on the tarmac in Logar province, Afghanistan. Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban … more >

Print

By James LaPorta

Associated Press

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence.

The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials. Then-National Security Adviser John Bolton also told colleagues at the time that he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.

The White House didn’t respond to questions about Trump or other officials’ awareness of Russia’s provocations in 2019. The White House has said Trump wasn’t — and still hasn’t been — briefed on the intelligence assessments because they haven’t been fully verified. However, it’s rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of a doubt before it is presented to top officials.

TOP STORIES

Joe Rogan mocks the idea of equating CHOP/CHAZ with progress: 'They beat the f— out of people'

Couple who pulled guns on protesters support Black Lives Matter, attorney says

Mayflower Hotel speech drove liberal media overkill, empty Russia scandal

Bolton declined to comment Monday when asked by the AP if he’d briefed Trump about the matter in 2019. On Sunday, he suggested to NBC that Trump was claiming ignorance of Russia’s provocations to justify his administration’s lack of response.

“He can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it,” Bolton said.

The revelations cast new doubt on the White House’s efforts to distance Trump from the Russian intelligence assessments. The AP reported Sunday that concerns about Russian bounties also were in a second written presidential daily briefing this year and that current national security adviser Robert O’Brien had discussed the matter with Trump. O’Brien denies doing that.

On Monday, O’Brien said that while the intelligence assessments regarding Russian bounties “have not been verified,” the administration has “been preparing should the situation warrant action.”

The administration’s earlier awareness of the Russian efforts raises additional questions about why Trump didn’t take punitive action against Moscow for efforts that put the lives of American service members at risk. Trump has sought throughout his time in office to improve relations with Russia and President Vladimir Putin, moving this year to try to reinstate Russia as part of a group of world leaders it had been kicked out of.

Officials said they didn’t consider the intelligence assessments in 2019 to be particularly urgent, given Russian meddling in Afghanistan isn’t a new occurrence. The officials with knowledge of Bolton’s apparent briefing for Trump said it contained no “actionable intelligence,” meaning the intelligence community didn’t have enough information to form a strategic plan or response. However, the classified assessment of Russian bounties was the sole purpose of the meeting.

The officials insisted on anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose the highly sensitive information.

The intelligence that surfaced in early 2019 indicated Russian operatives had become more aggressive in their desire to contract with the Taliban and members of the Haqqani Network, a militant group aligned with the Taliban in Afghanistan and designated a foreign terrorist organization in 2012 during the Obama administration.

The National Security Council and the undersecretary of defense for intelligence held meetings regarding the intelligence. The NSC didn’t respond to questions about the meetings.

Late Monday, the Pentagon issued a statement saying it was evaluating the intelligence but so far had “no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations.”

“Regardless, we always take the safety and security of our forces in Afghanistan — and around the world — most seriously and therefore continuously adopt measures to prevent harm from potential threats,” said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.

Concerns about Russian bounties flared anew this year after members of the elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group, known to the public as SEAL Team Six, raided a Taliban outpost and recovered roughly $500,000 in U.S. currency. The funds bolstered the suspicions of the American intelligence community that Russians had offered money to Taliban militants and linked associations.

The White House contends the president was unaware of this development, too.
The officials told the AP that career government officials developed potential options for the White House to respond to the Russian aggression in Afghanistan, which was first reported by The New York Times. However, the Trump administration has yet to authorize any action.

The intelligence in 2019 and 2020 surrounding Russian bounties was derived in part from debriefings of captured Taliban militants. Officials with knowledge of the matter told the AP that Taliban operatives from opposite ends of the country and from separate tribes offered similar accounts.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied Russian intelligence officers had offered payments to the Taliban in exchange for targeting U.S. and coalition forces.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the Taliban’s chief negotiator, a spokesman for the insurgents said Tuesday, but it was unknown whether there was any mention during their conversation of allegations about Russian bounties. Pompeo pressed the insurgents to reduce violence in Afghanistan and discussed ways of advancing a U.S.-Taliban peace deal signed in February, the Taliban spokesman tweeted.

The U.S. is investigating whether Americans died because of the Russian bounties. Officials are focused on an April 2019 attack on an American convoy. Three U.S. Marines were killed after a car rigged with explosives detonated near their armored vehicles as they returned to Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. military installation in Afghanistan.

The Defense Department identified them as Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, 43, of Newark, Delaware; Sgt. Benjamin Hines, 31, of York, Pennsylvania; and Cpl. Robert Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, New York. They were infantrymen assigned to 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, a reserve infantry unit headquartered out of Garden City, New York.

Hendriks’ father told the AP that even a rumor of Russian bounties should have been immediately addressed.

“If this was kind of swept under the carpet as to not make it a bigger issue with Russia, and one ounce of blood was spilled when they knew this, I lost all respect for this administration and everything,” Erik Hendriks said.

Three other service members and an Afghan contractor were wounded in the attack. As of April 2019, the attack was under a separate investigation, unrelated to the Russian bounties.

The officials who spoke to the AP also said they were looking closely at insider attacks from 2019 to determine if they were linked to Russian bounties.

___

Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Deb Riechmann in Washington, Deepti Hajela in New York and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.

Iran issues arrest warrant for President Trump

Iran issues arrest warrant for President Trump

Tehran vows Trump will be prosecuted for ordering killing of Iranian Gen. Soleimani

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Morale is lower with White officers’ in wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

Grim math of the border: Media hypes ‘haunting’ deaths, ignores thousands of rescues

Quiz: Can you match the nickname to the Major League Baseball player?

Benjamin Netanyahu maintaining vow to annex West Bank land by July 1

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Michael McKenna

Authoritarian decisions on masks and gender identity leads to surly, if any, compliance by Americans

Richard W. Rahn

How China and Jeff Bezos benefit from BLM protests, businesses burned and monuments destroyed

Robert Knight

Democrats bless stimulus checks that flow to strip clubs and the dead

View all

Question of the Day

Would you vote by mail if given the option?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

President Donald Trump gives thumbs after speaking with reporters before departing on Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, June 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) more >

Print

By Ben Wolfgang

The Washington Times

Monday, June 29, 2020

Iran on Monday issued an “arrest warrant” for President Trump and more than 30 other foreign officials for their role in the January killing of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, according to the country’s Fars News Agency.

Iranian officials said “red alerts” already have been issued for Mr. Trump and 35 other officials and that Tehran is seeking the help of Interpol to apprehend them. Iran did not name the other 35 officials but said that Mr. Trump “stands at the top of the list and will be prosecuted” as soon as he leaves office.

“Thirty-six individuals who have been involved or ordered the assassination of Hajj Qassem, including the political and military officials of the U.S. and other governments, have been identified and arrest warrants have been issued for them by the judiciary officials and red alerts have also been issued for them via the Interpol,” Tehran’s Prosecutor-General Ali Alqasi Meh said, as quoted by Fars.

TOP STORIES

White House says intel officials haven't reached consensus on report of Russian bounties

Report: Minneapolis council members who voted to abolish police get taxpayer-funded private security

Iran issues arrest warrant for President Trump

Mr. Trump and the 35 others, Iranian officials said, stand accused of “murder and terrorist action.”

The Iranian threats and arrest warrant carry with them no actual danger for Mr. Trump. Iran could only arrest the president if he steps foot on Iranian soil — a virtual impossibility given the lack of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Furthermore, Interpol said Monday morning it would not act on Iran’s request to apprehend Mr. Trump, meaning the president will face no danger of arrest when he travels abroad.

On Jan. 3, the U.S. launched an airstrike near Baghdad International Airport that killed Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s powerful Quds Force, a unit of the country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Trump administration blamed Soleimani for coordinating attacks by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq against American troops and U.S. contractors.

The highly controversial move nearly sparked an all-out war between the U.S. and Iran. Days after the incident, Iran sought to avenge the Soleimani strike by launching missiles at U.S. forces stationed at Iraq’s al-Asad Air Base.

Dozens of American service members suffered traumatic brain injuries during the assault but none were killed.

Mr. Trump decided against direct retaliation for that attack.

White House says Trump, Pence weren’t briefed on intel about Russian bounties to kill U.S. troops

Trump, Pence were not briefed on intel about Russian bounties to kill U.S. troops: White House

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘A fundamental challenge’: William Barr says U.S. is cracking down on Chinese spying

Quiz: Do you remember these popular TV couples?

EXCLUSIVE: U.K. assassination attempt reveals illegal Russian chemical weapons push

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

EXCLUSIVE: Trump says Biden weaker than Hillary Clinton; predicts historic economic recovery

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Robert Knight

Democrats bless stimulus checks that flow to strip clubs and the dead

Cheryl K. Chumley

American individualism falling to socialism, globalism, collectivism

David Keene

Rioters who burned police stations and businesses may find their nemesis, Trump, reelected

View all

Question of the Day

Would you vote by mail if given the option?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this file photo, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, June 22, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) **FILE** more >

Print

By Dave Boyer

The Washington Times

Saturday, June 27, 2020

The White House said Saturday that President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were not briefed on U.S. intelligence that Russia offered bounties to militants in Afghanistan to kill coalition forces, including U.S. troops.

“While the White House does not routinely comment on alleged intelligence or internal deliberations, the CIA Director, National Security Advisor, and the Chief of Staff can all confirm that neither the President nor the Vice President were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence,” said White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany in a statement.

She said her comments do not “speak to the merit of the alleged intelligence, but to the inaccuracy of the New York Times story erroneously suggesting that President Trump was briefed on this matter.”

TOP STORIES

Nancy Pelosi calls for national face-mask mandate: We're 'long overdue'

Mike Pence refuses to repeat 'black lives matter' because of movement's 'radical left agenda'

Democratic clerk charged with altering nearly 200 midterm elections ballots

The Times reported Friday that U.S. intelligence concluded months ago that Russian military intelligence agents had offered the bounties. The paper said Mr. Trump was briefed on the matter, and that the National Security Council held a meeting about it in late March.

Rep. Ted Lieu, California Democrat, asked former acting Director of Intelligence Richard Grenell on Twitter, “Did you really not tell @realDonaldTrump and @VP Pence that Russia was paying militants to kill US troops? Or is @PressSec lying?”

Mr. Grenell replied to the lawmaker, “I never heard this. And it’s disgusting how you continue to politicize intelligence. You clearly don’t understand how raw intel gets verified. Leaks of partial information to reporters from anonymous sources is dangerous because people like you manipulate it for political gain.”

He said critics are “basing a whole bunch of assumptions on an anonymous source from the NYT.”

Former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice said on Twitter of the White House’s explanation, “I don’t believe this for a minute, but if it were true, it means that Trump is not even pretending to serve as commander in chief. And no one around him has the guts to ask him to. More evidence of their deadly incompetence.”

Kosovo president, indicted for war crimes, heads back home

Kosovo president, indicted for war crimes, heads back home

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘A fundamental challenge’: William Barr says U.S. is cracking down on Chinese spying

Quiz: Do you remember these popular TV couples?

EXCLUSIVE: U.K. assassination attempt reveals illegal Russian chemical weapons push

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

EXCLUSIVE: Trump says Biden weaker than Hillary Clinton; predicts historic economic recovery

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

David Keene

Rioters who burned police stations and businesses may find their nemesis, Trump, reelected

Peter Morici

Investors that stick with stocks will be rewarded as economy reopens

Everett Piper

Welcome to the neo-Marxist ‘Church of Holy Wokeness’

View all

Question of the Day

Would you vote by mail if given the option?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

FILE – In this Monday, Jan. 21, 2019 file photo, Kosovo president Hashim Thaci gestures during a press conference in Kosovo capital Pristina. Kosovo’s president and nine other former separatist fighters were indicted on a range of crimes against humanity … more >

Print

By ZENEL ZHINIPOTOKU

Associated Press

Friday, June 26, 2020

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) – The president of Kosovo headed back to his country Friday after pulling out of a White House meeting due to his indictment for war crimes stemming from the 1990s armed conflict between ethnic Albanian separatists he helped lead and Serbian forces.

President Hashim Thaci, who had already left for Washington and was in Austria when the charges against him were announced, landed at Tirana International Airport in Albania and was said to be on his way to Kosovo by car. The airport in Kosovo’s capital of Pristina remains closed due to the coronavirus.

Thaci said he would address the people of Kosovo from his office on Sunday evening.

TOP STORIES

Democratic clerk charged with altering nearly 200 midterm elections ballots

Florida Dems boast mail-in voter lead, buck Trump fraud warnings

'We are trained Marxists': Black Lives Matter co-founder featured in GOP ad

“Wish you a calm weekend and remain hopeful that better days for Kosovo and the Albanian people are ahead,” he posted on Facebook.

A special prosecutor who has been investigating alleged war crimes by the Kosovo Liberation Army during and after the 1998-99 conflict on Wednesday announced the indictment of Thaci and nine other former rebel fighters on murder and other charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity against ethnic Serbs, Roma and others.

A pretrial judge at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague is studying the indictment and could still reject it if there is not enough evidence to back it up.

Asked about Thaci’s draft indictment, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in Brussels that Belgrade has been very “cautious” and showed restraint in reacting to avoid fueling tensions over the issue.

“We know that horrific crimes against Serbs took place, and in that sense it is good that there is justice,” Vucic said.

Thaci was a commander of the Kosovo Liberation army, or KLA, that fought for independence from Serbia. The fighting left more than 10,000 dead, most of them ethnic Albanians, and 1,641 are still unaccounted-for. The war ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign that forced Serbian troops to withdraw.

The vast majority of atrocities committed during the 1998-99 Kosovo war were committed by Serbian troops, international courts have confirmed with their sentencing of several top Serb officials and military commanders to lengthy jail terms.

U.S presidential envoy Richard Grenell had organized a White House meeting of the Kosovar and Serbian leaders scheduled for Saturday. Thaci canceled his attendance after his indictment. Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti was expected to fill in co-leading the meeting with Vucic but then also canceled.

The White House meeting would have been be the first talks between Serbia and Kosovo in 19 months. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a move Serbia has not recognized. The United States and the European Union have been working to help normalize ties between the two countries.

Tensions between Kosovo and Serbia remain high.

Llazar Semini in Tirana, Albania and Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade contributed.

Kosovo president, 9 others indicted on war crimes charges

Kosovo president, 9 others indicted on war crimes charges

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘A fundamental challenge’: William Barr says U.S. is cracking down on Chinese spying

Quiz: Do you remember these popular TV couples?

EXCLUSIVE: U.K. assassination attempt reveals illegal Russian chemical weapons push

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

EXCLUSIVE: Trump says Biden weaker than Hillary Clinton; predicts historic economic recovery

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Michael McKenna

Presidential election polling not broken, Trump trails Biden

Andrew P. Napolitano

Tearing down statues risks rewriting American history and forgetting its slavery roots

David Keene

Removing the military mindset in police departments

View all

Question of the Day

Would you vote by mail if given the option?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

FILE – In this Monday, Jan. 21, 2019 file photo, Kosovo president Hashim Thaci gestures during a press conference in Kosovo capital Pristina. Kosovo’s president and nine other former separatist fighters were indicted on a range of crimes against humanity … more >

Print

By ZENEL ZHINIPOTOKU and LLAZAR SEMINI

Associated Press

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) – Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and nine other former separatist fighters were indicted Wednesday on a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes charges, including murder, by an international prosecutor probing their actions against ethnic Serbs and others during and after Kosovo’s 1998-99 independence war with Serbia.

Because of the indictment, Thaci has postponed his trip to Washington, where he was to meet Saturday for talks at the White House with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

“The President of Kosovo has just informed us that he has canceled his trip to Washington, D.C. following the announcement made by the Special Prosecutors Office. I respect his decision not to attend the discussions until the legal issues of those allegations are settled,” tweeted Richard Grenell, the U.S. envoy for the Kosovo talks.

TOP STORIES

Trump's national security adviser lays out stinging critique of threat posed by China

Tommy Lee warns 'Trumpsters': 'We are going to pay you back so f-ing hard for all of this'

Andrew Cuomo defends destruction of U.S. monuments: 'It's a healthy expression'

The talks will still go ahead, with Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, he added.

A statement from the prosecutor of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers said Thaci and the nine others “are criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders” involving hundreds of Serb and Roma victims, as well as Kosovo Albanian political opponents.

Other charges include enforced disappearance, persecution and torture, he said.

A pretrial judge at The Hague-based court is currently studying the indictment and could still reject it if there is not enough evidence to back it up. If there is enough evidence to support the charges, the pretrial judge will confirm them.

Thaci was a commander of the so-called Kosovo Liberation army, or KLA, that fought for independence from Serbia. The war left more than 10,000 dead – most of them ethnic Albanians – and 1,641 are still unaccounted for. It ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign against Serbian troops.

The former ethnic Albanian-dominated province declared independence from Serbia in 2008, which Serbia did not recognize.

The indicted group includes Kadri Veseli, former parliament speaker and leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Kosovo.

Veseli said the indictment is politically motivated.

“Taking into account the time and circumstances (of the indictment), only days before the White House meeting, one would fairly doubt that it was accidental,” Veseli said.

“Crimes in Kosovo were committed by Serbs, not Albanians,” he said, calling it an attempt to rewrite history.

Several top Serbian officials and military officers have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms by a different war crimes court in The Hague for crimes committed by Serbian troops during the war.

“The court is trying to stain our liberating war, our aspiration for freedom and independence and legalize the (Serb) crimes in Kosovo,”said Bardhyl Mahmuti, a former KLA political representative, to the public television station, RTK.

The indictment was the first made by the prosecutor of the special tribunal for Kosovo based in The Hague. The court has been operating since 2015 and has questioned hundreds of witnesses. Kosovo’s prime minister resigned last year before he was questioned.

The prosecutor filed the indictment following a lengthy investigation and it reflects his “determination that it can prove all of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt,” the statement said.

The prosecutor also accused Thaci and Veseli of repeated efforts “to obstruct and undermine the work” of the tribunal.

Thaci and Veseli are believed to have carried out a secret campaign to overturn the law creating the Court and otherwise obstruct the work of the Court in an attempt to ensure that they do not face justice,” the statement said.

“By taking these actions, Mr. Thaci and Mr. Veseli have put their personal interests ahead of the victims of their crimes, the rule of law, and all people of Kosovo,” it added.

Kosovo politicians resisted and resented the scrutiny of the war crimes court, repeatedly noting that Serb troops committed massacres and other atrocities during the war that went unpunished.

Tensions between the two countries remain high. European Union-facilitated negotiations to normalize their relations started in March 2011 and has produced some 30 agreements, most of which were not observed.

The Washington meeting was set to be the first talks between the two sides in 19 months.

Semini reported from Tirana, Albania. Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade contributed.

Judge: Bolton can publish book despite efforts to block it

Judge: Bolton can publish book despite efforts to block it

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Trump on renaming U.S. military bases honoring Confederate officers: No way!

Quiz: Can you name the actors who played these 1980s TV characters?

FBI picked most outlandish anti-Trump dossier claims for official U.S.-Russia report

Quiz: How well do you know your guns?

Summer spike? Experts warn of ‘reverse’ seasonal effect on coronavirus

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Robert Knight

Liberals attack on American culture emboldened by Supreme Court last week

Everett Piper

Supreme Court rules women are no longer real but just fantasies

Cheryl K. Chumley

Pandering to the pretensions of Black Lives Matter overlords

View all

Question of the Day

Should Trump rally-goers in Tulsa wear face masks

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this Sept. 30, 2019, file photo, former National Security Adviser John Bolton gestures while speakings at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) more >

Print

By ERIC TUCKER

Associated Press

Saturday, June 20, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) – Former national security adviser John Bolton can move forward in publishing his tell-all book, a federal judge ruled Saturday, despite efforts by the Trump administration to block the release because of concerns that classified information could be exposed.

The decision from U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth is a victory for Bolton in a court case that involved core First Amendment and national security issues, even as the White House pledged to keep pursuing the onetime top aide. And the judge also made clear his concerns that Bolton had taken it upon himself to publish his memoir without formal clearance from a White House that says it was still reviewing it for classified information.

“Defendant Bolton has gambled with the national security of the United States. He has exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability,” Lamberth wrote. “But these facts do not control the motion before the Court. The government has failed to establish that an injunction will prevent irreparable harm.”

TOP STORIES

'A fundamental challenge': William Barr says U.S. is cracking down on Chinese spying

Earthquake shakes Oklahoma after Trump's Tulsa rally

Pelosi rips Trump over testing remarks: 'The American people are owed answers'

The White House signaled the legal fight would continue, saying it would try to prevent Bolton from profiting off the book.

President Donald Trump tweeted that Bolton “broke the law by releasing Classified Information (in massive amounts). He must pay a very big price for this, as others have before him. This should never to happen again!!!”

In the meantime, though, the ruling clears the path for a broader election-year readership and distribution of a memoir, due out Tuesday, that paints an unflattering portrait of Trump’s foreign policy decision-making during the turbulent year and a half that Bolton spent in the White House.

Bolton’s lawyer, Chuck Cooper, applauded Lamberth for denying the government’s attempt to “suppress” the book. Publisher Simon & Schuster said the decision “vindicated the strong First Amendment protections against censorship and prior restraint of publication.”

While declining to halt the book’s release, Lamberth did suggest that Bolton may have left himself open to potential criminal prosecution by publishing classified information and that the government may prove successful in preventing Bolton from benefiting financially.

The White House indicated it planned to do exactly that, saying in a statement that the government “intends to hold Bolton to the further requirements of his agreements and to ensure that he receives no profits from his shameful decision to place his desire for money and attention ahead of his obligations to protect national security.”

“Whatever he makes he’s going to be giving back, in my opinion, based on the ruling,” Trump added before heading to a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Bolton’s team insisted that Bolton had spent months addressing White House concerns about classified information and that Bolton had been assured in late April by the official he was working with that the manuscript no longer contained any such material. Bolton’s lawyers said the Trump administration’s efforts to block the book were a pretext to censor him for an account that the White House found unfavorable.

The Justice Department sued this past week to block the book’s release and to demand that copies be retrieved. Officials said the book contained classified information and submitted written statements from administration officials testifying to that assertion. They also said Bolton had failed to complete a prepublication review process meant to prevent government officials from disclosing national security secrets in books.

The judge did not take issue with those concerns in his order. But with more than 200,000 copies of the book already distributed to booksellers across the country, attempting to block its release would be futile, Lamberth wrote. Major media organizations also obtained the book and published comprehensive accounts about it.

“In taking it upon himself to publish his book without securing final approval from national intelligence authorities, Bolton may indeed have caused the country irreparable harm. But in the Internet age, even a handful of copies in circulation could irrevocably destroy confidentiality,” Lamberth wrote.

“With hundreds of thousands of copies around the globe – many in newsrooms – the damage is done. There is no restoring the status quo,” the judge wrote.

Bolton’s book, “The Room Where it Happened: A White House Memoir,” depicts a president whose foreign policy objectives were inexorably linked to his own political gain.

Bolton says Trump “pleaded” with China’s Xi Jinping during a 2019 summit to help Trump’s reelection prospects. Bolton writes that Trump linked the supply of military assistance to Ukraine to that country’s willingness to conduct investigations into Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter – allegations that were at the heart of an impeachment trial that ended with Trump’s acquittal by the Senate in February.

The monthslong classification review process for the manuscript took a complex path.

Bolton says he was told April 27 by a career official with whom he had worked for months on edits that the manuscript was now free of classified information. But another White House official soon after embarked on an additional review and identified material that he said was classified, prompting the administration to warn Bolton in writing against publication.

Bolton’s lawyers say the White House assertions of classified material were an attempt to censor him over a book the administration simply finds unflattering.

“If the First Amendment stands for anything, it is that the Government does not have the power to clasp its hand over the mouth of a citizen attempting to speak on a matter of great public import,” Bolton’s attorneys wrote in a court filing.

Trump on Thursday called the book a “compilation of lies and made up stories” intended to make him look bad. He tweeted that Bolton was just trying to get even for being fired “like the sick puppy he is!”

Even Democrats who pounced on some of Bolton’s anecdotes to condemn the president nonetheless expressed frustration that he had saved them for his book instead of participating in the impeachment case.

Voices of protest, crying for change, ring across US, beyond

Voices of protest, crying for change, ring across US, beyond

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Trump on renaming U.S. military bases honoring Confederate officers: No way!

Quiz: Can you name the actors who played these 1980s TV characters?

FBI picked most outlandish anti-Trump dossier claims for official U.S.-Russia report

Quiz: How well do you know your guns?

Summer spike? Experts warn of ‘reverse’ seasonal effect on coronavirus

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Andrew P. Napolitano

Tyrannical governors ignore Constitution’s protection of religious freedom

Joseph Curl

Democrats can’t stand Americans protesting lockdown, but all in for rioting, looting

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

In a world of designer fake news, Trump can do nothing right

View all

Question of the Day

Should Trump rally-goers in Tulsa wear face masks

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Daud Mumin speaks during an interview in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. The 18-year-old college student says he has experienced racism and that he and other youth in the United States are tired of waiting for justice … more >

Print

By CLAIRE GALOFARO

Associated Press

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

They are nurses and doctors, artists, students, construction workers, government employees; black, brown and white; young and old.

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets in big cities and tiny towns in every U.S. state – and even around the world – to protest the killing of George Floyd, who died after a police officer pressed his knee into his neck as he pleaded for air.

They say they are protesting police brutality, but also the systematic racism non-white Americans have experienced since the country’s birth. Many say they marched so that one day, when their children asked what they did at this historic moment, they will be able to say they stood up for justice despite all risks.

TOP STORIES

Tim Scott fires back after Dick Durbin blasts 'token' bill: 'Still wearing those kente cloths?'

Ahmaud Arbery's mom: Trump 'was very compassionate' during White House meeting

Berkeley to rename Washington, Jefferson schools after Black Lives Matter push

Most say they do not support the violence, fires and burglaries that consumed some of the demonstrations, but some understand it: these are desperate acts by desperate people who have been screaming for change for generations into a world unwilling to hear them.

Yet suddenly, for a moment at least, everyone seems to be paying attention.

About half of American adults now say police violence against the public is a “very” or “extremely” serious problem, up from about a third as recently as September last year, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Only about 3 in 10 said the same in July 2015, just a few months after Freddie Gray, a black man, died in police custody in Baltimore.

Some demonstrators describe losing friends and family to police bullets, and what it feels like to fear the very people sworn to protect you. Their white counterparts say they could no longer let their black neighbors carry this burden alone.

Some describe institutional racism as a pandemic as cruel and deadly as the coronavirus. One white nurse from Oregon who traveled to New York City to work in a COVID unit saw up close how minorities are dying disproportionately from the disease because of underlying health conditions wrought by generational poverty and lack of health care. So after four days working in the ICU, she spent her day off with protesters in the streets of Brooklyn.

The stories of these protesters, several of them told here, are thundering across the country, forcing a reckoning with racism.

___

`THEY’RE SCARED OF US’

Lavel White was a junior in high school, living in public housing in a predominantly black, historically impoverished neighborhood in Louisville, when he turned on the news and saw that a police officer was acquitted for shooting a young black man in the back.

Next time, he thought, it might be me.

The 2004 killing of 19-year-old Michael Newby propelled White to activism. He is now a documentary filmmaker and a community outreach coordinator for the Louisville mayor’s office.

Still, he knows that if he got pulled over and made a wrong move, he could die.

He’s had his own frightening run-ins with police, treated like a criminal for a broken taillight and another time in a case of mistaken identity. There are the smaller slights, too, like white women clutching their purses when he passes them on the street.

“They fear people’s black skin. They’re scared of us. They see every black male as a thug, as a criminal,” he said. “The vigilantes, the cops. People keep killing us and it’s got to stop.”

He’s been at the protests in his neighborhood almost every night, and worries his neighbors will live with the trauma the rest of their lives: the military truck on city streets, the tear gas, the boom of flashbangs, soldiers with assault rifles, police in riot gear.

He and his wife have a 2-year-old daughter and a son, born just three months ago.

“Just because of the color of his skin, he’s going to be set back by the oppression of 400 years of slavery and Jim Crow Laws and injustice, inequalities, racism, he’s going to have to walk and live that life,” he said.

They want him to grow up tough enough to stand up for his rights and his community.

So they named him Brave.

– By Claire Galofaro

___

`FATHER FORGIVE THEM’

Once, when George Jefferson was a college student in California, he rolled up to a party with several friends just as people rushed to leave. Sirens blared.

“I hear, ’Get out of the car,′ and so I swing my door open. I look to my left and there is the barrel of a gun pointed in my face,” said Jefferson, who is 28 and now a fourth-grade teacher in Kansas City, Missouri. “And I am like cold sweating, it’s not visible, but I feel it. My heart is racing. He said, ‘I said don’t get out of the car.’ And at that point I realized I misheard this cop.”

He was let off with a stern warning to follow police instructions. But his unease grew after another encounter with police soon afterward, in which a friend was pulled over and forced to sit on the curb. Police said the car’s tag was expired; his friend argued. The advice they got was to file a complaint.

“But that didn’t address the feelings and dehumanization that came with it,” Jefferson recalled. His experiences led him to protest, teach his students about race, demand change.

In his classroom, he has posted pictures of unrest in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a white officer in 2014 sparked intense protests. He has asked students for their observations, and assigned books, like “One Crazy Summer,” which is set in Oakland, California, in 1968, after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Fred Hampton was one of two Black Panther Party leaders killed in a 1969 police raid in Illinois; in February, Jefferson had his face tattooed on his arm. He plans to add to another tattoo – a line from scripture, Luke 23:34: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

It is a reminder to fight for equality.

“That,” he said, “is a life worth living.”

— By Heather Hollingsworth

___

`THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO PROTEST’

Even at 36, Jahmal Cole recites the pledge from his preschool graduation: “We the class of 1988, determined to be our best at whatever we say or do, will share a smile and lend a hand to our neighbor …”

“It really became the mission statement of my life,” says Cole, the founder of a Chicago organization called My Block, My Hood, My City.

He has started a relief fund for small business in low-income neighborhoods damaged in protests. Youth in his organization’s mentoring program are helping with the cleanup, sweeping up glass and erasing graffiti.

He’ll march. He’ll shout and express his anger. But he draws the line at destruction.

“We got residents who gotta go 20 minutes away to get some milk right now,” he tells a crowd assembled for a peace rally and food give-away in Chicago’s largely African American Chatham neighborhood. Its commercial district was hard hit by looting.

Members of the multiracial crowd nod and clap. Many of them know this man. They’ve heard his constant push for neighbors to work together to make change.

Cole wants his neighbors to organize.. “Ain’t no structure in the gangs, and that’s why there’s all this shooting. Ain’t no structure to the protests, and that’s why there’s all this looting,” he wrote in a column published recently in the Chicago Tribune.

And he wants to build on the momentum. “I want to make sure we’re protesting by calling our local officials … by going to the school board,” he tells the crowd. “There are other ways to protest.”

— By Martha Irvine

___

`YOUTH ARE IMPATIENT NOW’

Growing up as a black Muslim in the racially and religiously homogeneous state of Utah, Daud Mumin always knew he was treated differently.

He vividly remembers his 15th birthday, when his mother, an immigrant from Somalia, was pulled over for speeding – a routine traffic stop that turned into an hour-long interrogation, spoiling his special dinner.

And he recalls the question that none of his white classmates were asked on the first day of AP French in his junior year: “Are you in the right class?”

The Black Lives Matter movement gave Mumin a place where he felt at home, and the protests around the world since Floyd’s death give him hope that change is coming.

“It’s beautiful to see such large and consistent outcomes and turnouts in these protests,” said Mumin, a 19-year-old college sophomore double majoring in justice studies and communication. “When I was 14 years old, I never thought a world like this would exist.”

But that doesn’t mean he’s not angry and impatient. He wants to see the movement lead to defunding of police departments. His Twitter handle, “Daud hates cops,” shows his resentment.

He said protesters shouldn’t go into demonstrations intentionally trying to cause violence, but also can’t sit back and wait for the government to make things better.

“What is it going to take for us to finally crumble these oppressive systems? If peace is not the answer, then violence has to be,” Mumin said. “America has finally had enough of waiting for action to be taken. The youth are not tired. The youth are impatient now. I think we’re done waiting around and sitting around for justice to come about.”

– By Brady McCombs

___

`I FEEL RAGE’

Becca Cooper traveled from Oregon to New York in early April, taking leave from her job as a critical care flight nurse to help combat the coronavirus pandemic seizing the city.

She walked into an unfair fight — one afflicting certain communities more than others.

“In the last seven weeks, I’ve had three white patients,” she said. “I’m pretty sure that New York isn’t less than 1% white.”

“We all read in the newspaper that COVID is disproportionately affecting communities of color. It is so in your face in the ICU.”

The experience has highlighted for Cooper frustrations with the health care system — “I see it every day, and it’s devastating.” It also fueled her disgust when she watched video of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck.

That anger is what brought this white nurse into the streets of Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood last week, where she marched with hundreds of protesters in her light blue medical scrubs.

“I feel rage,” she said. “I feel sadness. I feel frustration. I feel disbelief. I became a nurse to save as many lives as possible. I would like to believe that someone who chose to be a law officer, a police officer, would have the same feeling.

“I feel so frustrated. I’m not out here working every day to save as many lives as possible so that police officers can choose to take those lives.”

— By Jake Seiner

___

`SWEDEN IN SOLIDARITY’

Aysha Jones lives a world away from the Minneapolis street where George Floyd died – more than 4,200 miles, 6,800 kilometres, in Sweden. But she felt she had to protest.

“I became involved out of pure frustration, and the wish to see myself, my kids, my fellow black brothers and sisters around the world having a better life, being equal, being seen as who we are humans,” said Jones, who was born in Gambia.

Her experience with racism was that of a first-generation outsider — she remembers classmates throwing burnt Swedish meatballs at her, considering her worth nothing more.

Many black people who live in Sweden are recent immigrants from Africa – the nation had very few people of color until the past 50 years. Sweden ranks high on equality indexes and prides itself on liberal migration policies, but Jones says bigotry is far from vanquished.

“We have had politicians here in Sweden who normally never acknowledge the fact that racism is a structural problem, it is a pandemic just as much as COVID-19,” she said. “Our politicians have the audacity normally to just push it off and say, ‘No, it doesn’t happen here, it happens over there.’ Wherever over there is.”

The nation has strict rules regarding public gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, so Jones helped launch digital protests.

Jones urged people to join a virtual demonstration anchored by a small group of activists and speakers in front of the U.S. embassy in Stockholm, inundating the embassy’s Facebook page with a photo of the Black Lives Matter logo and the words “Sweden in Solidarity.”

More than 6,000 people watched the live video stream and over 60,000 participated in the protest in one way or another; in the following days, thousands took to the streets in protest.

Jones, who works full-time and has three young children, is pleased that Black Lives Matter protests have sparked widespread discussions online and in Swedish media, but warns that words alone aren’t enough.

She wants changes in how police are recruited and trained. She wants better laws, and better efforts to ensure the laws are upheld.

“You know, with money comes power,” Jones said. “And that’s something that is being kept from black people, is something that has been kept from black people in centuries. So there is so much to touch upon.”

– By David Keyton

___

`IT’S EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO ME’

Indigenous Australian Wendy Brookman was incensed with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s reaction to the violent clashes on U.S. streets following George Floyd’s death with the comment.

“Thank goodness,” he said, “we live in Australia.”

The 37-year-old mother of five joined 2,000 people in a peaceful protest in the Australian capital Canberra because she wants police brutality and the high incarceration rate among Aboriginal people put on Australian governments’ agenda.

It’s disrespectful for families who have had to bury loved ones to hear the government gloss over the country’s problems, she said.

Indigenous Australians account for 2% of the nation’s adult population and 27% of the prison population.

“Being a mother of five children, it’s extremely important for me to make sure that my children are given the same rights as any other child growing up in this day and age,” said Brookman, a teacher and women’s gym owner.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have joined largely peaceful anti-racism rallies in all of Australia’s major cities since Floyd’s death. One focus: an Australian police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of a 19-year-old Aboriginal man in November.

The officer, Zachary Rolfe, has pleaded not guilty and said he was defending himself, and has been released on bail to live with family in Canberra. Brookman believes he will be acquitted due to Australia’s poor record of convicting police over indigenous homicides.

“That’s unacceptable that we know that he’s not going to get convicted,” she said. “It’s imperative that this is a discussion that’s spoken about and not hushed away.”

– By Rod McGuirk

___

`STOP KILLING MY FRIENDS’

Protesting is a passion in Siggy Buchbinder’s family. Her father took part in demonstrations against the Vietnam war in the 1960s, then brought her to her first one in 2003, protesting military action in Iraq. She went on march for women’s rights.

These demonstrations feel different, she said. There are so many young people. The momentum, she said, is building for change.

“I think people need to stay in the streets. I think it was working and I think it will continue to work,” Buchbinder said. “Now is not the time to let up. Now is the time to go even harder.”

Even among the many white New Yorkers who joined demonstrations following Floyd’s death, Buchbinder, 27, stands out. She is nearly 6 feet tall and looked even bigger with her arms raised high, holding a sign that read “Stop killing my friends.”

Buchbinder was one of four white graduates in her high school class of 172 in 2011, and says many of her friends are people of color: “It would be wrong to not stand and fight with them.”

She doesn’t lead chants, believing the speaking should be left to black protesters. Nor was she concerned about the curfew that was in effect most of the week. Fear of what the police might do has always been something her friends had to worry about much more than she did.

“I think my friends have always been kind of nervous of the cops,” Buchbinder said. “I think growing up they don’t mess with the cops. They don’t get into situations where they could be in trouble.”

– By Brian Mahoney

___

SUPPORTING `OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR’

Around the time George Floyd died, Eileen Huang was asked to write a poem about Chinese people in the U.S. to commemorate a new documentary about Asian Americans on PBS.

What came out, instead, was a searing 1,600-word letter from the incoming Yale university junior to her immigrant elders, pleading with them to understand the massive debt owed to African American civil rights leaders, beseeching them to join a global movement to fight anti-black racism.

“We Asian Americans have long perpetuated anti-Black statements and stereotypes,” Huang wrote. “I grew up hearing relatives, family friends, and even my parents make subtle, even explicitly racist comments about the Black community. … The message was clear: We are the model minority -doctors, lawyers, quiet and obedient overachievers. We have little to do with other people of color; we will even side with White Americans to degrade them.”

Huang, 20, grew up in the small and largely white New Jersey township of Holmdel. The oldest of three children born to engineers who moved to the U.S. in the 1990s, she wasn’t taught much about the history of black people in America.

It wasn’t until college that she learned of the 1982 beating death of Vincent Chin by two white men who thought Chin was Japanese. The men were convicted of manslaughter but sentenced to probation; the judge said the men weren’t the kind of people to go to jail.

African American leaders, notably the Rev. Jesse Jackson, marched with Chin’s anguished mother, seeking justice.

Huang came to realize Asian Americans owe “everything” to the black Americans who spearheaded the civil rights movement, which led to an end to racist terms like “Oriental” and housing policies that kept them out of white neighborhoods.

“We did not gain the freedom to become comfortable `model minorities’ by virtue of being better or hardworking, but from years of struggle and support from other marginalized communities,” she wrote.

Her outrage over Floyd’s death pushed her to a protest in Newark, then another in Asbury Park, where a terrified Huang and others faced off with armed police officers in riot gear.

Her letter, posted to a website aimed at Chinese speakers in the U.S., has sparked passionate responses, including many that accuse her of being a traitor and of unfairly painting Chinese in a negative light.

“I’ve also just gotten very sweet (messages) from people saying, ‘My grandmother read this, my Chinese-can’t-speak-English grandmother read this, and she was really touched by it and now she’s supporting Black Lives Matter,’” she says.

– By Janie Har

____

`I KNEEL WITH Y’ALL’

The Brooklyn intersection was crammed with thousands of demonstrators, a massive rally to protest police brutality just days after George Floyd died. Police were mixed in with the crowd.

“We implore you! Please!” a protester says with a bullhorn, talking directly to the officers. “Take a knee in solidarity with us.”

Assistant Chief Jeff Maddrey did, and so did a line of officers with him. The crowd lit up in a chorus of cheers as he spoke into the bullhorn.

“Real talk,” he said to the crowd. “I respect your right to protest. All I’m asking is for you to do it with peace. I kneel with y’all because I don’t agree with what happened. Listen, y’all are my brothers and sisters.”

Maddrey, who is black, is a veteran officer now in charge of the NYPD’s Brooklyn North division, which encompasses a large, diverse swath of the borough. It has seen widespread unrest in the weeks since Floyd’s death; the Brooklyn native blames generations of inequality and tension within law enforcement and the community.

“The reason I took a knee was to start bringing about peace and unity and healing between members of the police department and members of the community,” he said.

Maddrey said he thinks the NYPD should use this as an opportunity to meet with black community leaders and improve relations.

“I think we just need to increase our positive contacts where, you know, young men, young black men, people of, you know, of all communities to feel safe with their police department,” he said.

He stopped short, however, of suggesting specific changes in police training and policy.

“There are things, a lot of things, that the police department can push over to other agencies and should push over to other agencies. And if they take away certain responsibilities that we don’t have to do anymore and they’re going to fund another agency to do that, then me, personally, I’m not against it,” he said.

– By Colleen Long

__

`FINALLY PEOPLE SEEM TO UNDERSTAND’

Ashley Quinones started protesting months ago. Since her husband was shot and killed by police in Minnesota last September, she’s been to city council meetings and state commissions. She’s protested on street corners, once shutting down streets and a light rail line.

Sometimes others joined her, but mostly she did it by herself. She is no longer alone.

“Finally,” she said. “I’ve been out here for nine months by myself. Now finally people seem to understand what our families are going through.”

Her husband, 30-year-old Brian Quinones-Rosario, who was Puerto Rican, was chased by police for driving erratically. He was shot and killed by officers seconds after getting out of his car; he was carrying a kitchen knife, and officers said he lunged at them.

Authorities alleged he was suicidal and provoked the police to shoot him, The Associated Press previously reported. His wife denies it, and says he was calm in the moments before the shooting. In February, the Hennepin county attorney declined to file charges against the officers and said their use of deadly force was “necessary, proportional, and objectively reasonable.”

But Quinones, who has filed a lawsuit against the cities involved, said they failed to follow their protocol and reacted out of fear, instead of deescalating the situation.

“They are afraid of black and brown bodies,” she said.

“George Floyd is the face of thousands of murders. People are not burning the city down over just George Floyd. He is the straw that broke the camel’s back and opened up the eyes of people who weren’t paying attention to the thousands before him.”

She wants her husband’s case reopened and re-examined, and she believes every other police killing should be, too. She said her white friends now cannot look away: “Now, you see it. What are you going to do about it?”

Since the nationwide protests have erupted, she has joined every day. She was a guest speaker at 15 events in a single week. She had been laid off from a car rental company during the shutdown caused by COVID-19. Now she’s devoting every minute of her life to this cause – even, she said, if it consumes her and she loses everything.

“I will be a homeless, car-less, jobless protester if that’s what it takes because I’m not accepting it. I haven’t accepted it and I’m not accepting it,” she said. “They ruined my life. Overnight everything was gone, and now I have to live with what someone else says my life is.”

– By Claire Galofaro

___

`EVERYONE THAT I LOVE IS BLACK’

Tachianna Charpenter grew up in Duquette, Minnesota, a town of less than 100 souls in the mostly white northern region of the state. Charpenter, who is mixed race, said she constantly encountered racism as the only black child in her school.

“As a kid, I vividly remember just coming back from school all the time crying and asking my mom to dye my hair blonde,” she said. “I thought that if I had blonde hair, like a lot of the girls in my class, they would be nicer to me.”

Classmates would touch her hair to “see if I could feel it.” They’d talk about wanting to date a black woman when they got older – “not a black girl like Tachi, a real black girl.”

There was the student who whispered “I hate black people” when she was around. And another who spit on her in the fifth grade.

Charpenter moved to St. Paul to start her education at Hamline University in 2017. There, she learned the vocabulary to describe her experiences growing up, words like “microaggressions” and “implicit bias.”

In recent weeks, she joined demonstrators in Minneapolis in the wake of Floyd’s death. She felt compelled, “first and foremost because I’m black, and everyone that I love is black.”

She’s 21 now, a special education teaching assistant, and she said she is fighting to ensure that her students will not grow up to protest – and be tear-gassed – for the same issues.

“Now as an adult and being aware of these things, I intentionally go out of my way to challenge those narratives,” she said. “Especially because some of those people see me and say that they look up to me, so I’m hoping that my actions cause them to challenge what they’re thinking about.”

– By Mohamed Ibrahim

`STILL CRYING THE TEARS OF EMMETT TILL’

Growing up black in Napoleonville, Louisiana, known as “Plantation Country,” Janae Jamison attended a predominately white private school. She felt stifled with a fear of not being accepted.

Attending a historically black college helped her find her “voice” – one she says she’s using not just for George Floyd, but for the many black men and women who have been murdered because of their race.

And that brought her to rally among the thousands who gathered around Jackson Square in the New Orleans’ French Quarter.

“It’s 401 years of oppression that has led me here,” said Jamison, 30. “It’s 246 years of slavery that has led me here. It’s 89 years of segregation that have led me here. And from 1954 until this day, and 66 years past post-segregation and a black man still has less rights than actual animal. That within the dark of night, it’s still OK for a black man to be racially profiled. … And many black women as well.

“I look at Sandra Bland, and I see myself. I look at Breonna Taylor. I see myself. Atatiana Jefferson – I see myself. So, it’s very important that we say their names and that people realize that it’s just not George Floyd that we are fighting for. We are still crying the tears of Emmett Till. ”

– By Stacey Plaisance

___

`BLACK POWER … EXISTS EVERYWHERE’

Nedu Anigbogu’s parents wanted more for their children, and so they immigrated from Nigeria in the 1990s. They raised Nedu and his two older brothers in the San Francisco suburb of El Cerrito.

Today his father is a lawyer and his mother is preparing to take the bar exam. Nedu, now 20, is majoring in cognitive science and plans to work in artificial intelligence.

He recalls his mother taking him and his brothers aside after Trayvon Martin, an African American teen, was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012. She warned them that people will treat them differently, because of their race.

“At first I felt confusion,” he said. “Then there was sad acceptance.”

Anigbogu wants convictions for the police who killed Floyd, as well as Breonna Taylor, an African American emergency medical technician who was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police while asleep in her own home. He wants better police training. He wants to end the legal doctrine of qualified immunity that shields police officers from lawsuits.

The incoming senior at the University of California, Berkeley had signed petitions and donated money to the family of George Floyd, but he felt a duty to protest in person. So on June 3, he joined what would become a 10,000-person march through San Francisco’s Mission District.

Someone gave him a horse to ride, so he did.

“To see a black queen on a horse, a black king on a horse, that you’re showing you are rising above it all and that black power exists, and it exists everywhere,” Anigbogu said.

– By Janie Har

Syria devalues currency amid chaos ahead of new US sanctions

Syria devalues currency amid chaos ahead of new US sanctions

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Trump on renaming U.S. military bases honoring Confederate officers: No way!

Quiz: Can you name the actors who played these 1980s TV characters?

FBI picked most outlandish anti-Trump dossier claims for official U.S.-Russia report

Quiz: How well do you know your guns?

Summer spike? Experts warn of ‘reverse’ seasonal effect on coronavirus

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Andrew P. Napolitano

Tyrannical governors ignore Constitution’s protection of religious freedom

Joseph Curl

Democrats can’t stand Americans protesting lockdown, but all in for rioting, looting

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

In a world of designer fake news, Trump can do nothing right

View all

Question of the Day

Should Trump rally-goers in Tulsa wear face masks

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this Jan. 13, 2010, file photo, Syrian employees stack packets of Syrian currency in the Central Syrian Bank in, Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File) more >

Print

By ALBERT AJI

Associated Press

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) – Syria devalued its currency by 44% on Wednesday, announcing a new official exchange rate for the pound amid chaos in the market, hours before new U.S. sanctions aimed at cutting off revenue for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government took effect.

The sanctions, known as the U.S. Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, are the toughest set of measures to be imposed on Syria yet, preventing anyone around the world from doing business with Syrian officials or state institutions or from participating in the country’s reconstruction.

The State Department and the Treasury said later Wednesday that 39 Syrian individuals, including Assad and his wife and siblings, had been designated for the new sanctions.

TOP STORIES

Trump finalizes rule defining gender as a person's biological sex

Berkeley to rename Washington, Jefferson schools after Black Lives Matter push

Ahmaud Arbery's mom: Trump 'was very compassionate' during White House meeting

Syria’s already troubled economy has sharply deteriorated, prices have soared and the national currency, the Syrian pound, collapsed in recent weeks, partly because of fears that the sanctions would further isolate the war-ravaged country.

Experts say the new sanctions, which are likely to deter businesses with links to Damascus in neighboring countries and among Assad’s allies, will be a heavy blow to a nation where more than 80% of the people already live in poverty, according to the United Nations. Syrian government officials have called it “economic terrorism.”

The Trump administration says the sanctions aim to push the Syrian government toward a U.N.-led political solution to the conflict.

This week the Syrian currency dropped to a record 3,500 pounds to the dollar on the black market – compared to around 1,000 for $1 at the end of 2019. Some staples such as sugar, rice and medicine are becoming hard to find and some people have started stockpiling food supplies out of fear their prices could increase.

Opposition-controlled areas run by Turkey-backed rebels have already started relying on Turkish liras, including for the sale of bread, as the Syrian currency continued to slide. Nearly 4 million people live in the areas outside of government control in northwestern Syria.

On Wednesday, the Central Bank announced a devaluation of the pound, raising the official exchange rate from 704 to 1,256 pounds to the dollar in an effort to ease the pressure on the black market and encourage the use of official channels for transactions. The price on the black market, according to unofficial social media pages, neared 2,825 pounds for a dollar.

The economic meltdown presents a serious challenge for Assad, who survived more than nine years of war but rules over a crumbling infrastructure and ravaged economy. The hardship has triggered new protests in government-controlled areas, including some where angered residents even called for his downfall.

“The (Caesar) Act aims at pitting the Syrian citizen against the government. The law is an invitation to inner discord and chaos,” said Safwan Qurabi, a member of Syria’s parliament. He said the government was taking measures, including adopting a more flexible economy, to deal with these sanctions.

Ziyad Ghoussen, a Syrian journalist who reports on the economy, said the new U.S. sanctions are expected to increase the suffering of Syrians, making it more difficult to obtain basic needs and throwing even more people into poverty.

Mohammad Sarrei, a merchant from the central city of Homs, said all kinds of work has been brought to a standstill for several months due to rising living conditions.

“I hope that the Syrian people will be able to withstand (this) as they have no other option,” he said.

___

Associated Press writer Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed to this report.

International Criminal Court condemns US sanctions order

International Criminal Court condemns US sanctions order

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

U.S. seeks role as China, India face off at border

Quiz: Name the famous inventors of these revolutionary products

Rod Rosenstein says he was led to believe the Carter Page FISA applications were accurate

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

EXCLUSIVE: Antifa planned anti-government insurgency for months, law enforcement official says

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Charles Hurt

Trump and the riot of political plagues

Scott Walker

Black lives matter: Reform law enforcement but also defund Planned Parenthood

Ralph Z. Hallow

All the nonsense that fits, The New York Times prints

View all

Question of the Day

Should Confederate names be taken off U.S. military bases?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this Nov. 7, 2019, file photo, the International Criminal Court, or ICC, is seen in The Hague, Netherlands. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File) more >

Print

By MIKE CORDER

Associated Press

Friday, June 12, 2020

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – The International Criminal Court has condemned the Trump administration’s decision to authorize sanctions against court staff, saying it amounted to “an unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law and the Court’s judicial proceedings.”

An executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump announced Thursday authorizes sanctions against ICC staff investigating American troops and intelligence officials and those of allied nations, including Israel, for possible war crimes in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Trump’s order would block the financial assets of court employees and bar them and their immediate relatives from entering the United States.

TOP STORIES

Four St. Louis police officers charged with beating undercover colleague

D.C. mayor sued over 'Black Lives Matter' on street to White House

Coronavirus hype biggest political hoax in history

The court, which has 123 member states, said in a statement released early Friday that it “stands firmly by its staff and officials and remains unwavering in its commitment to discharging, independently and impartially, the mandate” laid down in its founding treaty, the Rome Statute.

It said an attack on the Hague-based court also constitutes “an attack against the interests of victims of atrocity crimes, for many of whom the Court represents the last hope for justice.”

O-Gon Kwon, president of the court’s management and oversight mechanism, the Assembly of States Parties, also criticized the U.S. measures.

“They undermine our common endeavor to fight impunity and to ensure accountability for mass atrocities,” he said in a statement. “I deeply regret measures targeting Court officials, staff and their families.”

The Hague-based court was created in 2002 to prosecute war crimes and crimes of humanity and genocide in places where perpetrators might not otherwise face justice. The U.S. has never been an ICC member.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday denounced the tribunal as a “kangaroo court” that has been unsuccessful and inefficient in prosecuting war crimes. He said that the U.S. would punish the ICC employees for any investigation or prosecution of Americans in Afghanistan and added that they could also be banned for prosecuting Israelis for alleged abuses against Palestinians.

“It gives us no joy to punish them,” Pompeo said. “But we cannot allow ICC officials and their families to come to the United States to shop and travel and otherwise enjoy American freedoms as these same officials seek to prosecute the defender of those very freedoms.”

Last year, Pompeo revoked the visa of the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, after she asked ICC judges to open an investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. The judges initially rejected the request, she appealed and the the court authorized the investigation in March.

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said in a tweet Friday he was “very disturbed by the United States’ measures” and called on Washington not to sanction ICC staff.

“The ICC is crucial in the fight against impunity and in upholding international rule of law,” Blok tweeted.

Senior U.N. and EU officials also spoke out against the decision.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Trump’s order “is a matter of serious concern” and he described EU members as “steadfast supporters” of the tribunal.” Borrell said “it is a key factor in bringing justice and peace,” and that “it must be respected and supported by all nations.”

The United Nations has “taken note with concern” about reports of Trump’s order, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry said Friday that Berlin had taken note of the announcement “with great concern.”

“We have full confidence in (the ICC’s) work,” the ministry said. “It is an indispensable institution in the fight against impunity of international crimes and needed more than ever these days. We reject any pressure on the independent court, its staff or people who work with it.”

Switzerland said it “regrets” the U.S. sanctions and affirmed its support for the court “as an independent institution that prosecutes the most serious crimes and thereby contributes to lasting peace and international stability.”

“Switzerland calls on the USA to revoke these comprehensive measures,” the Foreign Ministry in Bern said in a statement.

It also called on the United States to “conduct a full investigation and prosecution of U.S. personnel” implicated in serious crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression.

The American Civil Liberties Union suggested it might seek legal recourse and said the order was “a dangerous display of his contempt for human rights and those working to uphold them.”

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, backed the U.S. action, accusing the court of fabricating “outlandish charges” against his country, and praising the U.S. for standing up for what he called truth and justice.

____

Associated Press Writers Deb Riechmann and Matthew Lee in Washington, and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this story.

Officials urge Floyd protesters to get coronavirus tests

Officials urge Floyd protesters to get coronavirus tests

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Retribution’: Chinese state media calls violent U.S. protests a ‘beautiful sight’

Trump’s pending immigration decision divides small business, crackdown supporters

Quiz: Can you match the songs to these 1980s one-hit wonders?

Romanian, Polish military medical teams help U.S. with coronavirus

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Robert Knight

How the liberal media and ‘Looting Party’ cultivates racism and hate in America

Cheryl K. Chumley

Democrats know their time grows short

Michael McKenna

Outdoors Act puts taxpayers on the hook for federal land-buying spree

View all

Question of the Day

Was Gen. Mattis right to speak out about Trump's leadership?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

Demonstrators protest Saturday, June 6, 2020, near the White House in Washington, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) more >

Print

By JAKE SEINER and KIMBERLEE KRUESI

Associated Press

Sunday, June 7, 2020

NEW YORK (AP) – With New York City poised to reopen after a more than two-month coronavirus shutdown, officials on Sunday lifted a curfew that was in place amid protests of police brutality and racial injustice. But they also urged that demonstrators be tested for COVID-19.

“Get a test. Get a test,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told people who have been participating in rallies and marches in memory of George Floyd.

He said the state would open 15 testing sites dedicated to protesters so they can get results quickly.

TOP STORIES

California sheriff's deputy killed in ambush; 2 officers wounded

Suspect in deputy's ambush killing is active-duty Air Force sergeant

Trump shatters personal Twitter record: 200 tweets and retweets within 24 hours

“I would act as if you were exposed, and I would tell people you are interacting with, assume I am positive for the virus,” Cuomo added.

The call is similar to those made in Seattle, San Francisco and Atlanta following massive demonstrations, with free testing for protesters.

New York has been the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, with black communities hit especially hard.

The Rev. Brandon Watts of Epiphany Church in Brooklyn, was mindful of the pandemic while organizing a “Pray & Protest” march with several other churches. He mandated that protesters wear masks, and he came with boxes of them. He also asked the group to try to maintain social distancing but acknowledged “it’s kind of hard in a protest.”

Attendees also were offered free coronavirus tests at one church.

“COVID-19 hit the inner city harder than anybody else,” Watts said. “And so we have to be very careful. We’re the only ones in a pandemic within a pandemic.”

Brooklyn resident Celeste Douglas attended her third protest in the past week and said she’ll continue until legislation is passed on budgets for police and education.

“I want to tell my children when they ask when this stuff started to change, I want to tell them I was a part of it,” Douglas said, acknowledging being nervous in a crowd during a pandemic but also planning to be tested.

Catherine Corien, a 60-year-old dental hygienist in Brooklyn, said fear of catching the virus prevented her from participating until Sunday. She finally ventured out and stood near the back, wearing a mask and keeping some distance from other protesters.

“I’m very concerned, but at the same time, a lot of people, if they are like me and decided to stay home, nothing would have happened,” she said. “I’m very proud of the people that came out.”

New York City prepared to enter its first phase of reopening after virus shutdowns. Up to 400,000 people are expected to head back to the workplace Monday, with many using a subway system that most New Yorkers have avoided since March to keep away from crowds.

Mayor Bill de Blasio lifted the city’s 8 p.m. curfew imposed for the Floyd protests. The police pulled back on enforcing the curfew Saturday as thousands turned out.

“Last night was the best by far,” de Blasio said. “We had the biggest number of protesters, the fewest arrests, the fewest problems and that convinced me it was time for the curfew to go away. I have no intention of bringing it back.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also lifted the city’s curfew, reopened downtown train stations and allowed full bus service to resume following days of largely calm protests.

Cities imposed curfews amid last week’s spasms of arson, assaults and smash-and-grab raids on businesses. Recent U.S. protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful, as were rallies held around the globe.

Floyd’s body arrived in Texas for a third and final memorial service, said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. A viewing is planned for Monday in Houston, followed by a service and burial Tuesday in suburban Pearland.

The 46-year-old out-of-work bouncer died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped responding. His death has drawn new attention to the treatment of African Americans by police and the criminal justice system.

In Washington, D.C., National Guard troops from South Carolina were seen checking out of their hotel Sunday shortly before President Donald Trump tweeted he was giving the order to withdraw them from the nation’s capital.

The D.C. mayor had called on Trump last week to withdraw outside forces amid days of largely peaceful rallies after he ordered guard troops to “dominate” the streets.

At the newly renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House, protesters posed with the street sign and the yellow block lettering painted on the pavement by the city. As ice cream truck jingles mixed with protest chats, the district’s Metropolitan Police Department patrolled in place of federal law enforcement officers and National Guard troops.

On Saturday, a small group of demonstrators toppled a statue of a Confederate general in Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the Confederacy. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has pledged to remove a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee after days of Floyd protests.

Protesters in Bristol, England , tore down a statue of Edward Colston, a 17th century slave trader, and pushed it into the harbor of the port city in southwestern England.

In other protests outside the U.S.:

– A crowd estimated at 10,000, many in face masks, filled a square in front of the main courthouse in Brussels, holding white roses and signs decrying racism. “You think you are tired of hearing about racism? We are tired of experiencing it,” read one placard held up by a young black woman.

– In Milan, Italy, a few thousand people rallied against racism outside the central train station, many of them African migrants or the children of migrants who want to see reforms making it easier to receive citizenship. One held a sign saying, “I Fight For My Kids.”

– Thousands massed outside the gleaming new U.S. Embassy in London, where student Darcy Bourne said the demonstration was about “more than just George Floyd, more than just America, but racism all around the world.”

– Thousands wearing masks against the virus gathered peacefully in Spain’s main cities, including at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, to denounce racism and chant: “Police murderers!” and “No justice, no peace!” A protest also was held in central Barcelona.

___

Kruesi reported from Nashville, Tennessee. Associated Press writers around the world contributed.

Park Police officers placed on admin. duties following attack on Australian reporters in D.C.

Park Police officers placed on admin. duties following attack on Australian reporters in D.C.

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Retribution’: Chinese state media calls violent U.S. protests a ‘beautiful sight’

Trump’s pending immigration decision divides small business, crackdown supporters

Quiz: Can you match the songs to these 1980s one-hit wonders?

Romanian, Polish military medical teams help U.S. with coronavirus

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Brad Parscale

Presidential race contrasts Trump’s success versus Biden’s chronic failure

Daniel N. Hoffman

Iraq’s promising new leader deserves our support

Michael McKenna

Polling shows Trump’s window for reelection is closing

View all

Question of the Day

Was Gen. Mattis right to speak out about Trump's leadership?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

U.S. Secret Service police wait in Lafayette Park as demonstrators gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Monday, June 1, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) more >

Print

By Andrew Blake

The Washington Times

Updated: 4:49 p.m. on
Thursday, June 4, 2020

The U.S. Park Police has taken action after its officers were seen attacking an Australian news crew reporting from protests near the White House, the agency said Wednesday.

“As is consistent with our established practices and procedures, two U.S. Park Police officers have been assigned to administrative duties, while an investigation takes place regarding the incident with the Australian Press,” U.S. Park Police acting Chief Gregory T. Monahan said in a statement.

Chief Monahan’s announcement came nearly 48 hours after a correspondent and cameraman for Australia’s Seven News were attacked while reporting live from a protest against racism and police brutality taking place near Lafayette Square Park north of the White House in downtown D.C.

TOP STORIES

'Practice an eye-gouge': Project Veritas infiltrates Antifa's undercover training

Portland, Oregon: No more school resource officers after George Floyd death

Presidential race contrasts Trump's success versus Biden's chronic failure

Authorities abruptly cleared out the protest Monday evening in advance of President Trump making an unannounced appearance outside a nearby church that had been damaged over the weekend amid nationwide unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed a week earlier while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Video recorded as police cleared the protest caught an officer shoving their riot shield into the abdomen of Seven News photographer Tim Myers and then punching his camera moments before another officer is seen swinging their baton at Seven News reporter Amelia Brace.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne condemned the incident during an interview Tuesday and said her nation’s embassy in D.C. had been asked to conduct an investigation of it.

The U.S. Park Police did not immediately return a message seeking further details. The agency previously said police had cleared the area to curtail “violent protesters,” and Attorney General William P. Barr confirmed during a press conference Thursday that he personally ordered the secure perimeter surrounding the White House to be expanded beyond Lafayette Square, which had been heavily vandalized during the first days of ongoing, largely peaceful protests taking place in the nation’s capital following Floyd’s killing.

Floyd, 46, died on May 25 after being restrained by several Minneapolis police officers. Four officers involved were subsequently fired and have been charged in connection with his killing.

Putin supports ‘dialogue’ of return to G-7 but lacks information following Trump proposal

Putin supports ‘dialogue’ of return to G-7 but lacks information following Trump proposal

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Retribution’: Chinese state media calls violent U.S. protests a ‘beautiful sight’

Trump’s pending immigration decision divides small business, crackdown supporters

Quiz: Can you match the songs to these 1980s one-hit wonders?

Romanian, Polish military medical teams help U.S. with coronavirus

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Cal Thomas

Discrimination and racism have scarred America since slavery

Michael McKenna

Nancy Pelosi’s proxy voting designed to dilute power of rank-and-file lawmakers

Ralph Z. Hallow

What happens when you apologize to rioters?

View all

Question of the Day

Should police do more to curtail rioting?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

Russian President Vladimir Putin, attends a meeting via teleconference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 1, 2020. Putin set a nationwide vote on constitutional amendments allowing him to extend his rule for July 1. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, … more >

Print

By Lauren Meier

The Washington Times

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Kremlin on Monday said it remains in the dark about President Trump’s plan to add Russia, India, South Korea and Australia to the Group of 7 nations summit, but supports “dialogue in all directions.”

Mr. Trump on Saturday described his new proposal as the “G-10 or G-11” and said he’s “roughly” broached the idea with the leaders of the four countries he’d like to add.

“Maybe I’ll do it after the election,” he said, adding that he could also host the gathering around the time of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City in September — postponing the gathering that was expected next month.

SEE ALSO: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau says Russia should not rejoin G-7

“I’m postponing it because I don’t feel as a G-7 it probably represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Mr. Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “We want Australia, we want India, we want South Korea. That’s a nice group of countries right there.”

The spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, said Monday that Mr. Putin “is a supporter of dialogue in all directions, but in this case, in order to respond to such initiatives, we need to receive more information, which we, unfortunately, do not have.”

Russia was removed from what was known as the G-8 in 2014 amid Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula.

The G-7 has since been comprised of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the U.S.

Following Mr. Trump’s announcement, Alyssa Farah, White House strategic communications director, said the proposal is bringing together traditional U.S. allies to talk about how to deal with the future of China. The administration is increasingly clashing with China over issues such as the coronavirus crisis and Hong Kong.

The president had been planning to host the G-7 summit at the White House in late June or partly at Camp David, amid discussions with other heads of state about how to handle the gathering during the coronavirus pandemic. He has previously expressed support of Russia’s return to the G-7.

Zimbabwe summons US envoy over White House adviser’s comment

Zimbabwe summons US envoy over White House adviser’s comment

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Retribution’: Chinese state media calls violent U.S. protests a ‘beautiful sight’

Trump’s pending immigration decision divides small business, crackdown supporters

Quiz: Can you match the songs to these 1980s one-hit wonders?

Romanian, Polish military medical teams help U.S. with coronavirus

Best states for concealed carry — ranked worst to first

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Cal Thomas

Discrimination and racism have scarred America since slavery

Michael McKenna

Nancy Pelosi’s proxy voting designed to dilute power of rank-and-file lawmakers

Ralph Z. Hallow

What happens when you apologize to rioters?

View all

Question of the Day

Should police do more to curtail rioting?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

Print

By FARAI MUTSAKA

Associated Press

Monday, June 1, 2020

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) – Zimbabwe has summoned the U.S. ambassador in Harare to a meeting over comments by a White House official suggesting Zimbabwe is among “foreign adversaries” that could face retaliation for trying to foment unrest in the U.S. over the death of George Floyd, a black man who pleaded for air as a police officer pressed a knee into his neck.

The U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols, has met with Zimbabwe’s foreign minister over comments Sunday by U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien.

In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” O’Brien suggested, without citing any evidence, that Zimbabwe is one of several “foreign adversaries” – including China and Russia – he suggested were taking advantage of the protests in the U.S. to “sow discord and to try and damage our democracy.”

TOP STORIES

Fallout from George Floyd death, protests reverberate across country

Asphyxiation not the cause of George Floyd's death: Autopsy

Antifa: End 'whiteness' as a race, stop funding police departments

“So there will be a response and it will be proportional, but this is not something that — that our adversaries are going to get away with for free,” O’Brien said.

Floyd was killed a week ago in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck even as he cried he couldn’t breathe. One officer has been charged with murder.

Floyd’s death has sparked a week of protests that turned violent in cities across the U.S.

The Trump administration has portrayed the violence as the work of outside groups and extremists. Officials are investigating whether foreign adversaries are behind a burgeoning disinformation campaign on social media.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has not made any official comment on the current crisis in the U.S., but his spokesman George Charambsa and other government supporters have criticized the U.S. on their personal social media accounts.

Following his meeting with Zimbabwe’s foreign minister, the U.S ambassador issued a statement Monday saying he used the occasion to ask Zimbabwe to end state-sponsored violence against activists, citing recent abductions of opposition officials.

“I again urged Zimbabwe’s government to end state-sponsored violence against peaceful protesters, civil society, labor leaders and member of the opposition in Zimbabwe and to hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses,” wrote Nichols in a letter tweeted by the U.S. embassy.

In his unusually personal letter, Nichols said that “as an African-American I have known as long as I can remember that my rights and my body were not fully my own. I have also always known that America, conceived in liberty, has always aspired to be better – a shining city on a hill – and that is why I have dedicated my life to her service.” He said that in the U.S. a police officer has already been charged with murder for Floyd’s death, while in Zimbabwe there are government critics who have disappeared. He named the well-known cases of three Zimbabwean men who disappeared with no arrests made.

“Americans will continue to speak out for justice whether at home or abroad,” said Nichols. “We can meet the ideals of our founding, we can change this world for the better.”

After meeting the U.S ambassador, Zimbabwe’s foreign affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo said his government noted “with astonishment and concern,” the U.S. national security adviser’s statement describing Zimbabwe as an adversary. Moyo described the allegation as “false” and “without any factual foundation whatsoever and that they are deeply damaging to a relationship already complicated by years of prescriptive megaphone diplomacy and punitive economic sanctions.”

He called for “more sincere and more practical dialogue” between the U.S and Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s relations with the U.S. have been strained since 2003, when Washington imposed sanctions on several Zimbabwean government leaders over alleged human rights abuses and electoral fraud. The sanctions came after the often violent seizures of white-owned farms by former president Robert Mugabe.

Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s successor, is one of the more than 80 Zimbabweans who are sanctioned by the U.S. government, which prevents them from having U.S. bank accounts and traveling to the U.S. Mnangagwa has said he wants to normalize relations with the U.S., but reports of continued human rights abuses have led the U.S to maintain the sanctions.

Although the U.S. sanctions, and similar sanctions by the EU, are against individuals, the measures have prevented large multilateral agencies, such as the World Bank and the IMF, from extending large loans to support Zimbabwe’s faltering economy.

___

Follow the AP’s latest news about the protests in the U.S. at https://apnews.com/GeorgeFloyd

Trump postponing G-7 summit, wants to add Russia, India, South Korea and Australia

Trump postpones G-7, says he hopes to add Russia, India, Australia and South Korea to summit

White House spokeswoman says president has in mind more effectively countering China

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Mueller prosecutor held secret meetings targeting Paul Manafort before Russia probe: IG

Quiz: Are you a war movie expert?

‘A fair chance’: Veterans blocked from civilian jobs by patchwork of red tape

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

Rebel Democrats in battleground states could be good sign for Trump

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Michael McKenna

Pelosi’s proxy voting designed to dilute power of rank-and-file lawmakers

Ralph Z. Hallow

What happens when you apologize to rioters?

Everett Piper

No politician has the right to dictate, contradict or contravene religious beliefs

View all

Question of the Day

Will you rush to eat at restaurants when they re-open?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

President Donald Trump speaks with members of the press on the South Lawn of the White House, Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Washington, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Trump is en … more >

Print

By Dave Boyer

The Washington Times

Saturday, May 30, 2020

President Trump said Saturday night that he’s trying to add Russia, India, South Korea and Australia to the Group of 7 nations summit and will postpone the meeting until at least September.

“I’m postponing it because I don’t feel as a G-7 it probably represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Mr. Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “We want Australia, we want India, we want South Korea. That’s a nice group of countries right there.”

White House strategic communications director Alyssa Farah said the proposal is bringing together traditional U.S. allies to talk about how to deal with the future of China. The administration is increasingly clashing with China over issues such as the coronavirus and Hong Kong.

TOP STORIES

Celebrities blasted for donating to protester bail fund as rioting, violence escalate

Pelosi won't 'take the bait' on riots: 'I kind of ignore what President Trump says'

Officer Derek Chauvin's wife 'harassed and threatened' over false claim, divorce lawyer says

The president had been planning to host the G-7 summit at the White House in late June, or partly at Camp David, amid discussions with other heads of state about how to handle the gathering during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Trump later described his new proposal as the “G-10 or G-11” said he’s “roughly” broached the idea with the leaders of the four countries he’d like to add. “Maybe I’ll do it after the election,” he said, adding that he could also host the gathering around the time of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City in September.

Trump postpones G7 meeting, seeks expansion of members

Trump postpones G7 meeting, seeks expansion of members

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Mueller prosecutor held secret meetings targeting Paul Manafort before Russia probe: IG

Quiz: Are you a war movie expert?

‘A fair chance’: Veterans blocked from civilian jobs by patchwork of red tape

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

Rebel Democrats in battleground states could be good sign for Trump

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Michael McKenna

Pelosi’s proxy voting designed to dilute power of rank-and-file lawmakers

Ralph Z. Hallow

What happens when you apologize to rioters?

Everett Piper

No politician has the right to dictate, contradict or contravene religious beliefs

View all

Question of the Day

Will you rush to eat at restaurants when they re-open?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

President Donald Trump, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks with reporters while in air en route to Andrews Air Force Base Saturday, May 30, 2020, in flight. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) more >

Print

By JILL COLVIN and KEVIN FREKING

Associated Press

Saturday, May 30, 2020

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (AP) – President Donald Trump said Saturday that he will postpone until the fall a meeting of Group of 7 nations he had planned to hold next month at the White House despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And he said he plans to invite Russia, Australia, South Korea and India as he again advocated for the group’s expansion.

Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he returned to Washington from Florida that he feels the current makeup of the group is “very outdated” and doesn’t properly represent “what’s going on in the world.”

He said he had not yet set a new date for the meeting, but thought the gathering could take place in September, around the time of the annual meeting of the United Nations in New York, or perhaps after the U.S. election in November.

TOP STORIES

George Soros, 89, is still on a quest to destroy America

Trump: U.S. to designate Antifa as terrorist organization

Officer Derek Chauvin's wife 'harassed and threatened' over false claim, divorce lawyer says

Alyssa Farah, White House director of strategic communications, said that Trump wanted to bring in some of the country’s traditional allies and those impacted by the coronavirus to discuss the future of China.

The surprise announcement came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office said Saturday that she would not attend the meeting unless the course of the coronavirus spread had changed by then.

The leaders of the world’s major economies were slated to meet in June in the U.S. at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, but the coronavirus outbreak hobbled those plans. Trump announced in March he was canceling the summit because of the pandemic and that the leaders would confer by video conference instead. But Trump then switched course, saying a week ago that he was again planning to host an in-person meeting.

“Now that our Country is ‘Transitioning back to Greatness’, I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington, D.C., at the legendary Camp David,” Trump tweeted. “The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all – normalization!”

The G7 members are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The group’s presidency rotates annually among member countries.

Trump has repeatedly advocated for expanding the group to include Russia, prompting opposition from some members, including Canada’s Justin Trudeau, who told reporters he had privately aired his objection to Russian readmittance.

Russia has yet to change the behavior that led to its expulsion in 2014, and therefore should not be allowed back into the G7,” he said at a news conference.

The House also passed a bipartisan resolution in December 2019 that supports Russia’s previous expulsion from the annual gathering.

Russia had been invited to attend the gathering of the world’s most advanced economies since 1997, but was suspended in 2014 following its invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

___

Freking reported from Washington.

Democrats to interview ousted State Department watchdog

Democrats to interview ousted State Department watchdog

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Mueller prosecutor held secret meetings targeting Paul Manafort before Russia probe: IG

Quiz: Are you a war movie expert?

‘A fair chance’: Veterans blocked from civilian jobs by patchwork of red tape

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

Rebel Democrats in battleground states could be good sign for Trump

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Michael McKenna

Pelosi’s proxy voting designed to dilute power of rank-and-file lawmakers

Ralph Z. Hallow

What happens when you apologize to rioters?

Everett Piper

No politician has the right to dictate, contradict or contravene religious beliefs

View all

Question of the Day

Will you rush to eat at restaurants when they re-open?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

FILE – In this Dec. 10, 2014, file photo Steve Linick, State Department Inspector General, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. A senior department official said President Donald Trump removed Linick from his job as State Department’s inspector general on … more >

Print

By MARY CLARE JALONICK and MATTHEW LEE

Associated Press

Saturday, May 30, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) – Members of three House and Senate committees will interview former State Department Inspector General Steve Linick on Wednesday as part of an investigation by House Democrats into his abrupt firing by President Donald Trump.

Linick will speak to members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to two congressional aides working on the investigation who requested anonymity to discuss the closed-door meeting.

Democrats announced Friday that they are expanding their probe into Linick’s firing earlier this month with a series of interviews. The investigation is part of a larger effort by Democrats and some Republicans to find out more about Trump’s recent moves to sideline several independent government watchdogs.

TOP STORIES

Trump: U.S. to designate Antifa as terrorist organization

George Soros, 89, is still on a quest to destroy America

Chattanooga police chief tells officers OK with George Floyd death to turn in badges

The Democrats plan to interview multiple officials in the administration who may have more information about Linick’s dismissal on May 15, including whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recommended the firing for retaliatory reasons. Pompeo has denied Linick’s firing was retaliatory but has not given specific reasons for his dismissal.

The investigation is being led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., House Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Republicans on those panels will also be invited to question Linick and other witnesses.

“If Secretary Pompeo pushed for Mr. Linick’s dismissal to cover up his own misconduct, that would constitute an egregious abuse of power and a clear attempt to avoid accountability,” the Democrats said in a joint statement Friday.

The committees said they will release transcripts shortly after each interview.

It’s unclear whether Linick will come to Capitol Hill in person or appear virtually for the transcribed interviews. The House will be out of session over the coming week as lawmakers work from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee has asked several other State Department officials to sit for interviews in the probe, including Undersecretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao, Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs Clarke Cooper, Pompeo’s executive secretary Lisa Kenna and acting State Department legal adviser Marik String, according to the congressional aides.

Democrats and some Republicans have pushed the administration for more answers about the firings, but the White House has provided few, simply stating the dismissals were well within Trump’s authority.

Pompeo said after the firing that he had been concerned about the inspector general’s work for some time and that he regretted not calling for his dismissal earlier. He said he recommended to Trump that Linick be terminated.

Pompeo told reporters that he was unaware of any investigation into allegations that he may have mistreated staffers by instructing them to run personal errands for him and his wife such as walking his dog and picking up dry cleaning and takeout food. Thus, Pompeo said, the move could not have been retaliatory.

Pompeo did acknowledge that he was aware of an investigation into his decision last year to bypass congressional objections to approve a multibillion-dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia because he had answered written questions about it posed by Linick’s office. He maintained he did not know the scope or scale of the investigation.

Engel and Menendez have been demanding answers and documents from the State Department and Pompeo personally for months on a variety of topics that goes far beyond Linick’s dismissal.

After complaining for more than a year that Pompeo and his staff have either refused to respond or provided only perfunctory answers to questions posed on personnel and policy matters, the two Democrats and their Democratic committee colleagues have teamed up to try to force a complete explanation from Pompeo and the White House as to why Trump fired Linick.

Engel and Menendez earlier demanded that administration officials preserve and turn over all records related to Linick’s dismissal. They said they have received no information so far.

Linick is one of several inspectors general whom Trump has removed from office, sparking outrage among Democrats who say the administration is undermining government accountability. Linick was an Obama administration appointee whose office was critical of what it saw as political bias in the State Department’s current management but had also taken issue with Democratic appointees.

He played a small role in Trump’s impeachment last year. In October, Linick turned over documents to House investigators that he had received from a close Pompeo associate that contained information from debunked conspiracy theories about Ukraine’s role in the 2016 U.S. election. Democrats were probing Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democrats.

Linick is the second inspector general to be fired who was involved with the impeachment process. Michael Atkinson, the former inspector general for the intelligence community, triggered the impeachment probe when he alerted Congress about a whistleblower complaint that described a call between Trump and Ukraine’s president last summer. Trump fired Atkinson in April, saying he had lost confidence in him.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has said the White House is legally required to provide more answers to Congress about the firings and gave Trump a deadline to give them. But in a letter to Grassley this week, the administration offered no new details about why they were let go.

The response from White House counsel Pat Cipollone said that Trump has the authority to remove inspectors general, that he appropriately alerted Congress and that he selected qualified officials as replacements.

The president also moved to replace the chief watchdog at the Department of Health and Human Services, Christi Grimm, who testified that her office was moving ahead with new reports and audits on the department’s response to the coronavirus pandemic despite Trump’s public criticism of her.

In addition, Trump demoted acting Defense Department Inspector General Glenn Fine, effectively removing him as head of a special board to oversee auditing of the coronavirus economic relief package. Fine later resigned.

Democrats expand probe into firing of State Dept. watchdog

Democrats expand probe into firing of State Dept. watchdog

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Mueller prosecutor held secret meetings targeting Paul Manafort before Russia probe: IG

Quiz: Are you a war movie expert?

‘A fair chance’: Veterans blocked from civilian jobs by patchwork of red tape

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

Rebel Democrats in battleground states could be good sign for Trump

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Robert Knight

Liberal media takes ghoulish delight linking Trump to COVID-19 deaths

Charles Hurt

Joe Biden’s racism a Democratic Party tradition

Scott Walker

Vouchers, scholarships and tax credits will help low-income families implement school choice

View all

Question of the Day

Will you rush to eat at restaurants when they re-open?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

FILE – In this Oct. 2, 2019, file photo State Department Inspector General Steve Linick leaves a meeting in a secure area at the Capitol in Washington. A senior department official said President Donald Trump removed Linick from his job … more >

Print

By MARY CLARE JALONICK

Associated Press

Friday, May 29, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) – Democrats announced Friday that they are expanding their investigation into the firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, part of an effort to find out more about President Donald Trump’s moves to sideline several independent government watchdogs.

The Democrats plan to interview officials in the administration who may have more information about Linick’s abrupt dismissal on May 15, including about whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recommended the firing for retaliatory reasons. Pompeo has denied Linick’s firing was retaliatory but has not given specific reasons for his dismissal.

“If Secretary Pompeo pushed for Mr. Linick’s dismissal to cover up his own misconduct, that would constitute an egregious abuse of power and a clear attempt to avoid accountability,” the Democrats said in a joint statement.

TOP STORIES

Asphyxiation not the cause of George Floyd's death: Autopsy

Trump vetoes first domestic bill in four years, rejects measure on education loan forgiveness

SpaceX makes history with NASA-backed commercial launch

The investigation is being led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., House Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They said they will release transcripts shortly after each interview.

Democrats and some Republicans have pushed the administration for more answers about the firings, but the White House has provided few, simply stating the dismissals were well within Trump’s authority.

Pompeo said after the firing that he had been concerned about the inspector general’s work for some time and that he regretted not calling for his dismissal earlier. He said he recommended to Trump that Linick be terminated.

Linick is one of several inspectors general whom Trump has removed from office, sparking outrage among Democrats who say the administration is undermining government accountability. Linick was an Obama administration appointee whose office was critical of what it saw as political bias in the State Department’s current management but had also taken issue with Democratic appointees.

He also played a small role in Trump’s impeachment last year. In October, Linick turned over documents to House investigators that he had received from a close Pompeo associate that contained information from debunked conspiracy theories about Ukraine’s role in the 2016 U.S. election. Democrats were probing Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democrats.

Linick is the second inspector general to be fired who was involved with the impeachment process. Michael Atkinson, the former inspector general for the intelligence community, triggered the impeachment probe when he alerted Congress about a whistleblower complaint that described a call between Trump and Ukraine’s president last summer. Trump fired Atkinson in April, saying he had lost confidence in him.

Engel and Menendez earlier demanded that administration officials preserve and turn over all records related to Linick’s dismissal. They said they have received no information so far.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has said the White House is legally required to provide more answers to Congress about the firings and gave Trump a deadline to give them. But in a letter to Grassley this week, the administration offered no new details about why they were let go.

The response from White House counsel Pat Cipollone said that Trump has the authority to remove inspectors general, that he appropriately alerted Congress and that he selected qualified officials as replacements.

“When the President loses confidence in an inspector general, he will exercise his constitutional right and duty to remove that officer – as did President Reagan when he removed inspectors general upon taking office and as did President Obama when he was in office,” Cipollone wrote.

The president also moved to replace the chief watchdog at the Department of Health and Human Services, Christi Grimm, who testified that her office was moving ahead with new reports and audits on the department’s response to the coronavirus pandemic despite Trump’s public criticism of her.

In addition, Trump demoted acting Defense Department Inspector General Glenn Fine, effectively removing him as head of a special board to oversee auditing of the coronavirus economic relief package. Fine later resigned.

Trump to unveil proposals to hold China ‘accountable’ for crackdown on Hong Kong, White House says

Trump to unveil proposals to hold China ‘accountable’ for crackdown on Hong Kong, White House says

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Mueller prosecutor held secret meetings targeting Paul Manafort before Russia probe: IG

Quiz: Are you a war movie expert?

‘A fair chance’: Veterans blocked from civilian jobs by patchwork of red tape

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

Rebel Democrats in battleground states could be good sign for Trump

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Robert Knight

Liberal media takes ghoulish delight linking Trump to COVID-19 deaths

Charles Hurt

Joe Biden’s racism a Democratic Party tradition

Scott Walker

Vouchers, scholarships and tax credits will help low-income families implement school choice

View all

Question of the Day

Will you rush to eat at restaurants when they re-open?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

President Donald Trump speaks as he receives a briefing on the 2020 hurricane season in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, May 28, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) more >

Print

By Dave Boyer

The Washington Times

Friday, May 29, 2020

President Trump plans to announce proposals “to hold China accountable” for its crackdown on Hong Kong, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Friday.

“The president will be out with some ideas,” Mr. Kudlow said on “Fox & Friends.” “Frankly, the U.S. government is — I’ll use the word furious at what China has done in recent days, weeks, and months. They have not behaved well, and they have lost the trust I think of the whole Western world.”

Mr. Trump said Thursday that he would hold a press conference on China at the White House on Friday. As of mid-morning, however, such an event was not on his public schedule for Friday.

TOP STORIES

'Glorious': Kayleigh McEnany receives praise as White House press secretary

Van Jones: Forget the KKK, it's the 'white, liberal Hillary Clinton supporter' we should worry about

Coronavirus hype biggest political hoax in history

Mr. Kudlow said Beijing is violating a 50-year-old treaty on “one country, two systems” that has allowed Hong Kong to be a free-market system oriented toward democracy.

China’s now violating that by taking over national security,” he said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week certified to Congress that Hong Kong no longer has a high degree of autonomy from China — a decision that could result in the loss of Hong Kong’s special trading status with the U.S. and threaten its position as an international financial hub.

White House bans travel from Brazil by non-U.S. citizens

Trump bans entry of non-U.S. citizens traveling from Brazil

Health officials issue reminder: Coronavirus 'not yet contained'

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

Mueller prosecutor held secret meetings targeting Paul Manafort before Russia probe: IG

Quiz: Are you a war movie expert?

‘A fair chance’: Veterans blocked from civilian jobs by patchwork of red tape

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

Rebel Democrats in battleground states could be good sign for Trump

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Charles Hurt

Joe Biden — the perverted Magic Eight Ball that is always wrong

Richard W. Rahn

‘You are not going to die from COVID-19’

Cal Thomas

Pelosi vs. Trump: Schoolyard insults easier than civil discourse these days

View all

Question of the Day

Would you undergo an elective surgery right now?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

Cemetery workers in protective clothing bury a COVID-19 victim at the Vila Formosa cemetery in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Andre Penner) more >

Print

By David Sherfinski

The Washington Times

Sunday, May 24, 2020

President Trump on Sunday announced he was suspending travel into the United States for non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in Brazil, a new coronavirus hot spot, as top administration officials warned Americans that they aren’t out of the woods in the fight against the pandemic.

The Brazil announcement followed similar restrictions on travel from China, Iran and the United Kingdom as Mr. Trump looks to stem an increase in cases in the U.S.

“Today’s action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country,” said White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

SEE ALSO: Death rates for coronavirus higher in Democratic states

The president made the announcement as Americans hit the road and flocked to beaches over the Memorial Day weekend, stoking fears in some quarters of a potential resurgence of cases.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the U.S. coronavirus response coordinator, said Sunday that it’s an open question on whether the country will need to shut down again if COVID-19 cases spike in the coming months.

“It’s difficult to tell, and I really am data-driven, so I’m collecting data right now about whether governors and whether states and whether communities are able to open safely,” Dr. Birx said on ABC’s “This Week.”

SEE ALSO: Dr. Deborah Birx: ‘Difficult to tell’ if U.S. will need another shutdown

She said officials will be learning more through May, June and July and are preparing for a potential resurgence in the fall.

“I think we’re trying to learn right now very carefully about how you reopen safely. We act like we’ve actually done this before,” she said.

With images of crowded beaches and pools over the holiday weekend, she said she is concerned when people don’t maintain proper social distancing.

Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday that measures such as social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing “protect us all.”

“With the country starting to open up this holiday weekend, I again remind everyone that the coronavirus is not yet contained,” Dr. Hahn said in a Twitter message. “It is up to every individual to protect themselves and their community.”

All 50 states have moved to relax restrictions as trends on COVID-19 cases and deaths improve in many spots.

Mr. Trump, who has been itching for the country to reopen, also cheered positive trends Sunday as he hit the links at his private golf club in Virginia for the second straight day.

“Cases, numbers and deaths are going down all over the Country!” he said on Twitter.

Mr. Trump suggested last week that economic lockdowns won’t return even in the event of another wave of COVID-19 cases.

The U.S. has had more than 1.6 million cases and more than 97,000 deaths related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.

“We’re going to put out the fires. We’re not going to close the country,” the president said. “Whether it’s an ember or a flame, we’re going to put it out. But we’re not closing our country.”

In announcing the Brazil restrictions, Ms. McEnany said they would not apply to the flow of commerce.

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien suggested earlier Sunday that new restrictions were likely coming.

“We hope that’ll be temporary,” Mr. O’Brien said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We’re concerned about the people of the Southern Hemisphere and certainly the people of Brazil. … We’ll take a look at the other countries on a country-by-country basis, for sure.”

Brazil now has more than 347,000 reported COVID-19 cases, which is the second-highest total worldwide behind the U.S., according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the U.S. now has the tools for testing and contact tracing in place to open the country safely if people take proper precautions.

Mr. Azar said people can feel safe going to churches again. The president on Friday declared churches, synagogues and mosques “essential” locations.

“We can get back to work, back to school and back to worship in safe ways because of President Trump’s historic response here,” Mr. Azar said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Though the curve in cases and hospitalizations is starting to flatten in many locations, it has spiked recently in some states such as Arkansas and North Carolina as businesses reopen.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, said state officials don’t see a connection between a relaxing of restrictions and the increase in cases and noted that the positivity rate on testing is running lower than 5%.

“You manage the risk by increasing the testing,” Mr. Hutchinson said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We see [increased numbers of cases] because we are testing more and we’re following and tracing where those are coming from, and they’re not coming from the fact that we’ve lifted some of the restrictions.”

The economic fallout from the lockdowns has been substantial. Close to 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in recent weeks.

White House senior adviser Kevin Hassett said the unemployment rate could be in the double digits in November even as the economy slowly improves.

“Yes, unemployment will be something that moves back slower,” he said on CNN. “I think it could be better than that. But you’re going to be starting at a number in the 20s and working your way down.”

He said the U.S. unemployment rate for May could be above 20%, which rivals the 24.9% peak rate during the Great Depression.

After months of historic lows, the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4% in March before spiking to 14.7% in April as the economic fallout from coronavirus-related lockdowns took hold.

Congress is eyeing tweaks to a popular small-business lending program for the next round of federal relief, but Mr. Hassett indicated that quick agreement on a broader package might be trickier.

He said the White House is considering another round of direct payments to Americans but that the popular payments of up to $1,200 might be junked in favor of items such as cuts to payroll and capital gains taxes that Democrats are likely to oppose.

Asked about more money for states and localities, a key Democratic demand, Mr. Hassett said significant aid already has been allocated for that purpose.

“I think that a lot of the requests for state and local bailouts that you’re seeing out there up on the Hill are radically, radically more money than the expected shortfall for the year,” he said. “We’re analyzing the numbers right now, and the requests are kind of absurd.”

He said a lot of Republicans are also concerned that the plussed-up unemployment benefits in the $2.2 trillion package that passed in March have made it more lucrative for many Americans to simply take the benefits rather than work.

“We look forward to working with people on potentially reforming that,” he said.

The Democrat-led House recently passed a more than $3 trillion bill that included another round of direct payments to millions of Americans, close to $1 trillion in additional money for states and localities, and an extension of the boosted federal unemployment benefits through January.

The White House and Senate Republicans have said the package isn’t going anywhere and that it includes extraneous items tied to immigration, elections and marijuana.

Many public health experts have said that a return to “normalcy” won’t really be possible until a vaccine is widely available for the public.

Mr. Azar said an end-of-year time frame for a coronavirus vaccine is a “very credible objective.”

“We just signed a deal with AstraZeneca for the Oxford vaccine where by October we could have a hundred million doses of vaccine and 300 million doses by early next year,” he said.

Mr. Azar said the ongoing debate about reopening the country isn’t necessarily a trade-off between public health and economic concerns.

“It’s actually an issue of health versus health,” he said. “By being locked up in our homes, there [are] very real health consequences.”

He said social and economic dislocation leads to adverse outcomes such as suicide and mental illness, fewer cancer screenings and treatments, and missed opportunities for children’s regular vaccinations.

Erdogan, Trump reiterate solidarity against COVID-19

Erdogan, Trump reiterate solidarity against COVID-19

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Not happy’: Trump eyes compensation from China as confrontations increase

Quiz: Are you a war movie expert?

Joe Biden bets big that suburban women won’t believe Tara Reade

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

Combat vets lament military changing tobacco policy: ‘Government run amok’

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Everett Piper

Science-denying Joe Biden

Charles Hurt

Trump’s political education should make him wary

Daniel N. Hoffman

How the United States can effectively contain China

View all

Question of the Day

Would you undergo an elective surgery right now?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

In this photo provided by the Turkish Presidency, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, front center, arrives to attend the inauguration ceremony for Basaksehir Pine and Sakura City Hospital, in Istanbul, Thursday, May 21, 2020. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who … more >

Print

By

Associated Press

Saturday, May 23, 2020

ISTANBUL (AP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump spoke Saturday on the phone to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, bilateral relations and regional developments.

According to an account of the phone call released by Erdogan’s office, the two leaders reiterated their solidarity in the fight against COVID-19.

They also discussed developments in Libya and Syria, agreeing to continue “close political and military cooperation” for regional stability, the statement said.

TOP STORIES

Holiday amid pandemic: Americans divided on how to respond

500 doctors tell Trump to end the coronavirus shutdown, say it will cause more deaths

Sessions fires back at Trump: 'I did my duty & you're damn fortunate I did'

For its part, the White House said that the two leaders “discussed progress on reopening and boosting global economies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.”

President Trump also “reiterated concern over worsening foreign interference in Libya and the need for rapid de-escalation” and the presidents “reaffirmed the urgent need for a political resolution to the conflict in Syria, as well as unimpeded humanitarian access throughout the country,” a White House statement said.

Turkey has seen a downward trajectory in infections and the death rate, but hundreds of people are still confirmed positive every day.

The country has registered 155,686 infections and 4,308 deaths.

Turkey’s transport minister said Saturday that some intercity trains will resume limited operations May 28 as the country readies to restart domestic tourism. Passengers will be required to obtain a travel certification code from a government phone application. Travelers above 65 and under 20 will also need to get an additional travel permit as a full curfew imposed on those age groups continues, except for a few hours each week.

Turkey is in the midst of its first ever nationwide lockdown, lasting four days during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. Previous partial lockdowns on weekends and holidays had affected a maximum of 31 of 81 provinces. Erdogan said this week he hopes this round of lockdowns will be the final one.

Separately, Turkey’s minister of youth and sports announced all quarantine measures for Turkish citizens coming from abroad had been completed. Since March, over 77,400 people were placed in mandatory quarantines in dormitories to curb the infection’s spread.

Donald Trump pushing for in-person G-7 at White House, a portion at Camp David

Trump pushing for in-person G-7 at White House, a portion at Camp David

June event was shifted online due to coronavirus pandemic

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Not happy’: Trump eyes compensation from China as confrontations increase

Quiz: Can you guess the singers of these classic country music songs?

Joe Biden bets big that suburban women won’t believe Tara Reade

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

Combat vets lament military changing tobacco policy: ‘Government run amok’

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Everett Piper

Science-denying Joe Biden

Charles Hurt

Trump’s political education should make him wary

Daniel N. Hoffman

How the United States can effectively contain China

View all

Question of the Day

Would you undergo an elective surgery right now?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

President Donald Trump talks to reporters before departing the White House for a trip to Michigan, Thursday, May 21, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) more >

Print

By Tom Howell Jr.

The Washington Times

Thursday, May 21, 2020

President Trump said Thursday he’s pushing to host Group of Seven leaders at the White House in June, as he tries to revert from a virtual summit to a live-person event amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It looks like G-7 may be on because we’ve done well, we’re ahead of schedule in terms of our country, and some of the other countries are doing very well,” he told White House reporters. “It looks like the G-7 will be on, a full G-7, and we’ll be announcing something early next week.”

“When that all comes together, probably it will be in D.C. at the White House,” he said, adding that a portion would be held at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.

TOP STORIES

Barr orders legal action against governors whose COVID-19 actions infringe on civil rights

Michigan AG: 'Petulant child' Trump no longer welcome in state

Democratic clerk charged with altering nearly 200 midterm elections ballots

It’s unclear if the other members of the G-7 will agree to come to the U.S. for an in-person summit, which is planned for June 10-12.

French President Emmanuel Macron suggested he would try, if the health conditions allow it, and other European leaders struck a wait-and-see stance.

The U.S. is still banning travel from many several member countries, so it is unclear if the restrictions will be lifted before then or if leaders and their aides will get special permission to enter.

Mike Pompeo denies State Dept. inspector general was fired in retaliation

Mike Pompeo denies State Dept. inspector general was fired in retaliation

Democrats promise probe; reasons remain murky

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Not happy’: Trump eyes compensation from China as confrontations increase

Quiz: Can you guess the singers of these classic country music songs?

Joe Biden bets big that suburban women won’t believe Tara Reade

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

Combat vets lament military changing tobacco policy: ‘Government run amok’

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Daniel N. Hoffman

How the United States can effectively contain China

Scott Walker

Why Joe Biden must never be president

Tony Perkins

Religious liberty during COVID-19: Get a haircut, but stay away from church

View all

Question of the Day

Would you undergo an elective surgery right now?

Question of the Day

 
Yes

 
No

 
Not sure

  View results

Story TOpics

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press briefing at the State Department on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in Washington. (Nicholas Kamm/Pool Photo via AP) more >

Print

By Guy Taylor

The Washington Times

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday defended last week’s abrupt firing of the department’s official watchdog, sharply denying allegations the firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was payback for investigations the IG was conducting of Mr. Pompeo himself.

Mr. Pompeo acknowledged that he personally recommended to President Trump that Mr. Linick be “terminated” and said that in hindsight, last week’s firing should have been done “some time ago.” But his combative remarks did not stop a groundswell of Democratic criticism on the Hill over the dismissal.

Charges of retaliation were “patently false,” Mr. Pompeo told reporters at the State Department. “I have no sense of what investigations were taking place inside the inspector general’s office.”

TOP STORIES

500 doctors tell Trump to end the coronavirus shutdown, say it will cause more deaths

Appeals court orders judge in Michael Flynn case to respond to request for removal

Democratic clerk charged with altering nearly 200 midterm elections ballots

But he also offered no specific reason for the move announced late Friday night by the White House, saying, “The president has the unilateral right to choose who he wants to be his inspector general at every agency in the federal government.”

The comments came after days of silence on the matter from the State Department, following a slew of allegations from Democrats on Capitol Hill who claim the administration wanted to silence Mr. Linick — the latest in a string of clashes between the White House and government inspectors general — over probes of matters relating to both policy and personal questions.

Mr. Pompeo in some news accounts was reportedly upset that Mr. Linick was probing his alleged use of State Department political appointees to walk his dogs and deliver his dry cleaning.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel said this week he believes Mr. Linick may have been fired for investigating the secretary’s rare invocation of an “emergency declaration” to push through a weapons deal with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Linick’s “office was investigating — at my request — Trump’s phony declaration of an emergency so he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia,” the New York Democrat said in a statement.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Mr. Pompeo had agreed to provide written answers to an IG probe on the Saudi deal, suggesting the secretary was aware that the Saudi deal at least was being scrutinized by Mr. Linick’s team of investigators.

Mr. Pompeo said Wednesday there was one unspecified “exception” to his lack of knowledge of the IG’s work, saying he responded in writing “questions with respect to a particular investigation” — which he did not identify — and adding he did not know the status of the probe in question.

Mr. Pompeo complained Wednesday about what he said was wild speculation about the firing that was wrongfully “leaked” to the news media over the past week. “I mean, it’s all just crazy,” he said.

Saying he had little direct knowledge of the IG’s work, Mr. Pompeo argued “it’s not possible for there to have been retaliation.”

Mr. Trump this week confirmed he acted at Mr. Pompeo’s request to fire Mr. Linick, saying he did not know the IG but that “he’s an Obama appointment and he had some difficulty.”

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican and a fierce defender of federal whistleblowers and the IG system, pressed the White House this week to give a fuller explanation for Mr. Linick’s removal, as required by law.

But congressional Democrats have been far more aggressive, with Mr. Engel and New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying they intend to probe the matter much more deeply.

Mr. Pompeo lashed out at Mr. Menendez Wednesday, blaming him for the false charges surrounding the firing and citing the New Jersey lawmaker’s long ordeal battling federal corruption charges.

“I don’t get my ethics guidance from a man who was criminally prosecuted … a man for whom his Senate colleagues — bipartisan — said basically that he was taking bribes,” the secretary of state said. “That’s not someone who I look to for ethics guidance.”

Mr. Menendez in turn accused Mr. Pompeo on Wednesday of engaging in “diversion tactics,” asserting that the secretary of state’s attempt “to smear me is as predictable as it is shameful.”

Mr. Engel also issued a statement, saying it was “disappointing that Secretary Pompeo didn’t seize the opportunity to clear up the questions surrounding his recommendation to fire Inspector General Linick.”

“Our investigation will go forward,” Mr. Engel said, adding that he and Mr. Menendez “hope for the secretary’s cooperation.”

Charles Grassley demands Trump to give reasoning for firing of State Department IG Steve Linick

Grassley demands Trump to give reasoning for firing of State Department inspector general

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Not happy’: Trump eyes compensation from China as confrontations increase

Quiz: Can you guess the singers of these classic country music songs?

Joe Biden bets big that suburban women won’t believe Tara Reade

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

Combat vets lament military changing tobacco policy: ‘Government run amok’

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

Who in the Obama administration should be indicted for persecution of Michael Flynn?

Peter Morici

Socialism tempts as capitalism struggles during COVID-19 pandemic

Charles Hurt

Trump’s modesty and ending political persecutions

View all

Question of the Day

How would you grade Trump's handling of virus outbreak?

Question of the Day

 
A

 
B

 
C

 
D

 
F

  View results

Story TOpics

President Donald Trump listens to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speak during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House where Trump spoke about his judicial appointments, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) **FILE** more >

Print

By Guy Taylor

The Washington Times

Monday, May 18, 2020

A top Senate Republican Monday called on President Trump to “provide a detailed reasoning” for the firing late last week of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, amid claims by Democrats he was pushed out for probing the administration’s handling of controversial Mideast weapons deals.

In a letter to the president on Monday, Sen. Charles E. Grassley demanded Mr. Trump explain Friday’s firing of Mr. Linick to lawmakers by June 1 and stressed that inspectors general must be allowed to operate “free from partisan political interference.”

Mr. Linick’s dismissal is the latest in a string of clashes between the White House and government inspectors general, many of the Obama administration holdovers whom Mr. Trump and his allies sometimes see as part of a “deep state” trying to undermine his administration.

TOP STORIES

Oregon becomes first state to offer free abortions for all, including illegal aliens

Nancy Pelosi: 'Morbidly obese' Trump shouldn't be taking hydroxychloroquine

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms: Georgia reopening 'not as bad as I thought'

The Iowa Republican noted federal law requiring the White House “provide notice and explanation to Congress 30 days before the removal of an IG” — a stipulation some believe Mr. Trump has not adequately adhered to in the Linick case.

The State Department has refused to comment on the specific causes behind Mr. Linick’s firing, although Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a phone interview with The Washington Post that the move wasn’t made in retaliation for a specific action.

“I went to the President and made clear to him that Inspector General Linick wasn’t performing a function in a way that we had tried to get him to, that was additive for the State Department, very consistent with what the statute says he’s supposed to be doing,” Mr. Pompeo said.

Mr. Trump confirmed Monday that he made the decision at Mr. Pompeo’s request, but added that the dismissal “should have been done a long time ago” because Mr. Linick was a holdover from the Obama era.

“I was happy to do it,” Mr. Trump said at the White House. “He’s an Obama appointment and he had some difficulty.”

He also dismissed weekend press reports that Mr. Pompeo may have been trying to quash a separate IG probe into his use of State Department personnel to run personal errands for him and his wife.

“I’d rather have [Mr. Pompeo} on the phone with some world leader than have him wash dishes,”

Mr. Grassley’s letter, meanwhile, signaled frustration that began with Democrats over the affair may be spreading to some Republicans.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel said Monday he believed that Mr. Linick may have been fired for investigating the Trump administration’s use last year of a rare “emergency declaration” to push through a weapons deal with Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Linick’s “office was investigating — at my request — Trump’s phony declaration of an emergency so he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia,” the New York Democrat said in a statement.

It is “troubling,” Mr. Engel added, that Mr. Pompeo “wanted Mr. Linick pushed out before this work could be completed.”

Democrats claim the Trump administration, which had pushed weapons sales to the Saudis as a way to create more U.S. defense jobs, sought to circumvent a congressional ban on weapons sales to Riyadh over its role in the brutal Yemeni civil war and the resulting humanitarian catastrophe.

Mr. Engel and New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said over the weekend they were opening an investigation into why Mr. Linick was fired.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday slammed Mr. Trump’s Friday night announcement of the firing. “Typical of the White House announcing something unsavory, they would do it on a Friday night,” the California Democrat said Sunday in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Mr. Trump wrote in a letter to Mrs. Pelosi late Friday night that he no longer had “fullest confidence” in Mr. Linick, who had been in the State Department IG position since 2013.

“The president has the right to fire any federal employee,” Mrs. Pelosi acknowledged Sunday.

“But the fact is,” she said, “if it looks like it’s in retaliation for something the inspector general is doing that could be unlawful.”

Mr. Linick is the latest of several independent federal watchdogs to be pushed out in recent weeks In April, the president removed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence community who had fast-tracked a whistleblower complaint last year that kick-started Mr. Trump’s impeachment ordeal.

He also fired former acting Defense Department Inspector General Glenn Fine. Mr. Fine had also been tapped to lead a committee charged with overseeing trillions in federal coronavirus rescue spending.

Tom Howell Jr., Lauren Meier and David Sherfinski contributed to this report.

Donald Trump increases China confrontations, blocks Huawei trade

‘Not happy’: Trump eyes compensation from China as confrontations increase

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

‘Not happy’: Trump eyes compensation from China as confrontations increase

Quiz: Can you guess the singers of these classic country music songs?

Joe Biden bets big that suburban women won’t believe Tara Reade

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

Combat vets lament military changing tobacco policy: ‘Government run amok’

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Cal Thomas

Nancy Pelosi’s $3 trillion ‘coronavirus relief’ bill is a leftist boondoggle

Cheryl K. Chumley

America’s scarily sharp COVID-19 turn toward socialism

Everett Piper

CNN’s COVID-19 panel is a joke

View all

Question of the Day

How would you grade Trump's handling of virus outbreak?

Question of the Day

 
A

 
B

 
C

 
D

 
F

  View results

Story TOpics

President Donald Trump pauses while speaking with reporters on the South Lawnof the White House in Washington, Sunday, May 17, 2020. Trump is returning from a visit to nearby Camp David, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) more >

Print

By Dave Boyer and Stephen Dinan

The Washington Times

Sunday, May 17, 2020

President Trump is stepping up his confrontations with China as the U.S. death toll mounts from the COVID-19 pandemic, blocking trade with Chinese tech giant Huawei, halting some U.S. retirement investments in China and floating the suggestion that Beijing should compensate the world for the coronavirus first discovered in Wuhan.

The president, who once boasted of his warm relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, has cut off communications for now with Mr. Xi, even as both sides negotiate quietly to uphold the massive trade deal signed at the White House in January.

“For sure, his personal rhetoric has changed,” said James Carafano, a national security specialist at The Heritage Foundation. “Trump has always liked to play the good cop in our ‘good cop, bad cop’ diplomacy. His role has sharpened. In the great power competition, it’s ‘game on.’”

SEE ALSO: Trump says China ‘could have stopped’ coronavirus: ‘It got out of control’

But Mr. Carafano said the president’s strategy “has always been making across-the-board military, diplomatic, economic challenges to Beijing where they are impinging on vital U.S. interests. That’s how to you get to stable relationship.”

The escalating feud with China also meshes with the president’s campaign strategy of portraying presumptive Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden as too soft on China. It’s a subject of the campaign’s $10 million nationwide ad blitz against Mr. Biden that began Thursday, and aides say the theme will be prominent through Election Day.

In a fundraising email to supporters on Sunday, the Trump campaign said the “fake news media and their corrupt Democrat Partners will defend Sleepy Joe until the end. They don’t care that he’s in bed with China and wants to see America fail.”

The American public’s views of China have soured during COVID-19 shutdowns. The Pew Research Center found last month that 66% of respondents had a negative opinion of China, the highest percentage recorded since Pew began asking the question in 2005. Only 26% of Americans had a favorable attitude.

“There is a domestic component,” Mr. Carafano said. “Across the board, Americans rightfully blame the failures of the Chinese Communist Party for the global pandemic outbreak.”

On the policy side, the administration is showing no signs of revoking the China trade deal that the president has been hammering out since the start of his presidency.

Asked Friday whether he is considering new tariffs against China or ripping up the trade deal, Mr. Trump replied brusquely, “I don’t want to talk about it.

China is buying a lot of our products,” the president told reporters. “But the trade deal — the ink was barely dry when this [coronavirus] came in from China. So it’s not like we’re thrilled.”

He told Fox Business that the 4-month-old trade deal “doesn’t feel the same to me.”

“I’m not happy with anything to do with that particular subject right now,” Mr. Trump said during an interview with Fox’s Maria Bartiromo. “Right now, I don’t want to speak to [Mr. Xi].”

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the trade deal “is continuing, absolutely.” He said trade negotiators from both sides, including Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, had successful phone calls last week.

While the trade talks proceed, however, Mr. Trump is ratcheting up pressure on China on several fronts.

The Commerce Department moved Friday to block global chip supplies to blacklisted telecomm giant Huawei Technologies. A new rule expands U.S. authority to require licenses for sale of semiconductors to Huawei, increasing Washington’s ability to halt exports to the world’s second-largest maker of smartphones.

Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican and a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said the rule was long overdue to prevent the “Chinese Communist Party’s tech puppet from obtaining U.S. semiconductor technology.”

“The United States needs to strangle Huawei,” Mr. Sasse said. “Modern wars are fought with semiconductors, and we were letting Huawei use our American designs. This is pretty simple: Chip companies that depend on American technology can’t jump into bed with the Chinese Communist Party.”

In response, China’s governnment-controlled Global Times said Beijing was ready to put U.S. companies on an “unreliable entity list.”

China is lashing out at American lawmakers who are trying to hold it accountable in U.S. courts for spreading the coronavirus. According a Global Times report, Beijing is ready to “hit back” with its own sanctions.

The communist government is suggesting that China’s massive economy could halt investments in states represented by those who attempt to assign blame. At least four members of Congress “will be put on China’s sanctions list,” said the Global Times, citing “sources close to the matter.”

A number of lawmakers were named in the story, but those who drew particular attention from the Chinese press were Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, all Republicans.

“American Congresspeople who hold an anti-China stance like Smith have been long-term hawks on China-relevant topics such as Taiwan and Xinjiang. And Republicans like Hawley are also backed by some U.S. defense companies and other companies that compete with Chinese firms,” Diao Daming, a U.S. studies expert at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the newspaper last week.

Mr. Smith, who last year authored the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, said he wouldn’t bow to pressure.

“Sanctions will not silence me or anyone who demands genuine accountability for this horrific pandemic,” he said in a statement over the weekend.

He pointed to the death toll from COVID-19 in New Jersey. “Beijing cannot continue to hide, lie and now threaten to stop us from demanding the truth.”

Mr. Hawley took to Twitter on Friday to call the sanctions threat a “badge of honor.”

Mr. Hawley is a former Missouri attorney general. His successor, Eric Schmitt, has filed a lawsuit arguing that the Chinese Communist Party directed the policies that have failed the world, allowing COVID-19 to spread and devastate the global economy.

In Missouri alone, Mr. Schmitt said in the lawsuit, “billions of dollars” have been lost to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Global Times said China will take steps to punish Missouri’s economy.

The White House pressured the board that runs the retirement savings program for federal employees and military personnel last week to halt, at least temporarily, a plan to invest funds in Chinese businesses.

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board voted unanimously to pause its plan to shift billions of dollars in retirement assets to an index fund that includes about 8% Chinese companies, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and a new slate of board nominees from Mr. Trump.

Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia sent a letter to the Thrift Savings Plan’s governing board saying that “at the direction of President Trump, the board is to immediately halt all steps” toward switching to the broader international stock market index.

Mr. Kudlow and national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien also urged the board to “cease implementation immediately.” They said the Chinese government hid crucial information about the virus from the U.S. and the rest of the world.

“These events dramatically increase the risk that Chinese companies could be subject to sanctions or boycotts that jeopardize their business and profitability and strongly militate against the Board making a significant investment of federal workers’ retirement funds in Chinese companies at this time,” they wrote.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Saturday that there needs to be a broader discussion on hitting China for “compensatory damages” because of the way it handled the coronavirus outbreak.

“I think there needs to be a national discussion — has to be bipartisan — about compensatory damages by a country that inflicted this pandemic on the world,” Mr. Navarro said on Fox Business. “This crisis, and China’s role in virtually manufacturing this whole crisis, we need to have a national discussion.”

The coronavirus has infected more than 4.5 million people worldwide and contributed to the deaths of more than 300,000. The U.S., with a population of about 330 million, has recorded nearly 1.5 million cases and more than 88,000 deaths from COVID-19.

“It should have been stopped in China before it got out to the world — 186 countries are affected,” Mr. Trump said. “Russia is now badly affected, France is badly affected. Look at Italy, look at Spain — all of these great countries, in many cases, have had to fight through this. It’s a terrible thing that happened. It should have been stopped right at the source, but it wasn’t.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Mr. Trump is “very frustrated with China.” She said China “slow-walked” information through the World Health Organization about human-to-human transmissions of the virus as well as information about its genetic sequencing, and allowed flights out of China while the virus was spreading.

“These decisions put American lives at risk, not just American lives, but lives around the globe,” she said.

While the U.S. grows more aggressive in economic competition, the administration is challenging Chinese influence in international organizations such as WHO. NATO put the issue of China on its agenda for the first time at a meeting in London in December.

Mr. Carafano said he expects “a lot more on that front,” including more robust action toward Beijing from the “quad-plus partners” — the U.S., Japan, India and Australia.

“Expect the U.S. to do more, not less, with friends and allies,” he said. “The U.S. push on China in NATO context is just one example, as is the increased level of activity among the ‘quad plus’ partners.”

⦁ David Sherfinski and Gabriella Muñoz contributed to this report

Donald Trump: China ‘could have stopped’ coronavirus

Trump says China ‘could have stopped’ coronavirus: ‘It got out of control’

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

U.S. may benefit as grim spring undercuts Putin’s plans

Quiz: Can you pass a World War II history test?

First-term lawmakers face major challenges on Capitol Hill

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

New transcripts reveal Loretta Lynch uninformed as FBI targeted Trump’s campaign

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Cheryl K. Chumley

America’s scarily sharp COVID-19 turn toward socialism

Everett Piper

CNN’s COVID-19 panel is a joke

Charles Hurt

Patty Murray and Senate half-wits confront pandemic

View all

Question of the Day

How would you grade Trump's handling of virus outbreak?

Question of the Day

 
A

 
B

 
C

 
D

 
F

  View results

Story TOpics

President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, May 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) more >

Print

By Gabriella Muñoz

The Washington Times

Sunday, May 17, 2020

President Trump said Sunday that he doesn’t want to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping, as tensions ramp up between the two nations during the pandemic.

“Look, I’m not happy with anything to do with that particular subject right now,” he said during an interview with Fox’s Maria Bartiromo.

Despite his frustrations, Mr. Trump said he still has a good relationship with the Chinese president and doesn’t plan to renegotiate the massive $250 billion trade deal they secured back in January.

TOP STORIES

Trump says Americans won't stand for stay-at-home orders anymore

Mueller judges could be impeachment targets if GOP retakes House, Roger Stone predicts

Gavin Newsom eyes prison closures amid budget woes

However, the Trump administration continues to hit China hard as the world struggles to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The virus was first discovered in Wuhan, China late last year before it spread around the globe. There are now more than 4.5 million infections and more than 300,000 coronavirus-related deaths worldwide.

The president accused China of allowing its people to travel and spread the infection while locking down its own borders. Though he wouldn’t say that the Chinese specifically intended for it get out.

“It all came from China and they could have stopped it,” he said. “I don’t know if they made the decision, but it got out of control. I think more than likely it got out of control.”

White House trade advisor Peter Navarro went even further on Sunday, directly saying he blamed the Chinese government for taking down the U.S. economy.

“The Chinese, behind the shield of the World Health Organization for two months, hid the virus from the world, and then sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese on aircraft to Milan, New York and around the world to seed that,” he said.

On Friday, Mr. Trump moved to block shipments of superconductors to the Chinese giant Huawei Technologies from global chipmakers. Members of his administration have suggested the country owes compensation to the rest of the world for the outbreak.

Peter Navarro talks up ‘compensatory damages’ for China’s misleading on coronavirus

Trump adviser: China paying ‘compensatory damages’ for pandemic should be under consideration

Follow Us




Search
Search Keyword:

Sign Up For Our
Daily Newsletters

Breaking News Alerts
Enter your email address:

Manage Newsletters

Front Page Podcast

Recommended

U.S. may benefit as grim spring undercuts Putin’s plans

Quiz: Can you pass a World War II history test?

First-term lawmakers face major challenges on Capitol Hill

Quiz: Can you pass a pandemics, plagues and infectious diseases test?

New transcripts reveal Loretta Lynch uninformed as FBI targeted Trump’s campaign

SPONSORED CONTENT

How To: Fix Dark Spots And Uneven Skin Tones

Commentary

Everett Piper

CNN’s COVID-19 panel is a joke

Charles Hurt

Patty Murray and Senate half-wits confront pandemic

Scott Walker

Nancy Pelosi’s latest liberal wish list will bury taxpayers under mounds of debt

View all

Question of the Day

How would you grade Trump's handling of virus outbreak?

Question of the Day

 
A

 
B

 
C

 
D

 
F

  View results

Story TOpics

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro walks to do a television interview at the White House, Friday, May 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) more >

Print

By David Sherfinski

The Washington Times

Saturday, May 16, 2020

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said there needs to be a broader discussion on hitting China for “compensatory damages” because of how the country has handled the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think there needs to be a national discussion — has to be bipartisan — about compensatory damages by a country that inflicted this pandemic on the world,” Mr. Navarro said in an interview that aired Saturday on Fox Business Network.

He said questions on a would-be enforcement mechanism were above his pay grade.

TOP STORIES

Amash opts against Libertarian Party presidential bid

Michael Flynn adversary's law firm backs Democrats: FEC records

House passes Dems' $3 trillion coronavirus spending bill

“I’m simply suggesting to you that this crisis, and China’s role in virtually manufacturing this whole crisis — we need to have a national discussion,” he said.

The virus was first discovered in Wuhan, China late last year before it spread around the globe. There are now more than 4.5 million infections and more than 300,000 coronavirus-related deaths worldwide.

Several state attorneys general in the U.S. have filed or threatened lawsuits seeking damages from China over the virus, and congressional Republicans have introduced legislation that would make it easier for Americans to sue the country.

Mr. Trump said this week he and Chinese President Xi Jinping have a good relationship but that he doesn’t want to speak to him at the moment.