Posts Tagged ‘John Kerry’

Where’s the outrage over Hillary’s call for a ‘civil’ war? — Politics, Democrats and the Dangers of Rage

October 10, 2018

Two events from the last two days stand out. The first came Monday night with President Trump’s forceful yet compassionate speech at the swearing in of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

The president opened with an extraordinary apology on behalf of the country to Kav­anaugh and his family“for the terrible pain and suffering” they endured during the historically brutal confirmation process. He said the unfounded allegations violated fairness and “the presumption of innocence.”

Trump also tenderly addressed Kavanaugh’s young daughters, telling them “your father is a great man, a man of decency, character, kindness and courage.”

The event was something of a spike-the-football moment in front of a cheering White House audience and as such was a clever piece of stagecraft, where Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell, Charles Grassley, Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins were saluted.

By Michael Goodwin
New York Post
Opinion

But the ceremony was much more than that mere boosterism. With the eight other Supremes sitting in the front row, Trump aimed to restore dignity to the judiciary at a time when the dirtiest tricks of politics have buried the court in a mountain of mud.

The president is right to worry that the character-assassination attempt on Kavanaughmay turn out to be a seminal moment in American political and cultural history. The ideas that the court is just another political branch and that the presumption of innocence no longer applies if you are on the other team represent a seismic shift in how we look at each other and the nation as a whole.

If those ideas stick, we are in more trouble than we can imagine.

And while Trump has at times unnecessarily contributed to the rancor, he was terrific Monday in trying to repair what Senate Democrats and their media handmaidens tried to destroy.

Which brings me to the second event of note: Hillary Clinton’s statement Tuesday that Democrats “cannot be civil” as long as Republicans hold the White House and Congress.

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” Clinton told CNN. “That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.”

There you have it — a declaration of war and a license for violence. Where is the media outrage?

Clinton knows we are already in the danger zone when it comes to the political temperature. Her comments, then, are as reckless as bringing a can of gasoline to a bonfire.

She’s stoking trouble to gain a foothold in the 2020 race — and damn the consequences.

Her claim that civility can return when Dems have power is an admission that the ends justify the means.

Then again, she never fails to disappoint. As I wrote Sunday, she has spent the last two years casting doubt on the legitimacy of the Trump presidency because the election didn’t go her way. That makes her guilty of the very thing she found “horrifying” when Trump suggested he might not abide by the results if he thought they were rigged.

“He is denigrating — he is talking down our democracy. And I am appalled that someone who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that position,” she said in their final debate, in October of 2016.

She added, “That is not the way our democracy works.”

But it does work exactly that way when Democrats are denied what they feel entitled to. They should be careful what they wish for.

For if the Kavanaugh experience revealed anything, it is that Trump’s GOP knows how to fight back and win. It is hard to imagine that Kavanaugh would have survived such an onslaught under any other ­recent Republican candidate or president.

There were so many reasons, and so much media pressure, that it would not have been surprising if a bloc of senators called the allegations a “distraction” and waved a white flag. They didn’t because Trump and Kavanaugh didn’t back down.

Still, there is danger when two sides both think they can outlast the other. Responding to my concern that America might be sleepwalking into a second civil war, a number of readers agreed. Some said they welcomed it.

Curt Doolittle wrote this: “We aren’t sleepwalking into it, we know exactly what we’re doing and why. The hard right and hard left are planning on it, ready for it, and looking for an opportunity.”

He said the pressure has been building and that “the only reason it hasn’t turned hot is the outlier of Trump’s election. If Clinton had won, we’d already be there.”

https://nypost.com/2018/10/09/wheres-the-outrage-over-hillarys-call-for-a-civil-war/

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John Kerry: ‘I have not met with any Iranians’ since Trump pulled out of Iran deal

October 7, 2018

Former Secretary of State John Kerry said he has not met with any Iranians since President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, despite vocalizing his disagreement with the administration’s decision.

“I’m speaking out as a citizen in America,” Kerry said in an interview with CNN’s Michael Smerconish that aired Saturday morning. “If they don’t want me to speak out, that’s a different issue. But I’m telling you, I have not met with any Iranians since the President pulled out of the agreement, period.”
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Current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that Kerry’s behavior was “unseemly and unprecedented” after Kerry said he had met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif a few times since leaving office.
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“This is a former secretary of state engaged with the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, and according to him, he was talking to them, he was telling them to wait out this administration,’ Pompeo added.
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Mike Pompeo
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During his tenure as secretary of state, Kerry was critical in constructing the Obama administration’s 2015 deal, which aimed to restrict Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
Trump announced he would pull out of the deal earlier this year, and Kerry has since been vocal about his opposition to Trump’s Iran strategy.
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In Kerry’s interview on “Smerconish,” he said he thinks pulling out of the deal “loses the best option of all,” which he goes on to explain would have been to stay in the deal in order to leverage other countries to work with the United States “to hold Iran accountable on the missiles, to do a better job in Yemen, to work on the issue of Hezbollah, which we don’t like them supporting, which is a terrorist organization.”
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Kerry added that Trump’s move to pull out of the agreement did not serve the “best interests” of the United States.
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“So we could have leveraged better outcomes, I think,” he said. “But by just pulling out and angering everybody, I don’t think it serves the best interests of our country and I’m free to speak my mind with respect to that.”
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Includes video:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/06/politics/john-kerry-iran-deal-cnntv/index.html

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John Kerry with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, January 16, 2016. Credit Kevin Lamarque, AP, File

John Kerry, left, and Sergei Lavrov after agreeing the proposal to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons

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This photo, published on 14 September 2013, shows U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Sergei Lavrov after the two said they agreed on the proposal to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons entirely. Photo: RUBEN SPRICH/REUTERS (That effort was deemed a failure after Bashar al-Assad of Syria used chemical weapons again.)

Hillary Clinton and The Left: “That is not the way our democracy works.” — Anger and rage continue — To what end?

October 7, 2018

And so our fiery national nightmare is over. For now.

But only a Pollyanna would think peace is about to break out across the bloody political and cultural battlefields. We are a long way from fixing what was shattered and retrieving what has been lost.

There were many causes and events on the long road that brought us to this low place, but a telling moment took place almost exactly two years ago. It was the final debate of the presidential campaign, held on Oct. 19, 2016.

Here is how The New York Times began its slanted coverage: “In a remarkable statement that seemed to cast doubt on American democracy, Donald J. Trump said Wednesday that he might not accept the results of next month’s election if he felt it was rigged against him — a stand that Hillary Clinton blasted as ‘horrifying.’ ”

By Michael Goodwin
New York Post
Commentary

After noting that no modern president refused to accept election results, the paper quoted Clinton attacking Trump.

“Let’s be clear about what he is saying and what that means,” she said. “He is denigrating — he is talking down our democracy. And I am appalled that someone who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that position.”

She added, “That is not the way our democracy works.”

Fast forward to now, and it is the height of irony — and hypocrisy — that Clinton and her supporters, including the Times, still refuse to accept the election’s outcome. It started with her flimsy claims of Russian collusion and continues uninterrupted, with the character assassination campaign against Brett Kavanaugh the latest example.

Thank God, the assassins were unsuccessful in preventing a superbly qualified jurist and widely respected man from joining the Supreme Court. But they did lasting damage to Kavanaugh’s reputation, his family, the court, the Senate and the entire country.

Willing to destroy any part of government they cannot corrupt with partisanship, members of the self-declared resistance are tearing America apart because the election didn’t go their way. They have unleashed a whirlwind of fanatical hate, with violence now routinely threatened and sometimes carried out.

There are no random events. It is a straight line from the unprecedented plot by President Barack Obama’s administration to infiltrate and wiretap the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016 to the scurrilous accusations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh.

Image result for Christine Blasey Ford, and her lawyers, photos

© Getty Images

The probe by special counsel Robert Mueller has turned up nothing of significance against the president, yet it plods onward, searching for anything that would justify its existence.

In that context, it is beyond mildly interesting that a former FBI agent reportedly tried to pressure a friend of Christine Blasey Ford into changing her sworn statement to the Senate so it would support Ford’s charges against Kavanaugh. And one of Ford’s lawyers happens to be the lawyer for the fired former deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe.

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Andrew McCabe

Throw in the crooked James Comey’s drum-beating against Kavanaugh and the return of Obama to the campaign trail, and it’s clear the seamy efforts of the former administration are still going strong.

As the Kavanaugh catastrophe demonstrates, our nation is paying a heavy price for the unpatriotic attempts to abuse government power to try to pick a president, then undo the election. In a dangerous world where America has real enemies, efforts to undermine Trump’s legitimacy often align with the interests of foreign powers. John Kerry’s traitorous advice to Iran to wait for the next president are a prime example.

To be clear, what we just witnessed, and what we have seen for two years, is not a case of mere political differences, which the Founders recognized as inevitable and even desirable.

Instead, we face something more akin to the combustible climate historian Christopher Clark described as the origins of World War I. In his book, “The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914,” Clark illustrates how none of the great powers wanted war, but all felt free to escalate the build-up in the certainty that the other side would back down.

Something similar is happening here, and our nation could be sleepwalking into a second civil war. Even though justice and fairness prevailed this time, the stained confirmation process must serve as a wake-up alarm.

It is a recognition of the danger we face that, amidst the threats from Democrats to impeach Kavanaugh, we also hear calls for unity and healing. I’m all for them — as long as they’re not a fig leaf wrapped around gross wrongdoing.

For one thing, the leak of the confidential letter Ford wrote to Sen. Dianne Feinstein must be treated as a crime. As several senators noted, the leak falsely weaponized a charge about a 36-year-old event, without having any corroborating evidence. Ford wanted to remain private, but the leaker wanted to create a public spectacle that pitted her and Kavanaugh against each other like two caged beasts.

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Dianne Feinstein

The leaker succeeded and provoked other accusers to make charges without evidence, leading to a cascade of smoke but no fire. Among the casualties was the presumption of innocence, a bedrock of our legal system and Western civilization itself. Ford and Kavanaugh both say their families received death threats.

For another thing, the role of Ford’s lawyers must be investigated. One was hired at the recommendation of Feinstein’s office, and another represents McCabe — suggesting this was a political operation from the start.

Moreover, the failure of those lawyers to turn over key documents to the Senate reeks of bad faith and perhaps something far more sinister.

Less surprising was that the fiasco revealed how the liberal media keep behaving like battering rams against Trump. The wild stories about Kavanaugh in high school and college, coming from NBC, The New Yorker and others aimed to paint him as too toxic for confirmation. Shamefully, Ivy League law schools piled on.

Their failure to stop him is cause for relief, but nothing more. The media and academia embarrassed themselves again, but show no signs of ending their blatant bias.

The Times, of course, is the leader of the wolf pack, and it’s worth revisiting the end of its 2016 debate story.

After saying Trump “sputtered” in one exchange, it wrote that the evening was “a last-ditch attempt by a fading candidate, Mr. Trump, to save himself.”

Clinton, on the other hand, was said to be “reaching for not just a win but a mandate,” and the article concluded with obvious support for her certain victory.

“I would like to say to everyone watching tonight that I’m reaching out to all Americans, Democrats, Republicans and independents,” she said, “because we need everybody to help make our country what it should be.”

Two years later, she bears a huge responsibility for the disaster before us. If she really wants to help, Clinton should publicly admit that Trump won the election fair and square.

https://nypost.com/2018/10/06/hillary-clinton-is-still-finding-ways-to-denigrate-democracy/

John Kerry says chances of war on the rise as US sanctions Iran

October 5, 2018

Former secretary of state John Kerry voiced fear Friday of conflict with Iran after the United States pulled out of a denuclearization deal, saying regional leaders had privately pressed him for military strikes.

Kerry spearheaded diplomacy that led to the 2015 agreement in which Iran promised Western powers, Russia and China to scale back its nuclear program drastically in return for sanctions relief.

By pulling out of the accord, President Donald Trump has “made it more likely that there will be conflict in the region because there are people there who would love to have the United States of America bomb Iran,” the former senator and presidential candidate told the Council on Foreign Relations as he promotes his memoir, “Every Day is Extra.”

© AFP/File | Kerry spearheaded diplomacy that led to the 2015 agreement in which Iran promised Western powers, Russia and China to scale back its nuclear program drastically in return for sanctions relief

Kerry said that Saudi Arabia’s late king Abdullah and Egypt’s ousted president Hosni Mubarak had both told him that the United States should attack Iran, even while they would not take the position publicly.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an outspoken critic of the Iran deal, had also asked then US president Barack Obama for the green light to bomb Iran, Kerry said.

While UN inspectors found that Iran was complying with the accord, Trump declared the deal to be a disaster for not addressing other US concerns with Iran including threats to Israel, support for Islamist militant moves such as Hezbollah and Tehran’s missile program.

But Kerry said the United States was “actually getting them to do things, quietly,” including on easing the conflict in war-ravaged Yemen, and believed that President Hassan Rouhani was “trying to move the country in a different direction.”

“What Trump has done is now empower the guys in Iran who said don’t deal with the United States, they’ll burn you,” Kerry said.

“He has made it more likely that if there is an implosion in Iran internally through pressure or otherwise, it will not be an unknown Jeffersonian democrat who is going to appear and take over, it will be the IRGC or another Ahmadinejad, and we will be worse off and the people of Iran will be worse off,” he said, referring to the hardline Revolutionary Guards and former firebrand president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Trump has lashed out at Kerry for meeting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif since leaving office, accusing him of violating an obscure US law that prohibits private citizens from negotiating on disputes with foreign governments.

Kerry said Trump was seeking to distract from his own scandal related to alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and said it was normal for former officials to maintain communication with foreign counterparts.

AFP

China says can’t hold US trade talks with ‘knife to the throat’ — Likely propaganda means they refuse to change trade practices

September 25, 2018

China is using all its propaganda prowess to push world media and liberal U.S outlets like The New York Times toward an even more anti-Trump stance. By stopping all negotiations until after the U.S. midterm elections in November, China is telling us they are in a public opinion war and have no interest as yet to change their unfair trade practices. They are hoping the “John Kerry Strategy” Iran is using to “wait Trump out” will work for China. But more and more we see signs of European discontent with China’s trade methods so it is impossible to say how this will end. China’s commerce minister is only a puppet in all of this. We have yet to hear from Xi Jinping himself and his appointed representative Vice Premier Liu He they been mostly aloof and silent.

— Peace and Freedom Editor’s Note

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An A.P. Moller-Maersk container ship and a Hapag-Lloyd container ship at the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai. Bloomberg photo by Qilai Shen.

Below from AFP:

China said on Tuesday it was impossible to hold trade talks with the United States while Washington is imposing tariffs that are like “holding a knife to someone’s throat”.

Speaking a day after Washington activated tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, vice commerce minister Wang Shouwen said China is open to negotiations but that the two sides must treat each other “equally and with respect”.

“Now that the US has adopted this type of large-scale trade restrictions, they’re holding a knife to someone’s throat. Under these circumstances, how can negotiations proceed?” Wang told a news conference.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had invited Chinese officials to hold new talks, but President Donald Trump’s latest salvo — and warnings that another $267 billion of goods being lined up — appear to have scuttled that effort.

Wang met US officials in Washington in August but there have been no high-level meetings between the world’s top two economies for months.

He said Tuesday the US measures “have made it impossible for the negotiations to proceed” and blamed the US for abandoning a consensus on trade that was struck in May, but was quickly followed by new US tariffs.

– Support for exporters –

The trade fight between the top two economic giants has steadily escalated through the summer, as the US levied two waves of new tariffs that have now hit about $250 billion worth of goods, roughly half of China’s exports to the United States.

Beijing has hit back with each step, hitting $110 billion worth of US goods, or nearly everything China buys from the United States.

Experts have warned the snowballing trade spat will harm both economies and even global growth, with Fitch Ratings cutting its growth estimates for China and the world for 2019.

China’s exports to the US accounted for 19 percent of all its overseas shipments last year, according to a white paper published by China’s cabinet, the State Council, on Monday.

Officials in Beijing said they planned to step up support for harmed industries and companies as they seek to offset the trade war’s effects.

Beijing’s plans to cut costs for exporters and recently announced a plan to reduce taxes exporters have to pay.

“We will actively take all types of measures to help companies resolve their difficulties,” Luo Wen, Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology, said when asked about how companies would fare in the trade war.

China will “earnestly reduce taxes and burdens for companies and strive to optimise the business environment”, he added.

Monday’s US tariffs hit a wide swathe of products including Chinese-made voice data receivers, computer memory modules, automatic data processors, and accessories for office equipment such as copiers and banknote dispensers — instantly making widely used goods more expensive.

China’s retaliatory levies target 5,200 US goods worth $60 billion with new five to 10 percent tariffs, including big ticket items such as liquefied natural gas, lumber and electronics, as well as peppermint oil, pig hides and condoms.

AFP

 

John Kerry, Meet George Logan

September 17, 2018

Is it a crime to meet with Iranian officials? It may well be.

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George Logan, call your office. That’s my reaction to news that former Secretary of State John Kerry has, by his own account, been meeting privately with Iranian officials to try to save the nuclear deal.

Logan was the Pennsylvania politician whose unauthorized efforts to end the Quasi-War between France and America led to the Logan Act of 1799, which outlaws freelance diplomacy.

The New York Post has called Mr. Kerry’s conniving a “textbook violation” of the law. President Trump, after all, has pulled out of the nuclear accord and decided on a different course. Iran’s leaders, at least for the moment, are hanging onto the deal. Why not? It has brought billions to their coffers as they expand their military campaigns in the Mideast.

Last week the New York Times quoted “experts” as suggesting that the ayatollahs are “gambling” that Mr. Trump will be “crippled” in the midterm elections or swept out of office in 2020.

George Logan (1753-1821), depitcted in 1800.
George Logan (1753-1821), depitcted in 1800.PHOTO: COURTESY OF HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF PENNSYLVANIA COLLECTION/BRIDGEMAN IMAGES

So have the Democrats been colluding with them? Or, as radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Mr. Kerry last week, has the former secretary of state been “trying to coach” Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif?

“That’s not how it works,” Mr. Kerry said. “What I have done is tried to elicit from him what Iran might be willing to do in order to change the dynamic in the Middle East.” He insisted he’d been “very blunt.” Mr. Kerry also told Mr. Hewitt that the administration appears “hell-bent-for-leather determined to pursue a regime change strategy” in Iran. “I would simply caution that the United States historically has not had a great record in regime change,” Mr. Kerry said. He added that it makes it “very difficult, if not impossible” for Iran to negotiate.

This is Mr. Kerry’s modus operandi. In 1970, as an antiwar Vietnam veteran, he met in Paris with enemy envoys while American GIs were still in combat. Back in Washington, in his notorious 1971 testimony, he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that if the U.S. set a date for quitting Vietnam, the communists would allow GIs safe passage.

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Sen. George Aiken of Vermont asked whether the North Vietnamese might help carry our bags. “I would say they would be more prone to do that than the army of the South Vietnamese,” Mr. Kerry quipped. The hearing broke into laughter and applause at the expense of America’s allies.

Once Mr. Kerry became a senator himself in 1985, he promptly jetted off, with fellow freshman, Tom Harkin of Iowa, to meet with another Marxist adversary, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua. “From my vantage point,” Mr. Kerry writes in his new memoir, “it was far from a simple black-and-white battle of good versus evil. Even then it felt much more like a classic choice between shades of gray.” So the pair brought back a cease-fire proposal. That infuriated the Reagan administration.

Sen. Barry Goldwater suggested Mr. Kerry had violated the Logan Act. No charges were brought. The law hasn’t been used in 166 years—how could one compel foreign interlocutors to testify?—and no one has ever been convicted of violating it. That may be because circumstances are often cloudy, or involve members of Congress, such as calls for Logan charges against 47 senators who warned Iran in 2015 of the weakness of any agreement not approved by Congress.

In 2017 Democratic lawmakers even sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking for an investigation of President-elect Trump for alleged unauthorized diplomacy. They were upset at his phone calls with foreign leaders during the transition.

Yet has there ever been a case as clear as Mr. Kerry? The president tweeted that Mr. Kerry’s meetings with “the very hostile Iranian regime” were “illegal.” Will he take care that the laws be faithfully executed?

Mr. Lipsky is editor of the New York Sun.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/john-kerry-meet-george-logan-1537129799

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Trump, Pompeo bash ex-Secretary of State Kerry for for “actively undermining” US policy on Iran

September 15, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has unloaded on his Obama-era predecessor John Kerry for “actively undermining” US policy on Iran by meeting several times recently with the Iranian foreign minister, who was his main interlocutor in the Iran nuclear deal negotiations.

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In unusually blunt and caustic language, Pompeo said Friday that Kerry’s meetings with Mohammad Javad Zarif were “unseemly and unprecedented” and “beyond inappropriate.” President Donald Trump had late Thursday accused Kerry of holding “illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people.”

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Pompeo said he would leave “legal determinations to others” but slammed Kerry as a former secretary of state for engaging with “the world’s largest state-sponsor of terror” and telling Iran to “wait out this administration.” He noted that just this week Iranian-backed militias had fired rockets at US diplomatic compounds in Iraq.

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“You can’t find precedent for this in US history, and Secretary Kerry ought not to engage in that kind of behavior,” an agitated Pompeo told reporters at the State Department. “It’s inconsistent with what foreign policy of the United States is as directed by this president, and it is beyond inappropriate for him to be engaged.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unloaded Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 on his Obama-era predecessor John Kerry for “actively undermining” US policy on Iran by meeting several times recently with the Iranian foreign minister, who was his main interlocutor in the Iran nuclear deal negotiations. (File/AP/Alex Brandon)

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Kerry, who is promoting his new book “Every Day is Extra,” tweeted a response to Trump that referred to the president’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who agreed on Friday to cooperate with the special counsel’s investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.

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“Mr. President, you should be more worried about Paul Manafort meeting with Robert Mueller than me meeting with Iran’s FM. But if you want to learn something about the nuclear agreement that made the world safer, buy my new book,” said Kerry.
He has been harshly critical of the president and his decision in May to withdraw from the Iran deal but denies “coaching” Tehran.

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In a statement, his spokesman, Matt Summers, said: “There’s nothing unusual, let alone unseemly or inappropriate, about former diplomats meeting with foreign counterparts. Secretary (Henry) Kissinger has done it for decades with Russia and China. What is unseemly and unprecedented is for the podium of the State Department to be hijacked for political theatrics.”

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Pompeo also took to task former Energy Secretary Earnest Moniz and ex-Iran deal negotiator Wendy Sherman for joining Kerry at a meeting with Zarif and other Iranian officials earlier this year at a security conference in Munich — though Sherman said Friday she wasn’t with Kerry and Moniz when she met Zarif there. Along with Kerry, Moniz and Sherman played key roles in negotiating the 2015 agreement between Iran and several world powers that lifted sanctions against Tehran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.

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“I wasn’t in the meeting, but I am reasonably confident that he was not there in support of US policy with respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo said.

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“Former secretaries of state — all of them, from either political party — ought not to be engaged in” this kind of activity, he said. “Actively undermining US policy as a former secretary of state is literally unheard of.”

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Meetings between a private US citizen and foreign official are not against the law and not necessarily inappropriate or a violation of federal regulations, but Trump, Pompeo and several GOP lawmakers say they are evidence Kerry and former Obama administration officials are trying to subvert Trump’s hard line on Iran.

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“John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people,” Trump tweeted late Thursday. “He told them to wait out the Trump Administration! Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? BAD!“

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The law Trump invoked — the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA — requires registration and transparency by people or companies acting on behalf of foreign governments, political parties or individuals.

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But Josh Rosenstein, a partner with the Washington law firm Sandler Reiff and a specialist in lobbying compliance, said there are too many unanswered questions to know whether the law applies to Kerry’s interactions with Zarif. FARA’s provisions don’t extend to activities conducted entirely overseas, so where Kerry interacted with him matters. Also unclear is whether any Iranians specifically asked Kerry for advice.

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“The devil’s always in the details,” Rosenstein said. “Simply offering advice to a foreign government doesn’t make you a foreign agent.”

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When reports of Kerry’s ex-officio contacts with Zarif first surfaced in May, Trump tweeted similar thoughts. “John Kerry can’t get over the fact that he had his chance and blew it! Stay away from negotiations John, you are hurting your country!” he said on May 8. A day earlier, he tweeted: “The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal. He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!“

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Trump and Pompeo’s criticism came after Kerry told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday that earlier reports of his meetings with Zarif were correct: They had met three or four times since Kerry left office but not since Pompeo took the job in April. One of those meetings took place in Oslo, Norway, and another in Munich, he said. A third is reported to have occurred at the United Nations headquarters, which is not technically on US soil.

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Kerry told Hewitt that he was not coaching the Iranians on how to deal with the Trump administration.

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“That’s not my job, and my coaching him would not, you know, that’s not how it works,” he said in the interview. “What I have done is tried to elicit from him (Zarif) what Iran might be willing to do in order to change the dynamic in the Middle East for the better.”

Associated Press

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1372331/world

New Reports says Nonprofits Funneling Millions to Democratic Governors — Called “activist government for hire”

September 11, 2018
  • A new report lays out how liberal nonprofits are funneling millions to Democratic governors to further their agenda.
  • This not only brings up legal concerns, but also raises questions whether this represents “government for hire.”
  • Democratic governors want to mobilize $50 million a year by 2020 for their climate policy agenda.

Democratic Jerry Brown Gov. Jerry Brown’s upcoming global warming activist summit is part of an effort to funnels millions of dollars from nonprofits to state politicians to advance a liberal climate agenda, according to a new report.

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Gov. Jerry Brown

Brown’s so-called “Global Climate Action Summit” begins Wednesday and is sure to garner media attention. Its list of speakers includes former Vice President Al Gore, actor Alec Baldwin and former Secretary of State John Kerry. Indeed, the whole point of the summit is to give politicians and activists a platform on global warming ahead of the November elections.

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

However, Competitive Enterprise senior fellow Chris Horner wants people to remember one thing about the summit: “this is what activist government for hire looks like, and how it is brought about.”

“Open record productions reveal that this summit is part of a major climate industry that funnels donor money through nonprofit organizations to staff up politicians’ offices,” Horner wrote in a new report published Tuesday.

And what an industry it is, Horner’s report reveals. Democratic state governors hope to mobilize $50 million by 2020 from nonprofits toward promoting liberal climate policies, including meeting the goals of the Paris climate accord.

This is Horner’s second major report on the deep financial ties between wealthy liberal foundations and Democratic state officials in the wake of the 2016 election. In August, Horner released a report detailing how former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s personal foundation funded attorneys at Democratic state attorneys general offices.

Those findings, based on more than two years of government records requests, backed initial reporting by TheDCNF on Bloomberg’s funding of state attorneys to advance “progressive clean energy, climate change, and environmental legal positions.”

According to Horner, accepting private funds to advance their policy goals bring up serious legal questions as well, including on transparency and gift-giving. It also could upset the checks lawmakers are supposed to have over state executives.

Brown’s summit is just one example of the coordination between Democratic governors and liberal foundations. The summit “is just one component of a sprawling enterprise that underwrites ‘support functions’ for politicians to advocate the parties’ aligned policy agenda,” reads Horner’s report.

Horner noted that global warming activists not only bankrolled the $10 million summit, but also provided a “handful of senior, full-time, and off-the-books staff members to Governor Brown,” according to a copy of his report obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Activists Are Accusing Gov. Brown Of Being A Hypocrite On Oil Drilling)

President Donald Trump’s 2016 election forced environmentalists and monied liberal donors out of the realm of federal policy, so they took their money to the states where Democratic politicians railed against the new administration’s rolling back of Obama-era policies.

In one instance, the Hewlett Foundation hired former Obama administration climate change envoy Jonathan Pershing to “place climate and energy policy staff members in governors’ offices, where they would be running the money and at least in one instance the hiring process through the World Resources Institute (WRI),” according to emails obtained by Horner.

However, Brown is not the only governor to take advantage of private funding of his climate agenda, Horner noted. The report cites many emails between officials in the offices of Governors Jay Inslee of Washington and Andrew Cuomo of New York as well.

Inslee’s office, for example, described one former Obama State Department staffer “as our refugee from Kerry’s office at State” that “Pershing at Hewlett is paying … to work in our shop for 12 months.”

Horner points also points to Democratic governors’ use of a “secretariat” model to “to run a politician’s climate-policy campaign.” In the case of Democratic governors, the “secretariat” was the United Nations Foundation (UNF), which was founded by media mogul Ted Turner in the 1990s.

UNF houses the U.S. Climate Alliance (USCA) that Brown, Cuomo and Inslee are a part of along with other state governors. While USCA is not a legal entity, it’s being used to advance the goals of the Paris climate accord that President Donald Trump has pledged to withdraw from in the next couple years. USCA is also supported by the Hewlett Foundation, Energy Foundation and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Horner said Democratic governors’ offices “spent hundreds of hours of taxpayer time interviewing and negotiating with representatives of 501(c)3 nonprofits that could serve as pass-through entities for placing ‘staff’ in the governors’ offices, recruiting and liaising with donors, and developing the proposals to present to donors to fund the scheme.”

Nonprofits competed with one another to get the approval from Brown and others to house USCA. One top aide to Brown wrote in an email “that the nonprofit that wins the contract was to act purely as a vendor of ‘back-office host support functions’ to the officeholders.”

“A key function of the Secretariat was to hire staff members for the governors.” Horner wrote, noting that former Obama administration officials were a favorite. “This practice represents having outside parties hire staff members selected by governors for whom their legislatures have not authorized or have appropriated funds. They use their offices in service of the donors and of the advocacy groups’ and politicians’ aligned agenda.”

UNF also helped Brown’s office hire executives for the upcoming climate summit. Their jobs ad said the employees would work for UNF and be “seconded to the office of the Governor of California.”

“The Brown-led Summit is a major effort by elected officials to effectively move the politicking and media spectacle up in the calendar and to run an expensive PR/political campaign (using state offices) to make climate an issue for the 2018 mid-term U.S. elections, by hosting what is—by all appearances—a governmental conference,” Horner wrote.

https://dailycaller.com/2018/09/11/report-nonprofits-money-dem-governors-global-warming/

John Kerry: Trump ‘clearly doesn’t understand America’

September 10, 2018

Former Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday said President Trump’s recently lamenting the indictments of two Republican congressmen so close to the midterm elections demonstrates that Mr. Trump doesn’t understand America or how the country’s justice system is supposed to work.

Mr. Kerry said Mr. Trump chastised Attorney General Jeff Sessions for “following the law” after the Justice Department recently announced charges being brought against GOP Reps. Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter, two early supporters of the president, and that the president put the charges in the context of how they could affect the midterm elections.

“You have a president who clearly doesn’t understand America, doesn’t understand the Constitution, doesn’t understand the role of the Justice Department, the separation of powers, and that’s dangerous,” Mr. Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, said on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”

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Former Secretary of State John Kerry, who claims that “backing out” of the Iran deal undermines America’s credibility around the world. (Associated Press/File)

Mr. Trump tweeted last week that Democrats must “love” Mr. Sessions now.

“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff……” the president tweeted.

Mr. Kerry also criticized Mr. Trump’s dealings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying the president rushed to have their recent summit and there now isn’t a clear path forward on how to account for North Korea’s weapons stockpile — let alone talk of denuclearization.

“We’re working in a very, very different and frankly dangerous world for our country,” he said.

Mr. Kerry said the greatest “course correction” for the president’s behavior is the 2018 midterm elections.

“It is the one thing where average citizens have an opportunity to be able to exercise judgment and be involved in the political process as they ought to be,” he said.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/sep/9/john-kerry-donald-trump-clearly-doesnt-understand-/

Democratic presidential primary 2020 could feature something new: five candidates over the age of 70

September 4, 2018

The Blue Wave could also Be a New Wave: Sorta….

The Democratic presidential primary in 2020 could include as many as five candidates over the age of 70.

Four out of the five are older than President Donald Trump, who at age 70 became the oldest elected first-term president in American history. All five will be older on Inauguration Day 2020 than Trump was when he began his first term in office.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry, 74, declined to rule out running in 2020 in a CBS News interview that aired on Sunday. Kerry turns 75 in December and would be 77-years-old by the time he took office.

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Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who turns 75 on Saturday, would also be 77 by the time he entered the White House. Sanders is technically an independent but caucuses with Democrats in Congress and ran for president as a Democrat in 2016. Sanders is all-but-guaranteed to run again in 2020.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, 75, is positioning himself for a 2020 presidential run as well. If he won, Biden wouldn’t take office until after his 78th birthday.

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Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren turned 69 in June and is also considered a virtual lock to run in 2020. Though younger than the president, Warren at age 71 would still be the oldest first-term president in American history.

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Former California Gov. Jerry Brown will be the oldest candidate in the field if he runs in 2020. The former governor turned 80 this past April and would be 82 by the time he took office in 2021.

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Still, Brown said last year not to “rule it out” that he would run and his name has been consistently floated as a candidate since then.

If he won, Brown would be more than a decade older than any other first-term president.

Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson

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