Trump ‘Likely To Be Indicted’ On Campaign Finance Violations

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HUFFINGTON POST)

 

Fox News Contributor: Trump ‘Likely To Be Indicted’ On Campaign Finance Violations

“It’s clear that Trump is the target,” former U.S. attorney Andrew McCarthy said.
X

Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy has bad news for President Donald Trump: Get ready to be indicted for violating federal campaign finance laws.

McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, said on “Fox & Friends” Sunday that attorneys with the Southern District of New York are “clearly” going after Trump, given recent revelations about statements by Michael Cohen, his former personal lawyer, to the U.S. district court.

“They are clearly going after the president on campaign finance violations and I think if you read the sentencing memo the Southern District filed in Cohen’s case, it’s clear that Trump is the target and he’ll be indicted eventually,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy served as assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District for 18 years before leaving the Justice Department in 2003.

On Friday, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District filed a sentencing memo recommending Cohen receive a 42-month prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of business and tax fraud, making false statements to Congress and violating campaign finance law.

Cohen told the court in August that during the 2016 presidential campaign Trump directed him to make hush money payments to at least two women who say they’ve had affairs with him after he married his third wife, Melania. The president has denied the affairs and the hush money allegations.

Prosecutors say the payments violate federal campaign finance laws.

The first payment in question ―  $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels ― violated campaign finance law restrictions against donations of more than $2,700 in a general election, according to federal prosecutors.

The second payment under legal scrutiny is $150,000 made by American Media Inc. to silence Karen McDougal, which prosecutors say constituted an illegal corporate donation to Trump’s campaign. The National Enquirer’s parent company was chaired at the time by Trump’s longtime confidante, David Pecker.

The Southern District case involving Cohen stems from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump obstructed justice.

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Mueller did not take a position on Cohen’s sentence but the special counsel’s office wrote in their sentencing memo that Cohen has “gone to significant lengths” to help in their investigation.

Fox News host Ed Henry on Sunday appeared taken aback by McCarthy’s prediction.

“You think the president of the United States is going to be indicted… I mean that kind of stops me in my tracks,” Henry said.

McCarthy said he can’t be positive whether the Justice Department would indict a sitting president or wait until Trump is out of office.

“I think what can happen is they could indict and he could be tried down the road when he’s out of office,” McCarthy said. “But will [Trump] be charged? Are they setting the stage to file charges against him? If you read that sentencing memo, I can’t come to any other conclusion.”

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that Trump “may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.”

“There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him,” Schiff said.

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Face The Nation

@FaceTheNation

.@AdamSchiff on the Russia Investigation: My takeaway is there’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office the justice department may indict him. That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.

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McCarthy delved deeper into the case in an Op-Ed published Sunday on Fox News’ website.

“Campaign finance violations have a high proof threshold for intent,” McCarthy wrote. “President Trump could argue that because there was no spending limit on his contributions, he did not think about the campaign-finance implications, much less willfully violate them.”

“The point for this day is that the Cohen case in New York City is not about Cohen,” he concluded. “The president is in peril of being charged.”

To Stop WW3 Do The People Need To Kill This Batch Of The Worlds So Called Leaders?

To Stop WW3 Do The People Need To Kill This Batch Of The Worlds So Called Leaders?

 

Firstoff, because of my personal Christian beliefs I cannot condone killing anyone unless you, your family, your loved ones or your Country are being attacked with deadly force. So, for anyone to walk up to another person and kill them just because you don’t like them as a person, that would make you a murderer. We are told that we are all to pray for our Leaders, executing them is something that is not in the Scriptures. But one may well say, what about other Countries Leaders, is that allowed? Are those other Countries Leaders at war with you or with your Country? That, might be a more difficult question to answer than it seems.  If we believe that another Countries Leaders are at war with your Country, does that mean that the people of that Country are at war with you also? What about the so-called Leaders of your own Country, are they at war with you and your Country’s Constitutional rights? If you believe that they are and you cannot vote them out of positions of power, is it okay to kill them? I know, so many questions, but are there any correct answers?

 

There are many very evil people who are in positions of power all over the world, and that does include here in the U.S., can we the people ever get rid of all of them? Personally I believe that the answer to that question is no we can’t. Here in the U.S. we have evil people scattered throughout both of our Nation’s major political parties, they are not all on one side. I personally believe that there are many Nations of Earth that would love to conquer and or destroy every inch of ground that we call home, yet the same can be said for every Nation on the planet. I personally believe that President Putin of Russia is a very evil human being, I believe that he is a liar, a thief and a mass murderer and that he would love to bring an end to the United States. But, I do not believe that the vast majority of the Russian people are our enemies, I believe that their own President is their biggest enemy. I believe that Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping would love to blow the U.S. off of the World Map, but I do not believe that the vast majority of their people are our enemies either. Outside of the Nations where Demonic Religious Zealots rule, I do not consider the other people of the world to be each others enemies. Outside of these Zealots, most people of the Earth tend to want the same things, peace, safety, housing, food, good health, electricity and the trash picked up off the streets each week. I believe that it is these ‘Leaders’ that cause all of the people’s ill’s.

 

A simple solution it would seem would be to simply execute these horrible self-serving Leaders and get new ones, better ones installed, but would that really work? Could we simply lock up all of these evil Leaders? Yes, we could, but would that really do us or the World any good? Here in the U.S. if we locked up Donald the Donkey Trump and all of his household except for the First Lady and Barron his 12-year-old son, we would end up having Mike Pence as our President. I have family who lives in his home State of Indiana and I have many readers from Indiana who have told me that in their opinion Pence is even more dangerous than Trump, and that in itself is a rather scary thought. Pence, just like the Republican Party in general have very much proven to be for sale to the highest bidders but do not get me wrong on this issue, I believe just as lowly of the Democratic Party Leadership. Remember in November of 2016 we the people were given the choice of two habitual lying crooks to be our President. One was very smart (Hillary) the other a total idiot (Trump), yet both still very evil. If a Nation replaces their Leaders what are the people going to get in return, more crooks, more liars, more murderers? To me, by my beliefs, all any people of any Nation can do is to pray for worldwide peace and to never ever allow any politicians to ever take away your means of protecting your families. Yet never ever be the aggressor, the murderer, because if you become a murderer, even when it is from murdering an evil Leader, you and the one you murdered will end up in Hell together and that my friend is not winning the battle between good and evil, if you lose your Soul, you lost.

WORLD WAR 3 ALERT: Russia is ‘lining up tanks along our border’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE EXPRESS NEWS)

 

WORLD WAR 3 ALERT: Russia is ‘lining up tanks along our border’ warns Ukraine

THE Ukranian President has sensationally claimed Russian military tanks are lining up along his country’s border, triggering another World War 3 alert.

Ukraine WILL defend against Russian aggression warns Klimkin

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Petro Poroshenko has shown Sky News images of what are apparently tanks gathering along the border, close to where Russia keeps its ammunition. He told the broadcaster: “This is the tank base just 18km (11 miles) from our border, this was happening in September, October, and now. This is 18km from my border, this is the same warehouse where they have their ammunition, the same where they have multi-rocket launch system, we should be prepared to protect my country.

If the whole world has no reason to trust Putin, Ukraine definitely doesn’t have a reason to go with him

Petro Poroshenko

“If the whole world has no reason to trust Putin, Ukraine definitely doesn’t have a reason to go with him.”

The Ukrainian President also appealed for help from Western leaders as tensions between the two countries threaten to boil over.

Mr Poroshenko said: “There is no red line for Vladimir Putin and this is the very strong reason why we should be together, the whole civilised world.

“Not only the leaders, with whom a very reliable partnership, but the people of UK, of Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, the whole civilised world would be together and this is very important for global security.”

READ MORE: World War 3: Ukraine digs TRENCHES and readies for Russia CLASH after martial law declared

World War 3 alert Ukraine Russia

World War 3 alert: Ukraine’s President says Russian tanks are linking up along his country’s border (Image: GETTY)

Ukraine's president says that Russia has tanks

Ukraine’s president says that Russia has tanks on the border (Image: GETTY)

This is the latest worrying developent in rising tensions between the two Soviet neighbours.

Last weekend, Russia seized three Ukrainian navy ships and their crew in the Kerch Strait, accusing them of moving into their territory.

Russia has been blocking access to the strait and has so far not released the Ukrainian sailors.

Ukraine has rejected accusations of tresspassing in the Russian waters.

Ukraine's President says Russian tanks

Ukraine’s President says Russian tanks are massing on Ukraine’s border (Image: GETTY)

It added two of its ports are effectively under blockade by their Soviet neighbour in the Azov Sea, something that Moscow has denied.

Mr Poroshenko also accused Russia of “strangling” Ukraine with continuous restrictions.

He said: “They want to hit Ukraine because through Azov Sea, and our sea ports, we export about 40% of our industrial production.

“This is another step for a Russian organised embargo, only buying Ukrainian goods, switching off the natural gas, this is part of the hybrid war that Russia want to attack us.”

Ukrainian soldiers stationed in Mariupol

Ukrainian soldiers stationed in Mariupol (Image: GETTY)

Yesterday, Ukrainian troops started digging trenches after martial law was declared in the country for 30 days.

One Ukrainian soldier, Timokha, explained that due to the declaration of martial law, they were seeing a significant increase in military operations.

He said: “Under martial law, we’re watching the enemy more closely, we’ve put up more observation posts.”

The soldier explained that they were packing emergency rations and ammunition into the trenches “so if something comes up, we can counter an attack by the enemy and move in various directions, not be tied to one place”.

Ukrainian soldiers dig trenches

Ukrainian soldiers dig trenches (Image: GETTY)

Vladimir Putin to ‘pay a price’ for Ukraine aggression says MEP

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Another soldier, Trotsky, added the soldiers were feeling more threatened from the Sea of Azov following the seizure of the three Ukrainian vessels.

He said: “It’s like we’re boxed in, like we’re surrounded.”

According to Sergiy, a Ukrainian soldier stationed at Mariupol’s port, little has changed for the troops in the area because they have been ready for conflict since Crimea was annexed by Russia.

Sergiy said: “Nothing has changed for us with the introduction of martial law. We’re already into our fifth year of war.”

Additional reporting by Paul Withers.

Russia Says Trump Putin Meeting Will Happen At G20

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWSWEEK)

 

RUSSIA DOESN’T BELIEVE DONALD TRUMP ABOUT WHY HE CANCELED PUTIN MEETING AND SAYS IT’LL HAPPEN ANYWAY

Russian government officials said President Donald Trump canceled his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Argentina because he was having trouble with the “U.S. domestic political situation.”

On Thursday, Trump announced he was canceling the meeting he had scheduled with Putin because of Russia’s refusal to release Ukrainian sailors who were detained last Sunday during a standoff between Ukrainian and Russian troops in the Kerch Strait, which separates the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov. The confrontation led caused Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to declare martial law in 10 of Ukraine’s regions that are in proximity to Russian military capabilities.

But Russian officials said that the situation in Ukraine wasn’t the real reason that Trump opted to cancel the much-anticipated meeting with Putin.

“Was the provocation organized by Kiev in this region the real reason for cancellation?” Maria Zakharova, the Kremlin’s spokeswoman, asked during a press conference. “Publicly, we heard just such an explanation; we took note of it. Is this a reality?…I think that you still need to look for answers in the U.S. domestic political situation.”

gettyimages-1066356068-594x594Michael Cohen, former personal attorney to President Donald Trump, exits a New York City federal court on November 29.DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES

On Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, known to be Putin’s right-hand man, suggested that the two leaders would engage in a “brief and impromptu” meeting at the G20, even if an official meeting is not scheduled, according to reports.

Trump’s cancellation came just hours after Michael Cohen, the president’s former longtime lawyer and fixer,  pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about his attempts to launch a Trump Tower project in Moscow at the same time Trump was running for president. Cohen had originally testified that he had dropped the proposal in January 2016, but recently admitted that negotiations had continued until June 2016.

Cohen began cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, since he pleaded guilty in August to eight felonies. He is considered a key witness in the Mueller case and, having worked with Trump for more than a decade, could reveal many details about the inner workings of Trump’s business empire and its ties to Russia.

Trump said his longtime colleague was lying to obtain a reduced sentence, and continued to call the investigation into collusion with Russia a “witch hunt.”

Nevertheless, the Mueller investigation appears to be gaining speed since Trump submitted written answers to the investigators’ questions through his lawyers. Mueller is believed to be focusing his attention on the Trump Tower deal and connections between Trump associates and the radical transparency organization Wikileaks.

It’s possible, however, that the Russia investigation and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which is now almost in its fifth year, will derail the relationship between Trump and Putin entirely.

Putin The Habitual Liar: 8 Putin Claims Regarding the Kerch Strait Incident

(THIS INFORMATION IS COURTESY OF THE NEWS ORGANIZATION POLYGRAPH.INFO)

 

Video Fact Check: 8 Putin Claims Regarding the Kerch Strait Incident


RUSSIA -- Russian President Vladimir Putin reacts during a session of the VTB Capital Investment Forum "Russia Calling!" in Moscow, November 28, 2018
RUSSIA — Russian President Vladimir Putin reacts during a session of the VTB Capital Investment Forum “Russia Calling!” in Moscow, November 28, 2018
Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

President of the Russian Federation

Multiple claims are covered, see below.

MULTIPLE CLAIMS (SEE ARTICLE)

There are questions about several of Putin’s claims.

On November 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed Sunday’s incident in the Black Sea. When a Russian coast guard vessel rammed a Ukrainian naval tugboat, Russian vessels fired shots at the tug and two Ukrainian patrol boats near the Kerch Strait. At the VTB Bank Investment Forum in Moscow, Putin answered reporters’ questions – making a number of statements that are either false, unverified, or possibly true but in a misleading way. You can watch what he said and our verdicts in the video here:

No media source currently available

0:002:550:00

Read more about it below:

PUTIN: “In regards to the incident in the Black Sea – that, without a doubt, was a provocation.”

TRUE: This may be true, but if so, it was a Russian provocation, not a Ukrainian one. The Russian ships engaged the Ukrainian boats aggressively, even as the Ukrainian naval boats acted in accordance with a bilateral treaty signed by Putin in 2003.The treaty grants free passage through the Kerch strait to commercial and naval vessels of Ukraine and Russia. The Ukrainian Navy claims their vessel gave notification of its intent to transit the strait.

Alec Luhn

@ASLuhn

Essentially what happened is Ukraine tried to send 3 naval ships into the shared Azov Sea through the Kerch Strait, which is spanned by the Crimean bridge. Russia rammed one and later opened fire on another. It’s closed traffic through the Kerch Strait https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-russian-ship-rams-navy-tugboat-off-crimea-azov/29619665.html 

Kyiv Says Russian Ship Rams Ukrainian Navy Tugboat Off Crimea

Ukraine says a Russian coast guard vessel has rammed one of its navy tugboats off the Moscow-annexed Crimean Peninsula in “openly aggressive actions,” resulting in damage to the ship.

rferl.org

404 people are talking about this

PUTIN: “A provocation, organized by the current Ukrainian authorities, I think by the current president ahead of presidential elections in Ukraine in March of the next year.”

FALSE: Putin is implying that the incident was organized by Ukrainian President Poroshenko in order to justify calling off elections scheduled for next year via his decree of martial law. However, the period of martial law will expire on December 26, months before the election, and will only include areas of the country embroiled in conflict.

___________________________________________________________

PUTIN: “Something needed to be done to escalate the situation and create insurmountable obstacles for his contestants, especially those from the opposition.”

UNCLEAR: This is unclear, because it is unverifiable. Although it is true that Putin’s own approval rating has been boosted by military adventures abroad.

_____________________________________________________________

PUTIN: “…in 2014 when Crimea decided to join Russia…”

FALSE: The Crimea didn’t “decide to join Russia.” The Russian military took the peninsula in unmarked uniforms and the part of the region “voted” under Russian occupation.

_____________________________________________________________

PUTIN: “The hard events of a civil war in Ukraine in the south-east in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.”

FALSE: There is no civil war in those regions, but rather a Russian invasion and occupation.

_____________________________________________________________

PUTIN: “So what happened now? They did not respond to requests from our border guard, they entered our territorial waters, the waters that were our territorial even before Crimea has joined the Russian Federation.”

FALSE: Use of the strait is governed by the bilateral treaty between the two countries renewed in 2003.By agreement, the the strait and the sea of Azov are considered internal waters of both Ukraine and Russia, and provides for free passage for vessels of both nations.A maritime expert, and radio intercepts, placed the vessels at the 12 nautical mile point in the Black Sea, where Crimean territorial waters end.

(see original fact check on this topic, linked above)

_____________________________________________________________

PUTIN: “Today authorities in Kyiv successfully sell anti-Russian sentiments; they have nothing else left to sell.”

MISLEADING: Anti-Russian sentiments in Ukraine follow the Russian invasion and occupation of its territory – Crimea in early 2014 and the ongoing Eastern Ukraine conflict, fomented by Russian actors.

_____________________________________________________________

PUTIN: “No matter what they (Ukrainians) do, they get away with it. If they demand today infants for breakfast, they, probably, will be served infants”

FALSE: Ukraine’s leadership is routinely criticized by Western governments and human rights watchdogs on a number of topics from corruption and slow reforms, to failure to uphold human rights and press freedom.

Trump slanders Khashoggi and betrays American values

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Trump slanders Khashoggi and betrays American values


President Trump speaks to the media before leaving the White House in Washington on Nov. 20. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

November 20 at 5:03 PM

PRESIDENT TRUMP on Tuesday confirmed what his administration has been signaling all along: It will stand behind Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman even if he ordered the brutal murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In a crude statement punctuated with exclamation points, Mr. Trump sidestepped a CIA finding that the crown prince was behind the killing; casually slandered Mr. Khashoggi, who was one of the Arab world’s most distinguished journalists; and repeated gross falsehoods and exaggerations about the benefits of the U.S. alliance with the kingdom. Mr. Trump has betrayed American values in service to what already was a bad bet on the 33-year-old prince.
As with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s interference in the 2016 election, Mr. Trump is justifying his affinity for a brutal and reckless leader by disregarding the findings of the U.S. intelligence community. The Post reported Friday that the CIA has concluded with “high confidence” — a rating it does not apply lightly — that Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, who while living in self-imposed exile in Virginia, wrote columns for The Post that were moderately critical of the crown prince.
Mr. Trump’s response is to grudgingly acknowledge that “it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event” before adding “maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” He declares the truth unknowable and thus irrelevant: “We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder.”
In fact, the truth about Mr. Khashoggi’s death is not only knowable but largely known. Audio recordings in the CIA’s possession record his actual killing as well as phone calls from the hit team to Mohammed bin Salman’s close aides. Five members of the team have been identified as probable members of the crown prince’s personal security team.
While discounting these facts, Mr. Trump bases his continued backing for the regime on false claims, including his thoroughly debunked boast that Saudi Arabia will “spend and invest $450 billion” in the United States. He says the kingdom has “been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels,” though Riyadh is reportedly preparing to cut production to raise prices.
Worst of all, Mr. Trump libels Mr. Khashoggi, saying that “representatives of Saudi Arabia” had called him an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The crown prince did make those allegations in a phone call to the White House — but the regime itself was so embarrassed when The Post reported on the call that it denied making them. Mr. Khashoggi’s family has confirmed that he was not a member of the Brotherhood.
Mr. Trump concluded his statement by inviting Congress “to go in a different direction.” As in the Russia case, it must do so. Bipartisan legislation mandating sanctions for all those implicated in Mr. Khashoggi’s death is pending in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) last week gave us a statement indicating he wanted to know “what more would be done” by the administration before Congress responded. Now he knows. If Mohammed bin Salman is to be held accountable, as Mr. Corker said he must, the committee must act. The alternative is a world where dictators know they can murder their critics and suffer no consequences.

(Reality Poem) O’ Our Leaders

O’ Our Leaders

 

Our Leaders, they sure do talk a lot

Saying nothing just an empty box

Questions they do dance around a lot

They smile and they grin but answer not

When words come out they just lied again

 

Do they tell us others are evil, just to hide their own

Xi Jinping, Putin, the Supreme Leader, Little Rocket Man

These Leaders, are they really as evil as what do we have

Trump, Pence, McConnell, Nancy Pelosi and the Clinton’s

Their all in bed together, do we the people have a chance

 

What is a true Leader, have we had one since Mr. Reagan left

The truth, the truth, if they said it, would they really succumb

Hiding in their Castles they start the wars, and our people die

Chinese, Russians, North Koreans, against their people, I’m not

The Leaders are our puppets, it appears this they have forgotten

Xi warns against rising protectionism, unilateralism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

(ISN’T THIS A CASE OF THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK? PRESIDENTS XI, PUTIN AND TRUMP, THESE THREE ARE THE ‘LARRY, CURLY AND MOE’ OF PROTECTIONISM IT SEEMS TO ME BY THEIR ACTIONS.)

Xi warns against rising protectionism, unilateralism at APEC CEO summit

Xinhua

AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives to make his keynote speech for the CEO Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Port Moresby on November 17, 2018.

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned against the rising trend of protectionism and unilateralism in Port Moresby on Saturday.

As he delivered a keynote speech at the APEC CEO Summit in the capital of Papua New Guinea, Xi said that only openness and cooperation can bring more opportunities and create more space for development.

He called for firm efforts to safeguard the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core.

The president’s performance in Paris was a stunning abdication of global leadership!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SLATE NEWS)

 

Trump Retreats From the West

The president’s performance in Paris was a stunning abdication of global leadership.

U.S. President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and his wife Brigitte Macron attend a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Sunday.
U.S. President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and his wife Brigitte Macron attend a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Sunday.
Benoit Tessier/AFP/Getty Images

The most disturbing thing about President Trump’s disgraceful performance in France this past weekend is the clear signal it sent that, under his thumb, the United States has left the West.

He came to the continent to join with other world leaders to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. But the significance of the armistice is not so much to commemorate the fallen in an absurd and ghastly war as it is to celebrate the special peace—grounded in a democratic European Union and a trans-Atlantic alliance—that grew in its wake and the greater war that followed.

And yet, after flying nearly 4,000 miles across the Atlantic, Trump stayed in his room in Paris on Saturday rather than making the additional 50-mile trip to the Aisne-Marne cemetery, where 50,000 American soldiers were laid to rest a century ago. His excuse for not attending was lame, to say the least. His aides said, after the fact, that rainfall precluded a trip by helicopter—a claim refuted by the writer James Fallows, an instrument-certified pilot who, as a former White House official, is familiar with this helicopter.

A later claim, that the route posed a challenge to the large presidential motorcade, is doubly insulting. It’s insulting, first, to the Secret Service and White House travel office whose professionals prepare for, and surmount, any and all obstacles on such trips (an insult exacerbated by the fact that none of the other leaders’ security teams had any trouble dealing with the route); second, to the armed forces and allies, who must wonder whether Trump might turn away from the challenges of mobilizing armored battalions to the front lines in the event of an invasion.

Let us stipulate that Trump didn’t want to get his hair mussed or that security risks frightened him, which may also explain the fact that he hasn’t yet visited American troops in any war zone. (By contrast, Obama made his first trip to Iraq three months into his term and, in his time as president, flew eight times to Afghanistan; George W. Bush, in his two terms, made four trips to Iraq and two to Afghanistan.) However, this does not explain Trump’s late showing for Sunday’s ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, or his skipping of the march toward that event down the Champs-Elysees.

Among the more than 60 world leaders who gathered for the ceremony, only he and Russian President Vladimir Putin were latecomers. (British Prime Minister Theresa May didn’t come to France at all, perhaps owing to her own current problems with the EU.) Many cocked eyebrows have been thrown at the photo of Trump beaming at Putin, while other allied leaders went deadpan, as his friend from the Kremlin approached.

Back in 1917, Russia was the first allied nation to leave the war as the Bolsheviks took power, in part thanks to the Germans, who smuggled Lenin onto a train from Zurich back home, where he proceeded to lead the revolution. That same year, the United States was the last allied nation to enter the war, supplying the aid and firepower that helped break the stalemate and secure victory.

President Woodrow Wilson then led negotiations for a peace on such onerous terms to the defeated powers—historian David Fromkin called it “a peace to end all peace”—that a resumption of war 20 years later was almost inevitable. World War II was fueled by nationalist impulses and facilitated by the crumbling of empires—both of which resonate with developments in global politics today.

This was the context of French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the Arc de Triomphe, in which he condemned nationalism—the “selfishness of nations only looking after their own interests”—as a “betrayal of patriotism.” In part, and most obviously, he was jabbing at Trump, who listened with a scowl; but he was also warning against, as he put it, “old demons coming back to wreak chaos and death.” Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it, George Santayana once wrote. The problem with Trump is he never knew history—and doesn’t think he needs to learn it. His election marked Year Zero, as far as he is concerned: He frequently says that he’s unlike, and better than, any previous president, so any lessons of the past are irrelevant.

Macron and everyone else at the Arc had not only the rise of Trump in mind but also the turn toward right-wing nationalism in Hungary and Poland, the uncertain course of Brexit in Britain, and the collapse of Angela Merkel’s centrist coalition in Germany—leaving Macron as the last surviving celebrator of the post-WWII Western traditions, and he too is buffeted by pressures from the left and the right.

At such an occasion so rife with moment and symbolism, any other American president would have felt compelled to repair and strengthen this union. If there were any doubts that President Trump understands little about his mission, and cares even less, this trip dispelled them once and for all.

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India among world leaders expected to push for China-backed trade deal excluding US

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE INDIA NEWS PAPER THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

India among world leaders expected to push for China-backed trade deal excluding US

World leaders, including China, Japan, India and other Asia-Pacific countries, will push for the rapid completion of a massive, China-backed trade deal that excludes the US at a summit this week, in a rebuke to rising protectionism and Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda.

WORLD Updated: Nov 11, 2018 11:22 IST

India,China,trade deal
Not only is the US absent from the deal, but Donald Trump is skipping the summit in Singapore.(NYT)

World leaders will push for the rapid completion of a massive, China-backed trade deal that excludes the US at a summit this week, in a rebuke to rising protectionism and Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda.

China, Japan, India and other Asia-Pacific countries could announce a broad agreement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which covers half the world’s population, on the sidelines of the annual gathering.

Not only is the US absent from the deal, but Trump is skipping the summit in Singapore, highlighting how far he has pulled back from efforts to shape global trade rules and raising further questions about Washington’s commitment to Asia.

Trump launched his unilateralist trade policy with a bang shortly after coming to office by withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal spearheaded by predecessor Barack Obama that aimed to bind fast-growing Asian powers into an American-backed order to counter China.

His approach has left the floor open for Beijing to promote a rival pact it favours, the 16-member RCEP, a free trade deal which also aims to cut tariffs and integrate markets, but gives weaker protection in areas including employment and the environment.

The pact championed by Obama has been kept alive even without the US, and is due to go into force this year, but the Beijing-backed pact has now overtaken it as the world’s biggest.

Announcing in Singapore that talks for the deal — which formally began in 2012 — are mostly concluded would be “important as a symbol of Asia’s commitment to trade at a time of rising global tensions”, Deborah Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre, told AFP.

US commitment questioned

She said negotiations in some areas were likely to continue into next year, however, while a diplomat attending the summit, speaking anonymously, said “substantial progress” had been made but there were still sticking points.

The gathering of 20 world leaders comes against a backdrop of a months-long trade dispute between China and the United States after Trump imposed tariffs on most Chinese imports this summer, and Beijing retaliated with its own levies.

The standoff is having an impact far beyond the US and China, and leaders at the four days of meetings that begin Monday will be keen to voice their grievances to Vice President Mike Pence, attending in Trump’s place, and Premier Li Keqiang.

Trump’s absence from the Singapore gathering and a subsequent meeting of world leaders in Papua New Guinea is even more notable given Obama, who launched a so-called “pivot to Asia” to direct more US economic and military resources to the region, was a regular participant.

Washington, however, argues that it remains committed to Asia, pointing to regular visits by top officials.

“We are fully engaged,” insisted Patrick Murphy, one of the State Department’s most senior Asia diplomats. “That is very sustained and has been enhanced under the current administration.”

Nukes, sea tension

Myanmar’s embattled leader Aung San Suu Kyi is attending the meetings, and will deliver a keynote address at a business forum Monday.

She may face criticism over a military crackdown on the Muslim Rohingya that saw hundreds of thousands flee to Bangladesh last year, and has sparked rare criticism of Myanmar from within regional bloc the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Also on the agenda will be North Korea’s nuclear programme. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a vaguely worded agreement on denuclearisation at a historic summit in June, but progress has been slow since.

Pence will also keep on pressure on Beijing over its growing aggression in the South China Sea. China claims almost all the strategically vital waters, a source of friction with Southeast Asian states that have overlapping claims as well as the US, the traditionally dominant military power in the region.

Other leaders attending include Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

But much of the focus will be on the RCEP as leaders seek to send a message in support of free trade. The deal groups the 10 ASEAN members plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

World leaders “should present a united front advancing trade liberalisation in (the Asia-Pacific) despite global headwinds to trade from the rising tide of global protectionism,” Rajiv Biswas, chief regional economist at IHS Markit, told AFP.

First Published: Nov 11, 2018 11:21 IST

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