Jimmy Carter recovering from surgery after fall, Carter Center says

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Jimmy Carter recovering from surgery after fall, Carter Center says

Washington (CNN)Former President Jimmy Carter was recovering from surgery after a fall on Monday morning, the Carter Center said.

A Monday afternoon statement said the 94-year-old Democrat fell at his home in Plains, Georgia, on his way to go turkey hunting, and later underwent a successful surgery.
“He is recovering comfortably from surgery to repair a broken hip at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus, Georgia,” the Carter Center said. “His surgeon stated that the surgery was successful. His wife, Rosalynn, is with him.”
In March, Carter became the oldest-living former president in US history, having survived a bout with cancer in recent years. The Monday statement following the surgery said Carter was still set on hunting next season despite his fall.
“President Carter said his main concern is that turkey season ends this week, and he has not reached his limit,” the Carter Center said. “He hopes the State of Georgia will allow him to rollover the unused limit to next year.”
The White House said last month that Carter and President Donald Trump spoke by phone for the first time in a conversation the White House said was focused on trade talks with China.

Sisi in Beijing to Attend ‘Belt and Road Forum’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Sisi in Beijing to Attend ‘Belt and Road Forum’

Thursday, 25 April, 2019 – 11:15
China’s President Xi Jinping (R) and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (C) walk during a welcoming ceremony in Beijing, on September 1. (AFP)
Cairo – Asharq Al-Awsat
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has started an official visit to the Chinese capital to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which is held on April 25-27, with the participation of 37 heads of state and government.

Ambassador Bassam Radi, spokesman for the Egyptian presidency, said that Sisi’s participation in the summit “comes within the framework of Egypt’s keenness to participate in the Belt and Road initiative, as one of the pivotal partners of China, in light of the strategic importance of the Suez Canal, the key maritime corridor of world trade.”

Sisi’s visit to China is the sixth since he took office in 2014. According to a statement issued by Radi, the president will hold a summit with his Chinese counterpart to discuss ways to strengthen strategic partnership.

The Egyptian president is also scheduled to hold meetings with a number of officials and the Chinese business community to discuss ways of boosting economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two sides.

On the sidelines of the summit, the president will meet with a number of heads of state and government to discuss ways of boosting bilateral cooperation on various regional and international issues.

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un Arrives In Russia For Meeting With Putin

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un Arrives in Russia for Meeting With Putin

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0:37 Kim Jong-un Gives Interview to Russian Reporter

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Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, is in Russia and is expected to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin. “I hope this visit will be successful and fruitful,” Mr. Kim said. Credit Credit Igor Novikov/Press Office of the Primorye Territory Administration, via Associated Press

SEOUL — Wearing a black fedora and black overcoat, a smiling Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, stepped off an armored train that had taken him on a daylong journey from Pyongyang to the Russian port city of Vladivostok on Wednesday.

Mr. Kim’s arrival came a day before he is scheduled to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin as part of the North Korean leader’s efforts to fend off American pressure to give up his nuclear weapons arsenal.

Accompanied by senior Russian officials, Mr. Kim listened to a military band before stopping for a rare, short interview with the Russian television network Rossiya 1.

“I hope this visit will be successful and fruitful,” Mr. Kim said. “I hope that during talks with esteemed President Putin I will have a detailed discussion of the settlement process on the Korean Peninsula and the development of our relations.”

Mr. Kim is the first North Korean leader to travel to Russia since his father, Kim Jong-il, visited there in 2011, signaling that Mr. Kim is trying to foster ties with his country’s old Soviet allies while his diplomacy with President Trump remains deadlocked.

Mr. Kim’s meeting with Mr. Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, in late February ended abruptly when the North Korean leader rejected Mr. Trump’s proposal for a “big deal” in which the United States would lift sanctions in return for a quick dismantlement of the North’s entire nuclear weapons program. Mr. Kim offered only a partial dismantlement in exchange for lifting the most harmful economic sanctions.

North Korea has since grown increasingly frustrated with Washington, conducting a weapons test and accusing Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of sabotaging the negotiations. Mr. Kim said he was willing to meet Mr. Trump again, but only if the United States made a new proposal that the North could accept by the end of the year.

A recent report by the United Nations sanctions committee has accused Russia of helping North Korea circumvent international sanctions through illegal ship-to-ship transfers of oil and coal. But there is doubt over Russia’s ability to ease the pain of sanctions for North Korea.

DOJ Policy To Not Indict A Sitting President: That Is Up To The Congress To Do

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF POLITICO NEWS)

 

MUELLER INVESTIGATION

Clinton says Trump escaped indictment only because of DOJ policy

Updated 

Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that President Donald Trump escaped obstruction of justice charges only because of a Justice Department rule barring the indictment of a sitting president.

“I think there’s enough there that any other person who had engaged in those acts would certainly have been indicted,” Clinton said at a TIME magazine event in New York. “But because of the rule in the Justice Department that you can’t indict a sitting president, the whole matter of obstruction was very directly sent to the Congress.”

Clinton’s 2016 electoral defeat was once again thrust in the spotlight on Thursday after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report, which detailed the 22-month probe into Russian interference in the presidential election.

The report said the special counsel found evidence of Russian meddling in the election but said there was insufficient evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Mueller also did not take a stance on whether the president obstructed justice, citing a Watergate-era policy in the Justice Department not to indict a sitting president. Such action would leave the president with no legal recourse to clear his name or protections normally afforded to criminal defendants, according to the report.

“Fairness concerns counseled against potentially reaching that judgment when no charges can be brought,” the report says.

In his report, however, Mueller detailed 10 episodes where Trump tried to interfere with the Russia investigation. He also wrote that Congress has authority to conduct its own investigation of the president’s behavior.

Clinton on Tuesday called for the release of an unredacted version of Mueller’s report to allow lawmakers the information necessary to move forward with a thorough investigation.

In the days since the publication of the report, the question of whether to initiate impeachment proceedings has hung over Democrats. Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday rejected calls to immediately take the politically risky move of launching efforts to oust Trump.

Pelosi’s strategy earned the approval of Clinton, who said impeachment — a drastic move that Democratic leaders worry could cost their party the House in 2020 — should not be fueled by “partisan political purposes.”

“I think her argument was we want to show the American people we take our constitutional responsibilities seriously,” Clinton said.

Like Pelosi, she advocated for a “careful” approach, describing impeachment as something that should be undertaken “in a really serious, diligent way, based on evidence.”

That means giving Congress access to key information. Clinton said she thinks it’s “fully appropriate” for Congress to call upon former White House counsel Don McGahn, who emerged as a central figure in investigations after telling special counsel investigators Trump ordered him to fire Mueller. The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena to McGahn on Monday demanding that he testify in public on May 21.

Clinton compared buzz about impeaching Trump to the two most recent congressional pushes to eject sitting U.S. presidents. Clinton had an inside look at both proceedings as the wife of Bill Clinton and as a young staff attorney on Richard Nixon’s impeachment proceedings in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

The failed efforts to oust her husband, initiated in 1998, were nothing but a partisan ploy, Clinton said — a stark contrast with the lengthy and in-depth investigation she described that led to Nixon’s resignation.

The comments from the TIME event marked Clinton’s first public remarks on the Mueller report since its release. The former candidate and secretary of state said she thinks Russian interference “certainly had an impact” on the 2016 election results, but said her priority now is to make sure similar foreign interference does not affect future elections.

DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Ignorant, Racist And Anti-Semitic?

DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Ignorant, Racist And Anti-Semitic? 

When I was a kid back in the 1960’s the Democratic Party and Churches went hand in hand. When I was a young man all of the Jewish folks that I knew of voted Democratic as a block vote. These things are not so anymore. This is not because the Churches/Christians had changed nor did the Jewish people, nor did Israel. What has changed is the Democratic Platform and their beliefs. When the Democratic Party Leadership decided to be pro-abortion they lost many millions of Democratic voters and most of those either decided not to vote at all, or to vote for a Republican especially once Ronald Reagan came onto the National stage. After Mr. Reagan many of those “Reagan Democrats” never ever went back to voting for Democrats. The days of the Jewish people voting for Democrats has become history and the fault of this is squarely on the Democratic Leadership.

This next Presidential voting cycle ahead of the 2020 Elections once again has a Jewish Believer trying to become our next President, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Yet to me, Mr. Sanders is about as Jewish as Jared Kushner is a Christian. You may have just said, hey wait a moment, Mr. Kushner is Jewish, my point exactly! I say, when asked, that I am a Christian but if do not do the will of the Lord, am I really a Christian, or am I nothing but luke warm water that the Lord will spit out? Mr. Sanders is one that I have paid attention to for about six years now, to me, his words and his voting record say that he is very anti-Israel. To me, to my beliefs as a Christian, the Democratic Platform has proven themselves to be very anti-religion, especially anti-Christian and anti-Israel.

I am going to bring up one more person for you to consider, this person is also a declared Democratic Presidential hopeful, Mr. Beto O’Rourke, a former Texas Congressman.  Earlier this month Mr. O’Rourke was giving a campaign speech in Iowa City Iowa when he made these following remarks about Israel’s Prime Minister, Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. O’Rourke called Mr. Netanyahu and the Israeli people who support him “Racists” because of the Palestinian People. He seems to be ignorant/stupid enough to believe that ‘race’ is the issue there. I guess he shouldn’t be blamed too much as it also appears to be the view of the cow whose teet he is suckling. (The Democratic Party Leadership.) Folks, for those of you who don’t already know it, the issue between the Israeli Jews and the Palestinian People has nothing to do with race and everything to do with Ideology. It is a reality that Islamic ideology coexists with nothing and no one. There is an old saying in Israel that I will close this letter to you with today and this saying is absolutely true. ‘If the Palestinians actually wanted peace they could have peace and prosperity tomorrow, all they have to do is swear off all violence and turn over to the U.N. all of their weapons.’ The other half of this wisdom peace says, ‘if Israel turned over all their weapons today to the U.N. THAT TOMORROW, THERE WOULD BE NO ISRAEL!’

Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He’s worse

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES)

 

Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He’s worse

Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He’s worse
President Trump at the White House on April 18, the day the redacted Mueller report was released. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report makes one thing clear: Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He is worse. And yet Trump seems almost sure to be spared Nixon’s fate. This will do severe — possibly irreparable — damage to the vital norms that sustain American democracy. There is still time for Congress and the American people to avert the worst of this damage, but the odds are long and time is short.

Despite his famous protestation to the contrary, President Nixon was a crook. He directed the CIA to shut down the FBI’s investigation of the Watergate burglary, in which several of his campaign operatives broke into Democratic National Committee headquarters. He also directed subordinates to pay hush money to subjects of that investigation. He then fired the first special prosecutor appointed to investigate these matters, hoping to protect himself and his senior advisors from possible criminal liability and untold political damage.

For these attempts to obstruct justice, Nixon paid the ultimate political price. When he terminated special prosecutor Archibald Cox, a ferocious public backlash forced him to appoint a widely respected replacement. That was Leon Jaworski, whose dramatic victory at the U.S. Supreme Court forced the release of secret White House tapes that destroyed the last vestiges of Nixon’s congressional support. He resigned the presidency days later. Had he failed to do so, impeachment by the House of Representatives and removal by the Senate were all but certain.

If Trump escapes unscathed, future presidents will take notice.


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Nothing in Nixon’s presidency became him like the leaving it. For two generations, his downfall served as a cautionary tale for subsequent presidents who might be tempted to interfere with a federal investigation for personal or political reasons. Firing a special prosecutor, in particular, was almost universally understood to be political suicide. As Watergate showed, the American people simply would not stand for a president who sought to place himself above the law. This broadly shared understanding served as a crucial safeguard against the abuse of presidential power.

Then came Trump. After smashing through dozens of other deeply rooted norms of American politics to win the presidency, he treated the post-Watergate consensus with similar contempt. Just weeks after he took the oath of office, as the Mueller report details, Trump asked FBI Director James B. Comey to drop the investigation of national security advisor Michael Flynn. Before making this request, the president cleared the room, strongly suggesting that he knew his actions were improper. Requesting that the FBI drop an investigation of his friends is exactly what Nixon was caught doing on the famous “smoking gun” tape that sealed his fate.

Yet for Trump, this was just the beginning. A few weeks later, in early March 2017, the report shows that Trump lobbied vigorously to prevent Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia investigation. When Sessions nevertheless followed the advice of ethics officials and recused himself, Trump exploded in anger and personally pressed Sessions to reverse his decision. Trump wanted an attorney general who would protect him to be in charge of the investigation.

In May 2017, the Mueller report shows that Trump removed Comey as head of the FBI and concocted a deliberately false explanation related to Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Along with Trump’s attendant criticism of the Russia investigation and personally vindictive treatment of Comey, this action “had the potential to affect a successor director’s conduct of the investigation.” The report catalogs significant evidence that the president was worried the investigation would turn up politically and legally damaging information, and that it threatened the legitimacy of his election.

The report’s most damning evidence of obstruction of justice concerns the special counsel’s investigation itself. Once Trump learned in June 2017 that he was himself under investigation by Mueller’s team, his efforts to thwart the investigation reached new heights of audacity. That month, in a series of frantic phone calls, he ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller. The report describes “substantial evidence” that this was an attempt to obstruct the special counsel’s investigation; Trump was acting to protect himself from potential criminal liability and political damage.

When McGahn refused to carry out the order to fire Mueller, Trump resumed his campaign to get Sessions to take over the investigation and curtail it — or resign, so that Trump could appoint someone who would protect him. Much of this information was already in the public domain, but it is no less shocking for that. The evidence available to Mueller’s investigators, including contemporaneous documents and testimony under oath, provides a far surer foundation than anonymously sourced news stories.

The report also contains a wealth of new information. When Trump’s order to fire the special counsel was publicly reported in January 2018, Trump demanded that McGahn fabricate “a record denying that the President had tried to fire the special counsel.” This is witness tampering, plain and simple, of a much more direct and personal kind than any that Nixon engaged in. It also amounts to falsifying evidence, which counts as obstruction of justice even on the narrowest possible reading of the federal statute advanced by Trump’s lawyers.

Along similar lines, the report describes substantial evidence that Trump privately urged Flynn, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen to “stay strong” and promised — through his lawyers — that they would “be taken care of” unless they “went rogue.” Together with the president’s public tweets praising Manafort and Stone for their bravery and baselessly accusing members of Cohen’s family of crimes, this conduct also amounts to witness tampering, plain and simple.

Lest it be forgotten, all of this took place in the context of one of the most serious law enforcement and counterintelligence investigations in the history of the United States. As the Mueller report explains, “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion” on behalf of Donald Trump. The FBI and Mueller set out to discover whether Trump’s campaign was complicit, and Trump took extraordinary measures to thwart their efforts. Nixon’s obstruction of the Watergate investigation looks almost innocent by comparison.

And yet Trump seems very likely to escape direct accountability. House Democrats may well opt against pursuing impeachment, for entirely understandable reasons: It might be too wrenching for the country, in the absence of a clear popular consensus supporting Trump’s removal. It might not be good politics for 2020, with voters more concerned about bread-and-butter issues. Even if the House votes to impeach, a two-thirds Senate vote to remove Trump from office seems almost inconceivable.

But if Trump escapes unscathed, future presidents will take notice. The cautionary tale of Watergate will be superseded by the Trump triumph and its very different lesson: In the hyperpolarized political environment of the early 21st century, the president is a law unto himself.

Andrew Coan is a professor of law at the University of Arizona and the author of “Prosecuting the President: How Special Prosecutors Hold Presidents Accountable and Protect the Rule of Law.”