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The Pronk Pops Show 1369, December 5, 2019, Story 1: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Green-lights Impeachment of President Trump — I Don’t Hate Nobody — Don’t Mess With Me — In Your Guts You Know She Is Nuts —  Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now — Video Story 2: Creepy, Sleepy, Dopey Joey Biden Lacks Temperament To Be President — Attacks Senior Citizen Voter — Videos

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Abraham Lincoln Bot – fool the people

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Story 1: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Green-lights Impeachment of President Trump — I Don’t Hate Nobody — Don’t Mess With Me — In Your Guts You Know She Is Nuts —  Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now — Videos

Ingraham: All the Democrats’ lies

Tucker: Some questions Pelosi will have to answer

Judge Jeanine calls out ‘Trump-hating’ Democrats

Pelosi’s impeachment politics ‘will blow up in her face’: Ken Buck

Rep. Biggs pushes back on Pelosi’s impeachment announcement

BREAKING: Nancy Pelosi Asks For Articles of Impeachment for President Donald Trump

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Articles of Impeachment

Pelosi Says ‘Don’t Mess With Me’ Over Trump Hate Question

Pelosi: Impeachment has absolutely nothing to do with politics

Kennedy: ‘Laug hable’ impeachment is not about politics

McFadden & Whitehead – Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now 1979 (remastered audio)

Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’re on the move!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’ve got the groove!
There’s been so many things that’s held us down
But now it looks like things are finally comin’ around
I know we’ve got, a long long way to go
And where we’ll end up, I don’t know
But we won’t let nothin’ hold us back
We’re putting our selves together
We’re polishing up our act!
If you felt we’ve been held down before
I know you’ll refuse to be held down anymore!
Don’t you let nothing, nothing
Stand in your way!
I want ya’ll to listen, listen
To every word I say, every word I say!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’re on the move!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’ve got the groove!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’re on the move!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’ve got the groove!
I know you know someone that has a negative vow
And if you’re trying to make it they only push you aside
They really don’t have, no where to go
Ask them where they’re going, they don’t know
But we won’t let nothin’ hold us back
We’re gonna put our selves together
We’re gonna polish up our act!
And if you’ve ever been held down before
I know you’ll refuse to be held down anymore!
Don’t you let nothing, nothing
Stand in your way!
I want ya’ll to listen, listen
To every word I say, every word I say!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’re on the move!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’ve got the groove!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’re on the move!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’ve got the groove!
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Jerry Allen Cohen / Gene Mcfadden / John Whitehead
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Royalty Network

‘Don’t mess with me’: Moment nail-spitting Nancy Pelosi ERUPTS when reporter asks if she hates Donald Trump after she ordered Democrats to write formal articles of impeachment

  • Pelosi said she is instructing committees to proceed with impeachment articles against the president: ‘Our democracy is what is at stake’
  • When a reporter asked her, ‘Do you hate the president?’ she became unusually angry and insisted she doesn’t ‘hate’ anyone
  • Pelosi said she prays for the president but Trump tweeted that he doesn’t believe her 
  • Democrats are hurrying to compete their work by the end of the year; speaker didn’t say when she might call a vote 
  • Democrats are debating whether to include an article on obstruction of justice as laid out in the report by special counsel Robert Mueller
  • Politicians are split along party lines on whether Trump committed an impeachable offense when he asked Ukraine president to investigate Joe Biden 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi erupted Thursday at a reporter who asked if she hates President Donald Trump. Pelosi had two hours earlier publicly told House Democrats to draft articles of impeachment to try to remove the president from office.

‘Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker?’ asked James Rosen, a longtime correspondent for Fox News who is now with Sinclair Broadcasting.

Pelosi, typically even-tempered, abandoned her measured speaking and became visibly angry.

‘I pray for the president all the time,’ she shot back. ‘So don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.’

Trump wasted little time in escalating the feud with the Democrat who wants him ousted from power.

‘Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit. … She says she “prays for the President.” I don’t believe her, not even close,’ he wrote in a tweet.

‘She hates that we will soon have 182 great new judges and sooo much more. Stock Market and employment records,’ he added, before sniping about her hometown San Francisco’s chronic homelessness problem.

The California Democrat had said before storming off the stage that hatred ‘has nothing to do with’ her crusade to impeach Trump.

When reporter asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 'Do you hate the president?' she became unusually angry and insisted she doesn't 'hate' anyone: 'Don't mess with me when it comes to words like that!'

When reporter asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, ‘Do you hate the president?’ she became unusually angry and insisted she doesn’t ‘hate’ anyone: ‘Don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that!’

Pelosi erupted in response to a question from Sinclair Broadcasting reporter James Rosen (center-right, arm raised), who asked whether she hates Trump

Pelosi erupted in response to a question from Sinclair Broadcasting reporter James Rosen (center-right, arm raised), who asked whether she hates Trump

Pelosisaid she prays for Trump, and he tweeted that he doesn't believe it: 'Not even close'

Pelosisaid she prays for Trump, and he tweeted that he doesn’t believe it: ‘Not even close’

Pelosi insisted she hates no one, and that she often prays for the president

Pelosi insisted she hates no one, and that she often prays for the president

Pelosi confirms House to draft impeachment charges against Trump

‘Let me say this: I think the president is a coward when it comes to helping kids who are afraid of gun violence. I think he is cruel when he doesn’t deal with helping our dreamers, of which we’re very proud. I think he’s in denial about the climate crisis,’ she said.

But ‘take it up in the election,’ Pelosi continued. ‘This is about the Constitution of the United States and the fact that leads to the president’s violation of his oath of office. And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word “hate” in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone.’

Pelosi’s decision to fast-track impeachment articles, the congressional equivalent of criminal charges against Trump, sets up an almost certainly successful House vote likely trial in the Senate, with implications for not only the Trump presidency but control of Congress.

‘Our democracy is what is at stake,’ the longtime liberal lawmaker told reporters in a formal statement outside her ornate balcony on the second floor of the Capitol. ‘Today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.’

She did not specify which articles of impeachment she favored—an issue of intense debate within her caucus—or how quickly she might call a vote, another fraught question.

The speaker also left no doubt where she personally comes down on the matter, after spending many months initially resisting a push to impeach.

‘The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution,’ she said in her televised statement, speaking in somber tones in a measured voice.

‘His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution it’s separation of powers,’ she intoned – ‘three coequal branches, each a check and balance on the other.’

Trump quickly attacked the move on Twitter, warning Democrats were impeaching him over ‘NOTHING.’

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she has instructed House committees to draw up impeachment articles against President Trump

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she has instructed House committees to draw up impeachment articles against President Trump

President Trump countered on Twitter that Democrats were impeaching him over 'NOTHING'

President Trump countered on Twitter that Democrats were impeaching him over ‘NOTHING’

He said their actions would lower the bar and be 'used routinely to attack future Presidents'

He said their actions would lower the bar and be ‘used routinely to attack future Presidents’

‘Impeachment will be used routinely to attack future Presidents. That is not what our Founders had in mind,’ Trump retorted on Twitter.

She also appeared to suggest the potential for a sweeping set of impeachment articles – by accusing Trump of corruption in the 2016 election alongside his more recent moves. The House Intelligence Committee’s inquiry dealt primarily with Trump’s actions as recently as this fall and summer dealing with Ukraine.

‘The president leaves us no choice but to act, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit,’ Pelosi said.

What we do know on impeachment after Pelosi’s speech (and what we don’t)

WHAT WE KNOW 

Democratic committees will draft articles of impeachment for president Trump.

Pelosi used plural language, implying the House Intelligence Committee would continue to be involved, although Judiciary is the place such action would occur.

The committee must hold formal public hearings where articles would be voted on by members.

If those articles are ordered reported in Committee, House leaders would then bring them quickly to the House floor for a vote.

There would be public debate before such a vote, and each member’s vote will be recorded.

Then, the matter will go to the Senate, where Senate leaders have said a trial will occur.

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW 

Pelosi didn’t say what the impeachment articles would be.

She didn’t say whether obstruction of justice – alleged in the Mueller report – would be included.

Obstruction of Congress is another possibility.

Lawmakers are considering various abuse of power related articles.

She did not say when committees would act.

She didn’t say when the goal would be to have the House vote – or if year’s end is the official goal.

She did not speak on the likelihood of passage, although she would be unlikely to proceed without knowing the outcome.

Pelosi did not reveal who House impeachment managers will be. They are charged with arguing the case in the Senate.

The terms of the Senate trial are fluid. Witnesses are called, but it is unclear if the White House will follow through on Trump’s call to bring forward Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and the Bidens as witnesses.

The timing is also unknown. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked out time in January – but Democratic presidential primaries start in early February.

‘The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections,’ she continued. ‘His actions are in defiance of the vision of our founders and the oath of office that he takes to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”‘

‘Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders,  and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.’

She thanked committee chairs and members ‘for their somber approach’ to deal with actions the president made ‘necessary.’

The Catholic lawmaker invoked Declaration of Independence signers’ reliance on Divine Provenance.

She said Democrats were ‘prayerful’ and will proceed in a manner ‘worthy of our oath of office.’

There is much Pelosi did not say about a way forward – including what precise articles she wants the House Judiciary to draw up. The House intelligence committee, which began the probe under Pelosi ally Adam Schiff, has said it will continue its inquiry.

Seeking to bring her comments above the partisan mud fest that the two initial public hearings have become, Pelosi quoted a long list of Founders in her comments: James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason and and Constitution signer Gouverneur Morris.

‘The founders feared the return of the monarchy in America,’ Pelosi said, in terms that compared Trump to a corrupt tyrant and a king. In particular, she said, they feared one who ‘might betray his trust to for powers,’ she said.

Pelosi, who for months resisted the drive that began among members of her party’s liberal wing, has since jumped aboard, setting up a House Intelligence impeachment inquiry and Wednesday Judiciary Committee hearing.

Minutes before Pelosi was to announce her plans, President Trump weighed in with his own suggestion that Democrats hurry up their House effort to bring on a trial.

‘The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House. They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country. But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy. Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair …trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business,’ Trump wrote.

‘We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is,’ he said, laying out plans that lawmakers and his legal team might or might not go along with. ‘I was elected to ‘Clean the Swamp,’ and that’s what I am doing!’ he added.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale used similar language in his own statement.

‘We are less than a year away from Election Day 2020 and Democrats can’t possibly explain to the American people why they want to take the decision of who should be president out of the hands of voters,’ he wrote.

‘But impeaching the President has always been their goal, so they should just get on with it so we can have a fair trial in the Senate and expose The Swamp for what it is. Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Schiff, and Hunter Biden should testify, and then we can get back to the business of our country.’

Do US a favor: Trump said he was asking Ukraine to help 'our Country' by investigating Joe Biden and the 2016 elections

Do US a favor: Trump said he was asking Ukraine to help ‘our Country’ by investigating Joe Biden and the 2016 elections

He called on Democrats to apologize to the American people

He called on Democrats to apologize to the American people

'Our democracy is what is at stake,' the longtime California lawmaker said

She spoke in the corridor outside the Speaker's balcony in the Capitol before a bank of American flags

The president is focused on making the case against impeachment in the Senate, the White House signaled Wednesday as House Democrats continue to plow toward recommending impeachment to the upper chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who holds considerable sway over how impeachment will go in his chamber, said on the Floor Thursday: ‘For weeks now, Republicans have beeen asking Democrats to take off their impeachment blinders and let Congress legislate for the American people.’ He said ‘Democrats literally obsess over impeachment.’

Today, he said, ‘the Speaker gave a speech on national television to push forward her rushed and partisan impeachment. Not one word, not one word on the outstanding legislation the American people actually need. Nothing on USMCA or the NDAA or funding for our armed forces. All impeachment, all the time, said McConnell, who served in the Senate during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, whom he accused at the time of a ‘persistent pattern and practice of obstruction of justice.’

White House director of legislative affairs Eric Ueland, a longtime former Senate aide, said Trump ‘wants his case made fully in the Senate.’

‘In this instance, we believe very strongly — given the fatally flawed process in the House — that if they were to elect against our better advice [and] send over impeachment to the Senate, that we need witnesses as part of our trial and a full defense of the president on the facts,’ Ueland told reporters, gesturing toward the Senate chamber, according to The Washington Post.

Ueland, along with White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, met with GOP senators on Wednesday as the House Judiciary Committee conducted its first public hearing.

President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on during a meeting in New York on September 25, 2019, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly

Pelosi's statement was carried on multiple platforms

Pelosi’s statement was carried on multiple platforms

Ueland signaled that the White House was focused on the likely Senate trial where he feels they will be able to make a fair defense.

While speaking with reporters at the White House Monday, the president’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway, said Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff should testify because he is a fact witness in the impeachment inquiry.

She even said if Schiff testified under oath Wednesday before the Judiciary Committee she would show up on Capitol Hill.

Republicans have also asserted that Hunter Biden should appear to testify – since his business dealings in Ukraine are also at the center of the president’s actions that led to the impeachment inquiry.

Trump’s missive came a day after key White House advisors lunched with Senate Republicans to plot strategy on how to handle impeachment in the Senate.

Trump’s push for speedy House Democratic action, if sincere, would put him on the same page as Democratic leaders, who have been fearful of dragging out impeachment long into the new year. They fear it could interfere with their party’s message of working on kitchen table issues like health care and prescription drug costs.

To date, Pelosi has refrained from sweeping pronouncements on process, preferring to let House committees and investigations go forward at their own pace, at least publicly.

‘Are you ready?’ she asked her colleagues Wednesday during a closed-door meeting, earning yells of approval from fellow Democrats, the Washington Post reported.

She has yet to give lawmakers a firm timeline for what comes next – although all indications are that Democrats are rushing to complete impeachment by the end of the year.

That would provide barely enough time for Judiciary to consider and vote on articles of impeachment, setting up a House vote. That could bring a Senate trial early next year.

For that to happen, though Democrats must reach some decisions among themselves over how expansive a set of impeachment articles they want to craft.

The House Intelligence Committee kept its public hearings to Trump’ and his administration and emissaries’ conduct – and its 300-page report dealt with alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Some Democrats are pushing the party to incorporate Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and other actions by Trump as articles of impeachment.

Democrats say no decision has been made at this point on the specific charges. They could include abuse of power, bribery, obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice.

More centrist and moderate Democrats prefer to stick with the Ukraine matter as a simpler narrative that Americans understand. As complex as the Ukraine affair has become, it has the virtue of being a more contained set of circumstances.

Obstruction of justice could encompass Trump’s conduct allegedly trying to shut down the Mueller probe, his interactions with former White House counsel Don McGahn, payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, and a variety of ancillary issues.

Either way, Democrats could begin drafting articles of impeachment in a matter of days, with a Judiciary Committee vote next week.

The full House could vote by Christmas. Then the matter would move to the Senate for a trial in 2020.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff,

Robert Mueller, Former Special Counsel for the United States Department of Justice

Democrats are debating whether to include an article on obstruction of justice as laid out in the report by special counsel Robert Mueller.  House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff,left, is leading the impeachment hearings

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019

On Wednesday, three leading legal scholars testified that President Donald Trump’s attempts to have Ukraine investigate Democratic rivals are grounds for impeachment.

The legal opinions bolster the Democrats’ case as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes sure they’re prepared for that momentous next step.

A fourth expert called by Republicans at the Judiciary Committee warned against rushing the process, arguing it would be the shortest of impeachment proceedings, with the ‘thinnest’ record of evidence in modern times, setting a worrisome standard.

Meeting behind closed doors ahead of the initial Judiciary hearing to consider potential articles of impeachment, Pelosi asked House Democrats a simple question: ‘Are you ready?’

The answer was a resounding yes.

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, joined at left by Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., makes his opening statements on Wednesday

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, joined at left by Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., makes his opening statements on Wednesday

Though no date has been set, the Democrats are charging toward a Christmastime vote on removing the 45th president. It’s a starkly partisan undertaking, a situation Pelosi hoped to avoid but now seems inevitable.

Trump is alleged to have abused the power of his office by putting personal political gain over national security interests, engaging in bribery by withholding $400 million in military aid Congress had approved for Ukraine; and then obstructing Congress by stonewalling the investigation.

Across the Capitol on Wednesday, the polarizing political divide over impeachment, only the fourth such inquiry in the nation´s history, was on display.

At the Judiciary hearing Democrats sided with the scholars who said Trump´s actions reached the Constitution´s threshold of ‘bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.’ Republicans pointed to the lone professor they were allowed to invite, who said impeachment was not warranted.

Democrats in the House say the inquiry is a duty. Republican representatives say it’s a sham. And quietly senators of both parties conferred on Wednesday, preparing for an eventual Trump trial.

‘Never before, in the history of the republic, have we been forced to consider the conduct of a president who appears to have solicited personal, political favors from a foreign government,’ said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., as he gaveled open the landmark House hearing.

Nadler said Trump’s phone call seeking a ‘favor’ from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wasn’t the first time he had sought foreign help to influence an American election, noting Russian interference in 2016. He warned against inaction with a new campaign underway.

‘We cannot wait for the election,’ he said. ‘ If we do not act to hold him in check, now, President Trump will almost certainly try again to solicit interference in the election for his personal political gain.’

Trump, attending a NATO meeting in London called the hearing a ‘joke’ and doubted many people would watch because it’s ‘boring.’

Once an outsider to the GOP, Trump now has Republicans’ unwavering support. They joined in his name-calling the Judiciary proceedings a ‘disgrace’ and unfair, the dredging up of unfounded allegations as part of an effort to undo the 2016 election and remove him from office.

‘You just don’t like the guy,’ said Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the panel. Trump rewarded some of his allies with politically valuable presidential tweets as the daylong hearing dragged into the evening.

Despite the intent of America’s Founding Fathers to create a durable system of legal checks and balances, impeachment is an admittedly political exercise. Thus Pelosi asked her still-new majority if they were willing to press onward, aware of still-uncertain electoral risks.

At the Democrats’ private morning meeting, support for the impeachment effort was vigorous, though voting to remove Trump could come hard for some lawmakers in regions where the president has substantial backing.

The Democratic lawmakers also delivered a standing ovation to Rep. Adam Schiff, whose 300-page Intelligence Committee report cataloged potential grounds for impeachment, overwhelmingly indicating they want to continue to press the inquiry rather than slow its advance or call a halt for fear of political costs in next year’s congressional elections. The meeting was described by people familiar with it, who were unauthorized to discuss it by name and were granted anonymity.

Meanwhile, Trump’s team fanned out across the Capitol with Vice President Mike Pence meeting with House Republicans and White House officials conferring with Senate Republicans to prepare for what could be the first presidential impeachment trial in a generation.

From left, Constitutional law experts, Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman, Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina Law School professor Michael Gerhardt and George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley

 

From left, Constitutional law experts, Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman, Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina Law School professor Michael Gerhardt and George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, who has declined for now to participate in the House proceedings, relayed Trump’s hope that the impeachment effort can be stopped in the House and there will be no need for a Senate trial, which seems unlikely.

White House officials and others said Trump is eager to have his say. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said, ‘He feels like he has had no opportunity to tell his side of the story.’

Trump lambastes the impeachment probe daily and proclaims his innocence of any wrongdoing at length, but he has declined to testify before House hearings or answer questions in writing.

At the heart of the inquiry is his July 25 phone call asking Ukraine to investigate rival Democrats including Joe Biden. Trump at the time was withholding $400 million in military aid from the ally, which faced an aggressive Russia on its border.

At Wednesday’s session, three legal experts called by Democrats said impeachment was merited.

Noah Feldman, a Harvard Law School professor, said he considered it clear that the president’s conduct met the definition of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ Said Michael Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor, ‘If what we’re talking about is not impeachable … then nothing is impeachable.’

Pamela Karlan, a Stanford Law School professor and former Obama administration Justice Department official, drew criticism for mentioning Trump’s teenage son, Barron, in a wordplay, violating an unwritten but firm Washington rule against dragging first family’s children into politics.

The only Republican witness, Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, dissented from the other legal experts. He said the Democrats were bringing a ‘slipshod impeachment’ case against the president, but he didn’t excuse Trump’s behavior.

‘It is not wrong because President Trump is right,’ Turley said. ‘A case for impeachment could be made, but it cannot be made on this record.’

New telephone records released with the House report deepened Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s known involvement in what investigators call the ‘scheme.’

Asked about that, Trump told reporters he doesn’t know why Giuliani was calling the White House Office of Management and Budget, which was withholding the military aid to Ukraine.

‘You have to ask him,’ Trump said. ‘Sounds like something that’s not so complicated. … No big deal.’

Based on two months of investigation sparked by a still-anonymous government whistleblower’s complaint, the Intelligence Committee’s Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report found that Trump ‘sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process and endangered U.S. national security.’ When Congress began investigating, it says, Trump obstructed the investigation like no other president in history.

Republicans defended the president in a 123-page rebuttal claiming Trump never intended to pressure Ukraine when he asked for investigations of Biden and his son.

Democrats once hoped to sway Republicans to consider Trump’s removal, but they are now facing an ever-hardening partisan split over the swift-moving proceedings that are dividing Congress and the country.

Trump says he was telling Ukraine’s president to help the COUNTRY when he asked him to ‘do us a favor’ by investigating Joe Biden

Donald Trump‘s efforts to push the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden weren’t done for his own benefit, but for the nation’s the president said online after returning to the U.S. from a trip to London.

Trump offered the latest defense of his ‘perfect’ phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky about two hours after returning home from a trip that had the president clashing with European leaders just as the House Judiciary Committee held its first impeachment hearing on his fate.

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

Trump explained his position in two long tweets.  ‘When I said, in my phone call to the President of Ukraine, ‘I would like you to do US a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.’ With the word ‘us’ I am referring to the United States, our Country,’ he wrote.

‘I then went on to say that … ‘I would like to have the Attorney General (of the United States) call you or your people…..’ This, based on what I have seen, is their big point – and it is no point at a all (except for a big win for me!).’

Trump concluded: ‘The Democrats should apologize to the American people!’

Trump’s July 25th phone call has become the center of a Democratic impeachment push. In it, he asked Zelensky to investigate Biden and contact Barr, who in addition to guiding the release of the Mueller report has named a federal prosecutor to probe alleged FBI misconduct in the Russia probe.

After Zelensky mentions anti-tank missiles he wants to fend off Russia, Trump says ‘I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.’

He then mentions a conspiracy theory about the Democratic 2016 election server and the Crowdstrike security firm asks Zelensky to ‘get to the bottom of it.’ He then mentions a ‘very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine.’ He said it was ‘very important’ that Zelensky do it.

He also asks Zelensky to contact his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, brings up Hunter Biden’s son, and calls the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine ‘bad news.’

Trump’s defense of his call came as a trio of legal scholars called by Democrats blasted his conduct as a clear breach of the Constitution.

They all argued for impeachment in their opening statements before the panel.

‘I just want to stress, that if this – if what we’re talking about is not impeachable, than nothing is impeachable,’ said Michael Gerhardt, a law professor at the University of North Carolina.

‘This is precisely the misconduct that the framers created a constitution – including impeachment – to protect against,’ he said. ‘If Congress concludes that they’re going to give a pass to the president here… every other president will say, ‘Ok, then I can do the same thing.’

Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan told lawmakers the most ‘chilling’ line in testimony she reviewed came from ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland who said he had never heard that the Ukrainians needed to go through with the investigations, just announce them publicly.

‘This was about injuring someone who the president thinks of as a particularly hard opponent,’ she said in reference to Joe Biden.

Karlan said of the Founders: ‘The very idea that a president might seek the aid of a foreign government in his reelection campaign would have horrified them. But based on the evidentiary record, that is what President Trump has done,’ she said.

But the Republican witness, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, said he did not think there was any way Trump’s conduct rose to the level of impeachment.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s full press statement on articles of impeachment on President Trump

Good morning.

Let us begin where our Founders began in 1776: ‘When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…’

With those words, our Founders courageously began our Declaration of Independence from an oppressive monarch, for, among other grievances, the King’s refusal to follow rightfully-passed laws.

In the course of today’s events, it becomes necessary for us to address, among other grievances, the President’s failure to faithfully execute the law.

When crafting the Constitution, the Founders feared the return of a monarchy in America. And, having just fought a war of independence, they specifically feared the prospect of a king president corrupted by foreign influence.

During the Constitutional Convention, James Madison – the architect of the Constitution – warned that a President might ‘betray his trust to foreign powers… which might prove fatal to the republic.’

Another Founder, Gouverneur Morris, feared that a president ‘may be bribed by a greater interest to betray his trust.’ He emphasized that, ‘This Magistrate is not the King…The people are the King.’

They therefore created a constitutional remedy to protect against a dangerous or corrupt leader: impeachment.

Unless the Constitution contained an impeachment provision, one Founder warned, a president might ‘spare no efforts or means whatever to get himself re-elected.’

Similarly, George Mason insisted that a president who ‘procured his appointment in the first instance’ through improper and corrupt acts might ‘repeat his guilt’ and return to power.

During the debate over impeachment at the Constitutional Convention, George Mason asked: ‘Shall any man be above justice? Shall that man be above it who can commit the most extensive injustice?’

In his great wisdom, he knew that injustice committed by the President erodes the rule of law – the very idea that – of fair justice, which is the bedrock of our democracy.

And if we allow a president to be above the law, we do so surely at the peril of our republic.

In America, no one is above the law.

Over the past few weeks, through the Intelligence Committee working with the Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees, the American people have heard the testimony of truly patriotic career public servants, distinguished diplomats and decorated war heroes: some of the President’s own appointees.

The facts are uncontested: the President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit at the expense of our national security, by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival.

Yesterday, the Judiciary Committee – at the Judiciary Committee, the American people heard testimony from leading American constitutional scholars who illuminated, without a doubt, that the President’s actions are a profound violation of the public trust.

The President’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution – especially when he says and acts upon the belief, ‘Article II says, I can do whatever I want.’

No. His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution: a separation of powers, three co-equal branches, each a check and balance on the other; ‘a Republic, if we can keep it,’ said Benjamin Franklin.

Our Democracy is what is at stake. The President leaves us no choice but to act, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.

The President has engaged in abuse of power undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections.

His actions are in defiance of the vision of our Founders and the oath of office that he takes ‘to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’

Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our Founders and our hearts full of love for America, today, I am asking our Chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.

I commend our Committee Chairs and our Members for their somber approach to actions which I wish the President had not made necessary.

In signing the Declaration of Independence, our Founders invoked a firm reliance on divine providence.

Democrats too are prayerful.

And we will proceed in a manner worthy of our oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic, so help us God.

Thank you.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7759555/Speaker-Nancy-Pelosi-reveal-latest-play-break-neck-impeachment-strategy.html

Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

Note: The following text is a transcription of the Stone Engraving of the parchment Declaration of Independence (the document on display in the Rotunda at the National Archives Museum.) The spelling and punctuation reflects the original.


In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


Georgia

Button Gwinnett

Lyman Hall

George Walton

 

North Carolina

William Hooper

Joseph Hewes

John Penn

 

South Carolina

Edward Rutledge

Thomas Heyward, Jr.

Thomas Lynch, Jr.

Arthur Middleton

 

Massachusetts

John Hancock

Maryland

Samuel Chase

William Paca

Thomas Stone

Charles Carroll of Carrollton

 

Virginia

George Wythe

Richard Henry Lee

Thomas Jefferson

Benjamin Harrison

Thomas Nelson, Jr.

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Carter Braxton

 

Pennsylvania

Robert Morris

Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Franklin

John Morton

George Clymer

James Smith

George Taylor

James Wilson

George Ross

Delaware

Caesar Rodney

George Read

Thomas McKean

 

New York

William Floyd

Philip Livingston

Francis Lewis

Lewis Morris

 

New Jersey

Richard Stockton

John Witherspoon

Francis Hopkinson

John Hart

Abraham Clark

 

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett

William Whipple

 

Massachusetts

Samuel Adams

John Adams

Robert Treat Paine

Elbridge Gerry

 

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins

William Ellery

 

Connecticut

Roger Sherman

Samuel Huntington

William Williams

Oliver Wolcott

 

New Hampshire

Matthew Thornton

 

Democrats say Trump impeachment charges must come swiftly

yesterday

Story 2: Creepy, Sleepy, Dopey Joey Biden Lacks Temperament To Be President — Attacks Senior Citizen Voter — Videos

TAKING ON BIDEN: Man CONFRONTS Joe Biden Over Hunter Biden Controversy

Hannity: Joe Biden goes off on unhinged rant

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The Pronk Pops Show 1360, November 15, 2019, Story 1: Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch Testifies — No Impeachable Offense Evidence — 2016 Ukraine Government Interfered with 2016 U.S. Election Favoring Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton — Ambassadors Serve At The Pleasure of The President — Move On — Videos — Story 2: Attorney General William Barr Addresses The Federal Society’s National Lawyer Convention — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1360 November 15, 2019

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Story 1: Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch Testifies — No Impeachable Offense Evidence — 2016 Ukraine Government Interfere with 2016 U.S. Election Favoring Candidate Hillary Clinton — Ambassadors Serve At The Pleasure of The President — Move On — Videos

House Impeachment Inquiry – Yovanovitch Testimony

WATCH: Rep. Devin Nunes’ full opening statement in Amb. Yovanovitch hearing

WHAT IS GOING ON? Devin Nunes Questions Why Marie Yovanovitch Is Even Testifying

WATCH: Rep. Elise Stefanik questions Amb. Yovanovitch about Burisma

WATCH: Rep. John Ratcliffe’s full questioning of Amb. Yovanovitch | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Brad Wenstrup’s full questioning of Amb. Yovanovitch | Trump impeachment hearings

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, questioned Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, in a public hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. At the end of his questioning, Wenstrup said the president has the right to make their own foreign policy decisions. Yovanovitch responded, saying she didn’t dispute that the president has the right to withdraw an ambassador at any time, for any reason, “But what I do wonder is: Why it was necessary to smear my reputation?” “Well I wasn’t asking about that,” Wenstrup responded. The impeachment probe centers around a July phone call in which Trump asked the president of Ukraine to investigate former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Yovanovitch has testified that she was forced out of her position after Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, engineered a smear campaign against her.

WATCH: Republican counsel’s full questioning of Amb. Yovanovitch | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. Jim Jordan’s full questioning of Amb. Yovanovitch | Trump impeachment hearings

WATCH: Amb. Yovanovitch’s full opening statement | Trump impeachment hearings

Highlights From Yovanovitch’s Impeachment Testimony | NBC News Now

Ousted ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is given standing ovation after impeachment hearing during which Schiff called out Trump for ‘witness intimidation’ after he tweeted during her testimony: ‘Everywhere Marie went turned bad’

  • Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified Friday on Capitol Hill before the House Intelligence Committee in the second televised impeachment hearing 
  • Yovanovitch said she felt threatened, shocked and devastated by remarks Donald Trump made about her in his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky 
  • In the phone call, Trump called her a ‘bad ambassador’ who was going to ‘go through some things’ 
  • Trump tweeted his criticism of Yovanovitch during the hearing, writing: ‘Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad’, which were then brought up by Chairman Adam Schiff in real time during the hearing 
  • House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff accused President Trump of trying to intimidate Yovanovitch with his tweets 
  • ‘What we saw was witness intimidation in real time by the President of the United States,’ he said 
  • Trump denied that was his motive: ‘I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just as other people do’ 
  • Yovanovitch was removed from her post after Giuliani and his allies spread information, swatted down by a series of witnesses, that she was working against Trump 
  • Yovanovitch also slammed Rudy Giuliani for orchestrating a ‘smear campaign’ against her and said she found it difficult to understand why Trump was influenced by ‘foreign and private interests’   
  • In his opening remarks, Schiff praised her stance on fighting corruption and argued it was her dedication to that fight that ending up ‘pissing off’ the wrong people in the Trump administration
  • This comes after top diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor and George Kent, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, gave their testimony on Capitol Hill Wednesday 

Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was given a standing ovation by members of the audience at the end of Friday’s hearing during which she said she felt threatened by remarks Donald Trump made about her in his July 25 call with his Ukrainian counterpart, while Rep. Adam Schiff charged the U.S. president with witness intimidation for tweeting criticism of her during her testimony.

Yovanovitch recalled in stark, personal terms how she felt when she was attacked by Trump associates and later disparaged by the president himself in his phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky.

‘I was shocked and devastated that I would feature in a phone call between two heads of state in such a manner where President Trump said that I was bad news to another world leader and that I would be going through some things,’ Yovanovitch said during her public testimony in Trump’s impeachment inquiry.

‘It sounded like a threat,’ she noted.

As Democrats were questioning her about a smear campaign against her, President Trump took to Twitter to wage a fresh round of insults against the former ambassador – a move House Intelligence Committee Committee Chairman Adam Schiff called ‘witness intimidation.’

‘Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,’ Trump wrote on the social media platform while Yovanovitch sat at the witness table on Capitol Hill. ‘It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.’

Schiff accused the president of trying to intimidate Yovanovitch and other potential witnesses. House Democrats will hold a series of public hearings next week with more officials scheduled to discuss the impeachment inquiry.

‘What we saw was witness intimidation in real time by the President of the United States. Once again going after this dedicated and respected career public servant – in an effort to not only chill her but to chill others who may come forward. We take this kind of witness intimidation and obstruction of inquiry very seriously,’ Schiff told reporters outside the hearing room during a break in the proceedings.

He did not respond to a question as to whether witness intimidation is an impeachable offense.

The president denied intimidation was his motive.

‘I don’t think so at all,’ he told reporters at the White House.

‘It’s a political process. It’s not a legal process. So if I have somebody saying — I’m allowed to speak up. If somebody says about me – we’re not allowed to have any kind of representation. We’re not allowed to have almost anything, and nobody’s seen anything like it. In the history of our country there has never been a disgrace like what’s going on right now. So you know what? I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just as other people do. But they’ve taken away Republicans’ rights,’ Trump noted.

Trump’s tweet gave the hearing a moment of high drama as Schiff interrupted questioning from the Democrats’ own counsel to ask Yovanovitch to respond to the tweet in real time.

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, is testifying Friday on Capitol Hill before the House Intelligence Committee in the second televised impeachment hearing

The five-hour questioning saw members of the audience jump up and give the ambassador a round of applause - an unusual display in a Congressional hearing

The five-hour questioning saw members of the audience jump up and give the ambassador a round of applause – an unusual display in a Congressional hearing

The longtime diplomat was removed from her post after Giuliani and his allies spread information, swatted down by a series of witnesses, that she was working against Trump, she claimed

The longtime diplomat was removed from her post after Giuliani and his allies spread information, swatted down by a series of witnesses, that she was working against Trump, she claimed

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the acting chair of the House Oversight Committee, joined the audience in the standing ovation, as Republican members including Reps. Mark Meadows and Lee Zeldin got up to leave.

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Conaway shouted objections over the clanking of Schiff’s and the round of applause.

‘You’ve disparaged those members on this side of the aisle, we should have a chance to respond,’ Rep. Conway objected

Trump’s tweets on Friday were a notable move from the president who bragged he didn’t watch Wednesday’s public hearing, which featured public testimony from the top U.S. diplomat in the Ukraine Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent.

‘Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors,’ he wrote. Mogadishu was one of Yovanovitch’s postings early in her career but she was a young State Department staffer at the time and not at ambassador level.

Trump then argued he’s done more for the Ukraine than Barack Obama.

‘They call it ‘serving at the pleasure of the President.’ The U.S. now has a very strong and powerful foreign policy, much different than proceeding administrations. It is called, quite simply, America First! With all of that, however, I have done FAR more for Ukraine than O,’ Trump wrote. 

Yovanovitch said the president was crediting her with too much power.

‘I don’t think I have such powers not in Mogadishu and Somalia and not in other places. I actually think that where I’ve served over the years I and others have demonstrably made things better,’ she said.

Schiff asked her if tweets like these from the president would intimidate other witnesses from testifying.

‘Ambassador, you’ve shown the courage to come forward today and testify. Notwithstanding the fact that you were urged by the White House or State Department not to, notwithstanding the fact that as you testified earlier the president implicitly threatened you in that call record, and now the president in real time is attacking you, what effect do you think that has on other witnesses willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing in,’ Schiff asked her.

‘It’s very intimidating,’ she replied.

‘It’s designed to intimidate, is it not?,’ Schiff said.

‘I mean, I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is trying to be intimidating,’ she replied.

Schiff said Trump’s tweet on Yavonovitch was part of a ‘pattern’ of obstruction of justice, which is an impeachable offense.

In strong language, the chairman called it an ‘incriminating pattern of conduct’ on the president’s part.

‘This is not something that we view in isolation, this is part of a pattern of the president of the United States,’ he told reporters after the hearing was over.

‘And it’s also part of a pattern to obstruct the investigation. It was also a part, frankly, of the pattern to obstruct justice. So we need to view the President’s actions today, as part of a broader and incriminating pattern of conduct,’ he added.

 

President Trump tweeted during Friday's hearing bashing Yovanovitch, saying everywhere she 'went turned bad'. The tweet gave the hearing a moment of high drama as Schiff interrupted questioning from the Democrats' own counsel to ask Yovanovitch to respond to the tweet in real time

Republicans refused to address the president’s tweets in their post hearing press conference.

‘We’re not here to talk about tweets,’ Rep. Elise Stefanik said. ‘We’re here to talk about impeachment.’

‘I don’t know it was an attack on the witness,’ added in Rep. Mark Meadows, who is one of the president’s strongest allies on Capitol Hill. He called it a ‘characterization of her resume.’

Schiff, who has been trying to get other administration officials to testify – several of whom are obeying the president’s request to ignore their congressional subpoenas –  said witness intimidate is taken ‘very seriously.’

‘I want you to know, ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very seriously,’ he said.

The White House shot down a charge from Democrats the president’s tweets were witness intimidation.

‘The tweet was not witness intimidation, it was simply the President’s opinion, which he is entitled to. This is not a trial, it is a partisan political process—or to put it more accurately, a totally illegitimate, charade stacked against the President. There is less due process in this hearing than any such event in the history of our country. It’s a true disgrace,’ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Yovanovitch said she first learned Trump mentioned her in his phone call with Zelensky when she read the transcript of the July 25 call in September, which is when the White House released it.

She choked up a bit when describing her reaction to the president’s words.

‘A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face,’ she said.

'A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face,' Yovanovitch said of learning President Trump badmouthed her in his July phone call with the Ukrainian president

Yovanovitch was given a standing ovation by members of the audience at the end of Friday's hearing by members of the audience

She expressed her disbelief she was a topic of conversation between the two world leaders.

‘I mean, shocked, appalled, devastated that the president of the United States would talk about any ambassador like that to a foreign head of state, and it was me,’ she said.

The call transcript, which kicked off the scandal that led to House Democrats opening up an impeachment inquiry, included a back-and-forth between Trump and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky where the American president said Yovanovitch, ‘the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in Ukraine were bad news.’ She had been recalled to the United States at that point.

Zelensky agreed.

He asked Trump to provide ‘any additional information’ he might have about Yovanovitch ‘for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine.’

In the call transcript, which isn’t verbatim, Zelensky butchers Yovanovitch’s name.

‘It was great that you were the first one who told me she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100 percent,’ Zelensky goes on. ‘Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous president and she was on his side.’

Yovanovitch shot down Republican efforts to pull her into questions longtime Democratic consultant and Ukrainian-American activist Alexandra Chalupa

Yovanovitch shot down Republican efforts to pull her into questions longtime Democratic consultant and Ukrainian-American activist Alexandra Chalupa

‘She would not accept me as the new president well enough,’ Zelensky added.   

At that, Trump responded, ‘Well, she’s going to go through some things.’

Yovanovitch on Friday testified she thought Trump’s words were a threat against her.

‘She’s going to go through some things. It didn’t sound good. It sounded like a threat,’ she said.

‘Did you feel threatened?,’ Daniel Goldman, the Democrats’ Counsel on the Intelligence panel, asked her.

‘I did,’ she replied. ‘I didn’t know exactly. It’s not a very precise phrase, but I think – it didn’t feel like I was – I really don’t know how to answer the question any further except to say that it kind felt like a vague threat and so I wondered what had that meant. It was a concern to me.’

Yovanovitch, in her testimony, conceded the past few months have been a ‘difficult time.’

‘I mean, I’m a private person. I don’t want to put all that out there, but it’s been a very, very difficult time because the president does have the right to have his own or her own ambassador in every country in the world,’ she said.

She declined to talk about her family was affected.

‘I really don’t want to get into that. Thank you for asking,’ she told Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell.

She also told Sewell that ‘no,’ she was not a ‘Never Trumper’ when the congresswoman asked her about it.

Yovanovitch also described the advice EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland gave her when she was struggling to stay ambassador to the Ukraine.

‘Well, he suggested that I needed to go big or go home and he said that the best thing to do would be to, you know, send out a tweet, praise the president, that sort of thing,’ she said.

‘My reaction was that I’m sure he meant well, but it was not advice that I could really follow. It felt partisan. It felt political and that was not something that I thought was in keeping with my role as ambassador as a foreign service officer,’ she added.

Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley asked her of Sondland: ‘Did he give you suggestions what to say to the president of the United States? Or just say something nice about him?’

‘Just praise him,’ Yovanovitch replied.

Republicans used their question time to query Yovanovitch about her time in the Ukraine during the 2016 election and about allegations – pushed by President Trump and Giuliani – that the Ukraine interfered in that contest.

She pushed back against those questions and pointed out American intelligence agencies found it was Russia who sought to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Steve Castor, the Republican counsel who led the questioning, asked her if she heard of any ‘indication of Ukrainians trying to advocate against then-candidate Trump?’

‘Actually, there weren’t. We didn’t really see it that way,’ she replied.

Yovanovitch also shot down Republican efforts to pull her into questions longtime Democratic consultant and Ukrainian-American activist Alexandra Chalupa.

Republicans want Chalupa to testify in the impeachment inquiry.

Chalupa reportedly worked with a small group of Ukrainian bureaucrats who allegedly researched former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s Russia ties during the 2016 election.

Castor quizzed the former ambassador about Chalupa’s reported actions in the 2016 election.

‘Well, I was the ambassador in Ukraine starting in August of 2016. And what you’re describing, if true, as you said, what you’re describing took place in the United States. So if there were concerns about what Ms. Chalupa was doing, I think that would have been handled here,’ Yovanovitch replied.

She was also quizzed about Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian journalist that Giuliani accused of exposing Manafort’s work for the Ukraine. That work – for which Manafort did not register as a foreign agent – led to convictions against the former Trump campaign manager.

Leshchenko published the so-called ‘black ledgers’ that showed payments to Manafort and his firm.

Yovanovitch said she felt threatened, shocked and devastated by remarks Donald Trump made about her in his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Ranking committee member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif, questions former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as she testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, during the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump

A tweet from President Donald Trump was displayed on a monitor during the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents

‘About Mr. Leschenko, he is an investigative journalist, as you said, and he got access to the black ledger and he published it, as I think journalists would do, and again, I’m not sure that – I don’t have any information to suggest that that was targeting President Trump,’ Yovanovitch said.

‘At the end of the day, President Trump won the election,’ she pointed out.

She was also asked about posts from former Ukrainian Minister for Internal Affairs Arsen Borysovych Avakov, who wrote criticisms of Trump on social media during the 2016 election.

‘Sometimes that happens in social media. Are you asking me whether it’s appropriate? Probably not,’ she said.

‘I can’t speak for what President Trump thought or what others thought. I would just say that those elements that you’ve recited don’t seem to me to be the Ukranian kind of a plan or a plot of the Ukranian government to work against President Trump or anyone else. I mean, they’re isolated incidents. We all know, I’m coming to find out myself, that public life can be — people are critical. That does not mean that someone is or a government is undermining either a campaign or interfering in elections. I would just remind again that our own U.S. Intelligence committee has conclusively determined that those who interfered in the election were in Russia,’ Yovanovitch said.

She also said she doesn’t think the president accepted any bribes or has been involved in any criminal activity.

Top U.S. diplomats accused Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani of running a 'smear' campaign to force out Yavonovitch, who was recalled from her post to Washington. She says no reason was ever provided for her ouster

Republicans attempted to start their questioning of Yovanovitch with a move that would allow the only Republican lawmaker on the Intelligence panel – Rep. Elise Stefanik – question the former ambassador.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the panel, tried to yield his time to Stefanik.

But Schiff pointed out the rules only allow the ranking member to yield time to the Republican counsel.

‘You are not recognized,’ he told Stefanik.

‘This is the fifth time you have interrupted,’ Stefanik complained to Schiff.

He ignored her and told Nunes to yield to his GOP Counsel or question Yovanovitch himself.

Nunes ultimately yielded to Castor.

But the top Republican used his time to argue the intelligence committee has become the impeachment committee.

‘I’m not exactly sure what the ambassador is doing here today. This is the House intelligence committee that’s now turned into the House impeachment committee. This seems more appropriate for the subcommittee on human resources at the foreign affairs committee. If there’s issues with employment, it seems like that would be a more appropriate setting instead of an impeachment hearing where the ambassador is not a material fact witness to any of the accusations that are being hurled at the president for this impeachment inquiry,’ he said.

Democrats went first in Friday’s hearing and used their time to question Yovanovitch to lay out a ‘smear’ campaign against her by Trump allies, particularly former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney.

She repeated what she had said in her closed door testimony to lawmakers last month – that she had been warned by Ukrainian officials that Giuliani was up to something with Yuriy Lutsenko, the former top prosecutor in the Ukraine.

Asked who else was involved in the ‘smear’ campaign, she said: ‘There were some members of the press and others in Mayor Giuliani’s circle.’

She also said Lutsenko and his predecessor Viktor Shokin were involved on the Ukrainian side.

Shokin is the prosecutor that then Vice President Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire because he wasn’t doing enough to root out corruption.

That action by Biden has become part of the 2020 presidential campaign.

Trump is being investigated for allegations he with held nearly $400 million in military assistance from the Ukraine unless officials agreed to investigate the Bidens and unproven allegations about the 2016 election.

The president has denied any wrong doing and the money eventually made it to the Ukraine.

Republican staff attorney Steve Castor, left, and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, listen to former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testify

Republican staff attorney Steve Castor, left, and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, listen to former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testify

Rep. Devin Nunes tried to yield his time to Rep Elise Stefanik (pictured), but Schiff pointed out the rules only allow the ranking member to yield time to the Republican counsel. 'You are not recognized,' he told Stefanik

Rep. Devin Nunes tried to yield his time to Rep Elise Stefanik (pictured), but Schiff pointed out the rules only allow the ranking member to yield time to the Republican counsel. ‘You are not recognized,’ he told Stefanik

Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee listen as former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies

Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee listen as former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies

Yovanovitch, 61, is one of the central figures in the Democrats investigation. Trump recalled her May of this year after what other diplomats called a coordinated smear campaign against her, which included articles in conservative friendly media and tweets from Republican allies.

Giuliani, in a statement on Friday, said he obtained his information about her from numerous sources.

‘The information I obtained about Yovanovitch was in the nature of evidence from a number of witnesses. All of them — some allies, some opponents — agreed on Ambassador Yovanovitch’s wrongdoing, from telling people that Trump will be impeached, to getting the George Soros case and others dismissed, to her embassy’s partisan involvement in the 2016 election,’ he said.

Yovanovitch, meanwhile, said she felt terrible when she was recalled and was told the president lost confidence in her ability to do the job.

‘Terrible honestly. I mean, after 33 years of service to our country it was terrible. It’s not the way I wanted my career to end,’ she said of her recall.

She also described her concern when talked about the ‘smear’ campaign against her that led up to that moment, which included tweets from Donald Trump Jr., Sean Hannity and others that cited John Solomon, who then wrote for The Hill newspaper. Solomon wrote several pieces that pushed for her removal and he was a regular on Fox News.

‘I was worried,’ she said of the campaign.

She also offered political cover to Biden in the coming presidential race when she said he was supporting U.S. and international policy when he came to the Ukraine as vice president to push for Shokin’s removal as prosecutor general.

‘Official U.S. policy and that was endorsed and was the policy of a number of other international stakeholders, other countries, other monetary institutions, financial institutions,’ she said of Biden’s request to the Ukrainians.

‘And in fact if he helped to remove a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor general who was not prosecuting enough corruption, that would increase the chances that corrupt companies in Ukraine would be investigated, isn’t that right?,’ Goldman, the Democratic counsel, asked her.

‘One would think so,’ she said.

‘And that could include Burisma, right?,’ he asked.

‘Yes,’ she replied.

In her first two hours in the chair, the focus was on the smear campaign against Yovanovitch, who slammed Giuliani for orchestrating it and said she found it difficult to understand President Donald Trump was influenced by ‘foreign and private interests’ in regards to her removal.

In her opening statement, Yovanovitch outlined her long diplomatic career, defended her work in the Ukraine, pushed back against allegations against her, and emphasized the importance of fighting corruption in the Ukraine.

She denied any politics were at work in her service in the Ukraine, which occurred while both President Barack Obama and President Trump were in office.

Yovanovitch addressed the Trump administration’s concerns about the Bidens work in the Ukraine by saying she had never had any dealings on the matter. She noted she’s never met Hunter Biden nor had contact with him. She also said while she has met former Vice President Joe Biden he never discussed Burisma – the Ukrainian gas company where Hunter Biden used to set on its board – with her.

Trump, Giuliani and others have pressed the Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden’s work in the Ukraine and what role Joe Biden played in the matter when he was vice president.

A transcript of a phone call between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is shown during the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence impeachment inquiry

A transcript of a phone call between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is shown during the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence impeachment inquiry

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., left, and ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., give opening remarks at the start of the hearing. Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, used his opening statement to berate Democrats for focusing on the impeachment inquiry and not on passing legislation

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., left, and ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., give opening remarks at the start of the hearing. Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, used his opening statement to berate Democrats for focusing on the impeachment inquiry and not on passing legislation

‘I have never met Hunter Biden, nor have I had any direct or indirect conversations with him. And although I have met former vice president Biden several times over the course of our many years in government service, neither he nor the previous administration ever raised the issue of either Burisma or Hunter Biden with me,’ Yovanovitch said.

She said she met Giuliani three times and none of those interactions were related to the issues being discussed at Friday’s hearing. And then she said she didn’t understand why the former mayor pushed for her firing.

‘I do not understand Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me, nor can I offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he spread about me. Clearly no one at the State Department did. What I can say is there Mr. Giuliani should have known these claims were suspect, coming as they reportedly did from individuals with questionable motives and with reason to believe that their political and financial ambitions would be stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine,’ she said.

She pushed back on allegations against her, saying she never told Ukrainian officials to ignore President Trump because he may be impeached nor did she work against his campaign in the 2016 election.

‘Also untrue are unsourced allegations that I told unidentified embassy employees or Ukrainian officials that President Trump’s orders should be ignored because he was going to be impeached or for any other reason,’ she said.

‘I did not, and I would not say such a thing. Such statements would be inconsistent with my training as a foreign service officer and my role as an ambassador. The Obama administration did not ask me to help the Clinton campaign or harm the Trump campaign. Nor would I have taken any such steps if they had,’ she said.

She also expressed her confusion President Trump listened and acted upon allegations against her.

‘I have always understood that I served at the pleasure of the president, I still find it difficult to comprehend that foreign and private interests were able to undermine U.S. interests in this way,’ she said.

‘As various witnesses have recounted, they shared baseless allegations with the president and convinced him to remove his ambassador despite the fact the State Department fully understood the allegations were false and the sources highly suspect. These events should concern everyone in this room. Ambassadors are the symbol of the United States abroad. They are the personal representative of the president. They should always act and speak with full authority to advocate for U.S. policies,’ she added.

‘It was not surprising that when our anti-corruption efforts got in the way of a desire for profit or power, Ukrainians who preferred to play by the old corrupt rules sought to remove me. What continues to amaze me is that they found Americans willing to partner with them and working together, they apparently succeeded in orchestrating the removal of a U.S. Ambassador. How could our system fail like this? How is it that foreign, corrupt interests could manipulate our government?,’ she noted.

She closed with a warning, complaining about the lack of leadership at the State Department and the ‘degradation’ of the Foreign Service.

‘At the closed deposition, I expressed grave concerns about the degradation of the foreign service over the past few years and the failure of State Department leadership to push back as foreign and corrupt interests apparently hijacked our Ukraine policy. I remain disappointed that the department’s leadership and others have declined to acknowledge that the attacks against me and others are dangerously wrong. This is about far, far more than me or a couple of individuals. As foreign service professionals are being denigrated and undermined, the institution is also being degraded. This will soon cause real harm if it hasn’t already,’ she said.

Yovanovitch’s testimony launched the second day of public hearings into the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Shortly before she entered the committee room, the White House released the transcript of President Donald Trump’s first call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – in April of this year – which showed no mention of the Bidens or the 2016 election.

In his opening statement, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff focused on Yovanovitch’s professional accomplishments and painted her as a victim of scheming by Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney.

‘Ambassador Yovanovitch has been in the foreign service for 33 years and served much of that time in the former Soviet Union. Her parents have fled Stalin and later Hitler before settling in the United States. She is an exemplary officer who was widely praised and respected by her colleagues. She is known as an anti-corruption champion whose tour in Kiev was viewed as very successful,’ Schiff said.

Yovanovitch held back tears as she testified Friday about how she felt 'threatened' by President Trump

Yovanovitch held back tears as she testified Friday about how she felt ‘threatened’ by President Trump

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch arrived Friday to Capitol Hill in the second public impeachment hearing by the House Intelligence Committee

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch arrived Friday to Capitol Hill in the second public impeachment hearing by the House Intelligence Committee

Yovanovitch, 61, is one of the central figures in the Democrats investigation. Trump recalled her May of this year after what other diplomats called a coordinated smear campaign against her, which included articles in conservative friendly media and tweets from Republican allies

Yovanovitch, 61, is one of the central figures in the Democrats investigation. Trump recalled her May of this year after what other diplomats called a coordinated smear campaign against her, which included articles in conservative friendly media and tweets from Republican allies

Marie Yovanovitch is sworn into the Trump impeachment hearing

Schiff called her removal ‘a stunning turn of events for this highly regarded career diplomat who had done such a  remarkable job fighting corruption in Ukraine that a short time earlier she had been asked by the state department to extend her tour.’

He praised her stance on fighting corruption and argued it was her dedication to that fight that ending up ‘pissing off’ the wrong people in the Trump administration.

‘Ambassador Yovanovitch was tough on corruption. Too tough on corruption for some and her principled stance made her enemies as George Kent told this committee on Wednesday, ”you can’t promote principled anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people.” And Ambassador Yovanovitch did not just piss off corrupt Ukrainians, like the corrupt former prosecutor general Yuri Lutsenko but certain Americans like Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal attorney, and two individuals now indicted who worked with him, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas,’ Schiff said, naming two Giuliani business associates who have been charged with campaign finance violations related to their work in the Ukraine.

Schiff berated President Trump for not defending Yovanovitch when Giuliani and his allies turned against her.

‘That tells you a lot about the president’s priorities and intentions,’ he said.

‘Some have argued that a president has the ability to nominate or remove any ambassador he wants. That they serve at the pleasure of the president. And that is true. The question before us is not whether Donald Trump could recall an American ambassador with a stellar reputation for fighting corruption in Ukraine, but why would he want to? Why did Rudy Giuliani want her gone? And why did Trump? And why would Donald Trump instruct the new team he put in place, the three amigos – Gordon Sondland, Rick Perry and Kurt Volker – to work with the same man, Rudy Giuliani, who played such a central role in the smear campaign against her,’ Schiff noted.

Rep. Mark Meadows tweeted 'all you need to know' about Friday's hearing

Rep. Mark Meadows tweeted ‘all you need to know’ about Friday’s hearing

The chairman argued Trump wanted Yovanovitch gone to help him win the 2020 election by convincing the Ukrainians to launch an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden.

‘Getting rid of Ambassador Yovanovitch helped set the stage for an irregular channel that could pursue the two investigations that mattered so much to the president. The 2016 conspiracy theory and, most important, an investigation into the 2020 political opponent he apparently feared most, Joe Biden. And the president’s scheme might have worked but for the fact that the man who would succeed Ambassador Yovanovitch, whom we heard from on Wednesday, acting Ambassador Taylor, would eventually discover the effort to press Ukraine into conducting these investigations and would push back. But for the fact also that someone blew the whistle,’ he said.

Devin Nunes used his opening statement to berate Democrats for focusing on the impeachment inquiry and not on passing legislation.

He also complained about the Democrats not letting Republicans call the whistleblower in for testimony. The whistleblower revealed Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky that started the formal impeachment inquiry.

‘It’s unfortunate that today and for most of next week we will continue engaging in the Democrats’ day-long TV spectacles instead of solving the problems we were all sent to Washington to address,’ Nunes said.

He capped off by reading the transcript of Trump’s first call with Zelensky in April.

The transcript showed a conversation about Zelensky’s upcoming inauguration, which Zelensky invited Trump to attend.

The president said he would look into and invited his Ukrainian counterpart to the White House.

‘When you are settled in and ready, I would like to invite you to the White House. We’ll have a lot of things to talk about’ Trump told him on the call.

A demonstrator holds signs outside Longworth House Office Building, Friday ahead of Yovanovitch's testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in the second public impeachment hearing of Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponent

A demonstrator holds signs outside Longworth House Office Building, Friday ahead of Yovanovitch’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in the second public impeachment hearing of Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponent

Schiff (L) gives opening statements flanked by (L-R) ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes(R-CA), Republican Counsel Stephen Castor, and Representative Jim Jordan

Schiff (L) gives opening statements flanked by (L-R) ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes(R-CA), Republican Counsel Stephen Castor, and Representative Jim Jordan

Pedestrians stroll by as demonstrator hold a sign outside Longworth House Office Building, where former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is testifying

President Trump was watching Nunes read the transcript of the first call, according to the White House.

‘The President will be watching Congressman Nunes’ opening statement, but the rest of the day he will be working hard for the American people,’ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Schiff praised Trump for releasing the transcript and asked for other material to be released – including documents from the State Department that are being with held at the administration’s request.

‘I’m grateful the president has released the call record,’ he said.

‘I would now ask the president to release the thousands of other records that he has instructed the State Department not to release, including Ambassador Taylor’s notes, cable, including George Kent’s memo, including documents from the office of management and budget about why the military aid was withheld,’ he said.

While Wednesday’s impeachment witnesses Bill Taylor and George Kent played to the head – the duo of long-time public servants talked at length about American foreign policy in Ukraine – Yovanovitch’s testimony is expected to tug at the heart.

Democrats see her as yet another in their line of credible witnesses – a longtime government official who has worked under presidents of both parties.

They paint her as the victim of the Trump administration – a career official who had her work derailed by the forces against her.

Republicans, however,  down play the actions against Yovanovitch, and argue the president has the right to fire whatever ambassador he wants.

‘Respectfully, this is all you need to know about Ambassador Yovanovitch’s testimony. She admits she can’t bring any firsthand knowledge to: – The 7/25 phone call – Discussions surrounding phone call – Discussions surrounding delay of aid And this is the Democrats second witness,’ GOP Congressman Mark Meadows tweeted during her testimony. He is not on the committee but is one of Trump’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill.

Other diplomats, in their testimony, praised Yovanovitch’s professional work and called her the victim of a ‘smear’ campaign.

In October, Yovanovitch sat down with lawmakers from the three committees tasked with impeachment proceedings and told the story of her dismissal.

She brought that closed door testimony public on Friday.

Yovanovitch’s tenure in Ukraine came to a dramatic end.

First on April 24 and then into the early hours of April 25, Director General of the Foreign Service Carol Perez made two calls to Yovanovitch. In the first she advised Yovanovitch to board the ‘next plane home to Washington.’

And hour later Perez called again.

‘There were concerns up the street and she said I needed to get – come home immediately. Get on the next plane to the U.S., and I asked her why, and she said she wasn’t sure but there were concerns about my security. Asked her my first security because sometimes Washington knows more than we do about these things and she said, no, we hadn’t gotten that impression that it was a physical security issue, but they were concerned about my security and I needed to come home right away,’ Yovanovitch testified Friday.

‘I did specifically ask whether this had to do with the Mayor Giuliani allegations against me and so forth and she shade she didn’t know. It didn’t even actually appear that she seemed to be aware of that. No reason was offered,’ she added.

Marie Yovanovitch arrives at the Trump impeachment hearing

Photographers await the arrival of Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, to testify as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump

‘Did you have any understanding why secretary Pompeo was no longer able to protect you?,’ Goldman asked.

‘No. It was just a statement made, that he was no longer able to protect me,’ she said.

She said she told Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, upon her return to the United States, that she was worried about how her removal would look to the Ukrainians.

‘I asked him how are you going to explain this to people in the State Department, the press, the public, Ukrainians because everybody is watching, and so if people see somebody who — and, of course, it had been very public, frankly, the attacks on me by Mayor Giuliani and others and Mr. Lutsenko in Ukraine. If people see I who have been, you know, promoting our policies on anti-corruption, if they can undermine me and get me pulled out of Ukraine, what does that mean for our policy? Do we still have that same policy? How are we going to affirmatively put that forward number one. Number two, when other countries, other actors and other countries see that private interests, foreign interests can come together and get a U.S. Ambassador removed, what’s going to stop them from doing that in the future in other countries,’ she said.

Yovanovitch was nominated by President Barack Obama to be Ambassador to Ukraine in May 2016 and unanimously confirmed by Senate in July 2016 by voice vote.

She served in that post until she was recalled in May by the Trump Administration.

 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7689897/Former-Ambassador-Ukraine-Marie-Yovanovitch-testifies-second-day-impeachment-hearings.html

Story 2: Attorney General William Barr Addresses The Federal Society’s National Lawyer Convention — Videos

Barr speaks at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention

Attorney General William P. Barr Delivers the 19th Annual Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture at the Federalist Society’s 2019 National Lawyers Convention
WashingtonDC

~

Friday, November 15, 2019

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Good Evening.  Thank you all for being here.  And thank you to Gene [Meyer] for your kind introduction.

It is an honor to be here this evening delivering the 19th Annual Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture.  I had the privilege of knowing Barbara and had deep affection for her.  I miss her brilliance and ebullient spirit.  It is a privilege for me to participate in this series, which honors her.

The theme for this year’s Annual Convention is “Originalism,” which is a fitting choice — though, dare I say, a somewhat “unoriginal” one for the Federalist Society.  I say that because the Federalist Society has played an historic role in taking originalism “mainstream.”  While other organizations have contributed to the cause, the Federalist Society has been in the vanguard.

A watershed for the cause was the decision of the American people to send Ronald Reagan to the White House, accompanied by his close advisor Ed Meese and a cadre of others who were firmly committed to an originalist approach to the law.  I was honored to work with Ed in the Reagan White House and be there several weeks ago when President Trump presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  As the President aptly noted, over the course of his career, Ed Meese has been among the Nation’s “most eloquent champions for following the Constitution as written.”

I am also proud to serve as the Attorney General under President Trump, who has taken up that torch in his judicial appointments.  That is true of his two outstanding appointments to the Supreme Court, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh; of the many superb court of appeals and district court judges he has appointed, many of whom are here this week; and of the many outstanding judicial nominees to come, many of whom are also here this week.

***********

I wanted to choose a topic for this afternoon’s lecture that had an originalist angle.  It will likely come as little surprise to this group that I have chosen to speak about the Constitution’s approach to executive power.

I deeply admire the American Presidency as a political and constitutional institution.  I believe it is, one of the great, and remarkable innovations in our Constitution, and has been one of the most successful features of the Constitution in protecting the liberties of the American people.  More than any other branch, it has fulfilled the expectations of the Framers.

Unfortunately, over the past several decades, we have seen steady encroachment on Presidential authority by the other branches of government.  This process I think has substantially weakened the functioning of the Executive Branch, to the detriment of the Nation.  This evening, I would like to expand a bit on these themes.

I.

First, let me say a little about what the Framers had in mind in establishing an independent Executive in Article II of the Constitution.

The grammar school civics class version of our Revolution is that it was a rebellion against monarchial tyranny, and that, in framing our Constitution, one of the main preoccupations of the Founders was to keep the Executive weak.  This is misguided.  By the time of the Glorious Revolution of 1689, monarchical power was effectively neutered and had begun its steady decline.  Parliamentary power was well on its way to supremacy and was effectively in the driver’s seat.  By the time of the American Revolution, the patriots well understood that their prime antagonist was an overweening Parliament.  Indeed, British thinkers came to conceive of Parliament, rather than the people, as the seat of Sovereignty.

During the Revolutionary era, American thinkers who considered inaugurating a republican form of government tended to think of the Executive component as essentially an errand boy of a Supreme legislative branch.  Often the Executive (sometimes constituted as a multi-member council) was conceived as a creature of the Legislature, dependent on and subservient to that body, whose sole function was carrying out the Legislative will.  Under the Articles of Confederation, for example, there was no Executive separate from Congress.

Things changed by the Constitutional Convention of 1787.  To my mind, the real “miracle” in Philadelphia that summer was the creation of a strong Executive, independent of, and coequal with, the other two branches of government.

The consensus for a strong, independent Executive arose from the Framers’ experience in the Revolution and under the Articles of Confederation.  They had seen that the War had almost been lost and was a bumbling enterprise because of the lack of strong Executive leadership.  Under the Articles of Confederation, they had been mortified at the inability of the United States to protect itself against foreign impositions or to be taken seriously on the international stage.  They had also seen that, after the Revolution, too many States had adopted constitutions with weak Executives overly subordinate to the Legislatures.  Where this had been the case, state governments had proven incompetent and indeed tyrannical.

From these practical experiences, the Framers had come to appreciate that, to be successful, Republican government required the capacity to act with energy, consistency and decisiveness.  They had come to agree that those attributes could best be provided by making the Executive power independent of the divided counsels of the Legislative branch and vesting the Executive power in the hands of a solitary individual, regularly elected for a limited term by the Nation as a whole. As Jefferson put it, ‘[F]or the prompt, clear, and consistent action so necessary in an Executive, unity of person is necessary….”

While there may have been some differences among the Framers as to the precise scope of Executive power in particular areas, there was general agreement about its nature.  Just as the great separation-of-powers theorists– Polybius, Montesquieu, Locke – had, the Framers thought of Executive power as a distinct specie of power.  To be sure, Executive power includes the responsibility for carrying into effect the laws passed by the Legislature – that is, applying the general rules to a particular situation.  But the Framers understood that Executive power meant more than this.

It also entailed the power to handle essential sovereign functions – such as the conduct of foreign relations and the prosecution of war – which by their very nature cannot be directed by a pre-existing legal regime but rather demand speed, secrecy, unity of purpose, and prudent judgment to meet contingent circumstances.  They agreed that – due to the very nature of the activities involved, and the kind of decision-making they require – the Constitution generally vested authority over these spheres in the Executive.  For example, Jefferson, our first Secretary of State, described the conduct of foreign relations as “Executive altogether,” subject only to the explicit exceptions defined in the Constitution, such as the Senate’s power to ratify Treaties.

A related, and third aspect of Executive power is the power to address exigent circumstances that demand quick action to protect the well-being of the Nation but on which the law is either silent or inadequate – such as dealing with a plague or natural disaster.  This residual power to meet contingency is essentially the federative power discussed by Locke in his Second Treatise.

And, finally, there are the Executive’s powers of internal management.  These are the powers necessary for the President to superintend and control the Executive function, including the powers necessary to protect the independence of the Executive branch and the confidentiality of its internal deliberations.  Some of these powers are express in the Constitution, such as the Appointment power, and others are implicit, such as the Removal power.

One of the more amusing aspects of modern progressive polemic is their breathless attacks on the “unitary executive theory.”  They portray this as some new-fangled “theory” to justify Executive power of sweeping scope. In reality, the idea of the unitary executive does not go so much to the breadth of Presidential power.  Rather, the idea is that, whatever the Executive powers may be, they must be exercised under the President’s supervision.  This is not “new,” and it is not a “theory.”  It is a description of what the Framers unquestionably did in Article II of the Constitution.

After you decide to establish an Executive function independent of the Legislature, naturally the next question is, who will perform that function?  The Framers had two potential models. They could insinuate “checks and balances” into the Executive branch itself by conferring Executive power on multiple individuals (a council) thus dividing the power.  Alternatively, they could vest Executive power in a solitary individual.  The Framers quite explicitly chose the latter model because they believed that vesting Executive authority in one person would imbue the Presidency with precisely the attributes necessary for energetic government.  Even Jefferson – usually seen as less of a hawk than Hamilton on Executive power – was insistent that Executive power be placed in “single hands,” and he cited the America’s unitary Executive as a signal feature that distinguished America’s success from France’s failed republican experiment.

The implications of the Framers’ decision are obvious.  If Congress attempts to vest the power to execute the law in someone beyond the control of the President, it contravenes the Framers’ clear intent to vest that power in a single person, the President.  So much for this supposedly nefarious theory of the unitary executive.

II.

We all understand that the Framers expected that the three branches would be jostling and jousting with each other, as each threatened to encroach on the prerogatives of the others.  They thought this was not only natural, but salutary, and they provisioned each branch with the wherewithal to fight and to defend itself in these interbranch struggles for power.

So let me turn now to how the Executive is presently faring in these interbranch battles.  I am concerned that the deck has become stacked against the Executive.  Since the mid-60s, there has been a steady grinding down of the Executive branch’s authority, that accelerated after Watergate.  More and more, the President’s ability to act in areas in which he has discretion has become smothered by the encroachments of the other branches.

When these disputes arise, I think there are two aspects of contemporary thought that tend to operate to the disadvantage of the Executive.

The first is the notion that politics in a free republic is all about the Legislative and Judicial branches protecting liberty by imposing restrictions on the Executive.  The premise is that the greatest danger of government becoming oppressive arises from the prospect of Executive excess.  So, there is a knee-jerk tendency to see the Legislative and Judicial branches as the good guys protecting society from a rapacious would-be autocrat.

This prejudice is wrong-headed and atavistic.  It comes out of the early English Whig view of politics and English constitutional experience, where political evolution was precisely that.  You started out with a King who holds all the cards; he holds all the power, including Legislative and Judicial.  Political evolution involved a process by which the Legislative power gradually, over hundreds of years, reigned in the King, and extracted and established its own powers, as well as those of the Judiciary.  A watershed in this evolution was, of course, the Glorious Revolution in 1689.

But by 1787, we had the exact opposite model in the United States.  The Founders greatly admired how the British constitution had given rise to the principles of a balanced government.  But they felt that the British constitution had achieved only an imperfect form of this model.  They saw themselves as framing a more perfect version of separation of powers and a balanced constitution.

Part of their more perfect construction was a new kind of Executive.  They created an office that was already the ideal Whig Executive.  It already had built into it the limitations that Whig doctrine aspired to.  It did not have the power to tax and spend; it was constrained by habeas corpus and by due process in enforcing the law against members of the body politic; it was elected for a limited term of office; and it was elected by the nation as whole.  That is a remarkable democratic institution – the only figure elected by the Nation as a whole.  With the creation of the American Presidency, the Whig’s obsessive focus on the dangers of monarchical rule lost relevance.

This fundamental shift in view was reflected in the Convention debates over the new frame of government.  Their concerns were very different from those that weighed on 17th century English Whigs.  It was not Executive power that was of so much concern to them; it was danger of the legislative branch, which they viewed as the most dangerous branch to liberty.  As Madison warned, the “legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity, and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex.”  And indeed, they viewed the Presidency as a check on the Legislative branch.

The second contemporary way of thinking that operates against the Executive is a notion that the Constitution does not sharply allocate powers among the three branches, but rather that the branches, especially the political branches, “share” powers.  The idea at work here is that, because two branches both have a role to play in a particular area, we should see them as sharing power in that area and, it is not such a big deal if one branch expands its role within that sphere at the expense of the other.

This mushy thinking obscures what it means to say that powers are shared under the Constitution.  Constitution generally assigns broad powers to each of the branches in defined areas.  Thus, the Legislative power granted in the Constitution is granted to the Congress.  At the same time, the Constitution gives the Executive a specific power in the Legislative realm – the veto power. Thus, the Executive “shares” Legislative power only to the extent of the specific grant of veto power.  The Executive does not get to interfere with the broader Legislative power assigned to the Congress.

In recent years, both the Legislative and Judicial branches have been responsible for encroaching on the Presidency’s constitutional authority.  Let me first say something about the Legislature.

A.

As I have said, the Framers fully expected intense pulling and hauling between the Congress and the President.  Unfortunately, just in the past few years, we have seen these conflicts take on an entirely new character.

Immediately after President Trump won election, opponents inaugurated what they called “The Resistance,” and they rallied around an explicit strategy of using every tool and maneuver available to sabotage the functioning of his Administration.  Now, “resistance” is the language used to describe insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power.  It obviously connotes that the government is not legitimate.  This is a very dangerous – indeed incendiary – notion to import into the politics of a democratic republic.  What it means is that, instead of viewing themselves as the “loyal opposition,” as opposing parties have done in the past, they essentially see themselves as engaged in a war to cripple, by any means necessary, a duly elected government.

A prime example of this is the Senate’s unprecedented abuse of the advice-and-consent process.  The Senate is free to exercise that power to reject unqualified nominees, but that power was never intended to allow the Senate to systematically oppose and draw out the approval process for every appointee so as to prevent the President from building a functional government.

Yet that is precisely what the Senate minority has done from his very first days in office.  As of September of this year, the Senate had been forced to invoke cloture on 236 Trump nominees — each of those representing its own massive consumption of legislative time meant only to delay an inevitable confirmation.   How many times was cloture invoked on nominees during President Obama’s first term?  17 times.  The Second President Bush’s first term?  Four times.  It is reasonable to wonder whether a future President will actually be able to form a functioning administration if his or her party does not hold the Senate.

Congress has in recent years also largely abdicated its core function of legislating on the most pressing issues facing the national government.  They either decline to legislate on major questions or, if they do, punt the most difficult and critical issues by making broad delegations to a modern administrative state that they increasingly seek to insulate from Presidential control.  This phenomenon first arose in the wake of the Great Depression, as Congress created a number of so-called “independent agencies” and housed them, at least nominally, in the Executive Branch.  More recently, the Dodd-Frank Act’s creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Branch, a single-headed independent agency that functions like a junior varsity President for economic regulation, is just one of many examples.

Of course, Congress’s effective withdrawal from the business of legislating leaves it with a lot of time for other pursuits.  And the pursuit of choice, particularly for the opposition party, has been to drown the Executive Branch with “oversight” demands for testimony and documents.  I do not deny that Congress has some implied authority to conduct oversight as an incident to its Legislative Power.  But the sheer volume of what we see today – the pursuit of scores of parallel “investigations” through an avalanche of subpoenas – is plainly designed to incapacitate the Executive Branch, and indeed is touted as such.

The costs of this constant harassment are real.  For example, we all understand that confidential communications and a private, internal deliberative process are essential for all of our branches of government to properly function.  Congress and the Judiciary know this well, as both have taken great pains to shield their own internal communications from public inspection.  There is no FOIA for Congress or the Courts.  Yet Congress has happily created a regime that allows the public to seek whatever documents it wants from the Executive Branch at the same time that individual congressional committees spend their days trying to publicize the Executive’s internal decisional process.  That process cannot function properly if it is public, nor is it productive to have our government devoting enormous resources to squabbling about what becomes public and when, rather than doing the work of the people.

In recent years, we have seen substantial encroachment by Congress in the area of executive privilege.  The Executive Branch and the Supreme Court have long recognized that the need for confidentiality in Executive Branch decision-making necessarily means that some communications must remain off limits to Congress and the public.   There was a time when Congress respected this important principle as well.  But today, Congress is increasingly quick to dismiss good-faith attempts to protect Executive Branch equities, labeling such efforts “obstruction of Congress” and holding Cabinet Secretaries in contempt.

One of the ironies of today is that those who oppose this President constantly accuse this Administration of “shredding” constitutional norms and waging a war on the rule of law.  When I ask my friends on the other side, what exactly are you referring to?  I get vacuous stares, followed by sputtering about the Travel Ban or some such thing.  While the President has certainly thrown out the traditional Beltway playbook, he was upfront about that beforehand, and the people voted for him.  What I am talking about today are fundamental constitutional precepts.  The fact is that this Administration’s policy initiatives and proposed rules, including the Travel Ban, have transgressed neither constitutional, nor traditional, norms, and have been amply supported by the law and patiently litigated through the Court system to vindication.

Indeed, measures undertaken by this Administration seem a bit tame when compared to some of the unprecedented steps taken by the Obama Administration’s aggressive exercises of Executive power – such as, under its DACA program, refusing to enforce broad swathes of immigration law.

The fact of the matter is that, in waging a scorched earth, no-holds-barred war of “Resistance” against this Administration, it is the Left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law.  This highlights a basic disadvantage that conservatives have always had in contesting the political issues of the day.  It was adverted to by the old, curmudgeonly Federalist, Fisher Ames, in an essay during the early years of the Republic.

In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion.  Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the State to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection.  Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end.  They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implications.  They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.

Conservatives, on the other hand, do not seek an earthly paradise.  We are interested in preserving over the long run the proper balance of freedom and order necessary for healthy development of natural civil society and individual human flourishing.  This means that we naturally test the propriety and wisdom of action under a “rule of law” standard.  The essence of this standard is to ask what the overall impact on society over the long run if the action we are taking, or principle we are applying, in a given circumstance was universalized – that is, would it be good for society over the long haul if this was done in all like circumstances?

For these reasons, conservatives tend to have more scruple over their political tactics and rarely feel that the ends justify the means.  And this is as it should be, but there is no getting around the fact that this puts conservatives at a disadvantage when facing progressive holy far, especially when doing so under the weight of a hyper-partisan media.

B.

Let me turn now to what I believe has been the prime source of the erosion of separation-of-power principles generally, and Executive Branch authority specifically.  I am speaking of the Judicial Branch.

In recent years the Judiciary has been steadily encroaching on Executive responsibilities in a way that has substantially undercut the functioning of the Presidency.  The Courts have done this in essentially two ways:  First, the Judiciary has appointed itself the ultimate arbiter of separation of powers disputes between Congress and Executive, thus preempting the political process, which the Framers conceived as the primary check on interbranch rivalry.  Second, the Judiciary has usurped Presidential authority for itself, either (a) by, under the rubric of “review,” substituting its judgment for the Executive’s in areas committed to the President’s discretion, or (b) by assuming direct control over realms of decision-making that heretofore have been considered at the core of Presidential power.

The Framers did not envision that the Courts would play the role of arbiter of turf disputes between the political branches.  As Madison explained in Federalist 51, “the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others.”  By giving each the Congress and the Presidency the tools to fend off the encroachments of the others, the Framers believed this would force compromise and political accommodation.

The “constitutional means” to “resist encroachment” that Madison described take various forms.  As Justice Scalia observed, the Constitution gives Congress and the President many “clubs with which to beat” each other.  Conspicuously absent from the list is running to the courts to resolve their disputes.

That omission makes sense.  When the Judiciary purports to pronounce a conclusive resolution to constitutional disputes between the other two branches, it does not act as a co-equal.  And, if the political branches believe the courts will resolve their constitutional disputes, they have no incentive to debate their differences through the democratic process — with input from and accountability to the people.  And they will not even try to make the hard choices needed to forge compromise.  The long experience of our country is that the political branches can work out their constitutional differences without resort to the courts.

In any event, the prospect that courts can meaningfully resolve interbranch disputes about the meaning of the Constitution is mostly a false promise.  How is a court supposed to decide, for example, whether Congress’s power to collect information in pursuit of its legislative function overrides the President’s power to receive confidential advice in pursuit of his executive function?  Nothing in the Constitution provides a manageable standard for resolving such a question.  It is thus no surprise that the courts have produced amorphous, unpredictable balancing tests like the Court’s holding in Morrison v. Olson that Congress did not “disrupt the proper balance between the coordinate branches by preventing the Executive Branch from accomplishing its constitutionally assigned functions.”

Apart from their overzealous role in interbranch disputes, the courts have increasingly engaged directly in usurping Presidential decision-making authority for themselves.  One way courts have effectively done this is by expanding both the scope and the intensity of judicial review.

In recent years, we have lost sight of the fact that many critical decisions in life are not amenable to the model of judicial decision-making.  They cannot be reduced to tidy evidentiary standards and specific quantums of proof in an adversarial process.  They require what we used to call prudential judgment.  They are decisions that frequently have to be made promptly, on incomplete and uncertain information and necessarily involve weighing a wide range of competing risks and making predictions about the future.  Such decisions frequently call into play the “precautionary principle.”  This is the principle that when a decision maker is accountable for discharging a certain obligation – such as protecting the public’s safety – it is better, when assessing imperfect information, to be wrong and safe, than wrong and sorry.

It was once well recognized that such matters were largely unreviewable and that the courts should not be substituting their judgments for the prudential judgments reached by the accountable Executive officials.  This outlook now seems to have gone by the boards.  Courts are now willing, under the banner of judicial review, to substitute their judgment for the President’s on matters that only a few decades ago would have been unimaginable – such as matters involving national security or foreign affairs.

The Travel Ban case is a good example.  There the President made a decision under an explicit legislative grant of authority, as well has his Constitutional national security role, to temporarily suspend entry to aliens coming from a half dozen countries pending adoption of more effective vetting processes.  The common denominator of the initial countries selected was that they were unquestionable hubs of terrorism activity, which lacked functional central government’s and responsible law enforcement and intelligence services that could assist us in identifying security risks among their nationals seeking entry.  Despite the fact there were clearly justifiable security grounds for the measure, the district court in Hawaii and the Ninth Circuit blocked this public-safety measure for a year and half on the theory that the President’s motive for the order was religious bias against Muslims.  This was just the first of many immigration measures based on good and sufficient security grounds that the courts have second guessed since the beginning of the Trump Administration.

The Travel Ban case highlights an especially troubling aspect of the recent tendency to expand judicial review.  The Supreme Court has traditionally refused, across a wide variety of contexts, to inquire into the subjective motivation behind governmental action.  To take the classic example, if a police officer has probable cause to initiate a traffic stop, his subjective motivations are irrelevant.  And just last term, the Supreme Court appropriately shut the door to claims that otherwise-lawful redistricting can violate the Constitution if the legislators who drew the lines were actually motivated by political partisanship.

What is true of police officers and gerrymanderers is equally true of the President and senior Executive officials.  With very few exceptions, neither the Constitution, nor the Administrative Procedure Act or any other relevant statute, calls for judicial review of executive motive.  They apply only to executive action.  Attempts by courts to act like amateur psychiatrists attempting to discern an Executive official’s “real motive” — often after ordering invasive discovery into the Executive Branch’s privileged decision-making process — have no more foundation in the law than a subpoena to a court to try to determine a judge’s real motive for issuing its decision.  And courts’ indulgence of such claims, even if they are ultimately rejected, represents a serious intrusion on the President’s constitutional prerogatives.

The impact of these judicial intrusions on Executive responsibility have been hugely magnified by another judicial innovation – the nationwide injunction.  First used in 1963, and sparely since then until recently, these court orders enjoin enforcement of a policy not just against the parties to a case, but against everyone.  Since President Trump took office, district courts have issued over 40 nationwide injunctions against the government.  By comparison, during President Obama’s first two years, district courts issued a total of two nationwide injunctions against the government.  Both were vacated by the Ninth Circuit.

It is no exaggeration to say that virtually every major policy of the Trump Administration has been subjected to immediate freezing by the lower courts.  No other President has been subjected to such sustained efforts to debilitate his policy agenda.

The legal flaws underlying nationwide injunctions are myriad.  Just to summarize briefly, nationwide injunctions have no foundation in courts’ Article III jurisdiction or traditional equitable powers; they radically inflate the role of district judges, allowing any one of more than 600 individuals to singlehandedly freeze a policy nationwide, a power that no single appellate judge or Justice can accomplish; they foreclose percolation and reasoned debate among lower courts, often requiring the Supreme Court to decide complex legal issues in an emergency posture with limited briefing; they enable transparent forum shopping, which saps public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary; and they displace the settled mechanisms for aggregate litigation of genuinely nationwide claims, such as Rule 23 class actions.

Of particular relevance to my topic tonight, nationwide injunctions also disrupt the political process.  There is no better example than the courts’ handling of the rescission of DACA.  As you recall, DACA was a discretionary policy of enforcement forbearance adopted by President Obama’s administration.  The Fifth Circuit concluded that the closely related DAPA policy (along with an expansion of DACA) was unlawful, and the Supreme Court affirmed that decision by an equally divided vote.  Given that DACA was discretionary — and that four Justices apparently thought a legally indistinguishable policy was unlawful —President Trump’s administration understandably decided to rescind DACA.

Importantly, however, the President coupled that rescission with negotiations over legislation that would create a lawful and better alternative as part of a broader immigration compromise.  In the middle of those negotiations — indeed, on the same day the President invited cameras into the Cabinet Room to broadcast his negotiations with bipartisan leaders from both Houses of Congress — a district judge in the Northern District of California enjoined the rescission of DACA nationwide.  Unsurprisingly, the negotiations over immigration legislation collapsed after one side achieved its preferred outcome through judicial means.  A humanitarian crisis at the southern border ensued.  And just this week, the Supreme Court finally heard argument on the legality of the DACA rescission.  The Court will not likely decide the case until next summer, meaning that President Trump will have spent almost his entire first term enforcing President Obama’s signature immigration policy, even though that policy is discretionary and half the Supreme Court concluded that a legally indistinguishable policy was unlawful.  That is not how our democratic system is supposed to work.

To my mind, the most blatant and consequential usurpation of Executive power in our history was played out during the Administration of President George W. Bush, when the Supreme Court, in a series of cases, set itself up as the ultimate arbiter and superintendent of military decisions inherent in prosecuting a military conflict – decisions that lie at the very core of the President’s discretion as Commander in Chief.

This usurpation climaxed with the Court’s 2008 decision in Boumediene.  There, the Supreme Court overturned hundreds of years of American, and earlier British, law and practice, which had always considered decisions as to whether to detain foreign combatants to be purely military judgments which civilian judges had no power to review.  For the first time, the Court ruled that foreign persons who had no connection with the United States other than being confronted by our military on the battlefield had “due process” rights and thus have the right to habeas corpus to obtain judicial review of whether the military has a sufficient evidentiary basis to hold them.

In essence, the Court has taken the rules that govern our domestic criminal justice process and carried them over and superimposed them on the Nation’s activities when it is engaged in armed conflict with foreign enemies.  This rides roughshod over a fundamental distinction that is integral to the Constitution and integral to the role played by the President in our system.

As the Preamble suggests, governments are established for two different security reasons – to secure domestic tranquility and to provide for defense against external dangers.  These are two very different realms of government action.

In a nutshell, under the Constitution, when the government is using its law enforcement powers domestically to discipline an errant member of the community for a violation of law, then protecting the liberty of the American people requires that we sharply curtail the government’s power so it does not itself threaten the liberties of the people.  Thus, the Constitution in this arena deliberately sacrifices efficiency; invests the accused with rights that that essentially create a level playing field between the collective interests of community and those of the individual; and dilutes the government’s power by dividing it and turning it on itself as a check, at each stage the Judiciary is expressly empowered to serve as a check and neutral arbiter.

None of these considerations are applicable when the government is defending the country against armed attacks from foreign enemies.  In this realm, the Constitution is concerned with one thing – preserving the freedom of our political community by destroying the external threat.  Here, the Constitution is not concerned with handicapping the government to preserve other values.  The Constitution does not confer “rights” on foreign enemies. Rather the Constitution is designed to maximize the government’s efficiency to achieve victory – even at the cost of “collateral damage” that would be unacceptable in the domestic realm. The idea that the judiciary acts as a neutral check on the political branches to protect foreign enemies from our government is insane.

The impact of Boumediene has been extremely consequential.  For the first time in American history our armed forces is incapable of taking prisoners.  We are now in a crazy position that, if we identify a terrorist enemy on the battlefield, such as ISIS, we can kill them with drone or any other weapon.  But if we capture them and want to hold them at Guantanamo or in the United States, the military is tied down in developing evidence for an adversarial process and must spend resources in interminable litigation.

The fact that our courts are now willing to invade and muck about in these core areas of Presidential responsibility illustrates how far the doctrine of Separation of Powers has been eroded.

III.

In this partisan age, we should take special care not to allow the passions of the moment to cause us to permanently disfigure the genius of our Constitutional structure. As we look back over the sweep of American history, it has been the American Presidency that has best fulfilled the vision of the Founders.  It has brought to our Republic a dynamism and effectiveness that other democracies have lacked.

At every critical juncture where the country has faced a great challenge –

– whether it be in our earliest years as the weak, nascent country combating regional rebellions, and maneuvering for survival in a world of far stronger nations;

– whether it be during our period of continental expansion, with the Louisiana Purchase, and the acquisition of Mexican territory;

– whether it be the Civil War, the epic test of the Nation;

– World War II and the struggle against Fascism;

– the Cold War and the challenge of Communism;

– the struggle against racial discrimination;

– and most recently, the fight against Islamist Fascism and international terrorism.

One would have to say that it has been the Presidency that has stepped to the fore and provided the leadership, consistency, energy and perseverance that allowed us to surmount the challenge and brought us success.

In so many areas, it is critical to our Nation’s future that we restore and preserve in their full vigor our Founding principles.  Not the least of these is the Framers’ vision of a strong, independent Executive, chosen by the country as a whole.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-william-p-barr-delivers-19th-annual-barbara-k-olson-memorial-lecture

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1357, November 12, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Addresses The New York Economic Club — Why Trump Will Win Second Term In in 2020 — Economic Promises Made — Economic Promises Kept — Trump Landslide 2020 Presidential Election Victory — It’s The Economy — Stupid — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Addresses The Economic Club of New York — Why Trump Will Win Second Term In in 2020 — Economic Promises Made — Economic Promises Kept — Trump Landslide 2020 Presidential Election Victory — It’s The Economy — Stupid — Videos

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Remarks by President Trump at the Economic Club of New York | New York, NY

New York Hilton Midtown
New York, New York

12:09 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much, Barbara.  So sad that this is live.  She said it’s live.  (Laughter.)  It’s always live.  There’s always somebody with a phone.  It becomes live.  Ask a lot of politicians that are no longer in politics.

I want to thank Marie-Josée Kravis for your incredible leadership of the club.  It’s an honor to be here.  It is wonderful also to be back in New York with so many friends and distinguished leaders in business, in finance, academia, and, I have to add, in real estate.  All my real estate friends are here.

I’m especially grateful for, and to, your longtime club members, because it’s a club with a tremendous reputation.  And somebody doing a absolutely incredible job as Director of the National Economic Council, a friend of mine who I got on — I’ve been hearing this voice for 35 years; it’s driving me crazy: Larry Kudlow.  (Applause.)  Always calm.  Always cool.  And he’s just Larry, and he’s terrific — I’ll tell you that.

Three years ago, I came to speak before this storied forum as a candidate for President.  And at that time, America was stuck in a failed recovery and saddled with a bleak economic future.  And it was bleak.  Under the last administration, nearly 200,000 manufacturing jobs had been lost; almost 5 million more Americans had left the labor force, and jobs were not exactly what you would call plentiful; and 10 million people had been added to the food stamp rolls.

In 2016, the Department of Labor predicted that Americans would continue dropping out of the workforce in record numbers.  They predicted and projected a decade of sluggish growth, and they expected unemployment over 5 percent — and, really, 6, 7, and even, in some cases, 8 percent — for many years to come.  The so-called experts said the Americans had no choice but to accept stagnation, decay, and a shrinking middle class as the new normal.  That was said all the time.  In short, the American people were told to sit back and accept a slow, inevitable decline.

But I never believed for one moment that our magnificent nation was destined for a diminished future.  I knew that our destiny was in our own hands; that we could choose to reject a future of America and, really, look at a future of American decline unacceptable, and to build a future of American dominance, which is what I wanted.  It couldn’t be any other way, or I would have never done this.  I refused to accept that Americans had to lower their expectations or give up on their dreams.  America is the single greatest country in the world, and I knew that working together we could make it even greater.

In 2016, I stood before you supremely confident in what our people could achieve if government stopped punishing American workers and started promoting American workers and American companies.  Our middle class was being crushed under the weight of a punitive tax code, oppressive regulations, one-sided trade deals, and an economic policy that put America’s interest last, and a very deep last at that.

I knew that if we lifted these burdens from our economy, and unleashed our people to pursue their ambitions and realize their limitless potential, then economic prosperity would come thundering back to our country at a record speed.  And that’s what’s happening.

Today, I’m proud to stand before you as President of the United States to report that we have delivered on our promises and exceeded our expectations by a very wide margin.  We have ended — (applause) — thank you.  I was waiting for that.  Thank you.  I was waiting for that.  (Laughter.)  I almost didn’t get it.

We have ended the war on American workers, we have stopped the assault on American industry, and we have launched an economic boom the likes of which we have never seen before.

I did this despite a near-record number of rate increases and quantitative tightening by the Federal Reserve since I won the election — eight increases in total — which were, in my opinion, far too fast an increase and far too slow a decrease.  Because remember, we are actively competing with nations who openly cut interest rates so that now many are actually getting paid when they pay off their loan — known as negative interest.  Who ever heard of such a thing?  Give me some of that.  (Laughter.)  Give me some of that money.  I want some of that money.  Our Federal Reserve doesn’t let us do it.

I don’t say — (applause) — thank you.  Thank you.  The smart people are clapping.  Only the smart people are clapping.

I don’t say that’s good for the world — I’m not President of the world; I’m President of our country — but we are competing against these other countries nonetheless, and the Federal Reserve doesn’t let us play at that game.  It puts us at a competitive disadvantage to other countries.

Yet, in the face of this reality, our economic policies have ushered in an unprecedented tide of prosperity surging all throughout the nation.  We’re paying interest.  By other comparisons, we’re paying, actually, high interest.  We should be paying, by far, the lowest interest, and yet we’re doing better than any nation, by far, on Earth.  The extraordinary numbers tell the story.

Back in 2016, before I took office, the Congressional Budget Office projected that fewer than 2 million jobs would be created by this time in 2019.  Instead, my administration has created nearly 7 million jobs, and going up rapidly.  We beat predictions — (applause) — thank you.  We beat predictions more than three times the highest estimate that I saw during the campaign.  Nobody thought it was even possible to get close to a 7 million number.  Two million was maxed out, if you were lucky and if you did a great job.

Unemployment has recently achieved the lowest rate in 51 years.  African American unemployment, Hispanic American unemployment, and Asian American unemployment, have all reached the lowest rates in history.  Women’s unemployment, the best numbers in 71 years.  We expect that that number of 71 years — which isn’t good compared to the other numbers, is it?  But women also will soon be “historic,” we think.

Blue-collar jobs are leading the way in our middle class boom.  We’ve added 25,000 mining jobs, 128,000 energy jobs, and 1.2 million manufacturing and construction jobs.  And manufacturing was supposed to be dead in our country.  You would need, according to a past administration representative at the highest level of that past administration — you would need a magic wand to bring back manufacturing jobs.  Well, we brought them back, and we brought them back to over 600,000 manufacturing jobs as of today.  (Applause.)  And those are very important jobs.

Nearly 7 million people have been lifted off, very importantly, food stamps.  Seven million people off of food stamps.  (Applause.)  And we’re getting Americans off of welfare and back into the workforce.  (Applause.)  Nearly 2.5 million Americans have risen out of poverty.  That’s a record.  The rate of African American and Hispanic American families in poverty has plummeted to the lowest level ever recorded, by far.  (Applause.)  And most of you people wouldn’t know these numbers because most of you aren’t very active in the market.  (Laughter.)

But since my election, the S&P 500 is up over 45 percent, the Dow Jones is up over 50 percent, and the NASDAQ is up 60 percent, slightly more.  (Applause.)  And if we had a Federal Reserve that worked with us, you could have added another 25 percent to each one of those numbers — I guarantee you that.  (Laughter and applause.)  That doesn’t happen.  But we all make mistakes, don’t we?  Not too often.  We do make them on occasion.

American markets have vastly outpaced the rest of the world.  This exceptional growth is boosting 401(k)s, pensions, and college savings accounts for millions and millions of hardworking families.  You hear so much about inequality and all of the differences and all of the problems.  The single biggest benefactors of what we’ve done are middle-class workers and low-income families.  It’s been amazing, actually.

Altogether, we’ve added nearly $10 trillion of new value to our economy.  That’s in a short period of time.  Remember, I only use numbers from the time of the election because I can’t go to January 20th.  It’s not fair.   We picked up tremendous stock market and economic numbers.  They actually went wild the day after I won.  I think that should be attributed to us, not attributed to somebody else, because it would’ve gone in the opposite direction.  (Applause.)  It would’ve gone in the opposite direction had the other result taken place, which, fortunately, it didn’t.

Last year, GDP growth matched the fastest rate in more than a decade, and it was the best of the G7 countries by far.  By far.  (Applause.)

Perhaps most importantly — after years of stagnation and decline — American wages, salaries, and incomes are rising very fast.  Median household income is now at the highest level in the history of our country.  (Applause.)

The average median income under President Bush rose only $400 over an eight-year period.  Under President Obama, it rose $975 over an eight-year period.  And under my administration, it rose $5,000 over slightly more than just two and a half years.  That’s a big difference.  (Applause.)

And if you remember, President Obama was paying zero percent interest for a long period of time, while we’re paying a much higher rate of interest.  But in addition to the $5,000, we have to add $2,200 for the tax cuts — average tax cuts — and $2,000 to $3,000 for regulatory and energy cuts.  So that would be a total of almost $10,000 versus $400 and versus $975.  So, that’s something.

So you have, over eight years, you have $400.  Over eight years, you have $975.  Over two and a half years — we’re almost up to three — but this was done and calculated only as of two and a half, and it’s only gone up since then — we’re at almost $10,000.

So, our consumers, because of this, are in the best shape, probably, in the history of our country.  And I think it’s going to be very long lasting.  Very, very long lasting.

This also allows me the latitude and timing to take some of the horrible, incompetent, just terrible trade deals that have been made over the years, and make them great.  It’s like “Make America Great Again” — make the trade deals great.  I don’t know if I can use the word “again.”  Make them great. Period.  Because I don’t think they were ever any good.  (Laughter.)  I haven’t seen it.  We were great and then we weren’t so great, but we’re great again.

And, by the way, on jobs — just now — I’m glad this is today because, just now, they just announced we have the highest number of people working in our country in the history of our country.  Almost 160 million people.  We’ve never been close to that number.  (Applause.)

So, we’ve achieved this stunning turnaround because we’ve adopted a new economic policy that finally puts America first.  As President, I understand and embrace the fact that the world is a place of fierce competition.  We’re competing against other nations for jobs and industry, growth and prosperity.  Factories and businesses will always find a home.  It’s up to us to decide whether that home will be in a foreign country, or right here in our country, our beloved USA.  And that’s where we want them to stay, and be, and move to.  (Applause.)

If we want our families and communities to prosper, America must be the best place on Earth to work, invest, innovate, build, pursue a career, hone a craft, or start a business.  We want companies to move to America, stay in America, and hire American workers.  My mission is to put our country on the very best footing to thrive, excel, compete, and to win.

For many years, our leaders in Washington did the exact opposite.  They imposed the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world.  So high that people couldn’t even understand what they were doing and they would leave.  Very, very smart executives didn’t want to leave, but they would leave, sending our jobs and everything else all a flutter.  They waged an unethical regulatory assault on the American people.  They tried to shut down American energy.  And, by the way, they’re still trying.

You want to see energy shut down?  Take a look at what I’m competing against on the other side.  I don’t think they even believe in energy.  So far, I haven’t found any form of energy that’s acceptable to them.  I think they think the factories are just going to work without energy, don’t they?  (Laughter.) They don’t have a clue, these people.  But I don’t want to mention it yet.  (Laughter.)  I want to wait a little bit longer.  Let them go a little bit further so they can’t take it back, because as a campaign, I like it.  I like it very much.  (Applause.)  Let them keep talking.  Every time they talk, I say, “Boy, this looks like it might be easier than I anticipated.”  (Laughter.)

They passed the disastrous trade deals that encouraged the shuttering of American plants and the offshoring of American jobs by the millions.  In short, the failed political class sold out American workers, sold out American prosperity, and sold out the American Dream.

This was the alarming situation I was elected to end.  And ending, it’s never that easy.  And you see that.  You do have people that want to keep it going that way, but they’re losing and they’re losing now rapidly and fast.  Those days are gone, and we’re not going back.

As you know, one of the key insights of economics is the power of incentives.  Unlike past leaders, my goal is to ensure that this power works for America’s favor and for America’s workers and for America’s companies.  We want the incentives created by our tax, trade, regulatory, and energy policies to be pro-growth, pro-worker, and 100 percent pro-American.  And more is yet to come.

If we take back the House in 2020 and retain the Senate and the White House, you will see things that even this room — and you’ve experienced a lot of great times over the last two and a half years, but even you will be surprised to see.  We have tremendous economic potential.  We have tremendous potential.  We have tremendous economic potential.

At the heart of our economic revival is the biggest tax cut and reforms in American history.  We provided massive relief for working families, saving $2,000 a year for a typical family of four.  To bring jobs back, we lowered our business tax rate from the highest tax rate in the developed world down to a very competitive number.  Not quite the lowest, but getting close.  And we may even be able to get there one day not too — in the not-too-distant future.

And, by the way, we’re taking in more tax revenue with these greatly reduced rates — 21 percent.  And it was 39 percent, but when you added everything else, it was well into the 40s, and you couldn’t bring your money back, because that was prohibitive.  Both ministerially and from an economic standpoint, the rate was so high.  But we brought it down to a level that we’re very proud of and we think we can bring it down still more.  And yet, we’re raising — we have more tax revenues coming into our Treasury than we’ve ever had before.  That tells you something right there.

Since then, nearly $1 trillion have returned to our shores where that money belongs.  Couldn’t get it back.  No matter what you did, you couldn’t do it.  It was not only the rate being so high, but the bureaucracy, the documents, the signings.  Nobody could do it.

To promote investment in distressed American communities, our tax plan created nearly 9,000 Opportunity Zones, which are one of the biggest successes that you’ve ever seen.  I don’t think there has ever been anything like it.  Worked with Tim Scott — Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina — and many of the great senators that we do work with and, frankly, Congress, and we passed something that nobody thought was possible to get passed, and nobody thought it could ever work the way it is.

Capital gains on long-term investments are now taxed in an Opportunity Zone at zero, and money is flooding in.  Investment is pouring into these long-neglected communities.  The government wasn’t putting money in; nobody was.  They were dying.  And now tremendous — they call it “neighborhood push.”  It’s incredible what’s happening.  It’s one of the — it’s not spoken of by the fake news media, but they should speak about it, because I will tell you, it’s one of the great successes that we’ve all had.  And it’s employing tremendous numbers of people.  And you have communities that were down and totally out, and they’re reviving like nobody has ever seen.  Opportunity Zones.  Remember those two words.

We believe in no American left behind, and we understand the enormous power of investment, capital, and opportunity to revitalize communities and bring hope where it is needed the most.

To liberate our economy, my administration launched the biggest, boldest, and most ambitious campaign to reduce regulation.  Nobody has ever come close.  No administration has ever come close.  In two and a half years, we’ve done far more than any other administration, whether it was four years, eight years, or in one case, more than eight years.  Nobody has come close to doing what we’ve done with regulations.  (Applause.)

And I happen to think, as great as the tax cut was — the largest in our history — I really happen to think that the regulation cuts may have had an even bigger impact on the economy.  And it was quicker because we were able to do them very early in the administration — earlier than the tax cuts.

Within days of taking office, I issued an executive order to end the outstanding, horrible federal intrusions that you saw — it was an onslaught — into business, into people’s lives.  And it was really done by unelected bureaucrats.  They were really accountable, and nobody held them accountable.  And sometimes, it’s not pleasant to hold them accountable, but I do it.  I do it.  And we had no choice, because we were going nowhere, fast.

My order required that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated.  But instead of two for one, we have now eliminated nine for one.  And we think that, within the next six months, it will be close to twenty for one instead of two for one.  (Applause.)

And it sounds like a lot, but you have no idea, when you look at the piles and piles and piles of regulation, on each one of our — our great Secretaries, we’ve had some — we have some great people working here.  But you go into rooms that are half the size of this, and they would literally be stacked to the ceiling with regulations.  Nobody has ever seen anything like it.  And we have actually, I think, a fairly long way to go.  We need regulation, but it has to be smart regulation.

Highways were taking 20 years to get built, to get approved.  You’d put in a application; 20, 21 years later, they’d reject it.  It would cost many, many times more — 25, 30, 40 times more.  But they were taking 20 years.  We’re trying to get that down to one.  And it may get rejected, and that’s okay.  But you haven’t spent 20 years on environmental impact statements in order to build a simple highway or roadway that’s desperately needed.

So we have it down close to one year.  We want to hit the one-year number.  And if it doesn’t work, we’re going to reject it.  But it’s going to be rejected fast.  Swiftly.  But mostly, it’s not going to be rejected.

We ended the ridiculous Waters of the United States rule.  What a beautiful name.  The name was beautiful.  The act was a disaster.  It didn’t allow you to do anything.  When I signed it, I said, “You know, Waters of the United States — what could be a more beautiful title?  I’m going to get killed when I sign this.”  To kill it.  I had to kill it.  It was — it made land development prohibitive.  It made impossible situations for farmers, for everybody.  And I had 35 people in my office — farmers, and builders, and ranchers, and others.  Strong people, very strong — men and women — and almost all of them were crying.  They said, “You’ve given our life back.”  These laws were horrible.  They took away everything.  You would have a puddle in your land, and they would call it — you were under river control, you were under lake control, for what is called a “puddle.”  You couldn’t get anywhere near it.  And if you did, you’d literally be arrested.

We’re streamlining approvals for critical infrastructure.  Our regulatory roadblock [rollback] is also leading to major price reductions in healthcare and prescription drugs.  We’ve gotten the prescription drugs down.  First time in 53 years that prescription drug prices have gone down.

And if we had help from the Democrats, which we do not have — you possibly have noticed that — (laughter) — we would have — we would be able to cut prescription drugs by 30, 40, and 50 percent.  I’ve told some of the governors — Ron DeSantis in Florida — “Go buy them from other countries.  I’m okay with it.  I’m going to give them an executive order,” because Canada and other countries sell the exact same drug from the exact same factory for sometimes 50, 60, and 70 percent less than we do.

And rather than going through the political charade and all of the things where — the middleman — I hope we don’t have any middlemen in here, because somebody is not going to like me too much.  (Laughter.)  We have a middleman — any middlemen?  I think they have to be the richest people in the world, if you want to know the truth.  (Laughter.)  They make far more than the drug companies, in most cases.  But I said, “Buy it from other companies — countries.  You go out to other countries.”

And what’s happening already is the companies are coming back, and they want to make great deals, because now I’m giving the right to governors to go to Canada, go to England, go all over — go all over Europe, where the prices are so much less.  Because we were forced to pay for all research and development, and they didn’t pick up any of the cost.  Ridiculous rules.  So unfair to our country.  I said, “Buy them from other countries and pass along the savings.”  The savings will be staggering.  And we’re starting that program.  But as soon as we start that program, watch what happens with the drug prices.  They’ll come down over here.  Because it’s the same companies that make the drugs.  The exact same companies.  Hard to believe.

Altogether, our regulatory cuts, as mentioned, save American households thousands and thousands of dollars every year.

The foundation of American liberty and prosperity has always been the rule of law.  Throughout history, economies have failed when the rule of law is abandoned.  That’s why we must protect the constitutional rule of law in our country at all costs.  (Applause.)  So important.  We’ve got some lawless people in some very high positions.  They’re lawless.

For this reason, we have now appointed, as of today, 161 — and fully approved — brand-new federal judges, court of appeals judges, to interpret our Constitution as written.  (Applause.)  That will soon be 182 judges.  And, as you know, two Supreme Court justices, who are great gentlemen, both — both fully in and making some very big decisions, even today, as we speak.  The 161, 162 that we have now — we’ll be at 182 within two months.  And then we normalize, meaning we go through the normal system.

When I came into office, one of the first things I said was, “How many federal judges do I have to appoint?”  Because I always heard it was the single-most important thing a President can do — federal judges and Supreme Court justices.  They said, “Sir, you have 142.”  I said, “What?”  Because I was always told you would never have any.  Maybe you’d have one or two, maybe three if the previous President wasn’t doing a good job.  But they said, “You have 142.”  I said, “You have to be kidding.”  And we did.  We had 142.  And we’ve added to that through different things.  And we will be at 182.  That will be a record.  Nobody has ever done that before.  It was shocking.  But I just want to say: Thank you very much, President Obama.  We appreciate it very much, for the 142.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  And I’m sure his party is thrilled with him.  But if they aren’t, they won’t say anything.  Don’t worry about it.

Thanks to these and other policies, last year, the World Economic Forum recognized the United States as the globe’s most competitive economy.  We’ve put it back into this position where we are competitive like no other nation.

To fuel our economic boom, we are bolding — and boldly pursuing American energy independence.  And you see that in the Middle East, where ships are at great danger.  And they keep saying, “What happened to the American ships?”  They don’t see too many American ships over there anymore.  Do you notice that?

We stopped the radical crusade to dismantle U.S. energy production and empower rogue regimes.  We withdrew from the one-sided, horrible, horrible, economically unfair, “close your businesses down within three years,” “don’t frack, don’t drill, we don’t want any energy” — the horrible Paris Climate Accord that killed American jobs and shielded foreign polluters.  It was a disaster for this country.  Ask them, “How are they doing in Paris with your Paris Accord?”  Not too good.

And I will tell you, when I signed — that was another one — Clean Waters of the United States — well, the Paris Accord, too — and I said, “This is going to take guts.”  I just closed my eyes and I signed it.  (Laughter.)  I got one day of a big hit from some of the radical-left newspapers.  And then after that, everybody thanks me.  They thank me so profusely.  You’re talking about trillions and trillions of dollars of destruction would have been done to our country with the Paris Climate Accord.

And it is so unfair.  It doesn’t kick in for China until 2030.  Russia goes back into the 1990s, where the base year was the dirtiest year ever in the world.  India, we are supposed to pay them money because they are a developing nation.  I said, “We’re a developing nation, too.”  (Laughter.)  “Why aren’t we…” Under the WTO, China is called a “developing nation.”  So we wrote them a letter recently; Larry knows it.  I’m not sure Larry liked the idea too much, but he went along with it.  (Laughter.)  We wrote them a very tough letter, Larry, and we said —

MR. KUDLOW:  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  What?

MR. KUDLOW:  I wrote the letter.

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, Larry wrote it.  (Laughs.)  He said — (Laughter.)  Boy, you hopped on that bandwagon quickly, didn’t you?  (Laughter.)  That’s okay.  But we wrote them a letter and we said, much more strongly than the letter, that — not fair to have China as a developing nation.  One of the reasons they’ve taken advantage of us is because of that.  And we’re considered the big, fat cow.  And no longer.  No longer.  We have a lot of things to work out.

And I will say this: Because they know that I’m very tentative on the WTO, we’re winning cases for the first time.  We just won a 7.5 billion-dollar case.  We never won cases.  They’d rule against us because they said, “Hey, don’t worry about the United States.  They’re the stupid people.  Don’t worry.  Rule against them.”  Keep rule- — we had case after case.  Now, we’re winning cases, because they really think that I’ll do something very powerful, which we have the right to do.  And they’re right when they think that way.  And we’re winning a lot of cases at the WTO level, we never — that we never even would have thought of winning before.

America is now the number-one producer of oil and natural gas on the entire planet Earth.  Net energy imports — (applause) — net energy imports — this is so great — set a historic low; it’s a 58-year low, but that’s only because they only go back 58 years, meaning, I assume if it’s low now, it’s lower than it used to be, unless something happened that’s very strange back then.  But it’s at a historic low.  We are now a net exporter of natural gas, and we recently became a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products for the first time in our country’s history.  It’s a big thing.  (Applause.)

According to the Council of Economic Advisers, the astonishing increase in production, made possible by the shale revolution, saves Americans $2,500 for a family of four in lowering electric bills and prices at the pump.  And the number is actually now even higher than that.

My administration is also restoring the principle that to be a strong nation, America must be a manufacturing nation.  These are great jobs.  These are brilliant, great people that know how to manufacture.  These people were under-appreciated and under-taken care of.  But we take care of them.  We cherish them.

Past leaders wrote off American manufacturing as dead, but their policies were the ones that were actually killing it.  We killed manufacturing.  That’s why we were losing all those jobs, because we made it impossible to manufacture.  We opened it all up.

After losing — and this is a number that’s hard to believe, and I’ve been saying it for three years, and I know it’s right because the fake news has never corrected me.  If it was wrong, it would have been headlines: “Trump made a mistake.”  But they can’t say it.  After losing 60,000 — can you believe that? — factories under the previous two administrations, America is now gaining over 10,000 brand-new, beautiful factories, and many, many more than that want to come back in.  Because under my administration, we’re producing jobs and incentives for these companies to come back.  I’m calling, as an example, Prime Minister Abe of Japan.  And I say, “Mr. Prime Minister, Shinzo, we have a tremendous problem.  We have big deficits with your country.  You’ve got to start building plants.”  He’s building many, many car plants now in the United States that he would’ve never built here if you didn’t have this kind of a President.  And he’s very happy to be doing it.

But they’re all coming back to the United States.  They want to be where the action is.  Very simple: They want to be where the action is.  This is where the action is.  There’s nobody close.  There’s no country close.

When I meet with the leaders of countries, as they come in — kings and queens and prime ministers and presidents and dictators — I meet them all.  (Laughter.)  Anybody who wants to come in — dictators, it’s okay, come on in.  Whatever is good for the United States.  We want to help our people.  But the first thing they say to me almost always: “Congratulations on your economy.”  They all say it.  “Congratulations, it’s incredible what’s happened to your country.  It’s incredible what’s happened to your economy.”  First thing they say in almost every instance.

But central to this comeback is a series of bold initiatives to reform a broken system of international trade.  We want thriving commerce with as many countries as possible, but trade must be fair, and to me, it must be my favorite word, “reciprocal.”  It’s not reciprocal.  We’re getting it to be much more reciprocal.

The American market is the most valuable and coveted market anywhere in the world.  Those who want access must play by the rules, and they have to respect our game and our laws, and they have to treat our workers and businesses fairly — not the way they’ve been treating them over the last 25 years.  America will not be taken advantage of anymore.  (Applause.)

Many countries charge us extraordinarily high tariffs or create impossible trade barriers.  Impossible.  And I’ll be honest: European Union — very, very difficult.  The barriers they have up are terrible.  Terrible.  In many ways, worse than China.

We’re working on legislation known as the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, meaning quite simply: What’s good for them is good for us.  If they want to charge us, we charge them.  It’s a very simple thing.  Even people that aren’t well versed in what we all do say — I went to a couple of senators — went to Lindsey Graham.  I said, “Lindsey, let me ask you.  What do you think of that?  They’re charging us 100 percent.  We’ll charge them…”  “That makes sense to me.”  It really does.  It makes sense to everybody because it’s very unfair the way we’re treated by certain countries.  There are certain countries that the average tariff is over 100 percent.  And we charge them nothing.  And then they call it “fair trade.”  That’s not fair trade; that’s stupid trade.  (Laughter.)  Of course, this will be subject to regaining the House, to be able to do these things.

Nowhere has the change in U.S. strategy been more vital or dramatic than in our dealings with respect to China.  Before my election, Washington politicians stood by and did nothing while China ransacked our companies, stole our intellectual property, subsidized their industries at the expense of ours, and dumped their products in a deliberate strategy to close American factories all across our land.

For many years, Americans — leaders have just sat back.  Maybe they didn’t understand what was going on.  It’s impossible to believe that.  But they just let it happen.  And it’s gotten worse and worse and worse.  And now we’ve changed it.  It’s changed a lot.  I’m sure you haven’t noticed, but it’s changed a lot.

In particular, since China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization in 2001, no one has manipulated numbers better or taken advantage of the United States more.  And I won’t use this word, “cheated.”  I will not say the word, “cheated.”  But nobody has cheated better than China, but I will not say that.  (Laughter.)  We’ll say that off the record, okay?  And there’s only about 600 cameras back there.  In fact, that is a big group up there.  Good.  I hope you use it because it’s true.  And they understand it’s true.

And I don’t blame China, by the way.  I blame our leaders, because we should’ve been doing what they were doing.  They did it to use.  We didn’t do it to them.  We were defenseless.  We had no leadership.  This was for a long time.  This is long beyond the Obama administration.

So I don’t blame them.  I said this to President Xi.  I was making a big speech in China.  I had 5,000 people in front of me and I was talking about how bad China was.  And I said, “This is not going over well.”  (Laughter.)  I was in Beijing — this massive hall.  And I looked down at President Xi.  He was sitting right where Larry is.  He was not as imposing a figure as Larry Kudlow, but he was quite imposing.  (Laughter.)  And I said — I said, “You know, I think he’s getting very angry.”  And I then I realized, “Hmm, how do we save this?  This is going to be a disastrous afternoon.”  (Laughter.)  And I said, “But I don’t blame China.  I blame our leaders.”  And then I realized, that’s true.  I blame our leaders for allowing it to happen.  I’ve told that to you and many people many times.

But the theft of American jobs and American wealth is over.  They understand that.  My administration has taken the toughest-ever action to confront China’s trade abuses.  We are taking in billions and billions of dollars in tariffs that China is paying for.  We’re not paying.  China is paying because they’re devaluing their currency to such an extent and they’re pouring tremendous amounts of cash into their system.

They’re having their worst year in more than 57 years, more than half a century.  Their supply chains are cracking very badly, and they are dying to make a deal.  We’re the ones that are deciding whether or not we want to make a deal.  We’re close.

A significant phase one trade deal with China could happen.  It could happen soon.  But we will only accept a deal if it’s good for the United States and our workers and our great companies, because we’ve been hit very hard.  We’d have deficits for many years — go back many years — $500 billion a year.  Not million.  Five hundred million dollars a year is a lot.  Five hundred billion dollars a year in trade deficits with China.  And we have it with many other countries, just not nearly as large.  China probably makes up almost 60 percent of our deficits.

We also renegotiated the last administration’s failed trade agreement with South Korea.  It was a terrible agreement.  Our new agreement doubles the number of American cars that can be sold to South Korea under the U.S. standards, and it keeps America’s 25 percent import tax, known as the “chicken tax,” on small trucks, which was all ready to disappear.  It was going to disappear.

The deal from the previous administration was projected by them to add 250,000 jobs, and they were right.  It did add 250,000 jobs.  Unfortunately, the jobs went to South Korea, not to the United States.  That’s what we got stuck with.

We also struck a deal, which is historic, with Japan — it’s just partial because we’re having very tough negotiations and strong negotiations with Japan — to substantially reduce barriers for American agriculture and facilitate $40 billion in digital trade and agricultural purchases.  That deal was signed, and it’s a great deal but it’s only phase one of the Japan deal, too.

A lot of these leaders don’t like me too much, folks.  When you hear that I’m not so popular in various countries, please don’t accept that as, “Gee, he doesn’t have a good personality.”  Just realize what I’m trying to do for you.  It’s about time.  Okay?  Please.  (Applause.)

They recently came out with a poll that President Obama is much more popular in Germany than I am.  I said, “Guess what?  He should be.  He should be.”  (Laughter.)  The day I’m more popular than him, you know I’m not doing my job.  Let’s put it that way.  (Applause.)  Because we’re treated very badly by countries.  They take advantage of us, and they have for many, many years.  It’s hard to break that cycle.  But we’re breaking it and we’re getting along with them, believe it or not.  We’re actually — I think they respect us far more today than they ever have, if you want to know the truth.

We’re replacing one of the worst trade deals ever in history, NAFTA, with a brand-new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — a historic win for American farmers, energy producers, and manufacturers.  And the reason it’s such a good deal for us is, I said, “Listen, if you don’t sign this deal, we’re going to charge you tariffs on your product coming into the United States, including all of those cars that are now manufactured in Mexico.”  Thirty percent of our business was lost over the last 20 years.  It went to Mexico.  And I said, “So, if you don’t sign it — so it’s a good agreement, we’re going to just charge you tariffs.”  And they signed everything we wanted.

The USMCA will create up to half a million American jobs and add at least 1.2 percent more to our total GDP.  And it should be much higher than that.  Yet, Democrats in Washington would rather pursue outrageous hoaxes and delusional witch hunts — which are going absolutely nowhere; don’t worry about it — than pass the USMCA and deliver real stuff for the American workers.  It’s a great bill — USMCA.  And put pressure on the Democrats.  There’s tremendous pressure already.  And, most of them, if you had a vote today, I think most of them would actually vote for it.  But Nancy Pelosi — Nervous Nancy — has to put it out there and sign.  And if she doesn’t, she’s doing her party a tremendous disservice, and she’s doing this country a tremendous disservice.

As we create millions of new jobs, we are also transforming lives.  Under the last administration, nearly 1.8 million Americans in their prime-working years simply gave up — they gave up — looking for work altogether and dropped out of the labor force.  Under my administration, 2 million prime-age Americans have come off the sidelines already — people that we thought maybe would never work again — and they’ve fully rejoined the labor force.  Something we’re very proud of.  (Applause.)

And this includes a group that was having a hard time from the day of our Founders — the day they signed, these people have had a hard time.  They’re former inmates — people that went to jail — who are getting a fresh start thanks to the landmark criminal justice reform bill that I signed into law, but maybe equally so because the economy is so good.  They’re coming out of jail now and they’re getting jobs.

And I will tell you, the people that have been hiring them — and I get reports — they cannot believe how good they’ve been, and obviously, not in all cases.  But it’s incredible.  First time they’ve ever had an opportunity.  They get out of jail, and they end up with a great job.  And they cherish the job more than you would, more than I would.  They cherish — they can’t believe what happened to them.  And they’re doing a phenomenal job.  First time it’s ever happened in the history of our country.  It’s really terrific.  (Applause.)

When we say, “Hire American,” we mean hire all Americans.  By focusing on the needs of people, not the desires of government, we’re helping our citizens realize their ambitions and pursue rewarding careers.  Over 1.1 million fewer Americans are now forced to rely on part-time work today than when I was elected.  That’s a tremendous number.  People were working two jobs, and three jobs, and making less money than they made 21 years ago.  That was the stat.

A record number of Americans are quitting the job that they have to take a job they like even better.  They like the job better.  They like getting up in the morning, like we all do.  They like going to work.  And they have something that they can do, and they’re getting paid more money for it, which is something that’s probably never happened before in this country to the extent it’s happened now.

This increased competition is driving up wages for blue-collar workers who are the biggest beneficiaries of what we’re talking about and all the things that I’m mentioning today.

Real weekly wages for the lowest-paid earners have grown more in the first three years of my administration than in the entire decade before my election — and decade and much more than that.

Since the election, real wages have gone up 3.2 percent for the median American worker.  But for the bottom income group, real wages are soaring — a number that’s never happened before — 9 percent.  And that means you might make a couple of bucks less in your companies.  You know what?  That’s okay.  That’s okay.  This is a great thing for our country when you talk about equality.  This is a great thing for our country.

Our tight labor market is helping them the most.  Yet, Democrats in Washington want to erase these gains through an extreme policy of open borders, flooding the labor market, and driving down incomes for the poorest Americans, and driving crime right through the roof.  They want nothing to do with looking at the people that are coming in.  And some very, very bad people are trying to get in.

But we’re building the wall.  It’s going up rapidly.  We have tremendous help from Mexico, despite what you read.  It was a terrible thing that you read over the last period of a few days, but also, over the last years.

But they have 27,000 soldiers on our border now protecting us from people coming into our country.  And because of that, I’m not tariffing Mexican goods.  So, it works out well for everyone.  But we have 27,000 Mexican soldiers.  And they play by different rules than our people.  If our people speak rudely to a person coming in, it means they get the electric chair.  It’s a very unfair situation.  Our border — our border is so — our laws are so bad — our immigration laws.  It’s so sad.

We have what’s called loopholes.  Many loopholes.  I could fix them in 15 minutes, but the Democrats don’t want to fix them, for two reasons: They don’t want to give us a win.  And, honestly, I think they maybe just don’t care.  And it would solve all of the problems and you wouldn’t need Mexico’s help.  But we want to thank Mexico.  We want to thank the President.

And I’ve likewise offered a lot of help because they have a tremendous problem with the cartels in their country — a problem like nobody would believe, where the cartels are almost ruling a country.  And I am offering to the President of Mexico the ultimate hand.  And he and I have a very good relationship, and let’s ultimately see what happens.  But those cartels are horrible — what they’re doing.  You see it every day.  All you have to do is turn on the news.

I want people to come to our country, but they must come in legally and they must come through a system of merit.

We now know all of our obligations.  Our moral obligation is to the American workers, and we’re committed to helping them climb that great ladder of success.  To equip them with the skills they need, we launched the Pledge to America’s Workers.  Three hundred and sixty-seven private sector partners are providing more than 14 million skills and career-training opportunities for U.S. workers.

And I have to say, I’m very proud of her.  My daughter Ivanka, that’s all she wants to talk about.  I say, “Ivanka, can we please talk about something else?”  “No, Dad.  I met today with Walmart.  They’re taking a million people.  I met…”  She is — she wants to make these people have great lives.  And when she started this two and a half years ago, her goal was 500,000 jobs.  She’s now created 14 million jobs and they’re being trained by these great companies — the greatest companies in the world.  Because the government can’t train them.  It’s a great thing.  (Applause.)

So, Jared is here and you’ll thank — you’ll thank Ivanka.  She’s done an amazing job.  Fourteen million from 500,000.  We’re at 14 million and going up.

Today, the world is witnessing the resurgence of a strong and proud and prosperous America.  The world is a better place because of it also.

But everything that we have achieved is under threat from the left-wing ideology that demands absolute conformity, relentless regulation, and a top-down control of the entire U.S economy.

Far-left politicians in our nation’s Capitol want a massive government takeover of healthcare; they want to give government bureaucrats domination over every aspect of your business and your life; they want to eliminate American oil and natural gas; they want to enlist us in global projects designed to redistribute American wealth and kill American jobs all over our nation.

Washington’s Democrats and their radical agenda of socialism would demolish our economy, reinstate the avalanche of regulations that I have already ended, decimate the middle class, and totally bankrupt our nation.  As long as I’m President, America will never be a socialist country.  (Applause.)

We are reawakening the majestic spirit of enterprise and exploration, discovery, and all of the other things that we need to create that exceptional character that our nation is developing now more than at any time in the past.

We’re a nation of unbridled pioneers, and adventurers, and risk-takers.  We inherit the legacy of courageous, free, and independent souls who ventured across oceans, braved the wilderness, settled the frontiers, tamed the Wild West, and raised up towering cities of concrete, iron, and steel.

Our American ancestors produced miracles of science, lost — this is (inaudible) — lost so many lives, but launched revolutions in technology, created groundbreaking new industries, built the railroads that linked our cities, fashioned the skyscrapers that touched the clouds, and gave us the most prosperous nation to ever exist on the face of the Earth.

This is our American heritage.  This is who we are.  This is who we will forever be.

We believe in the dignity of work and the nobility of each and every American worker.  We believe the future is forged in the mind of the American inventor, the soul of the American craftsman, the heart of the American entrepreneur, and the faith of the American investor.  We know that there is nothing we cannot achieve as one team, one people, one family, and one glorious nation under God.

With everyone here today, and millions of patriots across our land, we are making America stronger, prouder, and greater than ever before.  And, ladies and gentlemen, the best is yet to come.

Thank you.  God bless you.  And God bless America.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

MS. VAN ALLEN:  Thank you, Mr. President, for your insights and the great work that you do, sir.

We’ll now move to the question-and-answer portion of our program.  Our two very able questioners today are Mr. John Hess, CEO of Hess Corporation, and Mr. Mark Gallogly, Managing Principal of Centerbridge Partners.  Mr. Hess, you have the first question.

MR. HESS:  Mr. President, welcome back to New York.  Mr. President, you’ve been a tough negotiator to address unfair trading practices and ensure that U.S. businesses get fair treatment.  But there’s a growing consensus that the trade war has a cost and is weighing on our economic growth and capital spending.  As you know, capital spending in the United States, last year, was up 10 percent.  This year, it’s flat.

While you mentioned in your speech significant progress that has been made on several fronts, a number of industrial sectors have recently been hurt: manufacturing, automotive, and oil.  What are your plans to address these economic headwinds?

THE PRESIDENT:  Good.  Thank you, John.  They haven’t been hurt.  You know, they were totally down.  Now they are a little bit down because a little big, perhaps, the uncertainty of trade wars.  But there is no uncertainty.  We’re the bank that everyone wants to take from.  We’re the source that everybody needs and everybody wants all over the world.  The real cost, John, would be if we did nothing.  The cost of doing nothing was killing us, as a country — our national debt and so many other things.  But it was killing us.

So when I — when you say, “Gee, let’s just…” — because perhaps this is an assumption based on the question — “Gee, let’s just keep it the way it is with China,” that would be the real cost.  We can’t do that.

One of the things I was able to do with China: As an example — we’ve taken in — I mean, we’ll soon be up to $100 billion in tariffs.  And you haven’t seen inflation and you haven’t seen, in many cases, price increases.

Our farmers — because I have a very good relationship with our farmers — our great American farmers — I call them “patriots” — they were hurt very badly by China because China targeted them because they were my vote.  The whole middle of the country — it’s a beautiful thing to see, I will say.  But they targeted them.

And I said to Sonny Perdue, our Secretary of Agriculture, “Sonny, how much is it?”  And he said, “The year before last, it was $12 billion, and this year it’s $16 billion in orders.”  I said, “That’s okay, Sonny.  We’re going to give them $28 billion.  We’re going to take it right out of the tariffs.  And, hopefully, the farmers will say, “Thank you very much, China.”

And we spread — distributed, two years, $28 billion around to China — around from China, into our farmers and farms and ranchers and all of the people that were targeted.  So, I would say, in a rough manner, “by China.”  I would say in a very rough manner.  And now China is coming back.  And as you know, they’re already starting big buys — very big buys.  And the farmers are very happy.

The incredible thing with the farmers is they don’t want a subsidy, they don’t want a handout.  But in this case, I thought it was something that I wanted to do, and I was able to do it — $28 billion.  And after that, we had tremendous amounts of the billions left over that we could use.  Actually, we could use it for tax reductions.  We could distribute it to people.

And again, if we don’t make a deal with China — look, I had a deal.  We had a deal.  This gentleman can tell you, we were so close to a deal.  The hard points were negotiated: opening up China, intellectual property, all sorts of tremendous penalties.

And then, one day, we get a call — seven months ago, we get a call, they’d like to see us.  And we saw them, and they explained why they can’t do three or four things that were already agreed to.  And I said, “Okay.  Hey, look, I’m in the real estate business in New York.  I’ve heard that before.”  (Laughter.)  Sadly.  It wasn’t like, “Oh, gee, I’m so shocked.”  But I was a little surprised.  You know, it’s China.  They’re not supposed to do that.  But they did.  And I’ll tell you what: I’ll bet you they wished they didn’t do it.

Then I put on 25 percent tariffs on everything coming in — on the first $250 billion of product.  It’s going to 15 percent very soon.  And I tell this to Larry, I tell it to everybody: If we don’t make a deal, we’re going to substantially raise those tariffs.  They’re going to be raised very substantially.

And that’s going to be true for other countries that mistreat us too, because we’ve been mistreated by so many countries.  It’s hard to believe.  There are a few that haven’t mistreated us.  And, you know, I can’t blame them, if you can get away with it.  This is why I blame our past leadership.  I don’t know how it’s gotten this way.  So, we’ll have a trade deficit of — over the last, you know, long period of time, close to $800 billion.  Whoever heard of this?  Eight hundred billion dollars of trade deficit.  It’s supposed to be the other way around.

So, we’re changing it rapidly.  It takes a while.  You have statutory constraint.  You have — in some cases, you take it to one phase, and then you have to, by law, wait six months before you can go to phase two, and phase three, and phase four.  But we’ve made a tremendous amount of progress.  And we are respected on — on many fronts.

We rebuilt our military, John, which is very important.  You know, we can all talk about trade, we can all talk about judges, we can all talk about everything we’re doing.  But if we don’t have a military in this world today — you saw what we did with al-Baghdadi last week.  And we have the greatest military force on Earth.  It was depleted when I took over.  We have to spend money on the military, otherwise — you know, it’s wonderful to have budgets, but if we don’t rebuild our military — and we have rebuilt it: $700 billion; $716 billion, the second year; and $738 billion this year.  And our military will be at a level that nobody can even come close to competing with.

And that’s where we have to be.  We had a military that was so depleted, so bad.  The planes were so old; many of them didn’t fly.  I could tell you stories about ammunition.  They didn’t have ammunition.  We had a real problem.  Well, we have to do that; otherwise, everything we talk about doesn’t matter because we have some very big, very powerful players.

I’m not talking about radical Islam; I’m talking about beyond radical Islam.  We have to look at the even bigger picture.  But we handle radical Islamic terrorism.  In addition, we wiped out ISIS, and now we’d like to bring our people back home.  We kept the oil.  You know, we kept the oil.  (Applause.)   We want to bring our people back home.  (Applause.)

When I took over, three years ago, ISIS was all over various parts of the Middle East.  I’d show you a map.  It was put as a certain color, and that color was very predominant.  And now that color doesn’t exist.  Now, you’re going to have offshoots, and they’ll start building up again.  And it would be nice if other countries could handle it, but maybe they won’t.  But we’ve decimated ISIS and captured many.  But we’ve decimated ISIS, and we’re going to have to keep it that way.  That’s why we got the leader, al-Baghdadi, who, when you saw those orange jumpsuits with the cutting off of the heads standing on the beach — many young men, in this case — that was all Baghdadi.

And we also got his second.  They had just taken a man.  He just became second.  Well, he got it, too.  And guess what?  We have our eye on his third.  His third has got a lot of problems because we know where he is, too.  (Laughter.)  So we have to keep it that way; otherwise, we’re going to continue to have problems.

You look at what’s happened in Europe.  I mean, what’s going on in Europe is very sad when you look at what’s taken place in Europe.  So, they have to be able to straighten out their own problems.  But, John, we’ve rebuilt our military.

Our manufacturing is coming back at a very, very strong pitch.  It’s a little bit down from where it was last year.  But last year, we’re doing record numbers.  It’s coming back very, very powerfully.  And our country is really strong.  And I think one of the things that we can all talk about is the $10,000 per consumer, per person.  But per consumer.  When you look at that, I think, really, we’re going to go forward because our consumer is so strong, and never been strong like this.  So we’re in great shape for the future.  Thank you, John.

MR. HESS:  Thank you, Mr. President.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

MR. GALLOGLY:  Mr. President, all the folks in the room are business leaders.  Business works hard to think through and mitigate risk.  How do you think about risk as it relates to trade policy and to, really, big issues like climate change?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, you know, climate change is a very complex issue.  I consider myself to be, in many ways, an environmentalist, believe it or not.  When I build buildings, I did the best environmental impact statements.  I was — you know, I know the game better than anybody.  And I used to go and see my consultants that I was paying a lot of money — environmental consultants.  They’d be up in Albany.  And I’d say, “What are they doing up here?”  Well, they were trying to make it more difficult so we’d have to hire them and pay them even more money than we were paying them now.  And I know what it is.

But to me, it’s clean air and crystal-clean, clear water. And we have now the cleanest air we’ve ever had in our country, meaning, over the last 40 years.  I guess, 200 years ago was cleaner, but there was nothing around.  Right?  I’m not sure that it was much cleaner, if you want to know the truth.  (Laughter.)  But I want clean air.  I want clean water, environmentally.

If you take a look, we discussed the Paris Climate Accord.  That would just put us out of business.  We’re sending money all over.  We’re doing things that are unnecessary.  It would’ve been a catastrophe.

So I want — I’m very much into climate.  But I want the cleanest air on the planet and I want to have — I have to have clean air — water.  And, you know, when people ask the question — your part of the question about climate — I always say: You know, I have a little problem.  We have a relatively small piece of land — the United States.  And you compare that to some of the other countries like China, like India, like Russia, like many other countries that absolutely are doing absolutely nothing to clean up their smokestacks and clean up all of their plants and all of the garbage that they’re dropping in sea and that floats into Los Angeles, along with other problems that Los Angeles has, by the way.  Isn’t amazing it ends up in Los Angeles?  (Laughter.)  Oh, what a — what a mess that is.

But when you see this happening, it’s — nobody wants to talk about it.  They want to talk about our country.  We have to do this.  We have can’t have planes any longer.  We can’t have cows any longer.  We can’t have anything.  I said, “What about China?”  I don’t think they’re going to subscribe to a poor student coming up with 12 — you know, I actually heard the other day, some pretty good politician.  I’ve seen him around for a long time.  Nice white hair.  Everything is like central casting.  You could put the guy in a movie.

He was talking.  I don’t know if he believes this — but he was a Democrat — he said, “We have 11 years.”  It’s the first time I’ve heard it; I heard 12.  But now, see, it’s been a year, so now they think we have 11 years to live.  (Laughter.)  I don’t know, folks.  I think these people have gone totally loco.  (Laughter.)

But we are — you know, they will kill our industry.  They don’t want oil.  I mean, go to Texas.  Tell Texas there will be no more drilling, there will be no more oil and gas.  We’ll put hundreds of thousands of people out of work.  We won’t fuel our factories.  And now you’re talking about millions and millions of people, and you’re talking about a country that couldn’t even exist.

These people — I almost don’t know.  Is this politics?  Because I think it’s bad politics.  I think it’s bad politics.  But we have to be very careful.  And, you know, recently I walked into a meeting and I was with a group of people that I’ve, you know, generally I didn’t like.  I never liked them. It’s a certain group of people.  I have my likes and dislikes, and my — (laughter) —

And I walked into a room.  There are a couple of hundred people — very substantial people.  And I said, “Listen, I don’t have to make a long speech.  Here’s the story: I don’t like you. You don’t like me.  You have no choice but to vote for me.  And you will do whatever you have to do.”  And they said, “Yes, sir. We will.  We will.  We think you’re doing a great job.”

The truth is, look, you have no choice, because the people we’re running against are crazy.  (Laughter.)  They’re crazy.  (Applause.)

And I have to say this: I don’t think there is that much.  I think the biggest risk is the election, I’ll be honest.  I think the biggest risk — because I actually believe some of these people mean what they say.  I really believe that.  And it’s just not — it’s just not acceptable.  We have a very important election coming up.  I think we’re going to do very well.  I think we’re going to win it.  I think we’re going to win it, hopefully, easily.  But it doesn’t matter as long as we win it by a vote.

But it’s going to be something very important for all of you.  I have to say, I have great respect for what all of you have done.  I know so many of you.  And we want to keep it going that way.  Our country is strong.  Our country is great.  Our economy is probably the best it’s ever been.  And we want to keep it that way.

Thank you all very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

 

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-economic-club-new-york-new-york-ny/

 

 

Economic Club of New York

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Economic Club of New York
Economic Club of New York Logo.jpg
Formation 1907
Founder J. W. Beatson
Purpose Study and discussion of social, economic and political questions
Headquarters New YorkNY
Chairman
Marie-Josée Kravis
President
Barbara M. Van Allen
Website www.econclubny.org

The Economic Club of New York is a U.S. nonprofit and non-partisan membership organization dedicated to promoting the study and discussion of social, economic and political questions.

 

History

The Economic Club of New York was founded in 1907 by J. W. Beatson, Secretary of the National Economic League in Boston, and four business leaders from New York City. Its founders sought to follow the successful example of the Economic Clubs of Boston, Providence, Worcester, Portland, Springfield, and New Haven with the aim of bringing business people and others together for discussions of economic, social and other public issues in a non-partisan forum.[1] For many years, the Economic Club of New York was affiliated with the League for Political Education; their first president Robert Erskine Ely was also director of the League.[2]

Operation

The main activity of the Economic Club of New York is to regularly host prestigious guest speakers at its member (and their guests)-only dinners and luncheons. However, these presentations are open to the news media to help foster public discussion of issues important to the general public as well those in business and public life. These speaker programs are the focal point of large dinner meetings, or occasionally luncheons, in the ballroom of a major hotel in Manhattan. The format is geared to serious discussion. There is no entertainment, no presentations, and no extraneous business. The focus is on the Guest of Honor and the speaking program. As defined by the Club’s founders, the issues for discussion were ones of “live and practical interest” and speakers were to be of national reputation.[3]

Speakers

The Club has been host to more than 1,200 speakers and the stature, caliber, and variety of speakers has become a guiding principle. The audiences have heard from current, and past presidents of the United States including Woodrow WilsonWilliam H. TaftHerbert HooverDwight D. EisenhowerJohn F. KennedyRichard NixonRonald ReaganGeorge H.W. Bush, and Donald Trump. Among the many distinguished foreign leaders to address the Club have been Winston ChurchillMikhail GorbachevIndira GandhiMargaret ThatcherYitzak RabinCorizon Aquino, and Zhu Rongji.[4]

Other Guests of Honor have included central bankers, justices of the Supreme Court, secretaries general of the United Nations, governors and heads of international business enterprises, as well as many key cabinet members, military leaders, ambassadors, and scientists.[4]

Presentations are followed by a questions period in which Club members, selected in advance and seated on the dais, will query the speaker. There are no constraints placed on what speakers may say during their presentation. Questioners are not constrained either.

Club speakers often use the platform to put forth their agendas to members and the media. On December 14, 1962 then-President John F. Kennedy made his famous remarks calling for a sharp cut in tax rates and reform of the tax system in order to grow the economy. In part, he said:

In short, it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country’s own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.[5]

Honor Roll of Speakers hide
Over the years, the Club has been host to over 1,000 prominent leaders and figures on the national and international stage.A partial listing from their honor roll of speakers follows:[6]
King Abdullah, III Dag Hammarskjold George A. Papandreou
Dean Acheson Phillip Hammond George Pataki
Giovanni Agnelli Stephen Harper Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
Corazon C. Aquino W. Averell Harriman Peter G. Peterson
Sheila C. Bair William Randolph Hearst General (Ret) David H. Petraeus
James A. Baker, III Felipe Calderon Hinojosa Harvey L. Pitt
Steve Ballmer Reid Hoffman Karl Otto Pohl
Menachem Begin Herbert C. Hoover Ruth Porat
Lloyd Bentsen Charles Evans Hughes Ian Read
Ben S. Bernanke Edward Hyman Ronald Reagan
Jeff Bezos Jeffrey R. Immelt Donald Regan
Lloyd Blankfein Robert Kaplan Walter P. Reuther
Alan S. Blinder Margaret Keane Condoleezza Rice
Michael R. Bloomberg Anthony M. Kennedy Elliot L. Richardson
Roger Blough John F. Kennedy Edward V. Rickenbacker
John A. Boehner Robert F. Kennedy David Rockefeller
Clare Boothe Li Keqiang John D. Rockefeller, III
Erskine Bowles Nikita S. Khrushchev Nelson Rockefeller
Bill Bradley Mervyn A. King Ginni Rometty
Lael Brainard Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick Zhu Rongji
Louis D. Brandeis Henry Kissinger Wilbur L. Ross, Jr.
William Jennings Bryan Edward I. Koch Robert E. Rubin
Zbigniew Brzezinski Lawrence Kudlow David M. Rubenstein
James L. Buckley Christine Lagarde Dean Rusk
Warren E. Burger Fiorello H. LaGuardia Paul Ryan
George H.W. Bush Melvin Laird Anwar Sadat
George W. Bush Arthur Levitt Carlos Salinas de Gortari
Nicholas Murray Butler Jacob J. Lew Paul Sarbanes
Michel Camdessus Walter Lippman Antonin Scalia
Fernando Henrique Cardoso Henry R. Luce Mary L. Schapiro
Andrew Carnegie Jack Ma Eric Schmidt
Mark J. Carney John Major Dan Schulman
Robert J. Carr David Malpass Brent Scowcroft
Jimmy Carter Paul Martin William W. Scranton
Stephen Case William McChesney Martin, Jr. Yitzhak Shamir
William J. Casey Larry Merlo Masaaki Shirakawa
Richard B. Cheney William G. McAdoo George Shultz
Brian Chesky John McCain Ben Silbermann
Jacques Chirac William J. McDonough Adam Silver
Jean Chretien Doug McMillon Alan Simpson
Winston Churchill Robert S. McNamara Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.
Mark Clark Anastas Mikoyan Jan Smets
Lucius D. Clay G. William Miller John W. Snow
William Colby Francois Mitterrand John W. Snyder
John B. Connally Walter Mondale Gene B. Sperling
Felipe Calderon Henry Morgenthau Herbert Stein
Jay Clayton Daniel Patrick Moynihan George M. Steinbrenner
Hillary Clinton Robert S. Mueller, III Randall Stephenson
Charlie Cook Brian Mulroney Robert S. Strauss
Michael Corbat Edmund S. Muskie Lawrence H. Summers
Francesco Cossigna Richard B. Myers William H. Taft
Christopher Cox Satya Nadella John A. Thain
Mario Cuomo Richard E. Neal U Thant
Carlos Salinas de Gortari B.K. Nehru Margaret Thatcher
Douglas Dillon Adam Neumann Peter Thiel
Jamie Dimon Enrique Peña Nieto Craig Thompson
Barry Diller Richard Nixon Hans Tietmeyer
Elizabeth Dole Paul H. O’Neill Juan T. Trippe
Valdis Dombrovskis Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. Jean-Claude Trichet
Robert J. Dole Michael Oxley Pierre Elliott Trudeau
William H. Donaldson Justin P.J. Trudeau
Alec Douglas-Home Donald Trump
Mario Draghi C. H. Tung
William C. Dudley Stansfield Turner
Willem F. Duisenberg Peter V. Uberroth
John Foster Dulles Paul A. Volcker
Dwight D. Eisenhower Caspar Weinberger
Ludwig Erhard Mary Jo White
David Farr Christine Todd Whitman
Martin S. Feldstein John C. Williams
Gerald R. Ford Wendell L. Willkie
Henry H. Fowler Harold Wilson
Stuart Fraser Woodrow Wilson
Kenneth C. Frazier James D. Wolfensohn
J. William Fulbright Gao Xi-Qing
Indira Gandhi Janet L. Yellen
Timothy F. Geithner Lee Kuan Yew
Newt Gingrich Ernesto Zedillo
Rudolph Giuliani
Arthur J. Goldberg
Barry Goldwater
Mikhail Gorbachev
Roger Goodell
J. Peter Grace
Phil Gramm
Alan Greenspan

Chairmen

The Chairman of the Board is the chief executive officer of the Club and presides at meetings of the Club and the Board, and has general charge of the business and affairs of the Club. The first chairman was A. Barton Hepburn, who served from 1907 to 1909. Hepburn was U.S. Comptroller of the Currency from 1892 to 1893 and later president of the Chase National Bank. Other notable chairmen included: Wendell L. Willkie (1938 to 1940), the Republican Party nominee for president in 1940; radio and television pioneer David Sarnoff (1940-1942); James P. Warburg (1934 to 1936), financial advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt; Rand V. Araskog (1987 to 1990), former CEO of ITT Corp.; Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. (1979 to 1980), former CEO and President of Pfizer, Inc. for whom the Duke University engineering school is named and Barbara H. Franklin (2003-2007), one of the first women graduates of Harvard Business School. She also served as s United States Secretary of Commerce under President George H.W. BushWilliam C. Dudley, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, served as chair from 2010-2016. The immediate past Chair is Terry J. Lundgren, retired President and Chairman of Macys, Inc.[7] The current chair is Marie-Josée Kravis, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Presidents

The president is the chief operating officer of the Club. The Club has had only six presidents since its founding over a century ago. They were: Robert Erskine ElyEdwin A. Locke, Jr.Raymond K. Price, Jr.;[8] Paul W. Bateman;[9] Jan Hopkins, and the current President, Barbara M. Van Allen.[10]

Barbara Van Allen is the current President of the Economic Club of New York. Immediately prior to becoming President, she ran her own boutique consulting firm specializing in strategic communications, stakeholder outreach and government affairs. Over the course of her career, she served in senior leadership roles with award-winning results in the non-profit, trade association, corporate and government sectors based in New York, NY, Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA.

While working in Washington, DC she served as senior director of communications and stakeholder relations for an association representing the audit profession (CAQ); as senior vice president of marketing and communications for the Mortgage Bankers Association, and as chief marketing officer for SourceAmerica.

Earlier in her career she served in senior management positions in New York with ITT Corporation and Cushman & Wakefield. She began her career on Capitol Hill where she rose to become senior legislative adviser to former Rep. Beverly B. Byron of Maryland while attending graduate school at night.

Ms. Van Allen graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She holds an MBA in marketing from New York University and a master’s degree in legislative affairs from George Washington University. Ms. Van Allen has served on various nonprofit boards and committees in New York City and Washington, DC and currently serves on the Governing Board of the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys in Anacostia, Washington, DC. She is a member of the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers and is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who of American Women. She and her husband Peter C. Van Allen have two children, Caroline K. Van Allen and Peter C. Van Allen Jr.

References

External links

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

5 Takeaways From Trump’s Trade Speech That Could Impact Businesses

Economics

Just over a month remains before the United States is scheduled to impose a new round of tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese products. On Dec. 15, Washington is expected to slap a 15% duty on a wide variety of consumer goods, including footwear, apparel and other accessories.

As such, businesses, investors and consumers have been keeping a close eye on President Donald Trump’s speech today at the Economic Club of New York, where he addressed trade relations with foreign countries, as well as providing an update on the ongoing trade war with China and whether a “phase one” deal could soon put an end to tit-for-tat tariffs.

Here, FN rounds up the five takeaways from Trump’s much-anticipated speech.

On the “phase one” trade deal with China:

“My administration has taken the toughest-ever action to confront China’s trade abuses. We’re taking in billions and billions of dollars in tariffs that China is paying for. We’re not paying; China is paying because they’re devaluing their currency to such an extent, and they’re poring tremendous amounts of cash into their system. They’re having their worst year in more than 57 years, more than half a century. Their supply chains are cracking very badly, and they are dying to make the deal. We’re the ones that are deciding whether or not we want to make a deal. We’re close. A significant ‘phase one’ trade deal with China could happen. [It] could happen soon. But we will only accept a deal if it’s good for the United States and our workers and our great companies because we’ve been hit very hard.”

On moving production back to the U.S.:

“As president, I understand and embrace the fact that the world is a place of fierce competition. We’re competing against other nations for jobs and industry growth and prosperity. Factories and businesses will always find a home. It’s up to us to decide whether that home will be in a foreign country or right here in our country, our beloved USA — and that’s where we want them to stay and be and move to. If we want our families and communities to prosper, America must be the best place on earth to work, invest, innovate, build, pursue a career, hone a craft or start a business. We want companies to move to America, stay in America and hire American workers. My mission is to put our country on the very best footing to thrive, excel, compete and to win.”

On the state of the U.S. job market:

“When we say hire American, we mean hire all Americans by focusing on the needs of people, not the desires of government. We’re helping our citizens realize their ambitions and pursue rewarding careers. Over 1.1 million fewer Americans are now forced to rely on part-time work today than when I was elected — that’s a tremendous number. People were working two jobs and three jobs and making less money than they made 21 years ago — that was the stat. A record number of Americans are quitting the job they had to take the job they like even better … This increased competition is driving up wages for blue-collar workers, who are the biggest beneficiaries of what we’re talking about.”

On the U.S.’s trade relationship with other countries:

“Many countries charge us extraordinarily high tariffs or create impossible trade barriers. Impossible and, I’ll be honest, the European Union [is] very, very difficult. The barriers are terrible. Terrible. In many ways, worse than China. We’re working on legislation known as the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, meaning quite simply what’s good for them is good for us. They wanna judge us, we judge them — it’s a very simple thing. … It’s very unfair the way we’re treated by certain countries. There are certain countries where the average tariff is 100%, and we charge them nothing. And then they call it fair trade. That’s not fair trade. That’s stupid trade.”

On the broader U.S. economy:

“We have delivered on our promises and exceeded our expectations by a very wide margin. We have ended the war on American workers, we have stopped the assault on [the] American industry and we have launched an economic boom the likes of which we have never seen before. … Our middle class was being crushed under the weight of a punitive tax code, oppressive regulations, one-sided trade deals and an economic policy that put America’s interest last — and a very deep last at that. I knew that if we lifted these burdens from our economy and unleashed our people to pursue their ambitions and realize their limitless potential, then economic prosperity would come thundering back to our country at a record speed.”

5 Takeaways From Trump’s Trade Speech That Could Impact Businesses

Trump Puts Economic Growth at Center of His 2020 Campaign

 Updated on 
  • President has built his case for re-election around economy
  • Repeats criticism of Fed for not cutting rates more quickly
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an Economic Club of New York event in New York, on Nov. 12.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an Economic Club of New York event in New York, on Nov. 12.Photographer: Demetrius Freeman/Bloomberg

President Donald Trump laid out the central pillar of his 2020 re-election campaign on Tuesday, telling the Economic Club of New York that his policies have generated a boom in growth and jobs.

“We have delivered on our promises and exceeded our expectations by a very wide margin,” Trump told guests at the New York Hilton.

The president’s remarks were closely watched on Wall Street for any signals about the future of the U.S. economy, including prospects for a limited trade agreement with China or any indication he’s worried about a slowdown. Trump routinely touts his handling of the economy, which he says is enjoying its fifth year of uninterrupted expansion and near record-low unemployment thanks to his trade, tax and deregulation policies.

Trump laced his speech with criticism of “far left” and “radical” Democrats, whose policies he said would bankrupt the nation and hurt the middle class. He criticized the opposition party’s proposals on energy and climate change.

“You have no choice because the people we are running against are crazy,” Trump said.

Trump said he reversed policies imposed by his predecessors that restrained the economy. He faulted regulations and trade deals advanced by other presidents and said the “political class sold out American workers.”

The economy expanded at a 1.9% pace in the third quarter and unemployment is close to its lowest in a half-century, government data showed last week. While manufacturing has been hurt by the U.S.-China trade war, consumers continue to spend in a sign voters are still confident about the economy. A Bloomberg Economics model sees the chances of an election-year recession at just 26%.

The president said China is “dying” to make a trade deal with the U.S. and the first step of a broader agreement is close to being completed. “We’re close — a significant phase one deal could happen, could happen soon,” he said.

Trump said he’s not popular in some countries because he’s a tough negotiator on trade.

“Just realize what I’m trying to do for you,” he said. “It’s about time.”

The president took credit for the 2017 GOP tax cuts that Democrats said benefited the wealthiest Americans. “At the heart of our economic revival is the biggest tax cut and reforms in American history,” Trump said.

Trump reiterated his criticism of the Federal Reserve, which he has repeatedly blasted for not cutting interest rates sooner and more drastically.

When Trump got only a smattering of applause after praising negative interest rates in other countries, the president said: “Thank you, thank you — only the smart people are clapping.”

Trump also said that India and China were taking advantage of the U.S. by being designated developing countries.

“We’re a developing country, too,” Trump said.

Trump has frequently pointed to indicators including unemployment and stock-market highs to argue that he should not be impeached. The House will begin public hearings Wednesday in its probe of Trump’s effort to force Ukraine’s government to investigate his political rivals.

“How do you impeach a President who has created the greatest Economy in the history of our Country,” Trump tweeted on Sept. 28.

Trump said his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement boosted the U.S. economy. He called the pact unfair to the U.S. “Trillions and trillions of dollars of destruction to our economy would have been done,” he said.

U.S. presidents and policy makers are regular speakers at the Economic Club, which draws its membership from major corporations, banks and investment companies, academia and other prominent nonprofits.

In a March 2008 speech to the group, President George W. Bush attempted to calm investors on the brink of the financial crisis by touting an emergency loan for Bear Stearns Cos. The investment bank ultimately collapsed and was sold to JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Markets have recently see-sawed in response to mixed messages from Washington and Beijing over how much tariffs would be lowered as part of a so-called “phase one” trade deal between the countries.

Trump said Saturday on Twitter that unspecified reports about the U.S.’s willingness to lift tariffs were “incorrect,” but added that talks with China are progressing “very nicely” and that leaders in Beijing want a deal “much more than I do.”

— With assistance by Katia Dmitrieva

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-12/trump-puts-economic-growth-at-center-of-his-2020-re-election-bid

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1355, November 8, 2019, Story 1: President Trump On Offense on Boring Bogus B.S. Quid Pro Quo Partisan Impeachment Inquiry — Nowhere Man Schiff: I Am The Walrus — Nonsense — Videos –Story 2: Billionaire Michael Bloomberg May Run For President in 2020 — Waste of Money and Time — Going Nowhere in Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist (REDS) Party — “Little Michael Bloomberg Lacks Magic to Do Well” — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Press Conference — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump On Offense on Boring Bogus B.S. Quid Pro Quo Partisan Impeachment Inquiry — Nowhere Man Schiff: I Am The Walrus — Nonsense — Videos —

 

Nowhere Man

He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere man please listen
You don’t know what you’re missing
Nowhere man, the world is at your command
He’s as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see
Nowhere man, can you see me at all
Nowhere man don’t worry
Take your time, don’t hurry
Leave it all ’til somebody else
Lends you a hand
Ah, la, la, la, la
Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere man please listen
You

The Beatles – Nowhere Man (live!)

 

Trump: Democrats are trying to find people that hate me

Trump unloads on Democrats ahead of public impeachment hearings

What The World Never Knew About The Beatles

I am the Walrus The Beatles

I am he as you are he as you are me
And we are all together
See how they run like pigs from a gun
See how they fly
I’m crying
Sitting on a corn flake
Waiting for the van to come
Corporation T-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday
Man you’ve been a naughty boy
You let your face grow long
I am the egg man
They are the egg men
I am the walrus
Goo goo g’joob
Mr. City policeman sitting
Pretty little policemen in a row
See how they fly like Lucy in the sky
See how they run
I’m crying
I’m crying, I’m crying, I’m crying
Yellow matter custard
Dripping from a dead dog’s eye
Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess
Boy, you’ve been a naughty girl
You let your knickers down
I am the egg man
They are the egg men
I am the walrus
Goo goo g’joob
Sitting in an English garden
Waiting for

 

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Oct. 4, 2019 at 2:00 a.m. CDT

“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to.”

 Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sept. 17

We recently took Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to task for misleading reporters about the fact that he was a participant in the call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that was the subject of a whistleblower complaint and now an impeachment inquiry in Congress. He earned Four Pinocchios for being disingenuous in his remarks to reporters to obscure his firsthand knowledge of what took place.

But politicians spin all across Washington, often to deflect uncomfortable facts. Now let’s look at comments by Schiff, who is heading the impeachment inquiry, as reporters probed about the whistleblower before the details of the allegation were revealed.

 Schiff’s answers are especially interesting in the wake of reports in the New York Times and The Washington Post that the whistleblower approached a House Intelligence Committee staff member for guidance before filing a complaint with the Intelligence Community inspector general. The staff member learned the “very bare contours” of the allegation that Trump has abused the powers of his office, The Post said.

When the Fact Checker asked what “bare contours” meant, a committee spokesman pointed to an exchange of letters. In a Sept. 13 letter to the committee, the general counsel of the director of national intelligence said that “complaint involves confidential and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community.” In his own letter that day, Schiff wrote that because of that language, and because the DNI refused to affirm or deny that White House officials were involved in the decision not to forward the complaint, the committee can conclude only that “the serious misconduct involves the president of the United States and/or other senior White House or administration officials.”

Our suspicion is that the unidentified staff member learned the potential complaint involved “privileged” communication, which is code for something having to do with the president.

So, with this new information, let’s look back at how Schiff handled questions about his knowledge of the whistleblower complaint.

The Facts

Sept. 16, interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN

Cooper: “Just to be clear, you don’t know who this alleged whistleblower is or what they are alleging?”
Schiff: “I don’t know the identity of the whistleblower.”
Cooper: “And they haven’t contacted you or their legal representation hasn’t contacted you?”
Schiff: “I don’t want to get into any particulars. I want to make sure that there’s nothing that I do that jeopardizes the whistleblower in any way.”

This is a classic dodge — “don’t want to get into any particulars” — and Cooper failed to follow up. Notice how Schiff quickly answered whether he knew the identity of the whistleblower — “I don’t know” — but then sidestepped the questions about whether the committee had been contacted. But in doing so, he managed not to mislead; he just simply did not answer the question.

Sept. 17, interview on “Morning Joe”

Sam Stein: “Have you heard from the whistleblower? Do you want to hear from the whistleblower? What protections could you provide to the whistleblower?” …
Schiff: “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to. But I am sure the whistleblower has concerns that he has not been advised, as the law requires, by the inspector general or the director of national Intelligence just how he is supposed to communicate with Congress, and so the risk to the whistleblower is retaliation.”

This is flat-out false. Unlike the quick two-step dance he performed with Anderson Cooper, Schiff simply says the committee had not spoken to the whistleblower. Now we know that’s not true.

“Regarding Chairman Schiff’s comments on ‘Morning Joe,’ in the context, he intended to answer the question of whether the Committee had heard testimony from the whistleblower, which they had not,” a committee spokesman told The Fact Checker. “As he said in his answer, the whistleblower was then awaiting instructions from the Acting DNI as to how the whistleblower could contact the Committee. Nonetheless he acknowledges that his statement should have been more carefully phrased to make that distinction clear.”
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The spokesman pointed to an interview with Schiff by the Daily Beast, in which he said that he “did not know definitively at the time if the complaint had been authored by the same whistleblower who had approached his staff.” But he added that he “should have been much more clear.”

Sept. 19, meeting with reporters at the Capitol

Schiff: “In the absence of the actions, and I want to thank the inspector general, in the absence of his actions in coming to our committee, we might not have even known there was a whistleblower complaint alleging an urgent concern.”

Here’s some more dissembling. Schiff says that if not for the IG, the committee might never have known about the complaint. But his committee knew that something explosive was going to be filed with the IG. As the New York Times put it, the initial inquiry received by the committee “also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.”

Schiff, however, does qualify that this was a complaint alleging “an urgent concern,” and it’s not clear whether the initial inquiry had tipped off the committee staff that it would rise to that level. Still, Schiff’s phrasing was misleading because he gives no hint that the committee was aware a potentially significant (“privileged”) complaint might have been filed.

“As Chairman Schiff has made clear, he does not know the identity of the whistleblower, has had no communication with them or their attorney, and did not view the whistleblower’s complaint until the day prior to the hearing with the DNI when the ODNI finally provided it to the Committee,” the spokesman said. “Whistleblowers frequently come to the committee. Some whistleblowers approach the IG without notice to the Committee, and some who do go to the IG do not necessarily file a complaint. However, this was the first whistleblower complaint provided to the Committee this year that the IC IG determined to be of ‘urgent concern’ and ‘credible,’ and Chairman Schiff would have raised the alarm regardless when it was illegally withheld.”

The spokesman added: “The focus should not be on the whistleblower, but rather the complaint which the IC IG determined was credible and urgent and which has been thus far confirmed by the call record released by the White House and statements by the President and his personal attorney.”

The Pinocchio Test

There are right ways and wrong ways to answer reporters’ questions if a politician wants to maintain his or her credibility. There’s nothing wrong with dodging a question, as long as you don’t try to mislead (as Pompeo did).

But Schiff on “Morning Joe” clearly made a statement that was false. He now says he was answering the wrong question, but if that was the case, he should have quickly corrected the record. He compounded his falsehood by telling reporters a few days later that if not for the IG’s office, the committee would not have known about the complaint. That again suggested there had been no prior communication.

The explanation that Schiff was not sure it was the same whistleblower especially strains credulity.

Schiff earns Four Pinocchios.

Four Pinocchios

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Story 2: Billionaire”The Nanny” Michael Bloomberg May Run For President in 2020 — Waste of Money and Time — Going Nowhere in Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist (REDS) Party — Little Michael Bloomberg Lacks Magic to Do Well” — Videos —

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Trump on Bloomberg: ‘He’s got some personal problems’

What impact could Michael Bloomberg have on the presidential race?

Bloomberg opens door to 2020 presidential bid

RAW VIDEO] Trump to Bloomberg: ‘Little Michael will fail’

Varney: Bloomberg is a huge problem for Biden

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Story 3: President Trump Press Conference — Videos

PHONY SCAM: President Trump Says Democrat “Witch Hunt” MUST END

Trump unloads on Democrats ahead of public impeachment hearings

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The Pronk Pops Show 1335, October 7, 2019, Story 1: United States and North Korea Talks Broken Down For Now — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Will Bring The Troops Home from Syria — Warmongering Interventionists Oppose Trump — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Will Bring The U.S. Troops Home from Northeastern Syria — Neocon Warmongering Interventionists Oppose Trump — Trump Ending the Endless Intervention in The Middle East — Long Overdue — Videos

Graham compares Trump to Obama, calls his strategy a ‘big win for ISIS’

Republicans slam Trump over withdrawal of troops from Syria

Trump issues dire warning to Turkey over Syria invasion

Trump’s decision to withdraw from northern Syria may fail: Analyst

US presence in northeast Syria amid Turkey threat

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

The challenge for US with Russia in Syria

Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why

Here’s why the Russian Orthodox Church is deeply connected to the Syrian War

Top two lawmakers blast Trump’s move to withdraw U.S. troops from northeast Syria

by Reuters
Monday, 7 October 2019 18:06 GMT

The top lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on Monday condemned the decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, which critics fear could open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led fighters in the area.

“This decision poses a dire threat to regional security and stability, and sends a dangerous message to Iran and Russia, as well as our allies, that the United States is no longer a trusted partner,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said in a statement calling on Trump to “reverse this dangerous decision.”

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement: “A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.” (Reporting by Makini Brice, Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Lisa Lambert)

Trump sends strong, conflicting signals on Syria, Turkey

By LITA C. BALDOR, MATTHEW LEE and ROBERT BURNS28 minutes ago

FILE – In this Wednesday, July 11, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump, left, talks with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as they arrive together for a family photo at a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The White House says Turkey will soon invade Northern Syria, casting uncertainty on the fate of the Kurdish fighters allied with the U.S. against in a campaign against the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facing unusually wide criticism, President Donald Trump sent out strong but conflicting signals on the “endless war” in Syria and Middle East on Monday. He declared U.S. troops would step aside for an expected Turkish attack on Kurds who have fought alongside Americans for years but then threatened to destroy the Turks’ economy if they went too far.

Even Trump’s staunchest Republican allies expressed outrage at the prospect of abandoning Syrian Kurds who had fought the Islamic State group with U.S. troops. Trump’s decision appeared to be the latest example of an approach to foreign policy that critics condemn as impulsive, that is sometimes reversed and frequently is untethered to the advice of his national security aides.

Pentagon and State Department officials held out the possibility of persuading Turkey to abandon its expected invasion.

In recent weeks, the U.S. and Turkey had reached an apparent accommodation of Turkish concerns about the presence of Kurdish fighters, seen in Turkey as a threat. American and Turkish soldiers had been conducting joint patrols in a zone along the border. As part of that work, barriers designed to defend the Kurds were dismantled amid assurances that Turkey would not invade.

 

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Graham said Turkey’s NATO membership should be suspended if it attacks into northeastern Turkey, potentially annihilating Kurdish fighters who acted as a U.S. proxy army in a five-year fight to eliminate the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate. Graham, who had talked Trump out of a withdrawal from Syria last December, said letting Turkey invade would be a mistake of historic proportion.

“It’s going to lead to ISIS reemergence,” he told Fox News.

U.S. involvement in Syria has been fraught with peril since it started in 2014 with the insertion of small numbers of special operations forces to recruit, train, arm and advise local fighters to combat the Islamic State. Trump entered the White House in 2017 intent on getting out of Syria, and even before the counter-IS military campaign reclaimed the last militant strongholds early this year, he declared victory and said troops would leave.

The strong pushback on Capitol Hill to the late Sunday night announcement prompted Trump to recast his decision but with renewed bombast, portraying it as a threat to strangle Turkey if it carries out its announced intent to invade.

Officials suggested that Trump’s threats against Turkey on Monday morning were reactions to the overwhelming criticism of his earlier announcement that the U.S. would withdraw troops and get them out of the way of the Turkish forces. That announcement came after Trump spoke by phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

One official described a botched effort by the White House on Sunday night, putting out a statement that appeared aimed at making Trump look bold for ending a war. The official said attempts by the Pentagon and State Department to make the statement stronger in its opposition to Turkey’s military action were unsuccessful. But in what the official described as a “exercise in damage control” Monday morning, the Pentagon made it clear to the Turkish military that “there will be a major break in relations if you do this.”

The official added that Erdogan appeared to be reconsidering his earlier resolve because he was relatively quiet Monday. But the official cautioned that even if pressure from the U.S. and Europe succeeds in getting Erdogan to back down, the damage done to relations with the Kurds may be irreparable.

An official familiar with the Erdogan call said the Turkish president was “ranting” at Trump, saying the safe zone was not working and that Turkey couldn’t trust the U.S. military to do what was needed. And in reaction, Trump said the U.S. wanted no part of an invasion and would withdraw troops.

The announcement threw the military situation in Syria into fresh chaos and injected deeper uncertainty into U.S. relations with European allies. A French official, speaking on condition of anonymity on a sensitive topic, said France wasn’t informed ahead of time. A Foreign Ministry statement warned Turkey to avoid any action that would harm the international coalition against the Islamic State and noted the Kurds had been essential allies, but entirely omitted any mention of the United States.

Trump defended his decision, acknowledging in tweets that “the Kurds fought with us” but adding that they “were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.”

“I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” he wrote.

Hours after the White House announcement, two senior State Department officials minimized the effects of the U.S. action, telling reporters that Turkey may not go through with a large-scale invasion and the U.S. was still trying to discourage it. Both officials spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss what led to the internal White House decision.

Among the first to leave were about 30 U.S. troops from two outposts who would be in the immediate area of a Turkish invasion. It’s unclear whether others among the roughly 1,000 U.S. forces in northeastern Syria would be moved, but officials said there is no plan for any to leave Syria entirely.

Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that a U.S. withdrawal from Syria would be a major boost to Russia’s position there.

He added that other allies in the region, including the Kurds, will “look at this withdrawal as U.S. unwillingness to stand up for its rights and maintain its alliances in the region.”

Trump’s move came at a pivotal moment of his presidency. House Democrats are marching forward with their impeachment inquiry into whether he compromised national security or abused his office by seeking negative information on former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival, from foreign countries.

As he faces the impeachment inquiry, Trump has appeared more focused on making good on his political pledges, even at the risk of sending a troubling signal to American allies abroad.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said early Monday on “Fox & Friends” that he had not been briefed by the president about the decision and he had concerns.

“I want to make sure we keep our word for those who fight with us and help us,” he said, adding that, “If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you, America should keep their word.”

Former Trump administration officials also expressed alarm.

Nikki Haley, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the U.S. “must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back. … Leaving them to die is a big mistake.”

Turkey considers the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has waged an insurgency against Turkey for 35 years.

___

With contributions from Associated Press writers Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul; Zeina Karam and Sarah El Deeb in Beirut and Lori Hinnant in Paris.

https://apnews.com/ac3115b4eb564288a03a5b8be868d2e5

American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War

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American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War
Part of the military intervention against ISIL (Operation Inherent Resolve),
Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War
Secretary Kerry Shakes Hands With Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Before Bilateral Meeting in Austria Focused on Syria (21785218013).jpgKurdish YPG Fighter (22806739779).jpg
Top: Bilateral Meeting in Austria Focused on SyriaBottom: Kurdish YPJ soldier
Date 22 September 2014 – present
(5 years, 2 weeks and 4 days)
Location
Result Ongoing operations

Belligerents
Coalition of foreign countries
Seal of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.svg CJTF–OIR
Air war and ground forces

Airstrikes only

Local ground forces
Flag of Syrian Democratic Forces.svg Syrian Democratic Forces

Limited involvement’
Iraqi Kurdistan

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant[15]
[16][17][18]


 al-Qaeda

 Turkistan Islamic Party[29]


 Ahrar al-Sham (Nov. 2014 airstrikes, intentionality disputed)[30][31]

 Syrian Arab Republic (limited 2017–2018 strikes)[32]
Iran (limited aircraft shoot downs)[33][34]
Supported by:
Russia
Commanders and leaders
United States Donald Trump(since 20 January 2017)
United States Barack Obama(until 20 January 2017)
United States Chuck Hagel (until 2015)
United States Ashton Carter (until 2017)
United States James Mattis (until 2019)
United States Patrick M. Shanahan (since 2019)
United States Gen. Lloyd Austin
United States Gen. James L. Terry
United States Gen. Joseph Votel
United States Gen.Stephen J. Townsend
United States Gen. Paul E. Funk II
DenmarkLars Løkke Rasmussen
Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Netherlands Mark Rutte
United KingdomBoris Johnson(since 24 July 2019)
United KingdomTheresa May(13 July 2016 – 24 July 2019)
United KingdomDavid Cameron(until 13 July 2016)
United Kingdom Stephen Hillier
Australia Tony Abbott
Australia Malcolm Turnbull
Australia Trevor Jones
Australia David Johnston
France Emmanuel Macron (since 14 May 2017)
France François Hollande (until 14 May 2017)
France Jean-Yves Le Drian
France Pierre de Villiers
Germany Angela Merkel
Germany Ursula von der Leyen
Germany Volker Wieker
Jordan King Abdullah II
Jordan Abdullah Ensour
Saudi Arabia King Salman
Saudi Arabia King Abdullah Al Saud (Died 2015)
Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud
Morocco King Mohammed VI
Morocco Abdelilah Benkirane
Morocco Bouchaib Arroub
United Arab Emirates Khalifa Al Nahyan
Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Qatar Tamim Al Thani
Qatar Hamad bin Ali Al Attiyah
Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria Salih Muslim Muhammad
Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani
Canada Stephen Harper (until November 2015)
Canada Justin Trudeau (until February 2016)
Canada Thomas J. Lawson (until February 2016)Canada Yvan Blondin (until February 2016)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Leader)[41]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Alaa Afri 
(Deputy Leader of ISIL)[42][43]
 Abu Mohammad al-Adnani  (Spokesperson)
 Abu Ayman al-Iraqi  (Head of Military Shura)[44][45]
 Abu Suleiman  (Replacement Military Chief)[45]
 Abu Ali al-Anbari  (Deputy, Syria)
 Akram Qirbash 
(Top ISIL judge)[43]
 Abu Omar al-Shishani  (Chief commander in Syria) [46][47][48][49]
 Abu Sayyaf  (Senior ISIL economic manager)[50]
 Abu Khattab al-Kurdi  (Commander of the assault on Kobanî)[51][52]


 Abu Khayr al-Masri  (al-Qaeda deputy leader)[53][54]
 Abu Jaber Shaykh (Emir of Tahrir al-Sham, 2017–present)
 Abu Mohammad al-Julani (Leader of the al-Nusra Front)
 Abu Humam al-Shami (al-Nusra Military Chief)[55]
 Abu Hajer al-Homsi  (top al-Nusra military commander)[56]
 Abu Firas al-Suri  (al-Nusra Spokesman)[57][58]
 Abu Muhammed al Ansari 
(al-Nusra Emir of the Idlib Province)
 Ahmad Salama Mabruk  (al-Nusra senior commander)[59]
 Muhsin al-Fadhli  (Leader of Khorasan)[60][61][62]
 Sanafi al-Nasr [63]
 David Drugeon [61][64]
Flag of Jund al-Aqsa.svg Said Arif  (Jund al-Aqsa Military Chief)[26]
 Abu Omar al-Turkistani  (TIP and al-Nusra military commander)[29]


 Abu Jaber Shaykh (2014–2015)[65][66]

 Abu Yahia al-Hamawi (2015–2017)[67]

Syria Bashar al-Assad (President of Syria)
Strength
Coalition forces: Coalition forces-air

Coalition forces-ground


Local forces

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant:


al-Qaeda:


Ahrar al-Sham:

Syrian Arab Republic:

Casualties and losses
United States United States:
8 servicemen killed (5 non-hostile)[108][109][110]
2 government contractors killed
F-16 crashed[111]
V-22 Osprey crashed[112]
drones lost[113][114]
Jordan Jordan:
serviceman executed[115]
1 F-16 crashed[116]
United Kingdom United Kingdom:
1 serviceman killed (non hostile)[117]
SAS operators wounded[118]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant:
At least 9,145 killed [119]
(per SOHR)


 al-Qaeda:

 Jaysh al-Sunna:
10 killed (per SOHR)[119]


 Ahrar al-Sham:

3 killed (per SOHR)[119][121][122]

 Syrian Arab Republic:
169 soldiers and militiamen killed (per SOHR)[119]
15-100+ Russian mercenaries killed[123][124][125]
4 tanks destroyed[126]
11+ aircraft destroyed[127][128]
SAM batteries destroyed[129]Iran 2 armed drones shot down
4,036 civilians killed by Coalition airstrikes in Syria (Per Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)[119]
[130] 5,900+ civilians killed by ISIL in Syria [131]
Over 420,000 civilians displaced or fled to other countries[132][133]
Number of militants killed possibly higher, due to them covering up their losses.[134]

The American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War refers to the United States-led support of Syrian opposition and the Federation of Northern Syria during the course of the Syrian Civil War and active military involvement led by the United States and its allies — the militaries of the United KingdomFranceJordanTurkeyCanadaAustralia and more — against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Nusra Front since 2014. Since early 2017, the U.S. and other Coalition partners have also targeted the Syrian government and its allies via airstrikes and aircraft shoot-downs.

During the Syrian Civil War, which began in 2011, the U.S. initially supplied the rebels of the Free Syrian Army with non-lethal aid—including food rations and pickup trucks—but quickly began providing training, money, and intelligence to selected Syrian rebel commanders. At least two U.S. programs attempted to assist the Syrian rebels. One was a 2014 Pentagon program that planned to train and equip 15,000 rebels to fight ISIL, which was canceled in 2015 after spending $500 million and producing only a few dozen fighters.[135] A simultaneous $1 billion covert program called Timber Sycamore ran by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was more successful, but was decimated by Russian bombing and canceled in mid-2017 by the Trump administration.[135]

The Obama administration began surveillance missions on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant‘s positions in Syria in September 2014.[136] On 22 September 2014, the U.S., BahrainJordanQatarSaudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) began to attack ISIL forces inside Syria,[15][137] as well as the Khorasan group in the Idlib Governorate west of Aleppo and the al-Nusra Front around Raqqa,[21][138] as part of the multinational military intervention against ISIL. As of August 2017, the coalition had flown 168,000 sorties in both Syria and Iraq (mostly against ISIL), with a roughly 45/55 split between the two, respectively.[35] As of late 2015, coalition planes were dropping or launching an average of 67 bombs or missiles a day.[139] The American-led air campaign inflicted heavy losses on ISIL and, alongside special forces operations, artillery strikes, and material and intelligence support to the SDF, catalyzed the loss of the bulk of ISIL’s Syrian territory by March 2019.

The U.S. missile strike on Shayrat Airbase on 7 April 2017 was the first time the U.S. became a deliberate, direct combatant against the Syrian government[140] and marked the start of a series of deliberate direct military actions by U.S. forces against the Syrian government and its allies in May–June 2017 and February 2018.

In mid-January 2018, the Trump administration indicated its intention to maintain an open-ended military presence in Syria to counter Iran’s influence and oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.[141] In early September 2018, the U.S. began implementing a new strategy that sought to indefinitely extend the military effort, launching a major diplomatic push to achieve American objectives in Syria.[142] However, on 19 December, President Trump unilaterally ordered the withdrawal of the 2,000–2,500 American ground troops in Syria, which was initially set to take place in a 90-day period and to be completed in 2019. The announcement shifted the scope of American interests in the conflict from what was an increasingly open-ended presence to a sudden draw-down. The fear of a power vacuum from a premature U.S. pullout from Syria drew consternation from both American officials and allies, particularly in regards to the potential of imperiling the Kurds in the face of Turkish opportunism, potentially giving Russia and Iran geopolitical wins, and the unintended consequence of allowing breathing room for extremist and terrorist groups operating in Syria to regroup and reorganize.[143][144][145]

After European allies initially refused to commit additional personnel to replace U.S. troops in Syria,[146] and with proliferating concerns over a potential power vacuum, the U.S. announced on 22 February 2019 that instead of a total withdrawal, a contingency force of around 400 American troops would remain garrisoned in Syria indefinitely post-withdrawal, marking a return to a policy of open-ended American military presence in the country.[147] By June 2019, the U.S., led by special anti-ISIL envoy James Jeffrey, had renewed its demands for European allies to compensate for the reduced American ground presence in a joint manner.[148]

The intervention was conducted with strong domestic support; according to Gallup polling in 2014, 61% of Americans supported intervention against ISIL in both Iraq and Syria, while 30% were opposed, and 9% undecided.[149] A larger CCGA poll taken in 2016 showed that 72% of Americans supported “conducting airstrikes against violent Islamic extremist groups in Syria”, while 58% also supported “sending special operations forces into Syria to fight violent Islamic extremist groups.” Additionally, a slim majority (52%) supported “enforcing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria, including bombing Syrian air defenses.” However, only 26% supported “sending arms and other supplies to anti-government rebel groups in Syria.”[150]

Background

United States diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks have been seen as showing that regime change in Syria may have been a covert foreign policy goal of the U.S. government in the years leading up to the civil war, even during the period when President Barack Obama was publicly engaging with Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad. A 2006 memorandum by U.S. diplomat William Roebuck of the embassy in Damascus stated:

We believe Bashar’s weaknesses are in how he chooses to react to looming issues, both perceived and real, such as…the potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists. This cable summarizes our assessment of these vulnerabilities and suggests that there may be actions, statements and signals that the USG can send that will improve the likelihood of such opportunities arising. These proposals will need to be fleshed out and converted into real actions and we need to be ready to move quickly to take advantage of such opportunities. Many of our suggestions underline using Public Diplomacy and more indirect means to send messages that influence the inner circle.

According to Seymour Hersh and activist Robert Naiman, Roebuck, who went on to be charge d’affairs of the Libyan embassy under Obama, also considered the advantages of promoting religious sectarianism in Syria.[151][152]

Following the start of the Arab Spring in 2011, protests in Syria against the Assad administration were violently suppressed and a civil war began.[153] By 2012 there were several armed opposition groups operating in the country, including the Free Syrian Army, formed in July 2011 by officers who defected from the Syrian Armed Forces. In 2012, the al-Nusra Front was established by the Islamic State of Iraq as the official branch of al-Qaeda in Syria. The al-Nusra Front was eclipsed by its own creator, and al-Qaeda severed its ties to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in February 2014, after an eight-month power struggle.[154]

Military situation in the Syrian Civil War as of April 9, 2019.

 Controlled by Syrian Arab Republic
 Controlled by North Syria Federation (SDF)
 Controlled by the Syrian opposition and Ahrar al-Sham
 Controlled by Turkey and TFSA
 Controlled by the Islamic State (ISIL)
 Controlled by Tahrir al-Sham (al-Nusra)

(For a more detailed, up-to-date, interactive map, see Template:Syrian Civil War detailed map.)

Pre-coalition arming and training of the Syrian opposition

At the direction of U.S. President Barack Obama, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was put in charge the operations worth about $1 billion annually to arm anti-government forces in Syria,[155][156][157][158] an operation which formally began in 2013, more than two years after the start of the civil war in 2011. Prior to 2013, the CIA only supplied certain rebel groups of the Free Syrian Army with non-lethal aid, but later began providing training, funding, and intelligence to selected rebel commanders.[159][160][161] Although a former intelligence adviser who spoke to journalist Seymour Hersh claimed the CIA had been facilitating the flow of arms from Libya to Syria in collaboration with “the UK [United Kingdom], Saudi Arabia and Qatar” since 2012 or 2011,[162] the first confirmed CIA weapons arrived in Spring 2014: “There were just a handful, delivered to only one rebel group carefully vetted by the CIA”. The group, Harakat Hazm, or the Steadfast Movement, showed off the new weapons system by posting the first successful strike on YouTube in April.[163] Another of the groups being vetted was the Islamist Army of Mujahedeen, formed in January 2014 specifically to combat ISIL.[163][164] However, there were indications that the Army of Mujahedeen was still being vetted in September 2014.[165]

In addition to the covert CIA program,[166] on 17 September 2014 the U.S. House of Representatives voted to authorize the executive branch to overtly train and equip Syrian rebels against ISIL forces, at a cost of $500 million.[167][168][169]

July 2014 rescue mission

Following the abduction of a number of foreigners in Syria, on 4 July 2014, the U.S. carried out an operation to rescue foreign hostages being held by ISIL. U.S. airstrikes were conducted against an ISIL military base known as the “Osama bin Laden Camp” while at the same time, two dozen US special forces soldiers parachuted from helicopters near an ISIL-held building, thought to be for high-value prisoners. No prisoners were found in the building and the soldiers were quickly engaged by ISIL forces dispatched from Raqqa, which started a three-hour firefight.[170] U.S. forces concluded that the hostages were no longer at the site and abandoned the rescue attempt. At least five ISIL fighters were killed and one U.S. soldier was wounded. Jordanian forces were also reportedly involved in the operation, with one Jordanian soldier reportedly wounded, but Jordanian involvement was not confirmed. Later on, it was reported that the hostages had been moved 24 hours before the attempted rescue.[170] Following the mission, it was still unclear whether the operation failed due to bad intelligence or whether ISIL forces were alerted in advance of the mission.[171]

In the aftermath of the rescue mission, and purportedly as a response to airstrikes in Iraq, ISIL beheaded three hostages over a one-month period: Americans James Foley[170] and Steven Sotloff on 19 August and 2 September respectively,[172] and Briton David Haines on 13 September.[173]

Surveillance flights over Syria

On 26 August 2014, the U.S. began sending surveillance flights, including drones, over Syria to gather intelligence on ISIL targets. The flights began gathering intelligence that would aid future airstrikes even though airstrikes were not yet authorized at that point.[174] No approval was sought from the Assad government for flights entering Syrian airspace.[175]

U.S.-led coalition against ISIL

The United States had since 2014 led efforts to establish a global coalition to counter ISIL.[176]

On 5 September, 15 September,[177] and 3 December 2014, various sets of countries came together to discuss concerted action against ISIL. Present at all three meetings were the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Turkey and Denmark.

The coalition of 5 September (10 countries) decided to support anti-ISIL forces in Iraq and Syria.[178] On 10 September 2014, U.S. president Barack Obama announced a ″comprehensive″ strategy to counter ISIL that ″in concert with coalition partners <…> will defeat ISIL and deny them safe haven″.[179]

The coalition of 3 December 2014 (sixty countries) that styled itself as the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)[180] agreed on a many-sided strategy against ISIL, including cutting off ISIL’s financing and funding and exposing ISIL’s true nature.[180] As of March 2015, the U.S.-led coalition comprised over sixty countries, that contributed in various ways to the effort.[176]

Support for Kurdish-led ground forces

As the Siege of Kobanî continued there were growing calls to also arm the YPG, also known as the People’s Protection Units, a Kurdish fighting force in Syria heavily involved in the defense of Kobanî.[181] On 20 October 2014, the Turkish foreign ministerMevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced that the Turkish government would be allowing Peshmerga from the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government to cross their border into Kobanî to support Kurdish fighters.[182] The change in policy came after the Turkish government had refused to allow Kurdish fighters and supplies to pass through the border to YPG units in Kobanî, as it viewed the YPG as an offshoot of the PKK.[183] On 28 October, Peshmerga from the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government departed Erbil to travel to Turkey and eventually to Kobanî.[184] A total of 152 soldiers were deployed starting with forty vehicles carrying weapons, artillery, and machine guns, along with 80 Peshmerga forces, who crossed the border into Turkey by land with the heavy weapons and then drove to the border near Kobanî.[184] The other 72 soldiers in the contingent flew to Turkey and rejoined the rest of the contingent on 29 October.[184] By the start of November, 152 Kurdish Peshmerga from Iraq and 50 Free Syrian Army fighters had crossed the border into Kobanî with heavy weapons, small arms, and ammunition.[13][84]

On 20 October 2014, the United States began airdropping supplies to Syrian Kurdish forces, including the YPG, that were besieging ISIL-controlled Kobanî.[185] Prior to 20 October, the United States and its anti-ISIL coalition partners in Syria had not provided any supplies to Kurdish forces in their fight against the jihadist group.[185] Much of the reason for the U.S. airdropping supplies was due to the Turkish government’s refusal to allow supplies to pass through their border into Kobanî. The U.S. specifically airdropped weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies supplied by Iraqi Kurdistan intended to supply the Kurdish forces in Syria.[185] On 21 October, a video was released by ISIL showing what it claimed was a bundle of airdropped small arms, ammunition, and other supplies from the United States. The Pentagon said it was analyzing the video and could not at the time confirm whether the video was authentic but that the materials were similar; the video would subsequently be analyzed by the Department of Defense to verify its authenticity.[186] On 22 October, the Pentagon confirmed that one of its airdrops had been intercepted by ISIL elements but downplayed the incident, saying that it most likely would not give ISIL any real advantage in their overall operations.[187]

Coalition arming and training of the Syrian opposition

By January 2015, the United States was set to send 400 troops and hundreds of support staff to countries neighboring Syria in order to train 5,000 opposition soldiers a year for the next three years.[188] The countries taking part in the train-and-equip program were to include Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.[189] The groups that were expected to be armed and trained by the U.S. government included fighters from the Free Syrian Army.[190] In October 2014, the Turkish government agreed to help train and equip some moderate Syrian rebels in Turkey.[191] The Pentagon confirmed that it had selected 1,200 Syrian opposition members to begin training in March 2015, with 3,000 to complete training by the end of 2015.[189]

The successful experience in Kobanî had informed U.S. policy in regard to arming Syrian opposition groups other than the Kurdish YPG, with plans to give other groups technicals equipped with radio and GPS equipment to call in airstrikes.[166] John R. Allen, President Obama’s envoy to the international coalition against ISIL, stated “It is clearly part of our plan, that not only we will train them, and we will equip them with the latest weapons systems, but we will also protect them when the time comes”.[192] In March 2015, the United Kingdom announced that it was sending around 75 military instructors to train Syrian opposition forces.[193][194] The train-and-equip program started on 9 May 2015.[195] On 25 May, Turkey and the U.S. agreed “in principle” on the necessity to support these forces with air support.[196]

However, only about 200 rebel fighters actually began training, the majority of whom left after being required to agree to fight only against ISIL and not the Assad government.[197] By mid-2015, only a group of 54 such fighters (Division 30) had been deployed – which was quickly routed in an ambush by al-Nusra[198] – and a further 100 had been thus far finished training in Jordan.[199] In September 2015, it was reported that a further 100-120 were being trained in a second wave,[200] with 75 more Division 30 fighters reported to have re-entered Syria at the end of the month; they were immediately attacked by al-Nusra.[201]

Jane’s Defence Weekly reported that in December 2015 the U.S. shipped 994 tonnes of weapons and ammunition (including packaging and container weight), generally of Soviet-type equipment from Eastern Europe, to Syrian rebel groups under the ongoing CIA Timber Sycamore operation. A detailed list of weapon types and shipment weights had been obtained from the U.S. government’s Federal Business Opportunities website.[202][203] As of July 2016, extensive arms shipments were continuing.[204][205][206]

It was reported in July 2017 that the Donald Trump administration decided to “phase-out” the CIA program to equip and train anti-government rebel groups.[207][208][209]

Multinational air war

Preparations for American airstrikes

In his address to the nation on 10 September 2014, U.S. President Obama announced his intention to bomb ISIL targets in Syria and called on Congress to authorize a program to train and arm rebels who were fighting ISIL and the Syrian forces of Bashar al-Assad.[210] For the first time, he authorized direct attacks against the militant group in Syria. In his address, he said the United States were going on offensive, launching “a steady, relentless effort to take out” the group “wherever they exist.” Obama also announced creating of a broader coalition against ISIL.[211]

Commenting on Obama’s address, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich [ru] opposed the U.S. intervention against ISIL in Syria “without the consent of the legitimate government” and said that “this step, in the absence of a UN Security Council decision, would be an act of aggression, a gross violation of international law”. Ali Haidar, Syrian minister of national reconciliation, said that “any action of any kind without the consent of the Syrian government would be an attack on Syria”.[212]

On 17 September, the U.S. House of Representatives approved Obama’s plan to train and arm the Syrian rebels in their fight against ISIL. In a statement following the House vote, Obama said that the United States would not send military troops to Syria.[213] The Senate gave final congressional approval to Obama’s proposal the next day.[214]

The U.S. did not request permission from the Syrian government, nor did it coordinate its actions with the Syrian government, provide direct notification to the Syrian military or give indication of timing on specific targets, but it did notify the Syrian U.N. representative, which the Syrian government confirmed.[215]

Before the airstrikes began, the United States also informed Iran, the Assad government’s largest regional ally, of their intention to launch airstrikes. It did not share specific timing or targets of strikes with the Iranian government but reportedly assured it that the US would not strike any Syrian government targets.[216]

Contributing countries

Timeline

Map of the first round of U.S. and coalition strikes in Syria

2014

September 2014 — Airstrikes begin

Tomahawk cruise missile launching from USS Arleigh Burke to strike ISIL targets in Syria on 23 September

On 22 September, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed that the United States and other partner nations had undertaken strikes in Syria using fighters, bombers, and Tomahawk missiles in strikes authorized by President Barack Obama.[219] BahrainJordanQatarSaudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were identified as countries conducting or supporting airstrikes the first night.[10] The initial strikes were coordinated by United States Central Command[12] and targeted about 20 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant targets, including headquarters buildings.[220] Sources in Syria claimed that among the targets was also Brigade 93, a Syrian army base that the militants had recently captured and targets in the towns of Tabqa and Tel Abyad in Raqqa Province.[221]

The U.S. also targeted the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front and the Khorasan Group[222] in the Aleppo and Idlib Governorates of Syria.[223]

F-22 Raptor stealth fighters were reported to be among the U.S. aircraft striking targets in Syria on the first night of the campaign, carrying out their first combat missions ever since entering service in 2005.[70]

At least 70 ISIL fighters, 50 fighters affiliated with al-Qaeda, and eight civilians were killed overnight by the airstrikes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights while eight strikes were launched against the Khorasan group.[224]

Syrian military radar was “passive” during the first air strikes, with no attempt to counter US aircraft.[225] During the first night of airstrikes, the United States’ force deployed with HARM missiles as a precaution, as it was uncertain how Syria’s air-defense network would react.[226]

File:Sept 23 ISIL compound strike.WebM

A U.S. Air Force fighter jet drops ordnance on an ISIL compound in Raqqa, Syria on 23 September 2014.

On 24 September, the United States and coalition partners conducted a second round of airstrikes on ISIL facilities in Syria. The airstrikes were targeting oil production facilities controlled by ISIL who had been using the oil in order to fund their activities. Some targets were apparently also mobile production facilities which were most likely not refineries.[227]

In a third round of airstrikes on ISIL targets on 25 September, Arab partners led the U.S. in strikes against militant-held oil facilities in northeastern Syria. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates dropped 80 percent of the bomb tonnage in the third round of strikes, compared to other strikes in which the United States lead Arab partners.[228]

On 26 September, the U.S. carried out a fourth round of airstrikes on ISIL targets in Eastern Syria. The strikes were targeting ISIL heavy equipment and destroyed four of their tanks in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate.[229]

In a fifth round of airstrikes in Syria on 27 September, the U.S. led strikes along with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE against ISIL forces in the Kobanî Canton of Syrian Kurdistan. The strikes destroyed two armored vehicles and an unknown number of fighters in an area that had been under siege by ISIL militants. The siege by Islamic State fighters had recently forced over 100,000 Syrian Kurds to flee across the border to Turkey.[230]

On 28 and 29 September, the U.S. carried out two rounds of strikes against ISIL positions across Syria in 4 provinces. Among the facilities targeted was the entrance to the largest gas plant in Syria, in Deir ez-Zor Governorate, and ISIL training camps and vehicles near an ISIL-controlled grain silo in Manbij.[231]

October 2014

F/A-18 Hornets takes off from USS George H.W. Bush to strike ISIL targets in Syria

In an eighth round of airstrikes in Syria on 1 October, the U.S. and coalition partners struck ISIL targets in Northern Syria. The daytime strikes targeted ISIL forces laying siege to Kobanî, a primarily Kurdish city in Syrian Kurdistan, in support of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Free Syrian Army, who were defending the city.[232]

On 2 October, the U.S. led a ninth round of strikes, along with the UAE, against ISIL forces across Syria. The strikes destroyed an ISIL checkpoint near Kobanî, damaged a tank north of Sinjar Mountain, destroyed a tank west of Raqqa, and destroyed several ISIL facilities east of Aleppo.[233]

In a 10th round of airstrikes in Syria on 3 October, the U.S., assisted by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, struck ISIL forces in Northern and Eastern Syria. The strikes destroyed an ISIL garrison south of Al-Hasakah, destroyed two tanks southeast of Deir ez-Zor, destroyed two modular oil refineries and a training camp south of Raqqa, and struck an ISIL building northeast of Aleppo.[234]

On 4 October, the U.S. led an 11th round of airstrikes, along with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, against ISIL forces across Syria. The U.S. and partner nations carried out nine strikes, destroying an ISIL infantry unit, armored personnel carrier, and a vehicle south of Kobanî. They also destroyed a tank and a vehicle southeast of Deir ez-Zor, damaged the Tabqa airfield and destroyed an artillery piece near Raqqa, as well as an ISIL depot and logistics complex south of Al-Hasakah.[235]

In a 12th round of airstrikes in Syria on 5 October, the U.S. carried out three airstrikes against ISIL forces in Central and Eastern Syria. The strikes destroyed an ISIL bulldozer, two ISIL tanks and another vehicle northwest of Mayadin, and destroyed six firing positions and a large ISIL unit northwest of Raqqa.[236]

On 6 October, the U.S. carried out a 13th round of airstrikes in Syria against ISIL forces across Syria. The strikes destroyed an ISIL tank near Tabqa airfield west of Raqqa, destroyed two fighting positions south of Kobanî, and destroyed a tank southeast of Deir ez-Zor.[237]

In a 14th round of airstrikes in Syria on 7 October, the U.S., assisted by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, carried out nine strikes damaging multiple ISIL-controlled buildings west of Al-Hasakah, damaging a staging area and IED production facility northeast of Deir ez-Zor, destroying three armed vehicles, damaging one armed vehicle, destroying a vehicle carrying anti-aircraft artillery, destroying an ISIL tank, and an ISIL unit in and around Kobanî, and killing a small group of fighters southwest of Rabiyah.[238]

On 8 October, the U.S. led a 15th round of nine airstrikes along with the UAE, destroying an armored personnel carrier, four armed vehicles, an artillery piece, and damaged another armed vehicle in and around Kobanî, striking an ISIL training camp and fighters northwest of Raqqa, and destroying a tank northwest of Deir ez-Zor.[239]

In a 16th round of airstrikes in Syria on 9 October, the U.S. carried out nine airstrikes in the areas in and around the besieged border town of Kobanî. The U.S. carried out six airstrikes south of Kobanî that destroyed two ISIL-held buildings, one tank and one heavy machine gun along, a fighting position along with one large and two small ISIL units. North of Kobanî, the U.S. struck two small ISIL units and destroyed two ISIL-held buildings.[240]

A before and after picture of an ISIL command and control center, after an F-22 airstrike on 23 September

On 10 October, the U.S. led a 17th round of airstrikes along with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, carrying out nine strikes that destroyed two ISIL training facilities, three vehicles, damaging a tank and striking two ISIL units in and around Kobanî. The strikes also destroyed an armored vehicle staging facility east of Deir ez-Zor and struck a small ISIL unit northeast of Al-Hasakah.[241]

In an 18th round of airstrikes in Syria on 11 October, the U.S. carried out six airstrikes in and around Kobanî. The U.S. carried out four strikes north of Kobanî striking a fighting position, damaging a command and control facility, destroying a staging building, and striking two small ISIL units. South of Kobanî, two airstrikes destroyed three trucks.[242]

On 12 October, the U.S. led a 19th round of airstrikes along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, carrying out four strikes — three in Kobanî, destroying a fighting position and a staging area, and one strike northwest of Raqqa, destroying an armored vehicle compound.[243] Also on 12 October, the U.S. announced that the Turkish government had approved the use of Turkish military bases by Coalition forces fighting ISIL in Syria and Iraq. These installations included key bases only 160 km (100 mi) from the Syrian border and important U.S. military bases in Turkey such as the Incirlik Air Base.[244][245] Despite the announcement of Turkish government approval, on 13 October, Turkish officials publicly denied that any agreement had been made over Coalition use of Turkish airbases, including Incirlik.[246]

In a 20th round of airstrikes in Syria on 13 October, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia carried out eight airstrikes against ISIL forces. Seven of the strikes were in and around Kobanî, striking a large ISIL unit, two small units; damaging one staging location and destroying another, destroying a heavy-machine-gun firing position, destroying three buildings, and damaging two others. One other strike northwest of Raqqa struck an ISIL garrison.[247]

On 14 October, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia carried out the 21st round and the largest set of strikes against ISIL in Syria since the beginning of the intervention, with 21 strikes against targets in and around Kobanî, and an additional strike near Deir ez-Zor. According to the Department of Defense, the strikes were designed to interdict ISIL reinforcements and resupply zones and prevent ISIL from massing combat power on the Kurdish-held portions of Kobanî. The strikes destroyed two staging locations and damaged another, destroyed one ISIL building and damaged two others, damaged three ISIL compounds, destroyed one truck, one armed vehicle, and one other vehicle near Kobanî in support of Kurdish forces resisting the |siege of the town. In addition to those targets, the airstrikes struck seven staging areas, two mortar positions, three ISIL occupied buildings, and an artillery storage facility. An additional strike near Deir ez-Zor struck a modular oil refinery.[248]

F/A-18 Super Hornet taking off from USS Carl Vinson before carrying out strikes on ISIL targets in Syria

In a 22nd round of airstrikes on 15 October, the U.S. carried out 18 strikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî. The strikes destroyed multiple fighting positions and also successfully struck sixteen ISIL-occupied buildings.[249]

On 16 October, the U.S. carried out a 23rd round of airstrikes with 14 airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî striking 19 ISIL-controlled buildings, two command posts, three fighting positions, three sniper positions, one staging location, and one heavy machine gun position.[250]

In a 24th round of airstrikes on 17 October, the U.S. carried out seven airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî and in north-eastern Syria. Six airstrikes took place near Kobanî, striking three ISIL-controlled buildings; they also destroyed two fighting positions, suppressed three fighting positions, and destroyed two vehicles. One other airstrike near Al-Shaddadi struck ISIL-controlled oil collection equipment, including several petroleum, oil, and lubricants tanks, and a pump station.[251]

On 20 October, the U.S. carried out a 25th round of airstrikes, with six airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî. The strikes destroyed ISIL fighting positions, ISIL mortar positions, a vehicle, and one stray equipment supply bundle from a U.S. airdrop of Kurdish supplies in order to prevent the supplies from being captured.[252]

In a 26th round of airstrikes on 21 October, the U.S. carried out four airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî. The strikes destroyed several ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL-controlled building, and a large ISIL unit.[253] The British Royal Air Force began operating over Syria in a surveillance role on the same date, making the UK the first Western country other than the U.S. to operate in both Iraq and Syria simultaneously.[81]

On 22 October, the U.S. carried out a 27th round of airstrikes with six airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî. The strikes destroyed several ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL-controlled building and an ISIL logistical center.[254]

In a 28th round of airstrikes on 23 October, the U.S. carried out six airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Deir ez-Zor. Four strikes destroyed several ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, and an ISIL command and control center near Kobanî. Two strikes east of Deir ez-Zor destroyed several ISIL oil storage tanks.[255]

On 24 October, the U.S. carried out a 29th round of airstrikes with six airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî. The strikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle and struck three ISIL units.[256]

In a 30th round of airstrikes on 25 October, the U.S. carried out one strike near Kobanî, destroying an ISIL artillery piece.[257]

On 26 October, the U.S. carried out its 31st round of airstrikes with five airstrikes against ISIL targets near Kobanî, destroying seven ISIL vehicles and an ISIL-controlled building.[258]

An F-22 Raptor being refueled prior to an airstrike on ISIL targets in Syria

In a 32nd round of airstrikes on 27 October, the U.S. carried out four strikes near Kobanî, destroying five ISIL vehicles and an ISIL-occupied building.[259]

On 28 October, the U.S. carried out its 33rd round of airstrikes, with four airstrikes conducted against ISIL targets near Kobanî, destroying four ISIL fighting positions and a small ISIL unit.[260]

In a 34th round of airstrikes on 29 October, the U.S. carried out eight airstrikes in and around Kobanî. The strikes destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, a small ISIL unit, six ISIL vehicles, an ISIL-controlled building, and an ISIL command and control node.[261]

On 30 October, the U.S. carried out a 35th round of airstrikes, with 12 airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî, and against targets near Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa. 10 strikes near Kobanî struck two small ISIL units, destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions, and five ISIL-controlled buildings. One strike near Deir ez-Zor damaged an ISIL headquarters building while another strike near Raqqa damaged an ISIL security building.[262]

In a 36th round of airstrikes on 31 October, the U.S. carried out four airstrikes in and around Kobanî, damaging four ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL controlled building.[263]

Naming of Operation Inherent Resolve[edit]

Unlike previous U.S. combat operations, no name had been given to the American intervention in Syria and Iraq until it was announced in mid-October that the operational name would be Inherent Resolve.[264][265] The decision to keep the conflict nameless until then drew considerable media criticism.[266][267]

November 2014[edit]

On 1 November, the U.S. carried out a 37th round of airstrikes with five airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî. The strikes suppressed or destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions, and struck one ISIL-controlled building.[268]

In a 38th round of airstrikes on 2 November, the U.S. carried out seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Deir ez-Zor. Five airstrikes in and around Kobanî struck five small ISIL units and destroyed three ISIL vehicles. Two airstrikes southeast of Deir ez-Zor destroyed an ISIL tank and two vehicle shelters.[268]

On 3 November, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out a 39th round of airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Deir ez-Zor. Four airstrikes in and around Kobanî struck an ISIL fighting position, a small ISIL unit, and destroyed two ISIL-controlled buildings. One airstrike near Deir ez-Zor damaged an ISIL-controlled building.[268]

In a 40th round of airstrikes on 4 and 5 November, the U.S. carried out six airstrikes in and around Kobanî and north of Sinjar just across the Iraq-Syria border. Three airstrikes in and around Kobanî struck a small ISIL unit, two ISIL fighting positions, and an ISIL dump truck that was used in the construction of fighting positions. One airstrike north of Sinjar destroyed an ISIL fighting position, used to launch mortar attacks, and struck a small ISIL unit manning the position. Two additional strikes north of Sinjar struck a small ISIL unit and destroyed an ISIL armored vehicle.[269]

USS Carl Vinson and support ships deployed for combat operations in Syria and Iraq.

On 6 and 7 November, the U.S. carried out a 41st round of airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Tell Abyad. Seven strikes in and around Kobanî struck three small ISIL units, seven ISIL fighting positions, and destroyed an ISIL artillery piece. One airstrike near Tell Abyad destroyed an ISIL weapons stockpile.[270]

In a 42nd round of airstrikes between 8 and 10 November, the U.S. carried out 23 airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Deir ez-Zor. 13 airstrikes conducted in and around Kobanî struck an ISIL vehicle and five small ISIL units, destroyed an ISIL-occupied building used as an ammunition stockpile, an ISIL command and control building, and seven ISIL fighting positions, as well as damaging two ISIL fighting positions. In addition, eight airstrikes southeast of Deir ez-Zor damaged several structures of an ISIL oil collection facility, which was used to trans-load oil for the black market, while two airstrikes east of Deir ez-Zor damaged an ISIL oil collection point.[271]

Between 11 and 12 November, the U.S. carried out a 43rd round of airstrikes with 16 airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Deir ez-Zor, and near Al-Hasakah. 10 airstrikes conducted in and around Kobanî struck eight small ISIL units, damaged three ISIL fighting positions, and destroyed an ISIL logistics facility. Four airstrikes near Deir ez-Zor damaged an ISIL crude oil collection facility, struck a small ISIL unit, and damaged an ISIL vehicle. Two airstrikes near Al-Hasakah damaged a crude oil collection point.[272]

In a 44th round of airstrikes between 13 and 14 November, the U.S. carried out 20 airstrikes in and around Kobanî, east of Deir ez-Zor, west of Aleppo, and east of Raqqa. 17 airstrikes conducted in and around Kobanî struck ten ISIL units, destroyed 10 fighting positions, an ISIL controlled building, two ISIL vehicles, and an ISIL motorcycle. One airstrike east of Raqqa destroyed an ISIL training camp and another airstrike east of Deir ez-Zor destroyed an ISIL oil collection point. One other airstrike west of Aleppo struck militants associated with the Khorasan group.[273]

Between 15 and 17 November, the U.S. carried out a 45th round of airstrikes with 11 airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Deir ez-Zor. Nine airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions, suppressed an ISIL fighting position, destroyed four ISIL staging areas, and struck one tactical ISIL unit. Two airstrikes near Deir ez-Zor struck an ISIL crude oil collection facility and destroyed one ISIL tank.[268]

In a 46th round of airstrikes between 18 and 19 November, the U.S. carried out seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî, southeast of Al-Hasakah, and near Hazm. Five airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL staging area and three ISIL controlled buildings, suppressed two ISIL fighting positions, struck two tactical ISIL units, and a large ISIL unit. One airstrike southeast of Al-Hasakah damaged a crude oil collection point operated by ISIL while another airstrike near Hazm struck and destroyed a storage facility associated with the Khorasan Group.[274]

Between 20 and 21 November, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out a 47th round of airstrikes with seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Raqqa. Six airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed four ISIL staging areas, two ISIL-controlled buildings, two ISIL tactical units, and suppressed an ISIL fighting position. One airstrike near Raqqa damaged an ISIL barracks building.[268]

In a 48th round of airstrikes between 22 and 24 November, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out nine airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Raqqa. Seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed three ISIL fighting positions along with two ISIL staging areas, damaged an ISIL staging area, and suppressed four ISIL fighting positions. Two strikes near Raqqa struck an ISIL headquarters building.[275]

Between 25 and 26 November, the U.S. carried out a 49th round of airstrikes with 10 airstrikes in and around Kobanî striking an ISIL fighting position, a large ISIL unit, two tactical ISIL units, and destroying four ISIL staging areas and six ISIL fighting positions.[276]

In a 50th round of airstrikes between 27 and 28 November, the U.S. carried out two airstrikes near Kobanî and Aleppo. One airstrike near Kobanî struck an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL staging area while one airstrike near Aleppo struck a tactical ISIL unit.[268]

A coalition airstrike on ISIL positions in Kobanî.

Between 29 November and 1 December, the U.S. carried out a 51st round of airstrikes with 27 airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Raqqa, and near Aleppo. 17 airstrikes near Kobanî destroyed two ISIL-occupied buildings, three ISIL tanks, three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL armored personnel carrier, three ISIL vehicles and two ISIL staging areas. It also struck seven tactical ISIL units, targeted six ISIL fighting positions and damaged an ISIL-controlled building. Nine airstrikes near Raqqa struck an ISIL electronic warfare garrison, an ISIL military garrison, an ISIL headquarters building, an ISIL jamming system, an ISIL tank and 14 ISIL vehicles while one airstrike near Aleppo struck a target associated with the Khorasan Group.[277]

December 2014

An F-16 Fighting Falcon being refueled after an airstrike on ISIL targets in Syria

In a 52nd round of airstrikes between 1 and 3 December, the U.S. carried out 14 airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroying an ISIL vehicle, 17 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL staging area, and suppressed eight other fighting positions and stuck a large ISIL unit.[278]

Between 4 and 8 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out a 53rd round of airstrikes with 15 airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Raqqa. 15 airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed four ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL-occupied buildings, two ISIL staging areas, two ISIL tanks, an ISIL motorcycle, a mortar, and struck eight tactical ISIL units along with two ISIL fighting positions. One airstrike near Raqqa struck an ISIL electronic warfare garrison.[279]

In a 54th round of airstrikes between 9 and 10 December, the U.S. carried out seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî, destroying five ISIL fighting positions, striking three ISIL fighting positions, and striking a large ISIL unit.[280]

Between 11 and 12 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out a 55th round of airstrikes with seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Aleppo, and near Al-Qa’im, Iraq. Five airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed five ISIL fighting positions and struck one ISIL fighting position. One airstrike near Aleppo struck five ISIL-occupied buildings while another airstrike near Al-Qa’im on the Syrian border destroyed two ISIL fortifications.[281]

In a 56th round of airstrikes between 13 and 15 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out nine airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Abu Kamal. Eight airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL-controlled buildings, and two ISIL staging positions as well as striking one ISIL fighting position. One airstrike near Abu Kamal destroyed an ISIL vehicle.[282]

Between 16 and 17 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out a 57th round of airstrikes with six airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Abu Kamal. Five airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed an ISIL controlled building, one ISIL staging area, one ISIL bunker, and an ISIL mortar, and struck two ISIL tactical units, two additional buildings, and two ISIL fighting positions. One airstrike near Abu Kamal destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle.[283]

In a 58th round of airstrikes on 18 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out six airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroying seven ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL building, and struck a tactical unit.[284]

A member of the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army prepares to launch a BGM-71 TOW at a Syrian Army position in southern Syria, December 2014

On 19 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out a 59th round of airstrikes with four strikes in and around Kobanî and near Raqqa. Three airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed two ISIL controlled buildings and an ISIL staging area as well as striking two ISIL tactical units. One airstrike near Raqqa damaged an ISIL training compound.[285]

In a 60th round of airstrikes on 20 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out five airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroying eight ISIL fighting positions.[268] On 21 December, the Coalition carried out a 61st round of airstrikes with three strikes in and around Kobanî destroying an ISIL staging position and two ISIL fighting positions as well as striking two ISIL fighting positions.[268]

In a 62nd round of airstrikes on 22 December, the Coalition carried out 12 airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Aleppo, near Al-Hasakah, and near Raqqa. Six airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed six ISIL fighting positions and struck four ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL tactical unit. Three airstrikes near Aleppo destroyed artillery equipment and struck 10 ISIL buildings; two airstrikes near Al-Hasakah destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle, two ISIL trucks, a building, and two ISIL storage containers, and one airstrike near Raqqa destroyed an ISIL checkpoint complex.[286]

On 23 December, the Coalition carried out a 63rd round of airstrikes with seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî. Six airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL building and struck several ISIL fighting positions and one airstrike near Barghooth struck ISIL oil collection equipment.[287]

In a 64th round of airstrikes on 24 December, the Coalition carried out ten airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Deir ez-Zor, and near Raqqa. Eight airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL building, an ISIL staging position, and struck three ISIL tactical units, an ISIL tactical vehicle and an ISIL fighting position. One airstrike near Deir ez-Zor struck a crude oil collection point and another airstrike near Raqqa struck an ISIL weapons stockpile.[268]

On 25 December, the Coalition carried out a 65th round of airstrikes with 15 airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Al-Hasakah, and near Raqqa. 13 airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed three ISIL buildings, one vehicle, 17 ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL staging positions as well as striking two ISIL fighting positions, three large ISIL units and four ISIL tactical units. One airstrike near Al-Hasakah struck an ISIL drilling tower and destroyed two support vehicles and another airstrike near Raqqa struck an ISIL assembly area.[268]

In a 66th round of airstrikes on 26 December, the Coalition carried out four airstrikes in and around Kobanî, destroying three ISIL buildings and two ISIL vehicles.[268] On 29 December, the Coalition carried out a 67th round of airstrikes with 12 airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Deir ez-Zor, and near Raqqa. 10 airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed 11 ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL buildings, and an ISIL storage container, and struck an ISIL tactical unit. One airstrike near Deir ez-Zor struck several ISIL-controlled buildings while another airstrike near Raqqa also struck several ISIL-controlled buildings.[288]

In a 68th round of airstrikes on 30 December, the Coalition carried out seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Deir ez-Zor. Six airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed three ISIL buildings, damaged one ISIL building, and struck an ISIL tactical unit while one airstrike near Deir ez-Zor destroyed an ISIL shipping container.[289]

On 31 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out a 69th round of airstrikes with seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Al-Hasakah. Five airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed five ISIL buildings and six ISIL fighting positions while two airstrikes near Al-Hasakah destroyed four oil derricks controlled by ISIL.[290]

2015

January 2015

King Salman of Saudi Arabia with President Obama in January 2015. Saudi Arabia was involved in the CIA-led Timber Sycamore covert operation to train and arm Syrian rebels.[291]

In a 70th round of airstrikes on 1 January, the Coalition carried out 17 airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Deir ez-Zor, and near Raqqa. 13 airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed 12 ISIL controlled buildings, four ISIL fighting positions, one ISIL vehicle as well as striking two ISIL tactical units and two large ISIL units. Two airstrikes near Raqqa destroyed five ISIL checkpoints and struck an ISIL staging area, while two airstrikes near Deir ez-Zor destroyed an ISIL fighting position and struck an ISIL shipping container.[268]

February 2015 – Al-Hasakah offensive

On 5 February 2015, Jordan elevated its role in the U.S.-led coalition in Syria, launching one of the largest airstrike campaigns since early January 2015, targeting ISIL militants near Raqqa, the then-de facto ISIL capital, inflicting an unknown number of casualties and damaging ISIL facilities. This was done in retaliation against ISIL’s brutal murder of Muath al-Kasasbeh.[292][293]

On 6 February, a continued round of Coalition airstrikes at Raqqa killed over 30 ISIL militants.[294]

On 21 February, Syrian Kurds launched an offensive to retake ISIL-held territories in the Al-Hasakah Governorate, specifically in the Tell Hamis area, with support from U.S. airstrikes. At least 20 villages were liberated, and 12 militants were killed in the clashes.[295] In response, on 23 February, ISIL abducted 150 Assyrian Christians from villages near Tell Tamer in northeastern Syria, after launching a large offensive in the region.[296][297]

As a result of ISIL’s massive offensive in the west Al-Hasakah Governorate, the U.S.-led Coalition increased the number of airstrikes in the region to 10, on 24 February, in order to halt the ISIL advance. The airstrikes struck nine ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL vehicles.[268]

On 26 February, the number of Assyrian Christians abducted by ISIL from villages in northeastern Syria from 23–25 February rose to at least 220, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a monitoring group based in Britain.[298][299]

On 27 February, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party and Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Kurdish fighters had recaptured the town of Tell Hamis, along with most of the villages occupied by ISIL in the region. At least 127 ISIL militants were killed in the clashes, along with 30 YPG and allied fighters.[300] One Australian volunteer, who was fighting for the YPG, was also killed.[301] Many of the remaining ISIL militants retreated to Tell Brak, which quickly came under assault from the YPG and allied Arab fighters.

March–April 2015 – Battle of Sarrin and expanded Canadian and UK efforts

On 1 March 2015, YPG fighters, aided by U.S. airstrikes, were able to drive ISIL militants out of Tell Brak, reducing the ISIL occupation in the eastern Jazira Canton to the villages between Tell Brak and Tell Hamis.[302]

On 6 March, it was reported that Abu Humam al-Shami, al-Nusra‘s military chief, was killed in a U.S. airstrike targeting a meeting of top al-Nusra leaders, at the al-Nusra Front’s new headquarters at Salqin.[55]

On 9 March, the U.S. carried out another airstrike on the al-Nusra Front, targeting a military camp near Atimah, close to the Turkish border in the Idlib Governorate. The airstrike left nine militants dead.[303]

On 24 March, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada would be looking to expand Operation Impact to include airstrikes against ISIL in Syria as well.

On 26 March, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence announced the deployment of around 75 military trainers and headquarter staff to Turkey and other nearby countries in the anti-ISIL coalition, to assist with the U.S.-led training programme in Syria. The programme was set to provide small arms, infantry tactics and medical training to Syrian moderate opposition forces for over three years.[193]

On 30 March, the House of Commons of Canada authorized the extended deployment of its military for one year and to conduct operations related to the war in Syria.[304]

On 8 April, Canada initiated airstrikes in Syria, with two CF-18 fighters bombing a former military installation of the Syrian government that was captured by ISIL, near its headquarters in Raqqa.[304]

May 2015 – Al-Amr special forces raid

On 15 May, after surveillance by British special forces confirmed the presence of a senior ISIL leader named Abu Sayyaf in al-Amr,[305] 1st SFOD-Delta operators from the Joint Special Operations Command based in Iraq conducted an operation to capture him. The operation resulted in his death when he tried to engage U.S. forces in combat and the capture of his wife Umm Sayyaf. The operation also led to the freeing of a Yazidi woman who was held as a slave. About a dozen ISIL fighters were also killed in the raid, two U.S. officials said. The SOHR reported that an additional 19 ISIL fighters were killed in the U.S. airstrikes that accompanied the raid. One official said that ISIL Forces fired at the U.S. aircraft, and there was reportedly hand-to-hand combat during the raid. UH-60 Black Hawk and V-22 Osprey helicopters were used to conduct the raid, and Umm Sayyaf was held by U.S. forces in Iraq.[50][306][307]

CNN reported that a senior U.S. military official revealed that in May 2015, U.S. special operations forces came “tantalisingly close” to capturing or killing ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Raqqa, but failed to do so because classified information was leaked to the news media.[308]

Secretary of State John Kerry with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, before a bilateral meeting focused on Syria, 2015

Coalition air support was decisive in the YPG victory over ISIL in the May 2015 Western al-Hasakah offensive.

June–July 2015

U.S. air support, particularly from the 9th Bomb Squadron, was decisive in the YPG victory over ISIL in the Second Battle of Sarrin.[309] Coalition air support was also decisive in the YPG/FSA victory over ISIL in the Tell Abyad offensive.[310]

Following a 20 July suicide bombing in the Şanlıurfa Province of Turkey, believed to have been carried out by ISIL militants, as well as an ISIL cross-border attack that killed a Turkish serviceman on 23 July, Turkish armour and aircraft struck ISIL targets in cross-border engagements in northern Syria. Turkey also agreed to let the United States use the USAF Incirlik Air Base for strikes against ISIL.[311][312]

August–October 2015 – UK drone strike and Canada ceases airstrikes

On 21 August, three Islamic State fighters, two of United Kingdom nationality, were targeted and killed in Raqqa by a British Royal Air Force MQ-9 Reaper strike. Prime Minister David Cameron gave a statement to Parliament that one of the British nationals targeted had been plotting attacks in the UK. Another British national was killed in a separate air strike by U.S. forces in Raqqa on 24 August.[313]

Military situation in November 2015

In October 2015, 50 U.S. special forces operators were deployed to northern Syria to help train and coordinate anti-ISIL forces in the region.[314]

The introduction of Russian aircraft and ship based cruise missiles in support of the Syrian Government to Syrian airspace created new threats to the U.S.-led coalition. Discussions were held to deconflict Syrian airspace.

On 10 October, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported claims that two U.S. F-16 jets had “violated Syrian airspace” and bombed two electricity power plants in al-Rudwaniya, east Aleppo, “in breach of international law“.[315]

On 20 October, Canada’s Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau informed Barack Obama by phone of Canada’s intention to pull out of bombing raids in Syria. Canada would remain a coalition partner but will stop strikes.[316]

November–December 2015 – French retaliation and the UK officially begins airstrikes

U.S.-backed YPG fighters in November 2015

After deadly terror attacks in Paris conducted by jihadists, French President Francois Hollande sent its only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, with its 26 fighters to intensify air strikes.[317]

On 27 November, SANA claimed that the coalition targeted water pumping stations in al-Khafsah area, east of Aleppo, causing them to go out of service.[318][319] According to Bellingcat‘s investigation, however, it was Russian MoD bombing[320]

On 2 December, the UK parliament voted 397-223 in favour of airstrikes in Syria.[321] Within hours, RAF Tornado jets carried out their first air strikes, targeting the al-Omar oil fields near Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria, which were under ISIL control.[322]

On 6 December, a Syrian Arab Army base at Deir ez-Zor was struck, killing at least one Syrian Arab Army soldier, with reports circulating that as many as four were killed, 13 wounded and two tanks destroyed. Syria accused the U.S. of conducting the strike, however U.S. officials denied this, claiming instead that the bombing was a mistake by Russians.[323] After the airstrikes, the SAA reported that ISIL forces began to attack the base.[324]

2016

March–April 2016 – Continued special forces operations

On 4 March, a U.S.-led Coalition airstrike targeted Omar al-Shishani, ISIL’s top field commander, who was travelling in a convoy near al-Shaddadi in northeastern Syria; the strike injured him, and supposedly died from his injuries,[325][326][327] however this was incorrect and he was actually killed later in an airstrike in Iraq in July 2016.[328] Also on 4 March, 100 ISIL militants assaulted Peshmerga lines in Syria; U.S. Navy SEAL Charles Keating IV helped the Peshmerga to repel the attack. As ISIL fighters sent a car bomb towards him, Keating led a team to counterattack with sniper and rocket fire. For his actions during the battle, he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.[329]

On 24 March, U.S. special operations forces conducted an operation with the intent of capturing Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli in Syria. Al-Qaduli, then the 6th most wanted terrorist in the world and, according to analysts, the then-second-in-command of ISIL, acting as the group’s finance minister and was involved in external plots; he also temporarily commanded ISIL after a commander was injured. U.S. Special forces inserted by helicopter and layed in wait to intercept his vehicle; the operators attempted to capture him but the situation escalated and, at the last moment, they decided to fire on the vehicle instead, killing al-Qaduli and 3 other militants.[325][326][330][331]

On 25 April, it was reported that U.S. President Barack Obama authorized the deployment of an additional 250 special operations soldiers to Syria. In the following weeks, they are to join the 50 that are already in the country; their main aim is to advise, assist and expand the ongoing effort to bring more Syrian Arab fighters into units the U.S. supports in northern Syria to combat ISIL.[332][333]

May 2016

Secretary of State John Kerry with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir during a meeting on Syria in May 2016

In late May 2016, more than a dozen U.S. special forces troops were seen in the village of Fatisah, less than 64 km (40 mi) north of Raqqa. They were fighting near the front lines with the YPG and wearing both YPG and U.S. insignia on their military uniforms; the operators were helping call in fire support for local SDF forces and coordinating airstrikes from behind the front lines in their advance toward Raqqa. However, the Pentagon and White House insisted that the troops were not fighting ISIL on the front lines and were still participating in a non-combat mission known as “train, advise and assist.”[334][335][336] Also in late May, a U.S. special forces operator was wounded north of Raqqa by indirect ISIL rocket or mortar fire.[337][338]

The Telegraph reported that British special forces had been operating on the frontline in Syria, particularly in May when they frequently crossed the border from Jordan to defend a New Syrian Army (NSA) rebel unit composed of former Syrian special forces as it defended the village of al-Tanf against ISIL attacks. They mostly helped the unit with logistics such as building defenses and making bunkers safe. The NSA captured the village that month and faced regular ISIL attacks; an ISIL SVBIED drove into the base and killed 11 members of the NSA and injuring 17 others. The wounded were CASEVAC‘d by U.S. helicopters to Jordan; the suicide attack damaged the structure of the al-Tanf base; British troops crossed over from Jordan to help them to rebuild their defences.[339][340]

June 2016 – Kurdish offensive to take Manbij

On 1 June, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News that a “thousands”-strong SDF force consisting of Sunni Arab fighter and a small contingent of Kurdish fighters (mainly from the YPG) with assistance by U.S. special forces operators and fighter jets launched an operation to recapture the strategically important ISIL-held city of Manbij in northern Syria, 32 km (20 mi) from the border with Turkey; ISIL used the town to move supplies and foreign fighters into Syria from Turkey. In the 24 hours since the start of offensive, 18 U.S. airstrikes destroyed ISIL headquarters buildings, weapons caches, training areas, six bridges and an unknown number of ISIL fighters were killed; 15 civilians were also reported killed.[337][341]

USAFCENT CAOC at Al Udeid Air BaseQatar provides command and control of air power throughout Iraq and Syria.

On 3 June, F/A-18 Hornets launched from USS Harry S. Truman conducted air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria from the eastern Mediterranean. It was the first time the U.S. Navy had conducted strike missions in the Middle East from the Mediterranean Sea since flying operations against the Iraqi military in 2003.[342]

By 9 June, the U.S. Central Command said the Coalition had conducted more than 105 strikes in support of the SDF’s advance; French special forces were offering training and advice to SDF fighters in the area[343] and on 15 June, British special forces were also reported to be operating in the area. Much of the SDF advance was made possible by Coalition air support, with airstrikes being directed by special forces personnel on the ground.[344] On the same day, four U.S. special operations troops in northern Syria were “lightly” wounded by shrapnel when an Islamic State anti-tank missile fired at a nearby vehicle exploded, but they quickly returned to duty.[345][346][347]

On 16 June, supposedly as part of Russia‘s campaign to pressure the U.S. to agree to closer cooperation over Syria, Russian military aircraft bombed, with cluster bombs, a military outpost in al-Tanf in southeast Syria that was garrisoned by the New Syrian Army (NSA); U.S. and British special forces based in Jordan regularly worked with Syrian rebels at the al-Tanf outpost. The airstrike happened 24 hours after a detachment of 20 British special forces left the outpost. After the airstrike took place, U.S. commanders warned Russia that the garrison was part of the international coalition against ISIL and therefore shouldn’t be attacked, but 90 minutes later, nearby U.S. warplanes observed Russian jets dropping a second barrage of bombs on the outpost, killing four rebel soldiers. A U.S. spy plane overhead tried to contact the Russian pilots on emergency frequencies, but the Russians did not answer. U.S. officials demanded an explanation from Moscow, but they were told the Russian pilots struck the outpost because they “thought it was an ISIL base”, Russian officials then said that Jordan had approved the strikes in advance, but Jordan denied this. Moscow also claimed its air command headquarters in Syria was unable to call off the strikes because the U.S. had not given them the precise position of the outpost.[348][349]

On 29 June, as part of the 2016 Abu Kamal offensive — the offensive by the Pentagon-trained New Syrian Army and several hundred other rebels from different factions that aimed to capture Abu Kamal and sever ISIL’s transit link between Syria and Iraq — rebel forces entered the al-Hamdan air base — 5 km (3 mi) northwest of the border town Abu Kamal following intense clashes. This followed significant advances into ISIL-held territory near the Abu Kamal border crossing, the NSA said it had captured a number of ISIL positions on the outskirts of Abu Kamal, but a raid on the town at dawn was reported to have been repelled by militants. Fighting continued around the town, as coalition airstrikes were carried out on ISIL hideouts; the NSA also said it was coordinating the assault with Iraqi government forces, who were advancing on the border from the other side. The NSA issued a statement saying “the NSA maintains control of the desert, the approaches to Abu Kamal, and maintains freedom of manoeuvre”. later on that day, ISIL militants ambushed the rebels, inflicting heavy casualties and seizing weapons, according to a rebel source. ISIL retook the airbase from the NSA and continued to advance against the rebels, recapturing some of the outposts the NSA had captured south of the town; Coalition helicopters dropped in “foreign” airborne troops on the southern edge of Abu Kamal to help the rebels in their advance; coalition jets also carried out eight airstrikes on ISIL targets in the Abu Kamal area.[350][351][352][353] A contributing reasons for the failure of the U.S.-backed rebel operation was the withdrawing of air support at a critical moment; the aircraft assigned to the operation were ordered in the middle of the operation to leave the area and instead fly to the outskirts of Fallujah, where a large convoy of ISIL fighters, which U.S. commanders considered a “strategic target”, had been seen trying to escape across the desert after the city was recaptured by the Iraqi army. The convoy was eliminated by American and British planes along with gunships and aircraft from the Iraqi air force.[354]

August 2016 – Operation Euphrates Shield

On 7 August, as part of Operation Tidal Wave II, “multiple” coalition warplanes destroyed some 83 oil tankers used by the Islamic State near Abu Kamal.[355]

CNN reported that the Coalition carried out airstrikes in support of the Turkish intervention in Syria with Syrian opposition forces in August 2016, which seized the town of Jarabulus from ISIL and pushed south and west in an effort to clear the terror group from its border. U.S. special forces had initially intended to accompany the offensive but the U.S. was still working on approving the proposal when Turkish units pushed across the border.[356]

On 30 August, the New York Times reported that Abu Mohammad al-Adnani was killed while traveling in a vehicle by a U.S. drone strike in Al-BabCNN reported that al-Adnani was a key deputy to ISIL’s leader, he also acted as the principal architect in ISIL’s external operations and as the group’s spokesman; he also coordinated the movements of their fighters – directly encouraging them to carryout lone-wolf attacks on civilians and military targets. The strike marked the highest-profile killing of an ISIL member thus far.[357][358][359]

September–October 2016 – Coalition air raid on Deir ez-Zor

On 8 September, an airstrike allegedly carried out by the United States killed Abu Hajer al-Homsi (nom de guerre Abu Omar Saraqib), the top military commander of the renamed al-Nusra Front (Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) in the countryside of the Aleppo Governorate. Abu Hajer al-Homsi was one of the founding members of the al-Nusra Front and had taken part in the Iraq War against the U.S. when he was part of the processor organization al-Qaeda in Iraq.[56] The Pentagon denied carrying out the strike and instead claimed Russia was responsible.[360]

On 16 September, CNN reported that up to 40 U.S. special forces operators were accompanying Turkish troops and vetted Syrian opposition forces as they cleared ISIL from northern Syria. The mission, called Operation Noble Lance, was authorised that week and was now underway. Officially, the U.S. personnel were to conduct the same type of “advising, assisting and training” missions that the U.S. had been providing to moderate opposition and local anti-ISIL forces.[356] The Washington Post reported that the contingent of Special Operations forces (SOF) assisting the Turkish and Syrian rebel forces around the cities of Jarabulus and al-Rai were sent at the request of the Turkish government.[361]

On 17 September, two U.S. A-10s, two Danish F-16s, and a UK Reaper drone[362][363] mistakenly bombed a Syrian Army-controlled base in the ISIL-besieged city of Deir ez-Zor. More than 62 Syrian soldiers were killed and at least 100 were wounded in the airstrike.[364][365] ISIL forces attacked immediately after the Coalition airstrike and took the strategically important elevation near Deir ez-Zor airbase: Tharda (Thurda) mountain. According to Russian and Syrian government sources, SAA forces, supported by Russian and Syrian airstrikes, counterattacked and recaptured Tharda mountain by the end of the day, suffering additional losses, including one Syrian jet fighter.[366][367] The USAF immediately issued an official explanation[368] – it was a navigation\intelligence mistake and bombing was stopped after Russian Air Force contact informed them about the SAA loses.[369] The Danish Air Force confirmed that their two F-16 fighters participated in the airstrike, insisting that operations stopped the split-second they received the message from the Russians and explaining it as a mistake and was regretting the losses.[370] Russian officials accused the U.S. in helping ISIL due to the air raid.[371] Russia also called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council over the airstrike and the U.S. temporarily ceased airstrikes in the area.[372] In response to the errant airstrike, the Syrian Armed Forces called it a “serious and blatant attack on Syria and its military”.[372]

On 3 October, Ahmad Salama Mabruk, a senior al-Nusra Front and previously Egyptian Islamic Jihad commander, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Jisr al-Shughur.[59]

November 2016

A rebel fighter from the FSA loads a U.S.-made M2 Browning heavy machine gun in northern Aleppo, November 2016

On 18 November, a U.S. airstrike killed an Afghan al-Nusra Front commander, Abu Afghan al-Masri, in the town of Sarmada.[373]

On 24 November, the Washington Post reported that Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Dayton of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2 was killed by an IED near Ayn Issa – roughly 35 miles northwest of ISIL’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa. It was the first time a U.S. service member was killed in Syria since a contingent of SOF was deployed there in October 2015.[374]

CNN reported that on 26 November, a U.S. drone strike in Raqqa killed Boubaker Hakim, a senior ISIL terrorist suspected of enabling the Sousse terrorist attack as he had connections to the Tunisian ISIL cell that carried out the attack and the Bardo National Museum attack. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said, “His removal degrades ISIL’s ability to conduct further attacks in the West and denies ISIL a veteran extremist with extensive ties.”[375]

Stars and Stripes reported that in November 2016, airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing with a contingent of civil engineers, intelligence personnel, and security forces were temporarily deployed to expand and modify the airstrip that the airmen had established earlier in 2016 at an airbase where they deployed to near Kobani, so it can be used to assist in the offensive to retake Raqqa. The airbase gave the U.S. an additional location for its aircraft to support the Coalition and other anti-ISIL forces, but it had been used by U.S. forces limitedly due to the condition of the runway which restricted what types of aircraft could land there. General Carlton Everhart II, commander of U.S. Air Mobility Command, said that the base enabled aircraft to deliver critical supplies, equipment and help position forces; he added that airmen from the 621st group have supported anti-ISIL coalition forces on the ground in Syria.[376]

December 2016

On 4 December, it was reported that a U.S. airstrike in Raqqa killed three key ISIL leaders, two of whom (Salah Gourmat and Sammy Djedou) were involved in plotting the November 2015 Paris attacks.[377][378]

On 8 December, during the 4th Palmyra offensive, U.S.-led Coalition warplanes bombed an ISIL convoy near Palmyra in central Syria and destroyed 168 trucks carrying petroleum.[379]

On 10 December, it was reported that the U.S. was sending 200 more special operations personnel to Syria, joining the 300 U.S. special forces already in the country. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the troops would include special forces trainers, advisers and bomb disposal teams and that they will “continue organising, training, equipping, and otherwise enabling capable, motivated, local forces” to take the fight to ISIL. In particular, the troops will assist SDF forces in the ongoing Raqqa offensive; France also continues to have special operations units in the country.[380][381][382]

The New York Times reported that on 15 December, Coalition warplanes destroyed 14 Syrian Army T-72 battle tanks, three artillery systems and a number of buildings and vehicles that ISIL militants were using at a military base in central Syria that they seized the previous weekend from Syrian troops and their Russian advisers.[383]

On 31 December, a Coalition airstrike in Raqqa killed Mahmud al-Isawi, al-Isawi was an ISIL member who supported the organization’s media and intelligence structure in Fallujah before relocating to Raqqa. His role in the group was controlling the flow of instructions and finances between ISIL-held areas and ISIL leaders and provided support to propaganda and intelligence outlets; he was also known to have facilitated trans-regional travel with other ISIL external operations coordinators and had a close working and personal relationship with Abd al-Basit al-Iraqi, the emir of ISIL’s Middle East attack network, according to the U.S. defense department.[384]

2017

Joseph DunfordHulusi Akar and Valery Gerasimov discussing their nations’ operations in northern Syria, March 2017

January 2017

On 1 January 2017, a United States drone strike killed Abu Omar al-Turkistani, a Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and Turkistan Islamic Party military commander, and three other JFS members near the town of Sarmada in the northern Idlib Governorate.[385]

On 2 January, more than 25 JFS members were killed in an air raid by suspected U.S. warplanes.[386]

On 6 January, as part of the Raqqa offensive, SDF forces, supported by American special forces and international coalition aircraft, seized Qalaat Jaabar fortress after fierce fighting with ISIL jihadist fighters.[387]

On 8 January, coalition forces conducted a landing operation onto the road between the villages of Jazra and Kabr in the western Deir ez-Zor Governorate from four helicopters. The landing forces set up checkpoints on the road and raided a water plant in Kabr, where they killed and captured a number of ISIL fighters. After an hour and 15 minutes, the operation was complete and the forces withdrew.[388]

On 11 January, an air-to-surface missile launched from suspected U.S. aircraft hit a Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (JFS) convoy consisting of five vehicles and killed 14 JFS members.[389]

On 17 January, separate U.S. airstrikes in the Idlib Governorate killed Mohammad Habib Boussaboun al-Tunisi and Abd al-Jalil al-Muslimi, two Tunisian al-Qaeda external operations leaders.[390] Also that day, it was reported that U.S. warplanes and combat advisers were supporting Turkish military units battling ISIL fighters in northern Syria, particularly at the Battle of al-Bab.