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The Pronk Pops Show 1129, August 21, 2018, Breaking News, Story 1: Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, Age 69, Found Guilty of 8 of 18 Counts and Faces 8-12 Years in Prison on Bank and Tax Fraud — Nothing To Do With Trump — Videos — Story 2: Former Trump Personal Attorney Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty to Eight Counts of Campaign Finance Violations, Bank and Tax Fraud — Videos — Story 3: Mueller Investigation Has Found No Evidence of Trump/Russian Collusion and Voters Were Changed By Russians in 2016 President Election — Videos — Story 4: President Trump’s Supporters in West Virginia Still Wild About President As Approval Rating Declines From 50% to 45% — Videos —

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Story 1: Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, Age 69, Found Guilty of 8 of 18 Counts and Faces 8-12 Years in Prison on Bank and Tax Fraud — Videos

Paul Manafort found guilty on eight counts

Paul Manafort Convicted: How the Trial Unfolded

Paul Manafort found guilty on eight counts

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Opinion | Is this the worst day of Trump’s presidency?

President Trump’s Very Bad Afternoon Recapped | CNBC

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Manafort’s Choices: Work With Mueller, Wish for Trump Pardon, or Die in Prison

It’s not over for the president’s sleazy ex-campaign boss. He’s facing life in prison before his next trial even begins. The only way out is to side with the prosecution or POTUS.

Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, was convicted of eight counts of tax fraud and bank fraud by a federal jury in Virginia earlier Tuesday.

But it’s far from over for Manafort.

Unlike a typical defendant, Manafort still has several options available to him. His next move, and Trump’s response to it, could have explosive impact on the larger special counsel investigation and on the future of Trump’s presidency.

Next up for Manafort is sentencing. While all eight counts of conviction combined carry a maximum of 80 years in prison, he isn’t going to be locked up until 2098. Federal sentences are determined in part through a calculation based on the defendant’s prior criminal history (for Manafort, none) and the seriousness of the offense (for Manafort, very).

In determining the seriousness of the offense, Judge T.S. Ellis will consider the amount of the fraud, the sophistication of the scheme, and Manafort’s role as a leader. All things considered, Manafort likely faces a sentence of around eight to twelve years in prison. For a 69-year-old man, that could mean life behind bars.

And Manafort isn’t close to done. Mueller could choose to re-try Manafort on the ten counts on which the Virginia jury hung. That seems unlikely; Manafort’s sentence is hardly affected at all by the remaining hung counts, and Mueller’s team got all it needed from the eight counts of conviction.

Beyond that, Manafort goes on trial again next month in Washington, D.C. on an impressively well-rounded array of white-collar federal crimes. The indictment charges that Manafort worked as an unregistered foreign lobbyist in the United States, laundered millions of dollars through foreign bank accounts, lied to the Department of Justice, and—after he was charged with all of this—tried to tamper with witnesses, which got him thrown in jail pending trial in Virginia. Even if Manafort is acquitted in Washington, D.C. on all counts, it would have zero effect on the sentence he will receive on his conviction in Virginia. And if he gets convicted again in the second trial, his sentence could increase.

In short, Manafort now has been convicted in Virginia and he is looking at a scary-long sentence for a man of his age. The upcoming D.C. trial can only make that worse for him. So what options does he have left? And what are Trump’s potential responses to each course of action?

First, Manafort could just take his sentence and go to jail for the next decade or so. Sure, he will appeal (everybody does after trial), but the likelihood of the jury’s verdict being overturned is slim. Manafort also will ask the judge for a lenient sentence, but that request seems unlikely to succeed given the strength of the prosecution’s evidence and the extent of Manafort’s crimes.

Yet, it seems exceedingly unlikely that Manafort will simply take what’s coming to him. Nobody ever wants to be in prison, never mind potentially to die behind bars. Sometimes career criminals accept the possibility that their conduct will land them in prison for a long time. In the mafia, they’re called “stand-up guys,” and we’ve seen many defendants accept defeat and go off to serve their time. Manafort, sleazy as he might be, is not a hardened criminal, and doesn’t seem likely to grit his teeth and accept his fate in prison.

“Manafort, sleazy as he might be, is not a hardened criminal, and doesn’t seem likely to grit his teeth and accept his fate in prison.”

That leaves Manafort with two potential outs after his Virginia trial.

First, he can try to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller. It would be unusual but not entirely unheard of for a defendant to begin cooperating after trial. Defendants typically cooperate before trial because it is mutually advantageous for the prosecution and the defendant to get together as early as possible. Nonetheless, it is possible for a defendant to cooperate after a trial conviction but before sentencing. A sentence like the one Manafort now faces certainly can change a person’s perspective and willingness to flip. Of course, the prosecutor has to be interested as well. Mueller may decide to walk away, thinking: Manafort missed his chance to cooperate long ago, he challenged our case in court, we proved his guilt, and now he gets what’s coming to him.

Or Mueller could decide that Manafort might have information that is valuable enough to justify a post-trial deal. Manafort likely won’t get the same sentencing benefit he would have gotten if he had started cooperating before trial (as his former business partner and co-defendant Rick Gates did), but he still stands to do better than if he never cooperates at all. Manafort seems to be the rare defendant who could have information that is valuable enough to interest Mueller in post-trial cooperation.

We once tried and convicted a high-ranking member of the mafia on a murder charge, which resulted in a life sentence. We believed that that mobster had extraordinarily valuable information on other bosses and several unsolved murders. So we sent an FBI agent into prison to ask whether the gangster might consider cooperating. This defendant was an old-school, hardened guy, so he politely told the FBI agent he’d prefer to die in jail quietly rather than cooperate. The point is that, even though we had convicted this mobster at trial, we still wanted to cooperate him because we believed he had unique, dynamic information.

There is one question about the cooperation option for Manafort: why hasn’t he done it yet? Did Manafort think he could beat this case and the Washington D.C. case, or at least that he could roll the dice before going down the road of cooperation? Or does Manafort fear retaliation if he does cooperate from the Russian-backed oligarchs he once profited from? Cooperation is usually an all-or nothing proposition. A defendant can’t pick and choose which people he gives information about. So cooperation for Manafort likely would require him to divulge any incriminating information he knows about Putin-backed oligarchs, which may seem like a scary proposition.

Manafort’s second potential out would be a presidential pardon. This would, of course, be the optimal result for Manafort. His conviction and sentence, and any pending charges, would be wiped away. He would not go to prison; in fact, he would be released from his current incarceration, which he earned by trying to tamper with witnesses while on bail. Most importantly, a pardon would greatly reduce any incentive Manafort otherwise might have to cooperate with Mueller.

(A pardon may not completely eliminate that incentive because it remains an open question whether state charges could be brought against Manafort even after a presidential pardon; plus Manafort still faces the D.C. trial in September, which may or may not be precluded by a pardon).

While legal scholars have raised the important question of whether a pardon by Trump under these circumstances would be legitimate, there currently is no known legal mechanism to un-pardon somebody because, of course, courts have never been asked to rule on that question.

“Cooperation for Manafort likely would require him to divulge any incriminating information he knows about Putin-backed oligarchs, which may seem like a scary proposition.”

All of which raises a crucial question: would a Trump pardon of Manafort constitute obstruction of justice? Taken along with Trump’s other bursts of explicitly obstructive conduct—firing Comey and telling Lester Holt he did it because of Russia, asking Comey to go easy on Michael Flynn, trying to berate Jeff Sessions into resigning so a new Attorney General can step in and fire Rod Rosenstein and/or Mueller—it is eminently clear that Trump’s real goal in issuing a pardon would be to silence Manafort. To that end, Trump faces two competing concerns. He surely wants to prevent Manafort from cooperating with Mueller, but he also likely wants to use the pardon only as a last resort because of the legal and political risks.

To mitigate the legal risk, Trump already appears to be laying a foundation to justify a Manafort pardon as something other than an obstructive act.

When the federal judge in Washington, D.C. sent Manafort to prison pending trial in June, Trump tweeted: “Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort… Very unfair!” (Note: it wasn’t a sentence, it was a revocation of bail). In another tweet, Trump drew a bizarre comparison between Manafort and famed gangster Al Capone, seemingly to argue that Manafort has been treated unfairly. Most egregiously, just last week, Trump—while the Manafort jury was in the midst of deliberations—told reporters that Manafort is a “good person” and that his trial is “a very sad day for our country.”

If an attorney in the case had made the same public statements during jury deliberations, the judge likely would have imposed sanctions for breaching ethics rules prohibiting public statements outside the courtroom that might influence a jury. (In fact, Manafort’s attorney—opportunistically, and on the razor’s edge of his own misconduct—embraced the president’s remarks, smugly telling the media, “It’s great to have the support of the president of the United States”). What’s the point of these statements by Trump? They allow him at least to claim that he did not pardon Manafort to prevent cooperation or to obstruct justice, but rather to remedy a perceived injustice.

Trump may be sending signals to Manafort through these tweets, by “dangling” pardons through his then-lawyer, John Dowd, and by issuing a series of pardons in other high-profile cases to Scooter Libby, Joe Arpaio and others. By these actions, Trump seems to be saying, “Paul, I’m going to take care of you—but first you just need to keep your mouth shut and let things cool down a little, at least until after midterms.”

Of course, if such an agreement were spoken out loud—if Trump and Manafort agreed that Manafort would be rewarded with a pardon if he kept quiet—that almost certainly would be obstruction of justice. Even in the absence of an explicit agreement, a pardon taken together with other evidence already in the public record might prove Trump’s larger intent to obstruct the Russia investigation as a whole.

Trump, then, faces a difficult and crucial choice. He can grant a pardon to Manafort, which carries serious risks, both legally and politically. Or, if Trump doesn’t issue a pardon, Manafort might well flip, which could hand Mueller crucial new evidence of wrongdoing by the president and his closest advisors. The questions now are: Which way does the president go? Which way does Manafort go? And, importantly, who blinks first?

https://www.thedailybeast.com/manaforts-choices-work-with-mueller-wish-for-trump-pardon-or-die-in-prison

Paul Manafort

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Paul Manafort
Paul Manafort at 2016 RNC.jpg

Manafort speaks with media prior to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Born Paul John Manafort Jr.
April 1, 1949 (age 69)
New Britain, Connecticut, U.S.
Education Georgetown University (BSJD)
Political party Republican
Criminal charge Five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failing to disclose a hidden foreign bank account
Criminal status Found guilty on 8 counts; awaiting sentence
Spouse(s)
Kathleen Bond (m. 1978)
Children 2

Paul John Manafort Jr. (born April 1, 1949) is an American lobbyistpolitical consultant, and lawyer. He joined Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign team in March 2016, and was campaign chairman from June to August 2016. In August 2018, Manafort was convicted of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failure to report foreign bank accounts.[1][2]

He was an adviser to the U.S. presidential campaigns of Republicans Gerald FordRonald ReaganGeorge H. W. Bush, and Bob Dole. In 1980, Manafort co-founded the Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm Black, Manafort & Stone, along with principals Charles R. Black Jr., and Roger J. Stone,[3][4][5] joined by Peter G. Kelly in 1984.[6]

Manafort often lobbied on behalf of foreign leaders such as former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, former dictator of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, former dictator of Zaire Mobutu Sese Seko, and Angolanguerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi.[7][8][9] Lobbying to serve the interests of foreign governments requires registration with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA); however, as of June 2, 2017, Manafort had not registered.[10][11][12] On June 27, he retroactively registered as a foreign agent.[13]

Manafort is under investigation by multiple federal agencies. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has had an active criminal investigation on him since 2014 regarding business dealings while he was lobbying for Yanukovich. He is also a person of interest in the FBI counterintelligence probe looking into the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 United States presidential election.

On October 27, 2017, Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates were indicted by a District of Columbia grand jury on multiple charges arising from his consulting work for the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine before Yanukovych’s overthrow in 2014.[14] The indictment had been requested by Robert Mueller’s special investigation unit.[15][16] Manafort surrendered and was released on bail confined to house arrest. [17] In June 2018, additional charges were filed against Manafort for obstruction of justice and witness tampering that are alleged to have occurred while he was under house arrest, and he was ordered to jail.[18] In February 2018, a new set of indictments were filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, alleging tax evasion and bank fraud.[19] Manafort was brought to trial on those charges in August 2018, and on August 21 he was convicted on eight out of eighteen charges of tax and bank fraud. A mistrial was declared on the other ten.[20] A separate trial on the District of Columbia charges is scheduled for September 2018.[21]

Early life and education

On April 1, 1949, Manafort was born as Paul John Manafort Jr.[22] in the city of New Britain, Connecticut. Manafort’s parents are Antoinette Mary Manafort (née Cifalu; 1921–2003) and Paul John Manafort Sr. (1923–2013).[23][24] His grandfather immigrated to the United States from Italy in the early 20th century, settling in Connecticut.[25] He founded the construction company, New Britain House Wrecking Company, in 1919 (later renamed Manafort Brothers Inc.)[26] His father served in the U.S. Army combat engineers during World War II[24] and was mayor of New Britain from 1965 to 1971.[7] His father was indicted in a corruption scandal in 1981 but not convicted.[27]

In 1967 Manafort graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School, a private Roman Catholic secondary school, since closed, in New BritainConnecticut.[28] He attended Georgetown University, where he received his B.S. in business administration in 1971 and his J.D.in 1974.[29][30]

Career

Between 1977 and 1980 Manafort practiced law with the firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease in Washington, D.C.[22]

Political activities

Manafort greeting President Gerald Ford in 1976

Manafort with President Ronald Reagan and then Vice PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush in 1982

Manafort greeting President Ronald Reagan in 1987

In 1976, Manafort was the delegate-hunt coordinator for eight states for the President Ford Committee; the overall Ford delegate operation was run by James A. Baker III.[31] Between 1978 and 1980, Manafort was the southern coordinator for Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign, and the deputy political director at the Republican National Committee. After Reagan’s election in November 1980, he was appointed Associate Director of the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House. In 1981, he was nominated to the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.[22]

Manafort was an adviser to the presidential campaigns of George H. W. Bush in 1988[32] and Bob Dole in 1996.[33]

Chairman of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign

In February 2016, Manafort approached Donald Trump through a mutual friend, Thomas J. Barrack Jr. He pointed out his experience advising presidential campaigns in the United States and around the world, described himself as an outsider not connected to the Washington establishment, and offered to work without salary.[34] In March 2016, he joined Trump’s presidential campaign to take the lead in getting commitments from convention delegates.[35] On June 20, 2016, Trump fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and promoted Manafort to the position. Manafort gained control of the daily operations of the campaign as well as an expanded $20 million budget, hiring decisions, advertising, and media strategy.[36][37][38] Like most hires in the Trump campaign, Manafort was not vetted.[27]

On June 9, 2016, Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner were participants in a meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya and several others at Trump Tower. A British music agent, saying he was acting on behalf of Emin Agalarov and the Russian government, had told Trump Jr. that he could obtain damaging information on Hillary Clinton if he met with a lawyer connected to the Kremlin.[39] At first, Trump Jr. said the meeting had been primarily about the Russian ban on international adoptions (in response to the Magnitsky Act) and mentioned nothing about Mrs. Clinton; he later said the offer of information about Clinton had been a pretext to conceal Veselnitskaya’s real agenda.[40]

In August 2016, Manafort’s connections to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his pro-Russian Party of Regions drew national attention in the US, where it was reported that Manafort may have received $12.7 million in off-the-books funds from the Party of Regions.[41]

On August 17, 2016, Donald Trump received his first security briefing.[42] The same day, August 17, Trump shook up his campaign organization in a way that appeared to minimize Manafort’s role. It was reported that members of Trump’s family, particularly Jared Kushner who had originally been a strong backer of Manafort, had become uneasy about his Russian connections and suspected that he had not been forthright about them.[43] Manafort stated in an internal staff memorandum that he would “remain the campaign chairman and chief strategist, providing the big-picture, long-range campaign vision”.[44] However, two days later, Trump announced his acceptance of Manafort’s resignation from the campaign after Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway took on senior leadership roles within that campaign.[45][46]

Upon Manafort’s resignation as campaign chairman, Newt Gingrich stated, “nobody should underestimate how much Paul Manafort did to really help get this campaign to where it is right now.”[47] Gingrich later added that, for the Trump administration, “It makes perfect sense for them to distance themselves from somebody who apparently didn’t tell them what he was doing.”[48]

Kurdish independence referendum

In mid-2017, Manafort left the United States in order to help organize the Kurdish independence referendum, something that surprised both investigators and the media.[49] Manafort returned to the United States just before both the start of the 2017 Iraqi–Kurdish conflict and his indictment.

Lobbying career

In 1980 Manafort was a founding partner of Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm Black, Manafort & Stone, along with principals Charles R. Black Jr., and Roger J. Stone.[3][4][5][50] After Peter G. Kelly was recruited the name of the firm was changed to Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly (BMSK) in 1984.[6]:124

Manafort left BMSK in 1996 to join Richard H. Davis and Matthew C. Freedman in forming Davis, Manafort, and Freedman.[51]

Association with Jonas Savimbi

Manafort has represented Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi.

In 1985, Manafort’s firm, BMSK, signed a $600,000 contract with Jonas Savimbi, the leader of the Angolan rebel group UNITA, to refurbish Savimbi’s image in Washington and secure financial support on the basis of his anti-communism stance. BMSK arranged for Savimbi to attend events at the American Enterprise Institute (where Jeane Kirkpatrick gave him a laudatory introduction), The Heritage Foundation, and Freedom House; in the wake of the campaign Congress approved hundreds of millions of dollars in covert American aid to Savimbi’s group.[52] Allegedly, Manafort’s continuing lobbying efforts helped preserve the flow of money to Savimbi several years after the Soviet Union ceased its involvement in the Angolan conflict, forestalling peace talks.[52]

Lobbying for other foreign leaders

Manafort was a lobbyist for former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.

Manafort lobbied on behalf of former Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko.

Between June 1984 and June 1986, Manafort was a FARA-registered lobbyist for Saudi Arabia[53] The Reagan Administration refused to grant Manafort a waiver from federal prohibiting public officials from acting as foreign agents; Manafort resigned his directorship at OPIC in May 1986.[53] An investigation by the Department of Justice found 18 lobbying-related activities that were not reported in FARA filings, including lobbying on behalf of The Bahamas and Saint Lucia.[53]

Manafort’s firm, BMSK, accepted $950,000 yearly to lobby for then-president of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos.[54][55] He was also involved in lobbying for Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaïre,[56] securing a 1 million dollar annual contract in 1989,[57] and attempted to recruit Siad Barre of Somalia as a client.[58] His firm also lobbied on behalf of the governments of the Dominican RepublicEquatorial GuineaKenya (earning between $660,000 and $750,000 each year between 1991 and 1993), and Nigeria ($1 million in 1991). These activities led Manafort’s firm to be listed amongst the top five lobbying firms receiving money from human-rights abusing regimes in the Center for Public Integrity report “The Torturers’ Lobby”.[59]

The New York Times reported that Manafort accepted payment from the Kurdistan Regional Government to facilitate Western recognition of the 2017 Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum.[60]

Involvement in the Karachi affair

Manafort wrote the campaign strategy for Édouard Balladur in the 1995 French elections, and was paid indirectly.[61] The money, at least $200,000, was transferred to him through his friend, Lebanese arms-dealer Abdul Rahman al-Assir, from middle-men fees paid for arranging the sale of three French Agosta-class submarines to Pakistan, in a scandal known as the Karachi affair.[52]

Association with Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence Agency

Manafort received $700,000 from the Kashmiri American Council between 1990 and 1994, supposedly to promote the plight of the Kashmiri people. However, an FBI investigation revealed the money was actually from Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) agency as part of a disinformation operation to divert attention from terrorism. A former Pakistani ISI official claimed Manafort was aware of the nature of the operation.[62] While producing a documentary as part of the deal, Manafort interviewed several Indian officials while pretending to be a CNN reporter.[63]

HUD scandal

In the late 1980s, Manafort was criticized for using his connections at HUD to ensure funding for a $43 million rehabilitation of dilapidated housing in Seabrook, New Jersey.[64] Manafort’s firm received a $326,000 fee for its work in getting HUD approval of the grant, largely through personal influence with Deborah Gore Dean, an executive assistant to former HUD Secretary Samuel Pierce.[65]

Lobbying for Viktor Yanukovych and involvements in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, for whom Manafort lobbied

Manafort also worked as an adviser on the Ukrainian presidential campaign of Viktor Yanukovych (and his Party of Regions during the same time span) from December 2004 until the February 2010 Ukrainian presidential election,[66][67][68]even as the U.S. government (and U.S. Senator John McCain) opposed Yanukovych because of his ties to Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin.[33] Manafort was hired to advise Yanukovych months after massive street demonstrations known as the Orange Revolution overturned Yanukovych’s victory in the 2004 presidential race.[69] Borys Kolesnikov, Yanukovich’s campaign manager, said the party hired Manafort after identifying organizational and other problems in the 2004 elections, in which it was advised by Russian strategists.[67] Manafort rebuffed U.S. Ambassador William Taylor when the latter complained he was undermining U.S. interests in Ukraine.[52] According to a 2008 U.S. Justice Departmentannual report, Manafort’s company received $63,750 from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions over a six-month period ending on March 31, 2008, for consulting services.[70] In 2010, under Manafort’s tutelage, the opposition leader put the Orange Revolution on trial, campaigning against its leaders’ management of a weak economy. Returns from the presidential election gave Yanukovych a narrow win over Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a leader of the 2004 demonstrations. Yanukovych owed his comeback in Ukraine’s presidential election to a drastic makeover of his political persona, and—people in his party say—that makeover was engineered in part by his American consultant, Manafort.[67]

In 2007 and 2008, Manafort was involved in investment projects with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska (the acquisition of a Ukrainian telecoms company) and Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash (redevelopment of the site of the former Drake Hotel in New York City).[71] The Associated Press has reported that Manafort negotiated a $10 million annual contract with Deripaska to promote Russian interests in politics, business, and media coverage in Europe and the United States, starting in 2005.[72] A witness at Manafort’s 2018 trial for fraud and tax evasion testified that Deripaska loaned Manafort $10 million in 2010, which to her knowledge was never repaid.[27]

At Manafort’s trial, federal prosecutors alleged that between 2010 and 2014 he was paid more than $60 million by Ukrainian sponsors, including Rinat Akhmetov, believed to be the richest man in Ukraine.[27]

In 2013, Yanukovych became the main target of the Euromaidan protests.[73] After the February 2014 Ukrainian revolution (the conclusion of Euromaidan), Yanukovych fled to Russia.[73][74] On March 17, 2014, the day after the Crimean status referendum, Yanukovych became one of the first eleven persons who were placed under executive sanctions on the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN) by President Barack Obama, freezing his assets in the US and banning him from entering the United States.[75][76][77][78][79][80][81][82][83][84][85][a]

Manafort then returned to Ukraine in September 2014 to become an advisor to Yanukovych’s former head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Serhiy Lyovochkin.[68] In this role, he was asked to assist in rebranding Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.[68] Instead, he argued to help stabilize Ukraine. Manafort was instrumental in creating a new political party called Opposition Bloc.[68] According to Ukrainian political analyst Mikhail Pogrebinsky, “He thought to gather the largest number of people opposed to the current government, you needed to avoid anything concrete, and just become a symbol of being opposed”.[68] According to Manafort, he has not worked in Ukraine since the October 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election.[86][87] However, according to Ukrainian border control entry data, Manafort traveled to Ukraine several times after that election, all the way through late 2015.[87] According to The New York Times, his local office in Ukraine closed in May 2016.[41] According to Politico, by then Opposition Bloc had already stopped payments for Manafort and this local office.[87]

In an April 2016 interview with ABC News, Manafort stated that the aim of his activities in Ukraine had been to lead the country “closer to Europe”.[88]

Ukrainian government National Anti-Corruption Bureau studying secret documents claimed in August 2016 to have found handwritten records that show $12.7 million in cash payments designated for Manafort, although they had yet to determine if he had received the money.[41] These undisclosed payments were from the pro-Russian political party Party of Regions, of the former president of Ukraine.[41] This payment record spans from 2007 to 2012.[41] Manafort’s lawyer, Richard A. Hibey, said Manafort didn’t receive “any such cash payments” as described by the anti-corruption officials.[41] The Associated Press reported on August 17, 2016, that Manafort secretly routed at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012 on Party of Regions’ behalf, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy.[12] Associated Press noted that under federal law, U.S. lobbyists must declare publicly if they represent foreign leaders or their political parties and provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department, which Manafort reportedly did not do.[12] The lobbying firms unsuccessfully lobbied U.S. Congress to reject a resolution condemning the jailing of Yanukovych’s main political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko.[89]

Financial records certified in December 2015 and filed by Manafort in Cyprus showed him to be approximately $17 million in debt to interests connected to interests favorable to Putin and Yanukovych in the months before joining the Trump presidential campaign in March.[90] These included a $7.8 million debt to Oguster Management Limited, a company connected to Russian oligarch and close Putin associate Oleg Deripaska.[90] This accords with a 2015 court complaint filed by Deripaska claiming that Manafort and his partners owed him $19 million in relation to a failed Ukrainian cable television business.[90] In January 2018, Surf Horizon Limited, a Cyprus-based company tied to Deripaska, sued Manafort and his business partner Richard Gates accusing them of financial fraud by misappropriating more than $18.9 million that the company had invested in Ukrainian telecom companies known collectively as the “Black Sea Cable.”[91] An additional $9.9 million debt was owed to a Cyprus company that tied through shell companies to Ivan Fursin, a Ukrainian Member of Parliament of the Party of Regions.[90] Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni maintained in response that “Manafort is not indebted to Deripaska or the Party of Regions, nor was he at the time he began working for the Trump campaign.”[90] During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Manafort, via Kiev-based operative Konstantin Kilimnik, offered to provide briefings on political developments to Deripaska, though there is no evidence that the briefings took place.[92][93] Reuters reported on June 27, 2018, that an FBI search warrant application in July 2017 revealed that a company controlled by Manafort and his wife had received a $10 million loan from Deripaska.[94][95]

According to leaked text messages between his daughters, Manafort was also one of the proponents of violent removal of the Euromaidan protesters which resulted in police shooting dozens of people during 2014 Hrushevskoho Street riots. In one of the messages his daughter writes that his “strategy that was to cause that, to send those people out and get them slaughtered.”[96]

Manafort has rejected questions about whether Russian-Ukrainian operative Konstantin Kilimnik, with whom he consulted regularly, might be in league with Russian intelligence.[97] According to Yuri Shvets, Kilimnik previously worked for the GRU, and every bit of information about his work with Manafort went directly to Russian intelligence.[98]

Registering as a foreign agent

Lobbying for foreign countries requires registration with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Manafort did not do so at the time of his lobbying. In April 2017, a Manafort spokesman said Manafort was planning to file the required paperwork; however, according to Associated Press reporters, as of June 2, 2017, Manafort had not yet registered.[10][12] On June 27, he filed to be retroactively registered as a foreign agent.[99] Among other things, he disclosed that he made more than $17 million between 2012 and 2014 working for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.[100][101]

Homes, home loans and other loans

Manafort’s work in Ukraine coincided with the purchase of at least four prime pieces of real estate in the United States, worth a combined $11 million, between 2006 and early 2012.[102]

Since 2012, Manafort has taken out seven home equity loans worth approximately $19.2 million on three separate New York-area properties he owns through holding companies registered to him and his then son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai, a real estate investor.[103] In 2016, Yohai declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy for LLCs tied to four residential properties; Manafort holds a $2.7 million claim on one of the properties.[104]

As of February 2017, Manafort had about $12 million in home equity loans outstanding. For one home, loans of $6.6 million exceeded the value of that home; the loans are from the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, Illinois, whose CEO, Stephen Calk, was a campaign supporter of Donald Trump and was a member of Trump’s economic advisory council during the campaign.[103] It was subpoenaed in July 2017 by New York prosecutors about the loans they had issued to Manafort during the 2016 presidential campaign. At the time these loans represented about a quarter of the bank’s equity capital.[105]

The Mueller investigation is reviewing a number of loans which Manafort has received since leaving the Trump campaign in August 2016. Specifically, $7 million from Oguster Management Limited, a British Virgin Islands-registered company connected to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, to another Manafort-linked company, Cyprus-registered LOAV Advisers Ltd.[106] This entire amount was unsecured, carried interest at 2%, and had no repayment date. Additionally, NBC News found documents that reveal loans of more than $27 million from the two Cyprus entities to a third company connected to Manafort, a limited-liability corporation registered in Delaware. This company, Jesand LLC, bears a strong resemblance to the names of Manafort’s daughters, Jessica and Andrea.[107]

Investigations

FBI and special counsel investigation

The FBI reportedly began a criminal investigation into Manafort in 2014, shortly after Yanukovich was deposed.[108] That investigation predated the 2016 election by several years and is ongoing. In addition, Manafort is also a person of interest in the FBI counterintelligence probe looking into the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.[109][10]

On January 19, 2017, the eve of the Trump’s presidential inauguration, it was reported that Manafort was under active investigation by multiple federal agencies including the Central Intelligence AgencyNational Security AgencyFederal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Director of National Intelligence and the financial crimes unit of the Treasury Department.[110] Investigations were said to be based on intercepted Russian communications as well as financial transactions.[111] It was later confirmed that Manafort was wiretapped by the FBI “before and after the [2016] election … including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.” The surveillance of Manafort began in 2014, before Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President of United States.[112]

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed on May 17, 2017, by the Justice Department to oversee the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and related matters, took over the existing criminal probe involving Manafort.[109][10][113] On July 26, 2017, the day after Manafort’s United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing and the morning of his planned hearing before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, FBI agents at Mueller’s direction conducted a raid on Manafort’s Alexandria, Virginia home, using a search warrant to seize documents and other materials, in regard to the Russian meddling in the 2016 election.[114][115] Initial press reports indicated Mueller obtained a no-knock warrant for this raid, though Mueller’s office has disputed these reports in court documents.[116][117] United States v. Paul Manafort was analyzed by attorney George T. Conway III, who wrote that it strengthened the constitutionality of the Mueller investigation.[118]

Congressional investigations

In May 2017, in response to a request of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), Manafort submitted over “300 pages of documents…included drafts of speeches, calendars and notes from his time on the campaign” to the Committee “related to its investigation of Russian election meddling”.[119] On July 25 he met privately with the committee.[120]

congressional hearing on Russia issues, including the Trump campaign-Russian meeting, was scheduled by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for July 26, 2017. Manafort was scheduled to appear together with Trump Jr., while Kushner was to testify in a separate closed session.[121] After separate negotiations, both Manafort and Trump Jr. met with the committee on July 26 in closed session and agreed to turn over requested documents. They are expected to testify in public eventually.[122]

Private Investigation

The Trump–Russia dossier, also known as the Steele dossier,[123] is a private intelligence report comprising investigation memos written between June and December 2016 by Christopher Steele.[124] Manafort is a major figure mentioned in the Trump–Russia dossier, where allegations are made about Manafort’s relationships and actions toward the Trump campaign, Russia, Ukraine, and Viktor Yanukovych. The dossier claims:

  • That “the Republican candidate’s campaign manager, Paul MANAFORT” had “managed” the “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between [the Trump campaign] and the Russian leadership”, and that he used “foreign policy advisor, Carter PAGE, and others as intermediaries”.[125][126][127][128] (Dossier, p. 7)
  • That former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych told Putin he had been making supposedly untraceable[129] “kick-back payments” to Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager at the time.[130] (Dossier, p. 20)

Manafort has “denied taking part in any collusion with the Russian state, but registered himself as a foreign agent retroactively after it was revealed his firm received more than $17m working as a lobbyist for a pro-Russian Ukrainian party.”[128]

Arrest and indictments

Manafort’s 2018 mugshot

Grand jury indictment against Paul J. Manafort Jr. and Richard W. Gates III, dated October 27, 2017 from United States District Court for the District of Columbia

Manafort and Gates indictment from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia superseding indictment, dated February 22, 2018

Manafort superseding indictment in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, dated February 23, 2018

On October 30, 2017, Manafort was arrested by the FBI after being indicted by a federal grand jury as part of Robert Mueller‘s investigation into the Trump campaign.[131][132] The indictment against Manafort and Rick Gates was issued on October 27, 2017.[132][133] The charges are: engaging in a conspiracy against the United States,[16][133] engaging in a conspiracy to launder money,[16][133] failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts,[16][133] acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal,[16][133] making false and misleading statements in documents filed and submitted under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA),[16][133] and making false statements.[16][133] According to the prosecutors, Manafort laundered more than $18 million.[134][133]

Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to these charges at their court appearance on October 30, 2017.[135][136] The US government asked the court to set Manafort’s bail at $10 million and Gates at $5 million.[136] The court placed Manafort and Gates under house arrest after prosecutors described them as flight risks.[137] If convicted on all charges Manafort could face decades in prison.[138][139]

Following the hearing, Manafort’s attorney Kevin M. Downing made a public statement to the press proclaiming his client’s innocence while describing the federal charges stemming from the indictment as “ridiculous”.[140] Downing defended Manafort’s decade-long lobbying effort for pro-Russian, former Ukrainian prime minister Viktor Yanukovych, describing their lucrative partnership as attempts to spread democracy and strengthen the relationship between the United States and Ukraine.[141] Judge Stewart responded by threatening to impose a gag order, saying “I expect counsel to do their talking in this courtroom and in their pleadings and not on the courthouse steps.”[142]

On November 30, 2017, Manafort’s attorneys said that Manafort has reached a bail agreement with prosecutors that will free him from the house arrest he has been under since his indictment. He offered bail in the form of $11.65 million worth of real estate.[143] While out on bond, Paul Manafort worked on an op-ed with a “Russian who has ties to the Russian intelligence service”, prosecutors said in a court filing[144] requesting that the judge in the case revoke Manafort’s bond agreement.[145]

On January 3, 2018, Manafort filed a lawsuit challenging Mueller’s broad authority and alleging the Justice Department violated the law in appointing Mueller.[146] A spokesperson for the department replied that “The lawsuit is frivolous but the defendant is entitled to file whatever he wants”.[147] On January 12, Mueller asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to set Manafort’s trial date for May 14, 2018.[148] On January 16, 2018, Jackson denied the government’s date for trial indicating that the criminal trial appears likely to start in September at the earliest.[149] Jackson revealed that a letter from Manafort’s physician was submitted to the court, asking for changes in the conditions of Manafort’s confinement. “While he’s subject to home confinement, he’s not confined to his couch, and I believe he has plenty of opportunity to exercise,” Jackson said.[149]

On February 2, 2018, the Department of Justice filed a motion seeking to dismiss the civil suit Manafort brought against Mueller.[150] Judge Jackson dismissed the suit on April 27, 2018, citing precedent that a court should not use civil powers to interfere in an ongoing criminal case. She did not, however, make any judgement as to the merits of the arguments presented.[151]

On February 22, 2018, both Manafort and Gates were further charged with additional crimes involving a tax avoidance scheme and bank fraud in Virginia.[152][153] The charges were filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, rather than in the District of Columbia, as the alleged tax fraud overt actions had occurred in Virginia and not in the District.[154] The new indictment alleges that Manafort, with assistance from Gates, laundered over $30 million through offshore bank accounts between approximately 2006 and 2015. Manafort allegedly used funds in these offshore accounts to purchase real estate in the United States, in addition to personal goods and services.[154]

On February 23, 2018, Gates pleaded guilty in federal court to lying to investigators and engaging in a conspiracy to defraud the United States.[155] Through a spokesman, Manafort expressed disappointment in Gates’ decision to plead guilty and said he has no similar plans. “I continue to maintain my innocence,” he said.[156]

On February 28, 2018, Manafort entered a not guilty plea in the District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Jackson subsequently set a trial date of September 17, 2018, and reprimanded Manafort and his attorney for violating her gag order by issuing a statement the previous week after former co-defendant Gates pleaded guilty.[157] On March 8, 2018, Manafort also pleaded not guilty to bank fraud and tax charges in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Judge T. S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia set his trial on those charges to begin on July 10, 2018.[158] He later pushed the trial back to July 24, citing a medical procedure involving a member of Ellis’s family.[159] Ellis also expressed concern that the special counsel and Mueller were only interested in charging Manafort to squeeze him for information that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to Trump’s impeachment.[160]

Friends of Manafort announced the establishment of a legal defense fund on May 30, 2018, to help pay his legal bills.[161]

On June 8, 2018, Manafort was indicted for obstruction of justice and witness tampering along with long time associate Konstantin Kilimnik.[162] The charges involve allegations that Manafort attempted to convince others to lie about an undisclosed lobbying effort on behalf of Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government. Since this allegedly occurred while Manafort was under house arrest, Judge Jackson revoked Manafort’s bail on June 15 and ordered him held in jail until his trial.[163] Manafort was booked into the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia, at 8:22 PM on June 15, 2018, where he was housed in the VIP section and kept in solitary confinement for his own safety.[164][165][166][167] On June 22, Manafort’s efforts to have the money laundering charges against him dismissed were rejected by the court.[168][169] Citing Alexandria’s D.C. suburbia status, abundant and significantly negative press coverage, and the margin by which Hillary Clinton won the Alexandria Division in the 2016 presidential election, Manafort moved the court for a change of venue to Roanoke, Virginia on July 6, 2018, citing Constitution entitlement to a fair and unbiased trial.[170][171] On July 10, Judge T. S. Ellis ordered Manafort to be transferred back to the Alexandria Detention Center, an order Manafort opposed.[172][173] His trial began on July 31, 2018.[174][175]

On July 17, 2018, the Mueller investigation asked Judge Ellis to compel five witnesses, who had not previously been publicly associated with the Manafort case, to testify in exchange for immunity, and Ellis denied Manafort’s motion to move the trial to Roanoke, Virginia.[176][177] [178]

Trials

The numerous indictments against Manafort have been divided into multiple trials.

Trial in Virginia

Manafort’s trial in the Eastern District of Virginia began on July 31, 2018.[179][174] On August 21, the jury found Manafort guilty on eight of the eighteen charges, while the judge declared a mistrial on the other ten.[20] He was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, one of the four counts of failing to disclose his foreign bank accounts, and two counts of bank fraud.[180] The jury was hung on three of the four counts of failing to disclose, as well as five counts of bank fraud, four of them related the the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago run by Stephen Calk.[181]

Trial in District of Columbia

Manafort’s trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is scheduled to begin in September 2018.[21]

Personal life

Manafort has been married to Kathleen Bond Manafort since August 12, 1978. Mrs. Manafort is a lawyer and an alumna of George Washington University.[182] They have two daughters.

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ The individuals on the first list of United States sanctions for individuals or entities involved in the Ukraine crisis are Sergey Aksyonov, Sergey Glazyev, Andrei Klishas, Vladimir Konstantinov, Valentina Matviyenko, Victor Medvedchuk, Yelena Mizulina, Dmitry Rogozin, Leonid Slutsky, Vladislav Surkov, and Victor Yakunovich.[77][80]

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Manafort

Story 2: Former Trump Personal Attorney Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty to Eight Counts of Campaign Finance Violations, Bank and Tax Fraud — Videos

How are Republicans and Democrats reacting to Cohen and Manafort charges?

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Michael Cohen pleads GUILTY to paying Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal for their silence ‘at the direction of’ Trump – as president’s own attorney lands stunning blow and admits eight fraud and campaign finance felonies

  • Michael Cohen entered the guilty plea in federal court in New York
  • He said he made the campaign finance violations ‘in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office’ – a reference to Trump
  • Also tax evasion and making a false statement to a bank
  • Documents identify Trump as ‘Individual-1’
  • Federal prosecutors have been investigating Michael Cohen’s income from his taxi-medallion business
  • Investigators have been probing more than $20 million in loans which were made to taxi companies owned by Cohen and his family
  • Cohen made his plea within minutes of a Virginia jury convicting former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on eight counts following his trial    
  • Prosector: He ‘worked to pay money to silence two women who had information that he believed would be detrimental to the 2016 campaign’
  • Engineered payoff ‘in order to influence the 2016 presidential election’ prosecutors said in charging document 
  • A New York Times report stated he did not agree to cooperate with prosecutors as part of the deal
  • Campaign finance plea points to issue of payment to porn star Stormy Daniels  
  • Cohen, once known as Trump’s ‘fixer,’ has long ties to the Trump Organization 

Longtime Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to campaign finance violations linked to a porn star and a Playboy model as well as his former boss – and said he did so ‘at the direction’ of a candidate for federal office.

Cohen made the stunning statement linking President Donald Trump to his crimes as he pleaded to eight different counts, including those related to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Although he didn’t mention Trump by name, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer spoke in open court about a $130,000 payment as well as a deal he helped negotiate with a publisher involving McDougal.

He said he did so ‘in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,’ CNN reported – in an obvious reference to Trump, his former employer. Federal law bars donors from coordinating with a campaign while placing strict limits on the amount of contributions.

Both women claim they had affairs with Trump, and both got payments, Daniels from Cohen directly and McDougal from a publisher.

Cohen made his plea in open court within minutes of a Virginia jury convicting former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on eight counts following his trial on tax and fraud charges.

Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building, in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Cohen could be charged before the end of the month with bank fraud in his dealings with the taxi industry and with committing other financial crimes, multiple people familiar with the federal probe said Monday

Video playing bottom right…

As he landed in West Virginia for what was expected to be a raucous campaign rally Tuesday night with his supporters, Trump said he feels ‘badly’ for both Cohen and Manafort. But he didn’t address the explosive developments as his rally began.

But he did mock the Mueller probe before a crowd of supporters.

‘Fake news. Fake. How fake, how fake are they?’ Trump asked rhetorically. ‘Fake news and the Russian witch hunt. We got a whole big combination. Where is the collusion? You know they’re still looking for collusion. Where is the collusion? Find some collusion. We want to find the collusion,’ Trump said.

A federal charging document lays out how Cohen helped deal with a person identified as ‘Individual-1’s relationships with women’ by identifying stories and keeping them from being published.

The documents note that the individual was a candidate for president.

Cohen negotiated $150,000 payment to ‘model and actress’ and made a $130,000 payment to ‘an adult film actress,’ according to the documents stated the offenses he pleaded guilty to. Cohen caused and made the payments ‘in order to influence the 2016 presidential election,’ he is admitting.

The White House didn’t hold a press briefing amid the turmoil, instead confronting reporters only through the safer medium of conference calls. Trump didn’t mention either bombshell development in his speech in West Virginia hours after they occurred.

Cohen as part of the plea gets jail time of up to four years – in a deal that apparently does not include cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Nevertheless, some legal experts were not ruling out cooperation, and he was facing more charges than he pleaded to.

Cohen appeared in federal court on Tuesday following a series of repots he would plead guilty to federal crimes that would land him in jail for up to four years.

According to U.S. attorney Robert Khuzami, Cohen failed to report income of $4.1 million, costing the U.S. Treasury approximately $1.3 million.

He failed to disclose $14 million in dead when he applied for a home-equity loan he used to get funds to pay the porn star.

Khuzami also laid out Cohen’s campaign finance guilty plea as it related to Daniels and McDougal – though he never mentioned the name of the president or the porn star.

‘In addition what he did was he worked to pay money to silence two women who had information that he believed would be detrimental to the 2016 campaign and to the candidate and the campaign,’ Khuzami said.

Cohen leaves court after pleading guilty to eight charges

Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations 'in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office'

Charging documents lay out millions in unreported income by Cohen

Documents also reference Trump as 'Individual-1'

Documents also reference Trump as ‘Individual-1’

‘In addition, Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement for that money by submitting invoices to the candidate’s company which were untrue and false. They indicated that the reimbursement was for services rendered for the year 2017, when in fact those invoices were a sham. He provided no legal services for the year 2017 and it was simply a means to obtain reimbursement for the unlawful campaign contribution,’ Khuzami said.

‘There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the President in the government’s charges against Mr. Cohen,’ Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said in a statement. ‘It is clear that, as the prosecutor noted, Mr. Cohen’s actions reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time.’

In addition what he did was he worked to pay money to silence two women who had information that he believed would be detrimental to the 2016 campaign and to the candidate and the campaign

Sources told NBC about the negotiations over a possible plea Tuesday morning, noting that no deal had been reached. Word of the talks followed reports over the weekend that Cohen is being investigated for a $20 million bank fraud.

ABC then reported Cohen had reached an agreement with prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. Cohen surrendered to the FBI in advance of a scheduled 4 pm court appearance, according to CNN.

The campaign finance violations related to the $130,000 payment Cohen made from his own funds to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claims she had an affair with Trump. Among the charges Cohen will plead guilty to are campaign finance violations in connection to a $130,000 payment he made to Daniels

Five counts of tax evasion. Avoided declaring $4.1 million in income earned in 2012 through 2016, depriving the government of about $1.3 million in tax revenue.

Making false statements to a bank. Failed to disclose a $14 million line of credit when taking out loans, including for the purchase of an $8.5 million summer home. Declared a net worth of $40 million when applying for a home equity loan, omitting the $14 million debt.

Campaign finance violations. Helped deal with ‘Individual-1’s relationships with women’ by identifying stories and keeping them from being published. Negotiated $150,000 payment to ‘model and actress’ and made a $130,000 payment to ‘an adult film actress.’ He caused and made the payments ‘in order to influence the 2016 presidential election.’

He faced up to 65 years in prison for what he is being charged with had he not pleaded guilty.

Trump said in April that he did not know about payments Cohen made to Daniels – although lawyer Rudy Giuliani later said Trump reimbursed his longtime lawyer for the funds.

Cohen admitted the payment was a violation of strict federal limits on political contributions. Prosecutors deemed the payment an in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign since it helped shelve potentially damaging information.

Cohen agreed to jail time as part of the agreement.

Despite the array of charges, jail time, and restitution, Cohen was not expected to reach an agreement to cooperate with authorities, the New York Times reported.

Such a status, if maintained, would spare President Trump from having one of his closest and most knowledgable associates aiding an inquiry the president has termed a ‘witch hunt.’

Nevertheless, Trump faced the political prospect of seeing one of his closest longtime advisors go to jail over serious federal crimes. Just as the news broke on Cohen’s plans, the White House was holding a press call on Trump’s plans to travel the country in support of Republicans.

Cohen was expected to plead guilty to campaign finance violations – a likely reference to a $130,000 payment he made to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump

Cohen also negotiated a $150,000 payment by American Media Inc. to former Playboy cover model Karen McDougal, who claims she had a year-long affair with Trump

Cohen pleaded guilty to a campaign finance violation in relation to a $150,000 payment that American Media Inc. made to Playboy model Karen McDougal. AMI publisher David Pecker (c) was part of the deal

Prosecutors in Cohen were negotiating with a man involved in myriad business and political deals involving the president, including the negotiation of a non-disclosure agreement with porn star Stormy Daniels, and talks on an effort to build a Trump Tower in Moscow that fell through.

However, the New York Times reported Tuesday afternoon that the deal did not include an agreement to cooperate.

Cohen in June resigned his post as deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee once it came out he was under criminal investigation

ROBERT MUELLER’S PROBE SO FAR: SEVEN CONVICTIONS – INCLUDING THREE TOP TRUMP AIDES, A JAILED ATTORNEY AND 25 RUSSIANS ACCUSED

GUILTY: MICHAEL FLYNN 

Pleaded guilty to making false statements in December 2017. Awaiting sentence

Flynn was President Trump’s former National Security Advisor and Robert Mueller’s most senior scalp to date. He previously served when he was a three star general as President Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency but was fired. 

He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about his conversations with a Russian ambassador in December 2016. He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.

GUILTY: MICHAEL COHEN

Pleaded guilty to eight counts including fraud and two campaign finance violations in August 2018. Awaiting sentence

Cohen was Trump’s longtime personal attorney, starting working for him and the Trump Organization in 2007. He is the longest-serving member of Trump’s inner circle to be implicated by Mueller. Cohen professed unswerving devotion to Trump – and organized payments to silence two women who alleged they had sex with the-then candidate: porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.He admitted that payments to both women were felony campaign finance violations – and admitted that he acted at the ‘direction’ of ‘Candidate-1’: Donald Trump.

He also admitted tax fraud by lying about his income from loans he made, money from  taxi medallions he owned, and other sources of income, at a cost to the Treasury of $1.3 million.

Campaign role: Paul Manafort chaired Trump's campaign for four months - which included the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016, where he appeared on stage beside Trump who was preparing  to formally accept the Republican nomination

GUILTY: PAUL MANAFORT

Found guilty of eight charges of bank and tax fraud in August 2018. Awaiting sentence and second trial

Manafort worked for Trump’s campaign from March 2016 and chaired it from June to August 2016, overseeing Trump being adopted as Republican candidate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He is the most senior campaign official to be implicated by Mueller. Manafort was one of Washington D.C.’s longest-term and most influential lobbyists but in 2015, his money dried up and the next year he turned to Trump for help, offering to be his campaign chairman for free – in the hope of making more money afterwards. But Mueller unwound his previous finances and discovered years of tax and bank fraud as he coined in cash from pro-Russia political parties and oligarchs in Ukraine.

Manafort pleaded not guilty to 18 charges of tax and bank fraud but was convicted of eight counts. The jury was deadlocked on the other 10 charges. A second trial on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent is due in September.  

GUILTY: RICK GATES 

Pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements in February 2018. Awaiting sentence

Gates was Manafort’s former deputy at political consulting firm DMP International. He admitted to conspiring to defraud the U.S. government on financial activity, and to lying to investigators about a meeting Manafort had with a member of congress in 2013. As a result of his guilty plea and promise of cooperation, prosecutors vacated charges against Gates on bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy, failure to disclose foreign bank accounts, filing false tax returns, helping prepare false tax filings, and falsely amending tax returns.

GUILTY: GEORGE PAPADOPOLOUS

Pleaded guilty to making false statements in October 2017. Awaiting sentence

Papadopoulos was a member of Donald Trump’s campaign foreign policy advisory committee. He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about his contacts with London professor Josef Mifsud and Ivan Timofeev, the director of a Russian government-funded think tank. 

He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.

GUILTY: RICHARD PINEDO

Pleaded guilty to identity fraud in February 2018. Awaiting sentence

Pinedo is a 28-year-old computer specialist from Santa Paula, California. He admitted to selling bank account numbers to Russian nationals over the internet that he had obtained using stolen identities. 

He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.

GUILTY AND JAILED: ALEX VAN DER ZWAAN

Pleaded guilty to making false statements in February 2018. He served a 30-day prison sentence earlier this year and was deported to the Netherlands upon his release.

Van der Zwaan is a Dutch attorney for Skadden Arps who worked on a Ukrainian political analysis report for Paul Manafort in 2012. 

He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about when he last spoke with Rick Gates and Konstantin Kilimnik.

CHARGED: KONSTANTIN KILIMNIK

Indicted for obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. 

Kilimnik is a former employee of Manafort’s political consulting firm and helped him with lobbying work in Ukraine. He is accused of witness tampering, after he allegedly contacted individuals who had worked with Manafort to remind them that Manafort only performed lobbying work for them outside of the U.S.

He has been linked to  Russian intelligence and is currently thought to be in Russia – effectively beyond the reach of extradition by Mueller’s team.

INDICTED: THE RUSSIANS 

Twenty-five Russian nationals and three Russian entities have been indicted for conspiracy to defraud the United States. 

Two of these Russian nationals were also indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 11 were indicted for conspiracy to launder money. Fifteen of them were also indicted for identity fraud. 

Vladimir Putin has ridiculed the charges. Russia effectively bars extradition of its nationals. The only prospect Mueller has of bringing any in front of a U.S. jury is if Interpol has their names on an international stop list – which is not made public – and they set foot in a territory which extradites to the U.S. 

Statement to the press by U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami

‘What he did was he worked to pay money to silence two women who had information that he believed would be detrimental to the 2016 campaign and to the candidate and the campaign.’

‘In addition, Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement for that money by submitting invoices to the candidate’s company which were untrue and false. They indicated that the reimbursement was for services rendered for the year 2017, when in fact those invoices were a sham. He provided no legal services for the year 2017 and it was simply a means to obtain reimbursement for the unlawful campaign contribution.’

‘First, these are very serious charges and reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over an extended period of time. They are significant in their own rights. They are particularly significant when done by a lawyer. A lawyer who through training and tradition understands what it means to be a lawyer, to engage in honest and fair dealing and adherence to the law. Mr. Cohen disregarded that training. Disregarded that tradition and decided that he was above the law, and for that he is going to pay a very, very serious price …’

‘Mr Cohen made guilty pleas for those campaign violations and those are core violations. These remind us that it is illegal for corps to make contributions to candidates and it is illegal to make contributions in excess of the amount that congress set for individuals. That is a strong message today and we will not fear prosecuting additional campaign finance cases …’

‘We are a nation of laws and the essence of this case is about is justice and that is an equal playing field for all persons in the eyes of the law and that is a lesson that Mr. Cohen learned today and it is a very harsh one for him.’

WHICH CANDIDATE? Cohen said he negotiated the payments 'In co-ordination with, and at the direction of' a candidate for federal office

Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis tweeted Tuesday about his client: ‘Today he stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election. If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?’

Justice Department guidelines state that a sitting president shouldn’t be charged with a crime while in office, although they could be subject to a court challenge should the government decide to do so.

Numerous legal experts say Trump most likely will avoid getting charged with anything while in office – though he could be charged after he leaves and he could be forced to give testimony in legal matters. The charging documents describe ‘Individual-1’ as being closely involved with Cohen’s efforts. It says Cohen ‘coordinated with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments’ to women.

News of Cohen’s talks came just as word broke that jurors in the trial of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort asked the judge overseeing the case a question about how to proceed if they fail to reach a verdict on a single count.

That in turn led to speculation that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team might be on the verge of scoring critical conviction, even if it is on tax and fraud crimes that are not related to the campaign of President Donald Trump.

McDougal was paid $150,000 by American Media Inc., parent company of the National Enquirer

The report on Cohen’s intentions followed a series of maneuvers by Cohen that raised the prospect he might reach an agreement to cooperate with prosecutors. These included praising the FBI agents who raided his home and apartment, and stating boldly that he would do what is best for his family.

He told ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ last month that: ‘My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will.’ He added: ‘I put family and country first.’

Cohen left his apartment in New York Tuesday dressed in a dark suit and tie.

His new lawyer, Lanny Davis, told NBC he couldn’t comment on an ongoing investigation, having earlier sent signals that Cohen could cooperate. Cohen’s hiring of Davis, who has longtime Democratic ties and advised President Bill Clinton, was one such signal.

Michael Cohen, left, former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building past his doorman, in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. NBC reported he was in talks about a possible guilty plea

Michael Cohen, left, former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building past his doorman, in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. NBC reported he was in talks about a possible guilty plea

Were Cohen to follow through and plead guilty to any alleged violations, it would come as prosecutors were considering filing charges against him that include include bank and tax fraud, as well as violations of campaign finance law, against Cohen by the end of the month, sources told the New York Times.

Investigators are looking into more than $20 million in loans which were made to taxi companies owned by Cohen and his family. The amounts reportedly involved only upped the pressure on Cohen, who was intimately involved with Trump as he navigated a variety of business deals in recent years.

Financial statements showed that Cohen used his 32 taxi medallions, then worth around $1 million each, as collateral for the loans from Sterling National Bank. Melrose Credit Union also supplied some of the loans made to 16 separate companies controlled by the Cohens. Cohen and his wife also personally guaranteed the loans, according to public findings.

Investigators are now looking to determine whether Cohen misrepresented the true value of his assets to obtain the loans.

They are also looking at when the lawyer violated campaign finance laws by arranging hush money deals to secure the silence of women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.

The FBI raided Cohen’s home and office earlier this year as part of their investigation into his alleged tax fraud.

President Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen is being investigated for a $20 million bank fraud, according to a new report

President Trump’s (left) former personal lawyer Michael Cohen (right) is being investigated for a $20 million bank fraud, according to a new report

Investigators are looking at whether Cohen’s income from his taxi-medallion business was underreported in federal tax returns, The Wall Street Journal reported.

That income reportedly included hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and other payments over the last five years.

Donald Trump has criticized the probe into his former attorney, calling the raids an ‘attack on our country in a true sense.’

Prosecutors are looking into whether Cohen inflated the value of any of his assets as collateral for bank loans, the Journal reported citing sources familiar with the investigation.

If convicted of tax- and bank-fraud, Cohen, who once said he’d take a bullet for President Donald Trump, could find himself subject to heavy jail time.

That threat could put pressure on Cohen, once known as Trump’s ‘fixer,’ to cooperate with prosecutors if he’s charged with these crimes.

Cohen was Trump’s personal attorney for years and has deep ties to the Trump Organization.

He is reportedly prepared to tell Mueller that the president knew about the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting ahead of time and approved of it.

That meeting was attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and a lawyer with ties to the Kremlin who claimed to have dirt on Trump’s presidential rival Hillary Clinton.

Trump has denied he knew about the meeting ahead of time.

But that gathering at Trump Tower has become a central focus of Mueller’s look into what role Russian played in the 2016 presidential election.

Meanwhile federal prosecutors are taking a deep dive into Cohen’s business dealings after Mueller’s team handed over documents discovered in an April 9th FBI raid.

They are looking closely at Cohen’s relationship with Sterling National Bank, which provided financing for his taxi-medallion business. Medallions are the permits taxi drivers need to operate in the city.

Federal prosecutors subpoenaed Jeffrey Getzel, Cohen’s former accountant who was responsible for preparing many of Cohen’s financial statements.

Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, declined to comment to the newspaper ‘out of respect for the ongoing investigation.’

As of April 2018, Cohen owned 22 medallions in Chicago, and either he or his wife, Laura, controlled 32 medallions in New York City.

Taxi medallions were considered a solid investment that are bought and sold on a secondary market. Some in New York sold for an average $1.25 million per medallion in 2013 and 2014.

But their value has fallen sharply in recent years due to competition from ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. Some estimate the value of each medallion has dropped to $200,000 to $225,000.

As prosecutors look at whether Cohen under reported his income to avoid federal taxes they’re also examining whether he overstated it in loan applications.

Cohen has previously denied any wrongdoing.

He worked on projects for Trump ranging from Trump Tower Moscow that never got off the ground to a non-disclosure agreement with porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump, and on a deal involving former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also claimed an affair.

Trump has denied both women’s allegations of a sexual affair.

But Cohen also had his own business dealings including real estate, personal loans and investments in taxi medallions.

Evgeny A. Freidman, a Russian immigrant known as ‘the Taxi King’ and who partnered with Cohen in the taxi medallion business, avoided jail time and got five years probation when he pleaded guilty to tax evasion in May.

As a condition, he is cooperating with prosecutors, who may find him to be a valuable witness as they investigate Cohen on potential tax, campaign finance, and bank fraud charges.

His deal came after an April 9th FBI raid on Cohen’s home, office, and hotel where he was staying. They scooped up 3.7 million digital documents.

If Freidman is able to provide useful information, it might strengthen prosecutors hands if they decide to charge Cohen.

Prosecutors are already combing through Cohen’s financial records, including big payments he got from major firms as he touted his access to President Trump after the elections.

Also under the microscope is his $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who signed a nondisclosure agreement and claims she had an affair with Trump.

The president revealed last week on his financial disclosure that he ‘reimbursed’ Cohen for expenses related to a payment of up to $250,000.

Cohen is under investigation for possible bank fraud. He has said he took out a home equity loan in order to make the payment to Daniels, which he executed through a Delaware LLC he set up in October of 2016, weeks before the presidential election.

Cohen taped Trump discussing payment to Playboy model

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6083533/Cohen-discussing-possible-GUILTY-plea-following-report-alleged-fraud-probe.html

 

Michael Cohen (lawyer)

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Michael Cohen
Trump executive Michael Cohen 012 (5506031001) (cropped).jpg

Cohen in 2011
Born Michael Dean Cohen
August 25, 1966 (age 51)
Long IslandNew York, U.S.
Education American University (BA)
Thomas M. Cooley Law School(JD)
Occupation Lawyer
Political party Democratic (before 2002; 2004–2017)
Republican (2002–2004; 2017–present)
Criminal charge Five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, one count of willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution at the request of a candidate or campaign
Criminal status Pleaded guilty to all charges; awaiting sentence
Spouse(s)
Laura Shusterman (m. 1995)

Michael Dean Cohen (born August 25, 1966) is an American attorney who worked as a lawyer for Donald Trump from 2006 until the termination of his employment in May 2018, a month after a federal investigation began. The investigation led to him pleading guilty on August 21, 2018 to eight counts of campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud. In his statement before the court, Cohen said he violated campaign finance laws “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” meaning Trump, “for the principal purpose of influencing the election” for president in 2016.[1]

Cohen served as a vice-president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Trump,[2] and previously served as co-president of Trump Entertainment and was a board member of the Eric Trump Foundation, a children’s health charity. He joined the Trump Organization after having been a partner at Phillips Nizer.[3]

From 2017 to 2018, Cohen was deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.[4][5]

 

Early life

Cohen grew up in the town of Lawrence on Long Island.[3] His mother was a nurse, and his father, who survived the Holocaust, was a surgeon.[3][6] Cohen is Jewish.[7] He attended Lawrence Woodmere Academy[8] and received his BA from American University in 1988 and his JD from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1991.[9]

Career

Legal career and business ventures

Cohen began practicing personal injury law in New York in 1992, working for Melvyn Estrin in Manhattan.[8][10] As of 2003, Cohen was an attorney in private practice and CEO of MLA Cruises, Inc., and of the Atlantic Casino.[11] In 2003, when Cohen was a candidate for New York City Council, he provided a biography to the New York City Campaign Finance Board for inclusion in its voters’ guide, listing him as co-owner of Taxi Funding Corp. and a fleet of New York City taxicabs numbering over 200.[11][12][13] At the time, Cohen was business partners in the taxi business with Simon Garber.[13]

As of 2017, Cohen was estimated to own at least 34 taxi medallions through 17 limited liability companies (LLCs).[13] Until April 2017, “taxi king” Evgeny Freidman managed the medallions still held by Cohen; this arrangement ended after the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission decided not to renew Freidman’s licenses.[13] Between April and June 2017, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance filed seven tax warrants against Cohen and his wife for $37,434 in unpaid taxi taxes due to the MTA.[14]

In 2006, Cohen was a lawyer at the law firm Phillips Nizer LLP.[15] He worked at the firm for about a year before taking a job at The Trump Organization.[10]

In 2008, Cohen was named COO of the MMA promotion Affliction Entertainment[16]

Cohen has been involved in real estate ventures in Manhattan, including buying and selling four apartment buildings between 2011 and 2014. The total purchase price of the four buildings was $11 million and the total sales price was $32 million.[10][17] Cohen sold the four properties at above their assessed values, in all-cash transactions, to LLCs owned by persons whose identities are not public.[18] After this was reported by McClatchy DC in October 2017, Cohen said that all four properties were purchased by an American-owned “New York real estate family fund” that paid cash for the properties in order to obtain a tax deferred (Section 1031) exchange, but did not specifically identify the buyer.[17]

In 2015, Cohen purchased an Upper East Side apartment building for $58 million.[10]

Politics

Cohen volunteered for the 1988 presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis,[3] was an intern for Congressman Joe Moakley,[6] and voted for Barack Obama in 2008, though he later became disappointed with Obama.[3]

In 2003, he unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for the New York City Council from the Fourth Council District (a Manhattan district).[19] Cohen received 4,205 votes, and was defeated by Democratic candidate Eva S. Moskowitz, who received 13,745 votes.[20] In 2010, Cohen briefly campaigned for a seat in the New York State Senate.[21][6] He was a registered Democrat until he officially registered as a Republican on March 9, 2017.[22][23]

Relationship with Donald Trump and the Trump Organization

Cohen joined the Trump Organization in 2006.[24] Trump hired him in part because he was already a fan of Trump’s, having read Trump’s Art of the Deal twice, bought several Trump properties, and convinced his own parents and in-laws, as well as a business partner to buy condominiums in Trump World Tower.[10] Cohen aided Trump in his struggle with the condominium board at the Trump World Tower, which led to Trump obtaining control of the board.[10]

Cohen became a close confidant to Trump, maintaining an office near Trump at Trump Tower.[10]

2011

While an executive at the organization, Cohen was known as Trump’s “pit bull.” In late 2011, when Trump was publicly speculating about running for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination, Cohen co-founded the website “Should Trump Run?” to draft Trump into entering the race.[6]

In an interview with ABC News in 2011, Cohen stated, “If somebody does something Mr. Trump doesn’t like, I do everything in my power to resolve it to Mr. Trump’s benefit. If you do something wrong, I’m going to come at you, grab you by the neck and I’m not going to let you go until I’m finished.”[25]

2013

In 2013, Cohen sent an email to the satirical news website The Onion, demanding that an article The Onion had published which mocked Donald Trump (“When You’re Feeling Low, Just Remember I’ll Be Dead In About 15 Or 20 Years”) be removed with an apology, claiming it was defamatory.[26][27]

2015

In 2015, in response to an inquiry by reporter Tim Mak of The Daily Beast concerning rape allegations (later recanted) by Ivana Trump about her then-husband Donald Trump, Cohen said, “I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting.”[24]

2016

A video of an interview of Cohen by CNN’s Brianna Keilar went viral, in which Cohen said “Says who?” several times in response to Keilar’s statement that Trump was behind in all of the polls.[28][29]

Cohen defended Trump against charges of antisemitism.[7]

In 2016 he was a co-founder, along with Darrell C. Scott, of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump.[30] [31] Peter J. Gleason, a lawyer who filed for protection of documents pertaining to two women with sexual abuse allegations against Eric T. Schneiderman, stated – without offering details or corroborating evidence – that Cohen told him that if Trump would be elected governor of New York in 2013, the latter would help bring the accusations to public attention.[32]

2017

The Trump–Russia dossier, published in January 2017, alleges that Cohen met with Russian officials in PragueCzech Republic in 2016 with the objective of paying those who had hacked the DNC and to “cover up all traces of the hacking operation”. The dossier contains raw intelligence, and is widely thought to be a mix of accurate and inaccurate information[33][34]. Cohen has denied the allegations against him,[35][36][37] stating that he was in Los Angeles between August 23 and 29, and in New York for the entire month of September.[38]According to a Czech intelligence source, there is no record of him entering Prague by plane, but Respekt magazine and Politico pointed out that he could have theoretically entered by car or train from a neighboring country within the Schengen Area, for example Italy. In the latter case, a record of Cohen entering the Schengen zone from a non-Schengen country should exist, if it occurred.[39][40]

However, on April 13, 2018, the DC Bureau of McClatchy Newspapers reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has evidence that Cohen did travel to Prague during the late-summer of 2016, with two sources having confirmed this secret trip. The evidence is said to show that Cohen entered the Czech Republic from Germany, and since both countries are in European Union’s Schengen passport area, Cohen would not have received a passport stamp to enter Czech territory.[41] The following day, Cohen again denied he has “ever been to Prague”.[42][43] Cohen also said that he didn’t travel to the European Union in August 2016.[44]

In late January 2017, Cohen met with Ukrainian opposition politician Andrey Artemenko and Felix Sater at the Loews Regency in Manhattan to discuss a plan to lift sanctions against Russia. The proposed plan would require that Russian forces withdraw from eastern Ukraine and that Ukraine hold a referendum on whether Crimea should be “leased” to Russia for 50 or 100 years. Cohen was given a written proposal in a sealed envelope that he delivered to then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in early February.[45]

On April 3, 2017, Cohen was appointed a national deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.[46][47] In April 2017, Cohen also formed an alliance with Squire Patton Boggs for legal and lobbying counsel on behalf of Trump.[48]

In May 2017, amidst expanding inquiries into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, two congressional panels asked Cohen to provide information about any communications he had with people connected to the Russian government.[49][50][10][51][52] He was also a subject of the Mueller investigation in 2018.[53][54][55]

2018

In May 2018, the BBC reported that Cohen had received a secret payment of between $400,000 and $600,000 from intermediaries for Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to arrange a meeting between Poroshenko and Trump, though Cohen was not registered as a foreign agent.[56] Cohen and the Ukrainian president’s office denied the allegations.[56]

In May 2018, Rudy Giuliani announced that Cohen was no longer Trump’s lawyer.[57] In July, seized tapes secretly recorded by Cohen of his conversations with Trump about hush payments to Karen McDougal were disclosed to the New York Times, seemingly contradicting earlier statements by Trump denying knowledge of the payments[58], and raising questions about campaign finance ethics.[58] Cohen also asserted that then Candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, Donald Jr. and other Trump campaign officials with Russians who claimed to possess information damaging to the Hillary Clinton campaign, contradicting the President’s repeated denials that he was aware of the meeting until long after it had taken place.[59]

In June 2018, Cohen resigned as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. His resignation letter cited the ongoing investigations and also criticized the Trump administration’s policy of separating undocumented families at the border.[5]

Payment to Stormy Daniels

In the fall of 2016, adult film actress Stephanie Clifford (better known by her stage name Stormy Daniels) was speaking to some reporters about her allegation that she had had a sexual affair with Trump in 2006. In October, Cohen and her attorney, Keith M. Davidson, negotiated a non-disclosure agreement under which she was to be paid $130,000 for her silence. Cohen created a Delaware limited liability company called Essential Consultants and used it to pay the $130,000.[60] The arrangement was publicly revealed by the Wall Street Journal in January 2018.[61][62]

Cohen told The New York Times in February 2018 that the $130,000 was paid to Daniels from his own pocket, that it was not a campaign contribution, and that he was not reimbursed for making it by either the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign.[63] The Washington Post later noted that, by stating that he used his own money to “facilitate” the payment, Cohen was not ruling out the possibility that Trump, as an individual, reimbursed Cohen for the payment.[64] In April 2018, Trump acknowledged for the first time that Cohen has represented him in the Stormy Daniels case, after previously having denied knowledge of the $130,000 payment.[65]

On March 5, the Wall Street Journal cited anonymous sources recounting Cohen as saying he missed two deadlines to pay Daniels because Cohen “couldn’t reach Mr. Trump in the hectic final days of the presidential campaign”, and that after Trump’s election, Cohen had complained that he had not been reimbursed for the payment. Cohen described this report as “fake news“.[66]

On March 9, NBC News reported that Cohen had used his Trump Organization email to negotiate with Daniels regarding her nondisclosure agreement, and that Cohen had used the same Trump Organization email to arrange for a transfer for funds which would eventually lead to Daniels’ payment.[67] In response, Cohen acknowledged that he had transferred funds from his home equity line of credit to the LLC and from the LLC to Daniels’ attorney.[68]

In a March 25, 2018, interview with 60 Minutes, Daniels said that she and Trump had sex once, and that later she had been threatened in front of her infant daughter, and felt pressured to later sign a nondisclosure agreement.[69][70]

On March 26, David Schwarz, a lawyer for Cohen, told ABC’s Good Morning America that Daniels was lying in the 60 Minutes interview. Cohen’s lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter claiming Daniels’ statements constituted “libel per se and intentional infliction of emotional distress” to Cohen.[71]

Cohen initiated a private arbitration case against Daniels in February 2018, based on an October 2016 non-disclosure agreement signed by Daniels in October 2016 in exchange for $130,000. Cohen obtained an order from an arbitrator barring Daniels from publicly discussing her alleged relationship with Trump.[72][73] Daniels subsequently brought a lawsuit in federal court against Trump and Cohen, arguing that the non-disclosure agreement is legally invalid because Trump never signed it,[74] Cohen responded by seeking to compel arbitration, which would avoid public proceedings.[73] In April 2018, Cohen filed a declaration in the court saying that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself in the Daniels lawsuit.[75][76]

On May 18, lawyers for Cohen filed an objection for Daniel’s lawyer Michael Avenatti being allowed to represent her in a case involving Cohen, claiming it, the objection, was based on the violations of ethical rules, and local court rules, amongst other issues.[77]

Recording of discussion regarding Karen McDougal

In 2016, Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, claimed that she and Trump had an affair from 2006 until 2007, a claim that Trump has since denied.[78] The National Enquirer paid McDougal $150,000 for her story, but never published it, in a practice known as catch-and-kill.[79] On September 30, 2016, Cohen created Resolution Consultants LLC, a Delaware shell company, to purchase the rights to McDougal’s story from the National Enquirer, though the rights to the story were ultimately never purchased.[80][81]

Cohen had been known to record conversations and phone calls with other people.[82] According to his lawyer Lanny Davis, “Michael Cohen had the habit of using his phone to record conversations instead of taking notes”.[83] Altogether the prosecutors have been given more than one hundred audio recordings from the material seized from Cohen in the April raid, after the Trump team withdrew their claims of privilege for those items; reportedly only one of them features a substantive conversation with Trump.[84] The existence of that tape was revealed on July 20 and the actual recording was released on July 25.[78][85]

On July 20, it was revealed that Cohen secretly recorded a conversation with Trump discussing a potential hush payment to the publisher of National Enquirer. The recording had been classified as a privileged attorney-client communication by the Special Master reviewing the Cohen material, but Trump’s attorneys waived that claim, meaning that prosecutors can have it and use it.[78] The conversation in that tape occurred in September 2016, two months before the election and weeks after the Enquirer paid McDougal the $150,000. In the conversation, Trump and Cohen discuss whether to buy the rights to her story from the Enquirer, and Trump appears to approve the idea. Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, initially claimed that the tape shows Trump saying “make sure it’s done correctly, and make sure it’s done by check”.[78] Giuliani also noted that no payment was ultimately made, and asserted that Trump’s team waived privilege and allowed the recording to be revealed because it shows no violation of law.[78] The recording appears to contradict Hope Hicks, then Trump’s spokeswoman, who said when the story of the Enquirer payment came out a few days before the election that the Trump campaign had “no knowledge of any of this”.[86]

On July 25, Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis released the actual recording to CNN, which played it on the air on the Cuomo Prime Time program.[85] On it, Trump can be heard concluding a telephone conversation with an unidentified person and then discussing several items of business with Cohen. Cohen mentions that he needs to “open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” interpreted as meaning David Pecker, the head of American Media which publishes the National Enquirer.[85] Later when they discuss financing, Trump is heard saying something about “pay with cash”, to which Cohen responds “no, no, no”, but the tape is unclear and it is disputed what is said next; the word “check” can be heard.[85] A transcript provided by Trump’s attorneys has Trump saying “Don’t pay with cash … check.”[87] The tape cuts off abruptly at that point.[88] A lawyer for the Trump Organization said that any reference to “cash” would not have meant “green currency”, but a one-time payment (“cash”) vs. extended payments (“financing”), in either case accompanied by documents. [85] According to Aaron Blake at The Washington Post, “the tape provides the first evidence that Trump spoke with Cohen about purchasing the rights to women’s stories — apparently to silence them — before the 2016 election.”[88]He also notes that Cohen speaks in “somewhat coded language”, which Trump understands, suggesting that he is already familiar with the issue.

Payment to Shera Bechard

In April 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that Shera Bechard, a former Playboy Playmate, had an affair with married Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy, got pregnant by him, had an abortion, and was to be paid $1.6 million in so-called “hush money” to stay quiet.[89][90] Broidy is a Republican fundraiser and deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee.

In a 2018 court proceeding, Cohen said he had given legal advice to only three clients in 2017: Donald Trump, Sean Hannity, and Elliott Broidy.[91] In late 2017, Cohen arranged the $1.6 million payment by Broidy to Bechard as part of a nondisclosure agreement requiring Bechard to keep silent about the matter.[92] Cohen was Broidy’s attorney and Keith M. Davidson represented Bechard.[92] Davidson had previously been the attorney for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.[92] The Bechard nondisclosure agreement used the same pseudonyms – David Dennison for the man and Peggy Peterson for the woman – as in the Daniels agreement.[93] The payments were to be made in installments.

On July 6, 2018, Bechard filed a lawsuit against Broidy, Davidson, and Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti, claiming the three had breached the agreement in relation to the cessation of the settlement payments.[94][95][96][97]

Essential Consultants LLC

Essential Consultants LLC is a Delaware shell company created by Cohen in October 2016 to facilitate payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels.[60] For many months thereafter, Cohen used the LLC[98] for an array of business activities largely unknown to the public, with at least $4.4 million moving through the LLC between Trump’s election to the presidency and January 2018.[99] In May 2018, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti posted a seven-page report to Twitter detailing what he said were financial transactions involving Essential Consultants and Cohen. Avenatti did not reveal the source of his information, which was later largely confirmed by the New York Times and other publications.[99] The data showed that hundreds of thousands of dollars were given to Cohen, via Essential Consultants, from Fortune 500 firms such as Novartis and AT&T, which had business before the Trump administration. It was also revealed that Essential Consultants had received at least $500,000 from a New York-based investment firm called Columbus Nova which is linked to a Russian oligarch. The firm’s largest client is a company controlled by Viktor Vekselberg, a Ukrainian-born Russian oligarch.[99][100][101][102] Vekselberg is a business partner of Soviet-born billionaire and major Republican Party donor, Leonard Blavatnik.[103] A spokesperson for Columbus Nova said that the payment was a consulting fee that had nothing to do with Vekselberg.[99]

Questions were raised about many of the payments, such as four totaling $200,000 that AT&T paid to the LLC between October 2017 and January 2018,[104][105] while at the same time the proposed merger between the company and Time Warner is pending before the Justice Department. AT&T claimed that the money was paid to the LLC and other firms that were used to provide insights into understanding the new administration, and that the LLC did no legal or lobbying work for AT&T.[99][106]

On May 11, 2018, the CEO of AT&T stated that in early 2017 it was approached by Cohen to provide “his opinion on the new President and his administration”. Cohen was paid $600,000 ($50,000 per month) over the year, which its CEO described as “a big mistake”. Novartis was also approached by Cohen and was offered similar services.[107]

Novartis, a Switzerland–based pharmaceutical giant paid the LLC nearly $1.2 million in separate payments.[108] Novartis released a statement May 9, 2018 that it hired the LLC to help the company understand the “health care policy” of the new administration, but it actually did not receive benefit for its investment. The statement continued that Novartis made a decision to not engage Essential Consultants further, but it could not terminate the contract for “cause”, raising concerns on why the company did not pursue reimbursement.[109]

Korea Aerospace Industries paid $150,000,[102] ostensibly for advice on “cost accounting standards”.[109]

Franklin L. Haney agreed to pay Cohen $10 million if he successfully lobbied for the United States Department of Energy to finance the Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station, or a reduced fee if the funding targets were only partially met.[110]

Federal investigation

Cohen v US – Govt Opposition to TRO Request

As of April 2018, Cohen was under federal criminal investigation by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.[111] Possible charges reportedly included bank fraud, wire fraud and violations of campaign finance law.[112]

On April 9, 2018, the FBI raided Cohen’s office at the law firm of Squire Patton Boggs, as well as his home and his hotel room in the Loews Regency Hotel in New York City, pursuant to a federal search warrant.[113][114] The warrant was obtained by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, whose public corruption unit was conducting an investigation.[12] Seeking the warrant required high-level approval from the Department of Justice.[115]The Interim U.S. Attorney, Geoffrey Berman, was recused.[116] Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray – both of whom are Trump appointees – had supervisory roles.[117] The FBI obtained the warrant after a referral from Robert Mueller‘s Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, although underlying reasons for the raid were not revealed.[115][118] Following the raid, Squire Patton Boggs law firm ended its formal working relationship with Cohen.[119]

Agents seized emails, tax records, business records, and other matter related to several topics, including payments made by Cohen to Stormy Daniels,[115] and records related to Trump’s Access Hollywood controversy.[120]Recordings of phone conversations Cohen made were also obtained.[121] According to Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti and civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, some of the recordings may have included participants located in California, which would make the recordings illegal, as California is a “two party consent” state.[122]

The search included the seizure of materials normally protected by attorney-client privilege, which is subject to a crime-fraud exception if a crime is suspected.[123] However, some legal scholars opined that Trump’s denial that he had knowledge of the Daniels payment, combined with denials by Cohen and his lawyer David Schwartz, meant both sides had effectively said the matter did not involve attorney-client communications.[124] The search warrant itself has been sealed, making it unavailable to the public.[125] The FBI also sought documents pertaining to Cohen’s ownership of taxi medallions.[12][126] Cohen’s taxi fleet is operated by Gene Freidman, who is facing legal trouble for alleged tax evasion.[127]

A few days after the raid, McClatchy reported that the Mueller investigation was in possession of evidence that Cohen traveled to Prague in August or September 2016. If true, the report bolsters similar claims in 3 of 17 reports from the Trump–Russia dossier. According to McClatchy’s confidential sources, Cohen traveled to Prague via Germany, a passage which would not have required use of a passport due to both countries being within the Schengen Area.[128][129][130] In reaction, Cohen denied having ever been to Prague, as he had done in his January 2017 denial following the dossier’s release.[131][42][43] The Spectator, citing an intelligence source in London, echoed the findings of McClatchy that evidence of Cohen visiting Prague was given to the Mueller investigation.[132] Mother Jones reported that Cohen had told them “I was in Prague for one afternoon 14 years ago”, contradicting later statements that he had never visited.[133]

On May 3, 2018, NBC erroneously reported that Cohen’s phone lines had been wiretapped for weeks before his office, home and hotel room were raided and that at least one call between the White House and one of the phone lines associated with Cohen was intercepted. Later that day, NBC corrected the story to indicate that Cohen’s phone calls had been monitored by pen register, which logs the origins and destinations of calls but not the contents.[134][135]

The Wall Street Journal reported on July 26, 2018 that longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg had been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury regarding the Cohen investigation.[136]

Conviction and afterward

In August 2018, it was reported that investigators were in the final stages of their investigation.[137] Cohen officially surrendered to the FBI on August 21, 2018.[138] That afternoon, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight charges: five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, one count of willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution at the request of a candidate or campaign.[139][140][141] The plea deal did not include any agreement to cooperate with investigators.[142] The agreement did include jail time. His sentencing is scheduled for December 12, 2018. The judge said he can be released on $500,000 bail after surrendering his passport and any firearms he owns.[141]

After Cohen’s conviction his personal lawyer, Lanny Davis, stated that Cohen was ready to “tell everything about Donald Trump that he knows”.[143] Davis alluded to Cohen’s knowledge which could be used against Trump, and hinted that Cohen had knowledge of whether Trump knew in advance about the computer hacking that was detrimental to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, as well as knowledge of the meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016.[144] He later added that he believed Cohen would agree to testify before Congress, even without immunity.[145]

Responding to speculation that President Trump might issue a pardon for Cohen, lawyer Davis said on NPR, “I know that Mr. Cohen would never accept a pardon from a man that he considers to be both corrupt and a dangerous person in the oval office. And [Cohen] has flatly authorized me to say under no circumstances would he accept a pardon from Mr. Trump.”[146] In his interview to Sky News, Davis said the turning point for his client′s attitude toward Trump was the Helsinki summit in July 2018 which caused him to doubt Trump’s loyalty to the U.S.[147]

Personal life

Cohen married Ukraine-born Laura Shusterman in 1994.[10][148][149] Laura Shusterman’s father, Fima Shusterman, left Ukraine for New York in 1975.[149] He has a daughter who was attending the University of Pennsylvania as of May 2017.[150][151] His uncle is a family practitioner who gave medical aid to members of the Lucchese crime family.[149]

Before joining the Trump Organization, Cohen had purchased several homes in Trump’s buildings.[6] A 2017 New York Times article reported that Cohen is known for having “a penchant for luxury”; he was married at The Pierre, drove a Porsche while attending college, and once owned a Bentley.[10]

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Cohen_(lawyer)

Story 3: Mueller Investigation Has Found No Evidence of Trump/Russian Collusion and No Votes Were Changed By Russians in 2016 President Election — Yes Russians Interfered With 2016 Election — Where Was Obama Administration? — Where is The Evidence of Collusion? — Videos —

Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein: “The indictment charges 13 Russian nationals…” (C-SPAN)

Word for Word: Deputy AG Rosenstein on Indictments of 12 Russian Intelligence Officers (C-SPAN)

Trump calls it a witch hunt – but Mueller just indicted 12 more Russians

What do Mueller’s indictments tell us about what’s next for Russia probe?

Robert Mueller Appointed As Special Counsel To Investigate Russia Collusion

What to Know About the Russia Indictment

Trump-Russia collusion case DOA?

Inconceivable Putin did not know about this: Napolitano

12 Russians indicted, but where’s the collusion?

Special counsel Mueller indicts 13 Russians, Trump denies collusion

Russia is trampling over US interests: Gen. Keane

Revealed: How the 12 Russian hackers indicted by the DOJ used $95,000 worth of Bitcoin to finance their secret bid to swing the 2016 election

  • Hackers fired off fishing emails to Democrats to try and get personal information
  • Used bitcoin payments worth $95,000 to buy domain registrations and servers
  • Spread stolen information on social networks including Twitter and Facebook
  • Used pseudonyms like ‘Kate S. Milton’ and ‘James McMorgans’ to hide identity 
  • One of the hackers spoke directly to long-time Trump confidante Roger Stone 

The indictment on Friday of a dozen Russian military intelligence officers for hacking Democratic Party and Clinton Campaign emails in an effort to sway the 2016 election throws light on a sophisticated operation believed to have close links with Vladimir Putin.

The male hackers adopted pseudonyms from genuine-sounding names like Kate S. Milton and James McMorgans to more bizarre options like djangomagicdev and realblatr as they fired off phishing emails aimed at getting their targets to reveal sensitive information.

This information was then spread through fake social media accounts and websites. Bitcoin transactions worth $95,000 were used to purchase domain registrations and computer servers while maintaining anonymity, according to the indictment.

The 29-page document, drafted by a team overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller, raises some awkward questions for President Trump (seen with First Lady Melania leaving Air Force One after landing in London on Thursday)

Robert Mueller in Washington on June 21, 2017

The document, published by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, says the officers were members of the Russian government’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), which suggests their work was done with the full knowledge of President Putin.

They worked out of two Moscow locations: Unit 26165, located at 20 Komsomolsky Prospekt; and Unit 74455, based in a glass office block on 22 Kirova Street dubbed ‘The Tower’.

The 29-page document, drafted by a team overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller, says that in the months leading up to the November 2016 election, the Russians used fairly simple methods to steal documents from the Democratic Party and the Clinton Campaign.

This including sending emails disguised as Google security alerts containing links to malware, which they then used to steal passwords, track computer usage and monitor banking information.

Information aimed at damaging Clinton’s prospects was then circulated on popular social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook under fake names often claiming to be based on the US.

One of the group’s servers was based in Illinois and, as was usual, bought with bitcoin.

Hackers used phishing emails to target members of the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic Party. Clinton is pictured in Pittsburgh on July 13

Hackers used phishing emails to target members of the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic Party. Clinton is pictured in Pittsburgh on July 13

‘The use of bitcoin allowed the conspirators to avoid direct relationships with traditional financial institutions, allowing them to evade greater scrutiny of their identities and sources of funds,’ the indictment said.

Mueller’s team says the Russians used ‘spearphishing’ – a technique used to steal passwords or otherwise gain access to computers – throughout the summer of 2016 to hack individuals associated with the Clinton campaign.

One attempt noted in the indictment appeared to come hours after Donald Trump suggested Russians look for Clinton’s emails.

On the morning of July 27, 2016, Trump gave a speech in which he said ‘Russia, if you’re listening,’ he’d love to get a look at the thousands of emails Clinton had said she deleted from her tenure as secretary of state.

The indictment points to a hacking attempt that same day, saying that ‘after hours’ the Russians attempted to ‘spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office.’

Around the same time, the indictment says, they targeted 76 email addresses at the Clinton campaign’s domain.

The indictment raises questions for President Trump’s long-time confidante Roger Stone, who on Friday acknowledged communicating over Twitter messages with a user called Guccifer 2.0 – identified on the indictment as a Russian agent. Stone insists he did not know this at the time.

Trump’s political opponents have accused Stone of being part of a plot to release material on WikiLeaks, pointing to statements he made in August 2016 suggesting he knew in advance what would appear on the website.

The document says the officers were members of the Russian government's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), which suggests their work was done with the full knowledge of President Putin (pictured speaking to President Trump in Vietnam on November 11, 2017)

The document says the officers were members of the Russian government’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), which suggests their work was done with the full knowledge of President Putin (pictured speaking to President Trump in Vietnam on November 11, 2017)

According to the indictment, the Russian hacking operation was so precise that they were able to pinpoint specific computers within the House Democratic campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic National Committee that stored information related to the election.

They were able to search the computers for certain terms, like ‘Hillary,’ ”Cruz,’ and ‘Trump.’ They also copied folders, including opposition research and field operation plans.

The Russians hid their involvement through fake email addresses and identities and a network of computers located around the world – including in the United States.

The indictment says the Russians hacked the website of a state board of elections and stole the information of roughly 500,000 voters, including names, addresses, partial Social Security numbers, dates of birth and driver’s license numbers.

They also hacked into a national election vendor that supplied software used to verify voter registration information.

Federal officials have said state election sites in at least 18 states were probed by the Russians. The indictment adds county offices – specifically in Georgia, Florida and Iowa – to the list of election administration sites they allegedly visited ‘to identify vulnerabilities.’

Department of Homeland Security officials have said there is no evidence of any election results being tampered with during the 2016 intrusions.

Senator Mark Warner says Trump should not meet Putin one-on-one

 

Story 4: President Trump’s Supporters in West Virginia Still Wild About President As Approval Rating Declines From 50% to 45% — How Many Miles of Trump’s New Beautiful Wall Have Been Built? — None — Slowing Replacing Old Barriers and Fencing — Congress Has Not Funded Trump’s New Wall — Democrats New Theme “America Was Never Great” — Videos

See the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

President Trump EXPLOSIVE Speech at MASSIVE Rally in Charleston, West Virginia – August 21, 2018

Trump holds rally in West Virginia

Trump talks trade, job growth at MAGA rally in West Virginia

NY Governor Cuomo: America was ‘never that great’

America Was NEVER Great?!” Tucker Reacts to NY Governor Cuomo’s Ludicrous Comment

Andrew Cuomo’s comment was despicable: Judge Jeanine Pirro

Joe Piscopo on Andrew Cuomo: I’m sick of people putting down America

Immersive Live Stream: How’s POTUS’ Rally In WV Last Night?

Cohen pleads guilty, what’s next for President Trump? – BBC Newsnight

Is Donald Trump likely to be impeached? – BBC Newsnight

White House Reaction To Paul Manafort And Michael Cohen Indictments | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Politicians react to Cohen and Manafort convictions

The Wall Is Being Built! (Slowly.)

Construction workers place a section of new bollard wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in Santa Teresa, N.M., April 23, 2018. (Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

The U.S. government is currently installing sections of Trump’s 30-foot-high wall in three places.The good news for those who wish to see a wall built along the U.S.–Mexican border is that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has built seven miles of 30-foot-high wall in the past few months, and roughly 30 more miles of high fencing are slated for construction.

The bad news is that there’s still a lot of border to go.

New reports from Carlos Diaz, southwest branch chief of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, indicate that one of the three current wall projects is nearly complete, another is about a quarter of the way done, and one just began earlier this month.

The first border-wall construction project began in February near downtown Calexico, Calif., roughly 120 miles east of San Diego. Here, construction contractor SWF Constructors, of Omaha, Neb., is putting up a 30-foot high “bollard-style wall” to replace 2.25 miles of wall built in the 1990s out of recycled scraps of metal and steel plates. (The bollard style uses bars, so that border patrol officers can see through to the other side.)

When construction began, the agency stated, “Although the existing wall has proven effective at deterring unlawful cross border activity, smuggling organizations damaged and breached this outdated version of a border wall several hundred times during the last two years, resulting in costly repairs.” When construction began, David Kim, assistant chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s El Centro sector, emphasized to local media that the construction was not tied to any particular immigration debate in Washington. It was, he said, a “local tactical infrastructure project that was planned for quite some time.”

This wall project, estimated to cost about $18 million, is approaching completion, with roughly 1.8 miles — 1,171 panels – completed as of this week.

In April, CBP began the second section near Santa Theresa, N.M., which is near the Texas–New Mexico state line. 20-mile section of existing vehicle barrier that begins just west of the Santa Teresa Port of Entry and extending westward will be replaced with an 18- to 30-foot-high bollard-style wall. About 5.3 miles, or 3,851 panels, have been completed.

As the name implies, a vehicle fence is not designed to keep people out. It comes in two forms: “Normandy fences” that are metal posts resembling jacks or large X’s, cabled together; or rows of vertical metal posts, tall enough and close enough together to make it impossible to drive a car through them.

The project is expected to cost approximately $73.3 million and will take roughly a year to complete.

The total length of the U.S.–Mexico border is 1,954 miles; as of August 2017, 705 miles have at least one of four kinds of barriers.

At the beginning of June, the CBP began the third project near San Diego, replacing approximately 14 miles of 8- to 10-foot-high scrap metal wall with an 18- to 30-foot bollard-style wall topped off with an anti-climbing plate. The project begins approximately a half-mile from the Pacific Ocean coastline and extends eastward to the base of Otay Mountain in East San Diego County. The project is estimated to cost $147 million; 50 panels have been installed as of June 20.

The total length of the U.S.–Mexico border is 1,954 miles; as of August 2017, 705 miles have at least one of four kinds of barriers: pedestrian primary fence, pedestrian secondary fence, pedestrian tertiary fence, and vehicle fence.

According to the General Accounting Office, the amount of primary and vehicle fencing increased fairly dramatically during the latter years of the Bush administration and in the first year or so of the Obama administration. From 2005 to 2010, the total miles of border fencing on the southwest border increased from 119 to 654 — including 354 miles of primary pedestrian fencing and 300 miles of primary vehicle fencing. But after 2010, construction of new fencing came to a virtual halt.

A map of the fencing completed as of December 2017 shows much of California’s border covered, Arizona heavily dependent on vehicle fencing (183 miles’ worth), with southwestern New Mexico and west Texas having the longest uncovered stretches. This aligns with the areas where the terrain and heat are most difficult for those attempting to sneak over the border.

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council — the labor union that represents U.S. Border Patrol — testified before Congress in April 2017:

I will not advocate for 2,000 miles’ worth of border. That is just not necessary. But what I will advocate for is a border wall in strategic locations, which helps us secure the border. . . . The building of barriers and large fences, a bipartisan effort, allowed agents in part to dictate where illegal crossings took place and doubled how effective I was able to be in apprehending illegal border crossers.

A wall “is not a panacea to illegal immigration and drug trafficking,” he added in his submitted written testimony. “Illegal immigrants and drug traffickers routinely go over, under, and through the existing fencing that we already have in place. Fencing without the proper manpower to arrest those who penetrate it is not a prudent investment.”

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/06/us-mexico-border-wall-being-built-slowly/#slide-1

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1115, Story 1: War of Words: Islamic Republic of Iran Major General Qassem Soleimani Warns United States and Trump — Waiting For President Trump Tweet Response — Videos — Story 2: Vice President Pence Talks Turkey: Free Pastor or Face U.S. Sanctions — Release Now — Videos — Story 2: House Republicans Trying To Impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosestein — Trump Will Fire Rosestein After Midterm Elections and Attorney General Sessions Will Either Appoint Second Counsel or Trump Will Accept Resignation — Videos — Story 4: Special Counsel Mueller Goes After President Trump’s Tweets — Desperation Move — Complete Investigation or Face Firing — Videos

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You may start the war but we will end it: Soleimani warns Trump

Who is Qasem Soleimani?

Iran’s revolutionary guard explained

Is this Iranian the most powerful man in Iraq? – Newsnight

President Trump: U.S. Won’t Stand For Iranian President’s ‘Demented Words’ | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Sebastian Gorka: Trump understands how fragile Iran is

Iranian President Warns Trump Not To ‘Play With The Lion’s Tail’

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

US vs Iran – Strait of Hormuz

The differences and similarities between Sunni and Shia Isalm

10 Differences Between Shia and Sunni Muslims

 

Story 1: Islamic Republic of Iran Threatens United States Again — Waiting For President Trump Tweet Response — Videos

Trump Tower in ruins? Iranian special forces leader warns Trump that war ‘will destroy everything you own’ and boasted that ‘nation of martyrdom’ can strike U.S. military

  • Major General Qassem Soleimani warned Trump in a speech that a war with Iran would ‘destroy everything you own’
  • The boast may be a suggestion that terrorists aided by Iran’s military are prepared to strike the president’s real estate properties
  • Soleimani said U.S. military in the Red Sea area are not secure: ‘Trump should know that we are nation of martyrdom and that we await him’
  • Trump softened his tone toward Iran this week and said he might be ready for a new nuclear deal
  • That came after he warned Iran’s president that he would ‘SUFFER CONSEQUENCES’ for threatening the U.S.

The general in charge of Iran‘s elite paramilitary Quds Forces warned Donald Trumpon Thursday that war with the Islamist country would eliminate his entire net worth, suggesting terrorists aided by Iran’s military are prepared to strike his real estate properties.

‘You know that this war will destroy everything you own,’ Major General Qassem Soleimani said during a speech in the central Iranian city of Hamedan.

He also said the Red Sea is not secure while U.S. troops are deployed in the area: ‘Trump should know that we are nation of martyrdom and that we await him.’

‘We are near you, where you can’t even imagine … Come. We are ready. If you begin the war, we will end the war,’ he boasted.

Iranian Quds Forces commander Major General Qassem Soleimani warned Trump in a speech that a war with Iran would 'destroy everything you own'

Trump had already softened his tone toward Iran this week and said he might be ready for a new nuclear deal

The latest Iranian boast may be a suggestion that terrorists aided by Tehran's military are prepared to strike the president's real estate properties

‘You have to be careful about insulting the Iranian people and the president of our Republic.’

Iran this week dismissed a warning from Trump that Tehran risked dire consequences if it made threats against the United States.

Trump softened his threatening tone on Tuesday, just two days after he blasted an allcaps warning about ‘consequences’ for Tehran’s anti-U.S. rhetoric.

Addressing the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Trump took credit for pulling the U.S. out of the Obama-era Iran nuclear accord, but said his administration stands ready for Iran to come back to the negotiating table.

Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate would be an appetizing target for America's enemies

The president warned Iran's president Sunday night not to provoke him

The president warned Iran’s president Sunday night not to provoke him

‘We’re ready to make a real deal, not the deal that was done by the previous administration, which was a disaster,’ he said.

Late Sunday night he tweeted to Rouhani: ‘NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.’

Rouhani had claimed that ‘Iran is the mother of all peace’ before warning Trump that ‘war with Iran is the mother of all wars.’

‘Don’t play with fire, or you will regret [it],’ the Iranian leader continued. ‘Iranian people are the master and they will never bow to anyone.’

Iran President warns Trump not to take military action

Soleimani, who as Quds Force commander is in charge of the Revolutionary Guards’ overseas operations, put his disdain for Trump in more personal terms.

‘Trump’s language is still the ethics of nightclubs and gambling halls,’ he said Thursday.

His threat directed at U.S. troops in the Red Sea area came as Saudi Arabia said it was temporarily halting all oil shipments through the strategic shipping lane of Bab al-Mandeb, following an attack on two oil tankers by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

Yemen, where a U.S-backed, Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis for three years, lies beside the southern mouth of the Red Sea, one of the most important trade routes in the world for oil tankers.

 

ww.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5995587/Iranian-special-forces-leader-warns-Trump-war-destroy-own.html

 

Qasem Soleimani

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Sardar
Qasem Soleimani
Sardar Qasem Soleimani-01.jpg
Native name قاسم سلیمانی
Nickname(s) Haj Qasem” (among supporters)[1]

“The Shadow Commander” (in the West)[2][3][4][5][6]

Born 11 March 1957 (age 61)
Qanat-e MalekKermanImperial State of Iran
Allegiance Iran
Service/branch Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Years of service 1979–present
Rank Major general
Unit Quds Force
Commands held 41st Tharallah Division of Kerman
Quds Force
Battles/wars

show

See battles
Awards Fath Medal.jpg Fath Medal of Honor (3)[14]

Qasem Soleimani (Persianقاسم سلیمانی‎, born 11 March 1957) is an Iranian Major General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and since 1998 commander of its Quds Force—a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations.[15]

A veteran military officer of the Iran–Iraq War of the 1980s with a humble background, he has been active in many conflicts in the rest of the Middle East, especially in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, while maintaining a very low profile. His methods have been a blend of military and financial assistance to Shiite allies and hard-nosed strategic diplomacy. It has long provided military assistance to anti-Saddam Shia and Kurdish groups in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in the Palestinian territories. In 2012, Soleimani helped bolster the Syrian government, a key Iranian ally, during the Syrian Civil War. Soleimani also assisted in the command of combined Iraqi government and Shia militia forces that advanced against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2014–2015.[16]

 

Background

Soleimani was born in Qanat-e Malek village, Rabor CountyKerman Province, to an impoverished peasant family. In his youth, he moved to the city of Kerman and worked as a construction worker to help repay a debt his father owed. In 1975, he began working as a contractor for the Kerman Water Organization.[17] When not at work, he spent his time lifting weights in local gyms and attending the sermons of a traveling preacher by the name of Hojjat Kamyab – a protege of Ayatollah Khomeini.[18]

Military Career

Soleimani joined the Revolutionary war Guard (IRGC) in 1979 following the Iranian Revolution, which saw the Shah fall and Ayatollah Khomeini take power. Reportedly, his training was minimal, but he advanced rapidly. Early in his career as a guardsman, he was stationed in northwestern Iran, and participated in the suppression of a Kurdish separatist uprising in West Azerbaijan Province.[18]

On 22 September 1980, when Saddam Hussein launched an invasion of Iran, setting off the Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988), Suleimani joined the battlefield serving as the leader of a military company, consisting of men from Kerman whom he personally assembled and trained.[19] He quickly earned a reputation for bravery,[20] and rose through the ranks because of his role in the successful operations in retaking the lands Iraq had occupied, eventually becoming the commander of the 41st Sarallah Division while still in his 20s, participating in most major operations. He was mostly stationed at the southern front[19][21] He was heavily injured in Operation Tariq-ol-Qods. In a 1990 interview, he mentions Operation Fath-ol-Mobin as “the best” operation he participated in and “very memorable”, due to its difficulties yet positive outcome.[22] He was also engaged in leading and organizing irregular warfare missions deep inside Iraq carried out by the Ramadan Headquarters. It was at this point that Suleimani established relations with Kurdish Iraqi leaders and the Shia Badr Organization, both of which opposed to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.[19]

On July 17, 1985, Soleimani opposed the IRGC leadership’s plan to deploy forces to two islands in western Arvandroud (Shatt al-Arab).[23]

After the war, during the 1990s, he was an IRGC commander in Kerman Province.[21] In this region, which is relatively close to Afghanistan, Afghan-grown opium travels to Turkey and onto Europe. Soleimani’s military experience helped him earn a reputation as a successful fighter against drug trafficking.[18]

During the 1999 student revolt in Tehran, Soleiman was one of the IRGC officers who signed a letter to President Mohammad Khatami. The letter stated that if Khatami did not crush the student rebellion the military would, and might also launch a coup against Khatami.[18][24]

Command of Quds Force

The exact date of his appointment as commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force is not clear, but Ali Alfoneh cites it as between 10 September 1997 and 21 March 1998.[17] He was considered one of the possible successors to the post of commander of the IRGC, when General Yahya Rahim Safavi left this post in 2007. In 2008, he led a group of Iranian investigators looking into the death of Imad Mughniyah. Soleimani helped arrange a ceasefire between the Iraqi Army and Mahdi Army in March 2008.[25]

Following the September 11 attacks of 2001, Ryan Crocker, a senior State Department official in the United States, flew to Geneva to meet with Iranian diplomats who were under the direction of Soleimani with the purpose of collaborating to destroy the Taliban, which had targeted Shia Afghanis.[18] This collaboration was instrumental in defining the targets of bombing operations in Afghanistan and in capturing key Al Qaeda operatives, but abruptly ended in January 2002, when George W Bush named Iran as part of the “Axis of evil” in his State of the Union address.[18]

In 2009, a leaked report stated that General Soleimani met Christopher R. Hill and General Raymond T. Odierno (America’s two most senior officials in Baghdad at the time) in the office of Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani (who has known General Soleimani for decades). Hill and General Odierno denied the occurrence of the meeting.[26]

On 24 January 2011, Soleimani was promoted to Major General by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.[21][27] Khamenei is described as having a close relationship with him, helping him financially and has called Soleimani a “living martyr”.[18]

Soleimani has been described as “the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today” and the principal military strategist and tactician in Iran’s effort to combat Western influence and promote the expansion of Shiite and Iranian influence throughout the Middle East.[18] In Iraq, as the commander of the Quds force, he is believed to have strongly influenced the organization of the Iraqi government, notably supporting the election of previous Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki.[18][28] Soleimani has even been described as being “Iran’s very own Erwin Rommel“.[29]

According to some sources, Soleimani is the principal leader and architect of the military wing of the Lebanese Shia party Hezbollah since his appointment as Quds commander in 1998.[18]

Syrian Civil War

A map of Al-Qusayr and its environs. The Al-Qusayr offensive was allegedly masterminded by Soleimani[30]

According to several sources, including Riad Hijab, a former Syrian premier who defected in August 2012, he is also one of the staunchest supporters of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War.[18][28] In the later half of 2012, Soleimani assumed personal control of the Iranian intervention in the Syrian civil war, when Iranians became deeply concerned about the Assad government’s lack of ability to fight the opposition, and the fallout to the Islamic Republic if the Syrian government fell. He is reported to have coordinated the war from a base in Damascus at which a Lebanese Hezbollah commander and an Iraqi Shiite militia coordinator have been mobilized, in addition to Syrian and Iranian officers. Brigadier General Hossein Hamadani, the Basij’s former deputy commander helps to run irregular militias that Soleimani hopes to continue the fight if Assad falls.[18] Under Soleimani the command has “coordinated attacks, trained militias, and set up an elaborate system to monitor rebel communications”. According to a Middle Eastern security official Dexter Filkins talked to, thousands of Quds Force and Iraqi Shiite militiamen in Syria are “spread out across the entire country.”[18] The retaking of Qusayr in May 2013 from Syrian rebels was, according to John Maguire, a former CIA officer in Iraq, “orchestrated” by Soleimani.[18]

He is widely credited with delivering the strategy that has helped President Bashar al-Assad turn the tide against rebel forces and recapture key cities and towns.[31] The details of his involvement however are little known but many events from the training of government allied militias and coordination of decisive military offensives[18] to the sighting of Iranian UAVs & spy-drones in Syria, strongly suggest that his command (the Quds force) is heavily involved in many aspects of the civil war.[18] In a visit to the Lebanese capital Beirut on Thursday 29 Jan 2015, Soleimani laid wreaths at the graves of the slain Hezbollah members, including Emad Mughniyah, the son of late Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyah which strengthens some possibilities about his role in Hezbollah military reaction on Israel.[32]

Soleimani helped in formation of the National Defence Forces (NDF) in Syria.

In October 2015, it was reported that he had been instrumental in devising during his visit to Moscow in July 2015 the Russian-Iranian-Syrian offensive in October 2015.[33]

War on ISIS in Iraq

The east of Saladin Province in Iraq where Qasem Soleimani was involved in breaking the Siege of Amirli by ISIS[34]

Qasem Soleimani was in the Iraqi city of Amerli, to work with the Iraqi forces to push back militants from ISIS.[35][36] According to the Los Angeles Times, which reported that Amerli was the first town to successfully withstand an ISIS invasion, it was secured thanks to “an unusual partnership of Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers, Iranian-backed Shiite militias and U.S. warplanes”. The US acted as a force multiplier for a number of Iranian-backed arm groups—at the same time that was present on the battlefield.[37][38]

A senior Iraqi official told the BBC that when the city of Mosul fell, the rapid reaction of Iran, rather than American bombing, was what prevented a more widespread collapse.[9] Qasem Soleimani also seems to have been instrumental in planning the operation to relieve Amirli in Saladin province where ISIS had laid siege to an important city.[34] In fact the Quds force operatives under Soleimani’s command seem to have been deeply involved with not only the Iraqi army and Shi’ite militias but also the Kurdish in the battle of Amirli,[39] not only providing liaisons for intelligence sharing but also the supply of arms and munitions in addition to “providing expertise”.[40]

In the operation to liberate Jurf Al Sakhar, he was reportedly “present on the battlefield”. Some Shia militia commanders described Soleimani as “fearless”—one pointing out that the Iranian general never wears a flak jacket, even on the front lines.[41]

Soleimani was also intimately involved in the planning & execution of the operation to liberate Tikrit[42][43]

Hadi al-Amiri, the former Iraqi minister of transportation and the head of the Badr Organization [an official Iraqi political party whose military wing is one of the largest armed forces in the country] highlighted the pivotal role of General Qasem Soleimani in defending Iraq’s Kurdistan Region against the ISIL terrorist group, maintaining that if it were not for Iran, Heidar al-Ebadi’s government would have been a government-in-exile right now.[44] and he added there would be no Iraq if Gen. Soleimani hadn’t helped us.[45]

There were reports by some Western sources that Soleimani has been seriously wounded in action against ISIL in Samarra. The claim was rejected by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.[46]

Soleimani played an integral role in the organisation and planning of the crucial operation to retake the city of Tikrit in Iraq from ISIS. The city of Tikrit rests on the left bank of the Tigris river and is the largest and most important city between Baghdad and Mosul, gifting it a high strategic value. The city fell to ISIS during 2014 when ISIS made immense gains in northern and central Iraq. After its capture, ISIL performed its most infamous massacre at Camp Speicher. After months of careful preparation and intelligence gathering an offensive to encircle and capture Tikrit was launched in early March 2015.[43] Soleimani is directing the operations on the eastern flank from a village about 35 miles from Tikrit called Albu Rayash, captured over the weekend. The offensive is the biggest military operation in the Salahuddin region since last summer, when ISIS fighters killed hundreds of Iraq army soldiers who had abandoned their military base at Camp Speicher outside Tikrit.

Orchestration of military escalation in 2015

In 2015 Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad’s forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah.[47][48][49]

According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory—with Russia’s help. Qasem Soleimani’s visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new Iranian–Russian alliance in support of the Syrian (and Iraqi) governments. Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei also sent a senior envoy to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin. “Putin reportedly told the envoy ‘Okay we will intervene. Send Qassem Soleimani’. Gen. Soleimani went to explain the map of the theatre and coordinate the strategic escalation of military forces in Syria.[48]

Operations in Aleppo

Map of the offensive.[50][51][52][53][54][55]

Soleimani, who assumed overall command in the Aleppo offensives of 2015,[citation needed] had a decisive impact on the theatre of operations and led to a strong advance in southern Aleppo with the government and allied forces re-capturing two military bases and dozens of towns and villages in a matter of weeks. There was also a series of major advances towards Kuweiris air-base to the north-east.[56] By mid-November, the Syrian army and its allies had gained ground in southern areas of Aleppo Governorate, capturing numerous rebel strongholds. Soleimani was reported to have personally led the drive deep into the southern Aleppo countryside where many towns and villages fell into government hands. Soleimani reportedly commanded the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division, Hezbollah, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi), Kata’ib Hezbollah (Iraqi), Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-Abbas (Iraqi), and Firqa Fatayyemoun (Afghan/Iranian volunteers).[57]

It is unclear whether or not the General sustained possibly grave injuries, but in response to reports about his injury[58] during the southwest Aleppo operation, he is quoted as saying, “Martyrdom is what I seek in mountains and valleys, but it isn’t granted yet”.[59]

In early February 2016, backed by Russian and Syrian air force airstrikes, the 4th Mechanized Division – in close coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF), Kata’eb Hezbollah, and Harakat Al-Nujaba – launched an offensive in Aleppo Governorate’s northern countryside,[60] which eventually broke the three-year siege of Nubl and Al-Zahraa and cut off rebel’s main supply route from Turkey. According to a senior, non-Syrian security source close to Damascus, Iranian fighters played a crucial role in the conflict. “Qassem Soleimani is there in the same area”, he said.[61] In December 2016, new photos emerged of Soleimani at the Citadel of Aleppo, though the exact date of the photos is unknown.[62][63]

Operations in 2017

In late March 2017, Soleimani was seen in the northern Hama Governorate countryside, reportedly aiding Maj. Gen. Suheil al-Hassan in repelling a major rebel offensive.[13]

CIA’s chief, Mike Pompeo, said that he sent Soleimani and other Iranian leaders a letter holding them responsible for any attacks on US interests by forces under their control. According to Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, a senior aide for the country’s supreme leader, Soleimani ignored the letter when it was handed over to him while he was in the Abu Kamal offensive against ISIL, saying “I will not take your letter nor read it and I have nothing to say to these people.”[64][65]

In popular culture

General Soleimani in civil dress during a public ceremony in 2013

He is said to have a calm presence about him,[66] carry himself “inconspicuously and rarely raises his voice”, exhibiting “understated charisma“.[20] In Western sources, Qassem Suleimani’s personality has been compared to the fictional characters KarlaKeyser Söze,[20] and Scarlet Pimpernel.[67]

The 2016 award-winning movie Bodyguard, directed by Ebrahim Hatamikia, was inspired by Soleimani’s activities.[68]

The 2016 Persian book Noble Comrades 17: Hajj Qassem, written by Ali Akbari Mozdabadi, contains memoirs of Qassem Soleimani.[69]

Hadi Al-Ameri the head of the Badr Organization in Iraq says about him: “If Qasem Soleimani was not present in Iraq, Haidar al-Ibadi should form his cabinet out of Iraqi borders”.[70]

In politics

In 1999, Soleimani, along with other senior IRGC commanders, signed a letter to then-President Mohammad Khatami regarding the student protests in July. They wrote “Dear Mr. Khatami, how long do we have to shed tears, sorrow over the events, practice democracy by chaos and insults, and have revolutionary patience at the expense of sabotaging the system? Dear president, if you don’t make a revolutionary decision and act according to your Islamic and national missions, tomorrow will be so late and irrecoverable that cannot be even imagined.”[71]

Iranian media reported in 2012 that he might be replaced as the commander of Quds Force in order to allow him to run in the 2013 presidential election.[72] He reportedly refused to be nominated for the election.[71] According to BBC, in 2015 a campaign started among conservative bloggers for Soleimani to stand for 2017 presidential election.[73] In 2016, he was speculated as a possible candidate,[71][74] however in a statement published on 15 September 2016, he called speculations about his candidacy as “divisive reports by the enemies” and said he will “always remain a simple soldier serving Iran and the Islamic Revolution”.[75]

Personal life

Qasem Soleimani is from Kerman. His father was a farmer who died in 2017. His mother, Fatemeh died in 2013.[76] He comes from a family of nine and has five sisters and one brother, Sohrab, who lived and worked with Soleimani in his youth.[77] Sohrab Soleimani is a warden and former director general of the Tehran Prisons Organization. U.S. put sanctions on him in April 2017 “for his role in abuses in Iranian prisons”.[78]

Soleimani has Dan in karate and was a fitness trainer in his youth. He has four children: two sons and two daughters.[79]

Sanctions

In March 2007, Soleimani was included on a list of Iranian individuals targeted with sanctions in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747.[80] On 18 May 2011, he was sanctioned again by the United States along with Syrian president Bashar Assad and other senior Syrian officials due to his alleged involvement in providing material support to the Syrian government.[81]

On 24 June 2011, the Official Journal of the European Union said the three Iranian Revolutionary Guard members now subject to sanctions had been “providing equipment and support to help the Syrian government suppress protests in Syria”.[82] The Iranians added to the EU sanctions list were two Revolutionary Guard commanders, Soleimani, Mohammad Ali Jafari, and the Guard’s deputy commander for intelligence, Hossein Taeb.[83] Soleimani was also sanctioned by the Swiss government in September 2011 due to the same grounds cited by the European Union.[84]

He is listed by the United States as a known terrorist, which forbids U.S. citizens from doing business with him.[25][85] The list, published in the EU’s Official Journal on 24 June 2011, also includes a Syrian property firm, an investment fund and two other enterprises accused of funding Assad’s government. The list also includes Mohammad Ali Jafari and Hossein Taeb.[86]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qasem_Soleimani

Quds Force

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Quds Force
سپاه قدس
Seal of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution.svg
Active 1980–present
Country Iran
Branch Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Type Special operations force
Role Special operations
Size Classified (estimate: 15,000)
Engagements Iran–Iraq War
1982 Lebanon War
Bosnian War
South Lebanon conflict (1985–2000)
Battle for Herat
Balochistan conflict
Iran–PJAK conflict
Syrian Civil War
2014 Northern Iraq offensive
Military intervention against ISIL

Commanders
Commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani

The Quds Force[1] (Persianسپاه قدس‎ sepāh-e qods) is a special forces unit of Iran‘s Revolutionary Guards responsible for their extraterritorial operations.[2] The Quds Force reports directly to the Supreme Leader of IranAli Khamenei.[3][4] Its commander is Major General Qasem Soleimani[5] and his deputy was Hossein Hamadani.[6] While “little is reliably known” about the force,[7] as of 2007, its size was estimated at 15,000 troops.[8]The United States has designated the Quds Force a supporter of terrorism since 2007.[9]

 

History and mission

The Quds Force was created during the Iran–Iraq War as a special unit from the broader IRGC forces. Both during and after the war, it provided support to the Kurds fighting Saddam Hussein. In 1982, a Quds unit was deployed to Lebanon, where it assisted in the genesis of Hezbollah.[10] The Force also expanded its operations into neighboring Afghanistan, most notably aiding Abdul Ali Mazari‘s Shi’a Hezbe Wahdat in the 1980s against the government of Mohammad Najibullah. It then began funding and supporting Ahmad Shah Massoud‘s Northern Alliance against the Taliban.[11] However, in recent years, the Quds Force is alleged to have been helping and guiding the Taliban insurgents against the NATO-backed Karzai administration.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18] There were also reports of the unit lending support to Bosnian Muslims fighting the Bosnian Serbs during the Yugoslav wars.[19][20][21]

According to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad helped fund the Quds Force while he was stationed at the Ramazan garrison near Iraq, during the late 1980s.[22]

In January 2010, according to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the mission of the Quds Force was expanded and the Force along with Hezbollah started a new campaign of attacks targeting not only the US and Israel but also other Western bodies.[23]

Organization

8 directorates of Quds Force Operations

The force is described as “active in dozens of countries”.[7] According to former U.S. Army intelligence officer David Dionisi, the Quds force is organized into eight different directorates based on geographic location:[24]

According to journalist Dexter Filkins, the force’s members are “divided between combatants and those who train and oversee foreign assets”, and the force is divided into branches focusing on “intelligence, finance, politics, sabotage, and special operations. Members are chosen both for their skill and “allegiance to the doctrine of the Islamic Revolution”.[25]

In addition, Dionisi asserts in his book American Hiroshima that the Iranian Quds Force headquarters for operations in Iraq was moved in 2004 to the Iran-Iraq border in order to better supervise activities in Iraq.[24] The Quds Force also has a headquarters in the former compound of the U.S. Embassy, which was overrun in 1979.[26]

According to Filkins and American General Stanley A. McChrystal, it was the Quds Force that “flooded” Iraq with “explosively formed projectiles” which fire a molten copper slug able to penetrate armor, and which accounted for “nearly 20%” of American combat deaths in Iraq (i.e. hundreds of soldiers).[25] In September 2007, a few years after the publication of American Hiroshima: The Reasons Why and a Call to Strengthen America’s Democracy in July 2006, General David Petraeus reported to Congress that the Quds Force had left Iraq. Petraeus said, “The Quds Force itself, we believe, by and large, those individuals have been pulled out of the country, as have the Lebanese Hezbollah trainers that were being used to augment that activity.”[27]

On July 7, 2008, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Seymour Hersh wrote an article in The New Yorker revealing that President Bush had signed a Presidential Finding authorizing the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command to conduct cross-border paramilitary operations from Iraq and Afghanistan into Iran. These operations would be against the Quds Force and “high-value targets”.[28] “The Finding was focused on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change”, a person familiar with its contents said, and involved “working with opposition groups”.[28]

Size

The size of the Quds Force is unknown, with some experts believing that Quds Force numbers no more than 2,000 people, with 800 core operatives, and others saying that it could number anywhere from 3,000 to 50,000.[29][30][31]

Outside analysis

While it reports directly to the Supreme Leader of Iran, there are debates over how independently Quds Force operates.[29]

Mahan Abedin, director of research at the London-based Center for the Study of Terrorism (and editor of Islamism Digest), believes the unit is not independent: “Quds Force, although it’s a highly specialized department, it is subject to strict, iron-clad military discipline. It’s completely controlled by the military hierarchy of the IRGC, and the IRGC is very tightly controlled by the highest levels of the administration in Iran.”[32]

According to a Los Angeles Times report,[29] in Abedin’s view, “[I]t’s a very capable force—their people are extremely talented, [and] they tend to be the best people in the IRGC”.[32]

Activities

The Quds Force trains and equips foreign Islamic revolutionary groups around the Middle East. The paramilitary instruction provided by the Quds Force typically occurs in Iran or Sudan. Foreign recruits are transported from their home countries to Iran to receive training. The Quds Force sometimes plays a more direct role in the military operations of the forces it trains, including pre-attack planning and other operation-specific military advice.[24]

Afghanistan

Since 1979, Iran had supported the Shi’a Hezbe Wahdat forces against the Afghan government of Mohammad Najibullah. When Najibullah stepped down as President in 1992, Iran continued supporting Hezbe Wahdat against other Afghan militia groups. When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 1996, Hezbe Wahdat had lost its founder and main leader, Abdul Ali Mazari, so the group joined Ahmad Shah Massoud‘s Northern Alliance. Iran began supporting the Northern Alliance against the Taliban, who were backed by Pakistan and the Arab world.[33] In 1999, after several Iranian diplomats were killed by the Taliban in Mazar-e Sharif, Iran nearly got into a war with the Taliban.[34][35] The Quds Force reportedly fought alongside the United States and the Northern Alliance in the Battle for Herat. However, in recent years Iran is accused of helping and training the Taliban insurgents against the NATO-backed Karzai administration.[12][13] Iranian-made weapons, including powerful explosive devices are often found inside Afghanistan.[14][16][17][18]

We did interdict a shipment, without question the Revolutionary Guard‘s core Quds Force, through a known Taliban facilitator. Three of the individuals were killed… Iranians certainly view as making life more difficult for us if Afghanistan is unstable. We don’t have that kind of relationship with the Iranians. That’s why I am particularly troubled by the interception of weapons coming from Iran. But we know that it’s more than weapons; it’s money; it’s also according to some reports, training at Iranian camps as well.[15]

In March 2012, Najibullah Kabuli, leader of the National Participation Front (NPF) of Afghanistan, accused three senior leaders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards of plotting to assassinate him.[36] Some members of the Afghan Parliament accuses Iran of setting up Taliban bases in several Iranian cities, and that “Iran is directly involved in fanning ethniclinguistic and sectarian tensions in Afghanistan.”[37] There are reports about Iran’s Revolutionary Guards training Afghans inside Iran to carry out terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.[38]

Currently, the Revolutionary Guards recruit young people for terrorist activities in Afghanistan and try to revive the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan led by Gulbadin Hekmatyar and Taliban groups[38]

— Syed Kamal, a self-confessed agent for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and member of Sipah-i-Mohmmad

India

Following an attack on an Israeli diplomat in India in February 2012, Delhi Police at the time contended that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had some involvement.[39] This was subsequently confirmed in July 2012, after a report by the Delhi Police found evidence that members of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had been involved in the February 13 bomb attack in the capital.[39]

United States

On 11 October 2011, the Obama Administration revealed the United States Government’s allegations that the Quds Force was involved with the plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir, which also entailed plans to bomb the Israeli and Saudi embassies located in Washington, D.C.[40][41][42]

South America

It’s been reported that Iran has been increasing its presence in Latin America through Venezuela. Little is known publicly what their objectives are in the region, but in 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates denounced Iran for meddling in “subversive activities” using Quds Forces. However, Iran claims it is merely “ensuring the survival of the regime” by propagating regional influence.

Iraq

The Quds Force has been described as the Iranian “unit deployed to challenge the United States presence” in Iraq following the U.S. invasion of that country, which put “165,000 American troops along [Iran’s] western border,” adding to the American troops already in Iran’s eastern neighbor Afghanistan.[43]

The force “operated throughout Iraq, arming, aiding, and abetting Shiite militias”—i.e., the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in IraqDawa, and the Mahdi Army—”all” of which “had close ties to Iran, some dating back decades” as part of their struggle against Saddam Hussein‘s oppressive Arab nationalist regime.[43]

In November 2006, with sectarian violence in Iraq increasing, U.S. General John Abizaid accused the Quds Force of supporting “Shi’a death squads” even while the government of Iran pledges support in stabilization.[44] Similarly, in July 2007, Major General Kevin Bergner of the U.S. Army alleged that members of the Quds Force aided in the planning of a raid on U.S. forces in the Iraqi city of Karbala in January 2007.[45]

Former CIA officer Robert Baer asserts the Quds Force uses couriers for all sensitive communications.[46]

2006 detainment in Iraq

On 24 December 2006, the New York Times reported that at least four Iranians were captured by American troops in Iraq in the previous few days. According to the article, the U.S. government suspected that two of them were members of Quds Force, which would be some of the first physical proof of Quds Force activity in Iraq.[47] According to The Pentagon, the alleged the Quds Force members were “involved in the transfer of IED technologies from Iran to Iraq”.[48] The two men had entered Iraq legally, although they were not accredited diplomats. Iraqi officials believed that the evidence against the men was only circumstantial, but on 29 December, and under U.S. pressure, the Iraqi government ordered the men to leave Iraq. They were driven back to Iran that day.[49] In mid-January 2007 it was said that the two alleged Quds force officers seized by American forces were Brig. Gen. Mohsen Chizari and Col. Abu Amad Davari. According to the Washington Post. Chizari is the third highest officer of Quds Force, making him the highest-ranked Iranian to ever allegedly be held by the United States.[50]

American newspaper The New York Sun reported that the documents described the Quds Force as not only cooperating with Shi’a death squads, but also with fighters related to al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sunna. It said that the Quds Force had studied the Iraq situation in a similar manner to the U.S. Iraq Study Group, and had concluded that they must increase efforts with Sunni and Shiite groups in order to counter the influence of Sunni states.[51]

U.S. raid on Iranian liaison office

On 11 January 2007, U.S. forces raided and detained five employees of the Iranian liaison office in Irbil, Iraq. The U.S. military says the five detainees are connected to the Quds Force.[52][53] The operation has drawn protests from the regional Kurdish government while the Russian government called the detainments unacceptable.[54]

Alireza Nourizadeh, a political analyst at Voice of America, states that their arrests are causing concern in Iranian intelligence because the five alleged officials are knowledgeable of a wide range of Quds Force and Iranian activities in Iraq.[55] According to American ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, one of the men in custody is Quds Force’s director of operations.[56]

Iranian and Iraqi officials have maintained the detained men were part of a diplomatic mission in the city of ErbilIraq.[57] The five Iranian detainees were still being held at a U.S. prison in Iraq as of 8 July 2007.[58] The U.S. says they are “still being interrogated” and that it has “no plans to free them while they are seen as a security risk in Iraq”.[59] Iran says the detainees “are kidnapped diplomats” and that “they are held as hostages”.[60]

On 9 July 2009, the five detained diplomats in question were released from U.S. custody to Iraqi officials.[61]

Allegations of involvement in Karbala attack

On 20 January 2007, a group of gunmen attacked the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala, captured four American soldiers, and subsequently killed them. The attackers passed through an Iraqi checkpoint at around 5 pm, a total of five black GMC Suburbans, similar to those driven by U.S. security and diplomatic officials. They were also wearing American military uniforms and spoke fluent English. Because of the sophistication of the attack, some analysts have suggested that only a group like the Quds Force would be able to plan and carry out such an action.[62] Former CIA officer Robert Baer also suggested that the five Americans were killed by the Quds Force in revenge for the Americans holding five Iranians since the January 11 raid in Irbil.[63] It was reported that the U.S. military is investigating whether or not the attackers were trained by Iranian officials; however, no evidence besides the sophistication of the attack has yet been presented.[64]

On 2 July 2007, the U.S. military said that information from captured Hezbollah fighter Ali Moussa Dakdouk established a link between the Quds Force and the Karbala raid. The U.S. military claims Dakdouk worked as a liaison between Quds force operatives and the Shia group that carried out the raid. According to the United States, Dakdouk said that the Shia group “could not have conducted this complex operation without the support and direction of the Quds force”.[65]

Allegations of support for Iraqi militants

In June 2007, U.S. General Ray Odierno asserted that Iranian support for these Shia militia increased as the United States itself implemented the 2007 “troop surge“.[66] Two different studies have maintained that approximately half of all foreign insurgents entering Iraq come from Saudi Arabia.[67]

In December 2009 evidence uncovered during an investigation by The Guardian newspaper and Guardian Films linked the Quds Force to the kidnappings of five Britons from a government ministry building in Baghdad in 2007. Four of the hostages, Jason Creswell, Jason Swindlehurst, Alec Maclachlan, and Alan McMenemy, were killed. Peter Moore was released on 30 December 2009. The investigation uncovered evidence that Moore, 37, a computer expert from Lincoln was targeted because he was installing a system for the Iraqi Government that would show how a vast amount of international aid was diverted to Iran’s militia groups in Iraq. One of the alleged groups funded by the Quds force directly is the Righteous League, which emerged in 2006 and has stayed largely in the shadows as a proxy of the Quds Force. Shia cleric and leading figure of the Righteous League, Qais al-Khazali, was handed over by the U.S. military for release by the Iraqi government on 29 December 2009 as part of the deal that led to the release of Moore.[68]

Allegations by U.S. President Bush

In a 14 February 2007 news conference U.S. President George W. Bush reiterated his claim that the Quds Force was causing unrest in Iraq, stating:

I can say with certainty that the Quds force, a part of the Iranian government, has provided these sophisticated IEDs that have harmed our troops. And I’d like to repeat, I do not know whether or not the Quds Force was ordered from the top echelons of government. But my point is what’s worse – them ordering it and it happening, or them not ordering it and it happening? And so we will continue to protect our troops. … to say it [this claim] is provoking Iran is just a wrong way to characterize the Commander-in-Chief’s decision to do what is necessary to protect our soldiers in harm’s way. And I will continue to do so. … Whether Ahmadinejad ordered the Quds force to do this, I don’t think we know. But we do know that they’re there, and I intend to do something about it. And I’ve asked our commanders to do something about it. And we’re going to protect our troops. … I don’t think we know who picked up the phone and said to the Quds Force, go do this, but we know it’s a vital part of the Iranian government. …What matters is, is that we’re responding. The idea that somehow we’re manufacturing the idea that the Iranians are providing IEDs is preposterous. … My job is to protect our troops. And when we find devices that are in that country that are hurting our troops, we’re going to do something about it, pure and simple. … does this mean you’re trying to have a pretext for war? No. It means I’m trying to protect our troops.[69]

Mohsen Sazegara, who was a high-ranking Tehran official before turning against the government, has argued that Ahmadinejad does not control the Guards outside of Iran. “Not only the foreign ministry of Iran; even the president does not know what the Revolutionary Guards does outside of Iran. They directly report to the leader”, he said, referring to Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.[70] Although Ali Khamenei is the ultimate person in charge of the Quds Force, George Bush did not mention him.[71] According to Richard Clarke, “Quds force reports directly to the Supreme Ayatollah, through the commander-in-chief of the revolutionary guards.”[71]

Detainment of alleged bomb smuggler

On 20 September 2007, the U.S. military arrested an Iranian during a raid on a hotel in Sulaimaniyah, a city in the Kurdish-controlled north. The military accused the Iranian of being a member of the elite Quds Force and smuggling powerful roadside bombs, including armor-piercing explosively formed penetrators, into Iraq. The military said intelligence reports asserted the suspect was involved in the infiltration and training of foreign fighters into Iraq as well.[72]

On 22 September 2007, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani criticized the United States for arresting the Iranian and called for his immediate release. Talabani argued he is a civil servant who was on an official trade mission in the Kurdish Region and stated Iraqi and Kurdish regional government representatives were aware of the man’s presence in the country. “I express to you our outrage for these American forces arresting this Iranian civil official visitor without informing or cooperating with the government of the Kurdistan region, which means insult and disregard for its rights”, Talabani wrote in a “letter of resentment” to Ryan CrockerU.S. ambassador to Iraq, and Gen. David Petraeus.[73]

Allegations of 2007 market attack

On 24 November 2007, US military officials accused an Iranian special group of placing a bomb in a bird box that blew up at a popular animal market in central Baghdad. “The group’s purpose was to make it appear Al Qaeda in Iraq was responsible for the attack”, Admiral Smith said. He further emphasized there was “no evidence Iran ordered the attack”.[74] In May 2008, Iraq said it had no evidence that Iran was supporting militants on Iraqi soil.[75] Al-Sadr spokesman Al-Ubaydi said the presence of Iranian weapons in Iraq is “quite normal,” since “they are bought and sold and any party can buy them.”[76]

Allegations of ties to Al-Qaeda

According to reports produced by Agence France-Presse (AFP), The Jerusalem Post, and Al Arabiya, at the request of a member of the United States’ House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in 2011 Congressional counter-terrorism advisor Michael S. Smith II of Kronos Advisory, LLC produced a report on Iran’s alleged ties to Al-Qaeda that was distributed to members of the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus.[77][78][79] Titled “The al-Qa’ida-Qods Force Nexus: Scratching the Surface of a Known Unknown”, a redacted version of Smith’s report is available online via the blog site owned by American military geostrategist and The Pentagon’s New Map author Thomas P.M. Barnett.[80] The report’s Issue Summary section explains: “This report focuses on the history of Iran’s relationship with al-Qa’ida, and briefly addresses potential implications of these ties. Additionally, its author provides a list of recommended action items for Members of the United States Congress, as well as a list of questions that may help Members develop a better understanding of this issue through interactions with defense and intelligence officials”. A member of the Quds Force was alleged arrested with 21 other suspects in the attack on the Israeli and United States embassies on 14 March 2012 in Azerbaijan.

Combat against Islamic State

The Quds force’s leader, Gen Qasem Soleimani was involved with both the planning as well as the execution of the operation to expell ISIL from Tikrit

In 2014, Quds Force was deployed into Iraq to lead Iranian action against ISIL. Iran sent three Quds Force battalions to help the Iraqi government repel ISIL’s 2014 Northern Iraq offensive.[81] Over 40 officers participated in the Second Battle of Tikrit (March 2015), including the leader of the force, Gen. Qasem Soleimani who took a leading role in the operation.

Syria

IRGC Commander Jafari announced on 16 September 2012 that Quds Force “were present” in Syria.[82]

Coinciding with the Geneva II Conference on Syria in 2014, Iran boosted its presence in Syria with several “hundred” military specialists, including senior commanders from the Quds Force, according to Iranian sources and security experts. While recently retired senior IRGC commander told that there were at least 60 to 70 Quds force commanders on the ground in Syria at any given time.[83] The primary role of these forces is to gather intelligence and manage the logistics of the battle for the Syrian Government.[83][84]

In November 2015 the Quds Force conducted a successful rescue mission of a Russian bomber pilot who was shot down by a Turkish fighter. Commander of Quds Force of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution Major General Qasem Soleimani got in touch with his Russian counterparts and said that a special unit had been formed and was ready for the rescue operation. He also explained that the squad was made up of men from the Lebanese “Hezbollah” and soldiers from the Syrian Special Forces, who had undergone special training under the guidance of Iranian instructors. Apart from this fact, the Syrian soldiers were familiar with the terrain. The general assumed command of the ground operation and Russian aircraft had to carry out air cover and enable satellite surveillance. Once the location of the Russian pilot was determined via satellite through the built-in GPS device, it became clear that the pilot was located six kilometers behind the front line between the Syrian army forces and the opposition forces. The Special squad that entered the territory controlled by militants was not only able to save the Russian pilot, but also destroy all of the remaining terrorists there who had the most modern weapons in their possession. All of the 24 fighters not only survived, but also returned to their base without injuries.[85]

In May 2018, Quds forces on the Syrian-held side of the Golan Heights allegedly fired around 20 projectiles towards Israeli army positions without causing damage or casualties.[86] Israel responded with airstrikes against Iranian bases in Syria.[87] At least twenty-three fighters, among them 18 foreigners, were reportedly killed in the strikes.[88]

Germany

In January 2018, German authorities conducted raids in Baden-WürttembergNorth Rhine-WestphaliaBavaria and Berlin, searching homes and businesses belonging to ten alleged Iranian Quds Force members, suspected of spying on Israeli and Jewish targets.[89]

Designation as a terrorist organization

The United States Department of the Treasury designated the Quds Force under Executive Order 13224 for providing material support to US-designated terrorist organizations on 25 October 2007, prohibiting transactions between the group and U.S. citizens, and freezing any assets under U.S. jurisdiction.[9] The Government of Canada designated the Quds Force as a terrorist organization on 17 December 2012.[90] Egypt’s nominations included the organization.[91]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quds_Force

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“The United States must reconsider its approach and adopt a constructive position before inflicting further damage to its own interests and its alliance with Turkey,” Ibrahim Kalin said in a written statement.

Trump demands Turkey ‘immediately’ release US pastor

US President Donald Trump said American pastor Andrew Brunson, pictured, "is suffering greatly" during detention in TurkeyUS President Donald Trump said American pastor Andrew Brunson, pictured, “is suffering greatly” during detention in Turkey

President Donald Trump on Thursday demanded Turkey free a detained American pastor, warning the United States was ready to impose “large sanctions” against its NATO ally.

“He is suffering greatly,” Trump said of 50-year-old pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been in detention for almost two years. “This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!”

Brunson ran a protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir when he was detained in October 2016 on terrorism-related charges.

Brunson was moved from jail to house arrest on Wednesday, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the move was “not enough.”

The Trump administration — which is broadly supported by powerful US evangelicals — has made defending Christians abroad a tenet of its foreign policy.

“The United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being,” Trump said.

The escalating war of words between Washington and Ankara risks worsening already poor ties, which hold enormous military and economic importance for both countries.

The United States has long used bases in Turkey for operations across the Middle East, but relations have been strained by Washington’s support for Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Brunson still faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted of carrying out activities on behalf of two groups Turkey deems terrorist organizations. One is led by the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen who Ankara says was behind a 2016 failed coup, while the other is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

His next hearing is set for October 12.

The pastor denies the charges and his defense team argues the case is built on questionable witness statements that should never have been brought to court.

Earlier Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence said “there is no credible evidence” against Brunson.

Last week a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill that would require the United States to reject international loans to Turkey until Brunson and other Americans are freed or the harassment against them ends.

“I find it difficult to see how this relationship moves forward… if the Turkish government continues to detain Pastor Brunson as well as locally employed staff, journalists, and civil servants,” Democratic Senator Robert Menendez said at the time.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-5996073/Trump-demands-Turkey-immediately-release-US-pastor.html

Story 3: House Republicans Trying To Impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosestein — Trump Will Fire Rosestein After Midterm Elections and Attorney General Sessions Will Either Appoint Second Counsel or Trump Will Accept Resignation — Videos —

Jordan, Meadows explain filing for Rosenstein impeachment

GOP lawmakers introduce articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein

Trump allies move to impeach Rosenstein

Dershowitz on the case against impeaching Rosenstein

BREAKING: Republicans Introduce Articles Of Impeachment Against Rosenstein

Gowdy: Voters deserve justice system without politics

Paul Ryan: I do not support impeaching Rosenstein

House Republicans introduce articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein

Full exchange between Rep. Jim Jordan and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (C-SPAN)

Jordan on calls to impeach Rosenstein, wrestling probe

Rosenstein responds to GOP impeachment threats

Ex-DOJ attorney: Rosenstein should have already been fired

Will Trump fire Rosenstein?

Sources: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Is Prepared To Be Fired | MSNBC

Rep. Ron DeSantis on the push to impeach Rosenstein

Articles of impeachment filed against Rod Rosenstein

Story 4: Special Counsel Mueller Goes After President Trump’s Tweets — Desperation Move — Complete Investigation or Face Firing — Videos

Mueller Examining Trump’s Tweets in Wide-Ranging Obstruction Inquiry

Fox News’s Napolitano: Trump tweets are a ‘treasure trove’ for Mueller

Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano said Thursday that special counsel Robert Mueller knows President Trump‘s tweets are a “treasure trove” for his probe into whether the president obstructed justice.

“Mueller knows that those tweets are a treasure trove and a window into Trump’s thinking,” Napolitano said on Fox News’s “Outnumbered.”

“Did the president send messages to people of threats, or rewards, via his tweets? People who he knew or expected would be interviewed by Bob Mueller?” Napolitano said. “And if he did, was he engaging in witness tampering?”

Napolitano’s comments came shortly after a new New York Times reportthat said Mueller is reviewing Trump’s tweets as part of his investigation into whether he obstructed justice.

The Times reported that Mueller is focusing on Trump’s tweets about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, each of whom the president has repeatedly criticized on Twitter. 

Among other things, Trump has tweeted and said in interviews that he would not have nominated Sessions as attorney general if he knew Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

“If you’re going to obstruct justice, you do it quietly and secretly, not in public,” Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer in Mueller’s Russia probe, said in a statement in response to the report.

The report from the Times comes only a few days after Giulani told Bloomberg News that he suggested to Mueller that Trump would sit for an interview only if Mueller agreed to rule out questions about obstruction of justice. 

http://thehill.com/homenews/media/399056-fox-news-napolitano-trumps-tweets-are-a-treasure-trove-for-mueller

Like the Rest of Us, Mueller Is Obsessing Over Trump’s Tweets

By 

That smile won’t last once he starts reading Trump’s tweets. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

Somewhere on the long list of reasons that Donald Trump is president is his early embrace of Twitter. First, Trump used it to promote himself as a brilliant businessman (which he’s not); then, as a medium to attack political opponents (which he’s good at); and now, as a way to communicate with the world as president (which is making most people crazy).

Ironically, now, according to the New York Times, there’s at least a small chance that Twitter could also lead to his demise. On Thursday, the paper reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is probing Trump’s tweets as he investigates the president for obstruction of justice.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is scrutinizing tweets and negative statements from the president about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to three people briefed on the matter.

Several of the remarks came as Mr. Trump was also privately pressuring the men — both key witnesses in the inquiry — about the investigation, and Mr. Mueller is examining whether the actions add up to attempts to obstruct the investigation by both intimidating witnesses and pressuring senior law enforcement officials to tamp down the inquiry.

The report goes on to cite Mueller’s desire to “question the president about the tweets.” Among the missives in question are those targeting Sessions in July of 2017. These were sent at the same time, Mueller has learned, that Trump was privately pressuring Sessions to resign so he could be replaced with someone who would not recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

Mueller is also interested in Trump’s attacks on Comey, which include a veiled threat about taped conversations between the two men. Such “tapes” do not exist, Trump later admitted.

While none of these tweets alone are believed to amount to obstruction of justice, they’re thought to be a part of Mueller’s plan to build a case that Trump was on a broad mission to interfere with the investigation.

Trump’s lawyers continue to insist that he’s done nothing outside of the scope of his power, though. And anyway, Rudy Giuliani told the Times, “If you’re going to obstruct justice, you do it quietly and secretly, not in public.”

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/special-counsel-mueller-is-examining-trumps-tweets.html

 

 

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1102, Story 1: Celebrate The Meaning of Independence Day on July 4, 2018 — Videos — Story 2: Baby Killers Fear Pro Life Supreme Court Majority Will Rule  Roe vs. Wade Was Wrongly Decided By Supreme Court and Unconstitutional — Babies In The Womb Are Denied Due Process In The Ending of Their Lives — Videos Story 3: Arrogant Abuse of Power Leads To Tyranny — The Surveillance of The American People By The Two Party Tyranny of United States Intelligence Community– Department of Justice and FBI Cover-up Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Videos

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See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Story 1: Celebrate The Meaning of Independence Day on July 4, 2018 — Videos —

The Meaning of Independence Day

John Adams – Writing the Declaration of Independence (with subs)

John Adams – A Case for Independence

 

Story 2: Baby Killers Fear Pro Life Supreme Court Majority Will Rule  Roe vs. Wade Was Wrongly Decided By Supreme Court and Unconstitutional — Babies In The Womb Are Denied Due Process In The Ending of Their Lives — Videos

See the source image

See the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

Justice Antonin Scalia talks about Roe v. Wade

Tears Of Abortion – Story of an aborted baby, This ProLife Video will make you cry your eyes out

Third Presidential Debate Highlights | Trump, Clinton on Abortion

Fertilization

0 to 9 Months Journey In The Womb

Incredible Real Photography of the journey from a sperm to human baby- Developing in the womb

Judge Napolitano: Roe v. Wade won’t be overturned

 

Jeffrey Toobin: Roe v. Wade is doomed

Collins: I wouldn’t vote for nominee hostile to Roe v. Wade

With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s Retirement, What’s The Fate Of Roe V Wade? | Hardball | MSNBC

 

Story 3: Arrogant Abuse of Power Leads To Tyranny — The Surveillance of The American People By The Two Party Tyranny of United States Intelligence Community– Department of Justice and FBI Cover-up Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Videos

Nunes tightens screws in his probe into surveillance abuses

Rep. Goodlatte Rips into Rod Rosenstein and Chris Wray in Opening Statement June 28, 2018

Goodlatte: We’re going to restore the reputation of the FBI

Gowdy to Rosenstein on Russia probe: ‘Finish it the hell up’

Jordan to Rosenstein: Why are you keeping info from us?

Levin: Left’s agenda is incompatible with constitutionalism

Tucker: IG report is catalog of bias, abuse of power

Tucker: What’s at stake in the Rosenstein battle

Meadows: DOJ, FBI can be part of the clean up or cover-up

FBI, DOJ investigation reaches deadline

Will the DOJ release spy documents?

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018: Story 1: G-7 Summit with Trump Confronted European Leaders For Unfair Trade Practices and Agreed With G-7 Communique and Then Trudeau Betrays, Double Crosses and Stabs In Back The G-7 and Trump and Blows Deal — Videos — Story 2: Trump’s Great Trade Deal –Fair and Free Trade with No Tariffs, No Barriers, No Subsidies, — Reciprocal Two Way Deals — Cheating Countries Complain — Videos

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Story 1: G-7 Summit with Trump Confronted European Leaders For Unfair Trade Practices and Agreed With G-7 Communique and Then Trudeau Betrays, Double Crosses and Stabs In Back The G-7 and Trump and Blows Deal — Videos — See the source imageSee the source image

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White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow suffers heart attack, Trump tweets

  • Trump tweeted the news on Monday evening ET, literally only minutes before a historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
  • Kudlow, a former CNBC contributor and Wall Street economist, has played a leading role in ongoing talks between the United States and its major trade partners, including China.

Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, speaks to reporters outside the White House April 4, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Getty Images
Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, speaks to reporters outside the White House April 4, 2018 in Washington, DC.

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow suffered a heart attack and is at Walter Reed Medical Center, according to a tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump tweeted the news on Monday evening ET, literally only minutes before a historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un:

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Our Great Larry Kudlow, who has been working so hard on trade and the economy, has just suffered a heart attack. He is now in Walter Reed Medical Center.

Further word on Kudlow’s condition was not immediately available.

Very important role in trade talks

Kudlow, a former CNBC contributor and Wall Street economist, has played a leading role in ongoing talks between the United States and its major trade partners, including China.

Just last weekend, Kudlow accused Canada of directing “polarizing” comments toward the United States following a fractious G-7 meeting of advanced economies.

“Here’s the thing,” he told CNN, speaking of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “He really kind of stabbed us in the back.”

“You do not want to give Jeff Bezos a seven-year head start.”
Hear what else Buffett has to say

In March, Kudlow replaced Gary Cohn in the post of National Economic Council director.

Kudlow, 70, took the job after Cohn resigned following a fight against tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Prior to his appointment, Kudlow had advocated for free trade and generally opposed tariffs, but he has proven a vocal proponent of Trump hard line on trade.

“This president’s got some backbone, others didn’t, and he’s raising the issue in full public view, setting up a process that may include tariffs,” Kudlow told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” in April.

“Somebody’s got to do it,” Kudlow continued at the time. “Somebody’s got to say to China, ‘You are no longer a Third World country. You are a First World country and you have to act like it. The president’s got to stick up for himself and the United States.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/11/white-house-economic-advisor-larry-kudlow-suffers-heart-attack-trump-tweets.html

 

Trump BACKS OUT of G7 agreement: President stuns leaders by leaving summit and then announcing on Twitter that America WILL NOT ‘endorse the Communique’ – before slamming ‘dishonest and weak’ Trudeau

  • Trump slammed Trudeau as ‘dishonest and weak’ on Twitter Saturday after leaving the G7 summit in Quebec 
  • Stunned world leaders by pulling his endorsement for joint communique that traditionally follows every G7 
  • Opened new front on trade dispute with Trudeau after White House said two leaders were ‘close to a deal’
  • French presidential official says Trump delivered ‘a long, frank rant’ on trade in G7 session with world leaders
  • Now Trump is en route to Singapore for historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12

President Donald Trump has stunned world leaders by rejecting a joint statement that traditionally follows the G7, and has escalated his feud with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by calling him ‘dishonest and weak’.

Trump said in a Twitter tirade on Saturday night that he has ‘instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique’, just hours after all the members came to a consensus in Quebec and signed the summit’s ‘joint communique’.

The joint communique is a statement of broad goals and principles endorsed by the G7 leaders, and Trump’s refusal means that this will be the first year that the annual summit fails to issue one.

Instead, Canada will likely issue a chair’s summary of the meeting listing the major topics of discussion.

Trump also slammed Trudeau for ‘making false statements’ and accused him of being ‘meek and mild’ in their one-on-one meeting on Friday before the Canadian leader came out swinging against the US in a press conference on Saturday.

After the White House on Friday said that Trump’s meeting with Trudeau was ‘great’ and the leaders were ‘close to a deal’ on trade, Trump’s latest counter-punch cast doubt on any hopes for a quick resolution of his mounting tariff disputes with Canada and the European Union, and signaled that Trump is far from backing down.

President Donald Trump slammed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as 'dishonest and weak' on Saturday following what the White House called a 'great meeting' between the two leaders on Friday (seen above)

President Donald Trump slammed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as ‘dishonest and weak’ on Saturday following what the White House called a ‘great meeting’ between the two leaders on Friday (seen above)

Trump stunned the G7 by refusing to endorse the summit's traditional joint communique after Trudeau gave a press conference (above) at the end of the talks and criticized Trump's position on trade

Trump stunned the G7 by refusing to endorse the summit’s traditional joint communique after Trudeau gave a press conference (above) at the end of the talks and criticized Trump’s position on trade

Trudeau toned down his normally whimsical socks on Saturday as he played host to world leaders for the G7

Trudeau toned down his normally whimsical socks on Saturday as he played host to world leaders for the G7

After boarding a flight for Singapore, where he will meet North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Trump tweeted: ‘PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, “US Tariffs were kind of insulting” and he “will not be pushed around.”

‘Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!’

Trump then tweeted: ‘Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!’

Trump was reacting to comments made by Trudeau at a press conference on Saturday in which he threatened to torpedo negotiations on a new NAFTA deal if the Americans did not remove tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

Trudeau said he told Trump directly that Canada ‘particularly did not take lightly the fact that [the tariffs were] based on a national security reason.’ The prime minister said in comments reported by CTV: ‘Canadians are polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.’

The Canadian leader’s office defended him against Trump’s tweets on Saturday, saying that Trudeau said nothing in his G7 news conference that he has not said before directly to Trump

‘The prime minister said nothing he hasn’t said before — both in public, and in private conversations with the president,’ Trudeau’s office said in a statement released on Twitter, which added Trudeau remained focused on what was accomplished at the two-day summit in Quebec.

Leaving his allies in perplexed disarray, Trump was on Saturday night jetting around the world to meet a longtime adversary, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, for talks on denulcearizing the isolated nation.

Air Force One was spotted early on Sunday refueling at a US military facility on the Greek island of Crete.

Journalists and White House staff stand under Air Force One, as it is stopped on Sunday for a refuel in Chania, Greece while carrying Trump from Canada to Singapore for an anticipated summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un

Journalists and White House staff stand under Air Force One, as it is stopped on Sunday for a refuel in Chania, Greece while carrying Trump from Canada to Singapore for an anticipated summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un

Air Force One stopped over at the US military facility on Crete, giving journalists and staffers a chance to stretch their legs

Air Force One stopped over at the US military facility on Crete, giving journalists and staffers a chance to stretch their legs

Journalists (above) have begun staging at at the Formula One racetrack in Singapore ahead of the Trump-Kim summit

Journalists (above) have begun staging at at the Formula One racetrack in Singapore ahead of the Trump-Kim summit

A North Korean reporter is chased by a group of Western reporters as he appears at the media center at the Formula One racing track in Marina Bay, Singapore on Sunday ahead of Trump's summit with Kim on June 12

A North Korean reporter is chased by a group of Western reporters as he appears at the media center at the Formula One racing track in Marina Bay, Singapore on Sunday ahead of Trump’s summit with Kim on June 12

Kim Jong-un meets with officials in Singapore ahead of Trump meet

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will meet separately with Kim and Trump on Sunday and Monday, respectively, before the US and North Korean leaders are set for their summit on Tuesday.

Trump is even open to accepting a North Korean embassy in the US in exchange for verifiable steps to denuclearize, according to a source close to the White House cited by Axios.

‘His view is: “We can discuss that: It’s on the table. Let’s see.” Of course we would consider it. There’s almost nothing he’ll take off the table going in,’ the source said.

In Singapore, a media hurricane was already brewing, as journalists began staging at a media center at the Formula One racetrack not far from the Capella Hotel, where the talks will be held.

Meanwhile, back in Canada, the leaders had initially agreed on the need for ‘free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade’ and the importance of fighting protectionism in the G7 communique Trump withdrew his support for.

The document also acknowledged the need to fight dumping and excess capacity in steel and aluminum, a key Trump concern about China.

‘We strive to reduce tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and subsidies,’ the leaders said in the communique after a meeting that focused heavily on trade fights between the United States and its allies.

In this photo made available by the German Federal Government, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, speaks with U.S. President Donald Trump, seated at right, during the G7 Leaders Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec

In this photo made available by the German Federal Government, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, speaks with U.S. President Donald Trump, seated at right, during the G7 Leaders Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec

Trump threatens to stop trade with allies if practices don’t change
In one behind-the-scenes account from the G7, a French presidential official described an ‘extraordinary’ session in which leaders surrounded Trump and showered him with data one after the other in an attempt to sway him to drop US tariffs.

Trump gave ‘a long, frank rant’, the official said, repeating his position that the US had suffered at the hands of its trading partners, as French President Emmanuel Macron tried to push back.

It was a ‘a long litany of recriminations, somewhat bitter reports that the United States was treated unfairly,’ said the French official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. ‘It was a difficult time, rough, very frank.’

White House officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the characterizations by the official of Trump’s remarks.

Trump himself told reporters on Saturday that the summit was not contentious and called his relationship with G7 allies a ’10’.

The trade dispute was launched after Trump last week removed exemptions from steel and aluminum tariffs on imports from Canada, Mexico and the EU.

Canada responded by slapping tariffs on $12.8billion worth of US exports, including metals, toilet paper, ball point pens and pizza.

‘We’re like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing,’ Trump said at a press conference as he departed the two-day meeting in La Malbaie, Quebec on Saturday.

‘This isn’t just G7. I mean, we have India, where some of the tariffs are 100 percent … And we charge nothing,’ Trump said. ‘And it’s going to stop. Or we’ll stop trading with them.’

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde chats with Trump on Saturday morning at a Gender Equality breakfast meeting

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde chats with Trump on Saturday morning at a Gender Equality breakfast meeting

Left to right: European Union Council President Donald Tusk, Dayle Haddon, Christine Lagarde, US President Donald Trump, Christine Whitecross and Winnie Byanyima during the Gender Equality Advisory Council working breakfast on Saturday

Left to right: European Union Council President Donald Tusk, Dayle Haddon, Christine Lagarde, US President Donald Trump, Christine Whitecross and Winnie Byanyima during the Gender Equality Advisory Council working breakfast on Saturday

Lagarde reacts as Trump takes his seat after arriving late to the Gender Equality working breakfast on Saturday morning

French President Emmanuel Macron looks across at Trump during the breakfast on Saturday

Trump and French President Macron meet at at the G7 Summit
Trudeau on Saturday rejected a US demand for a sunset clause in NAFTA but said he was prepared to compromise on the issue, which is holding up talks to update the 1990s-era pact.

Trump – who regularly threatens to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement – insists that Canada and Mexico agree to a sunset clause that would allow a member nation to withdraw after five years.

Although Canada and Mexico say the idea is unworkable, Trump told reporters earlier on Saturday that the new deal would contain such a provision. Trudeau rejected the idea.

‘There will not be a sunset clause … we will not, cannot sign a trade deal that expires automatically every five years,’ he told a news conference at the end of a Group of Seven summit in Quebec.

‘I think there are various discussions about alternatives that would not be that, and that would not be entirely destabilizing for a trade deal, and I think we are open to creativity,’ he said.

This, he suggested, could involve ‘a check in and a renewal.’

Trudeau (right) greeted other national leaders such as Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness after Trump left the summit

Trudeau (right) greeted other national leaders such as Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness after Trump left the summit

Canadian riot police line an anti-G7 demonstration in Quebec City on Saturday

Residents watch fireworks explode over La Malbaie, Quebec, at the conclusion of the G7 leaders summit on Saturday

Officials say Canada and Mexico have proposed member nations gather every five years to review the treaty.

Talks to modernize NAFTA, which started last August, have effectively stalled as Canada and Mexico resist U.S. demands for major changes such as the sunset clause and boosting the North American content of autos made in the three nations.

Trudeau said he had told Trump that the talks had been made more complicated by a U.S. decision to impose tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, ostensibly for national security reasons. Canada has promised retaliatory measures on July 1.

‘I highlighted directly to the president that Canadians did not take it lightly that the United States has moved forward with significant tariffs,’ said Trudeau.

THE CHARLEVOIX G7 SUMMIT COMMUNIQUE

1. We, the Leaders of the G7, have come together in Charlevoix, Quebec on June 8–9, 2018, guided by our shared values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and our commitment to promote a rules-based international order.

As advanced economies and leading democracies, we share a fundamental commitment to investing in our citizens and meeting their needs and to responding to global challenges.

We collectively affirm our strong determination to achieve a clean environment, clean air, and clean water.

We are resolved to work together in creating a healthy, prosperous, sustainable and fair future for all.

Investing in Growth that Works for Everyone

2. We share the responsibility of working together to stimulate sustainable economic growth that benefits everyone and in particular those most at risk of being left behind.

We welcome the contribution of technological change and global integration to global economic recovery and increased job creation.

The global economic outlook continues to improve, but too few citizens have benefited from that economic growth.

While resilience against risk has improved among emerging market economies, recent market movements remind us of potential vulnerabilities.

We will continue monitoring market developments and using all policy tools to support strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth that generates widespread prosperity.

We reaffirm our existing exchange rate commitments.

We commit to promoting smart, sustainable and high-quality investments – such as in infrastructure – to boost growth and productivity and create quality jobs.

Economic Growth is fundamental to raising living standards.

We also recognize that economic output alone is insufficient for measuring success and acknowledge the importance of monitoring other societal and economic indicators that measure prosperity and well-being.

We are committed to removing the barriers that keep our citizens, including women and marginalized individuals, from participating fully in the global economy.

We endorse the Charlevoix Commitment on Equality and Economic Growth which reinforces our commitment to eradicate poverty, advance gender equality, foster income equality, ensure better access to financial resources and create decent work and quality of life for all.

3. In order to ensure that everyone pays their fair share, we will exchange approaches and support international efforts to deliver fair, progressive, effective and efficient tax systems.

We will continue to fight tax evasion and avoidance by promoting the global implementation of international standards and addressing base erosion and profit shifting.

The impacts of the digitalization of the economy on the international tax system remain key outstanding issues.

We welcome the OECD interim report analyzing the impact of digitalization of the economy on the international tax system.

We are committed to work together to seek a consensus based solution by 2020.

4. We acknowledge that free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade and investment, while creating reciprocal benefits, are key engines for growth and job creation.

We recommit to the conclusions on trade of the Hamburg G20 Summit, in particular, we underline the crucial role of a rules-based international trading system and continue to fight protectionism.

We note the importance of bilateral, regional and plurilateral agreements being open, transparent, inclusive and WTO-consistent, and commit to working to ensure they complement the multilateral trade agreements.

We commit to modernize the WTO to make it more fair as soon as possible. We strive to reduce tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and subsidies.

5. We will work together to enforce existing international rules and develop new rules where needed, to foster a truly level playing field, addressing in particular non-market oriented policies and practices, and inadequate protection of intellectual property rights such as forced technology transfer or cyber enabled theft.

We call for the start of negotiations – this year – to develop stronger, international rules on market-distorting industrial subsidies and trade distorting actions by state-owned enterprises.

We also call on all members of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity to fully and promptly implement its recommendations.

We stress the urgent need to avoid excess capacity in other sectors such as aluminum and high technology.

We call on the International Working Group on Export Credits to develop a new set of guidelines for government supported export credits, as soon as possible in 2019.

6. To support growth and equal participation that benefits everyone, and ensure our citizens lead healthy and productive lives, we commit to supporting strong, sustainable health systems that promote access to quality and affordable healthcare and to bringing greater attention to mental health.

We support efforts to promote and protect women’s and adolescents’ health and well-being through evidence based healthcare and health information.

We recognize the World Health Organization’s vital role in health emergencies, including through the Contingency Fund for Emergencies and the World Bank’s Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, and emphasize their need for further development and continued and sustainable financing.

We recommit to support our 76 partners to strengthen their implementation of the International Health Regulations, including through their development of costed national action plans and the use of diverse sources of financing and multi-stakeholder resources.

We will prioritize and coordinate our global efforts to fight against antimicrobial resistance, in a ‘one health’ approach.

We will accelerate our efforts to end tuberculosis, and its resistant forms. We reconfirm our resolve to work with partners to eradicate polio and effectively manage the post-polio transition.

We affirm our support for a successful replenishment of the Global Fund in 2019.

7. Public finance, including official development assistance and domestic resource mobilization, is necessary to work towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, but alone is insufficient to support the economic growth and sustainable development necessary to lift all populations from poverty.

As a result, we have committed to the Charlevoix Commitment on Innovative Financing for Development to promote economic growth in developing economies and foster greater equality of opportunity within and between countries.

We will continue to invest in quality infrastructure with open access.

Given rising debt levels in Low Income Countries and the importance of debt sustainability, we call for greater debt transparency not only from Low Income Debtor countries, but also emerging sovereign lenders and private creditors.

We support the ongoing work of the Paris Club, as the principal international forum for restructuring official bilateral debt, towards the broader inclusion of emerging creditors.

We recognize the value in development and humanitarian assistance that promotes greater equality of opportunity, and gender equality, and prioritizes the most vulnerable, and will continue to work to develop innovative financing models to ensure that no one is left behind.

Preparing for Jobs of the Future

8. We are resolved to ensure that all workers have access to the skills and education necessary to adapt and prosper in the new world of work brought by innovation through emerging technologies.

We will promote innovation through a culture of lifelong learning among current and future generations of workers.

We will expand market-driven training and education, particularly for girls and women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

We recognize the need to remove barriers to women’s leadership and equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of the labor market, including by eliminating violence, discrimination and harassment within and beyond the workplace.

We will explore innovative new approaches to apprenticeship and vocational learning, as well as opportunities to engage employers and improve access to workplace training.

9. We highlight the importance of working towards making social protection more effective and efficient and creating quality work environments for workers, including those in non-standard forms of work.

Expanding communication and collaboration between governments and businesses, social partners, educational institutions and other relevant stakeholders will be essential for preparing workers to adapt and thrive in the new world of work.

To realize the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI), we endorse the Charlevoix Common Vision for the Future of Artificial Intelligence.

We recognize that a human-centric approach to AI has the potential to introduce new sources of economic growth, bring significant benefits to our societies and help address some of our most pressing challenges.

Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

10. We recognize that gender equality is fundamental for the fulfillment of human rights and is a social and economic imperative.

However, gender inequality persists despite decades of international commitments to eliminate these differences.

We will continue to work to remove barriers to women’s participation and decision-making in social, economic and political spheres as well as increase the opportunities for all to participate equally in all aspects of the labor market.

Our path forward will promote women’s full economic participation through working to reduce the gender wage gap, supporting women business leaders and entrepreneurs and recognizing the value of unpaid care work.

11. Equal access to quality education is vital to achieve the empowerment and equal opportunity of girls and women, especially in developing contexts and countries struggling with conflict.

Through the Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls and Women in Developing Countries, we demonstrate our commitment to increase opportunities for at least 12 years of safe and quality education for all and to dismantle the barriers to girls’ and women’s quality education, particularly in emergencies and in conflict-affected and fragile states.

We recognize that marginalized girls, such as those with a disability, face additional barriers in attaining access to education.

12. Advancing gender equality and ending violence against girls and women benefits all and is a shared responsibility in which everyone, including men and boys, has a critical role to play.

We endorse the Charlevoix Commitment to End Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Abuse and Harassment in Digital Contexts, and are resolved to end all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.

We strive for a future where individuals’ human rights are equally protected both offline and online; and where everyone has equal opportunity to participate in political, social, economic and cultural endeavors.

Building a More Peaceful and Secure World

13. We share a responsibility to build a more peaceful and secure world, recognizing that respect for human rights, the rule of law, and equality of opportunity are necessary for lasting security and to enable economic growth that works for everyone.

The global security threats we face are complex and evolving and we commit to working together to counter terrorism.

We welcome the outcome of the international conference on the fight against terrorist financing held in Paris April 25-26, 2018.

Foreign terrorist fighters must be held accountable for their actions.

We are committed to addressing the use of the internet for terrorist purposes, including as a tool for recruitment, training, propaganda and financing, and by working with partners such as the Global Internet Forum for Counter Terrorism.

We underscore the importance of taking concrete measures to eradicate trafficking in persons, forced labor, child labor and all forms of slavery, including modern slavery.

14. Recognizing that countries that are more equal are also more stable, more peaceful and more democratic, we are resolved to strengthen the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.

Gender-sensitive measures that include women’s participation and perspectives to prevent and eradicate terrorism are vital to effective and sustainable results, protection from sexual and gender-based violence, and preventing other human rights abuses and violations.

15. We commit to take concerted action in responding to foreign actors who seek to undermine our democratic societies and institutions, our electoral processes, our sovereignty and our security as outlined in the Charlevoix Commitment on Defending Democracy from Foreign Threats.

We recognize that such threats, particularly those originating from state actors, are not just threats to G7 nations, but to international peace and security and the rules-based international order.

We call on others to join us in addressing these growing threats by increasing the resilience and security of our institutions, economies and societies, and by taking concerted action to identify and hold to account those who would do us harm.

16. We continue to call on North Korea to completely, verifiably, and irreversibly dismantle all of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missiles as well as its related programs and facilities.

We acknowledge recent developments, including North Korea’s announcement of a moratorium on nuclear testing and ballistic missile launches, a commitment to denuclearization made in the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration – assuming full implementation – and the apparent closure of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site on May 24 but reiterate the importance of full denuclearization.

The dismantlement of all of its WMD and ballistic missiles will lead to a more positive future for all people on the Korean Peninsula and a chance of prosperity for the people of North Korea, who have suffered for too long.

However, more must be done and we call on all states to maintain strong pressure, including through full implementation of relevant UNSCRs, to urge North Korea to change its course and take decisive and irreversible steps. In this context, we once again call upon North Korea to respect the human rights of its people and resolve the abductions issue immediately.

17. We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing behavior, to undermine democratic systems and its support of the Syrian regime.

We condemn the attack using a military grade nerve agent in Salisbury, United Kingdom.

We share and agree with the United Kingdom’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation was responsible for the attack, and that there is no plausible alternative explanation.

We urge Russia to live up to its international obligations, as well as its responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to uphold international peace and security.

Notwithstanding, we will continue to engage with Russia on addressing regional crises and global challenges, where it is in our interests.

We reiterate our condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and reaffirm our enduring support for Ukrainian sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

We maintain our commitment to assisting Ukraine in implementing its ambitious and necessary reform agenda.

We recall that the continuation of sanctions is clearly linked to Russia’s failure to demonstrate complete implementation of its commitments in the Minsk Agreements and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and we fully support the efforts within the Normandy Format and of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for a solution to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

Should its actions so require, we also stand ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase costs on Russia.

We remain committed to support Russian civil society and to engage and invest in people-to-people contact.

18. We strongly condemn the murderous brutality of Daesh and its oppression of civilian populations under its control.

As an international community, we remain committed to the eradication of Daesh and its hateful ideology.

In Syria we also condemn the repeated and morally reprehensible use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime and by Daesh.

We call on the supporters of the regime to ensure compliance with its obligation to declare and dismantle remaining chemical weapons.

We deplore the fact that Syria assumed the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament in May, given its consistent and flagrant disregard of international non-proliferation norms and agreements.

We reaffirm our collective commitment to the Chemical Weapons Convention and call on all States to support the upcoming Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) special Conference of States Parties and to work together to strengthen the ability of the OPCW to promote the implementation of the Convention.

We call upon those who have yet to do so to join the International Partnership Against the Use of Chemical Weapons.

We call for credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance in Syria, facilitated by free and fair elections held to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to participate.

19. We remain concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas and reiterate our strong opposition to any unilateral actions that could escalate tensions and undermine regional stability and the international rules-based order.

We urge all parties to pursue demilitarization of disputed features. We are committed to taking a strong stance against human rights abuse, human trafficking, and corruption across the globe, especially as it impacts vulnerable populations and we call upon the international community to take strong action against these abuses all over the world.

We welcome the recent commitments made by Myanmar and we pledge to coordinate efforts to build lasting peace and support democratic transition in Myanmar, particularly in the context of the ongoing Rohingya crisis, to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access and the safe, voluntary, and dignified return of refugees and displaced people.

We are deeply concerned about the lack of respect for human rights and basic democratic principles in Venezuela, as well as the spiraling economic crisis and its humanitarian repercussions.

We express our concern at the continuous deterioration of the situation in Yemen and renew our call for all parties to fully comply with international humanitarian law and human rights law.

20. Recognizing the threat Iran’s ballistic missile program poses to international peace and security, we call upon Iran to refrain from launches of ballistic missiles and all other activities which are inconsistent with UNSCR 2231 – including all annexes – and destabilizing for the region, and cease proliferation of missile technology.

We are committed to permanently ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful, in line with its international obligations and commitments to never seek, develop or acquire a nuclear weapon.

We condemn all financial support of terrorism including terrorist groups sponsored by Iran.

We also call upon Iran to play a constructive role by contributing to efforts to counter terrorism and achieve political solutions, reconciliation and peace in the region.

21. We remain concerned about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially in the light of recent events.

We support the resumption without delay of substantive peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians aimed at achieving a negotiated solution that ensures the peace and security for both parties.

We stress the importance of addressing as soon as possible the dire and deteriorating humanitarian and security situation in the Gaza strip.

22. Africa’s security, stability, and sustainable development are high priorities for us, and we reiterate our support for African-led initiatives, including at a regional level.

We reiterate our commitment to work in partnership with the African continent, supporting the African Union Agenda 2063, to realize Africa’s potential.

We will promote African capabilities to better prevent, respond to, and manage crisis and conflicts and to strengthen democratic institutions.

We reiterate our commitment to the stabilization, unity and democracy of Libya, which is key for the stability of the Mediterranean region and of Europe.

We support the efforts of the Special Representative of the UNSG Salamé in pursuing an inclusive political process founded on his Action Plan and we encourage all Libyan and regional actors to uphold their constructive engagement as outlined in the June 2018 UNSC Presidential statement. We support the efforts of the Presidency Council and the GNA to consolidate State institutions.

Working Together on Climate Change, Oceans and Clean Energy

23. A healthy planet and sustainable economic growth are mutually beneficial, and therefore, we are pursuing global efforts towards a sustainable and resilient future that creates jobs for our citizens.

We firmly support the broad participation and leadership of young people, girls and women in promoting sustainable development.

We collectively affirm our strong determination to achieve a clean environment, clean air, clean water and healthy soil.

We commit to ongoing action to strengthen our collective energy security and demonstrate leadership in ensuring that our energy systems continue to drive sustainable economic growth.

We recognize that each country may chart its own path to achieving a low-emission future. We look forward to adopting a common set of guidelines at UNFCCC COP 24.

24. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the European Union reaffirm their strong commitment to implement the Paris Agreement, through ambitious climate action, in particular through reducing emissions while stimulating innovation, enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening and financing resilience and reducing vulnerability, as well as ensuring a just transition, including increasing efforts to mobilize climate finance from a wide variety of sources.

We discussed the key role of energy transitions through the development of market based clean energy technologies and the importance of carbon pricing, technology collaboration and innovation to continue advancing economic growth and protect the environment as part of sustainable, resilient and low-carbon energy systems, as well as financing adaptive capacity.

We reaffirm the commitment that we have made to our citizens to reduce air and water pollution and our greenhouse gas emissions to reach a global carbon-neutral economy over the course of the second half of the century.

We welcome the adoption by the UN General Assembly of a resolution titled ‘Towards a Global Pact for the Environment’ and look forward to the presentation of a report by the Secretary-General in the next General Assembly.

25. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the European Union will promote the fight against climate change through collaborative partnerships and work with all relevant partners, in particular all levels of government; local, Indigenous, remote coastal and small island communities; as well as with the private sector, international organizations and civil society to identify and assess policy gaps, needs and best practices.

We recognize the contribution of the One Planet conferences to this collective effort.

26. The United States believes sustainable economic growth and development depends on universal access to affordable and reliable energy resources. It commits to ongoing action to strengthen the worlds’ collective energy security, including through policies that facilitates open, diverse, transparent, liquid and secure global markets for all energy sources.

The United States will continue to promote energy security and economic growth in a manner that improves the health of the world’s oceans and environment, while increasing public-private investments in energy infrastructure and technology that advances the ability of countries to produce, transport, and use all available energy sources based on each country’s national circumstances.

The United States will endeavor to work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently and help deploy renewable and other clean energy sources, given the importance of energy access and security in their Nationally Determined Contributions.

The United States believes in the key role of energy transitions through the development of market-based clean energy technologies and the importance of technology collaboration and innovation to continue advancing economic growth and protect the environment as part of sustainable, resilient, and clean energy systems.

The United States reiterates its commitment to advancing sustainable economic growth, and underscores the importance of continued action to reduce air and water pollution.

27. Recognizing that healthy oceans and seas directly support the livelihoods, food security and economic prosperity of billions of people, we met with the heads of state or government of the Argentina, Bangladesh, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Marshall Islands, Norway, Rwanda (Chair of the African Union), Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Vietnam, and the heads of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, to discuss concrete actions to protect the health of marine environments and ensure a sustainable use of marine resources as part of a renewed agenda to increase global biodiversity protection.

We endorse the Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Coastal Communities, and will improve oceans knowledge, promote sustainable oceans and fisheries, support resilient coasts and coastal communities and address ocean plastic waste and marine litter.

Recognizing that plastics play an important role in our economy and daily lives but that the current approach to producing, using, managing and disposing of plastics and poses a significant threat to the marine environment, to livelihoods and potentially to human health, we the Leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the European Union endorse the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter.

Conclusion

28. We share the responsibility of working together to stimulate sustainable economic growth that benefits everyone, and, in particular, those most at risk of being left behind.

We would like to thank our citizens, civil society, the Gender Equality Advisory Council, the Formal G7 Engagement Groups and other partners for their meaningful input to Canada’s presidency.

We welcome the offer of the President of France to host our next Summit in 2019 and his pledge to continue G7 leadership on our common agenda.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5825557/Trump-REFUSES-sign-communique-signed-G7-leaders-slams-meek-Justin-Trudeau.html

THE CHARLEVOIX G7 SUMMIT COMMUNIQUE

  1. We, the Leaders of the G7, have come together in Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada on June 8–9, 2018, guided by our shared values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and our commitment to promote a rules-based international order. As advanced economies and leading democracies, we share a fundamental commitment to investing in our citizens and meeting their needs and to responding to global challenges. We collectively affirm our strong determination to achieve a clean environment, clean air and clean water. We are resolved to work together in creating a healthy, prosperous, sustainable and fair future for all.

Investing in Growth that Works for Everyone

  1. We share the responsibility of working together to stimulate sustainable economic growth that benefits everyone and, in particular, those most at risk of being left behind. We welcome the contribution of technological change and global integration to global economic recovery and increased job creation. The global economic outlook continues to improve, but too few citizens have benefited from that economic growth. While resilience against risk has improved among emerging market economies, recent market movements remind us of potential vulnerabilities. We will continue monitoring market developments and using all policy tools to support strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth that generates widespread prosperity. We reaffirm our existing exchange rate commitments. We commit to promoting smart, sustainable and high-quality investments, such as in infrastructure, to boost growth and productivity and create quality jobs. Economic growth is fundamental to raising living standards. We also recognize that economic output alone is insufficient for measuring success and acknowledge the importance of monitoring other societal and economic indicators that measure prosperity and well-being. We are committed to removing the barriers that keep our citizens, including women and marginalized individuals, from participating fully in the global economy. We endorse the Charlevoix Commitment on Equality and Economic Growth, which reinforces our commitment to eradicate poverty, advance gender equality, foster income equality, ensure better access to financial resources and create decent work and quality of life for all.
  2. In order to ensure that everyone pays their fair share, we will exchange approaches and support international efforts to deliver fair, progressive, effective and efficient tax systems. We will continue to fight tax evasion and avoidance by promoting the global implementation of international standards and addressing base erosion and profit shifting. The impacts of the digitalization of the economy on the international tax system remain key outstanding issues. We welcome the OECD interim report analyzing the impact of digitalization of the economy on the international tax system. We are committed to work together to seek a consensus-based solution by 2020.
  3. We acknowledge that free, fair and mutually beneficial trade and investment, while creating reciprocal benefits, are key engines for growth and job creation. We recommit to the conclusions on trade of the Hamburg G20 Summit, in particular, we underline the crucial role of a rules-based international trading system and continue to fight protectionism. We note the importance of bilateral, regional and plurilateral agreements being open, transparent, inclusive and WTO-consistent, and commit to working to ensure they complement the multilateral trade agreements. We commit to modernize the WTO to make it more fair as soon as possible. We strive to reduce tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and subsidies.
  4. We will work together to enforce existing international rules and develop new rules where needed to foster a truly level playing field, addressing in particular non-market oriented policies and practices, and inadequate protection of intellectual property rights, such as forced technology transfer or cyber-enabled theft. We call for the start of negotiations – this year – to develop stronger international rules on market-distorting industrial subsidies and trade-distorting actions by state-owned enterprises. We also call on all members of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity to fully and promptly implement its recommendations. We stress the urgent need to avoid excess capacity in other sectors such as aluminum and high technology. We call on the International Working Group on Export Credits to develop a new set of guidelines for government-supported export credits, as soon as possible in 2019.
  5. To support growth and equal participation that benefits everyone, and ensure our citizens lead healthy and productive lives, we commit to supporting strong, sustainable health systems that promote access to quality and affordable healthcare and to bringing greater attention to mental health. We support efforts to promote and protect women’s and adolescents’ health and well-being through evidence-based healthcare and health information. We recognize the World Health Organization’s vital role in health emergencies, including through the Contingency Fund for Emergencies and the World Bank’s Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, and emphasize their need for further development and continued and sustainable financing. We recommit to support our 76 partners to strengthen their implementation of the International Health Regulations, including through their development of costed national action plans and the use of diverse sources of financing and multi-stakeholder resources. We will prioritize and coordinate our global efforts to fight against antimicrobial resistance, in a “one health” approach. We will accelerate our efforts to end tuberculosis, and its resistant forms. We reconfirm our resolve to work with partners to eradicate polio and effectively manage the post-polio transition. We affirm our support for a successful replenishment of the Global Fund in 2019.
  6. Public finance, including official development assistance and domestic resource mobilization, is necessary to work towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, but alone is insufficient to support the economic growth and sustainable development necessary to lift all populations from poverty. As a result, we have committed to the Charlevoix Commitment on Innovative Financing for Development to promote economic growth in developing economies and foster greater equality of opportunity within and between countries. We will continue to invest in quality infrastructure with open access. Given rising debt levels in low income countries and the importance of debt sustainability, we call for greater debt transparency not only from low income debtor countries, but also emerging sovereign lenders and private creditors. We support the ongoing work of the Paris Club, as the principal international forum for restructuring official bilateral debt, towards the broader inclusion of emerging creditors. We recognize the value in development and humanitarian assistance that promotes greater equality of opportunity, and gender equality, and prioritizes the most vulnerable, and will continue to work to develop innovative financing models to ensure that no one is left behind.

Preparing for Jobs of the Future

  1. We are resolved to ensure that all workers have access to the skills and education necessary to adapt and prosper in the new world of work brought by innovation through emerging technologies. We will promote innovation through a culture of lifelong learning among current and future generations of workers. We will expand market-driven training and education, particularly for girls and women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. We recognize the need to remove barriers to women’s leadership and equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of the labour market, including by eliminating violence, discrimination and harassment within and beyond the workplace. We will explore innovative new approaches to apprenticeship and vocational learning, as well as opportunities to engage employers and improve access to workplace training.
  2. We highlight the importance of working towards making social protection more effective and efficient and creating quality work environments for workers, including those in non-standard forms of work. Expanding communication and collaboration between governments and businesses, social partners, educational institutions and other relevant stakeholders will be essential for preparing workers to adapt and thrive in the new world of work. To realize the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI), we endorse the Charlevoix Common Vision for the Future of Artificial Intelligence. We recognize that a human-centric approach to AI has the potential to introduce new sources of economic growth, bring significant benefits to our societies and help address some of our most pressing challenges.

Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

  1. We recognize that gender equality is fundamental for the fulfillment of human rights and is a social and economic imperative. However, gender inequality persists despite decades of international commitments to eliminate these differences. We will continue to work to remove barriers to women’s participation and decision-making in social, economic and political spheres as well as increase the opportunities for all to participate equally in all aspects of the labour market. Our path forward will promote women’s full economic participation through working to reduce the gender wage gap, supporting women business leaders and entrepreneurs and recognizing the value of unpaid care work.
  2. Equal access to quality education is vital to achieve the empowerment and equal opportunity of girls and women, especially in developing contexts and countries struggling with conflict. Through the Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls and Women in Developing Countries, we demonstrate our commitment to increase opportunities for at least 12 years of safe and quality education for all and to dismantle the barriers to girls’ and women’s quality education, particularly in emergencies and in conflict-affected and fragile states. We recognize that marginalized girls, such as those with a disability, face additional barriers in attaining access to education.
  3. Advancing gender equality and ending violence against girls and women benefits all and is a shared responsibility in which everyone, including men and boys, has a critical role to play. We endorse the Charlevoix Commitment to End Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Abuse and Harassment in Digital Contextsand are resolved to end all forms of sexual and gender-based violence. We strive for a future where individuals’ human rights are equally protected both offline and online; and where everyone has equal opportunity to participate in political, social, economic and cultural endeavors.

Building a More Peaceful and Secure World

  1. We share a responsibility to build a more peaceful and secure world, recognizing that respect for human rights, the rule of law and equality of opportunity are necessary for lasting security and to enable economic growth that works for everyone. The global security threats we face are complex and evolving and we commit to working together to counter terrorism. We welcome the outcome of the international conference on the fight against terrorist financing, held in Paris April 25-26, 2018. Foreign terrorist fighters must be held accountable for their actions. We are committed to addressing the use of the internet for terrorist purposes, including as a tool for recruitment, training, propaganda and financing, and by working with partners such as the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. We underscore the importance of taking concrete measures to eradicate trafficking in persons, forced labour, child labour and all forms of slavery, including modern slavery.
  2. Recognizing that countries that are more equal are also more stable, more peaceful and more democratic, we are resolved to strengthen the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. Gender-sensitive measures that include women’s participation and perspectives to prevent and eradicate terrorism are vital to effective and sustainable results, protection from sexual and gender-based violence, and preventing other human rights abuses and violations.
  3. We commit to take concerted action in responding to foreign actors who seek to undermine our democratic societies and institutions, our electoral processes, our sovereignty and our security as outlined in the Charlevoix Commitment on Defending Democracy from Foreign Threats. We recognize that such threats, particularly those originating from state actors, are not just threats to G7 nations, but to international peace and security and the rules-based international order. We call on others to join us in addressing these growing threats by increasing the resilience and security of our institutions, economies and societies, and by taking concerted action to identify and hold to account those who would do us harm.
  4. We continue to call on North Korea to completely, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle all of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missiles as well as its related programs and facilities. We acknowledge recent developments, including North Korea’s announcement of a moratorium on nuclear testing and ballistic missile launches, a commitment to denuclearization made in the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration – assuming full implementation – and the apparent closure of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site on May 24; but we reiterate the importance of full denuclearization. The dismantlement of all of its WMD and ballistic missiles will lead to a more positive future for all people on the Korean Peninsula and a chance of prosperity for the people of North Korea, who have suffered for too long. However, more must be done and we call on all states to maintain strong pressure, including through the full implementation of relevant UNSCRs, to urge North Korea to change its course and take decisive and irreversible steps. In this context, we once again call upon North Korea to respect the human rights of its people and resolve the abductions issue immediately
  5. We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing behaviour to undermine democratic systems and its support of the Syrian regime. We condemn the attack using a military-grade nerve agent in Salisbury, United Kingdom. We share and agree with the United Kingdom’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation was responsible for the attack, and that there is no plausible alternative explanation. We urge Russia to live up to its international obligations, as well as its responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to uphold international peace and security. Notwithstanding, we will continue to engage with Russia on addressing regional crises and global challenges, where it is in our interests. We reiterate our condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and reaffirm our enduring support for Ukrainian sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally-recognized borders. We maintain our commitment to assisting Ukraine in implementing its ambitious and necessary reform agenda. We recall that the continuation of sanctions is clearly linked to Russia’s failure to demonstrate complete implementation of its commitments in the Minsk Agreements and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and we fully support the efforts within the Normandy Format and of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for a solution to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Should its actions so require, we also stand ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase costs on Russia. We remain committed to support Russian civil society and to engage and invest in people-to-people contact.
  6. We strongly condemn the murderous brutality of Daesh and its oppression of civilian populations under its control. As an international community, we remain committed to the eradication of Daesh and its hateful ideology. In Syria, we also condemn the repeated and morally reprehensible use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime and by Daesh. We call on the supporters of the regime to ensure compliance with its obligation to declare and dismantle remaining chemical weapons. We deplore the fact that Syria assumed the presidency of the Conference on Disarmament in May, given its consistent and flagrant disregard of international non-proliferation norms and agreements. We reaffirm our collective commitment to the Chemical Weapons Convention and call on all states to support the upcoming Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Special Conference of States Parties and to work together to strengthen the ability of the OPCW to promote the implementation of the Convention. We call upon those who have yet to do so to join the International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons. We call for credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance in Syria, facilitated by free and fair elections held to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to participate.
  7. We remain concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas and reiterate our strong opposition to any unilateral actions that could escalate tensions and undermine regional stability and the international rules-based order. We urge all parties to pursue demilitarization of disputed features. We are committed to taking a strong stance against human rights abuse, human trafficking and corruption across the globe, especially as it impacts vulnerable populations, and we call upon the international community to take strong action against these abuses all over the world. We welcome the recent commitments made by Myanmar and we pledge to coordinate efforts to build lasting peace and support democratic transition in Myanmar, particularly in the context of the ongoing Rohingya crisis, to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access and the safe, voluntary and dignified return of refugees and displaced people. We are deeply concerned about the lack of respect for human rights and basic democratic principles in Venezuela, as well as the spiraling economic crisis and its humanitarian repercussions. We express our concern at the continuous deterioration of the situation in Yemen and renew our call for all parties to fully comply with international humanitarian law and human rights law.
  8. Recognizing the threat Iran’s ballistic missile program poses to international peace and security, we call upon Iran to refrain from launches of ballistic missiles and all other activities which are inconsistent with UNSCR 2231 – including all annexes – and destabilizing for the region, and cease proliferation of missile technology. We are committed to permanently ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful, in line with its international obligations and commitments to never seek, develop or acquire a nuclear weapon. We condemn all financial support of terrorism including terrorist groups sponsored by Iran. We also call upon Iran to play a constructive role by contributing to efforts to counter terrorism and achieve political solutions, reconciliation and peace in the region.
  9. We remain concerned about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially in the light of recent events. We support the resumption without delay of substantive peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians aimed at achieving a negotiated solution that ensures the peace and security for both parties. We stress the importance of addressing as soon as possible the dire and deteriorating humanitarian and security situation in the Gaza strip.
  10. Africa’s security, stability, and sustainable development are high priorities for us, and we reiterate our support for African-led initiatives, including at a regional level. We reiterate our commitment to work in partnership with the African continent, supporting the African Union Agenda 2063 in order to realize Africa’s potential. We will promote African capabilities to better prevent, respond to, and manage crisis and conflicts; and to strengthen democratic institutions. We reiterate our commitment to the stabilization, unity and democracy of Libya, which is key for the stability of the Mediterranean region and of Europe. We support the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Salamé in pursuing an inclusive political process founded on his Action Plan and we encourage all Libyan and regional actors to uphold their constructive engagement as outlined in the June 6, 2018 statement of the President of the Security Council on Libya. We support the efforts of the Presidency Council for Libya and the Libyan Government of National Accord to consolidate State institutions.

Working Together on Climate Change, Oceans and Clean Energy

  1. A healthy planet and sustainable economic growth are mutually beneficial, and therefore, we are pursuing global efforts towards a sustainable and resilient future that creates jobs for our citizens. We firmly support the broad participation and leadership of young people, girls and women in promoting sustainable development. We collectively affirm our strong determination to achieve a clean environment, clean air, clean water and healthy soil. We commit to ongoing action to strengthen our collective energy security and demonstrate leadership in ensuring that our energy systems continue to drive sustainable economic growth. We recognise that each country may chart its own path to achieving a low-emission future. We look forward to adopting a common set of guidelines at UNFCCC COP 24.
  2. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Union reaffirm their strong commitment to implement the Paris Agreement, through ambitious climate action; in particular through reducing emissions while stimulating innovation, enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening and financing resilience and reducing vulnerability; as well as ensuring a just transition, including increasing efforts to mobilize climate finance from a wide variety of sources. We discussed the key role of energy transitions through the development of market based clean energy technologies and the importance of carbon pricing, technology collaboration and innovation to continue advancing economic growth and protect the environment as part of sustainable, resilient and low-carbon energy systems; as well as financing adaptive capacity. We reaffirm the commitment that we have made to our citizens to reduce air and water pollution and our greenhouse gas emissions to reach a global carbon-neutral economy over the course of the second half of the century. We welcome the adoption by the UN General Assembly of a resolution titled Towards a Global Pact for the Environment and look forward to the presentation of a report by the Secretary General in the next General Assembly.
  3. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Union will promote the fight against climate change through collaborative partnerships and work with all relevant partners, in particular all levels of government; local, Indigenous, remote coastal and small island communities; as well as with the private sector, international organizations and civil society to identify and assess policy gaps, needs and best practices. We recognize the contribution of the One Planet conferences to this collective effort.
  4. The United States believes sustainable economic growth and development depends on universal access to affordable and reliable energy resources. It commits to ongoing action to strengthen the world’s collective energy security, including through policies that facilitates open, diverse, transparent, liquid and secure global markets for all energy sources. The United States will continue to promote energy security and economic growth in a manner that improves the health of the world’s oceans and environment, while increasing public-private investments in energy infrastructure and technology that advances the ability of countries to produce, transport, and use all available energy sources based on each country’s national circumstances. The United States will endeavour to work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently and help deploy renewable and other clean energy sources, given the importance of energy access and security in their Nationally Determined Contributions. The United States believes in the key role of energy transitions through the development of market-based clean energy technologies and the importance of technology collaboration and innovation to continue advancing economic growth and protect the environment as part of sustainable, resilient, and clean energy systems. The United States reiterates its commitment to advancing sustainable economic growth, and underscores the importance of continued action to reduce air and water pollution.
  5. Recognizing that healthy oceans and seas directly support the livelihoods, food security and economic prosperity of billions of people, we met with the heads of state or government of the Argentina, Bangladesh, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Marshall Islands, Norway, Rwanda (Chair of the African Union), Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Vietnam, and the heads of the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank and the OECD, to discuss concrete actions to protect the health of marine environments and ensure a sustainable use of marine resources as part of a renewed agenda to increase global biodiversity protection. We endorse the Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Coastal Communities, and will improve oceans knowledge, promote sustainable oceans and fisheries, support resilient coasts and coastal communities and address ocean plastic waste and marine litter. Recognizing that plastics play an important role in our economy and daily lives but that the current approach to producing, using, managing and disposing of plastics and poses a significant threat to the marine environment, to livelihoods and potentially to human health, we the Leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the European Union endorse the Ocean Plastics Charter.

Conclusion

  1. We share the responsibility of working together to stimulate sustainable economic growth that benefits everyone, in particular, those most at risk of being left behind. We would like to thank our citizens, civil society, the Gender Equality Advisory Council, the Formal G7 Engagement Groups and other partners for their meaningful input to Canada’s presidency. We welcome the offer of the President of France to host our next Summit in 2019 and his pledge to continue G7 leadership on our common agenda.

https://g7.gc.ca/en/official-documents/charlevoix-g7-summit-communique/

Trump holds solo news conference, defends bashing press

CATHERINE LUCEY and DARLENE SUPERVILLE

,

Associated Press

See the source image

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the G-7 summit, Saturday, June 9, 2018, in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the G-7 summit, Saturday, June 9, 2018, in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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LA MALBAIE, Quebec (AP) — President Donald Trump stepped to the microphone alone Saturday to take reporters’ questions, just the second time he’d done so since taking office more than a year ago.

He talked about his desire for countries to remove all barriers to the free flow of goods. He looked ahead to the next big meeting on his schedule — a summit in Singapore next week with North Korea’s leader. Along the way, Trump bashed the U.S. press and defended why he does it.

“I’d like to ask you why you do that?” said a White House reporter from the news agency Agence France-Presse.

Trump, who is obsessed with his media coverage and has labeled the press “the enemy of the people,” defended the steady stream of attacks.

“Because the U.S. press is very dishonest. Much of it, not all of it,” Trump said. “Oh, I have some folks in your profession that are with the U.S., in the U.S., citizens, proud citizens; they’re reporters. These are some of the most outstanding people I know. But there are many people in the press that are unbelievably dishonest. They don’t cover stories the way they’re supposed to be. They don’t even report them in many cases if they’re positive. So there’s tremendous — you know, I came up with the term ‘fake news.’

“It’s a lot of ‘fake news,’ but at the same time I have great respect for many of the people in the press,” he said.

During an earlier point in the news conference, Trump referred to a CNN producer’s “fake friends at CNN.”

Unlike with a more formal news conference, typically announced days in advance, the White House gave journalists traveling with Trump little warning that he was coming to their workspace to make a statement and answer questions before leaving the Group of Seven summit in Quebec to fly to Singapore.

He answered questions from just the small group, or “pool,” of reporters who travel with him, not the much larger universe of reporters who cover the White House on a daily basis and would attend a less hastily arranged question-and-answer session.

Trump seems more fond of sparring with reporters when he can share the stage with a foreign counterpart, as he did this past week at the White House after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had stopped in Washington to consult with Trump before the G-7 and the upcoming Kim summit.

The president has also been more open to answering questions during brief appearances at the White House, such as at bill-signing ceremonies or meetings with lawmakers, or on the South Lawn when he leaves or returns from an out-of-town trip.

Trump last appeared solo before reporters in February 2017, less than a month into his presidency. It was a rollicking, quickly arranged, 77-minute free-for-all in the stately East Room of the White House during which he railed against the news media, defended his fired national security adviser and insisted that no one who advised his campaign had had any contacts with Russia.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-holds-solo-news-conference-defends-bashing-press-190705939–politics.html

One ‘rant,’ rough talks sour G7 mood in confrontations with Trump

by Reuters
Saturday, 9 June 2018 22:10 GMT

By Jan Strupczewski and Jean-Baptiste Vey

LA MALBAIE, Quebec June 9 (Reuters) – The Group of Seven leaders came to their summit in Canada braced for battle, and while everyone had smiles ready for the cameras, behind the scenes U.S. President Donald Trump delivered a “rant” and recriminations on trade to U.S. allies, leaving the once united club deeply divided.

Trade dominated the two-day summit that began on Friday with leaders of Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Britain and Italy returning to the topic repeatedly in meetings, at a lavish dinner and by a fireside pit late into the evening.

A photo tweeted by the German government spokesman, @RegSprecher, captured the mood, showing a seated Trump, arms crossed, surrounded by other leaders standing over him.

At what a French presidential official described as one “extraordinary” session on Friday, leaders who had vowed to confront Trump over his decision to impose tariffs on U.S. allies last week as part of his “America First” agenda, showered Trump with data one after the other.

Trump gave “a long, frank rant”, the official said, repeating a position he carried through the 2016 U.S. election campaign into the White House that the United States had suffered at the hands of its trading partners, with French President Emmanuel Macron pushing back on the assertion and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe chiming in.

It was a “a long litany of recriminations, somewhat bitter reports that the United States was treated unfairly,” said the French official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It was a difficult time, rough, very frank.”

The U.S. president did not appear to be listening during some of the trade presentations, another G7 official familiar with the meeting said.

White House officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the characterisations by these officials of Trump’s remarks or attention to the presentations.

Trump himself told reporters on Saturday that the summit was not contentious and called his relationship with G7 allies a “10”.

Despite smiles and jokes for the cameras, the tension among the leaders was clear. At one point, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was seen having a brief, intense one-sided conversation with a stony-faced Trump on Friday.

On Saturday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sniped about “stragglers” after Trump was late to a breakfast session on gender equality. Trump left the summit early for Singapore, where he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next week.

One scene at the very beginning of the gathering of presidents and prime ministers of the biggest industrialized nations set the mood for facing the brash Trump.

He arrived at La Malbaie, the scenic luxury resort on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, as the four European leaders and the two EU heads were huddled together in a room to coordinate their strategy. The noise of Trump’s helicopter landing was so loud they had to stop talking for a while, in a scene one official compared to the opening from the U.S. television series M.A.S.H.

“The EU understands that the only way with Trump is strength,” said one European official. “If you give in now, he will come back tomorrow for more.”

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski and Jean-Baptiste Vey; additional reporting by William James, David Ljunggren, Giselda Vagnoni and Roberta Rampton; Writing by Amran Abocar; editing by Grant McCool)

http://news.trust.org/item/20180609194409-l5tmi

 

 

Trump’s awkward arrival at G7 summit: President poses with world leaders after saying Putin should have been with them, then keeps talking while Trudeau tries to end a photo-op after flaming Macron and Canada over trade barriers

  • The G7 summit is under way in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada – with a rocky start including President Trump calling for Russia to be there
  • The group suspended Russia’s membership from the then-G8 after its annexation of Crimea   
  • ‘They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table,’ Trump said before boarding Marine One
  • He had already lobbed a Twitter attack at the leaders of France and Canada saying both nations were charging ‘massive tariffs’ on U.S. products
  • He nevertheless got a warm welcome from Canadian  Prime Minister Trudeau although French President Emanuel Macron earlier took a shot at Trump and scratched a meeting
  • ‘Maybe the American president doesn’t care about being isolated today, but we don’t mind being six’
  • Trump is now planning to leave the summit early – skipping climate discussions to head for Singapore for his summit with Kim Jong-Un
  • Trump acknowledged with French President Macron the U.S. and Europe have faced ‘a little test every once in a while’ on trade 

President Donald Trump arrived at the G-7 summit in Canada after throwing another bomb on his way there – saying Russia should be allowed back into the group of industrial nations for talks, then talked over the Canadian prime minister to say there would be a ‘joint statement.

Trump posed for a brief photo-op with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Friday afternoon.

‘Thank you very much,’ Trump said – is what is often really an invitation for reporters to ask him a question.

When a reporter tried to ask whether Trump and Trudeau – who have been feuding over trade – would issue a joint statement, Trudeau tried to put a quick end the event.

‘We’ll see you guys,’ he said.

But Trump immediately answered the question anyway. ‘I think we’ll have a joint statement.’

Then Trudeau shut down any potential press conference after Trump threw barbs at a long morning impromptu event in Washington. ‘Merci tout le monde,’ he said, repeating the salutation twice as he thanked the group.

Trump’s unexpected announcement on Russia came after he and allies France and Canada have been engaged in an escalating trade war and rhetorical back-and-forth – and as a special counsel continues to probe Russian influence in the U.S. presidential election.

Although he got a warm welcome from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a scheduled meeting with French President Emanuel Macron got scratched at the outset.

Aides were able to cobble together a meeting for later on Monday.

‘We’ve had really a very good relationship, very special,’ Trump said at first. ‘A lot of people wrote a couple of things that weren’t quite true – a little bit accurate, perhaps – we’ve had a little test every once in a while when it comes to trade,’ the president then acknowledged.

Then Trump both complained about EU trade and complimented his counterpart.

‘The United States has had a very big trade deficit for many years with the European Union and we are working it out and Emmanuel’s been very helpful in that regard,’ Trump said. And something’s going to happen. I think it will be very positive.’

But a family photo saw Trump greet other leaders apparently warmly – although the start of official business at a round table session saw Trump photographed looking less than happy.

Trump arrived in Malbaie, Charlevoix, Quebec, late, having given reporters an extended unscheduled briefing on the South Lawn of the White House.

In contrast to most of the leaders, Trump went solo, saying that the First Lady, Melania Trump, has been told by doctors not to fly after a ‘four-hour operation’, which was far more serious than had earlier been said.

The world leaders had a lunch of locally-sourced food, a far cry from Trump’s preferred burgers, and posed for a ‘family photo’ overlooking the St Lawrence River.

Russia continues to remain under U.S. and European sanctions for its annexation and incursion into part of Ukraine. Russia got kicked out of the group after it annexed Crimea.

‘They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table,’ Trump said before boarding Marine One.

Family time: European Council President Donald Tusk, British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pose at the start of the G7 in La Malbaie, Charlevoix, Quebec

Family time: European Council President Donald Tusk, British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pose at the start of the G7 in La Malbaie, Charlevoix, Quebec

Time for business: Trump sits beside Justin Trudeau at the start of the first formal G7 session. The Canadian prime minister is hosting and therefore chairing the summit

Time for business: Trump sits beside Justin Trudeau at the start of the first formal G7 session. The Canadian prime minister is hosting and therefore chairing the summit

Trade: Trump is making his push against what he says are unfair barriers to U.S. trade the center of his summit strategy

Trade: Trump is making his push against what he says are unfair barriers to U.S. trade the center of his summit strategy

Complaint: Trump had been said to be tired of British minister Theresa May's tone and did not appear to be offering her warm looks

Working together: Trump and Merkle had a rare moment of synchronicity as they both reached under the table

Frank exchanges: Trump suggested that the would use the G7 to press his case that trade is structurally unfair to the U.S.

Cheering up: Trump is spending just 24 hours at the summit, leaving early before sessions on climate change and the environment to head for his nuclear summit with Kim Jong-Un in Singapore

Finger-pointing: Trump came to the summit promising he would talk about 'the long time unfair trade practiced against the United States'. He gestured at Japan's Shinzo Abe as the formal business of the summit began

Host: Justin Trudeau is chairing the summit, which moves from country to country. The meeting is taking place in La Malbaie, Charlevoix, Quebec

Get-together: Emmanuel Macron put his arm on Trump after the family photo - but he had scratched a one-on-one meeting with the U.S. president after a Twitter outburst

Get-together: Emmanuel Macron put his arm on Trump after the family photo – but he had scratched a one-on-one meeting with the U.S. president after a Twitter outburst

Encounter: Angela Merkel had brief one-on-one discussions with Trump after the family photo was taken

Down to work: Seated clockwise from top center: German Chancellor Angela Merkel; US President Donald Trump; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; French President Emmanuel Macron; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte; President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker; President of the European Council Donald Tusk; and British Prime Minister Theresa May

Scenic: Canada is using the G7 as a chance to promote the beauty of Quebec, with the summit being held at a hotel overlooking the St Lawrence River in Quebec

G6 plus one: Other leaders spoke before the summit about how the other members - Canada, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Japan and the European Union, were in accord on trade and it was Trump who was out of step

G6 plus one: Other leaders spoke before the summit about how the other members – Canada, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Japan and the European Union, were in accord on trade and it was Trump who was out of step

‘Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting?’ Trump asked.

‘They threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in.’

His unexpected gesture toward Moscow came in an extended extemporaneous press event under the roar of Marine One’s engines, where the president also:

  • Said he was considering pardoning boxing legend Muhammad Ali, although the Supreme Court already overturned his draft-dodging conviction
  • Blasted fired FBI Director James Comey and his ‘band of thieves’
  • Announced that First Lady Melania Trump was on doctors’ orders not to fly following her four-hour ‘operation’ and says she wanted to join him on his trip
  • Defended embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt, who is under fire for having an aide try to hunt down a used Trump Tower mattress as well moisturizing lotion and using pull to get his wife a chicken franchise, but said he wasn’t ‘blameless’  
  • Said he was considering granting 3,000 pardons
  • Said further that he wanted protesting NFL players to recommend people who had suffered unfairness in the justice system for potential pardons
  • Proclaimed he wouldn’t need to pardon himself from the ‘made up fantasy’ of the Russia probe
  • Blasted NAFTA 
  • Commented on the ‘very important leaker’ who was indicted Thursday and is charged with passing Senate Intelligence panel information to a reporter he dated who had her phones and records seized
  • Reassured Canadian and European leaders furious over U.S. tariffs that ‘when it all straightens out, we’ll all be in love again’
  • Offered ‘heartfelt condolences’ for chef and author Anthony Bourdain, who committed suicide 
  • Called Dennis Rodman, who is traveling to Seoul due to his bizarre friendship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, a ‘great rebounder.’ 

Trump described himself as ‘Russia’s worst nightmare,’ even as he made the pitch for their inclusion.

The country was removed from what had been the G-8 over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

‘Russia should be in this meeting. Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting?’ he asked.

Trump’s planned bilateral meeting with French President Emanuel Macron was already expected to be a source for fireworks, after Trump slapped steel and aluminum tariffs on European allies, and Macron said the G7 could work without the U.S. if it must.

SORRY DONALD, THE BURGER IS OFF

Justin Trudeau offered no concessions to Trump’s well-known taste for burgers, meatloaf and ice cream. Here is the menu from the G7’s opening lunch.

Arctic char escabeche perfumed with Labrador tea

Buckwheat salad with red apple, rhubarb, and balsam fir spiral

Veal

Dessert of haskap berry and cedar snowball with northern saffron creme anglaise

The White House told reporters it was working to reschedule the Macron meeting after it suddenly fell off the schedule.

Instead, Trump only briefly greeted Macron and the French first lady on a terrace at the summit.

Trump cast his opinion on Russia in pragmatic terms, though he said it was up to the group.

‘I would recommend, and it’s up to them, but Russia should be in the meeting. It should be a part of it,’ he said.

‘You know, whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run,’ Trump told reporters in extended remarks before his trip.

‘And in the G7, which used to be the G8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in,’ the president said.

It is just the latest in a series of times the president has sought to bolster ties with the Kremlin, including resisting a sanctions bill pushed by Congress that he ultimately signed, calling for warmer relations with Moscow, and restating Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials of election interference after a one-on-one meeting.

Video playing bottom right…

Get ready for my close-up: Justin Trudeau was at the center of the family group as the host and was waiting for Trump while (from left) Theresa May, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Shinzo Abe prepared for the family photo

This is the new guy: Trump appeared to joke as he stood beside Italy's prime minister Giuseppe Conte, the newest world leader. The G7 is made up of the seven largest economies plus the European Union

Chance to make allies: Italy's Giuseppe Conte and Jean-Clause Juncker, president of the European Commission, flank Trump as they walk back from the family photo

Chance to make allies: Italy’s Giuseppe Conte and Jean-Clause Juncker, president of the European Commission, flank Trump as they walk back from the family photo

Not too warm: Trump flamed other world leaders on trade barriers before flying to Canada for the summit, including Emmanuel Macron, who brought his wife Brigitte

So much to say: Trump had used twitter before the G7 meeting to attack Justin Trudeau claiming that U.S. dairy farmers are unfairly treated

A handshake, or an embrace: Trump was effusive as he greeted Justin Trudeau who is hosting the G7, but it was Emmanuel Macron who was hugged by the Canadian. The French and Canadian leaders were both attacked by Trump on twitter

Traveling solo: Justin Trudeau was with his wife, Sophie Gregoire, as he greeted Trump, but the president said the First Lady has been told not to fly for four weeks

Happy family meal: Lunch, a distinctly non-Trumpian menu which included Arctic char perfumed with Labrador tea, saw him seated between Germany's Angela Merkel and Britain's Theresa May. To the right of may is Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, French president Emmanuel Macron and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau

Scenic outlook: The hotel where the summit is being held overlooks the St Lawrence bay

Scenic outlook: The hotel where the summit is being held overlooks the St Lawrence bay

Grand setting: The Canadians are hoping to showcase the beauty of Quebec with their hosting of the G7

WARM WELCOME: President Donald Trump is greeted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (C) and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau during the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018

WARM WELCOME: President Donald Trump is greeted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (C) and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau during the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018

President Donald Trump (L) speaks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (C) and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau during the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018

President Donald Trump (L) speaks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (C) and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau during the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018

He's here: Trump was a late arrival at La Malbaie, Charelvoix, Quebec, after leaving the White House via an impromptu briefing with reporters. He was driven in an armored Suburban - rather than The Beast - to the hotel where it is being held

'They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table,' Trump said as he called for Russia to be put back in the G7, making it the G8

‘They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table,’ Trump said as he called for Russia to be put back in the G7, making it the G8

Where is Russia? Trump said he wanted to see Vladimir Putin at the G-7 summit - after a series of attacks on other leaders there, including Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron

Where is Russia? Trump said he wanted to see Vladimir Putin at the G-7 summit – after a series of attacks on other leaders there, including Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron

Trump’s bold pronouncement came after he already has been engaged in angry back-and-forth with traditional allies France and Canada in a trade war. The Trump administration slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imported form the allies, citing a national security exception.

The Canadian prime minster blasted back mentioning Canada’s military contributions in Afghanistan, while French President Emanuel Macron said Thursday the remaining six G6 nations could operate without U.S. leadership.

Russia didn’t jump at the offer Trump extended in remarks to reporters.

‘Russia is focused on other formats, apart from the G7,’ Kremlin spokesman said, according to state-sponsored Sputnik media.

The U.S. and other leading industrial nations kicked Russia out of the G8 in 2014, after its invasion of Ukraine and seizing of Crimea.

‘International law prohibits the acquisition of part or all of another state’s territory through coercion or force,” according to a joint statement at the time. “To do so violates the principles upon which the international system is built. We condemn the illegal referendum held in Crimea in violation of Ukraine’s constitution.’

The statement continued: ‘We also strongly condemn Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea in contravention of international law and specific international obligations.’

Other leaders of the G7 are set to clash with Trump when they pressure him to lift sanctions on steel and aluminum they fear could lead to a trade war.

G7 leaders look to be civil when speaking with Trump at summit
Relationship: The call for Putin to be at the G-7 will only underline questions over the nature of the relationship between Trump and the Kremlin strongman

Relationship: The call for Putin to be at the G-7 will only underline questions over the nature of the relationship between Trump and the Kremlin strongman

I'm off: Trump's tweet shortly before he boarded Marine One which took aim at both the country's G-7 partners and the Mueller probe
Donald Trump is leaving the G7 summit early - skipping the climate discussions - amid increasing animosity with his fellow world leaders

I’m off: Trump’s tweet shortly before he boarded Marine One which took aim at both the country’s G-7 partners and the Mueller probe

President Trump sat the tone for his meeting with world leaders with a tweet on Thursday
Trump attacked French President Macron who fired back on Twitter that the summit did not need the US: 'The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be'

Trump attacked French President Macron who fired back on Twitter that the summit did not need the US: ‘The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be’

French President Macron and President Trump had a close relationship. Trump and the first lady hosted the French president and his wife for their first official state dinner.

French President Macron and President Trump had a close relationship. Trump and the first lady hosted the French president and his wife for their first official state dinner.

Trump is scheduled to leave early on Saturday for Singapore to prepare for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday.  

Trump is planning to leave the G7 summit early – skipping the climate discussions – following a furious Twitterspat with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Trump also attacked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, labeling him as ‘indignant’ and accusing him of damaging US agriculture, while complaining that both he and President Macron ‘are charging the U.S. massive tariffs.’

Macron fired back on Twitter that the summit did not need the US.

‘The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be,’ he wrote.

‘Because these 6 countries represent values, they represent an economic market which has the weight of history behind it and which is now a true international force.’

Now Trump, who will meet with both Macron and Trudeau tomorrow, has announced he plans to leave the summit several hours early. The White House confirmed that he will depart mid-morning on Saturday, skipping the sessions on climate change and the environment.

A White House aide will take his place.

Trump reportedly even considered scrapping the visit to Canada entirely because he’d be outnumbered on issues like trade and climate change, sources told CNN.

The US president was also unhappy over Trudeau’s barbs about Canada’s better relationship with the US under Barack Obama.

‘Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant, bringing up the relationship that the U.S. and Canada had over the many years and all sorts of other things…but he doesn’t bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300% on dairy — hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture!’ Trump tweeted Thursday.

The tweet followed another, where he wrote that: ‘The EU trade surplus with the U.S. is $151 Billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out.’

He concluded his message by writing: ‘Look forward to seeing them tomorrow.’

The summit starts Friday in Canada.

Trump will come face-to-face at the gathering in Charlevoix, Quebec, with world leaders whose views do not line with his on a range of issues from trade to the environment as well as Iran and the construction of a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.

And his tweet sets a confrontational tone going into the gathering.

Macron has already arrived in Canada where he and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Trump his actions had put his people’s ‘jobs on the line’.

The Canadian premier encouraged Trump to reconsider his decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

‘American jobs are on the line because of his actions and because of his administration,’ Trudeau said on Parliament Hill in Ontario.

‘When we can underscore this, and we see that there’s a lot of pressure within the US, perhaps he will revise his position.’

Macron, who arrived in Ottawa on Wednesday evening for talks in advance of the summit, agreed.

‘A trade war doesn’t spare anyone,’ he said.

Macron and Trump have had a close relationship. Trump hosted the French president and his wife for his first official state dinner.

But relations have reportedly become tense since Trump made his decision to raise steel and aluminium tariffs on Mexico, Canada and the European Union.

Friday’s G7 meeting is expected to be tense as Trump takes one-on-one time with Macron, Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

The president may find more success at his June 12 summit in Singapore with North Korean President Kim Jong-Un.

Its seems likely that the Trump will enjoy a warmer encounter with the autocrat from Pyongyang than with his Canadian hosts and European and Japanese allies.

Leaders like Trudeau and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel admit it will be difficult to even agree on a joint communique at the two-day meeting.

The flames have already been thrown.

And Tommy Vietor, who served as President Obama’s national security spokesperson, retweeted Trump’s throw down with these words: ‘There’s just no reason to be an insufferable prick to our closest allies.’

Trump fumed at Trudeau during a contentious phone call on the administration’s new tariff policy, attacking Canada for burning down the White House – a feat performed by British troops in the War of 1812.

Canada didn’t exist for another 55 years – until 1867 when the colonies of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia came together to form the nation. Yet, Trump reportedly quipped to Trudeau during a call, ‘Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?’

Trudeau had been pressing Trump on how he could justify the new steel and aluminium tariffs as a ‘national security’ issue, CNN reported.

In response, Trump brought up the War of 1812 when British troops burned down the presidential residence on August 24, 1814. They also looted and set the U.S. Capitol building aflame.

Macron always tries to ‘convince Trump on climate, Iran and trade’
Obama official Tommy Vietor criticized the president

Trudeau rebuffed U.S. claims the tariff hike was a national security issue

Trudeau rebuffed U.S. claims the tariff hike was a national security issue

Trudeau has vocally slammed Trump’s reasoning for his new steel and aluminum tariff policies, saying it is ‘insulting and unacceptable’ to say Canada is a threat to the United States.

‘The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is quite frankly insulting and unacceptable,’ he said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday.

Trump last week allowed Canada and the European Union’s exemptions from steel and aluminum tariffs he introduced this spring to expire, which resulted in the U.S. imposing tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

Trump strummed the tune Wednesday that the U.S. has the ‘worst trade deals ever made’ that his administration is scrapping for ones that are ‘really fantastic.’

‘And we’re going to have now fair trade deals. We have made the worst deals ever made. NAFTA is a disaster,’ he said, referring to the existing deal between the U.S. Mexico and Canada. ‘World Trade Organization is a disaster. I could go deal after deal, and it’s been very unfair to our country, to our workers, to our companies, and to everybody else involved. And we’re changing them around rapidly.’

The U.S. has a $8.4 billion trade surplus in goods and services with Canada, according to a report from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

But looking at trade in goods alone, Canada has a surplus of $17.5 billion last year, according to the same USTR report.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5821265/Trump-says-PUTIN-G7-summit-Canada.html

 

Story 2: Trump’s Great Trade Deal –Fair and Free Trade with No Tariffs, No Barriers, No Subsidies, — Reciprocal Two Way Deals — Cheating Countries Complain — Videos

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Trump plans to ‘deal with unfair trade practices’ at G7 Summit – Daily Mail

President Trump Says He Wants Free, but Fair Trade

Trump’s tariffs have provoked a crisis with the EU: David O’ Sullivan

Free Trade and Its Enemies | Jeffrey M. Herbener

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Murray Rothbard on Balance of Trade “Deficit”

Fake Economic News | Walter Block

Free Trade | Walter Block

The Case for Free Trade, Not Imperialism | Walter Block

Dr. Walter Block: Competition and Monopolies

The Curse of Economic Nationalism | Thomas J. DiLorenzo

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The Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018, Story 1: Commander in Chief Trump Orders National Guard To Secure The Mexican/United States Border in 2018 As Bush Did In 2006 and Obama in 2010 — Election Year Politics? — Enforce Immigration Law By Deporting All 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in U.S. — Videos — Story 2: Trump Is Not A Target But Subject of Mueller Investigation — No Evidence of Criminal Conspiracy — Videos — Story 3: When Should 4,000+ U.S. Troops/Advisers Be Withdrawn From Syria and Iraq? When ISIS Is Destroyed — Videos

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Story 1: Commander in Chief Trump Orders National Guard To Secure The Mexican/United States Border in 2018 As Bush Did In 2006 and Obama in 2010 — Election Year Politics? — Enforce Immigration Law By Deporting All 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens in U.S. — Videos —

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Where’s the Fence

Bush on border security

Obama Sends Troops to the Border

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DHS Secretary Nielsen On Deploying National Guard To Mexico Border – Full Q & A

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Trump ramps up illegal immigration fight

President Donald Trump To Send National Guard To U.S.-Mexico Border | NBC Nightly News

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Trump Calls up National Guard to Protect the Border

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Retired Adm. Winnefeld on National Guard at border, U.S. troops in Syria

Hannity: President Trump takes bold action on the border

Tucker vs. Jorge Ramos: Caravan of migrants debate

 

Trump signs proclamation sending National Guard to Mexico border immediately

By Adam Shaw | Fox News

President Trump signed a proclamation Wednesday night to send the National Guard to the southern border immediately, a senior White House official told Fox News, in response to what the administration described as an “unacceptable” flow of drugs, criminal activity and illegal immigrants.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at the White House press briefing that the signing would be done in conjunction with governors and that the administration hoped the deployment would begin “immediately.”

“Despite a number of steps this administration has taken…we continue to see unacceptable levels of illegal drugs, dangerous gang activity transnational criminal organizations and illegal immigration flow across our border,” she said.

“The president has directed that the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security work together with our governors to deploy our National Guard to our southwest border  to assist the border patrol,” she said. “The president will be signing a proclamation to that effect today.”

Details about what the National Guard would do and how many would be deployed and for how long were not immediately disclosed.

Under the George W. Bush administration, deploying the National Guard to the border cost $415 million dollars.

Nielsen pointed to what she described as increasing fraud and exploited loopholes among arrivals on the southern border, saying traffickers have been advertising that if migrants have children with them, then they are more likely to be released into the U.S. She also said that almost 50 percent of arriving aliens are from Central America.