Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Hillary Clinton says ‘no doubt’ Trump team intersected with Russia — Could the twice-defeated Clinton have good ideas on how to win next time?

September 12, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Hillary Clinton, seen here during the 2016 presidential campaign, says she was “shell-shocked” by her loss to Donald Trump

NEW YORK (AFP) – Hillary Clinton, who on Tuesday released her tell-all memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign, said she has “no doubt” that Donald Trump’s associates helped Russia interfere in the US election.Last year’s failed Democratic nominee told USA Today newspaper that there “certainly was an understanding of some sort” — and direct communication — between Trump’s campaign officials or associates and Russia.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that there are a tangle of financial relationships between Trump and his operation with Russian money,” she said in the interview published hours before she kicked off her first book-signing for the memoir, “What Happened.”

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“And there’s no doubt in my mind that the Trump campaign and other associates have worked really hard to hide their connections with Russians.”

The Trump campaign’s links to Russia are under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller and by multiple congressional committees.

Clinton’s assertions in several interviews coinciding with the book launch amplify a core message of her campaign confessional: that a series of external forces conspired to prevent her from becoming the nation’s first woman president.

“There were all of these outside forces coming at me right until the very end,” she told National Public Radio.

– Comey and Sanders –

Among them: the FBI’s relentless investigation of her emails, and the announcement by then-director James Comey, just 11 days before the election, that the bureau was re-opening its probe into her use of a private account and server while secretary of state.

“After the Comey letter, my momentum was stopped,” Clinton told NPR.

“My numbers dropped, and we were scrambling to try to put it back together, and we ran out of time.”

Clinton also lashed out at her progressive rival Bernie Sanders, whom she felt refused to fully back her general election campaign.

“I didn’t get anything like that respect from Sanders and his supporters. And it hurt,” she told Pod Save America, an internet podcast.

Clinton might be finished as a presidential candidate following her November loss, but she is not going away quietly.

Her 15-stop book tour is intended not only to drum up sales but perhaps burnish Clinton’s standing as a prominent figure in US political life.

In her memoir the 69-year-old assumes her share of responsibility for her stunning defeat — “My mistakes burn me up inside,” she writes of her topsy-turvy campaign.

But the former first lady and political survivor, who in a quarter century in public life rarely gave Americans a personal peek behind her professional veneer, shows a vulnerable side in her book as she describes her post-campaign funk.

She admits that not a day goes that she doesn’t think about why she lost, and “the aching sense that I let everyone down.”

“It’s going to be painful for quite a while,” Clinton writes.

“But I’m not going to sulk or disappear. I’m going to do everything I can to support strong Democratic candidates everywhere.”

– ‘Shell-shocked’ –

She does not hold back in her criticism of Trump, branding her billionaire nemesis as an incompetent, unworthy, sexist “liar” in her book.

Clinton offers a personal reckoning of her election loss: how she was expecting an easy victory but was “shell-shocked” on election night; how she refused antidepressants and therapy, but drank her fair share of “Chardonnay;” and how she sought refuge in her family.

But the prospect of the twice-defeated Clinton — first by Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries, then to Trump last year — very publicly foisting her suggestions on how to move the political debate forward has made some Democrats uncomfortable.

Despite some nudging by those in her party to exit the stage, Clinton makes clear she is keen to conduct an autopsy on the 2016 election.

“People are tired. Some are traumatized” and others want to keep the focus on the investigation into Russia’s election interference,” she writes.

“I get all that. But it’s important that we understand what really happened,” she adds. “Because that’s the only way we can stop it from happening again.”

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The Cruelty of Barack Obama — On immigration, the ex-president isn’t what he says he is

September 12, 2017

On immigration, the ex-president isn’t what he says he is.

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By William McGurn
The Wall Street Journal

Throughout his political life, Barack Obama has been hustling America on immigration, pretending to be one thing while doing another.Now he’s at it again. Mr. Obama calls it “cruel” of Donald Trump both to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protected hundreds of thousands of people who came to the U.S. as children illegally—and to ask Congress to fix it. The former president further moans that the immigration bill he asked Congress to send him “never came,” with the result that 800,000 young people now find themselves in limbo.

Certainly there are conservatives and Republicans who oppose and fight efforts by Congress to open this country’s doors, as well as to legalize the many millions who crossed into the U.S. unlawfully but have been working peacefully and productively. These immigration opponents get plenty of attention.

What gets almost zero press attention is the sneakier folks, Mr. Obama included. Truth is, no man has done more to poison the possibilities for fixing America’s broken immigration system than our 44th president.

Mr. Obama’s double-dealing begins with his time as junior senator from Illinois, when he helped sabotage a bipartisan immigration package supported by George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy. Mr. Obama’s dissembling continued during the first two years of his own presidency, when he had the votes to pass an immigration bill if he had chosen to push one. It was all topped off by his decision, late in his first term, to institute the policy on DACA that he himself had previously admitted was beyond his constitutional powers.

Let this columnist state at the outset that he favors a generous system of legal immigration because he believes it is good for America. Let him stipulate too that a fair and reasonable solution to 800,000 children who are here through no fault of their own should not be a sticking point for a nation as large as America. But once again, here’s the point about Mr. Obama: For all his big talk about how much he’s wanted an immigration bill, whenever he’s had the opportunity to back one, he’s either declined or actively worked to scuttle it.

Start with 2007, when a coalition of Republican and Democratic senators came up with a bill that also enjoyed the support of the Bush White House. It wasn’t perfect, but it extracted compromises from each side—e.g., enhancements for border security, a guest-worker program, and the inclusion of the entire Dream Act, the legislation for children who’d been brought here illegally that Mr. Obama claims he has always wanted.

Sen. Obama opted to back 11th-hour amendments that Kennedy rightly complained were really intended as deal-breakers. At a critical point, Kennedy urged that President Bush ask then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to keep the Senate in session to get the last few votes the bill needed. Mr. Reid opted for the Obama approach: Concluding he’d rather have the political issue than actual reform, he adjourned the Senate for the July 4 recess.

A year later Mr. Obama was running for president. Before the National Council of La Raza, he vowed: “I will make [comprehensive immigration reform] a top priority in my first year as president.” Yet notwithstanding the lopsided Democratic majorities he enjoyed in Congress his first two years, he didn’t push for immigration legislation, which makes his promise to La Raza rank right up there with “if you like your health care plan you can keep it.”

Mr. Obama frequently noted the limits on his powers. “I know some here wish that I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself. But that’s not how democracy works,” he said. Then in 2012 he decided he would indeed change the law himself. A June 2012 Journal editorial captures the cynicism built into the DACA memo.

The president’s move, the Journal predicted, “will further poison the debate and make Republicans more reluctant to come to the negotiating table and cut a deal.” The editorial went on: “One begins to wonder if anything this President does is about anything larger than his re-election.”

Today Carl Cannon, executive editor and Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics, is almost alone in the national press in pointing to this history, in a piece pegged to the Democratic response to President Trump’s pitch to codify DACA into law. “Instead of responding to this overture in a spirit of compromise,” Mr. Cannon writes, “Democrats chose vitriol and name-calling, their default position in the Trump era.”

Perhaps, suggests Mr. Cannon, a “certain ex-president” is accusing Mr. Trump of cruelty “to help us forget” that when he and other Democrats “had the chance to grant 11 million immigrants access to the American dream, they instead chose, for partisan purposes, to keep them in the shadows.” Fair enough to criticize Mr. Trump and Congress for whatever they do going forward to clean up this mess. But let’s remember the Obama duplicity that created it.

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-cruelty-of-barack-obama-1505171158

Tensions flare between Iranian Revolutionary Guards and US Navy

July 30, 2017

AFP

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© AFP Photo/US Navy Handout | The USS John C. Stennis, the USS Nimitz, and the USS Bonhomme Richard along with USS Antietam, USS O’Kane, USS Higgins, USS Denver and USS Rushmore steaming through the Gulf of Oman in 2007.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-07-30

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday that U.S. Navy ships came close to their vessels in the Gulf and shot flares.

The USS Nimitz and an accompanying warship drew close to a rocket-bearing Iranian vessel on Friday and sent out a helicopter near a number of Guards vessels close to the Resalat oil and gas platform, the Guards said in a statement published by their official news site Sepah News.

“The Americans made a provocative and unprofessional move by issuing a warning and shooting flares at vessels …,” the statement said. “Islam’s warriors, without paying attention to this unconventional and unusual behaviour from the American vessels, continued their mission in the area and the aircraft carrier and accompanying battleship left the area.”

U.S. military statement said a U.S. Navy helicopter saw several IRGC vessels approaching U.S forces at a high rate of speed and deployed flares after it could not establish communications with the boats.

The statement said the interaction was “safe and professional.”

Last Tuesday, a U.S. Navy ship fired warning shots when an Iranian vessel in the Gulf came within 150 yards (137 metres) in the first such incident since President Donald Trump took office in January, U.S. officials said.

In a statement, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said the patrol craft, named Thunderbolt, fired the warning shots in front of the Iranian vessel after it ignored radio calls, flares and the ship’s whistle.

The vessel belonged to the Revolutionary Guards, the statement said, adding that it stopped its unsafe approach after the warning shots were fired.

A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Iranian boat was armed but that the weapons were unmanned. The Thunderbolt was accompanied by a number of other vessels, including those from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Years of mutual animosity had eased when Washington lifted sanctions on Tehran last year as part of a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But serious differences remain over Iran’s ballistic missile programme and conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

The Trump administration, which has taken a hard line on Iran, recently declared that Iran was complying with its nuclear agreement with world powers, but warned that Tehran was not following the spirit of the accord and that Washington would look for ways to strengthen it.

During the presidential campaign last September, Trump vowed that any Iranian vessels that harass the U.S. Navy in the Gulf would be “shot out of the water”.

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Iran on Persian Gulf Encounter: “The Americans made a provocative and unprofessional move by issuing a warning and shooting flares at vessels…”

July 29, 2017

BEIRUT — The Iranian Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday that U.S. Navy ships came close to their vessels in the Gulf and shot flares.

The USS Nimitz and an accompanying battleship drew close to a rocket-bearing Iranian vessel on Friday and sent out a helicopter near a number of Guards vessels close to the Resalat oil and gas platform, the Guards said in a statement published by their official news site Sepah News.

“The Americans made a provocative and unprofessional move by issuing a warning and shooting flares at vessels…” the statement said. “Islam’s warriors, without paying attention to this unconventional and unusual behavior from the American vessels, continued their mission in the area and the aircraft carrier and accompanying battleship left the area.”

There was no immediate official comment from Washington on the Revolutionary Guards’ statement.

Last Tuesday, a U.S. Navy ship fired warning shots when an Iranian vessel in the Gulf came within 150 yards (137 meters) in the first such incident since President Donald Trump took office in January, U.S. officials said.

In a statement, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said the patrol craft, named Thunderbolt, fired the warning shots in front of the Iranian vessel after it ignored radio calls, flares and the ship’s whistle.

The vessel belonged to the Revolutionary Guards, the statement said, adding that it stopped its unsafe approach after the warning shots were fired.

A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Iranian boat was armed but that the weapons were unmanned. The Thunderbolt was accompanied by a number of other vessels, including those from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Years of mutual animosity had eased when Washington lifted sanctions on Tehran last year as part of a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But serious differences remain over Iran’s ballistic missile program and conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

The Trump administration, which has taken a hard line on Iran, recently declared that Iran was complying with its nuclear agreement with world powers, but warned that Tehran was not following the spirit of the accord and that Washington would look for ways to strengthen it.

During the presidential campaign last September, Trump vowed that any Iranian vessels that harass the U.S. Navy in the Gulf would be “shot out of the water”.

(Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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Iran rules out halt to missile tests — Says U.S. Navy fired warning shots — Accuses the U.S. Navy of unprofessional behavior

July 29, 2017
© Navy Office of Information/AFP / by Ali Noorani | Aircraft carrier the USS Nimitz takes part in an exercise in the Bay of Bengal in July 2017 in this US Navy handout photograph

TEHRAN (AFP) – A defiant Iran vowed on Saturday to press ahead with its missile programme and condemned new US sanctions, as tensions rise after the West hardened its tone against the Islamic republic.

In the latest incident on the ground, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said the US Navy had approached their patrol vessels in the Gulf and fired flares.

“At 4 pm (1130 GMT) on Friday, the supercarrier USS Nimitz and its accompanying warship, while being monitored by the Guards’ frigates, flew a helicopter near the Resalat oil and gas platform and approached the force’s ships,” the paramilitary force said.

“The Americans in a provocative and unprofessional move, sent a warning message to the frigates and fired flares,” it said. The Guards “ignored the unconventional move by the US ships and continued their mission.”

Three days earlier, a US Navy patrol ship fired warning shots at a Guards boat in the Gulf as it closed in on the American vessel, according to US officials.

The Guards denied approaching the US ship in Tuesday’s incident and said it was the American vessel that had been at fault.

There have been a string of close encounters between US ships and Iranian vessels in the Gulf in recent months.

On the political battlefield, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told state broadcaster IRIB that Tehran condemned new US sanctions against its missile programme, which President Donald Trump is set to sign into law, and vowed to press on.

“We will continue with full power our missile programme,” he said. “We consider the action by the US as hostile, reprehensible and unacceptable, and it’s ultimately an effort to weaken the nuclear deal.”

Ghasemi was referring to a 2015 agreement between Iran and US-led world powers that lifted some sanctions on Tehran in return for curbs on the country’s nuclear programme.

“The military and missile fields… are our domestic policies and others have no right to intervene or comment on them,” the spokesman said.

The sanctions bill, which also targets Russia and North Korea, was passed by the US Senate on Thursday, two days after being approved by the House of Representatives.

Separately on Friday, Washington imposed new sanctions targeting Iran’s missile programme, one day after Tehran tested a satellite-launch rocket.

Iranian state television broadcast footage of the takeoff from the Imam Khomeini space centre in Semnan province in the east of the country.

The launch vehicle was capable of propelling a satellite weighing 550 pounds (250 kilogrammes) into orbit at an altitude of 300 miles (500 kilometres), it said.

– ‘Destabilising’ action –

Western governments suspect Iran of trying to develop the technology for longer-range missiles with conventional or nuclear payloads, a charge denied by Tehran, which insists its space programme has purely peaceful aims.

In a joint statement, Britain, France, Germany and the US condemned Tehran’s “provocative” and “destabilising” action, saying the test was in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorsed the nuclear deal.

“We call on Iran not to conduct any further ballistic missile launches and related activities,” they said.

Resolution 2231 called on Iran not to test ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and an arms embargo has remained in place.

The United States has had no diplomatic ties with the Iran since 1980, and Trump has halted the direct contacts initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama.

Tensions have mounted between Washington and Tehran since Trump took office six months ago vowing to be the best friend of Israel.

At UN headquarters in New York on Friday, US envoy Nikki Haley expressed mistrust of Iran.

“Iran’s widespread support for terrorists tells us we can’t trust them. Iran’s breaking its obligation on missile testing tells us we can’t trust them. Yesterday’s launch proves that yet again,” she said.

Despite his electoral promise to tear apart what he once called “the worst deal ever”, Trump has so far respected the nuclear agreement.

The joint US-European statement said that Iran’s latest test features technology related to “ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons”.

Iran insists it has “proven its compliance with the nuclear deal” as repeatedly confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Iran does not recognise any limits to its scientific and technological progress and will not wait for the approval or permission of any country regarding the activities of its scientists and experts,” the foreign ministry spokesman said.

burs-an/hc/kir

by Ali Noorani
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Iran says US Navy fires warning shots near its vessels

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard said Saturday a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier fired a warning shot in an “unprofessional” confrontation with Iranian vessels, the official IRNA news agency reported.

IRNA quoted a statement from the Guard as saying that the USS Nimitz and an accompanying ship came near an Iranian oil offshore platform in the Persian Gulf and a helicopter from the ship hovered near vessels manned by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard.

The report said the confrontation took place Friday afternoon and the U.S. navy ships left the area following the encounter.

The incident comes after a U.S. Navy patrol boat fired warning shots Tuesday near an Iranian vessel that American sailors said came dangerously close to them during a tense encounter.

Iran and the U.S. frequently have run-ins in the Persian Gulf, nearly all involving the Revolutionary Guard, a separate force from Iran’s military that answers only to the country’s supreme leader. In January, near the end of then-President Barack Obama’s term, the USS Mahan fired shots toward Iranian fast-attack boats as they neared the destroyer in the Strait of Hormuz.

Image result for USS Mahan, photo

USS Mahan

Iranian forces view the American presence in the Gulf as a provocation. They have accused the U.S. Navy of unprofessional behavior, especially in the Strait of Hormuz, the mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a third of all oil trade passes by sea
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Why Washington Can’t Quit Qatar

July 24, 2017

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America’s mixed messages on the Qatar crisis have illustrated the complex nature of the allegations against the gas-rich Arabian emirate.
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By Giorgio Cafiero and Daniel Wagner
July 23, 2017

Journalists in Middle Eastern media outlets have been engaged in harsh mudslinging ever since Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain (a.k.a. the quartet) severed diplomatic and economic relations with Qatar last month over Doha’s alleged support for the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and Iranian-backed militias in numerous Arab states. Although some people maintain that the move was long overdue, others argue that for Saudi Arabia to lead the charge was akin to the pot calling the kettle black and that Riyadh, more than any Arab capital, has promoted violent extremism across the Muslim world.

Based on the American diplomatic establishment and the Pentagon’s words and actions since the Qatar crisis erupted, it is clear that Washington, DC plans to continue working closely with all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in the struggle against terrorism. Nonetheless, the U.S. government’s mixed messages on the Qatar crisis have illustrated the multifaceted and complex nature of the common allegations against the gas-rich Arabian emirate.

High-ranking officials on both sides of the partisan divide in Washington have pointed their fingers at Doha and/or Riyadh, viewing both of them as part of the problem. During Barack Obama’s presidency, Qatar’s ties with Hamas and other Sunni Islamist factions elicited strong condemnation from U.S. lawmakers. John Kerry, who was a senator in 2009, said that “Qatar can’t continue to be an American ally on Monday that sends money to Hamas on Tuesday.” Last month, President Donald Trump accused “high-level” officials in Doha of supporting terrorism, as have neoconservative think tanks, congressmen and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Earlier this month, in response to the quartet’s thirteen demands for reconciliation with Doha, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s communications adviser, R. C. Hammond, asserted that “this is a two-way street” and that “there are no clean hands.” On July 12, Sen. Bob Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stated that “the amount of support for terrorism by Saudi Arabia dwarfs what Qatar is doing.” Last year, U.S. lawmakers overrode former president Obama’s veto and passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which implied that the Saudi government had a hand in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As a candidate for president, Trump supported the legislation, as did Hillary Clinton, although JASTA’s future now appears uncertain.

In the immediate aftermath of Tillerson’s shuttle diplomacy in the GCC, in which he said that Doha’s response to the quartet’s demands were “very reasonable,” it is clear that Washington’s diplomatic establishment continues to value Qatar as a close American ally. Moreover, the United States and Qatar signed a counterterrorism agreement when Tillerson was in Doha on July 11, which followed the two countries completing a $12 billion fighter jet deal in June. Evidently, despite the president’s tweets from last month, Washington and Doha are set on maintaining close ties with the former rejecting the quartet’s case for blockading the latter.

Will this agreement shift the focus toward Riyadh and other GCC capitals, which have accused Doha of patronizing extremism? It appears so. Now the Qataris can claim that they are complying with Washington’s standards for countering terrorism. Either the Saudi/UAE-led bloc of states will now come under pressure to sign similar agreements or explain the reasons behind their refusal to do so. In any event, Washington and Doha’s signing of this anti-terror agreement will undermine the quartet’s efforts to convince the United States to see Qatar through their lens.

For all of the White House’s communications challenges, the U.S. government is committed to strengthening Washington’s counterterrorism cooperation with both Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and it intends to nudge Riyadh and Doha toward reconciliation. Tillerson’s aim is to strengthen the United States and its Sunni Arab allies’ position vis-à-vis the Islamic State and other militant Salafist-jihadist forces, as well as an ascendant Iran. Should diplomatic efforts to mediate a resolution to the Qatar crisis that leaves both sides with a sense security and dignity prove futile, the Trump administration will face a more challenging environment in the Middle East, which will limit the extent to which the White House can achieve its objectives in the region.

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Giorgio Cafiero is the CEO of Gulf State Analytics (@GulfStateAnalyt), a Washington, DC-based geopolitical risk consultancy. Daniel Wagner (@Countryriskmgmt) is Managing Director of Risk Solutions at Risk Cooperative and is writing a new book on cyberterrorism.

Image: Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani meets with U.S. President Donald Trump in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Trump Jr. Met Russian Lawyer Who Claimed to Have Information on Hillary Clinton

July 10, 2017

President’s son provides further details about June 2016 meeting in New York

Donald Trump Jr. campaigning for his father in Gilbert, Ariz., in November 2016.

Donald Trump Jr. campaigning for his father in Gilbert, Ariz., in November 2016. PHOTO: MATT YORK/ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump’s eldest son arranged a June 2016 meeting between top campaign aides and a Russian lawyer who has been linked to the Kremlin after being told she “might have information helpful to the campaign.”

In a statement Sunday, Donald Trump Jr. said he didn’t know the lawyer’s name before the meeting, and said they were set up by an “acquaintance” from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant. The meeting, in New York City, was also attended by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Paul Manafort, President Trump’s campaign chairman at the time. The younger Mr. Trump said he told Messrs. Kushner and Manafort “nothing of the substance” of the meeting beforehand.

Mr. Manafort resigned about two months later amid reports of his connection to pro-Russian political forces in Ukraine. Investigators are currently examining whether Mr. Manafort’s work for foreign interests violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act and related laws. Mr. Manafort’s spokesman has said he is taking the “appropriate steps” to respond to guidance from federal authorities about his FARA disclosures.

In the meeting, the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, “stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting [Hillary] Clinton,” Mr. Trump Jr. said in his statement. “Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.” When Ms. Veselnitskaya then raised the issue of the Magnitsky Act, which placed sanctions on Russian human-rights abusers, Mr. Trump Jr. said he cut off the meeting.

Ms. Veselnitskaya couldn’t be reached for comment.

Revelations of the 2016 meeting arrived over the weekend as President Trump was returning to Washington after a G-20 summit meeting in Hamburg, where he met one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In Sunday morning tweets, the U.S. president said he “strongly pressed” the Russian leader twice about meddling in the U.S. election and that Mr. Putin “vehemently denied it.” But he also suggested the U.S. could “work with” Russia on cybersecurity issues.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were critical of Mr. Trump’s handling of the meeting, saying he could have more strongly protested Russian meddling and that he appeared overly willing to look past Russia’s efforts to interfere in the U.S. election. They also questioned Mr. Trump’s suggestion that the U.S. could work with work with Russia on cybersecurity issues, saying it would only empower a regime that has hacked systems in the U.S.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian hackers, who analysts say work for that country’s military and intelligence apparatus, stole emails from the DNC, as well as another Democratic organization and the chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, as part of their effort to harm her candidacy and boost Mr. Trump. That finding was first publicly addressed in the fall of 2016.

Investigators in Congress as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation are examining whether Russian money could have made its way into the U.S. election process, according to multiple officials with knowledge of the investigation. But whether those money flows took the form of laundered campaign contributions—foreign parties cannot donate to U.S. politics campaigns—or whether Russian funds were used in support of candidates is unclear.

A person close to the Trump campaign recalled getting an email around the time of the meeting with the Russian attorney asking about the campaign’s stance on the Magnitsky Act. The person could not recall if they responded to the email, or whether it was before or after the meeting took place.

In a statement on Saturday about the meeting, Mr. Trump Jr. had made no mention of the promise of helpful information Ms. Veselnitskaya could provide, or of her statements about Russian campaign funds. Instead, he said the meeting “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government.”

The Trump aides met with Ms. Veselnitskaya on June 9, about a month after Mr. Trump effectively clinched the Republican nomination. The New York Times first reported the meeting on Saturday.

The president didn’t become aware of the meeting with Ms. Veselnitskaya until recent weeks, according to a person familiar with the conversation.

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Mr. Putin ordered a campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in Mr. Trump’s favor, and a special counsel appointed by the Justice Department earlier this year is investigating whether Trump campaign aides colluded with Russia in that effort. Mr. Trump has denied that there was any collusion and has said he doubts the intelligence community’s assessment, saying earlier this week, “No one really knows for sure.”

Brian Fallon, who served as press secretary for the Clinton campaign, said the younger Mr. Trump’s decision to take a meeting with a Russian individual who promised helpful campaign information raised further questions about potential collusion.

Mr. Kushner disclosed the meeting with Ms. Veselnitskaya earlier this year in a required form to obtain a security clearance, according to a statement by his attorney, Jamie Gorelick.  Mr. Kushner initially filed a disclosure that didn’t list any contacts with foreign government officials, but the next day submitted a supplemental disclosure saying that he had engaged in “numerous contacts with foreign officials.”

Mr. Kushner has since submitted information about “over 100 calls or meetings with representatives of more than 20 countries, most of which were during transition,” Ms. Gorelick said.

“Mr. Kushner has submitted additional updates and included, out of an abundance of caution, this meeting with a Russian person, which he briefly attended at the request of his brother-in-law, Donald Trump Jr.,” Ms. Gorelick said. “As Mr. Kushner has consistently stated, he is eager to cooperate and share what he knows.”

Two previously disclosed meetings Mr. Kushner held with key Russians—the head of a state-run bank that has faced U.S. sanctions and Sergei Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S.—had already drawn the interest of agents conducting a counterintelligence investigation to determine the extent of those contacts. Mr. Kushner agreed earlier this year to speak to the Senate Intelligence Committee, becoming the first White House official to do so.

Ms. Veselnitskaya counts among her clients state-owned companies and family members of top government officials and her husband previously served as deputy transportation minister of the Moscow region.

As a lawyer, she has campaigned against the Magnitsky Act and the Russian accountant for whom the measure was named. Sergei Magnitsky was jailed and died in prison after he uncovered evidence of a large tax-refund fraud.

In a move seen as retaliation to that law, Mr. Putin in 2012 signed a law banning adoption of Russian children by American families .

In postings on her social media accounts, Ms. Veselnitskaya appeared critical of former President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. Last July, she shared an article posted by another page and highlighted the quote, “Liberalism is a f—ing mental disorder.” She has also appeared to cheer some of Mr. Trump’s top achievements, such as the confirmation earlier this year of Neil Gorsuch, Mr. Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

Write to Rebecca Ballhaus at Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com

Appeared in the July 10, 2017, print edition as ‘Trump’s Son Met With Russian About Campaign.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-jr-met-russian-lawyer-who-claimed-to-have-helpful-campaign-information-1499646830?mod=e2fb

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See also: Reuters —  Trump Jr., Kushner met with Russian lawyer: New York Times

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-idUSKBN19U019

Trump’s Defining Speech — In Poland, he asks the West to defend its values of faith, family and freedom (Includes Text)

July 9, 2017

In Poland, he asks the West to defend its values of faith and freedom.

President Donald Trump speaks at Krasinski Square at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, July 6.

President Donald Trump speaks at Krasinski Square at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, July 6. PHOTO: EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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The Wall Street Journal

The White House description of Donald Trump’s speech Thursday in Warsaw was simply, “Remarks by President Trump to the People of Poland.” In truth, Mr. Trump’s remarks were directed at the people of the world. Six months into his first term of office, Mr. Trump finally offered the core of what could become a governing philosophy. It is a determined and affirmative defense of the Western tradition.

To be sure, Mr. Trump’s speech also contained several pointed and welcome foreign-policy statements. He assured Poland it would not be held hostage to a single supplier of energy, meaning Russia. He exhorted Russia to stop destabilizing Ukraine “and elsewhere,” to stop supporting Syria and Iran and “instead join the community of responsible nations.” He explicitly committed to NATO’s Article 5 on mutual defense.

But—and this shocked Washington—the speech aimed higher. Like the best presidential speeches, it contained affirmations of ideas and principles and related them to the current political moment. “Americans, Poles and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty,” he said. This was more than a speech, though. It was an argument. One might even call it an apologia for the West.

U.S. President Donald Trump gives a public speech in front of the Warsaw Uprising Monument at Krasinski Square, in Warsaw, Poland July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh
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Mr. Trump built his argument out of Poland’s place in the history of the West, both as a source of its culture—Copernicus, Chopin—and as a physical and spiritual battlefield, especially during World War II. The word Mr. Trump came back to repeatedly to define this experience was “threat.”

During and after the war, Poland survived threats to its existence from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Mr. Trump believes that the West today confronts threats of a different sort, threats both physical and cultural. “This continent,” said Mr. Trump, “no longer confronts the specter of communism. But today we’re in the West, and we have to say there are dire threats to our security and to our way of life.”

He identified the most immediate security threat as an “oppressive ideology.” He was talking about radical Islam, but it is worth noting that he never mentioned radical Islam or Islamic State. Instead, he described the recent commitment by Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations to combat an ideological menace that threatens the world with terrorism. He compared this idea of mutual defense to the alliance of free nations that defeated Nazism and communism.

But the speech’s most provocative argument was about our way of life. It came when he described how a million Poles stood with Pope John Paul II in Victory Square in 1979 to resist Soviet rule by chanting, “We want God!”

“With that powerful declaration of who you are,” Mr. Trump said, “you came to understand what to do and how to live.”

This is a warning to the West and a call to action. By remembering the Poles’ invocation of God, Mr. Trump is clearly aligning himself with the same warning issued to Europe some years ago by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict.

Cardinal Ratzinger’s argument was that Europe needed to recognize that its turn toward aggressive secularism posed a real threat to its survival. In Mr. Trump’s formulation of that threat, we are obliged to “confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are.” He warned about a “lack of pride and confidence in our values.”

Mr. Trump is taking a clear stand against the kind of gauzy globalism and vague multiculturalism represented by the worldview of, say, Barack Obama and most contemporary Western intellectuals, who are willing, even eager, to concede the argument to critics of the West’s traditions.

This is the speech Mr. Trump should have given to introduce himself to the world at his Inauguration. In place of that speech’s resentments, his Warsaw talk offered a better form of nationalism. It is a nationalism rooted in values and beliefs—the rule of law, freedom of expression, religious faith and freedom from oppressive government—that let Europe and then America rise to prominence. This, Mr. Trump is saying, is worth whatever it takes to preserve and protect.

It was an important and, we hope, a defining speech—for the Trump Presidency and for Donald Trump himself.

Appeared in the July 7, 2017, print edition.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-defining-speech-1499382025?mod=e2fb

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Remarks by President Trump to the People of Poland | July 6, 2017

Krasiński Square
Warsaw, Poland

1:16 P.M. CEST

MRS. TRUMP:  Hello, Poland!  Thank you very much.  My husband and I have enjoyed visiting your beautiful country.  I want to thank President and Mrs. Duda for the warm welcome and their generous hospitality.  I had the opportunity to visit the Copernicus Science Centre today, and found it not only informative but thoughtful, its mission, which is to inspire people to observe, experiment, ask questions, and seek answers.

I can think of no better purpose for such a wonderful science center.  Thank you to all who were involved in giving us the tour, especially the children who made it such a wonderful experience.

As many of you know, a main focus of my husband’s presidency is safety and security of the American people.  I think all of us can agree people should be able to live their lives without fear, no matter what country they live in.  That is my wish for all of us around the world.  (Applause.)

Thank you again for this wonderful welcome to your very special country.  Your kindness and gracious hospitality will not be forgotten.  (Applause.)

And now it is my honor to introduce to you my husband, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  That’s so nice.  The United States has many great diplomats, but there is truly no better ambassador for our country than our beautiful First Lady, Melania.  Thank you, Melania.  That was very nice.  (Applause.)

We’ve come to your nation to deliver a very important message:  America loves Poland, and America loves the Polish people.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

The Poles have not only greatly enriched this region, but Polish-Americans have also greatly enriched the United States, and I was truly proud to have their support in the 2016 election.  (Applause.)

It is a profound honor to stand in this city, by this monument to the Warsaw Uprising, and to address the Polish nation that so many generations have dreamed of:  a Poland that is safe, strong, and free.  (Applause.)

President Duda and your wonderful First Lady, Agata, have welcomed us with the tremendous warmth and kindness for which Poland is known around the world.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  My sincere — and I mean sincerely thank both of them.  And to Prime Minister Syzdlo, a very special thanks also.  (Applause.)

We are also pleased that former President Lech Walesa, so famous for leading the Solidarity Movement, has joined us today, also.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

On behalf of all Americans, let me also thank the entire Polish people for the generosity you have shown in welcoming our soldiers to your country.  These soldiers are not only brave defenders of freedom, but also symbols of America’s commitment to your security and your place in a strong and democratic Europe.
We are proudly joined on stage by American, Polish, British, and Romanian soldiers.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Great job.

President Duda and I have just come from an incredibly successful meeting with the leaders participating in the Three Seas Initiative.  To the citizens of this great region, America is eager to expand our partnership with you.  We welcome stronger ties of trade and commerce as you grow your economies. And we are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.  (Applause.)

Mr. President, I congratulate you, along with the President of Croatia, on your leadership of this historic Three Seas Initiative.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

This is my first visit to Central Europe as President, and I am thrilled that it could be right here at this magnificent, beautiful piece of land.  It is beautiful.  (Applause.)  Poland is the geographic heart of Europe, but more importantly, in the Polish people, we see the soul of Europe.  Your nation is great because your spirit is great and your spirit is strong.  (Applause.)

For two centuries, Poland suffered constant and brutal attacks.  But while Poland could be invaded and occupied, and its borders even erased from the map, it could never be erased from history or from your hearts.  In those dark days, you have lost your land but you never lost your pride.  (Applause.)

So it is with true admiration that I can say today, that from the farms and villages of your countryside to the cathedrals and squares of your great cities, Poland lives, Poland prospers, and Poland prevails.  (Applause.)

Despite every effort to transform you, oppress you, or destroy you, you endured and overcame.  You are the proud nation of Copernicus — think of that — (applause) — Chopin, Saint John Paul II.  Poland is a land of great heroes.  (Applause.)  And you are a people who know the true value of what you defend.

The triumph of the Polish spirit over centuries of hardship gives us all hope for a future in which good conquers evil, and peace achieves victory over war.

For Americans, Poland has been a symbol of hope since the beginning of our nation.  Polish heroes and American patriots fought side by side in our War of Independence and in many wars that followed.  Our soldiers still serve together today in Afghanistan and Iraq, combatting the enemies of all civilization.

For America’s part, we have never given up on freedom and independence as the right and destiny of the Polish people, and we never, ever will.  (Applause.)

Our two countries share a special bond forged by unique histories and national characters.  It’s a fellowship that exists only among people who have fought and bled and died for freedom.  (Applause.)

The signs of this friendship stand in our nation’s capital.  Just steps from the White House, we’ve raised statues of men with names like Pułaski and Kościuszko.  (Applause.)  The same is true in Warsaw, where street signs carry the name of George Washington, and a monument stands to one of the world’s greatest heroes, Ronald Reagan.  (Applause.)

And so I am here today not just to visit an old ally, but to hold it up as an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization.  (Applause.)  The story of Poland is the story of a people who have never lost hope, who have never been broken, and who have never, ever forgotten who they are.  (Applause)

AUDIENCE:  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Such a great honor.  This is a nation more than one thousand years old.  Your borders were erased for more than a century and only restored just one century ago.

In 1920, in the Miracle of Vistula, Poland stopped the Soviet army bent on European conquest.  (Applause.)  Then, 19 years later in 1939, you were invaded yet again, this time by Nazi Germany from the west and the Soviet Union from the east.  That’s trouble.  That’s tough.

Under a double occupation the Polish people endured evils beyond description: the Katyn forest massacre, the occupations, the Holocaust, the Warsaw Ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the destruction of this beautiful capital city, and the deaths of nearly one in five Polish people.  A vibrant Jewish population — the largest in Europe — was reduced to almost nothing after the Nazis systematically murdered millions of Poland’s Jewish citizens, along with countless others, during that brutal occupation.

In the summer of 1944, the Nazi and Soviet armies were preparing for a terrible and bloody battle right here in Warsaw. Amid that hell on earth, the citizens of Poland rose up to defend their homeland.  I am deeply honored to be joined on stage today by veterans and heroes of the Warsaw Uprising.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  (Chanting.)

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  What great spirit.  We salute your noble sacrifice and we pledge to always remember your fight for Poland and for freedom.  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

This monument reminds us that more than 150,000 Poles died during that desperate struggle to overthrow oppression.
From the other side of the river, the Soviet armed forces stopped and waited.  They watched as the Nazis ruthlessly destroyed the city, viciously murdering men, women, and children.  They tried to destroy this nation forever by shattering its will to survive.

But there is a courage and a strength deep in the Polish character that no one could destroy.  The Polish martyr, Bishop Michael Kozal, said it well:  “More horrifying than a defeat of arms is a collapse of the human spirit.”

Through four decades of communist rule, Poland and the other captive nations of Europe endured a brutal campaign to demolish freedom, your faith, your laws, your history, your identity — indeed the very essence of your culture and your humanity.  Yet, through it all, you never lost that spirit.  (Applause.)  Your oppressors tried to break you, but Poland could not be broken.  (Applause.)

And when the day came on June 2nd, 1979, and one million Poles gathered around Victory Square for their very first mass with their Polish Pope, that day, every communist in Warsaw must have known that their oppressive system would soon come crashing down.  (Applause.)  They must have known it at the exact moment during Pope John Paul II’s sermon when a million Polish men, women, and children suddenly raised their voices in a single prayer.  A million Polish people did not ask for wealth.  They did not ask for privilege.  Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words:  “We Want God.”  (Applause.)

In those words, the Polish people recalled the promise of a better future.  They found new courage to face down their oppressors, and they found the words to declare that Poland would be Poland once again.

As I stand here today before this incredible crowd, this faithful nation, we can still hear those voices that echo through history.  Their message is as true today as ever.  The people of Poland, the people of America, and the people of Europe still cry out “We want God.”  (Applause.)

Together, with Pope John Paul II, the Poles reasserted their identity as a nation devoted to God.  And with that powerful declaration of who you are, you came to understand what to do and how to live.  You stood in solidarity against oppression, against a lawless secret police, against a cruel and wicked system that impoverished your cities and your souls.  And you won.  Poland prevailed.  Poland will always prevail.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you.  You were supported in that victory over communism by a strong alliance of free nations in the West that defied tyranny.  Now, among the most committed members of the NATO Alliance, Poland has resumed its place as a leading nation of a Europe that is strong, whole, and free.

A strong Poland is a blessing to the nations of Europe, and they know that.  A strong Europe is a blessing to the West and to the world.  (Applause.)  One hundred years after the entry of American forces into World War I, the transatlantic bond between the United States and Europe is as strong as ever and maybe, in many ways, even stronger.

This continent no longer confronts the specter of communism.  But today we’re in the West, and we have to say there are dire threats to our security and to our way of life.  You see what’s happening out there.  They are threats.  We will confront them.  We will win.  But they are threats.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  We are confronted by another oppressive ideology — one that seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe.  America and Europe have suffered one terror attack after another.  We’re going to get it to stop.  (Applause.)

During a historic gathering in Saudi Arabia, I called on the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations to join together to drive out this menace which threatens all of humanity.  We must stand united against these shared enemies to strip them of their territory and their funding, and their networks, and any form of ideological support that they may have.  While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism, and we will prevail.  We cannot accept those who reject our values and who use hatred to justify violence against the innocent.

Today, the West is also confronted by the powers that seek to test our will, undermine our confidence, and challenge our interests.  To meet new forms of aggression, including propaganda, financial crimes, and cyberwarfare, we must adapt our alliance to compete effectively in new ways and on all new battlefields.

We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes — including Syria and Iran — and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself.  (Applause.)

Finally, on both sides of the Atlantic, our citizens are confronted by yet another danger — one firmly within our control.  This danger is invisible to some but familiar to the Poles:  the steady creep of government bureaucracy that drains the vitality and wealth of the people.  The West became great not because of paperwork and regulations but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies.

Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty.  We must work together to confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are.  (Applause.)  If left unchecked, these forces will undermine our courage, sap our spirit, and weaken our will to defend ourselves and our societies.

But just as our adversaries and enemies of the past learned here in Poland, we know that these forces, too, are doomed to fail if we want them to fail.  And we do, indeed, want them to fail.  (Applause.)  They are doomed not only because our alliance is strong, our countries are resilient, and our power is unmatched.  Through all of that, you have to say everything is true.  Our adversaries, however, are doomed because we will never forget who we are.  And if we don’t forget who are, we just can’t be beaten.  Americans will never forget.  The nations of Europe will never forget.  We are the fastest and the greatest community.  There is nothing like our community of nations.  The world has never known anything like our community of nations.

We write symphonies.  We pursue innovation.  We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers.

We reward brilliance.  We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God.  We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression.  (Applause.)

We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success.  We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives.  And we debate everything.  We challenge everything.  We seek to know everything so that we can better know ourselves.  (Applause.)

And above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person, and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom.  That is who we are.  Those are the priceless ties that bind us together as nations, as allies, and as a civilization.

What we have, what we inherited from our — and you know this better than anybody, and you see it today with this incredible group of people — what we’ve inherited from our ancestors has never existed to this extent before.  And if we fail to preserve it, it will never, ever exist again.  So we cannot fail.

This great community of nations has something else in common:  In every one of them, it is the people, not the powerful, who have always formed the foundation of freedom and the cornerstone of our defense.  The people have been that foundation here in Poland — as they were right here in Warsaw — and they were the foundation from the very, very beginning in America.

Our citizens did not win freedom together, did not survive horrors together, did not face down evil together, only to lose our freedom to a lack of pride and confidence in our values.  We did not and we will not.  We will never back down.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  As long as we know our history, we will know how to build our future.  Americans know that a strong alliance of free, sovereign and independent nations is the best defense for our freedoms and for our interests.  That is why my administration has demanded that all members of NATO finally meet their full and fair financial obligation.

As a result of this insistence, billions of dollars more have begun to pour into NATO.  In fact, people are shocked.  But billions and billions of dollars more are coming in from countries that, in my opinion, would not have been paying so quickly.

To those who would criticize our tough stance, I would point out that the United States has demonstrated not merely with words but with its actions that we stand firmly behind Article 5, the mutual defense commitment.  (Applause.)

Words are easy, but actions are what matters.  And for its own protection — and you know this, everybody knows this, everybody has to know this — Europe must do more.  Europe must demonstrate that it believes in its future by investing its money to secure that future.

That is why we applaud Poland for its decision to move forward this week on acquiring from the United States the battle-tested Patriot air and missile defense system — the best anywhere in the world.  (Applause.)  That is also why we salute the Polish people for being one of the NATO countries that has actually achieved the benchmark for investment in our common defense.  Thank you.  Thank you, Poland.  I must tell you, the example you set is truly magnificent, and we applaud Poland.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

We have to remember that our defense is not just a commitment of money, it is a commitment of will.  Because as the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail and be successful and get what you have to have.  The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.  Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost?  Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders?  Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?  (Applause.)

We can have the largest economies and the most lethal weapons anywhere on Earth, but if we do not have strong families and strong values, then we will be weak and we will not survive.  (Applause.)  If anyone forgets the critical importance of these things, let them come to one country that never has.  Let them come to Poland.  (Applause.)  And let them come here, to Warsaw, and learn the story of the Warsaw Uprising.

When they do, they should learn about Jerusalem Avenue.  In August of 1944, Jerusalem Avenue was one of the main roads running east and west through this city, just as it is today.
Control of that road was crucially important to both sides in the battle for Warsaw.  The German military wanted it as their most direct route to move troops and to form a very strong front.  And for the Polish Home Army, the ability to pass north and south across that street was critical to keep the center of the city, and the Uprising itself, from being split apart and destroyed.

Every night, the Poles put up sandbags amid machine gun fire — and it was horrendous fire — to protect a narrow passage across Jerusalem Avenue.  Every day, the enemy forces knocked them down again and again and again.  Then the Poles dug a trench.  Finally, they built a barricade.  And the brave Polish fighters began to flow across Jerusalem Avenue.  That narrow passageway, just a few feet wide, was the fragile link that kept the Uprising alive.

Between its walls, a constant stream of citizens and freedom fighters made their perilous, just perilous, sprints.  They ran across that street, they ran through that street, they ran under that street — all to defend this city.  “The far side was several yards away,” recalled one young Polish woman named Greta.  That mortality and that life was so important to her.  In fact, she said, “The mortally dangerous sector of the street was soaked in the blood.  It was the blood of messengers, liaison girls, and couriers.”

Nazi snipers shot at anybody who crossed.  Anybody who crossed, they were being shot at.  Their soldiers burned every building on the street, and they used the Poles as human shields for their tanks in their effort to capture Jerusalem Avenue.  The enemy never ceased its relentless assault on that small outpost of civilization.  And the Poles never ceased its defense.

The Jerusalem Avenue passage required constant protection, repair, and reinforcement, but the will of its defenders did not waver, even in the face of death.  And to the last days of the Uprising, the fragile crossing never, ever failed.  It was never, ever forgotten.  It was kept open by the Polish people.

The memories of those who perished in the Warsaw Uprising cry out across the decades, and few are clearer than the memories of those who died to build and defend the Jerusalem Avenue crossing.  Those heroes remind us that the West was saved with the blood of patriots; that each generation must rise up and play their part in its defense — (applause) — and that every foot of ground, and every last inch of civilization, is worth defending with your life.

Our own fight for the West does not begin on the battlefield — it begins with our minds, our wills, and our souls.  Today, the ties that unite our civilization are no less vital, and demand no less defense, than that bare shred of land on which the hope of Poland once totally rested.  Our freedom, our civilization, and our survival depend on these bonds of history, culture, and memory.

And today as ever, Poland is in our heart, and its people are in that fight.  (Applause.)  Just as Poland could not be broken, I declare today for the world to hear that the West will never, ever be broken.  Our values will prevail.  Our people will thrive.  And our civilization will triumph.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!  Donald Trump!

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you.  So, together, let us all fight like the Poles — for family, for freedom, for country, and for God.

Thank you.  God Bless You.  God bless the Polish people.  God bless our allies.  And God bless the United States of America.

Thank you.  God bless you.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
1:55 P.M. CEST

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/07/06/remarks-president-trump-people-poland-july-6-2017

China calls for calm after North Korea claims first successful launch of ICBM that can ‘strike any place in the world’

July 4, 2017

If this type of missile becomes fully operational, it could potentially deliver a nuclear warhead to the US mainland

By The South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 July, 2017, 2:37pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 July, 2017, 4:05pm

China called on Tuesday for calm and restraint after North Korea claimed to have test-launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile that is capable of hitting anywhere in the world.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said UN Security Council resolutions had clear rules on North Korea’s missile launches and China opposed it going against those rules. He was speaking at a daily news briefing.

North Korea’s announcement came after the launch of a ballistic missile in the morning. It flew about 39 minutes and reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometres, before landing in waters within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to the announcement.

North Korea’s claims the missile reached that altitude could not be verified. However Japan’s Defence Ministry said it reached an altitude that “greatly exceeded” 2,500 kilometres.

 An unidentified rocket, reported to be a Hwasong-type missile. File photo: AFP

A test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, if confirmed, would be considered a game-changer by countries looking to check North Korea’s push for a nuclear-armed missile that can reach anywhere in the United States.

The test still may be the North’s most successful yet; a weapon analyst says missile could be powerful enough to reach Alaska.

The “landmark” test of a Hwasong-14 missile was overseen by leader Kim Jong-un, an emotional female announcer said.

It flew 933 kilometres, she added.

Watch: Trump and Moon vow stern response to North Korea threats

The North was “a strong nuclear power state” and had “a very powerful ICBM that can strike any place in the world” she said.

There are still doubts whether the North can miniaturise a nuclear weapon sufficiently to fit it onto a missile nose cone, or whether it has mastered the technology needed for it to survive the difficult re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

In his New Year’s address, Kim said his country had reached the final stage of preparing to test-launch the long-range missile.

Officials from South Korea, Japan and the United States said the missile landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) after being launched near an airfield in Panghyon, about 100 km northwest of the North’s capital, Pyongyang.

 A woman in Seoul walks past a TV broadcast on North Korea’s Hwasong-14 missile, a new intercontinental ballistic missile, which they said was successfully tested. Photo: Reuters

Japan said on Monday the United States, South Korea and Japan will have a trilateral summit on North Korea at the G20. China’s leader Xi Jinping will also be at the July 7-8 meeting in Hamburg, Germany.

US President Donald Trump, responding to the latest launch, wrote on Twitter: “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” an apparent reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“Hard to believe South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”, Trump said in a series of tweets.

North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea…..

….and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!

North Korea has conducted nuclear and missile tests to show defiance in the face of international pressure and to raise the stakes when Pyongyang sees regional powers getting ready for talks or sanctions, analysts say.

White House officials said Trump was briefed on the latest launch, which took place hours before Independence Day celebrations in the United States. North Korea has previously fired missiles around this holiday.

Pyongyang has conducted missile-related activities at an unprecedented pace since the start of last year, but analysts had thought it was years away from having a nuclear-tipped ICBM. capable of hitting the United States.

 A vehicle carrying what appears to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile during a military parade at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang. File photo: Kyodo

North Korea is also trying to develop intermediate-range missiles capable of hitting US bases in the Pacific. The last North Korean launches before Tuesday were of land-to-sea cruise missiles on June 8.

David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Programme at the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists, said the assessments of the flight time and distance suggest the missile might have been launched on a “very highly lofted” trajectory of more than 2,800 km.

The same missile could reach a maximum range of roughly 6,700 km on a standard trajectory, Wright said in a blog post.

“That range would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii, but would allow it to reach all of Alaska,” he said.

 South Korean President Moon Jae-in presides over a meeting of the National Security Council. Photo: AP

South Korea’s President Moon said on Monday in a meeting with former US president Barack Obama that North Korea now faces its “last opportunity” to engage in talks with the outside world.

North Korea has conducted four missile tests since Moon took office in May, vowing to use dialogue as well as pressure to bring Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes under control.

Earlier this week, North Korea was a key topic in phone calls between Trump and the leaders of China and Japan. Leaders of both Asian countries reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearised Korean Peninsula.

Trump has recently suggested he was running out of patience with China’s modest steps to pressure North Korea.

Agence France-Presse, Reuters, Associated Press

http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/2101193/north-korea-says-it-has-successfully-tested-icbm

Trump slams Obama, demands ‘apology’ over Russia probe

June 26, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | US President Donald Trump  has hit out in a string of tweets and a televised interview following the publication of a Washington Post account of Barack Obama’s response to intelligence on Russia election meddling

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Donald Trump on Monday demanded an apology over the Russia investigation rocking his presidency, as he kept up a days-long attack on Barack Obama for his handling of intelligence about election meddling by Moscow.In a storm of morning tweets, Trump charged that his predecessor “colluded and obstructed” by failing to act after the CIA informed him Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered an operation to help defeat Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the November vote.

“The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling,” Trump wrote. “With 4 months looking at Russia under a magnifying glass, they have zero ‘tapes’ of T [Trump] people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology!”

“The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win, and did not want to ‘rock the boat.'”

“He didn’t ‘choke,’ he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good,” Trump tweeted, alluding to a Washington Post article that laid out the timeline of Obama’s response to the Russian threat.

Trump hit out in a flurry of weekend tweets and a televised interview following the Friday publication of the behind-the-scenes account by the Post.

The paper reported that the previous administration issued four warnings to Moscow — including one Obama delivered directly to Putin — causing Moscow to pull back on possible plans to sabotage US voting operations.

But it said Obama opted to leave countermeasures for later, for fear of being seen as interfering in an election he was confident Clinton would win.

After Trump’s shock victory in November, some Obama administration officials expressed regret at the lack of tougher action.

Some Democrats saw abundant irony in Trump blaming Obama for indecisiveness against a Russian operation he himself has long seemed to play down — including when he fired FBI chief James Comey in May over his handling of allegations of meddling, and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign.

But others have joined in the criticism, including Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who said at the weekend that Obama’s administration had made a “serious mistake.”

Related:

Ten Years of Russian Cyber Attacks on Other Nations

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