Posts Tagged ‘Trump’

No Trump-Russia Collusion: “If we write a report based upon the facts…”

February 13, 2019

There have been reports recently that the Senate Intelligence Committee, the panel conducting the bipartisan flagship congressional investigation of the Trump-Russia affair, has not found evidence to conclude that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to fix the 2016 election.

By Byron York

“If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,” the committee’s chairman, Republican Sen. Richard Burr, told CBS last week.

Pressed on his statement a few days later, Burr said, “The only thing I’ve addressed is whether we had facts that suggest there was [collusion]. We don’t have any.” Burr added one caveat: “Just saying what factually we’ve found to date. We haven’t finished our investigation.”

At about the same time, NBC News reported that committee Democrats did not fundamentally dispute Burr’s statement, although they emphasized they had uncovered no “direct” evidence of collusion. “Both Republicans and Democrats are telling us that they found no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, which after all was the big question that everyone was asking,” said NBC’s Ken Dilanian Tuesday.

The talk prompted pushback from the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, Sen. Mark Warner, who told CNN that he is not on board with Burr. “Respectfully, I disagree,” Warner said. “I’m not going to get into any conclusions I’ve reached, because my basis of this has been that I’m not going to reach any conclusion until we finish the investigation. And we still have a number of the key witnesses to come back.”

The “no collusion” talk set off alarm bells among those who have devoted the last two years to promoting the notion that Trump and Russia conspired in 2016. The Committee to Investigate Russia, established by actor Rob Reiner and including former intelligence chiefs James Clapper and Michael Hayden, sent out an email headlined, “No Direct Link So Far … But So What?”

Image result for james clapper, pictures

James Clapper

Likewise, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe was in no mood to entertain a “no collusion” argument. “Burr is out on a limb that his non-GOP colleagues are sawing off,” Tribe tweetedTuesday. “He’s being a partisan. Plus his definition of ‘evidence’ is wildly unrealistic. Nobody ever imagined Trump saying to Putin, ‘Hey, I’ll lift the sanctions if you make me president.’ That’s not how it works.”

For her part, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow seemed to take issue with her own network’s reporting by tweeting out a Mother Jones story headlined, “Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats Dispute Claims That Russia Probe Found No Collusion.” The story featured a quote from Warner saying, “The president is terrified about where our investigation … may lead.”

Image result for Rachel Maddow, pictures

Rachel Maddow

Some might be particularly distressed by the prospect that the Senate could reach the same verdict on collusion as House Intelligence Committee Republicans did in a report that was widely derided in some media circles last year.

The committee’s Republicans, led by then-chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, “found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government,” the report said. Nevertheless, GOP lawmakers added, “the investigation did find poor judgment and ill-considered actions by the Trump and Clinton campaigns.”

Democrats mocked the report and its no-collusion conclusion. The document was “rife with significant inaccuracies, mischaracterizations, vital omissions of fact and context, and often risible attempts to explain away inconvenient truths,” committee Democrats said in a minority report.

“This was basically a kindergarten exercise where they brought in witnesses, let them say what they were going to say, took them at their word, and said, OK guys, we’re all done here, no collusion,” said Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro, an Intelligence Committee member.

“Let me just say that this Republican report from the House Intel Committee really is a fake report,” Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu said. “They had the view that there was no collusion. Of course, they’re going to do a report that shows there’s no collusion because they weren’t looking for it, and they were actually trying to ignore evidence of collusion.”

Senate Intelligence Committee investigators were not trying to ignore evidence of collusion. But now, it appears they, too, are headed for essentially the same conclusion as House Republicans.

Even more concerning to some Democrats is that the news from Burr came on the heels of stories to the effect that Trump-Russia special counsel Robert Mueller might not charge Trump associates with conspiracy and might not even allege that the much-discussed Trump-Russia conspiracy even occurred. Many House Democrats have been relying on Mueller to give them a roadmap and cover to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president. Now, they face the question of what to do if Mueller does not give them what they want.

The answer could be that House Democrats will have to do the job by themselves. Frustrated by Republican control the last two years, followed, potentially, by the failure of both the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Mueller investigation to provide proof of collusion, bound-and-determined House Democrats will have to rely on themselves to come up with grounds to impeach Trump. That is one reason why the talk in the House today is of new investigations that will go where Mueller could not, and finally uncover evidence of impeachable offenses. If the Senate and Mueller investigations reach a disappointing end, Democrats might have to go it alone.


Erdogan ‘saddened’ by Trump threat to ‘devastate’ Turkish economy

January 15, 2019

Turkish president discussed possible safe zone for Kurds in phone call with president Trump

By Laura Pitel in Istanbul

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he discussed the idea of setting up a 20-mile safe zone in northern Syria during a “positive” phone call with Donald Trump on Tuesday. Mr Erdogan said that he had been “saddened” by Mr Trump’s threats, issued on Twitter on Sunday night, to “devastate Turkey economically” if it followed through on a threat to attack Kurdish forces in north east Syria.

But he said that the two leaders had reached an understanding “of historic importance” during a telephone conversation on Monday. “It was a positive phone call,” Mr Erdogan said, according to a report of his comments by BBC Turkish. “He once again confirmed his decision to withdraw from Syria.”

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, above, described his phone call regarding safe zones in Syria with US president, Donald Trump, as positive. (AFP)

The Turkish leader said that Mr Trump had raised the prospect of “a safe zone, to be created by us, along the border with Turkey” on the Syrian side. “We agreed that our teams’ discussions on all the subjects on the agenda will continue,” he said. In a tweet after their call, Mr Trump said that he had advised the Turkish president on “where we stand on all matters including our last two weeks of success in fighting the remnants of ISIS, and 20 mile safe zone.”

He added: “Also spoke about economic development between the US & Turkey — great potential to substantially expand!” Turkey has for years supported the idea of a safe zone in northern Syria. Mr Trump appears to have seized upon the idea as a way of containing the backlash after his abrupt announcement last month that US troops would withdraw. Kurdish forces played a central role in the US-led campaign against Isis jihadis.

The forces have warned that the American pullout is a betrayal that leaves them vulnerable to an attack by Turkey, which views Kurdish militias as domestic terrorists who represent a security threat. Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, told reporters in Riyadh this week that discussions on the creation of a buffer zone were ongoing.

“We want to make sure that the folks who fought with us to down [Isis] have security . . . and also that terrorists acting out of Syria aren’t able to attack Turkey,” he said.

“We want a secure border for all the parties.” Some military analysts believe that a negotiated agreement to create such a zone could be a realistic compromise, allowing Turkey to protect its border without triggering a full onslaught by the Turkish military that would risk angering the US.

Many questions remain, however, about who would monitor the area, what would happen if Kurdish armed groups refused to give up territory, and whether the plan would be accepted by the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and the Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who is his most important backer.


Erdogan says discussed Turkey setting up safe zone in Syria with Trump

January 15, 2019

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday he had discussed a safe zone which Turkey would set up in Syria, during a phone call with US President Donald Trump which he described as positive.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, above, described his phone call regarding safe zones in Syria with US president, Donald Trump, as positive. (AFP)

Monday’s call came after Trump, who has announced a US troop withdrawal from northeast Syria, threatened Turkey with economic devastation if Turkish forces attacked a US-backed Kurdish militia there.



Trump, Erdogan discuss secure zone in Syria as Turkey vows to continue fight against Kurdish militia

January 15, 2019

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump on Monday discussed the establishment of a secure zone in northern Syria cleared of militia groups, the Turkish presidency said in a statement.

Speaking by phone, the two emphasised the need to complete a roadmap regarding Syria’s border town of Manbij, as well to avoid giving any opportunity to elements seeking to block the planned withdrawal of US forces from Syria, it said.

Earlier, Trump threatened Turkey with economic devastation if it attacked a US-allied Kurdish militia in Syria, and proposed the creation of a safe zone.

In a tweet, Trump also warned the Kurdish forces not to “provoke Turkey.” (File/AFP)

But Turkey vowed to continue fighting the militia  which it views as a terrorist group.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter that there was “no difference” between the Daesh group and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia. “We will continue to fight against them all.”

“Mr @realDonaldTrump It is a fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the PKK, which is on the US terrorists list, and its Syria branch PYD/YPG,” Kalin also wrote on Twitter in response to Trump’s tweet.

Trump’s decision to pull American troops out of Syria has left the United States’ Kurdish allies vulnerable to an attack from Turkey. Ankara views the Kurdish forces as terrorists aligned with insurgents inside Turkey.

In a tweet, Trump also warned the Kurdish forces not to “provoke Turkey.”

The US withdrawal has begun with shipments of military equipment, US defense officials said. But in coming weeks, the contingent of about 2,000 troops is expected to depart even as the White House says it will keep pressure on Daesh.

Once the troops are gone, the US will have ended three years of organizing, arming, advising and providing air cover for Syrian, Kurdish and Arab fighters in an open-ended campaign devised by the Obama administration to deal the militants, also known as Daesh, a lasting defeat.

“Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining Daesh territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions,” Trump tweeted. “Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds.”

Trump’s decision to leave Syria, which he initially said would be rapid but later slowed down, shocked US allies and angered the Kurds in Syria. It also prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and drew criticism in Congress. Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, called the decision a “betrayal of our Kurdish partners.”

Arab News

Shut the down government for real border control — not for the wall

December 13, 2018

Both sides need to grow up and get to work.

Improvisation isn’t Sen. Charles Schumer’s forte. When President Trump surprised the senator and Rep. Nancy Pelosi by broadcasting their acrimonious Oval Office meeting, the anguine gentleman from New York was caught off-guard.

Schumer and Pelosi invoked the word “shutdown” as though it were a magical incantation. Trump said that he’d be “proud” to shut down the government if he doesn’t get funding for a border wall. As Trump bellowed and berated the Democrats, “Schumer sat staring forward and not meeting the president’s eyes,” as CNBC put it. The promise of that kind of spectacle is about one half of why Donald Trump was elected.

Illegal immigration is the other half. If the federal apparatus serves any purpose at all, providing for national security — beginning with securing the borders — is it.

Washington should do its damned job. Which it will, once it has exhausted every other option. Republicans have the chance to take some of those options away.

By Kevin D. Williamson
The New York Post

Disorder is always undesirable in government. And this year’s installment of shutdown theater finds many different currents of chaos adjoined: a dysfunctional constitutional order; a border that in practice is defended by very little more than strong language; a broken congressional budgeting process in which the regular order of appropriations has been supplanted by a series of “continuing resolutions,” stopgap measures that have now been passed more than 100 times in this still-young century.

The abandonment of what budget geeks refer to as “regular order” keeps Washington effectively in a state of constant fiscal emergency.

Republicans used to fear being blamed for these things, a part of the more general GOP tendency to fear being blamed for things. But they have discovered that the political price for these acts of theater is pretty low. They are slow learners, but they learn — or at least they can, where there is a question of self-preservation.

Mainly, shutdowns inconvenience federal workers who get furloughed, which upsets their household finances. One feels for them. What’s rarely said aloud but surely appreciated by Republicans is that practically all of them are Democrats.

Republicans ought to be the party of order. But border security is an issue worth taking a stand on, even at the cost of a little ceremonial disorder. The politics are broadly on the side of those who wish to see the borders more adequately secured, and the issue will put Democrats in the position of defending illegal immigration.

Republicans have the right politics, then, but the wrong policy. Building a wall would bring some benefits and would present Trump with an important symbolic victory, but it is at best an incomplete policy, and in some ways a bad one.

For much of the US-Mexico border, a wall is neither practical nor desirable. A wall, moreover, does things that we don’t want to do, such as necessitating the appropriation of private property along the border, interrupting access to water, etc.

Those headaches can be dealt with. The bigger problem is that a wall doesn’t do what we want it to do: cut off the flow of illegal immigrants. Most new illegal immigrants don’t enter the United States by wading across the Rio Grande. They come legally on visas and fail to leave when required. You can build the wall 10 feet higher, but unless you are going to build it high enough to cut off international air traffic, it won’t solve the problem.

If the Republicans are going to shut down the government over border security, they should do it on behalf of a better border-security agenda.

The most important reform would be putting an electronic wall between would-be illegal workers and their employers through a robust, mandatory program of employment-eligibility verification. And then there’s the mundane, tedious work of everyday law enforcement: Raiding a few construction sites will net a few illegal drywall installers, but if you really want to change behavior, then that begins with frog-marching the employers off to the federal pokey.

The federal government doesn’t have a very good record on that, and winning convictions in such cases is difficult. But it is the employers who provide the main lure for illegal immigration in the first place. And we know where they live.

Republicans should be the responsible party on immigration. The Democrats are too much in thrall to identity politics to do that. And Republicans should not fear a shutdown.
What they should fear is getting too little in exchange.

Kevin Williamson is roving correspondent for National Review, where this article first appeared.


Trump-Pelosi brawl sends Congress back to the drawing board on spending

December 12, 2018

President Trump’s threat to shut down the government over border wall money left lawmakers scrambling on Tuesday for a deal to fund the remaining 25 percent of the government before a Dec. 21 deadline.

“We’ve got ten days. I think something will break between now and then but I could be wrong,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala. He spoke soon after Trump, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi made it clear in a public feud at the White House that a deal was nowhere in sight.

“There are a lot of proposals floating around,” Shelby said. “A lot of them are just thoughts today.”

By Susan Ferrechio
Washington Examiner

Senate Minority Leader Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Pelosi, D-Calif., said they told the president they could agree to extend temporary funding for the Department of Homeland Security until next year, when House Democrats are in the majority. Their only other option was a deal that keeps border security funding at $1.6 billion, which is below the $5 billion Trump wants to complete a wall along the Mexican border.

But Trump told Pelosi and Schumer he’d be “proud” to shut down portions of the government and take the blame if he can’t get $5 billion.

During a closed-door lunch with Republicans Tuesday afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence described the meeting between Trump and the Democrats as “memorable.” But it also creates a real puzzle for lawmakers who want to figure out a deal over the next 10 days and go home.

“Does it cause a wider breach or does it cause some people to go home and say we’ve got to get this done?” Shelby wondered about Trump’s open battle with Democrats. “Sometimes an impasse brings us together, sometimes it drives us apart.”

The impasse leaves Republicans with few options. If no deal emerges, they could pass a temporary spending bill, but there is no guarantee the president would sign it. And if Trump refused to sign it, a supermajority in both Republican-held chambers would be needed to override his veto.

“I would think it would be difficult for a Republican majority to override a Republican president and probably unwarranted,” Shelby said about that idea.

Republican leaders have always been eager to avoid a shutdown or any threat of one, even if Trump is willing to take the blame.

“I hope that’s not where we end up,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “One thing I think is pretty clear no matter who precipitates the government shutdown, the American people don’t like it and I hope that will be avoided and that both sides will understand that’s not a great way to end what has, in my view, been the most successful Congress right-of-center in decades.”

Some red-state Republicans backed Trump’s shutdown comments, arguing the American public wants border security and a wall can provide it by stopping the influx of illegal immigrants pouring across.

“If you talk to the people in my state, they want border security,” Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., told the Washington Examiner. “They know it’s a national security issue. The president has been serious about this. It’s time to get that done.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called Trump’s funding request “imminently reasonable” and said Democrats’ “arrogance toward Trump needs to come to an end.”

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said he is opposed to shutting down the government, but said Democrats need to recognize that Trump won’t give up the fight this time.

“I don’t think the president is bluffing,” Kennedy said. “It’s up to the Democrats to understand that illegal immigration is illegal.”

A shutdown is likely to rattle the nerves of many Republicans. The party is still spooked by the 2013 government shutdown triggered by House conservatives who were trying to defund Obamacare.

Polls following that shutdown showed the public overwhelmingly blamed Republicans, although the party then picked up 13 House seats in November and took over the Senate majority. Still, GOP leaders don’t seem to like that option.

“Shutting down the government doesn’t solve any problems, all it does is delay confronting the same problem that you shut the government down for,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas. “My experience has been that shutdowns don’t help anybody.”


Trump, Pelosi, Schumer have extraordinary exchange over border wall

December 11, 2018


President Trump Tuesday sparred with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) over the president’s demand to fund a border wall, threatening a government shutdown if he does not get the money he has requested.

Watch the exchange in the video above.

Trump: China to ‘Reduce and Remove’ Tariffs on American Cars

December 3, 2018

‘China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%,’ president says

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SHANGHAI—China agreed to cut tariffs on American cars, President Trump said on Twitter.

The announcement came after a weekend dinner between Mr. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires at which the U.S. postponed its threat to increase tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25% from 10%.

U.S. cars, which are now set at 40%.

Donald J. Trump


China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%.

23.1K people are talking about this

In July, China reduced tariffs on U.S. cars from 25% to 15%, but days later tacked on a 25% additional retaliatory duty in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

Over the weekend, the U.S. and China agreed to a truce in their tit-for-tat trade war, and Trump said he would not impose new tariffs or raise current ones on Jan. 1, as he had threatened to do.

Sunday’s move, which was not immediately confirmed by Chinese officials, would not have a huge impact on U.S. automakers.

In 2017, the U.S. exported about 250,000 new and used autos to China, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, worth about $10.5 billion. By comparison, Americans bought more than 17 million vehicles last year, according to Automotive News.


In Pardoning Saudi Arabia, Trump Gives Guidance to Autocrats

November 21, 2018

President Trump has long viewed foreign policy as a series of business deals, stripped of values and idealism. But his 633-word statement on Tuesday about the brutal killing of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi showed the extent to which he believes that raw, mercantilist calculations should guide the United States’ decisions about the Middle East and the wider world.

Mr. Trump made clear that he sees alliances as transactional, based on which foreign partners buy the most weapons. American jobs outweigh American values. And all countries act abhorrently, so an American president should never hold friends to different standards than enemies.

Tuesday’s message could become something of a blueprint for foreign leaders — a guide to how they might increase their standing in the eyes of the American president as well as how far they can go in crushing domestic critics without raising American ire.

It was also a revealing meditation on the role that Mr. Trump believes facts should play in political decision-making. The C.I.A. concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia had ordered Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, American officials said last week. But on Tuesday, the president dismissed not only that assessment but also the very process of seeking the truth, implying that it did not really matter anyway. (“Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Mr. Trump wrote of Prince Mohammed.) Instead, the decisions of a president should be guided by what is best for the economy and the United States’ security.

BY  Mark Mazzetti and Ben Hubbard
The New York Times

Image result for Donald Trump, in saudi Arabia, photos

Mr. Trump’s words dealt a blow to Turkey, an American ally and fellow member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that has demanded that Saudi Arabia be punished for killing Mr. Khashoggi last month inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. But Mr. Trump’s message was warmly welcomed by other American allies in the Middle East who value close ties with Washington but want to be left to rule as they wish.

“Trump will be viewed as a very courageous president who stuck to his guns and went against the Washington consensus,” said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a political scientist from the United Arab Emirates. “Big thank you, Mr. President, from this part of the world. This firm stance will never be forgotten by Riyadh and the other Arab Gulf capitals, and will be reciprocated handsomely on many issues.”

Tuesday’s statement also echoed the president’s past attempts to draw an equivalence between nations that use murder as a tool of power. During an interview with Bill O’Reilly on Fox News weeks after taking office, Mr. Trump played down President Vladimir V. Putin’s history of ordering extrajudicial killings — comparing it to American history and saying that the United States was better off in the long run being Russia’s friend rather than foe.

Similarly, Mr. Trump largely absolved Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for civilian casualties and the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen by pinning the blame for the war there on Iran. “The world is a very dangerous place!” the statement began.

It was a succinct summation of Mr. Trump’s view of the Middle East, where his top priorities remain protecting Israel, fighting terrorism and pushing back against Iran, which he considers the engine behind instability in Lebanon and the wars in Yemen and Syria. Since Mr. Trump’s election, Saudi Arabia successfully pitched itself to Mr. Trump and Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, as the Middle Eastern ally with both the standing and the cash to help with all these issues.

“The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region,” Mr. Trump said.

Those who had hoped that Washington would take a stronger stand for accountability over the killing of the dissident Jamal Khashoggi, if only to deter other dictators from taking such steps against their own critics, were sorely disappointed.CreditBulent Kilic/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In some parts of the statement, Mr. Trump went further than Saudi officials have in describing the relationship and the killing. Saudi Arabia still has no formal relations with Israel, despite Mr. Trump’s praise of Saudi Arabia as serving Israel’s interests. And Mr. Trump said that Saudi representatives had called Mr. Khashoggi “an ‘enemy of the state’ and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood,” an accusation that no Saudi official has leveled publicly. Prince Khalid bin Salman, Prince Mohammed’s younger brother and the Saudi ambassador to the United States, even called Mr. Khashoggi a “friend” after the dissident disappeared but before he was confirmed dead.

Hours after the White House released Mr. Trump’s statement, he added during a lengthy news conference on the South Lawn that Saudi Arabia’s stranglehold on global oil prices gave the kingdom enormous leverage over his decisions. Push Prince Mohammed too far, he suggested, and Saudi Arabia could cut oil production — leading to oil prices of $150 a barrel.

The president’s critics on Capitol Hill reacted angrily, saying that Mr. Trump ceded American authority on human rights issues to get more arms deals for defense companies.

“I’m pretty sure this statement is Saudi Arabia First, not America First,” Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky wrote on Twitter.

The Khashoggi statement could further strain American relations with Turkey, a NATO ally, which had already soured over trade issues, Turkey’s detention of an American pastor and the United States’ support for a Kurdish militia in Syria that Turkey considers a terrorist organization.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey sees himself as a rival to Prince Mohammed to be the rightful leader of the Islamic world, and the Turkish security services have continually leaked lurid details from their investigation into Mr. Khashoggi’s killing to implicate Saudi Arabia and damage Prince Mohammed’s reputation. Mr. Erdogan himself has heavily hinted that he holds Prince Mohammed responsible, though without directly naming the young prince.

In his statement, Mr. Trump clearly took the prince’s side in that rivalry, risking further isolating Mr. Erdogan.

Around the world, reactions largely broke down between those who wish that the United States and its Western allies would stay out of how they run their countries and those who believe that the United States should show moral leadership and stand up for international norms.

“It is a terrible reminder of how precarious the leadership situation in the United States and Saudi Arabia is in terms of adhering to the rule of law and to common decency and ethics,” said Rami G. Khouri, a journalist in residence at the American University of Beirut and a senior fellow at the Kennedy School at Harvard University. “The message is that we are now in the era of strongmen or mafia rule that is gradually dominating the region.”

Indeed, some in the Middle East twisted Mr. Trump’s assertion that the world is a dangerous place to implicate him in the dangers.

Wael Ghonim


The world is a dangerous place when its led by demagoguery leaders who manipulate truth.

They lie, they know they are lying, & they know that we know they are lying.

RIP My dear friend @JKhashoggi, I hope your death show everyone their true-selves and what they stand for.

267 people are talking about this

“The world is a dangerous place when its led by demagoguery leaders who manipulate truth,” Wael Ghonim, the internet activist who rose to prominence during the Egyptian uprising in 2011, wrote on Twitter.

“They lie, they know they are lying, & they know that we know they are lying.”

Mark Mazzetti reported from Washington, and Ben Hubbard from Beirut, Lebanon. Carlotta Gall contributed reporting from Istanbul.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: A Cynical Blueprint for Autocrats.

Macron thanks Trump for his ‘solidarity’ in warm welcome after Twitter slam

November 10, 2018

French President Emmanuel Macron amicably welcomed President Trump to the French presidential palace on Saturday morning, smiling and shaking hands hours after Trump blasted him on Twitter.

“So thanks very much, Donald, for being here. This is our pleasure. And our people are very proud to have you here,” Macron told Trump after the men entered the Élysée Palace.

“I want to thank you here today for your solidarity 100 years ago, and your constant solidarity for precisely our people,” Macron said.

Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron wave for the cameras outside the Élysée Palace in Paris on 10 November 2018.
Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron are meeting for bilateral talks in Paris. EPA photo

President Donald Trump is holding talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris, ahead of events marking the end of World War One.

In a courtyard, the men waved to media gathered in the rain. A smiling Macron and straight-faced Trump ignored shouted questions about Trump’s Friday night tweet accusing Macron of making “very insulting” remarks about needing a pan-European military force.

Trump’s pointed rebuke was not directly discussed during brief remarks to a small group of reporters inside the building, with the leaders mentioning events commemorating the centennial of World War I’s end and issues including trade and terrorism.

Without directly addressing Trump’s criticism, Macron responded to a question about the tweet by expressing interest in increased burden sharing among North Atlantic Treaty Organization members, a major emphasis for Trump.

“It’s unfair to have the European security today being assured just by the United States, and we need a much better burden sharing… When President Trump has to protect or to defend one of the states of the United States, he doesn’t ask France or Germany, or another government of Europe to finance it,” Macron said.

Trump also side-stepped his tweeted slam, saying he and Macron “have become very good friends over the last couple of years” and “have much in common.”

“We’re getting along from the standpoint of fairness, and I want it to be fair. We want to help Europe but it has to be fair. Right now, the burden sharing has been largely on the United States, as the president will say, and he understands that. And he understands that the United States can only do so much, in fairness to the United States,” Trump said.

Trump’s rebuke of Macron on Twitter, moments after landing on French soil, injected unexpected acrimony into a once-close relationship between the men. He was responding to Macron’s proposal in an interview to create a “true European army” because “we have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America.”

Trump tweeted: “President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!”

The weekend’s events also were thrown into question by rainy weather, with uncertainty about the fate of Trump’s planned visit to a military cemetery on Saturday afternoon near the Belleau Woods battlefield, more than an hour from Paris.

Trump will be in Paris for fewer than 48 hours. His schedule includes a Saturday evening dinner hosted by Macron for visiting world leaders, and a Sunday lunch with fellow heads of state and government.

Trump will participate in an Armistice Day event at the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday and give a Veterans Day address at Suresnes American Cemetery on the outskirts of Paris.

Trump’s possible interaction with Russian President Vladimir Putin is one of the most prominent areas of intrigue. A proposed meeting was announced last month by national security adviser John Bolton, before Bolton and Trump downplayed possible talks.

The meeting with Putin was scrapped in an apparent nod to Macron, who feared a distracting second Trump-Putin summit similar to the politically explosive July meeting in Helsinki. But some experts believe a Putin meeting might still happen.

Macron’s suggestion of a European military was premised on Trump’s proposed termination of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which bans short and mid-range nuclear missiles from Europe.

“When I see President Trump announcing that he’s quitting a major disarmament treaty which was formed after the 1980s Euro-missile crisis that hit Europe, who is the main victim? Europe and its security,” Macron in an interview this week.

See also:

Armistice Day: Trump blasts Macron hours before Paris meeting