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The Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018, Story 1: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Compromised National Security By Emails To Clinton’s Emailer Server Account — Hacked By Several Countries Including Russia Providing Real Leverage or Blackmail of Clinton and Obama — Spy or Mole In Trump Campaign To Provide Early Warning That Russians Gave Trump The Compromising Leverage/Blackmail — None Sent Nor Received by Trump — Obama Knew Everything DOJ, FBI, CIA, and NSA Were Doing! — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Demands Investigation and Meets With Deputy Attorney General and FBI Director — Videos — Story 3: President Trump Participates in Swearing In of First Women C.I.A. Director, Gina Haspel — Videos — Story 4: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Outlines Strategy with Strongest Sanctions Against Iran — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1040, February 27, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

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Story 1: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Compromised National Security By Emails To Clinton’s Emailer Server Account — Hacked By Several Countries Including Russia Providing Real Leverage or Blackmail of Clinton and Obama — Spy or Mole In Trump Campaign To Provide Early Warning That Russians Gave Trump The Compromising Leverage/Blackmail — None Sent Nor Received by Trump — Obama Knew Everything DOJ, FBI, CIA, and NSA Were Doing! — Videos

 

Trump questions where Obama was amid reports of FBI spying

5 Things You Need to Know About Hillary’s Email Server

Report: 99% chance Clinton email server hacked

Why Clinton’s private email use is deemed more serious than predecessors’

Was President Obama aware of Clinton’s private email server?

Did Obama lie about his knowledge of Clinton’s server?

Obama weighs in on Hillary Clinton’s emails

DOJ reportedly reopens Hillary Clinton email investigation

Why Congress won’t reopen the Clinton email investigation

State Department’s Report ‘Really Hurts’ Hillary Clinton | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Whistleblower: Clinton emails include classified info

Clinton campaign looked to fire intel watchdog over email scandal

Ex-watchdog: From start, pushback on Clinton email probe

Trump Hopes Russia Finds Clinton’s Deleted Emails

Inspector General Issues Scathing Report On Hillary’s Emails

Former DOJ official on reports of informant in Trump team

FBI and DOJ in turmoil over handling of Clinton emails

Clinton email scandal, Russia probe compromised by biased investigator

Ed Klein: Why Comey jumped at chance to reopen Clinton case

Clinton blames Comey, Russia for election loss

FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server

Is the presence of a spy in a presidential campaign lawful?

DOJ watchdog completes draft report on Clinton probe

FBI investigating drone emails in Clinton server probe

Morrell confirms at least one foreign country have what was on Hillary’s email server

Trey Gowdy GRILLS James Comey On Hillary Clinton Emails 7/7/16

Jason Chaffetz Digs in on Comey at Start of Capitol Hearing: ‘We Are Mystified and Confused’:

James Comey takes fire for Clinton email recommendation

FBI Director James Comey’s full statement on Clinton email investigation

FORMER CIA AND DEFENSE CHIEFS SAY CLINTON’S EMAIL SERVER HACKED: Iran, China, Russia Hacked Server

Russian-linked hackers tried to access Clinton emails

Former CIA Director: Foreign Spies Had Access to Clinton Emails

Obama creating a ‘shadow government?’

Obama’s shadowing of Trump is appalling: Dobbs

What happens if Obama was involved in illegal surveillance?

Story 2: President Trump Demands Investigation and Meets With Deputy Attorney General and FBI Director — Videos —

Trump demands that the DOJ look into reports of informant

 

Trump demands DOJ probe into FBI surveillance allegations

 

Story 3: President Trump Attends Swearing In of First Women C.I.A. Director, Gina Haspel — Videos

Gina Haspel sworn-in as first female CIA director

President Donald Trump: Gina Haspel Will Never Back Down | CNBC

President Donald Trump Attends Swearing-In Of New CIA Director Gina Haspel | NBC News

Trump CIA pick tells lawmakers: ‘My moral compass is strong’

Trump Swears In Gina Haspel as C.I.A. Director, Praising Agency as the ‘Most Elite’ in the World

Image
Gina Haspel was sworn in on Monday as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump praised Gina Haspel on Monday as she was sworn in as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, congratulating her on becoming the first woman to lead what he called “the most elite intelligence professionals on the planet.”

But even as Ms. Haspel took over as C.I.A. director, conservatives and some Trump allies were accusing her of being part of the “deep state” conspiracy that the president repeatedly claims has been conducting a “witch hunt” against him.

Publicly and privately, Trump supporters have been raising questions about Ms. Haspel’s loyalty to the president, and urging — without providing any evidence — an examination of what she knew about the intelligence community’s efforts to connect Trump to Russia.

In particular, they have questioned whether Ms. Haspel, a 33-year veteran of the spy agency who was the C.I.A.’s station chief in London, knew of the F.B.I.’s highly secretive interview of an Australian diplomat in London, and was aware that the bureau used an informant to gather information there from Trump associates about possible Russian coordination with Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

“Who was the CIA London Station Chief in 2016?”Jack Posobiec, a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist with a large Twitter following, asked in a tweet last week. “Gina Haspel.”

In a letter last week, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, asked Ms. Haspel if the C.I.A. had been involved in spying on Mr. Trump or if the agency had cooperated with foreign intelligence services to monitor Mr. Trump in the years before he officially became a candidate.

It is unclear how much Ms. Haspel knew about the F.B.I.’s activities, which were part of a counterintelligence operation that the bureau called “Crossfire Hurricane,” or when she was made aware of them. But it is standard procedure for the station chief in a major city to be briefed on any major bureau activities in her territory.

“Anything that affects the intelligence community, you would first get the agency’s concurrence through the chief of station,” said Eugene Casey, a former agent who spent more than five years overseas for the F.B.I.

An American official said on Monday that Ms. Haspel was not fully briefed at the time on the F.B.I.’s use of an informant in London to gather information about Trump associates or on its plan to interview the Australian diplomat. The existence of the bureau’s Russia investigation was one of the most closely held secrets in the F.B.I. and the Justice Department.

But just the possibility that Ms. Haspel knew of the informant in the Russia inquiry is enough for some conspiracy theorists to accuse Ms. Haspel of being part of the anti-Trump intelligence bureaucracy they believe is arrayed against the president and his agenda.

Frank Gaffney Jr., of the Center for Security Policy, was particularly angry at the comments Ms. Haspel made during her confirmation hearing about whether she would follow a presidential order she considered immoral (she said she would not).

He also complained that Ms. Haspel, whose nomination was supported by a cross-section of former intelligence officials, was “being strongly recommended for that job by men who have used the C.I.A. and/or other elements of the intelligence community as deep state weapons to try to destroy him, his campaign and his administration.”

For Mr. Trump, the conspiracy theories connected to Ms. Haspel underscore an awkward reality: If the deep state Russia allegations are true, then many of the president’s own intelligence officials are in the same position as her.

In addition to Ms. Haspel, who served in senior C.I.A. positions under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, many of Mr. Trump’s other senior intelligence officials have played roles in parts of the Russia investigation.

Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who is overseeing the Russia investigation, appointed the special counsel in the case and has defended the investigation. Dana Boente, whom Mr. Trump appointed to be the top lawyer at the F.B.I., signed one of the secret warrants for a wiretap on a Trump associate. And Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, has fought to maintain the independence of the Russia investigation and has said it is not a witch hunt.

Just hours before his visit to the C.I.A. on Monday, Mr. Trump lashed out against Mr. Brennan, quoting a Fox News contributor who says Mr. Brennan “is largely responsible for the destruction of American’s faith in the Intelligence Community.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

“John Brennan is panicking. He has disgraced himself, he has disgraced the Country, he has disgraced the entire Intelligence Community. He is the one man who is largely responsible for the destruction of American’s faith in the Intelligence Community and in some people at the….

Mr. Trump used the power of his Twitter account to amplify remarks from Dan Bongino, a conservative commentator, who alleged on Fox that Mr. Brennan used an intelligence dossier to begin an illegitimate investigation of the Trump campaign.

“This guy is the genesis of this whole Debacle. This was a Political hit job, this was not an Intelligence Investigation,” the president tweeted to his 52 million followers, quoting Mr. Bongino’s television appearance.

The Monday morning tweets by the president followed a weekend in which he angrily complained about reports that the investigation into his campaign’s contacts with Russia relied in part on confidential informants. Mr. Trump again assailed the investigation as a “Witch Hunt” and demanded that the F.B.I. or the Justice Department investigate whether his campaign was subject to improper surveillance.

“I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes — and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!” Mr. Trump wrote on Sunday.

The president repeated that demand on Monday in an email from his re-election campaign, urging his political supporters to sign a petition calling for a Justice Department investigation.

THIS COULD BE THE GREATEST POLITICAL SCANDAL IN AMERICAN HISTORY,” Mr. Trump wrote in the email from the Trump Make America Great Again campaign committee. “I need you to sign your name right this second to join me in demanding this abuse of power gets investigated.”

Mr. Rosenstein said on Sunday that the department’s inspector general would look into the questions raised by the president. But it is unclear whether that will satisfy Mr. Trump, who has said it was “disgraceful” to hand investigation of the Russia inquiry to an inspector general who was “Obama’s guy.”

The president is scheduled to meet with Mr. Rosenstein, Mr. Wray and Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, at the White House on Monday afternoon, officials said.

Despite the president’s relentless assault on what he perceives as the intelligence community’s improper actions as part of the investigations into his presidential campaign, Mr. Trump praised Ms. Haspel and the agency she is about to lead.

Mr. Trump’s brief remarks were strikingly different from those he delivered on his first visit to the agency the day after his inauguration, when he stood in front of a memorial to fallen intelligence officers and delivered a political diatribe against the news media, Democrats and others who questioned the size of his inaugural crowd.

On Monday, Mr. Trump lauded the “exceptional men and women of this agency,” adding: “I see what you do. I understand what you do and it’s incredible.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/21/us/politics/trump-haspel-cia.html

 

Story 4: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Outlines Strategy with Strongest Sanctions Against Iran — Videos

Pompeo: Iran to face “strongest sanctions in history”

Pompeo outlines new Iran strategy after US exit from deal

WATCH: Secy. of State Pompeo discusses Iran at Heritage Foundation

Pompeo adviser: US requirements for Iran are realistic

 

 

Mike Pompeo threatens Iran with ‘strongest sanctions in history’ after nuclear deal withdrawal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has issued a steep list of demands that he said should be included in a nuclear treaty with Iran to replace the Obama-era deal, threatening “the strongest sanctions in history” if Iran doesn’t change course.

Key points:

  • Mike Pompeo gives first major speech as Secretary of State and threatens “toughest sanctions in history” on Iran
  • Submits 12 demands to the Middle East nation which would ensure it “has no possible path to a nuclear weapon”
  • Mr Pompeo warns punishment against European businesses which continue to trade with Iran

Following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the deal, the United States will ensure “Iran has no possible path to a nuclear weapon, ever,” Mr Pompeo said.

As he called for a better agreement to constrain Iran’s activities, he said the US would “apply unprecedented financial pressure” to bring Tehran back to the table.

“These will end up being the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are complete,” Mr Pompeo said at the conservative Heritage Foundation, his first major policy speech since taking over as top diplomat.

The Secretary of State’s list of 12 requirements included many that Iran is highly unlikely to consider.

He said Iran must “stop enrichment” of uranium, which was allowed within strict limitations under the 2015 deal. Iran must also allow nuclear “unqualified access to all sites throughout the country,” Mr Pompeo said, alluding to military sites that were off-limits under the 2015 deal except under specific circumstances.

To that end, he also said Iran must declare all previous efforts to build a nuclear weapon, reopening an issue that the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency has already deemed a closed matter.

Mr Pompeo also demanded that Iran cease from a range of activities throughout the Middle East that have long drawn the ire of the US and its allies. He said Iran must end support for Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen, “withdraw all forces” from Syria, halt support for its ally Hezbollah and stop threatening Israel.

Iran must also “release all US citizens” missing in Iran or being held on “spurious charges,” he said.

At the same time, Mr Pompeo offered Iran a series of dramatic potential US concessions if it agrees to make “major changes.”

Under a new agreement, the US would be willing to lift all sanctions, restore full diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran, and even support the modernization of its economy, Mr Pompeo said.

“It is America’s hope that our labours toward peace and security will bear fruit for the long-suffering people of Iran,” he said.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

Mr Pompeo’s speech came after Mr Trump earlier this month infuriated US allies in Europe by withdrawing from the 2015 deal brokered by President Barack Obama, Iran and world powers. Europeans allies had pleaded with Mr Trump not to scuttle that deal and are now scrambling to keep the deal alive even without the US.

Mr Pompeo called that 2015 agreement a “loser deal”.

But the Trump administration has held out hope that those same allies will put aside that frustration and work with the US to ramp pressure back up on Iran through sanctions in a bid to bring Tehran back to the negotiating table for a stronger deal.

Pompeo said he understood that Trump’s decision “will pose financial and economic difficulties for a number of our friends.” But he warned them that the US planned to follow through with threats to punish European companies that continue doing business with Iran that is allowed under the deal but will violate reimposed US sanctions.

“I know our allies in Europe may try to keep the old nuclear deal going with Tehran. That is their decision to make,” Pompeo said. “They know where we stand.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-22/mike-pompeo-threatens-iran-with-tough-sanctions/9784784

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The Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018, Story 1: North Korea Kim Regime Threatens To Cancel U.S./North Korea Summit with Trump If U.S. and South Korea Go Forward With Annual Joint Military Exercises — Trump — “We Will See” — “Maximum Pressure” — Videos — Story 2: The End of $20 Million Mueller Investigation/Witch Hunt with No Evidence of Russian/Trump Collusion on First Annual Anniversary On 17 May 2018 — Case Is Over! — Videos — Story 2: FBI Detains Book Author — Videos — Story 3: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Enforcing Immigration Law — Senator Kamala Harris Objects To Enforcement of Immigration Law — Race Baiting Race Card Players — Videos

Posted on May 16, 2018. Filed under: American History, Assault, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Communications, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hate Speech, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Iraq, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Israel, James Comey, Japan, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Middle East, Mike Pompeo, National Interest, National Security Agency, Networking, News, North Korea, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Religion, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Social Science, South Korea, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Trump Surveillance/Spying, U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran, Unemployment, Unions, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: North Korea Kim Regime Threatens To Cancel U.S./North Korea Summit with Trump If U.S. and South Korea Go Forward With Annual Joint Military Exercises — Trump — “We Will See” — “Maximum Pressure” — Videos —

WH Press Secretary Sanders On North Korea Canceling Talks: ‘Something We Fully Expected’ | NBC News

North Korea threatens to cancel Trump-Kim summit

Summit in doubt? North Korea threatens to cancel talks

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North Korea threatens to call off highly anticipated summit

Pompeo says N. Korea to receive sanctions relief for “total” denuclearization

Breaking News – US remains hopeful about N Korea summit

White House caught off guard by North Korea, aides say

Why Is It So Hard to Build an ICBM?

RAW: North Korea launches ICBM (state TV footage)

Pentagon explains why it didn’t shoot down North Korean ICBM

 

North Korea threatens to CANCEL nuclear summit with Trump because it believes ‘provocative military ruckus’ of joint U.S.-South Korea drills are rehearsal for invasion

  • June 12 Singapore summit between Trump and Kim is suddenly in jeopardy
  • North Korean government blames joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises 
  • Pyongyang sees the drills as a rehearsal for a full-scale invasion
  • Kim also canceled meeting with South Korea’s president on a few hours’ notice

Kim’s regime said through state-run news agency KCNA that ongoing ‘Max Thunder’ joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea are actually a ‘rehearsal for invasion’ of the North.

‘The United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-U.S. summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities,’ KCNA said.

The White House made no immediate moves to slow down preparations for the summit on Tuesday.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders simply said: ‘We are aware of the South Korean media report. The United States will look at what North Korea has said independently, and continue to coordinate closely with our allies.’

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un

US President Donald Trump

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s government threatened on Wednesday (local time) to call off a planned nuclear summit with President Donald Trump (right)

This photo from 2017 shows a vehicle carrying what appears to be an intercontinental ballistic missile during a military parade at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea

President Trump last week greeted three Americans who were released from North Korea as they returned in the wee hours of the morning to an air case in suburban Maryland

President Trump last week greeted three Americans who were released from North Korea as they returned in the wee hours of the morning to an air case in suburban Maryland

President Trump ignored reporters asking for an update twice on Tuesday as he came and went from the White House to Walter Reed hospital, where his wife was recovering from a benign kidney surgery.

South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency had earlier reported that Pyongyang also canceled high-level talks with Seoul, scheduled for later in the day.

The North Koreans cited the military drills as the reason.

The meeting was to happen in the border town of Panmunjom, as a followup to Kim’s April meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-In.

The Trump administration has appeared to be making progress in recent weeks toward a new diplomatic framework with the hermit kingdom.

Tempers had cooled following months of belligerence on both sides – Trump called Kim ‘Little Rocket Man’ and Kim responded by branding him a ‘mentally deranged U.S. dotard.’

Last week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang on a mission to retrieve three Americans held prisoner in the communist nation.

He returned a day later with Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim on board his government jet. Trump, eager to reap the PR benefit of a public splash, went to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland at 2:00 in the morning to greet them personally.

The prisoner release was seen as a first step toward the planned summit, which Trump announced last week would take place June 12 in Singapore.

The North Korean statement got a jump on the U.S State Department

U.S.-KOR Combine Force take part in an annual best warrior competition at U.S. military base Camp Casey in Dongducheon, South Korea, on 12 April 2018

U.S.-KOR Combine Force take part in an annual best warrior competition at U.S. military base Camp Casey in Dongducheon, South Korea, on 12 April 2018

‘We have no information on that,’ said spokeswoman Heather Nauert, NBC reported. ‘Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We need to verify it.’

The snag comes after North Korea began dismantling a key nuclear test site just weeks before Kim due to meet Trump for what would be historic summit.

Satellite images examined by American researchers appear to show building demolitions, removal of railways, and overturned mining carts at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in North Korea.

The researchers are relying on commercial satellite imagery from May 7, according to the 38 North web site.

The site analyzed images which show significant changes that have been made at the location which are consistent with decommissioning.

Critics have argued that the cite already is in need of decommissioning, making its decommissioning less of a concession than it might otherwise seem.

‘Between April 20 and May 7, 2018, the probable engineering office building and a possible instrumentation shed located just outside the North Portal (where the last five underground nuclear tests have been conducted) were razed along with at least two smaller buildings or sheds,’ according to 38 North.

Meanwhile, the hermetic nation plans to join international efforts to implement a total ban on nuclear weapons tests, its ambassador told the United Nations today.

Pyongyang has pledged dismantle the test site some time between May 23 and May 25 in order to uphold its pledge to cease tests, its state media reported on Saturday.

No personnel or significant activity is observed at the barracks areaNo personnel or significant activity is observed at the barracks area

Earlier today, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva Han Tae-song announced the country’s intentions to work towards a complete ban on tests.

‘DPRK will join international desires and efforts for a total ban on nuclear tests,’ Han Tae-song said in an address to the Conference on Disarmament, using North Korea’s official acronym.

Han told the UN assembly that his country aimed to make more ‘efforts to achieve the development of intra-Korean relations, defuse acute military tensions and substantially remove the danger of the war on the Korean peninsula.’

‘It will make sincere efforts… to establish a durable lasting peace mechanism’ with its neighbour to the south, he said, urging the international community to ‘extend its active support in encouraging and promoting the current positive climate.’

The military exercises that apparently provoked the North Korean side are known as ‘Maximum Thunder.’ The drill involves F-15 and F-16 aircraft numbering more than 80, NBC News reported.

The annual drill has regularly been a thorn in the side of the North Koreans. U.S. military officials say it is needed to practice the kind of cooperation that would be necessary in any real live military situation on the heavily-armed Korean peninsula.

It includes both air-to-air and air-to ground mission practice.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5732893/North-Korea-threatens-CANCEL-Trumps-nuclear-summit.html#ixzz5FhcXeA43

Story 2: FBI Detains and Question Ted Mallock Author of Book On Plot To Destroy Trump and FBI Takes Phone — Videos –

See the source imageSee the source image

Malloch: My Book Details Deep State’s Plot to Destroy Trump

Ex-Trump adviser: My encounter with Mueller’s investigators

 

Story 3: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Enforcing Immigration Law — Senator Kamala Harris Objects To Enforcement of Immigration Law — Race Baiting Race Card Players — Videos

See the source image

 

Secretary Nielsen talks immigration, relationship with Trump

Kamala Harris Spars with Kirstjen Nielsen over Family Separation at the Border

Kirstjen Nielsen LAUGHS at Senator Kamala Harris and Makes Her Look Like A Fool

Kamala Harris Tries to Bully Kirstjen Nielsen then Kirstjen Gets Fed Up And Fights Back!

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The Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018, Story 1: United States Moves and Opens Embassy in City of Truth — Jerusalem, Israel — Death Toll Over 50 In Gaza and Climbing — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Announces Comprehensive Plan To Reduce Drug Prices Through Competition, Incentives, Negotiations, Regulation  and Transparency — Promises Lower Drug Prices — Tough Talk — Follow The Money — Videos — Story 3: Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy Against Trump Using Intelligence Community — CIA, FBI, NSA, and Department of Justice — Failed Attempt To Use Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska To Establish Trump Link With Russians/Putin Through Paul Manafort, Former Trump Campaign Manager — Massive Cover-Up and Political Scandal — Video

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Ivanka Trump is pictured unveiling engraved stonework carrying her father's name on the wall at the embassy today

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See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageUS President Donald Trump made the decision, which tossed aside decades of precedent, in December as he recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital 

Image result for trump plan for lowering drug prices for medicare

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Story 1: United States Moves and Opens Embassy in City of Truth — Jerusalem, Israel — Death Toll Over 50 In Gaza and Climbing — Videos

U.S. Embassy opening: Moving is a step towards peace

US Jerusalem embassy opening fallout

A breakdown of the controversy over the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem

Deadly clashes on Israel border ahead of U.S. Embassy opening

How are Palestinians reacting to the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and violence in Gaza?

U.S. Embassy opens in Jerusalem, while Palestinian protesters are killed

Thank You President Trump’ on Walls of Jerusalem on Eve of Embassy Move

 

“Thank You President Trump.” That was the message projected onto the ancient walls of Jerusalem, together with the American and Israeli flags, on the eve of the formal transfer of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem on Sunday evening.

Inside those walls — most recently rebuilt by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman I in the 16th century — tens of thousands of young Israelis danced and sang at the Western Wall plaza in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (“Jerusalem Day”), the 51st anniversary of the reunification of the city during the Six Day War of 1967.

This year, due to the peculiar nature of the Hebrew calendar — which combines both lunar and solar elements — the Hebrew date of Jerusalem Day fell one day before the Roman date of Israel’s 70th anniversary on May 14.

May 14 is also the 70th anniversary of the date that U.S. President Harry S. Truman recognized Israel, which is the reason the embassy transfer was scheduled for that date. (Israel celebrates its Independence Day according to the Hebrew calendar, which fell in April this year.)

 

The coincidence of Jerusalem Day and the embassy move — plus Israel’s victory early Sunday morning in the Eurovision Song Contest — meant that the city has been in a state of celebration for several days, culminating in the dedication of the embassy move on Monday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. local time (9:00 a.m. EDT and 6:00 a.m. PDT in the U.S.).

 

An official in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Breitbart News at a reception Sunday evening that the mood in his department was “somewhere between ecstatic and euphoric.”

In the modern center of the city, American flags and Israeli flags hung side-by-side, along with signs thanking President Trump and declaring him a “Friend of Zion.”

“Trump is Number One!” shouted one Israeli to Breitbart News reporters on the scene. It was a sentiment widely shared in a country that has seen so much hardship and struggle, and which feels that it finally has a friend in the White House — “the best friend Israel ever had,” as one Israeli put it.

The mood was even reflected in Israeli sports. Beitar Jerusalem, the local soccer team, officially renamed itself Beitar “Trump” Jerusalem in honor of the U.S. President.

Trump supporters also took out a massive wrap-around ad in the Jerusalem Post on Monday morning thanking President Trump for delivering on his promises to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and to end the Iran nuclear deal.

Across Israel, there was the repeated refrain: “He does what he says.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

http://www.breitbart.com/jerusalem/2018/05/13/thank-president-trump-walls-jerusalem-eve-embassy-move/

 

‘Big day in Israel. Congratulations!’ Trump tweets jubilantly at official opening by Jared and Ivanka of U.S. embassy in Jerusalem – as bloody day of violence sees Israeli snipers kill 52 and injure 2,400

  • US moving embassy from Tel Aviv today after Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December  
  • Israeli snipers have killed scores of protesters near the Gaza border with more than two thousand injured
  • Mass protests taking place with Palestinian government accusing Israel of committing a ‘terrible massacre’
  • Comes after al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri called for group’s followers to carry out jihad against the US 
  • Russia says embassy move risks increasing Middle East tension as Turkey says US is now ‘part of the problem’ 
  • The Arab League is planning to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss America’s ‘illegal’ embassy move 
  • US President’s son-in-law and Middle East envoy Jared Kushner said opening showed US could be trusted and that when ‘Trump makes a promise, he keeps it’
  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

Donald Trump rededicated the United States’ to its alliance with Israel on Monday as the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem officially opened.

Trump in a video address said that the U.S. will ‘always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace’ while honoring the nation and the city it claims as its capital as a ‘testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people.’

‘We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors,’ Trump said in a video address. ‘May there be peace.’

In a tweet shortly after he said, ‘Big day for Israel. Congratulations!’

Neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence were there see the realization of their campaign promise that they would relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Pence is headlining a celebratory event at the Israeli embassy in Washington, instead.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, both White House advisers, were part of a delegation of senior officials that included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that made the trip.

The U.S. delegation had arrived Sunday evening in Jerusalem to mass protests over the foreign policy shift.

Israeli snipers have killed scores of Palestinians and wounded thousands more as 35,000 protesters rallied against the US Embassy opening in Jerusalem overseen by Donald Trump‘s Middle East envoy Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka.

A 14-year-old was among 52 shot dead along the Gaza border on what is already the deadliest single day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since a 2014 war between the Jewish state and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas.

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Ivanka Trump is pictured unveiling engraved stonework carrying her father's name on the wall at the embassy today

The festivities in Jerusalem were a stark contrast to the bloodshed on the Gaza border

Flashpoint: Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered for protests against the US embassy opening today and dozens were killed amid clashes with Israeli troops. Crowds are seen sprinting away from tear gas during a clash with Israeli security forces east of Jabalia near the Gaza border

Flashpoint: Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered for protests against the US embassy opening today and dozens were killed amid clashes with Israeli troops. Crowds are seen sprinting away from tear gas during a clash with Israeli security forces east of Jabalia near the Gaza border

Israeli leaders and a U.S. delegation including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Donald Trump's daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump (pictured) and Jared Kushner, have attended the opening of the embassy, relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a controversial decision

Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka (right) and husband Jared Kushner (left) joined Benjamin Netanyahu for the opening of the embassy this afternoon

Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka (right) and husband Jared Kushner (left) joined Benjamin Netanyahu for the opening of the embassy this afternoon

White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump (right) speaks alongside US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the opening ceremony

White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump (right) speaks alongside US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the opening ceremony

A child who has been affected by tear gas is rushed to medics at the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue along the Gaza border todayA child who has been affected by tear gas is rushed to medics at the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue along the Gaza border today
A protester screams in agony as he is picked up by fellow Palestinians during deadly clashes along the Gaza border today. The death toll continued to climb this morning as anger mounted over the US embassy opening in Jerusalem

A protester screams in agony as he is picked up by fellow Palestinians during deadly clashes along the Gaza border today. The death toll continued to climb this morning as anger mounted over the US embassy opening in Jerusalem

Palestinian protesters carry an injured man who was shot by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel today

Palestinian protesters carry an injured man who was shot by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel today

An elderly Palestinian man falls to the ground amid reports he had been shot by Israeli troops during a deadly protest at the Gaza Strip's border

An elderly Palestinian man falls to the ground amid reports he had been shot by Israeli troops during a deadly protest at the Gaza Strip’s border

Huge crowds of protesters hid behind clouds of smoke from burning tyres but at times were forced to run from tear gas fired by Israeli troops

A Palestinian throws a rock in response to Israel's intervention during a protest to mark 70th anniversary of Nakba, also known as Day of the Catastrophe in 1948 and against the decision to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

At least 2,400 more have been injured with hundreds of them by live bullets, according to Gaza officials as the Palestinian government accused Israel of committing a ‘terrible massacre’ and Amnesty International called the bloodshed an ‘abhorrent violation’ of human rights.

Trump President tossed aside decades of precedent when he recognized the city as Israel’s capital in December – a decision that sparked global outcry, Palestinian anger and exuberant praise from Israelis.

Russia said today it feared the embassy opening would increase tension in the Middle East while Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan warned the US it had forfeited its role as a mediator in the region and was now ‘part of the problem rather than the solution’.

As deadly clashes continued, Trump said in a video address aired at the opening that the embassy has been a ‘long time coming’ and that the U.S. had ‘failed to acknowledge the obvious’ for many years. He added that ‘today, we follow through on this recognition’ and that the new embassy was opening ‘many, many years ahead of schedule.’

Trump also said his ‘greatest hope’ is for peace and that he ‘remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement’. His on-in-law Jared Kushner said the opening showed the US could be trusted and that ‘when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it’.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the international community must bring those responsible to justice, in a post on Twitter.

‘Shocking killing of dozens, injury of hundreds by Israeli live fire in #Gaza must stop now,’ Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein wrote in a message carried on the UN human rights Twitter account.

‘The right to life must be respected. Those responsible for outrageous human rights violations must be held to account. The int’l community needs to ensure justice for victims.’

A wounded Palestinian woman is evacuated by men wearing gas masks and high-viz jackets as protests turned violent today

A wounded Palestinian woman is evacuated by men wearing gas masks and high-viz jackets as protests turned violent today

Palestinian protesters carry the wounded during clashes near the border with Israel in the east of Gaza Strip

Palestinian protesters carry the wounded during clashes near the border with Israel in the east of Gaza Strip

Israel's armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their lives. By early this afternoon 37 protesters had been killed and the death toll has now risen further

Israel’s armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their lives. By early this afternoon 37 protesters had been killed and the death toll has now risen further

A medic tries to hold an injured man's mouth open as they take him away from the clashes in a stretcher 

A medic tries to hold an injured man’s mouth open as they take him away from the clashes in a stretcher

A wounded female Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated on a stretcher by emergency workers at Qalandya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah

A wounded female Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated on a stretcher by emergency workers at Qalandya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah

A woman appears to be giving protesters medical assistance as she tends to them while they sit on the ground during clashes along the border with Israel

Protesters used a horse and cart as they carried wounded Palestinians away from the conflict this afternoon as it emerged at least 37 had been killed and hundreds more injured

Protesters used a horse and cart as they carried wounded Palestinians away from the conflict this afternoon as it emerged at least 37 had been killed and hundreds more injured

Inside the event, the president’s daughter delivered an official welcome telling attendees after her father’s video address: ‘On behalf of the 45th President on [sic] the United States of America, we welcome you officially and for the first time to the Embassy of the United States here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Thank you.’

She joined Mnuchin in unveiling the embassy seal and plaque commemorating her father’s involvement in the occasion.

Her husband, Jared, delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, as well, in some of his most lengthy public remarks since joining his father-in-law’s administration.

Acknowledging his wife in his remarks, he said, ‘Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world — including me, so I love you.’

‘I am so proud to be here today in Jerusalem, the eternal heart of the Jewish people, and I am especially honored to be here today as a representative of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump,’ he said.

Highlighting Trump’s decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy, Kushner said, ‘While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American embassy, once in office this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it.’

‘The United States is prepared to support a peace agreement in every way that we can,’ he told the audience. ‘We believe that it is possible for both sides to gain more than they give.’

Kushner said the U.S. ‘recognizes the sensitivity’ around Jerusalem, home to three religions, including Islam.

‘While the challenges to peace are numerous, I have personally seen that the determination of the leaders throughout the region and throughout the world remains steadfast,’ Trump’s chief peace negotiator said.

At the White House, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah blamed Hamas for the violence in Israel on Monday. He said he did not believe that the violence would undermine the United States’ positioning on a peace agreement.

‘The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas. Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response,’ he asserted.

Shah demanded that Hamas stop its ‘cynical exploitation of the situation’ that has lead to the deaths.

The president’s spokesman said that embassy opening is ‘about following through on what the President promised and believes.

‘I think we’ve for decades you know walked on eggshells, pretending that Jerusalem isn’t the capital of Israel when it obviously is. And this is just a recognition of reality.’

Shah said the ‘peace plan will be brought forward at the appropriate time, and it can be evaluated on its merits.

‘We don’t think it impact the peace plan,’ he said of the deaths in Gaza.

Palestinians carry an injured protestors to safety as one man kneels on the ground holding his head as violence erupted on the Gaza strip today

Palestinians carry an injured protestors to safety as one man kneels on the ground holding his head as violence erupted on the Gaza strip today

A severely injured man is carried. Israel's armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their livesA severely injured man is carried. Israel’s armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their lives
American and Israeli delegations have begun a festive ceremony to mark the opening of the new U.S. Embassy (pictured) in Jerusalem. U.S. Ambassador David Friedman welcomed the crowd. 'Today we open the United States embassy in Jerusalem Israel,' he said to warm applause.

American and Israeli delegations have begun a festive ceremony to mark the opening of the new U.S. Embassy (pictured) in Jerusalem. U.S. Ambassador David Friedman welcomed the crowd. ‘Today we open the United States embassy in Jerusalem Israel,’ he said to warm applause.

Israeli soldiers walk amidst smoke from a fire in a wheat field near the Kibbutz of Nahal Oz, along the border with the Gaza Strip today

A wounded Palestinian women is carried from the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue following the decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

A wounded Palestinian women is carried from the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue following the decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

A group of Palestinian men carry their injured friend to an ambulance by stretcher during clashes with Israeli soldiers

A group of Palestinian men carry their injured friend to an ambulance by stretcher during clashes with Israeli soldiers

‘President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history,’ he said, in forceful remarks. ‘Today, the embassy of the most powerful nation on earth, our greatest ally, the United States of America, today its embassy opened here.’

Netanyahu firmly declared: ‘We are in Jerusalem, and we are here to stay.’

‘Thank you, President Trump, for having the courage to keep your promises.’

Netanyahu made a reference to the conflict on the Gaza border as he said in his speech that ‘our brave soldiers are protecting the borders of Israel as we speak, we salute them all.’

‘The truth is that Jerusalem has been and always will be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state,’ he said.

President Trump said earlier on Monday that it would be ‘a great day for Israel’ as the U.S. embassy prepared to open in Jerusalem.

‘The United States remains fully committed to precipitating a lasting peace agreement,’ he said in a video address.

He steered clear of the controversy over the relocation of the embassy, while noting, ‘We continue to support the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including at the Temple Mount.’

‘Today also demonstrates American leadership. By moving our embassy to Jerusalem, we have shown the world once again that the United States can be trusted,’ he said.

‘We stand with our friends and our allies, and above all else, we’ve shown that the United States of America will do what’s right,’ he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara were among those attending the opening ceremony today

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara were among those attending the opening ceremony today

Ivanka Trump's husband Jared Kushner was among the speakers as the embassy was officially opened this afternoonIvanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner was among the speakers as the embassy was officially opened this afternoon

Jared Kushner embraces both his wife, Ivanka

Jared Kushner embraces Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu during the opening ceremony today

Jared Kushner embraces both his wife, Ivanka (left) and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu (right) during the opening ceremony today

A ceremony to inaugurate the US embassy in Jerusalem has started with Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump (centre), both top aides to President Donald Trump, attending. The event took place as Palestinian officials claimed 37 protesters had been killed in a 'massacre' along the Gaza border

A ceremony to inaugurate the US embassy in Jerusalem has started with Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump (centre), both top aides to President Donald Trump, attending. The event took place as Palestinian officials claimed 37 protesters had been killed in a ‘massacre’ along the Gaza border

As deadly clashes continued this afternoon, Trump said in a video address aired at the opening that the embassy in has been a 'long time coming'. His daughter Ivanka as pictured walking ahead of US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the ceremony today

As deadly clashes continued this afternoon, Trump said in a video address aired at the opening that the embassy in has been a ‘long time coming’. His daughter Ivanka as pictured walking ahead of US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the ceremony today

Ivanka Trump smiles as she poses for photographs next to engraved stonework carrying the name of her father, US President Donald Trump

Ivanka Trump smiles as she poses for photographs next to engraved stonework carrying the name of her father, US President Donald Trump

Ivanka shared two photos of herself and Jared sharing a meal with GOP Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Dean Heller, and Lindsey Graham

Ivanka shared two photos of herself and Jared sharing a meal with GOP Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Dean Heller, and Lindsey Graham

Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) has said Jerusalem will always be the "eternal, undivided" capital of Israe

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) has said Jerusalem will always be the ‘eternal, undivided’ capital of Israe

The embassy opening coincides with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

Trump in December announced that he would follow through on the pledge to move the embassy that U.S. presidential candidates have repeatedly made and then reneged on.

The Republican president said he would ‘move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem’ in keeping with a decades-old U.S. mandating the relocation.

Presidents have typically signed a waiver every six months to skirt the requirement. Trump signed it his first year in office.

After a process that was expected to take up to four years, the U.S. said it would outfit a consulate in Jerusalem as an embassy while a new one is constructed.

‘We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors’: President Trump celebrates the opening of U.S. embassy in Jerusalem from afar

Donald Trump said it was ‘a great day for Israel’ on Monday as the U.S. embassy was officially declared open in Jerusalem.

‘We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors,’ Trump said in a video address.

It has been a ‘long time coming’, he added.

Trump said that the U.S. had ‘failed to acknowledge the obvious’ for many years, adding that ‘today, we follow through on this recognition.’

Trump added that the new embassy was opening ‘many, many years ahead of schedule.’

The embassy move has enraged the Palestinians. Trump said he remained committed to ‘facilitating a lasting peace agreement.’

Trump said the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem had been a 'long time coming' as he spoke in a pre-recorded video message 

Trump said the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem had been a ‘long time coming’ as he spoke in a pre-recorded video message

Trump stressed a close bond with Israel. He also said he was ‘extending a hand of friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors.’

Neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence were there to see the realization of their campaign promise that they would relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Pence is headlining a celebratory event at the Israeli embassy in Washington, instead.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, both White House advisers, were part of a delegation of senior officials that included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that made the trip.

Ivanka Trump, in an official welcome, after her father’s video address, told attendees: ‘On behalf of the 45th President on [sic] the United States of America, we welcome you officially and for the first time to the Embassy of the United States here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Thank you.’

Jared Kushner delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, highlighting Trump's decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy

Jared Kushner delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, highlighting Trump’s decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy

Acknowledging his wife, Kushner said, 'Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world - including me, so I love you'

Acknowledging his wife, Kushner said, ‘Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world – including me, so I love you’

Kushner delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, as well, highlighting Trump’s decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy.

‘While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American embassy, once in office this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it,’ Kushner said.

Acknowledging his wife, Kushner said, ‘Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world – including me, so I love you.’

The U.S. delegation arrived Sunday evening in Jerusalem to mass protests over the U.S. foreign policy shift.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not make the trip, either, but said Sunday in an interview that aired on Fox News that ‘the American people in that region are secure’ and ‘we are comfortable we’ve taken action that reduces that risk.’

Upon the arrival of the U.S. delegation on Sunday, the president’s daughter and son-in-law, both Jewish, received a blessing from Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef.

‘Great to join the friends of Zion for an amazing evening commemorating the dedication of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel,’ Ivanka wrote in a tweet after landing.

The embassy opening coincides with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

As the ceremony took place this afternoon, the Israeli army revealed that warplanes had struck a Hamas facility in Gaza during bloody protests.

The military said it carried out five airstrikes after militants exchanged fire on three separate occasions with soldiers.

Brigadier General Ronen Manelis turn out by Monday afternoon was about 40,000. He said the army viewed that number as a ‘failure for Hamas.’

He said the army noticed there were more women at the front of the protest than in past rallies and accused Hamas of paying people to protest.

This morning, the Israeli military said troops shot and killed three Palestinians who were trying to place an explosive device by the border fence in Gaza during mass protests.

The shooting in the southern Gaza town of Rafah came as the army said an Israeli aircraft had bombed a Hamas military post in the northern Gaza Strip after Israeli troops came under fire. No Israeli casualties were reported.

Amnesty International called the violence today an ‘abhorrent violation’ of human rights.

‘We are witnessing an abhorrent violation of international law and human rights in Gaza…. This must end immediately,’ the London-based human rights group said on Twitter.

‘This is a violation of international standards, in some instances committing what appear to be wilful killings constituting war crimes,’ Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director Philip Luther said in a separate statement.

‘As violence continues to spiral out of control, the Israeli authorities must immediately rein in the military to prevent the further loss of life and serious injuries.’

Amnesty made the statement ‘responding to reports that dozens of Palestinians have been killed’ in the protests over the US embassy move.

At one point the Israeli armed forces used drones to drop tear gas canisters in a bid to disperse the crowds of tens of tousands

At one point the Israeli armed forces used drones to drop tear gas canisters in a bid to disperse the crowds of tens of tousands

The drone could be seen releasing gas canisters during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia

The drone could be seen releasing gas canisters during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia

Palestinians were forced to run for safety as the gas canisters containing tear gas were fired from drones overhead today

Palestinians were forced to run for safety as the gas canisters containing tear gas were fired from drones overhead today

Witnesses said Israeli drones had also dropped incendiary materials earlier in the day, setting ablaze tyres that had been collected for use in a planned Gaza border protest.

Witnesses said Israeli drones had also dropped incendiary materials earlier in the day, setting ablaze tyres that had been collected for use in a planned Gaza border protest.

Drones unleashed canisters full of tear gas in the hope of dispersing the huge crowds today. The clashes have left scores dead

Drones unleashed canisters full of tear gas in the hope of dispersing the huge crowds today. The clashes have left scores dead

The drone tactic was deployed as festivities were taking place for the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem today

The drone tactic was deployed as festivities were taking place for the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem today

The drone tactic was deployed as festivities were taking place for the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem today

According to local reports, Israel employed specialist drone racers to drop tear gas

According to local reports, Israel employed specialist drone racers to drop tear gas

‘The rising toll of deaths and injuries today only serves to highlight the urgent need for an arms embargo,’ Luther added.

‘While some protestors may have engaged in some form of violence, this still does not justify the use of live ammunition.’

The European Union’s foreign policy chief is calling on Israel to respect the ‘principle of proportionality in the use of force’.

Federica Mogherini said that all should act ‘with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life’ and added that ‘Israel must respect the right to peaceful protest.’

At the same time, she insisted that Hamas must make sure demonstrators in Gaza are peaceful and ‘must not exploit them for other means.’

The dramatic scenes today came after al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri last night called for followers to carry out jihad against America.

In a new message, he said America’s decision was evidence that negotiations and ‘appeasement’ have failed Palestinians as he urged Muslims carry out jihad against the United States.

Trump ‘was clear and explicit, and he revealed the true face of the modern Crusade, where standing down and appeasement does not work with them, but only resistance through the call and jihad,’ Zawahiri said, according to a transcript provided by the SITE monitoring agency.

Violence: This was the scene as a man used a sling to hurl rocks towards Israeli forces along the Gaza border today

Violence: This was the scene as a man used a sling to hurl rocks towards Israeli forces along the Gaza border today

In the line of fire: Israeli soldiers are pictured lying in position looking out over the Gaza border 

In the line of fire: Israeli soldiers are pictured lying in position looking out over the Gaza border

The Israeli army responded by throwing tear gas towards protesters, sending huge crowds scattering this afternoon

The Israeli army responded by throwing tear gas towards protesters, sending huge crowds scattering this afternoon

Taking cover: Palestinians throw themselves to the ground as tear gas is hurled towards them during fierce clashes today

Taking cover: Palestinians throw themselves to the ground as tear gas is hurled towards them during fierce clashes today

The celebrations in Jerusalem were a stark contrast to the bloodshed along the Gaza border where tens of thousands of Palestinians protestedThe celebrations in Jerusalem were a stark contrast to the bloodshed along the Gaza border where tens of thousands of Palestinians protested
A Palestinian woman tries to fly a kite during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza Strip

A Palestinian woman tries to fly a kite during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza Strip

The US moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem today after months of global outcry, Palestinian anger and exuberant praise from Israelis. Israeli snipers killed a Palestinian man as protests got underway this morning. Pictured: A protester running past burning tyres

The US moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem today after months of global outcry, Palestinian anger and exuberant praise from Israelis. Israeli snipers killed a Palestinian man as protests got underway this morning. Pictured: A protester running past burning tyres

US President Donald Trump made the decision, which tossed aside decades of precedent, in December as he recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Palestinians burned tyres this morning ahead of mass protests at the Gaza border today

A Palestinian demonstrator lies on the ground as smoke billows from burning tyres during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City this morning

A Palestinian demonstrator lies on the ground as smoke billows from burning tyres during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City this morning

The announcement and the opening of the embassy sparked new chaos in Jerusalem, which the Israelis and Palestinians both claim as a holy site.

Still, the Trump administration says it is still charging ahead with a plan to bring peace to the region. A U.S. official told the Washington Free Beacon in advance of the embassy opening that the White House intends to unveil the deal that Trump’s son-in-law has taken a lead role in putting together in the coming months.

‘We’ve been working hard and want to give the plan the best chance for success,’ a senior official told the publication. ‘We want to get a lasting deal that is livable for both parties.’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was not on the trip and has been the point person for the Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korea, said the Middle East peace process is ‘is most decidedly not dead,’ in spite of the unrest that boiled over on Sunday.

‘We’re hard at work on it. We hope we can achieve a successful outcome there as well,’ he said.

Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton said the administration believes the embassy move will enhance the peace process because it’s a recognition of reality.

‘I think it will make it easier. It’s a recognition of reality. If you’re not prepared to recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that’s where the American embassy should be, then you’re operating on a completely different wavelength,’ Bolton said.

Kushner likewise said in his speech on Monday at the embassy: ‘When there is peace in this region, we will look back upon this day and remember that the journey to peace started with a strong America recognizing the truth.’

‘I believe peace is within reach, if we dare to believe that the future can be different from the past, that we are not condemned to relieve history, and that the way things were is not how they must forever be,’ he said. ‘It will not be an easy road, and it will be filled with difficult moments and tough decisions, but if we dream big and we lead with courage, we can change the trajectory for millions from hopeless to boundless.’

Medics were seen carrying Palestinian protesters away from the scene on stretchers as violence escalated this morning 

Medics were seen carrying Palestinian protesters away from the scene on stretchers as violence escalated this morning

Dozens have been injured - some of them seriously - by Israeli gun fire, according to Gaza's Health Ministry after the army warned that anyone attempting to approach the security fence would be risking their lives

Dozens have been injured – some of them seriously – by Israeli gun fire, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry after the army warned that anyone attempting to approach the security fence would be risking their lives

Protests intensified on the 70th anniversary of Israel's founding, as loudspeakers on Gaza mosques urged Palestinians to join a 'Great March of Return'. Black smoke from tyres burned by demonstrators rose into the air at the border

Thousands gathered in five spots along the border in protest at the embassy move, while sporadic clashes also erupted with Israeli soldiers

Thousands gathered in five spots along the border in protest at the embassy move, while sporadic clashes also erupted with Israeli soldiers

Thousands of Gaza residents headed toward the border with Israel on Monday, drawing Israeli fire in a potentially bloody showdown as Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem

Thousands of Gaza residents headed toward the border with Israel on Monday, drawing Israeli fire in a potentially bloody showdown as Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem

Protesters set tires on fire, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air at several spots along the border, while the Israeli military said protesters assaulted the border fence

Protesters set tires on fire, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air at several spots along the border, while the Israeli military said protesters assaulted the border fence

The protest in Gaza was to be the biggest yet in a weekslong campaign against a decade-old blockade of the territory. The march was also directed at the inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

The protest in Gaza was to be the biggest yet in a weekslong campaign against a decade-old blockade of the territory. The march was also directed at the inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital

The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted 'what an amazing day! Thank you @POTUS Trump' ahead of the opening

J Street, a liberal advocacy group pursuing Middle East peace, said the Trump administration had hurt the prospects of a deal with the embassy relocation in a scathing Monday statement called it a ‘victory for the far-right agenda of President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu – but not for the long-term interests of Israelis, Palestinians or the United States.’

‘This move has only undermined the prospects for peace, exacerbated tensions and undercut US standing as an effective mediator,’ J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami said. ‘This isn’t policy – it’s pandering to a narrow political base.’

The largest Jewish lobbying organization in the U.S., AIPAC, which has supported the move, noted that it was approved by Congress 1995 in a sweeping vote. It prodded other countries to follow the United States’ lead.

‘America was the first nation to recognize the independence of the Jewish state, and it is particularly appropriate that our country is once again taking the initiative to strengthen our relationship with Israel and its standing in the world. We urge other nations to follow the Unites States’ lead and also locate their embassies in Israel’s capital,’ it said.

Palestinian men carry an injured protester during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia

Palestinian men carry an injured protester during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia

A wounded Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip

A wounded Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip

Violent clashes erupted along the Gaza Strip's border hours ahead of the controversial opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, leaving several Palestinians dead from Israeli fire and hundreds more wounded

Violent clashes erupted along the Gaza Strip’s border hours ahead of the controversial opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, leaving several Palestinians dead from Israeli fire and hundreds more wounded

Crowds built throughout the day in the Palestinian enclave less than 60 miles away from Jerusalem and sealed off from Israel by a blockade

Israel's military said 'approximately 10,000 violent rioters are currently assembled in a number of locations along the Gaza Strip border and thousands more are gathered by the tents approximately half a kilometre away from the security fence'

Israel’s military said ‘approximately 10,000 violent rioters are currently assembled in a number of locations along the Gaza Strip border and thousands more are gathered by the tents approximately half a kilometre away from the security fence’

Around 1,000 police officers were being positioned around the embassy for the inauguration. Israel's army said it was almost doubling the number of troops surrounding Gaza and in the occupied West Bank

Around 1,000 police officers were being positioned around the embassy for the inauguration. Israel’s army said it was almost doubling the number of troops surrounding Gaza and in the occupied West Bank

A masked protester holds his hand in the air as he stands in front of burning tyres near the  Gaza-Israel border in Khan Yunis

A masked protester holds his hand in the air as he stands in front of burning tyres near the  Gaza-Israel border in Khan Yunis

By midafternoon, at least 18 Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed while over 500 were wounded by Israeli fire, Palestinian health officials said

By midafternoon, at least 18 Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed while over 500 were wounded by Israeli fire, Palestinian health officials said

Anger: Protesters torch tyres and wave Palestinian flags amid violent clashes along the Gaza border this morning

Anger: Protesters torch tyres and wave Palestinian flags amid violent clashes along the Gaza border this morning

The date of the inauguration is deeply symbolic to both Israelis and Palestinians. The US said it chose the day to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment

The date of the inauguration is deeply symbolic to both Israelis and Palestinians. The US said it chose the day to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment

Security has been tightened around Jerusalem ahead of the embassy opening this afternoon. Pictured: A road leading to the embassy

Security has been tightened around Jerusalem ahead of the embassy opening this afternoon. Pictured: A road leading to the embassy

As tensions mounted today, the Arab League said it will hold emergency talks on Wednesday to discuss Washington’s ‘illegal’ decision.

The meeting will focus on ‘ways of countering the illegal decision by the United States to move the embassy to Jerusalem’, the organisation’s deputy secretary general for Palestinian affairs, Saeed Abu Ali, said.

He told reporters the permanent representatives of members of the Cairo-based Arab League would meet ‘at the request of the state of Palestine’.

Police and the Israeli military had planned major security deployments today.

Around 1,000 police officers were positioned around the embassy and surrounding neighbourhoods for the inauguration, said spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Israel’s army said it would almost double the number of troops surrounding Gaza and in the occupied West Bank.

Early this morning, witnesses said Israeli drones dropped incendiary materials, setting ablaze tires that had been collected for use in a planned Gaza border protest.

Israeli military spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus said the army had bolstered its front-line forces along the border, but also set up additional 'layers' of security in and around neighbouring communities to defend Israeli civilians in case of a mass breach. He said there had already been several 'significant attempts' to break through the fence

Israeli military spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus said the army had bolstered its front-line forces along the border, but also set up additional ‘layers’ of security in and around neighbouring communities to defend Israeli civilians in case of a mass breach. He said there had already been several ‘significant attempts’ to break through the fence

A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli troops during protests near the Gaza border this morning

A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli troops during protests near the Gaza border this morning

Israelis began celebrating on Sunday, as tens of thousands of marched in Jerusalem, some holding American flags, to mark Jerusalem Day.

The annual event is an Israeli celebration of the ‘reunification’ of the city following the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.

Beyond the disputed nature of Jerusalem, the date of the embassy move is also key. May 14 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

The following day, Palestinians mark the ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe, commemorating the more than 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.

Palestinian protests are planned on both days.

Gaza residents streamed to the border area Monday for what is intended to be the largest protest yet against a decade-old blockade of the territory. Israel's military says it will stop a possible border breach at all costs, warning protesters that they are endangering their lives

Gaza residents streamed to the border area Monday for what is intended to be the largest protest yet against a decade-old blockade of the territory. Israel’s military says it will stop a possible border breach at all costs, warning protesters that they are endangering their lives

Israeli troops firing from across a border fence have shot and wounded two Palestinians as a protest near the Gaza border gets underway

Israeli troops firing from across a border fence have shot and wounded two Palestinians as a protest near the Gaza border gets underway

Near Gaza City, hundreds gathered about 150 yards from the fence. A reporter witnessed two people being shot in the legs

Near Gaza City, hundreds gathered about 150 yards from the fence. A reporter witnessed two people being shot in the legs

Israel's army warned Gaza residents they will be risking their lives if they approach the border with leaflets dropped by jets warning its forces will 'act against every attempt to damage the security fence or harm IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians'. A Palestinian is pictured throwing some of the leaflets in the air

Israel’s army warned Gaza residents they will be risking their lives if they approach the border with leaflets dropped by jets warning its forces will ‘act against every attempt to damage the security fence or harm IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians’. A Palestinian is pictured throwing some of the leaflets in the air

WHY THE US MOVED ITS EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM

The United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, a move that has delighted Israel and infuriated Palestinians.

The opening ceremony was timed to coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary.

The initiative was driven by President Donald Trump, after he broke last year with decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Trump said his administration has a peace proposal in the works, and recognising Jerusalem as the capital of America’s closest ally had ‘taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table.’

The US opened its new embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, a move that has delighted Israel and infuriated Palestinians. The initiative was driven by Trump, after he broke last year with decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

The US opened its new embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, a move that has delighted Israel and infuriated Palestinians. The initiative was driven by Trump, after he broke last year with decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, celebrated Trump’s decision, but the move upset the Arab world and Western allies.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called it a ‘slap in the face’ and said Washington could no longer be regarded as an honest broker in any peace talks with Israel.

Initially, a small interim embassy will operate from the building in southern Jerusalem that now houses US consular operations, while a secure site is found to move the rest of the embassy operations from Tel Aviv.

WHY DID TRUMP RECOGNIZE JERUSALEM AS ISRAEL’S CAPITAL, AND ANNOUNCE THE EMBASSY WILL BE MOVED THERE?

There has long been pressure from pro-Israel politicians in Washington to move the embassy to Jerusalem, and Trump made it a signature promise of his 2016 election campaign.

The decision was popular with many conservative and evangelical Christians who voted for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, many of whom support political recognition of Israel’s claim to the city.

Trump acted under a 1995 law that requires the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem, but to which other presidents since then – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – consistently signed waivers.

WHY DOES JERUSALEM PLAY SUCH AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT?

Religion, politics and history.

Jerusalem has been fought over for millennia by its inhabitants, and by regional powers and invaders.

It is sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and each religion has sites of great significance there.

Israel’s government regards Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the country, although that is not recognised internationally. Palestinians feel equally strongly, saying that East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The city even has different names. Jews call it Jerusalem, or Yerushalayim, and Arabs call it Al-Quds, which means ‘The Holy’.

But the city´s significance goes further.

At the heart of the Old City is the hill known to Jews across the world as Har ha-Bayit, or Temple Mount, and to Muslims internationally as al-Haram al-Sharif, or The Noble Sanctuary. It was home to the Jewish temples of antiquity but all that remains of them above ground is a restraining wall for the foundations built by Herod the Great. Known as the Western Wall, this is a sacred place of prayer for Jews.

Within yards of the wall, and overlooking it, are two Muslim holy places, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was built in the 8th century. Muslims regard the site as the third holiest in Islam, after Mecca and Medina.

The city is also an important pilgrimage site for Christians, who revere it as the place where they believe that Jesus Christ preached, died and was resurrected.

WHAT IS THE CITY’S MODERN HISTORY AND STATUS?

In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the then British-ruled Palestine should be partitioned into an Arab state and a Jewish state. But it recognized that Jerusalem had special status and proposed international rule for the city, along with nearby Bethlehem, as a ‘corpus separatum’ to be administered by the United Nations.

That never happened. When British rule ended in 1948, Jordanian forces occupied the Old City and Arab East Jerusalem. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it.

In 1980 the Israeli parliament passed a law declaring the ‘complete and united’ city of Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. But the United Nations regards East Jerusalem as occupied, and the city’s status as disputed until resolved by negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

DOES ANY OTHER COUNTRY HAVE AN EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM?

In March Guatemala’s president, Jimmy Morales, said that his country will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 16, two days after the US move.

Netanyahu said in April that ‘at least half a dozen’ countries were now ‘seriously discussing’ following the US lead, but he did not identify them.

In December, 128 countries voted in a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution calling on the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel´s capital. Nine voted against, 35 abstained and 21 did not cast a vote.

WHAT IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN NEXT? HAS JERUSALEM BEEN A FLASHPOINT BEFORE?

Since Trump’s announcement there have been Palestinian protests and wider political tensions.

Arab leaders across the Middle East have warned the move could lead to turmoil and hamper US efforts to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

More than 40 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops in Gaza during a six-week border protest due to culminate on May 15, the day after the US Embassy move and when Palestinians traditionally lament homes and land lost with Israel’s creation.

Although the clashes have not been on the scale of the Palestinian intifadas of 1987-1993 and 2000-2005, violence has erupted before over matters of sovereignty and religion.

In 1969 an Australian Messianic Christian tried to burn down Al-Aqsa Mosque. He failed but caused damage, and prompted fury across the Arab world.

In 2000, the Israeli politician Ariel Sharon, then opposition leader, led a group of Israeli lawmakers onto the Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif complex. A Palestinian protest escalated into the second intifada.

Deadly confrontations also took place in July after Israel installed metal detectors at the complex’s entrance after Arab-Israeli gunmen killed two Israeli policemen there.

Source: Reuters

Team: The White House advisers attended the inauguration along with other Washington delegates, including US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan (third from left in black) and Treasury Mnuchin (center)

Team: The White House advisers attended the inauguration along with other Washington delegates, including US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan (third from left in black) and Treasury Mnuchin (center)

A US delegation in Jerusalem includes Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, both White House aides. She posted a picture of the couple on Twitter with Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara as she thanked the Israeli Prime Minister for his hospitality at a welcome reception

White House advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump reportedly received a blessing from a rabbi who previously compared black people to monkeys

White House advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump reportedly received a blessing from a rabbi who previously compared black people to monkeys

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) spoke at a reception welcoming the US delegation attended by both Ivanka and Jared

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) spoke at a reception welcoming the US delegation attended by both Ivanka and Jared

Ivanka and Jared were seen arriving to a reception for the US delegation. She posted this photo on Instagram

Ivanka and Jared were seen arriving to a reception for the US delegation. She posted this photo on Instagram

Trump ‘feeble minded’ over embassy move, says Iran

Iran has denounced President Donald Trump as ‘feeble-minded’ over Monday’s controversial move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, calling for resistance from the Palestinians and the international community.

‘America has entered a crisis of strategic decision-making that looks at the international arena immaturely and adventurously,’ said parliament speaker Ali Larijani, a key establishment figure, at a conference on the Palestinian situation in Tehran.

‘I believe the current US president is not capable of identifying and judging the long-term consequences of his actions,’ he added.

The United States was due to open its new embassy in Jerusalem — known as Al-Quds in Iran — later on Monday amid widespread Palestinian anger and praise from Israelis.

‘Spur-of-the-moment and uncalculated actions cannot continue in today’s world. Feeblemindness is costly for statesmen and they will eventually have to pay the price,’ Larijani said.

Iran is a key backer of Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, and opposition to Israel has been a central tenet of its regime since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Larijani called for an ‘immediate reaction’ from Palestinians, Islamic countries and the international community — including boycotts and official complaints to the United Nations.

The US ‘must not think that such actions… can remain without a response,’ he said

There have already been weeks of protests and clashes along the Gaza border, with 54 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire there since March 30.

No Israelis have been wounded and the military has faced criticism over the use of live fire.

Israel says it only opens fire when necessary to stop infiltrations, attacks and damage to the border fence, while accusing Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the blockaded Gaza Strip, of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence

Jerusalem’s status is perhaps the thorniest issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

In the decades since 1967, international consensus has been that the city’s status must be negotiated between the two sides, but Trump broke with that to global outrage.

He has argued that it helps make peace possible by taking Jerusalem ‘off the table’, but many have pointed out he has not announced any concessions in return from Israel.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said the US was ‘hard at work’ on the peace process, which he declared was ‘most decidedly not dead’.

Trump’s initial decision led to a series of protests in various Middle Eastern and Muslim countries.

Meanwhile, Britain has no plans to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and still disagrees with the U.S. decision to do so, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Monday.

‘The PM said in December when the announcement was first made that we disagree with the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement.

The British embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it,’ the spokesman told reporters.

He was speaking on a day when the United States was due to open its embassy in Jerusalem, an event that has led to Palestinian protests.

Israeli gunfire killed two Palestinians and wounded at least 35 other protesters along the Gaza border on Monday, health officials said.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin - part of a Washington delegation - this morning posted a photo of himself on Twitter with a plaque dedicating a square outside the new US embassy in Jerusalem

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – part of a Washington delegation – this morning posted a photo of himself on Twitter with a plaque dedicating a square outside the new US embassy in Jerusalem

US President Donald Trump made the decision, which tossed aside decades of precedent, in December as he recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital 

US President Donald Trump made the decision, which tossed aside decades of precedent, in December as he recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

The US is not the first embassy to open in Jerusalem – and won’t be the last

When the United States opens its embassy in Jerusalem on Monday it will be the most high-profile diplomatic inauguration in the holy city, but not the first nor the last.

Several countries, mainly African and Latin American, have previously had their ambassadors based in Jerusalem and some are expected to return.

After the 1973 Yom Kippur war, Ivory Coast, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Kenya severed relations with Israel in protest and closed the doors of their embassies in Jerusalem.

They later renewed relations but moved their missions to Tel Aviv.

In 1980 Israel enacted a law declaring Jerusalem, including the mainly Palestinian eastern zone, its ‘complete and united’ capital.

The United Nations Security Council branded the move illegal and adopted a resolution calling on ‘those states that have established diplomatic missions at Jerusalem to withdraw such missions’.

A Stars and Stripes flower bed outside the new US embassy compound in Jerusalem

A Stars and Stripes flower bed outside the new US embassy compound in Jerusalem

The Netherlands, Haiti and several Latin American countries complied.

Costa Rica and El Salvador returned to Jerusalem in 1984, but left again in 2006.

In the wake of Trump’s announcement on December 6, some at least are heading back – and Israel is hoping for more.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales has said his country’s embassy will move to Jerusalem on May 16, and Paraguay’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it would follow suit.

The Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement that Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes would attend the opening ceremony, which would take place ‘by the end of the month’.

Romania’s government, supported by the speaker of its parliament, has adopted a draft proposal to move its embassy, which would make it the first European Union member to do so.

But Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who has frequently clashed with the government, opposes the move in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, and has called for Prime Minister Viorica Dancila’s resignation.

On a visit to Jerusalem last month, Dancila acknowledged that at this stage she did not have ‘support of all parties as we would wish’ to carry out the embassy move.

Czech President Milos Zeman has said he too would like to see his country’s embassy transferred to Jerusalem.

He did not reveal any firm plan, however, and the government has only announced the reopening of its honorary consulate in Jerusalem and the establishment of a Czech cultural centre in the city.

On the other side of coin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas his country would not move its Tel Aviv embassy to Jerusalem, official Palestinian media reported.

The EU is sticking firmly to the international community’s decades-long position that sovereignty in Jerusalem can only be decided by negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Shortly after the Trump announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Brussels for talks with EU foreign ministers.

‘I believe that all or most of the European countries will move their embassies to Jerusalem,’ he told them, earning a chilly response from the bloc’s foreign policy head Federica Mogherini.

‘He can keep his expectations for others, because from the European Union member states’ side this move will not come,’ she said.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5728187/Trump-jubilant-Jared-Ivanka-open-U-S-embassy-Jerusalem-Israeli-snipers-kill-52.html#ixzz5FWFwyDH5

 

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Number of People Receiving Medicare (2016): *

Total Medicare beneficiaries

• Aged

• Disabled

 56.8 million

• 47.8 million

•   9.0 million

Part A (Hospital Insurance, HI) beneficiaries

• Aged

• Disabled

 56.5 million

• 47.5 million

•   9.0 million

Part B (Supplementary Medical Insurance, SMI) beneficiaries

• Aged

• Disabled

 52.1 million

• 43.9 million

•   8.2 million

Part C (Medicare Advantage) beneficiaries   17.6 million
Part D (Prescription Drug Benefit) beneficiaries  43.2 million

·        Totals may not add due to rounding.

Medicare Eligibility:

  • Individuals ages 65 and over, who are eligible for Social Security payments
  • Individuals under 65 with a disability, who receive Social Security cash payments
  • People of all ages with end-stage renal disease

Average Benefit per Enrollee (2016):

Total: $12,829

  • Part A: $4,968
  • Part B: $5,558
  • Part D: $2,304

Status of Medicare Trust Funds (2016): *

Medicare Trust Funds (billions): HI (Part A) SMI

(Part B) (Part D)

Total
Assets at end of 2015 $193.8 $68.1   $1.3 $263.2
Total income in 2016

Payroll taxes
Interest
Taxation of Benefits
Premiums
General Revenue/Other

$290.8

$253.5
7.7
23.0
3.3
3.3

 $313.2  $106.2

—– —–
2.1   0
— — —–
72.1   13.8
239.0    92.4

$710.2

$253.5
9.8
23.0
89.1
334.7

Total expenditures in 2016

Benefits
Administrative Expenses

$285.4

$280.5 
     4.9

$293.4  $100.0

$289.5 $99.5 
      3.9     0.5

$678.7

$669.5 
     9.2

Net change in assets $ 5.4   $19.8   $6.3 $31.5
Assets at end of 2016 $199.1 $ 88.0    $7.6 $294.7

*Totals may not add due to rounding

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A (HI) Financing and Tax Rate:

Financing: Primarily financed by payroll taxes

  • Tax rate paid by employee: 1.45%
  • Tax rate paid by employer: 1.45%
  • Total tax rate paid by both employer-employee: 2.90%
  • Total tax rate paid by self-employed: 2.90%
  • Beginning in 2013, workers pay an additional 0.9 percent of their earnings above $200,000 (for those who file an individual return) or $250,000 (for those who file a joint income tax return)

Medicare Part A Benefits (2018):

Hospital Benefits – Initial deductible: $1,340

– Daily co-insurance:

  • $0 (1st ~ 60th day)
  • $335 (61st ~ 90th day)
  • $670 (91st ~ 150th day, lifetime reserve days)
Skilled Nursing Facility Benefits – Deductible: $0

– Daily co-insurance:

  • $0 (1st ~ 20th day)
  • $167.50 (21st ~ 100th day)
  • – No benefits starting the 101st day
Home Health Services Benefits – No deductible

– 20% of Medicare –approved amount for durable medical equipment

Hospice Benefits – Deductible: $0

– Up to $5 co-payment per prescription for outpatient drugs for pain and symptom management

Medicare Part B

Financing:

  • About 25% by monthly premiums;
  • About 75% from general federal revenues

Medicare Part B Benefits (2018):

Coverage: Physician and outpatient care, medical supplies, home health, and preventive services
Standard Monthly premiums: The standard Part B premium is $134.00. However, most people who receive Social Security benefits will pay less ($130 on average) because Part B premiums increased more than the cost-of-living increase for 2018 Social Security benefits. Monthly premiums have been means-tested since 2007.

If Your Yearly Income in 2016 was You Pay
File Individual Tax Return File Joint Tax Return
$85,000 or below $170,00 or below $134.00
$85,001 – $107,000 $170,001 – $214,000 $187.50
$107,001 – $133,500 $214,001 – $267,000 $267.90
$133,501 – $160,000 $267,001 – $320,000 $348.30
above $160,000 Above $320,000 $428.60
Initial deductible: $183.00
Co-pay: 20% of covered expenses
Penalty for late enrollment : 10% of monthly premium for each full 12 months of late enrollment for life (Exception: late enrollment due to cancellation of an employer-sponsored group insurance)

Medicare Part D

Financing:

• About 13% by monthly premiums;

• About 78% from general federal revenues

• About 9% from state payments and interest

Medicare Part D Benefits (2018):

Coverage: Outpatient prescription drugs
Monthly premiums: The national base beneficiary premium for 2018 is $35.02. As of 2011, monthly premiums are mean-tested.

If Your Yearly Income in 2016 was You Pay
File Individual Tax Return File Joint Tax Return
$85,000 or below $170,00 or below Plan Premium
$85,001 – $107,000 $170,001 – $214,000 $13.00+Plan Premium
$107,001 – $160,000 $214,001 – $320,000 $33.60+Plan Premium
$160,001 – $214,000 $320,001 – $428,000 $54.20+Plan Premium
above $214,000 Above $428,000 $74.80+Plan Premium
Annual deductible $405*
Co-insurance: 25% of drug costs between $405 and $3,750*:
Coverage gap: 44% out-of-pocket spending for generic drug costs between $3,750~$5,000*. A 65% discount is available on covered brand-name prescription drugs at the time of purchase.
Extra help: Benefit for people with income less than $18,210 for an individual ($24,690 for a married couple living together) and up to $14,100 in resources ($28,150 for a married couple).
Note: Individual states might apply different criteria for extra help.
Penalty for late enrollment: 1% of the national average premium for each month not enrolled for life (Exception for late enrollment due to having prescription drug coverage that is as good as Medicare’s).

* Varies by individual plans and indexed to the annual percentage increase in Part D expenditures thereafter.

Supplemental Insurance

Medigap:

  • Each state offers up to 10 standard plans.
  • Starting June 1 2010, plans E, H, I, or J are no longer available to buy. People who already have one of these plans are able to continue with it. Also, Plans M and N are new policies introduced in 2010.
  • 23% of all Medicare beneficiaries have a Medigap policy.

Medicare Savings Programs:

Benefit for dual eligibles (those who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid benefits):

·   20% of Medicare beneficiaries received Medicaid in 2017.

Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries
(QMBs)
– Entitled to Medicare Part A

– Asset test

  • Not exceeding $7,560 for an individual;
  • Not exceeding $11,340 for married couples

– Monthly income limit: Most states: $1,032 for an individual or $1,392 for a couple

– Coverage: Medicare Part A & B premiums, deductibles and coinsurance.

Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries (SLMBs) – Entitled to Medicare Part A

– Asset test:

  • Not exceeding $7,560 for an individual;
  • Not exceeding $11,340 for married couples

– Monthly income limit: Most states: $1,234 for an individual or $1,666 for a couple

– Coverage: Medicare Part B premiums only

Qualifying Individuals
(QIs)
– Limited number of beneficiaries per year

– Entitled to Medicare Part A

– Asset test:

  • Not exceeding $7,560 for an individual;
  • Not exceeding $11,340 for married couples

– Monthly income limit: Most states: $1,386 for an individual or $1,872 for a couple

– Coverage: Medicare Part B premiums only

Medicaid Only
(Non QMB, SLMB, or QI)
– Entitled to Medicare Part A and/or Part B and are eligible for full Medicaid benefits

– Typically, these individuals need to spend down to qualify for
Medicaid or fall into a Medicaid eligibility poverty group

– Coverage: Full Medicaid benefits, Medicare cost-sharing
liability

Note: Individual states might have less restrictive criteria for dual eligibility.

Medicare Advantage (MA):

  • Eligibility to choose a MA plan: People who are enrolled in both Medicare A and B, pay the Part B monthly premium, do not have end-state renal disease, and live in the service area of the plan.
  • Formerly know as Medicare+Choice or Medicare Health Plans.
  • Benefits are provided by private insurance companies.
  • Premiums, cost sharing, and coverage vary by plan.
  • 18.4 Million enrollees (32% of all Medicare enrollees) in 2016.

http://www.ncpssm.org/our-issues/medicare/medicare-fast-facts/

 

WATCH LIVE: President Trump to discuss lowering drug prices

Trump announces plan to bring drug prices “back down to Earth”

HHS Secretary Alex Azar On President Donald Trump’s Drug Price Plans | CNBC

Trump unveils sweeping plan to lower prescription drug costs

White House press briefing with Sarah Sanders | Friday, 11 May 2018

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HHS Sec. Alex Azar Presents “The Most Comprehensive Attack On Prescription Drug Affordability In History”

Following Friday’s announcement on lowering prescription drug costs, Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar explained the president’s new 50-point plan to lower health costs at the White House press briefing:

(You can watch Sarah Sanders answer questions for Friday here)

“There are over 50 actions that we have in — in the blueprint. And this is, again, not one-and-done, OK? We are learning. We are open. We’re hearing. We want to — we want this to be an active, ongoing process. This doesn’t get solved tomorrow. It’s going to take years of restructuring this system, but these are big. They’re bold steps. This is the most comprehensive attack on prescription drug affordability in history by any president,” Azar explained.

Trump’s plan, called “American Patients First,” seeks to increase competition, improve negotiation and create incentives to lower list prices of prescription drugs. It also includes rebate-sharing in Medicare drug plans, promoting generics and copycat versions of drugs and requiring drug manufacturers to publish list prices for drugs in television advertisements.

AZAR: Thank you, Sarah. Good afternoon, everyone. Well, as the president said earlier, we need a system for prescription drug prices that puts American patients first and one that takes case of America’s patients and doesn’t take advantage of them. What I wanted to do was try to just put a frame together for the actions that you’ll see in the blueprint and what the president and I talked about today to – so you just have a sense where we’re going here.

There are four major problems that we face. The first is high list prices for drugs. The second is government rules that get in the way of plans getting good deals for our senior citizens in our Medicare program. The third if foreign countries free riding off of American innovation. And the fourth is high out of pocket costs, especially for our seniors.

So, as you heard from the president today, this administration has already made a lot of progress in this regard. So, in the first year and a half in office the FDA has approved more generic drugs than ever before in history saving $8.8 billion in the first year. We also changed Medicare’s reimbursement rules to bring down the out of pocket spending for senior citizens saving them $320 million out of pocket on the drugs that they buy each year.

That work and the work that we’re laying out now in the president’s blueprint, it’s focused on four strategies to help fix this very complex problem that we face. First, increase competition. Second, increased and better negotiation. Third, incentives to actually lower list prices. And, fourth, lowering out of pocket costs.

So, first, it’s crucial that we have more competition in the prescription drug markets. That means we need a vital and vibrant generic drug industry and generic drug market. We need to foster and nurture a new competitive biosimilar generic drug market. Those are the generics essentially for those really complex, expensive biologic medicines. AZAR: We need to foster and nurture that. We also have to get after pharma companies who engage in anti-competitive practices and try to block the entry of generics or biosimilar products to market by, for instance, blocking access to their product so they can’t do the studies they need to do in order to get approval of an affordable generic or biosimilar market.

So, we’re going to go after all these kinds of abuses. Second, we’ve got to bring more private sector negotiation and better tools to our Medicare program so we get the best deals.

The Part D drug discount program for senior citizens is now 15 years old. I was there when we created it and helped to launch it. And when we did it, it was the — it was — it still is a great program, but it had the best tools, it was the best at negotiating great deals for our senior citizens.

And really was able to drive type formularies that were very efficient, and that’s what’s helped keep the cost of that Part D drug plan down below forecast and constantly low premiums throughout its time. But, over 15 years as so often happens with government programs, it got frozen in place.

And the private sector kept adapting and learning, especially after the economic crisis in 2007 how to control drug spend even better, OK? Part D stayed more static. We need now to bring the same tools that are available to the private sector to those Part D drug plans so they can negotiate better.

We need to unleash them so they can drive great deals for our seniors. We also have another part of our program, a major part which is called Part B. These are the drugs the physician administers. Mentioned those in the Rose Garden.

Those are — these right now are paid basically on a list price plus a markup. They send us a bill, we write a check. There’s no negotiation involved in that at all and the President has proposed in his budget, and we are reemphasizing we have got to figure out ways to move those drugs, especially the high cost ones into the private Part D drug plan negotiations.

So that we can get a deal and start getting bargains on that for our seniors and for taxpayers, we need to look at other mechanisms. And you’ll see that in the blueprint, some other ones that also help us negotiate better deals there for those plans.

Third, and this is a very complex area. Right now we have to bring incentives to lower list drug prices, OK? Right now, every incentive in the system is to increase and have high list drug prices. Because everybody in the system except the patient and the taxpayer is wetting their beak along the way.

They’re getting a — they’re getting a percent of that list price. List price goes up, list price higher, everybody makes more money along the way, so that it’s just — the math just works that way. We need to try to flip the incentives backwards so that financially it makes less sense to increase prices.

So one of the things we’re going to do, the President — I talked about this in the Rose Garden, is that we are having the FDA look at how we can require, in direct to consumer TV ads, that you have to disclose the list price of your drug.

We believe it’s an important part of fair balance, that if you’re telling a patient, activating a patient to have a discussion with their doctor about a drug, telling them all the good things that drug can do for them, it’s material and relevant to know if it’s a $50,000 or a $100 drug.

Because often that patient is going to have to bear a lot of that cost. In addition, we have in Medicaid and Medicare some key incentives that we can turn around on list prices. As part of Obamacare, one of the deals with the pharma industry was capping the statutory rebates on drugs in the Medicaid program at 100 percent.

We are going to work with Congress to look at overturning that cap on rebates. That again will make the math work so that when you increase your list price, it’s going to cost more money if you’re a pharma executive thinking about raising prices. AZAR: We’re also proposing — we want to think about some really creative ideas of — in our programs of reversing those incentives. So right now in our drug discount program, if you have a drug that fits into one of these protected classes, it’s almost impossible for the drug plan to negotiate and get any kind of discount from you, OK?

Well, that’s a — that — everybody gets that. What if, instead, we say, “You only get to be in that protected class if you haven’t raised your list price in the previous 18 months”? What if we say, “You can be exempt from these specialty tiers, where you — where the patient has to pay a lot out of pocket, but only if you haven’t increased your list price in the previous 18 months”? So a lot of tools like that.

The other big area we have to look at is the entire system of rebates that we have with pharmacy benefit managers. We are calling into question today the entire structure of using rebates as the method of negotiating discounts in the pharmacy channel, because right now, every incentive is for the drug company to have a very high list price, and to negotiate rebates down, often in a very nontransparent way.

What if, instead, we said, “No rebates. Flat price, fixed price in the contracts”; take away this whole, what’s called the gross-to-spread that removes that, and makes people indifferent to what the list price is in — in — in that system, and takes away the incentives, where even the pharmacy benefit manager makes money from higher list prices?

We also have a — a real issue that we’ve got a look at, which is the role of compensation for pharmacy benefit managers. They’re taking it now from both sides. They’re getting compensated by their customers, the insurance companies, but they’re also getting compensated by the drug companies they’re supposed to be negotiating against. They’re getting rebates, and keeping some of the rebates. They’re getting administrative fees.

Should we move to a fiduciary model, where the pharmacy benefit manager works for the insurance company or the individual, and only is compensated by the insurance company or individual; forbid renumeration from the — from the pharmaceutical company, so that it’s all completely on one side there, complete alignment of interest?

And then finally, how do we lower out-of-pocket drug costs? Well, as the president talked about it, we’re going to get rid of — we’re going to get rid of these gag rules, OK? Right now, some pharmacy benefit managers are telling pharmacists, “You’re not allowed to tell the patient that if they paid cash for this generic drug, it would be cheaper for you than if you run it through your insurance.” We think that’s unconscionable, and in part D, we’re going to work to — we’re going to work to block that.

We also think it’s a right, that when you’re sitting there with your doctor, you ought to be able to know what your out-of-pocket is for drug you’re going to be prescribed under your precise drug plan, and you ought to have that information. And you ought to have information on what competing drugs are that your doctor’s not prescribing, and what you would pay out-of-pocket for that. And that ought to be across the part B plan, and the part D plan.

Let me give you an example: You’re in with a doctor. This doctor has an infusion clinic, OK, as part of their office. OK, so they write you a drug that might be an infused drug. You might have a $300 co-pay for that. Well, wouldn’t you like to know that if the doctor instead wrote you a self-injectable drug, you’d have a $20 co-pay? And you could at least have an informed discussion. So we think that kind of informed consumer on out-of-pocket will also help drive real savings in the system.

So these are just some of the measures. There are over 50 actions that we have in — in the blueprint. And this is, again, not one-and-done, OK? We are learning. We are open. We’re hearing. We want to — we want this to be an active, ongoing process. This doesn’t get solved tomorrow. It’s going to take years of restructuring this system, but these are big. They’re bold steps. This is the most comprehensive attack on prescription drug affordability in history by any president. And I’m just grateful President Trump is, you know, standing behind us to — and — and encouraging us to do these kind of bold measures.

So with that said, let me open it up to questions.QUESTION: There’s a tremendous number of moving parts in — in this blueprint, many of which will require legislative action. How much of this works without the rest? Do you have to do it all, or can you do just part of it?

And — and how much can be done through executive action versus legislation?

AZAR: That’s a great question. Most of this, we believe, can be done by executive action. Now, we are more than happy to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis, so many of these solutions ought to be attracting bipartisan support. We all acknowledge this. These are problems we have to deal with.

But we believe most of these actions are steps that we can take using our regulatory authorities, especially with the power in the Medicare program.

They are — few of them are interdependent, and so it’s not as if any one is requiring a preceding act, there. We think we can attack many of these steps.

It is complex, though. It is very — because the system is rocket science. It’s unbelievably complex. And this — it is a very sophisticated approach, hitting at so many of the financial and business levers behind the system.

Instead of throwing just sort of political speak at this as — as it would have been easy to do, it’s a very business mindset focus on how do you actually change the underlying financial levers here to genuinely solve the problems?

That’s what the president wants. He wants it to actually solve the problem and lead to results.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary?

AZAR: Hi.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you. How soon will consumers actually see lower drug prices?

AZAR: Yes, so already they’re seeing lower drug prices from that historic level of generic drug approval last year. That’s almost $9 billion a year from all those generics on the market. The cuts that we made on how we reimburse on Medicare drugs, $320 million a year from that already; As we make more of these — we’re going to — we are — we are certainly moving forward with any of these changes to make sure that they’re going to see it in the pocketbook right away.

You know, let’s — so it — it’ll — it’s going to take time. Some of this will take regulatory action. We’ll have to go through the administrative process.

But I can tell you, as soon as I walked out of the Rose Garden — you know what the first question the president and the chief of staff had was?

QUESTION: (Inaudible)?

AZAR: When’s the execution? I want the execution framework. We’re going to have a meeting next week on the timelines and getting it all done.

So there’s…

QUESTION: Is it a matter of weeks or is it months, that consumers could actually see that benefit?

AZAR: It’s — it’s going to be months for the kind of actions that we need to take, here. Again, this is — this is — it took decades to erect this very complex interwoven system.

We’re talking about entrenched market players, complex financial arrangements that have — would have to be redesigned.

So I don’t want to overpromise that, somehow, you know, on Monday, there’s a radical change. But there’s a deep commitment that this is — this is fundamental, structural change that we’re talking about, to — to our system.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary?

AZAR: Yes?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much (ph). India is making a lot of jokes (ph). (Inaudible) how India is going to be effected to this (inaudible) today?

Also, at the same time, next month is Yoga International Day announced by the United Nations and the prime minister of India. How yoga can help — maybe you don’t need any drugs if you have yoga?

AZAR: Well, I’ll stick with the first one, which is the generic — which is generic drugs. Generic drugs, competition in our system is absolutely vital. That’s why — deep commitment of the administration to remove any anti-competitive barriers to generic competition.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary?

AZAR: Yes?

QUESTION: You talked about calling into question the entire rebate structure.

AZAR: Yes.

QUESTION: Specifically what steps are you doing to — now, and when might consumers see change on that?

AZAR: Yes. So as part of the blueprint, we’re releasing a request for information that’s the initiation of seeking input. This is — this is the restructure — this is the possible restructuring of a major sector of the economy.

One doesn’t do that lightly. It’s beginning a national dialogue with the public, with — with stakeholders, with Congress on — if we were to do this, if we were to outlaw rebates, say in the Part D Drug Discount Program, and instead require that the products be discounted at a fixed price.

So, for instance, just to explain how this works now, let’s say you have $1,000 drug. You go to the pharmacy benefit manager and say, hey, if you cover my drug, I’ll give you a 30 percent rebate on that after the fact if any of your patients use this. OK, so a $300 rebate on that.

What this would say is instead of that, you would have to negotiate and the contract would say you get reimbursed $700 this year, and then maybe $702 next year, if — for — for some inflation. So, it’s fixed and indifferent than to list price. So this game — what goes on now is frankly, a bit of a game, which is the drug company negotiates this 30 percent rebate and then, the next day, increases price 30 percent.

And it’s — it’s this game of chase that goes on. Instead, fix price, make everything indifferent to this list price and all the fees not be based on — on a percent of this artificial list price, which for so many people is like the rack rate on the back of your hotel room door. You know, almost nobody pays it. But too many people now in the health care system are paying it, and they’re suffering from that.

QUESTION: But, any timeline for this, like how long it’s going to take, or?

AZAR: Well that’s a — so, this is out today and we’re going to seek comment. And we want to learn. And then we’ll — we’re going to — we’re going to move forward on that if it makes sense. And we need to learn how to restructure — restructure things.

I believe that even one pharmacy benefit manager just yesterday talked about this precise issue of restructuring their contracts to get out of this rebate spread conundrum that the world is in. So I believe it’s doable and I think it will have tremendous systemic impact. Yes.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, there are a couple of notorious examples in the last couple of years of drug companies buying drugs that have been on the market for years and suddenly raising their prices extraordinarily.

AZAR: Yes.

QUESTION: Is there anything in this blueprint that addresses that…

AZAR: There is, yes.

QUESTION: … For example, the — the EpiPen situation a couple years ago?

AZAR: There is. So, one of the elements on increasing the power of negotiation that we’re doing in this plan is if a sole-source generic drug — which is what these instances that have gotten so much attention in the past several years, this is when you have one generic drug out there.

And if there is any increase in price by a sole-source generic, we are going to allow the drug plan to reopen their drug formulary immediately and take action against that drug, whereas right now they have to wait the — for the end of the year on the new plan cycle. They can immediately go after that drug, come up with alternative drugs or create preferential treatment for other drugs right away, if there’s any increase in price of a sole-sourced generic.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary?

AZAR: Yes.

QUESTION: Yes. So you’re talking about the increases in drug prices, while in areas like Maryland and Virginia insurers are talking about double digit health insurance premium increases. There’s a Maryland regulator that’s said something like the ACA is in the death spiral and echoing past words (ph) of the president. What are you doing to deal with that? Does HHS just accept these premium predictions as reality? What are you doing to reduce those costs?

AZAR: So — so, some of these premium submissions right now, it is the very beginning of a process that happens with state regulators around — around those insurance designs. These price increases were happening under President Obama. They continue because of the structural infirmities in how Obamacare was designed.

This is why the president has been so adamant about producing alternative, affordable options for patients because for so many — the 28 million forgotten men and women in this country have been forced out of the individual market. And they’re sitting there without insurance, even though they were promised they would have accessible, affordable, competitive insurance that they could keep.

You know, 6.7 million Americans paid $3.1 billion in the Obamacare taxes for the privilege of not buying insurance they couldn’t afford and didn’t want. And 80 percent of them make $50,000 or less.

So we’re trying to bring short-term plans as an option for people. We’re trying to bring association health plans out of the Labor Department as options for people. The president is just — We want to keep looking for more options to get people out of some of the traps that the — the Obamacare system has created of these high-cost and uncompetitive plans for people.

Yes?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I have a question about another issue at HHS — HHS (ph), actually. Justice Department has indicated the department is set to change an Obamacare rule that would bar medical practitioners from denying mental treatment to transgender people, including gender reassignment surgery. Will HHS repeal that rule?

AZAR: I’m not familiar with that — with that particular issue, so I’m going to — I’m — I’m going to talk about drug price. I’m not familiar with that. I’ll look into that when I get back over to the department. Thank you.

Yes?

QUESTION: Thank you. So you talked about Medicare Part B, negotiating better — better prices. That is same thing that the president referred to when he said that other countries’ socialized Medicare — medicine systems are — are ripping us off. Why is that OK for Medicare, but not for other countries?

AZAR: So the difference is — the difference is having entities negotiate in a competitive environment. So what happens in some of these socialist countries? I dealt with them in the past. What they do is they say, “You don’t come into this country unless you pay this low price, and here’s — here’s a low, below-market, noncompetitive price. You either pay it, or you don’t come into this country.” And they don’t really care if the people of their country don’t get access to that drug, and the people aren’t informed, even, that they don’t have access to that medicine in these — in these ration systems.

And so that’s completely different from what we’re doing, where we’re harnessing the power of the private negotiating market to negotiate deals.

So for instance, the way Part D works, the system that we want to try to emulate and use tools from in that Part B, is one drug plan might say, “I’m not going to cover this drug because I didn’t get a good enough deal,” and then another plan might cover that drug because they think they got a good enough deal. But the key is, the senior citizen’s in the driver’s seat. They get to say, “All right, then I’m going to choose. I need that drug. I’m going to buy this plan, and I’ll pay the premium for that plan, because I want insurance there.”

You know, if you’re in a socialized country, it’s one-size-fits-all. You can’t exit, except gone and — getting on an airplane to America, where you can get access to that medicine.

So yes?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you. When people hear about this plan, read about this plan over the upcoming days, they’re presumably going to learn about yourself as well, and they might say, “Wait a minute. Somebody who was a pharma executive is now going to be the one in charge of lowering drug prices.” How is that going to work? Your pitch to Americans, that they can trust you to oversee this effort would be what?

AZAR: I’d say trust us by our actions, and by the deeds in the blueprint: over 50 action plans that are hard-hitting. It’s the hardest-hitting plan ever proposed by a president across the entire spectrum of every player in this industry to drive down drug prices, and make drugs more affordable. And this is exactly — I know this from having been on the other side, running a drug company, in these — and these issues, which is, I actually looked at, if you could lower drug prices. It didn’t work for any one company. You —

This is how perverse the system is: You put yourself at a disadvantage in the system by having a lower-list-price drug than others, again, because every player in the system makes more money as a percent off of that list price. This is precisely why I’m so excited to be here in government, with the knowledge that I’ve got, and this team has about how we can change the rules of the road, and actually change the system, so that we can reverse those incentives to make that work, make those choices work, bring down drug prices, and make things more affordable.

Trump Promises Lower Drug Prices, but Drops Populist Solutions

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The plan announced by President Trump and Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, on Friday would give private entities more tools to negotiate better deals on behalf of consumers, insurers and employers.CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump vowed on Friday to “bring soaring drug prices back down to earth” by promoting competition among pharmaceutical companies, and he suggested that the government could require drugmakers to disclose prices in their ubiquitous television advertising.

But he dropped the popular and populist proposals of his presidential campaign, opting not to have the federal government directly negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare. And he chose not to allow American consumers to import low-cost medicines from abroad.

He would instead give private entities more tools to negotiate better deals on behalf of consumers, insurers and employers.

Speaking in the sun-splashed Rose Garden of the White House, Mr. Trump said that a “tangled web of special interests” had conspired to keep drug prices high at the expense of American consumers.Everyone involved in the broken system — the drugmakers, insurance companies, distributors, pharmacy benefit managers and many others — contribute to the problem,” Mr. Trump said. “Government has also been part of the problem because previous leaders turned a blind eye to this incredible abuse. But under this administration we are putting American patients first.”

His proposals hardly put a scare into the system he criticized.

Ronny Gal, a securities analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, said the president’s speech was “very, very positive to pharma,” and he added, “We have not seen anything about that speech which should concern investors” in the pharmaceutical industry.

Shares of several major drug and biotech companies rose immediately after the speech, as did the stocks of pharmacy benefit managers, the “middlemen” who Mr. Trump said had gotten “very, very rich.” The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index rose 2.7 percent on Friday. CVS Health, which manages pharmacy benefits for many insurers and employers, finished up 3.2 percent.

Mr. Trump and other Republicans are eager to show an achievement on health care this year to counter arguments by Democrats who say that Americans are losing coverage because of Mr. Trump’s efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. Soaring pharmaceutical prices are directly hitting consumer wallets, and high-profile cases — like the sudden jump in the price of EpiPens or the jailing of the hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli, who greatly increased the price of a drug under his control — have turned pharmaceuticals into a hot political topic.

Many of Mr. Trump’s ideas can be put into effect through regulations or guidance documents. Some will require legislation.

Republicans in Congress welcomed the president’s attention to high drug prices and promised to review his proposals, which Mr. Trump said would “derail the gravy train for special interests.”

Democrats embraced the opportunity to push health care back to the center of the political debate.

“President Trump offered little more than window dressing to combat the rising cost of drugs — a problem that is pinching the pocketbook of far too many Americans,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said after the speech. “We Democrats have offered a better deal on prescription drugs through true transparency, Medicare Part D negotiation, and a cop on the beat to police and stop exorbitant price hikes.”

After supporting some of those same proposals on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump pivoted to a different approach. He said his administration would provide new powers for Medicare’s private prescription drug plans, known as Part D, to negotiate lower prices but he would not use the purchasing power of the federal government to conduct direct negotiations. He said he would make it easier for pharmacists to inform patients of cheaper alternatives and would speed the approval of over-the-counter drugs “so that patients can get more medicines without prescription.”

Mr. Trump also denounced foreign countries that he said “extort unreasonably low prices from U.S. drugmakers” so that their citizens often pay much less than American consumers for the same drugs.

“America will not be cheated any longer, and especially will not be cheated by foreign countries,” Mr. Trump said. He directed his trade representative to “make fixing this injustice a top priority” in negotiations with every trading partner.

“It’s time to end the global freeloading once and for all,” Mr. Trump said.

It is not clear why higher profits in other countries would be passed on to American consumers in the form of lower prices, and officials in those countries pushed back hard.

“With our price regulations, drug companies are still making profits — just lower profits than in the United States,” said Dr. Mitchell Levine, the chairman of Canada’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, which reviews prices to ensure they are not excessive.

The administration floated several ideas that could radically change the marketing of prescription drugs.

Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, said the Food and Drug Administration would explore requiring drug companies to disclose list prices in their television advertisements.

The government, he said, will consider whether to “outlaw rebates” — the discounts and price concessions that are a key link in the drug supply chain. Pharmacy benefit managers are hired by insurers and large employers to negotiate lower drug prices, but they also receive rebate payments from drugmakers, creating a potential conflict of interest, the administration said.

Mr. Trump said he would end “the dishonest double-dealing that allows the middleman to pocket rebates and discounts that should be passed on to consumers and patients.”

Mark Merritt, the president and chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, which represents drug benefit managers, said the real problem was the high prices set by drugmakers.

“Getting rid of rebates and other price concessions would leave patients and payers, including Medicaid and Medicare, at the mercy of drug manufacturers’ pricing strategies,” Mr. Merritt said.

Thomas M. Moriarty, an executive vice president of CVS Health, said his company already offers clients the option to share rebates and discounts with consumers when they fill prescriptions.

Experts said some of the president’s ideas could help lower drug prices.

“It’s framed as a pro-competitive agenda, and touches on a range of government programs that the administration can change through regulation — so that the president can take unilateral action,” said Daniel N. Mendelson, the president of Avalere Health, a research and consulting company. “The trick here for the administration is to do something visible before the midterm elections, so they can take credit for an action that reduces drug prices for consumers.”

Mr. Trump’s “blueprint to lower drug prices” has four main themes: increasing competition in drug markets; giving private plans more tools to negotiate discounts for Medicare beneficiaries; providing new incentives for drug manufacturers to reduce list prices; and cutting consumers’ out-of-pocket costs.

The administration would lower out-of-pocket costs for Medicare patients by requiring prescription drug plans to pass on some of the discounts and rebates they receive from drug manufacturers. Patients could see those savings at the pharmacy counter. At the same time, Medicare officials say, there could be a modest increase in premiums for Medicare drug coverage.

Health policy experts like this idea because it reduces the burden on patients with serious chronic illnesses and spreads the expense of needed medications across the entire insured population.

But Democrats said Mr. Trump’s policy prescriptions fell far short of what was needed, especially next to the populist promises he made during the 2016 campaign.

“I think very expensive champagne will be popping in drug company boardrooms across the country tonight,” said Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, who has been investigating drug prices for the last year. “The president is apparently abandoning his campaign promise to authorize Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies to lower prices.”

Administration officials were somewhat defensive about the president’s plan, saying it was bold and significant even though it was not what Democrats wanted — or what candidate Trump favored.

In a round of television interviews on Friday, Mr. Azar said the president’s plan included “over 50 different initiatives — very sophisticated, the kind of thing you’d expect from a C.E.O. like Donald Trump, getting at the real heart of the business problem.”

Mr. Azar said the president’s plan would “unleash those who negotiate for us with the greater powers of the private sector” to obtain good deals.

In trade negotiations, the White House wants to put pressure on other countries to increase the prices of brand-name drugs, with the expectation that pharmaceutical companies would then lower prices here at home.

America’s trading partners “need to pay more because they’re using socialist price controls, market access controls, to get unfair pricing,” said Mr. Azar, a former top executive at the drugmaker Eli Lilly and Company. “And they’re doing it on the backs of their patients. God help you if you get cancer in some of these countries.”

Other nations, also struggling with high drug prices, scorned Mr. Trump’s advice on this issue.

“Drug manufacturers in the United States set their own prices, and that is not the norm elsewhere in the world,” a spokesman for the 28-member European Union said on Friday. “E.U. member states have government entities that either negotiate drug prices or decide not to cover drugs whose prices they deem excessive. No similar negotiating happens in the U.S.”

Katie Thomas contributed reporting from Chicago, and Peter Baker from Washington.

6 Takeaways From Trump’s Plans to Try to Lower Drug Prices

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Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, and President Trump announced a “blueprint” to try to lower drug prices.CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

President Trump has the power to sink pharmaceutical stocks with a single jab about high drug prices.

But in a much-anticipated speech on the topic on Friday, Mr. Trump largely avoided the issues the industry fears the most, such as allowing Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices, or allowing Americans to import drugs. Investors noticed: Stocks of major drug companies rose after his speech, as did those of pharmacy benefit managers, or the “middlemen” that Mr. Trump said were getting “very, very rich.”

As the health care world parsed the president’s newly released “blueprint” to lower drug prices, the overarching insight seemed to be this: The drug industry’s formidable lobbyists had won some key victories, even if they did not escape entirely unscathed. Many proposals were light on detail and will need action by Congress to become real.

Yet Mr. Trump won some praise for having taken a stab at tackling such a complex and vitally important issue to many Americans.

Here is a rundown of the key proposals unveiled on Friday.

Lower drug prices for older people

On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump embraced allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of the drugs it buys for older people, an issue traditionally supported by Democrats but long opposed by Republicans — and the powerful drug industry.

Friday’s proposal falls far short of that goal. But it does include some ideas for giving the government better leverage in negotiating with drug companies. It calls for exploring whether to allow Medicare drug plans to pay different amounts for the same drug, depending on the illness involved. And it would experiment with “value-based purchasing” in federal programs, essentially a money-back guarantee in which a drugmaker promises to refund money if a medication does not work as expected. Drug companies and insurers are increasingly entering into these kind of arrangements, although the evidence is far from clear that they lower costs.

The administration also reiterated earlier proposals: making generic drugs free for some low-income older people on Medicare and allowing people to keep a portion of the rebates that are normally pocketed by the insurers that manage the Medicare drug program.

Persuade other countries to pay more

One key proposal would involve pressuring other countries to raise their prices for prescription medicines. Drug prices in the United States are the highest in the world; many countries with centralized health care systems have successfully negotiated lower prices from pharmaceutical companies.

Mr. Trump, echoing the longstanding position of the drug industry, has said these companies are “free-riding” off the ingenuity of American corporations, and that high drug prices in the United States are subsidizing innovation that benefits the whole world.

The Trump administration plans to work with several federal agencies to address what it described as this “unfair disparity.”

But it is unclear whether other countries would be willing to raise their prices, or whether doing so would lead drug companies — which are beholden to shareholders hungry for profit — to lower prices in the United States.

Require drug ads to include the price

Prescription drug commercials are ubiquitous. But what if those ads had to disclose the drug’s price? That is something the Trump administration says it wants to explore.

The idea would certainly grab attention, and fear of a consumer backlash could pressure some drugmakers into dropping their prices.

But the notion poses a lot of issues For one: which price? The list price, which is about what a pharmacy would charge if someone paid for the drug in cash? Or the discounted price that insurers and employers pay? Most consumers have health insurance and pay a much smaller out-of-pocket cost, although that can still add up to thousands of dollars a month.

Other questions include whether such a requirement would survive a First Amendment challenge, and whether posting a high sticker price — which few ultimately pay — could dissuade patients seeking out a necessary drug.

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Oleg Deripaska

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Oleg Deripaska
Дерипаска Олег Владимирович.jpg

Deripaska in 2012
Born Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska
2 January 1968 (age 50)
DzerzhinskNizhny Novgorod OblastRussian SFSR
Residence Moscow, Russia
Citizenship Russia
Cyprus[1]
Alma mater Moscow State UniversityPlekhanov Russian Academy of Economics
Occupation Chairman of Supervisory Board of Basic Element Company
Net worth DecreaseUS$3.7 billion (April 2018)[2]
Spouse(s) Polina Yumasheva (m. 2001)
Children 2
Awards
Website Basic Element
Deripaska.com

Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska (Russian: Оле́г Влади́мирович Дерипа́ска; born January 2, 1968)[3] is a Russian oligarch of Jewish descent, aluminium magnate and philanthropist.[1] He is the founder and owner of one of the largest Russian industrial groups Basic Element. He was the president of En+ Group and United Company Rusal, the second largest aluminium company in the world,[4] until 2018.[5]

After graduating from Moscow State University with a degree in physics, Deripaska became a metals broker specialized in trading aluminium before expanding into energy, machinery, financial services and agribusiness. In 2000, Deripaska founded Rusal, the result of a partnership between Sibirsky Aluminium and Roman Abramovich‘s Millhouse Capital.[6] In 2007, Rusal merged with SUAL Group and Glencore International AG to form UC Rusal, with Deripaska as chairman.[7]

He was once Russia’s richest man, worth $28 billion, but nearly lost everything due to mounting debts amid the 2007–08 financial crisis. As of May 2017, his wealth was estimated by Forbes at $5.2 billion.[8] Deripaska is also known for his close ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, as well as his connection to American political consultant Paul Manafort, whom Deripaska employed from at least 2005 to 2009.[9]

Deripaska is also the founder of Volnoe Delo, Russia’s largest charitable foundation, and is reported to have donated more than $250 million to mostly educational causes. He is married to Polina Yumasheva, step-granddaughter of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and daughter of Valentin Yumashev, Yeltsin’s son-in-law and close advisor.

Deripaska was also granted Cypriot citizenship in 2017.[1]

Education and early career

Early life

Deripaska was born in DzerzhinskNizhny Novgorod OblastSoviet Russia and grew up in Ust-LabinskKrasnodar Krai. His parents were from Kuban[10]. He is of Russian-Jewish ancestry.[11]. Deripaska grew up on the family’s small farm, where from the age of 5 or 6, he learned how to live off the land from his grandparents,[12] who primarily raised him after his widowed mother, an engineer, had to leave to find work.[13] Deripaska credits his grandparents for teaching him the discipline of hard work along with farming.[12] Both his grandfathers fought in the Second World War; one was killed in battle and buried in a mass grave in Austria, the other returned to Russia after the war ended.[14]

Deripaska’s first job was at the Ust-Labinsk plant where his mother worked. At age 11, he became an electrician’s apprentice doing maintenance on electrical motors.[14] Deripaska acquired a passion for reading; his favorite authors were Mayne Reid and Jack London.[14]Today, Basic Element’s headquarters contain walls of books, reflecting Deripaska’s lifelong love of reading.[14] His talent for math allowed him to enroll at the physics faculty of Moscow State University in 1985.[12] One year into his studies, he was conscripted into the armed forces and served in the Soviet army’s Strategic Missile Forces[12] in the Trans-Baikal area, Siberia, from 1986–1989.[14]

Education

In 1993, Deripaska graduated with honors in physics from Moscow State University;[15] however, the collapse of the Soviet Union greatly eliminated academic funding and made it impossible for him to continue his studies as a theoretical physicist.[14] There were no stipends or grants for students either. “We had no money. It was an urgent and practical question every day. How do I earn money to buy food and keep studying?” he recalls.[14] In 1996, he earned a master’s degree from the Plekhanov University of Economics.[13]

Early career

At the age of 25, teaming up with fellow physicists, engineers and rocket scientists, Deripaska set up his first metal trading company, VTK. He adopted a systematic, scientific approach to commodity trading. “I represented companies that were buying and selling raw materials”, Deripaska said.[12] Deripaska undertook export arbitrage, buying metal at low Russian prices and selling it abroad at significantly higher international market prices. Deripaska traded primarily through the Baltic state of Estonia as the Russian system of export licenses was in disarray.[12] “I started my business at an unusual moment in history. The country in which I was born raised had disappeared, although the new country was not fully formed. The first one gave me an excellent education; the second one gave me the chance of success”, Deripaska recalled in an interview with Metal Bulletin.[14]

He used nearly all his arbitrage and trading profits to acquire his initial package of shares in the Sayanogorsk Aluminium Smelter in Southern Siberia.[16] Between 1993 and 1994, Deripaska bought vouchers and shares in Sayanogorsk, and accumulated a 20% stake in the factory, becoming the biggest individual shareholder after the Russian State — to the annoyance of the plant’s Communist-era bosses.

In 1994, Deripaska became director general of the plant at the age of 26.[12] In 1997, the smelter became the core asset of Sibirsky (Siberian) Aluminium Group.[17] Deripaska was general manager and the main shareholder of the Sayanogorsk Smelter (1994–97) and held the post of president of Sibirsky Aluminium Investment Industrial Group (1997–2001), which later became the core asset of RUSAL.[18]

Growth with RUSAL

RUSAL went on to become the largest aluminium producer in the world, until the China Hongqiao Group surpassed it in 2015. In 2010, under Deripaska’s leadership, Rusal became the first Russian company to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.[14]

Beyond metals, which remain at the core of his diversified industrial holding, Deripaska has acquired stakes in a wide range of companies in various sectors, including energy, manufacturing, commercial vehicles, auto components, financial and insurance services,[19]leasing businesses, construction,[20] aviation, and agriculture. Among his assets are a Siberian power company EuroSibEnergo,[21] that is Russia’s biggest private energy company; Ingosstrakh, one of Russia’s largest insurance companies; GAZ Group, a producer of cars, trucks and buses, agricultural business (Kuban Agro Holding);[22][23] and transport companies, such as a cluster of airports in the Krasnodar region, including Sochi and Krasnodar.[24] All these assets form part of the diversified investment and industrial group Basic Element.[25]

In fact, Basic Element built several Olympic facilities for 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, including the Coastal Olympic Village, Imeretisnkiy sea port, Doubler of Kurortny Avenue in Sochi, renovation of the Sochi International Airport. The total investments account for over $1.4 billion.[26]

Later business career

EN+ Group

The group was formed in 2006, with Oleg Deripaska as President and controlling shareholder.[27] The EN+ Group is a diversified mining, metals and energy groups. It owns a majority stake in UC Rusal (48.13%[28]) and in EuroSibEnergo. EN+ also holds interests in SMR, one of the world’s largest ferromolybdenum producers.

In 2017, it reported adjusted core earnings of $2.3 billion, on revenues totaling $9.8 billion.[29] Due to ongoing recovery in the commodity industry, EN+ Group announced plans to be listed at the London Stock Exchange in the first half of 2017.[30] EN+ could be valued between $10 billion and $12 billion.[30]

Basic Element

Deripaska is the sole owner and Chairman of Supervisory Board of Basic Element, a diversified investment group established in 1997. Basic Element’s assets are concentrated in five sectors: energy, manufacturing, financial services, agriculture, construction and aviation. The major assets include United Company RUSAL[31] the world’s largest aluminium and alumina producer; GAZ Group, an automotive companyIngosstrakh, the country’s oldest insurance company; Bank SOYUZ (Банк «СОЮЗ»);[32] Aviakor aircraft manufacturer; EuroSibEnergo (ЕвроСибЭнерго), an investment and energy supply company;[21] Glavmosstroy (Главмосстрой), a construction company;[33] Kuban Agroholding, an agricultural company;[22] and Basel Aero, an aviation business comprising the four largest airports in the Krasnodar territory (in joint venture with Changi Airports International).[24]

Basic Element owns companies and subsidiaries in Russia, the CIS countries, Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe and Latin America. It employs as many as 250,000 people.[25]

Metals and mining

RUSAL

United Company RUSAL is the world’s second largest aluminium company. It was the largest until it was overtaken by China Hongqiao Group in 2015. UC RUSAL accounts for almost 7% of the world’s primary aluminium output and 7% of the world’s alumina production. UC RUSAL was formed through a series of mergers and acquisitions.

In 2000, Deripaska’s Sibirsky Aluminium and Roman Abramovich‘s Millhouse Capital created a partnership to manage the aluminium and alumina assets they controlled, and founded RUSAL.[34]

In 2003, businesses led by Deripaska increased their stake in those companies under common management to 75% by acquiring half of the interest managed by Millhouse Capital.[35]

In 2004, the consolidation of RUSAL’s ownership by companies related to Deripaska was completed with the acquisition of the remaining 25% equity interest in RUSAL managed by Millhouse Capital.[34]

In order to ensure a stable supply of alumina to its smelters, several mergers and acquisitions were accomplished by RUSAL under Deripaska’s guidance. At the beginning of the 2000s, RUSAL acquired bauxite mines in Guinea, a country with the world’s largest bauxite reserves. Subsequently, RUSAL acquired a stake in an alumina refinery in Australia. After the merger with Glencore, bauxite and alumina assets in Jamaica, Italy and Ireland were added to RUSAL’s portfolio. These transactions converted RUSAL from a company with few supplies of the raw material bauxite into a vertically integrated corporation.[36]

In parallel, Deripaska invested significantly in the operational improvement of smelters inside Russia. He said, “We consolidated the industry, and located bauxites that do not exist in Russia. We established the company that became the leader of industry in less than twelve years. But to become the number one alumimium producer in the world, we had to improve our operations practice. To apply the best practices in the world, we looked at Toyota, which had utilized a precise, deep and well thought-through process for almost thirty years of operations.”[37]

Deripaska himself has been an active supporter Japanese production efficiencies made popular by the “Toyota Way.” RUSAL smelters have adopted the concept of kaizen, which means continuous improvement and involves training workers in standardized production techniques. “It’s important to change both the company’s mind set and reporting lines,” Deripaska said. “Instead of top-down management, you should understand everything is in the hands of your operator and empower that operator to drive efficiencies and improvements directly on the factory floor.”[12]

Under Deripaska’s leadership, RUSAL undertook large-scale modernization projects at a number of its facilities, including the Bratsk, Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk aluminium smelters.[38]

At Deripaska’s behest, in 2007, RUSAL; SUAL Group, one of the world’s top 10 aluminum producers; and Glencore International AG, the Swiss natural resources group, merged their assets to form United Company RUSAL, the world’s largest aluminum and alumina producer.[39]

With the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, UC Rusal was provided with a $4.5 billion loan from Russian state bank VEB to ease the company’s debt burden.[40]

In the middle of the financial crisis, Deripaska returned in 2009 to RUSAL as CEO to lead the company through the debt restructuring process. “I worked 16-hour days. We were in default, although none of the parties involved wanted to call it default.” As part of contingency measures, Deripaska cut costs at RUSAL by 25% in 2009. By December 2009, Deripaska reached a final agreement with over 70 Russian and international lenders to refinance US$17 billion of debt.[12]

In 2017, Rusal issued two Eurobonds to finance its debts. The first one, worth $600 million, was issued in February[41], followed by the second one in April, worth $500 million.[42] Also in February, plans were announced to sell 10 billion yuan worth of seven-year onshore bonds to finance purchases in China. This made Rusal the first foreign company to offer panda bonds on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.[43] The company also agreed on a pre-export finance mechanism with international lenders worth $1.7 billion for debt refinancing.[44]

In 2013, Deripaska was awarded the “Aluminium Industry Ambassador Award” in the Metal Bulletin Awards for Excellence for his “great influence within the global aluminium industry and the wider market”.[45]

As of 2017, Deripaska maintains his position as president of RUSAL, focusing on the strategic development of the company, which employs more than 61,000 people in 20 countries on five continents.[46]

Energy

EuroSibEnergo

Oleg Deripaska owns a 100% stake in EuroSibEnergo, the world’s largest private hydrogeneration company and the largest private power company in Russia.[47] It controls and manages 18 power plants with a combined installed energy capacity of 19.5 GW, including 15 GW provided by hydrogeneration. The company produces approximately 9% of all electricity in Russia and is also the leader in the Siberian energy market, with a market share totaling 41%. Some of EuroSibEnergo’s key clients include the largest aluminum plants in Russia. The company owns large fuel resources, which satisfy over 85% of the coal needs of its thermal power and boiler plants. Its coal reserves amount to 1.26 billion tons, with annual coal production exceeding 12 million tons.[47]

Deripaska’s En+ Group, of which EuroSibEnergo is a subsidiary, is investing in a joint venture with China’s largest hydroelectric power generation company China Yangtze Power Co to build new power plants in Siberia, primarily hydroelectric ones, with a total capacity of up to 10 GWt.[48]

Machinery

Russian Machines

Russian Machines corporation was established in 2005 and unites Oleg Deripaska’s machine building assets. It comprises industrial and engineering assets in the following industries: automotive OEM (GAZ Group), automotive components (RM-Systems), rail industry (RM Rail), aircraft OEM (Aviacor), road construction (RM-Terex) and agricultural machinery (AGCO-RM).[49]

Russian Machines Corporation manages 24 facilities located across 12 regions in Russia.[49]

GAZ Group

In 2000, Deripaska started acquiring machine building assets. His first acquisition was Nizhny Novgorod-based Gorkovsky Automobile Plant (GAZ), which was previously a government-run company. In 2005, GAZ Group was established by combining the businessman’s machine building assets.[50]

The Russian automotive conglomerate, GAZ Group, comprises 18 manufacturing facilities in eight regions of Russia, as well as sales and service organizations. GAZ Group produces light and medium commercial vehicles, heavy trucks, buses, cars, road construction equipment, power units, and automotive components.[49]

Airports

Oleg Deripaska’s airport business is managed by Basel Aero, a company-operator of the SochiKrasnodarGelendzhik, and Anapa airports.[51]

These airports handle more than 7% of the total passenger flow in Russia.[52] Sochi International Airport was the main gateway to Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and successfully serviced the guests and participants of the Games.[51]

In October 2014, Sochi was granted open skies status, meaning that any foreign carrier may pick up and drop off passengers and cargo with no restrictions on aircraft type, frequency, and regardless of interstate agreements.[53]

Financial services

Deripaska personally holds 10% of Ingosstrakh‘s ordinary shares. The company is a leading insurer of complex risks such as insurance for ship owners, ship hull insurance, insurance against aviation and space-related risks, and insurance of transportation companies. Ingosstrakh has 83 branches in Russia and the company’s offices operate in 220 Russian towns and cities.[54]

Agribusiness

Oleg Deripaska fully owns Kuban Agroholding, a massive agribusiness in southern Russia. The company integrates two dairy farms, а 16,000 pig capacity breeding complex, three elevators with non-recurrent grain storage capacity of more than 270,000 tonnes, three-seed plants, a sugar factory and the Sunrise horse breeding farm, specializing in the breeding of English thoroughbred horses. It is one of the top-20 largest agribusinesses and top-5 most efficient land users in Russia.[55]

Kuban Agroholding is one of the few agrocompanies in Russia involved in embryo transfer technology that allows for the reproduction of high-yielding milk cows out of less productive recipients.[56]

The company has gained significant media attention about its corn-seeding program, deploying several dozen corn brands selected by its genetic specialists.[56]

Other business appointments

In 2004, Deripaska was appointed by the President of Russia to represent the country in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council (ABAC). He has been Chairman of ABAC Russia since 2007. Deripaska is the vice president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, chairman of the executive board of the Russian national committee of the International Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Council, an agency of the Russian government.[57]

He has been a permanent participant at World Economic Forum sessions since 2007, when RUSAL became a WEF strategic partner.[58]

In May 2007, Magna International chairman Frank Stronach announced that Deripaska was becoming a strategic partner in Magna.[59]

Deripaska is also a member of the International Council at Harvard University‘s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.[60]

Deripaska personally initiated construction of the Centre for Epidemic and Microbiological Research and Treatment in the Guinean Kindia province. The Centre was designed and constructed by RUSAL specialists with the assistance of Rospotrebnadzor scientists (RUSAL has invested $10 million).[61]

Controversies

Cherney lawsuit

Michael Cherney brought legal action against Deripaska in the Commercial Court of the High Court in London.[62] Cherney sought a declaration that he was the beneficial owner of 20% of RUSAL stock which, he claimed, Deripaska held in trust for him. The claim was denied. On 3 May 2007, Justice Langley ruled that Deripaska had not been properly served, and that the court had no jurisdiction to try the claim as Deripaska did not live in England or Wales.[63]

On 3 July 2008, Justice Christopher Clarke ruled that the case should be tried in England, although “the natural forum for this litigation is Russia”, because, he held, “risks inherent in a trial in Russia…are sufficient to make England the forum in which the case can most suitably be tried in the interest of both parties and the ends of justice”.[64] On 22 July 2008, he granted Deripaska leave to appeal. The Court of Appeal of England and Wales refused the appeal on 31 July 2009.[65]

At a June 2011 case management conference, the judge deferred a decision on whether Cherney would be allowed to give evidence by video link from Israel rather than appear in person. An outstanding arrest warrant issued by Interpol meant that the British would detain him if he travelled to the UK.[66][67] In late July 2011, the High Court ruled to allow Cherney to give evidence at the trial by video link from Israel, and also set trial for April 2012.[68] Deripaska denied that Cherney was owed any stake in RUSAL, and asserted payments made to Cherney had been for unavoidable “protection” at a time when violence was sweeping the region and posed an existential threat to any profitable business in the country. In an interview with The Telegraph, Deripaska said he was one of the few who worked to clean up Russian industry and provided support to law enforcement agencies. However, in this early chaotic period paying protection money to criminal gangs was inescapable, as revealed in court testimony.[69]

In September 2012, Cherney terminated his UK lawsuit against Deripaska.[70]

U.S. investigation

In 2015, Deripaska filed a lawsuit against Morgan Stanley, accusing the bank of using insider information to short sell the businessman’s $1.5 billion investment in shares of Magma in 2008.[71]

In 2007, Deripaska’s Veleron investment vehicle acquired stock in Canadian based Magna International through a $1.2 billion loan from BNP Paribas, with Magna shares serving as collateral.[72] Morgan Stanley was involved in the deal through a swap agreement with BNP Paribas where the US bank assumed the risks of the loan in return for a fixed payment from Paribas.[73]

In September 2008, Magna’s stocks plummeted, hit by the global economic downturn. BNP issued a $93 million margin call to Veleron. Morgan Stanley, in turn, learned that Veleron was unlikely to meet the call and sold the stock short.[74] Deripaska claimed that Morgan Stanley abused its duties and engaged in unlawful insider trading that resulted in significant financial damage to Veleron, estimated at $15 million to $25 million.[73] A New York jury determined in November 2015 that Morgan Stanley had “acquired inside information and traded on it despite a duty to keep it confidential and not trade on it,” finding as well that Morgan Stanley did not have the intent to defraud Veleron. Veleron strongly disagreed with and said it would file an appeal.[74][when?]

In July 2006, whilst Deripaska was involved in a bid to buy the Daimler Chrysler Group, it was reported that the United States canceled his entry visa; the unnamed official declined to give a reason for the revoking of the visa. The Wall Street Journal reported that it could have been because Deripaska has been accused of having links to organized crime in Russia and cited as their sources two unnamed U.S. law enforcement officials.[75] Deripaska had received a multiple-entry visa in 2005; a U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigationspokesman refused to comment. Lobbying on his behalf had been done by former Senate Republican leader and 1996 presidential candidate Bob Dole and his Alston & Bird law partners, Senate records show. Alston & Bird was paid about US$260,000 in 2005 for work on “Department of State visa policies and procedures” tied to Deripaska.[75]

In 2009, Deripaska was again allowed entry and visited the United States twice. The Wall Street Journal reported that according to two unnamed FBI administration officials, Deripaska had met with agents regarding a continuing criminal probe, the details of the probe were not known or reported. During Deripaska’s visits, he met with leading management figures from investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The Aluminum company that Deripaska heads, United Company RUSAL, was in preparations for an initial public offering. The easing of Deripaska’s visa issues which were an issue for possible investors helped to reassure bankers. The State Department has never said why it revoked his visa and refused to comment on his 2009 visits. The visits were arranged outside of the usual process as the U.S. continues to have concerns about Deripaska’s business associations. Deripaska has repeatedly denied a connection to any organized crime and said business rivals have caused the visa to be revoked by smearing him. When interviewed by the BBC in July 2009, Deripaska said that the authorities in the United States had been attempting to blackmail him by revoking his visa and thus affecting possible investors in a negative way and thereby hoping to push Deripaska into cooperating with them.[76]

Spanish investigation

According to an article in El Mundo, Deripaska and Iskander Makhmudov (head of UGMK) were asked by Spanish police to answer questions in relation to a money-laundering enquiry.[77] The Spanish state prosecutor’s office subsequently confirmed Deripaska’s interrogation.[78]

While Deripaska has been interrogated previously as a witness in Spain and England and by the FBI in cases of money laundering, he has never been charged with any crimes in those probes.[79]

On 25 January 2010, the Financial Times published a story “Rusal: A lingering heat” exploring Deripaska’s business relations with Sergei Popov and Anton Malevsky, alleged heads of Russian organized crime groups.[80] Deripaska has accused Michael Chernoy of using Malevsky and the Izmailovskaya syndicate to extort US$250 million from him as part of a protection racket.[81] However, Deripaska has himself been accused of having similar links to Malevsky, who, with his brother Andrei, owned a 10% stake in Deripaska’s company. Deripaska denies the claims.[82]

In November 2011, Spain’s High Court sent the criminal cases against Deripaska to the Russian General Prosecutor’s office because the root of the cases is Russian.[83]

Political relationships

Vladimir Putin and Deripaska, March 19, 2002

Vladimir Putin

Deripaska is noted for his close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Their relationship was visibly strained amidst Deripaska’s financial struggles in 2009, but in a widely broadcast incident on Russian television, Putin visited a stalled cement factory owned by Deripaska and berated its management. He forced Deripaska to sign a contract promising to pay nearly $1 million in unpaid wages.[13][84] Their relationship recovered, however, and Deripaska has been described as “Putin’s favorite industrialist“.[85] Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables from 2006 described Deripaska as “among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis” and “a more-or-less permanent fixture on Putin’s trips abroad”.[86] In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Tye Burt, who knows Deripaska and is the CEO of Kinross Gold said that, “I believe Russia recognizes Oleg’s major role in building a renewed economic base in a broad range of domestic businesses and rejuvenating ailing companies and infrastructure.”[13]

Nathaniel Rothschild and Peter Mandelson

Deripaska is a friend of Nathaniel Rothschild, a major investor in both Glencore and United Company RUSAL. Together Deripaska and Rothschild hosted George Osborne and Peter Mandelson on Deripaska’s yacht in Corfu in the summer of 2008.[87] Osborne was then Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom and a friend of Rothschild from school and university. It was reported that Peter Mandelson have maintained private contacts over several years with Oleg Deripaska[88]

News of the contacts sparked criticism because, as European Union Trade Commissioner, Mandelson had been responsible for decision to cut aluminium tariffs from 6 to 3%, a decision that had benefited Deripaska’s Company RusAl.[89] Mandelson insisted that he had never discussed aluminium tariffs with Deripaska.[90] On 26 October 2008 the Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague claimed the “whole country” wanted “transparency” about Mandelson’s previous meetings with Deripaska. In response, Prime Minister Gordon Brownsaid Mandelson’s dealings with Deripaska had been “found to be above board”.[91] Mandelson said that meeting business figures from “across the range” in emerging economies was part of his brief as EU Trade Commissioner.[92] On 29 October 2008, while Mandelson was on a ministerial visit to Moscow,[93] it was alleged in the British press that Valery Pechenkin, the head of security at Deripaska’s company Basic Element, had organised a swift entry visa for Mandelson when he turned up in Moscow to visit Deripaska in 2005.[94]

Paul Manafort

On 22 March 2017, the Associated Press published a report alleging that Paul ManafortDonald Trump‘s former presidential campaign manager, negotiated a $10 million annual contract with Deripaska to promote Russian interests in politics, business, and media coverage in Europe and the United States, starting in 2005.[95] Both Deripaska and Manafort have confirmed to have worked together in the past,[96] but rejected the contents of the AP story. Manafort argued that his work had been inaccurately presented, and that there was nothing “inappropriate or nefarious” about it.[97]

Responding to the allegations, on March 28, 2017, Deripaska published open letters in the print editions of The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, in which he denied having signed a $10 million contract with Manafort in order to benefit the Putin government.[98] He also stated his willingness to testify before the United States Congress to dispel these allegations,[99] and argued that the accusations fall “into the negative context of current US-Russian relations.”[100] According to Congressional sources cited by The New York Times, lawmakers declined Deripaska’s request, after it emerged that he had asked for immunity. Unnamed officials argued that “immunity agreements create complications for federal criminal investigators”.[101]

On May 15, 2017, Deripaska filed a defamation and libel lawsuit against the Associated Press in a U.S. District Court in D.C., arguing that[102] the outlet’s report falsely claimed that Deripaska had signed a contract with Manafort to advance the goals of the Russian government.[103] However, the lawsuit was dismissed in October 2017 on the grounds that Deripaska had not disputed “any material facts” in the story by the Associate press [104]

During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Manafort, via Kiev-based operative Konstantin Kilimnik, offered to provide briefings on political developments to Deripaska, though there is no evidence that the briefings took place.[105][106] Behaviors such as these were seen as an attempt by Manafort to please an oligarch tied to Putin’s government.[107]

Navalny video

In February 2018, Alexei Navalny published a video about a meeting between Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Sergei Eduardovich Prikhodko on a yacht traveling near Norway. According to Navalny, Deripaska probably served as a middle man between the Russian government represented by Prikhodko and Paul Manafort during Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[104] Prikhodko denied the allegations, accusing Navalny of “mixing the facts” about his “friend” Deripaska, Donald Trump and Paul Manafort, while also voicing his wish to have talk with Navalny as a “man with a man”.[108][109][110]

A day after the video was published the Roskomnadzor added the video to the Federal List of Extremist Materials, thus making accessing the video illegal for all Russian citizens.[111] It also ordered YouTube to remove seven videos and Instagram to take down 14 points that were cited in the investigation; neither YouTube nor Instagram had responded as of February 12, 2018. According to a Roskomnadzor representative who spoke to Vedomosti, a “court injunction of this sort against content hosted on Instagram and YouTube is unprecedented for Russia”. The New York Times noted that this may presage a “more aggressive approach by the Russian government” to control online activities.[112]

The New York Times reported on 5 March 2018, that Anastasia Vashukevich, a Belarusian national currently incarcerated in Bangkok, claims to have over 16 hours of audio recordings she says could shed light on possible Russian interference in American elections. She is offering the recordings to American authorities in exchange for asylum, to avoid extradition to Belarus. Vashukevich claims to be close to Deripaska and asserts the recordings include him discussing the 2016 presidential election with associates Vashukevich did not name. “Deripaska had a plan about elections,” The New York Times quoted Vashukevich as saying. She stated that some of the recorded conversations, which she asserts were made in August 2016, included three individuals who spoke fluent English and whom she believed were Americans. The New York Times reported that her claims might be easily dismissed were it not for the Navalny video.[113]

U.S. sanctions

In April 2018, the United States imposed sanctions on him and 23 other Russian nationals.[114][115] In the statement from the United States Department of the Treasury it was stated that Deripaska “has been accused of threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official, and taking part in extortion and racketeering”. According to the US treasury statement there are allegations that Deripaska ordered the murder of a businessman, and had links to a Russian organized crime group.[116]

Personal life

In February 2001, Deripaska married Polina Yumasheva, the daughter of Boris Yeltsin‘s top adviser Valentin Yumashev and stepdaughter of Yeltsin’s daughter Tatyana. While Yeltsin was president, Deripaska’s close ties put him in Yeltsin’s inner circle, dubbed “The Family”.[117] The Deripaskas have two children: a son, Pyotr (born 2001), and daughter, Maria (born 2003).[118] Deripaska practices yoga, swimming, horseback riding, and hiking. His favorite pets are dogs. At his home near Moscow, he has seven horses and six dogs.[12]

In March 2018, it was reported that Deripaska had successfully purchased Cypriot citizenship in 2017 under Cyprus’ “golden visa” that generates billions of revenue for the island nation. According to documents seen by The Guardian, Deripaska’s first attempt to become a citizen of a country in the EU was unsuccessful because of an preliminary inquiry into his activities in Belgium. The inquiry was dismissed in 2016.[1]

Philanthropy

Volnoe Delo

In 1998, Deripaska established Volnoe Delo, Russia’s largest[citation needed] private charitable foundation.[119][additional citation(s) needed] The fund supports over 400[citation needed] initiatives across Russia aimed at developing education and science, preserving spiritual and cultural heritage, and improving standards in public health.[120][additional citation(s) needed] It helps children, old people, talented youths, teachers, eminent scientists and other participants of the programs. Since 1998, Oleg Deripaska has invested more than RUB10.6 billion[citation needed] in more than 500 charity programs in 50 regions of Russia.[121][additional citation(s) needed]

Volnoe Delo has supported research activities in the 2,550-year-old city of Phanagoria since 2004. More than $10 million has been allocated to Phanagoria fieldwork over the past[which?] decade. Today, Phanagoria is one of the best-equipped archeological expeditions in Russia and has its own scientific and cultural center, cutting edge equipment and technology for above-ground and underwater excavation as well as a large team of specialists involved in the excavation process.[122]

In 2014, Volnoe Delo foundation launched a programme on students’ early career guidance and professional training—JuniorSkills.[123] The first, pilot, championship on professional skills, JuniorSkills Hi-Tech, was held in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg in 2014, part of the nationwide championship on cross-industry blue-collar professions in high-tech WorldSkills.

Climate change

Deripaska is one of the 16 global business leaders who drafted CEO Climate Policy Recommendations to G8 Leaders, a document outlining the international business community’s proposals to tackle global warming. The proposals were signed by more than 100 of the world’s leading corporations and handed to the Prime Minister of Japan Yasuo Fukuda on 20 June 2008. The G8 leaders discussed the recommendations during the summit in Japan on 7–9 July 2008. The process was coordinated by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.[124]

Deripaska actively advocates cutting the global carbon footprint and calls for the creation of an enforcement mechanism with consequences for countries that do not reduce carbon-intensive emissions, such as those produced by coal-fired powerplants.[125] He also remains a strong advocate of a legally binding climate change deal, but has publicly voiced concern about the potential competitive impact of a Paris climate agreement and also about the absence of binding measures to curb each country’s emissions in the near future.[125] “Everyone is in favour; we just need to have more or less fair regulation. There shouldn’t be any pockets where people can cheat the system. People shouldn’t agree on something that creates another Kyoto protocol that creates nice polished statements”, he told the Financial Times in January 2016.[125]

Other activities

In February 2014, Deripaska financed the construction of makeshift kennels to house stray dogs that had been abandoned by construction workers after completing work on the Sochi Olympic Village. Officials said the number of strays exceeded 2,000 and the animals presented a risk of rabies, so they contracted out their extermination. Many of these dogs were saved and more were re-homed in a global adoption program that Deripaska created.[126]

He sits on the board of trustees of the School of Business Administration, the School of Public Administration, and the School of Economics at Moscow State University as well as the School of Business Administration at St. Petersburg State University. Deripaska is a co-founder of the National Science Support Foundation and the National Medicine Fund. In 1999, he was awarded the Order of Friendship, a state award of the Russian Federation. He was named businessman of the year in 1999, 2006, and 2007 by Vedomosti, a Russian business daily.

He sits on the board of trustees of the Bolshoi Theatre, and has financed ballet performances like Flames of ParisLa Sylphide, and Paquita as well as operas like The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden FevroniyaCarmen, and Wozzeck.[127]

Net worth

In 2008, Forbes estimated his wealth at US$28 billion, making him the then ninth richest man in the world.[128] In 2009, Deripaska’s ranking fell to a ranking of No. 164, with Forbes stating: “[H]e may not withstand collapsing markets and heavy debts”.[129] In 2010, however, his estimated $10.7 billion fortune allowed him to rise to No. 57 of the World’s Billionaires list.[130] According to Forbes magazine, he removed the heads of his two largest companies and personally negotiated with the Russian government, banks, and other creditors to restructure his loan obligations.[131] Deripaska himself in 2007 was reported to have consistently said that the estimate of his wealth was exaggerated, that it did not completely account for the amount of debt he incurred, and that he should be ranked far below the top ten on the list of the Russian billionaires.[132]

Deripaska has owned the Haft mansion near Embassy Row in Washington, D.C., through a company incorporated in Delaware since 2006.[133]

Forbes estimated his fortune at $3.3 billion in 2015[2] and $5.2 billion in 2017.[8]

See also

References

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

 

 

Robert Levinson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert Levinson
Robert-Levinson.png

Levinson while in captivity, taken November 2010
Born March 10, 1948 (age 70)
Disappeared March 9, 2007 (aged 58)
Kish Island
Status Missing for 11 years, 2 months and 6 days
Nationality American
Known for Disappearance in Iran

Robert Alan “Bob” Levinson (born March 10, 1948)[1] is an American former Drug Enforcement Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who disappeared mysteriously in 2007 in Kish IslandIran. He is believed[according to whom?] to be currently[when?] held captive by the government of Iran.[2][3] He disappeared on March 9, 2007, when visiting Iran’s Kish Island while supposedly researching a cigarette smuggling case.

U.S. officials believed Levinson had been arrested by Iranian intelligence officials to be interrogated and used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Washington. But as every lead fizzled and Iran repeatedly denied any involvement in his disappearance, many in the U.S. government believed Levinson was probably dead.[4] He was last seen alive in photographs from April 2011, wearing a jumpsuit and holding signs apparently asking for help in broken English.[5]

On December 12, 2013, the Associated Press reported that their investigations revealed that Levinson had been working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),[6][7] contradicting the U.S.’s statement that he was not an employee of the government at the time of his capture.[8]

In an interview, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke of cooperation regarding Levinson’s case. “We are willing to help, and all the intelligence services in the region can come together to gather information about him to find his whereabouts.”[9] John Miller of CBS described this statement as a “tacit admission that he’s in their custody and that there have been talks”.[10]

Iranian involvement

On April 4, 2007, a little over three weeks after Levinson was arrested, an article by Iranian state-run PressTV stated that he “has been in the hands of Iranian security forces since the early hours of March 9” and “authorities are well on the way to finishing the procedural arrangements that could see him freed in a matter of days”. The same article explained that it was established that Levinson’s trip to Kish “was purely that of a private businessman looking to make contact with persons who could help him make representations to official Iranian bodies responsible for suppressing trade in pirated products which is a major concern of his company”.[11]

On January 8, 2013, the Associated Press reported that “the consensus now among some U.S. officials involved in the case is that despite years of denials, Iran’s intelligence service was almost certainly behind the 54-second video and five photographs of Levinson that were emailed anonymously to his family. ‘The tradecraft used to send those items was too good, indicating professional spies were behind them’, the officials said… While everything dealing with Iran is murky, their conclusion is based on the U.S. government’s best intelligence analysis.”[12]

Family investigation

Media reported in August 2007 that Christine Levinson, wife of Robert, was planning a trip to Iran with their oldest son, Dan. The Department of State stressed that there was a travel warning to that country and they would be doing so at their own risk.[13] Iran announced on September 23, 2007, that they would be allowed to visit the country.[14]

In December 2007, Christine and Dan traveled to Iran to attempt to learn more about Levinson’s disappearance. They met with Iranian officials in Tehran and traveled to Robert’s hotel on Kish, the Hotel Maryam.[15] Airport officials allowed Christine and Dan to view the flight manifests for all flights leaving Kish during the time Robert was due to leave, but his name did not appear on any of the lists provided. They were also able to view Robert’s signature from the hotel check-out bill on March 9. Iranian officials promised to provide an investigative report to the family, but have yet to do so.[16] In July 2008 and subsequent interviews, Christine and Dan have said they wanted to travel to Iran again soon.[17]

President Ahmadinejad’s statements on Levinson

Pressed by Charlie Rose in an interview for CBS This Morning in September 2012, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “did not deny Iran still has Levinson in its custody, and hinted that there had been talks about a prisoner exchange”. Rose asked, “Is there anything that could happen, a trade or something, that could allow him to come back to the United States?” Ahmadinejad responded:

I remember that last year Iranian and American intelligence groups had a meeting, but I haven’t followed up on it. I thought they’d come to some kind of an agreement.

CBS’ John Miller says that “tacit admission that he’s in their custody and that there have been talks”, in and of itself, “is a big step”.[10]

In a 2008 interview with NBC‘s Brian Williams, Ahmadinejad was questioned regarding Levinson’s case and its status. He responded:

There was a claim made some time ago, some people came over, the gentleman’s family came over. They talked and met with our officials and were given our responses. I see no reason for a person who was given an Iranian visa and — came into Iran, arrived in Iran through official channels, to have problems here. Our security officials and agents have expressed their willingness to assist the FBI, if the FBI has any information about his travels around the world. We have said that we are ready to help, to assist with that matter. There are certain informations that only the FBI at the moment has. I am not an expert in that field, as you might appreciate, so I’m not going to make a judgment here whether that information, as they say, is true and only held by the FBI or other parties for that matter.[18]

U.S. government investigation

President Barack Obama meets with Christine Levinson in the Oval Office on March 6, 2012

In June 2007, President George W. Bush released a statement on Levinson’s case, saying: “I am … disturbed by the Iranian regime’s refusal so far to provide any information on Robert Levinson, despite repeated U.S. requests. I call on Iran’s leaders to tell us what they know about his whereabouts.” [19]

On January 13, 2009, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson revealed during Hillary Clinton‘s confirmation hearing that he believes Robert Levinson is being held in a secret prison in Iran. “The door has been closed at every turn,” Nelson said during Clinton’s confirmation hearing. “We think he is being held by the government of Iran in a secret prison.”[20]

According to The New York Times, Levinson had been meeting with Dawud Salahuddin, (an American convert to Islam wanted for the 1980 murder of an Iranian dissident in the US) “just before he went missing”.[21][22]

On March 8, 2013, the Obama administration released a statement to mark the sixth anniversary of Levinson’s kidnapping. Press Secretary Jay Carney said,

Finding him remains a high priority for the United States, and we will continue to do all that we can to bring him home safely to his friends and family, so they may begin to heal after so many years of extraordinary grief and uncertainty. The Iranian Government previously offered assistance in locating Mr. Levinson and we look forward to receiving this assistance, even as we disagree on other key issues.[23]

Secretary of State John Kerry also met with Levinson’s wife and son “to reiterate that the U.S. government remains committed to locating Mr. Levinson and reuniting him safely with his family”.[24]

Reward

On March 6, 2012, approaching the five-year anniversary of Robert Levinson’s captivity, The Federal Bureau of Investigation offered a $1-million reward for information leading to his safe recovery and return. In addition, a campaign was launched, using billboards, radio messages, flyers, and a telephone hotline to publicize this reward and obtain information of his whereabouts.[25] In conjunction with this announced reward, the Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that it was giving the two youngest Levinson children $5,000 each to help with their college costs.[25]

On March 9, 2015, the CIA increased the reward to up to $5 million for information regarding Levinson’s whereabouts.[26]

Proof of life

According to the Associated Press, Levinson’s family received “irrefutable proof” of life late in 2010.[27] On December 9, 2011, the family released the hostage video dated from November 2010. In the video, Robert appears to have lost considerable weight, and repeatedly pleads for help in returning home.[28]

On January 8, 2013, Levinson’s family released photos to the media showing the former agent in an orange jumpsuit with overgrown and unkempt hair. A family spokesman told CNN the photographs were received in April 2011. CNN reported: “Asked why the family is releasing the images now, more than 18 months later, the spokesman said: ‘The family is anxious that not enough is being done. There is frustration with the lack of progress on the case.'”[5]

President Rouhani’s statements on Levinson

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour during his trip to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2013, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke of cooperation regarding Levinson’s case. “We are willing to help, and all the intelligence services in the region can come together to gather information about him to find his whereabouts”, Rouhani told Amanpour, “and we’re willing to cooperate on that”.[9]

In a subsequent interview with Charlie Rose, Rouhani said, “As to where his whereabouts when he disappeared, I personally have no information on those details, but naturally when someone disappears their family is suffering in specific. Everyone must help. It’s natural that everyone must help”.[29]

President Obama’s discussion of case with Rouhani

During the Obama-Rouhani phone call on September 27, 2013, the first communication between the presidents of the two countries in 34 years, President Obama noted his concern about Levinson’s disappearance to Rouhani, and expressed his interest in seeing him reunited with his family.[9]

Recent status

On November 26, 2013, Levinson, if he is still alive, became the longest-held hostage in American history, surpassing Terry A. Anderson. According to his family, he suffers from type 1 diabetesgout, and hypertension.[30] His passport has never shown up in any other country.[31]

United States Senate call for release

In a unanimous decision, on May 11, 2015, the United States Senate voted on a resolution for the release of Robert Levinson, which passed without amendment.[32] This resolution states that it is U.S. policy that: (1) the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran should immediately release Saeed AbediniAmir Hekmati, and Jason Rezaian, and cooperate with the U.S. government to locate and return Robert Levinson; and (2) the U.S. government should undertake every effort using every diplomatic tool at its disposal to secure their release.[33]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “- INTERPOL”interpol.int.
  2. Jump up^ Goldman, Adam (December 13, 2013). “National Security”The Washington Post.
  3. Jump up^ Pat Milton (2007-05-10). “Intrigue Surrounds Former FBI Agent Who Disappeared in Iran Two Months Ago”San Diego Union-Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved 2013-01-08.
  4. Jump up^ “Missing ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson in hostage video: ‘Help me'”. Associated Press. 2011-12-09.
  5. Jump up to:a b “Family releases photos of captive American”. CNN.com. 2013-01-10. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  6. Jump up^ Missing American in Iran was working for CIA, Associated Press, December 12, 2013, retrieved December 12, 2013
  7. Jump up^ “American who vanished in Iran was on unsanctioned CIA mission – report”rt.com.
  8. Jump up^ “White House: Robert Levinson not a government employee”BBC News, BBC, December 13, 2013, retrieved December 13,2013
  9. Jump up to:a b c “U.S. official: Obama, Rouhani discussed fate of three Americans – CNN.com”. Edition.cnn.com. September 28, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  10. Jump up to:a b “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad drops clue about Robert Levinson, ex-FBI agent who vanished 5 years ago in Iran”. CBS News. 2012-09-25.
  11. Jump up^ “Ex-FBI man in Iran not “missing” at all”. PressTV. 2007-04-04.
  12. Jump up^ “US sees Iran behind hostage photos of ex-FBI agent”. PAP. 2013-01-09.
  13. Jump up^ “U.S. woman plans trip to Iran to search for missing former FBI agent husband”. International Herald Tribune. 2007-08-02.
  14. Jump up^ “Iran: Missing American’s family can visit”CNN. September 23, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  15. Jump up^ Fathi, Nazila (December 24, 2007). “In Iran, Search for American Yields Little”New York Times.
  16. Jump up^ Levinson, Daniel (June 22, 2008). “Missing a Father in Iran”The Washington Post. p. B07. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  17. Jump up^ “Wife of ex-FBI agent to repeat Iran visit in search of her husband”Payvand. July 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  18. Jump up^ “Transcript: ‘Response … will be a positive one'” (NBC Nightly News). msnbc.com. July 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  19. Jump up^ “No ‘miracle’ for American missing in Iran”CNN. December 22, 2007.
  20. Jump up^ “Senator Says Former FBI Agent Who Vanished in 2007 Is in Secret Iran Prison”Fox News. January 13, 2009.
  21. Jump up^ Mackey, Robert (September 16, 2009). “Just Another American Hit Man, Actor and Journalist Living in Iran”.
  22. Jump up^ “Former FBI agent held in Iran: report”Reuters.
  23. Jump up^ “Statement by the Press Secretary on Robert Levinson”The White House.
  24. Jump up^ “John Kerry meets with family of ex-FBI agent missing in Iran”Reuters.
  25. Jump up to:a b “FBI — $1 Million Reward Offered for Missing Retired Agent”. Fbi.gov. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
  26. Jump up^ “FBI — Eight Year Anniversary of the Disappearance of Robert A. Levinson”FBI.
  27. Jump up^ ADAM GOLDMAN and MATT APUZZO Associated Press (2011-03-03). “Years After Vanishing in Iran, US Man Proven Alive – ABC News”. Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  28. Jump up^ “Robert Levinson, missing ex-FBI agent in hostage video: ‘Help me'”Associated Press. December 9, 2011.
  29. Jump up^ mwolda (Sep 27, 2013). Charlie Rose asks Rouhani about Robert Levinson. YouTube. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  30. Jump up^ “Son of captured American pleads for father’s release”Fox News.
  31. Jump up^ “Family Asks For Help Locating Man Possibly Missing In Iran”Daily Press. September 30, 2007.
  32. Jump up^ Deb Riechmann (11 May 2015). “Senate Passes Resolution for Release of Americans in Iran”. Archived from the original on May 28, 2015 – via washingtonpost.com.
  33. Jump up^ James, Risch, (20 May 2015). “S.Con.Res.16 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): A concurrent resolution stating the policy of the United States regarding the release of United States citizens in Iran”http://www.congress.gov.

External links

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

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1074, May 9, 2018, Story 1: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Nominee Gina Haspel Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee — Should Be Confirmed — Videos — Story 2: Pathway to 911 — Bill Clinton’s Smear Campaign To Suppress Outstanding ABC Television Series — Videos

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Story 1: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Nominee Gina Haspel Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee — Should Be Confirmed — Videos —

Who is Gina Haspel?

Why The Torture Report Matters

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Watch live: CIA nominee Gina Haspel testifies in Senate hearing

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Sen. Harris GRILLS Gina Haspel at CIA Senate confirmation hearing May 9, 2018

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Dr. Michael Scheuer: I Hope POTUS Withdraws From The Iran Deal

Michael Scheuer calls congress on their “BULLSH*T!”

Stunningly frank exchange between Michael Scheuer and panel

Michael Scheuer saying some really terrible things about innocent people and torture

Michael Scheuer – The Future of Al Qaeda’s Influence

Michael Scheuer – Terrorism and Homeland Security

Michael Scheuer – Imperial Hubris: Losing the War on Terror

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Gina Haspel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gina Haspel
Gina Haspel official CIA portrait.jpg
Acting Director of the
Central Intelligence Agency
Assumed office
April 26, 2018
President Donald Trump
Deputy Herself
Preceded by Mike Pompeo
6th Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Assumed office
February 2, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by David Cohen
Acting Director of the
National Clandestine Service
In office
February 28, 2013 – May 7, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by John Bennett
Succeeded by Frank Archibald
Personal details
Born Gina Cheri Walker
October 1, 1956 (age 61)
Ashland, Kentucky, U.S.
Spouse(s) Jeff Haspel (divorced)
Education University of Kentucky
University of Louisville (BA)
Awards Presidential Rank Award
Donovan Award
Intelligence Medal of Merit

Gina Cheri Haspel (née Walker;[1] born October 1, 1956[2]) is a fascist torturer and an American intelligence officer serving as the Acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) since April 26, 2018,[3] while holding the official title of Deputy Director.[4][5][6]

She became Acting Director following her predecessor Mike Pompeo‘s resignation to become United States Secretary of State. Haspel has been nominated by President Donald Trump to become the permanent CIA Director. If confirmed by the Senate, she will be the first female CIA Director having already been the second female CIA Deputy Director.[5][6][7][8][9]

Haspel has attracted controversy for her role as chief of a CIAblack site in Thailand in 2002 in which prisoners were tortured.[10][11][12][13]

Early life

Haspel was born Gina Cheri Walker in 1956[1] in Ashland, Kentucky.[14][15] Her father served in the United States Air Force.[15] She has four siblings.[15]

Haspel attended high school in the United Kingdom.[15] She was a student at the University of Kentucky for three years and transferred for her senior year to the University of Louisville, where she graduated in May 1978[2] with a BA degree in languages and journalism.[15] From 1980-1981, she worked as a civilian library coordinator at Fort Devens in Massachusetts.[2][16][17]

Career

Career timeline published by the CIA for Gina Haspel

Early CIA career

Haspel joined the CIA in January 1985 as a reports officer.[1][18] She held several undercover overseas positions, for many of which she was station chief.[19][20] Her first field assignment was from 1987-1989 in Ethiopia,[18][21] Central Eurasia,[18] Turkey,[1] followed by several assignments in Europe and Central Eurasia from 1990-2001.[18][14]

From 2001-2003, her position was listed as Deputy Group Chief, Counterterrorism Center.[18]

Between October and December 2002, Haspel was assigned to oversee a secret CIA prison in Thailand, code-named Cat’s Eye, that housed persons suspected of involvement in Al-Qaeda. The prison was part of the U.S. government’s extraordinary rendition program after the September 11 attacks, and used enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding that are considered by many to be torture although those methods were deemed legal at the time by agency lawyers. According to a former senior CIA official, Haspel arrived as station chief after the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah but was chief during the waterboarding of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.[14]

From 2004-2005, Haspel was Deputy Chief of the National Resources Division.[21][18]

After the service in Thailand, she served as an operations officer in Counterterrorism Center near Washington, D.C.[18] She later served as the CIA’s station chief in London and, in 2011, New York.[14][22]

National Clandestine Service leadership

Haspel served as the Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service, Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action, and Chief of Staff for the Director of the National Clandestine Service.[20]

In 2005, Haspel was the chief of staff to Jose Rodriguez, Director of the National Clandestine Service. In his memoir, Rodriguez wrote that Haspel had drafted a cable in 2005 ordering the destruction of dozens of videotapesmade at the black site in Thailand in response to mounting public scrutiny of the program.[14][23]

In 2013, John Brennan, then the director of Central Intelligence, named Haspel as acting Director of the National Clandestine Service, which carries out covert operations around the globe.[24] However, she was not appointed to the position permanently due to criticism about her involvement in the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program.[25] Her permanent appointment was opposed by Dianne Feinstein and others in the Senate.[14][22]

Deputy Director of the CIA

On February 2, 2017, President Donald Trump appointed Haspel Deputy Director of the CIA,[26] a position that does not require Senate confirmation.[19] In an official statement released that day, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes(R-CA) said:[27]

With more than thirty years of service to the CIA and extensive overseas experience, Gina has worked closely with the House Intelligence Committee and has impressed us with her dedication, forthrightness, and her deep commitment to the Intelligence Community. She is undoubtedly the right person for the job, and the Committee looks forward to working with her in the future.

On February 8, 2017, several members of the Senateintelligence committee urged Trump to reconsider his appointment of Haspel as Deputy Director.[28] Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) quoted colleagues Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) who were on the committee:

I am especially concerned by reports that this individual was involved in the unauthorized destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes, which documented the CIA’s use of torture against two CIA detainees. My colleagues Senators Wyden and Heinrich have stated that classified information details why the newly appointed Deputy Director is ‘unsuitable’ for the position and have requested that this information be declassified. I join their request.

On February 15, 2017, Spencer Ackerman reported on psychologists Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell, the architects of the enhanced interrogation program that was designed to break Zubaydah and was subsequently used on other detainees at the CIA’s secret prisons around the world. Jessen and Mitchell are being sued by Sulaiman Abdulla Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and Obaid Ullah over torture designed by the psychologists. Jessen and Mitchell are seeking to compel Haspel, and her colleague James Cotsana, to testify on their behalf.[29][30]

Nomination as Director

On March 13, 2018, President Donald Trump announced he would nominate Haspel to be the CIA director, replacing Mike Pompeo—whom he tapped to become the new Secretary of State.[31] Should Haspel be confirmed by the Senate,[32] she would become the first woman to serve as permanent CIA director (Meroe Park served as Executive Director from 2013-2017 and acting director for three days in January 2017).[33][34]Robert Baer, who supervised Haspel at the Central Intelligence Agency, found her to be “smart, tough and effective. Foreign liaison services who have worked with her uniformly walked away impressed.”[35]

Republican Senator Rand Paul stated that he would oppose the nomination saying “To really appoint the head cheerleader for waterboarding to be head of the CIA? I mean, how could you trust somebody who did that to be in charge of the CIA? To read of her glee during the waterboarding is just absolutely appalling.”[36] Soon after Paul made this statement, the allegation that Haspel mocked those being interrogated was retracted. Doug Stafford, an aide for Rand Paul, said, “According to multiple published, undisputed accounts, she oversaw a black site and she further destroyed evidence of torture. This should preclude her from ever running the CIA.”[37]

Republican Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain called on Haspel to provide a detailed account of her participation in the CIA’s detention program from 2001-2009, including whether she directed the use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” and to clarify her role in the 2005 destruction of interrogation videotapes.[38][39][40] McCain has been a staunch opponent of torture in the Senate, having been tortured as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. McCain further called upon Haspel to commit to declassifying the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture.

Multiple senators have criticized the CIA for what they believe is selectivity in declassifying superficial and positive information about her career to generate positive coverage, while simultaneously refusing to declassify any “meaningful” information about her career.[41][42]

Torture and destruction of evidence controversy

Memo on Gina Haspel’s involvement in the destruction of tapes

Haspel has been criticized for using torture during her career at the CIA, and for involvement in destroying records of such torture.[43]

In late October 2002, Haspel became a chief of base for a “black site” CIA torture prison located in Thailand.[44][45] She worked at a site that was codenamed “Cat’s Eye”, which would later become known as the place where suspected al Qaedaterrorist members Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah were detained and tortured with waterboarding.[19][23] In early February 2017, The New York Times and ProPublica reported that these waterboardings were both conducted under Haspel.[46][47] In March 2018, U.S. officials said that Haspel was not involved in the torture of Zubaydah, as she only became chief of base after Zubaydah was tortured. ProPublica and The New York Times issued corrections to their stories but noted that Haspel was involved in the torture of al-Nashiri.[45][46] Haspel played a role in the destruction of 92 interrogation videotapes that showed the torture of detainees both at the black site she ran and other secret agency locations.[48][45][49]

On December 17, 2014, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) pressed criminal charges against unidentified CIA operatives, after the US Senate Select Committee published its report on torture by US intelligence agencies. On June 7, 2017, the ECCHR called on the Public Prosecutor General of Germany to issue an arrest warrant against Haspel over claims she oversaw the torture of terrorism suspects. The accusation against her is centered on the case of Saudi national Abu Zubaydah.[50][51][52]Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union described Haspel as “quite literally a war criminal.”[53][54]

On May 1, 2018, Spencer Ackerman, writing in The Daily Beast, reported that former CIA analyst Gail Helt had been told that some of the controversial torture recordings had not been destroyed, after all.[55] On May 9, 2018, the day prior to her confirmation vote, The New York Times reported [56] that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, architect of the 9/11 attacks and victim of various forms of torture, requested to submit six paragraphs of information for the Senate committee to review before its vote. The contents of these paragraphs, and whether they implicate Haspel directly in Mohammed’s torture, are still not publicly known.

Awards and recognition

Haspel has received a number of awards, including the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism,[57] the Donovan Award, the Intelligence Medal of Merit, and the Presidential Rank Award.[20]

Personal life

Haspel married Jeff Haspel, who served in the United States Army, circa 1976; they were divorced by 1985.[1][15][58] Haspel currently lives in Ashburn, Virginia.[59] She does not use social media.[15] Haspel is unmarried and has no children.[2]

See also

References

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

Story 2: Pathway to 911 — Bill Clinton’s Smear Campaign To Suppress Outstanding ABC Television Series — “The Path to 9/11” — Disney Caved To Clinton and Democratic Politician Pressure — Videos

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Video Shows Bill Clinton Talking Bin Laden Just Before 9/11

Bill Clinton on bin Laden: ‘I nearly got him’

Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden

Bill Clinton on Osama Bin Laden in the 90’s & 911

Former CIA Officer Defends Torture Programme He Designed

Michael Scheuer drops truth about Trump Russia story and BBC cut him off

Michael Scheuer on “Inside 9/11”

Dr. Michael Scheuer: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Speech, Emmanuel Macron & More…

Dr. Michael Scheuer Weighs In On President-Elect Trump’s Cabinet Picks

‘I Had Chance To Kill Osama Bin Laden,’ Bill Clinton Said – TOI

Newsmax Prime | Michael Scheuer discusses how his book was found in Bin Laden’s compound

Osama Bin Laden’s Bookshelf Had One Of Michael Scheuer’s Books

Ex-CIA Agent: America creates its own enemies

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Conversations With History – Michael Scheuer

Blocking The Path To 9/11 Trailer

PATH TO 9-11: The scene they didn’t want you to see

The Controversy over “The Path to 9/11” tv show

“Blocking the Path to 9/11”

Blocking “The Path To 9/11” part 1

Blocking “The Path To 9/11” Part 2

Blocking “The Path To 9/11” Part 3

Blocking “The Path To 9/11” Part 4

Blocking “The Path To 9/11” Part 5

ABC’s Path to 9/11, Part 2

Hillary Clinton Exposed, Movie She Banned From Theaters Full Movie

Thomas H. Kean, Dec. 5, 2005
Thomas H. Kean, co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, delivers remarks during a news conference to issue a final assessment of progress on the commission’s recommendations in Washington, in this Dec. 5, 2005 file photo. The controversial ABC film,\”The Path to 9/11,\” was sold as \”based on the 9/11 Commission Report.\” Kean was on board as an executive producer for the film to certify it’s authenticity.

Who was blocking ‘The Path to 9/11’?

Over the past few years, perhaps no film controversy has inspired more outrage from conservatives than the Walt Disney Company’s handling of the ambitious 2006 miniseries “The Path to 9/11.” In the wake of Michael Moore’s 2004 anti-Bush documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” and the 2003 CBS biopic “The Reagans,” the Disney censorship fiasco has been a frequent bone of contention on right-wing blogs, AM talk radio and other media outlets. In addition to making cuts in its ABC-TV telefilm after complaints from political forces, the company also shelved plans for a subsequent DVD release.

The miniseries, a $40 million dramatization of events leading up to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was set for its network debut when several members of President Bill Clinton’s administration, including former National Ssecurity Adviser Sandy Berger and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, insisted that several scenes were inaccurate or fictitious, and Clinton himself demanded the program be corrected or pulled. Five Democratic senators even sent a letter to Disney CEO Bob Iger that appeared to threaten the company’s broadcast license over the issue. Edits were made, a disclaimer was added and the two-parter ran as originally scheduled, but there has never been a repeat showing and a DVD has never been released.

Now the imbroglio has been revived for a direct-to-video documentary called “Blocking ‘The Path to 9/11’,” produced by right-wing rabble-rouser David Bossie and directed by former radio host John Ziegler. On its surface, the new video is a fascinating piece of behind-the-scenes investigative work. But, like the original telefilm and its quashing by the Clinton camp, it is not without its own political intrigue. Indeed, “Blocking ‘The Path to 9/11′” raises even more questions and adds its own set of disconnected dots to this broadcasting dilemma.

The new documentary, currently available for sale on its website, will soon be offered at other locations, with plans also calling for select theatrical screenings in Southern California to coincide with the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks next month. Last week, the film’s worldwide premiere at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles drew a sold-out crowd that gave it a lengthy standing ovation.

Ziegler, who first raised questions about “Path’s” forced cuts and its cancelled DVD release on his radio show, is hopeful that his newest work will expose the machinations of Disney, Clinton and the Hollywood left.

“This is a conservative film, and that means there’s automatically two and a half strikes against it,” he said. Still, he believes his examination of the controversy should “hit a nerve” with others, and he’s still astounded Disney “decided to take a dive on their own movie” in order to placate the Clintons. According to Ziegler, Disney’s executives believed their liberal bona fides were so strong that they never suspected they’d be accused of a right-wing hit job and were “totally shocked” when Clinton’s camp complained. (Disney’s Iger has contributed to many Democrats running for office, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and has also donated to a handful of Republican candidates. Iger’s wife, former cable news anchor Willow Bay, is a top editorial executive at the decidedly leftist Huffington Post.)

https://www.politico.com/story/2008/08/who-was-blocking-the-path-to-9-11-012671

The Path to 9/11

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Path to 9/11
Genre Drama, History
Screenplay by Cyrus Nowrasteh
Directed by David L. Cunningham
Starring Harvey Keitel
Donnie Wahlberg
Stephen Root
Barclay Hope
Patricia Heaton
Shirley Douglas
Penny Johnson Jerald
Dan Lauria
Amy Madigan
Michael Murphy
Trevor White
William Sadler
Shaun Toub
Theme music composer John Cameron
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Production
Producer(s) Marc Platt
Cyrus Nowrasteh
Cinematography Joel Ransom
Running time 240 minutes
Production company(s) Marc Platt Productions
Touchstone Television
Budget $40,000,000 USD
Release
Original network ABC
Original release September 10 – September 11, 2006

The Path to 9/11 is a two-part miniseries that aired in the United States on ABC television on September 10 – 11, 2006, and also in other countries. The film dramatizes the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York Cityand the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks. The film was written by screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh,[1] and directed by David L. Cunningham; it stars Harvey Keitel and Donnie Wahlberg.[2] The film was controversial for its alleged misrepresentation of events and people[3] and required last-minute editing before broadcast.[4] ABC spent $40 million on the project, but The Path to 9/11 was beaten in the ratings by an NFLgame.[5]

Plot

The miniseries presented a dramatization of the sequence of events leading to the September 11, 2001 attacks by Al Qaeda on the United States, starting from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and up to the minutes after its collapse in 2001. The movie takes the point of view of two main protagonists: John P. O’Neill, and a composite Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent, “Kirk”. O’Neill was the real-life Special Agent in charge of Al Qaeda investigations at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He died in the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11 shortly after retiring from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and taking the position of Director of Security for the World Trade Center. The composite CIA agent “Kirk” is shown dealing with various American allies, especially Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, in Afghanistan. In addition, “Patricia”, a CIA headquarters analyst, represents the views of the rank and file at CIA headquarters. The miniseries features dramatizations of various incidents summarized in the 9/11 Commission Report and represented in high-level discussions held in the Clinton and Bush administrations. The final hour of the movie dramatizes the events of 9/11, including a recreation of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center, Tom Burnett‘s calls to his wife, and John Miller’s reporting near the scene of the attacks. The film concludes with information about the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, as well as the performance evaluation the Commission gave the government when it reconvened in 2005.

Production history

According to ABC, the movie is based on the “9/11 Commission Report and other sources”,[6] including interviews and news accounts.[7] The first indication that ABC was running a miniseries appeared in a brief article in the New York Post.[8] In it, the producers identified shooting locations and revealed that Harvey Keitel would play John O’Neill. At the time, ABC had a working name of Untitled Commission Report and the producers used the working title Untitled History Project, with the project beginning filming in July 2005 and scheduled to end post production by January 2006. Preview screenings were made in May for foreign broadcasters.[9] The film was first publicly announced at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in July.[citation needed]

According to Advertising Age, the miniseries was a personal project of ABC entertainment president Steve McPherson, who began to look for a producer shortly after reading the 9/11 Commission Report.

The White House asked the major networks for airtime to present a Presidential Address to the nation. The interruption delayed the broadcast of the second half of Path to 9/11 by approximately 20 minutes in the Eastern and Central Time Zones. Otherwise, the movie aired without any interruption.

Filming was conducted in MoroccoNew York CityTorontoHamilton, Ontario[10] and Washington, D. C. The production was one of the few allowed to film at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia.[11]

Controversy and criticisms

ABC received a range of criticism from terrorism experts and people portrayed in the film that The Path to 9/11 contained false scenes, distorted events and misrepresented actions of people, with ABC receiving letters from Richard Clarke, Chief Executive Officer Bruce R. Lindsey of the William J. Clinton Foundation, and Douglas J. Band, Counselor to President Clinton, Samuel R. BergerMadeleine AlbrightJohn Beug, Democratic Representatives John Conyers Jr.John DingellJane Harman and Louise Slaughter and others.[12] Before the miniseries aired, some screeners of The Path to 9/11 asserted that certain scenes misrepresented the real-life events upon which they were said to be based, and that some scenes were complete fabrications.

9/11 Commission members

Members of the 9/11 Commission criticized the accuracy of the film.[13] 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean, the ranking Republican, served as both a consultant and as a co-executive producer.[14] Shortly before the film’s release, Kean said, “People in both parties didn’t particularly like the commission report, and I think people in both parties aren’t going to love this one”.[14] In response to one particular scene, Kean told an interviewer he “was all right with the made-up scene” where Clinton administration is accused of blocking a chance to kill bin Laden, saying “I don’t think the facts are clear.”[15] Just weeks before the broadcast he “asked for changes that would address complaints raised by the former Clinton aides and that ABC is considering his request.”[16]

Commission member Richard Ben-Veniste said that the miniseries misrepresented facts presented in the 9/11 Commission report.[17]

Advance viewing copies selectively distributed

The extensive pre-broadcast controversy over the film was based on content that was present in viewing copies sent to conservative political groups, talk show hosts and bloggers, including radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, and conservative movie critic Michael Medved.[18] The office of former President Clinton repeatedly requested a preview copy, but was denied one,[19] as was former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.[20] However, a version was shown at a Washington DC screening to members and guests of the National Press Club,[21] and to attendees of the Midwest Security and Police Conference in Chicago.[22]

According to Jay Carson, a spokesman for Bill Clinton, Clinton’s office requested a copy of the movie so that they could view it before it aired, but the request was denied.[23] However, Limbaugh has at least partially disputed this, claiming that Ben-Veniste and others saw the film before him.[24] Carson has also stated that Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger had also requested a copy and had also not received them.[25]

This prompted Albright and Berger to write letters [26][27][28] to ABC asking why they had not received copies and why ABC have chosen to run a movie whose accuracy is highly in question.

In addition to requesting an answer, Albright also stated the following reason for wanting a copy:

For example, one scene apparently portrays me as refusing to support a missile strike against bin Laden without first alerting the Pakistanis; it further asserts that I notified the Pakistanis of the strike over the objections of our military. Neither of these assertions is true. In fact, The 9/11 Commission Report states (page 117), “Since the missiles headed for Afghanistan had had to cross Pakistan, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was sent to meet with Pakistan’s army chief of staff to assure him the missiles were not coming from India. Officials in Washington speculated that one or another Pakistani official might have sent a warning to the Taliban or Bin Ladin.”[26]

Criticisms of historical inaccuracy by FBI consultants

Two FBI agents refused advisory roles on the film, with one criticizing the film for creating a work of fiction and claiming it was inaccurate. Thomas E. Nicoletti had been hired by the filmmakers as a consultant, but quit[29] because “There were so many inaccuracies…I’m well aware of what’s dramatic license and what’s historical inaccuracy,” Nicoletti said. “And this had a lot of historical inaccuracy.'”[30]

Dan Coleman, who retired from the FBI in 2004, said he also was concerned when he read the script in the summer of 2005 after being approached by producers about being a technical advisor. He described, “They sent me the script, and I read it and told them they had to be kidding,” Coleman said. “I wanted my friends at the FBI to still speak to me.” Coleman went on to express a belief in ghosts as a reason for not accepting the advisory role—he did not want to be “haunted” by deceased colleagues who were falsely portrayed.[30]

Alleged assassination opportunities not used by Clinton

Critics claim many inaccuracies in the film, including the depiction of the Clinton administration. For example in one scene, former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger is portrayed as unwilling to approve a plan to take out a surrounded Osama bin Laden. He leaves it to former CIA Director George Tenet to decide if he will take responsibility. In the original version of the film,[31] Berger hangs up the phone on Tenet, and Tenet calls off the operation. No reliable verification of this event has ever been discovered. In fact, even Richard Miniter — a conservative author and critic of the Clinton administration — was quoted as saying

“The idea that someone had bin Laden in his sights in 1998 or any other time and Sandy Berger refused to pull the trigger, there’s zero factual basis for that.”[32]

Nowrasteh has said that the abrupt hang-up portrayed was not in the script and was instead improvised. It was later removed from the version shown in the United States.[33] Moreover, Nowrasteh maintains that a certain amount of dramatic license must be allotted in the process writing a dramatic script with a historical underpinning (see docudrama and biopic). Although the precise conversations depicted in the script may never have taken place, the general tone and content of events depicted in The Path to 9/11 are alleged true. Nowrasteh has said that the film “dramatizes the frequent opportunities the administration had in the 90’s to stop bin Laden in his tracks but lacked the will to do so.” [34] When asked if he thought of the script as a “historical document,” Nowrasteh has responded:

No, but I stand by the original version of the movie, and I stand by the edited version… There has to be conflation of events. The most obvious problem any dramatist faces is that of sheer length. I had to collapse the events of eight and a half years into five hours. I don’t know any other way to do it except collapse, conflate, and condense.[35]

Anti-terrorism expert Richard Clarke said the film was “180 degrees from what happened”[17] and made the following criticisms of the film:[36]

  1. Contrary to the movie, no US military or CIA personnel were on the ground in Afghanistan to have spotted bin Laden. (When asked about this apparent discrepancy, Nowrasteh stated, “I’ve interviewed CIA agents who have told me otherwise. But that is the one concession we made. [In the original,] we had a CIA agent on the ground near bin Laden’s compound—inside the wall even—and we took that out for the final presentation.”[35])
  2. Contrary to the movie, the head of the Northern AllianceAhmed Shah Massoud, was nowhere near the alleged bin Laden camp and therefore could not have seen Osama bin Laden.
  3. Contrary to the movie, Tenet actually said that he could not recommend a strike on the camp because the information was single sourced, and there would be no way to independently confirm bin Laden’s presence in the target area by the time an already launched cruise missile would have reached it.

A member of the 9/11 Commission, Richard Ben-Veniste also stated that the scene depicting Berger hanging up the phone on Tenet is fictional.[37]

Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA Bin Laden Unit during the Clinton administration, a critic of President George W. Bush‘s Iraq policy, says it was not Berger who canceled assaults on bin Laden, but rather Clarke on Clinton’s behalf. Scheuer states, “Mr. Clarke, of course, was at the center of Mr. Clinton’s advisers, who resolutely refused to order the CIA to kill bin Laden. In spring 1998, I briefed Mr. Clarke and senior CIA, Department of Defense, and FBI officers on a plan to kidnap bin Laden. Mr. Clarke’s reaction was that “it was just a thinly disguised attempt to assassinate bin Laden.” I replied that if he wanted bin Laden dead, we could do the job quickly. Mr. Clarke’s response was that the president did not want bin Laden assassinated, and that we had no authority to do so”.[38]

On May 13, 2012, the former Deputy Director of the Counter-Terrorism branch of the CIA, Hank Crumpton, relayed his experiences that verified both Scheumer and Path to 9/11’s account regarding Clinton’s failure to stop Bin Laden when he had the chance in a CBS 60 minutes interview. In it, he specifically cited that they had been led to a small village near Khandahar, saw evidence of Bin Laden’s presence (security detail, a convoy, and Bin Laden himself exiting the vehicle) and immediately alerted the White House upon the optics being beamed towards to the CIA headquarters, but were ordered to stand down and abort the operation due to it taking several hours to arm and launch the TLAMs, and requested that they give his exact location five to six hours from then, and the White House wasn’t willing to allow the Afghan CIA agents to attack the compound directly.[39][40]

Berger scene

Besides criticism of an inaccurate script, other fictional and inaccurate scenes were created by the cast. In the film, CIA agents who have infiltrated bin Laden’s Afghan compound try to put an assassin named Kirk (Donnie Wahlberg) in contact with National Security Advisor Sandy Berger (Kevin Dunn); Berger, who was later convicted of illegally removing and destroying documents regarding the subject from the National Archives,[41] is portrayed as “dithering” before hanging up on the agents.[42] The scene was strongly contradicted by both Berger and the 9/11 Commission, including commission member Richard Ben-Veniste.[42][43][44][45][46]

Former Secretary of State Albright questions her portrayal

Another scene in question supposedly portrays Madeleine Albright refusing to shoot missiles at Osama bin Laden without authority from Pakistan and eventually getting “permission” from them against the military’s wishes. Albright insists that this is completely inaccurate.[47][48] As Secretary of State, Albright had no involvement in military decisions.

Inaccuracies regarding airline travel

In the opening scene of the film, American Airlines is depicted as ignoring a security warning regarding hijacker Mohammed Atta. The airline involved was actually U.S. Airways.[49]

According to the 9/11 Commission Report: “While Atta had been selected by CAPPS [a security warning at a U.S. Airway ticket counter] in Portland [Maine] three members of… [Atta’s] hijacking team – Suqami, Wail al Shehri, and Waleed al Shehri – were selected [at an American Airline counter] in Boston. Their selection affected only the handling of their checked bags, not their screening at the checkpoint. All five men cleared the checkpoint and made their way to the gate for American 11.” [50] The incorrect depiction of location and airline may be justified as “time compression and compositing”, as described in the film’s disclaimer, or it may be an example of careless writing and sloppy fact-checking.

As a result of the inaccuracy, American Airlines stated they planned to pull all advertising from the ABC network and were considering legal action.[51]

Clinton responds

Clinton pointedly refutted [sic] several fictionalized scenes that he claims insinuate he was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to care about bin Laden and that a top adviser pulled the plug on CIA operatives who were just moments away from bagging the terror master, according to a letter to ABC boss Bob Iger obtained by The Post.

The former president also disputed the portrayal of then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as having tipped off Pakistani officials that a strike was coming, giving bin Laden a chance to flee.

“The content of this drama is factually and incontrovertibly inaccurate and ABC has the duty to fully correct all errors or pull the drama entirely,” the four-page letter said.[52]

Senate Democrats’ letter to ABC

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Charles Schumer, and Senator Byron Dorgan sent a letter to Robert A. Iger, the President and CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Their letter includes the following statement:

Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation.

“The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.”[53]

Scholastic Press announcement

Scholastic Press, which had a deal with ABC to distribute “educational materials” based on the movie, pulled the materials in question from their website on September 7, substituting them with materials focusing on “critical thinking and media literacy skills”.[54]

Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic Press, had this to say on the matter:

After a thorough review of the original guide that we offered online to about 25,000 high school teachers, we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues… at the same time, we believe that developing critical thinking and media literacy skills is crucial for students in today’s society in order to participate fully in our democracy and that a program such as ‘The Path to 9/11’ provides a very ‘teachable moment’ for developing these skills at the high school level. We encourage teachers not to shy away from the controversy surrounding the program, but rather to engage their students in meaningful, in-depth discussion.[54]

Responses from cast and crew

Harvey Keitel, who plays John P. O’Neill—the lead role in the film, said he was told that the script was “history” project, but “it turned out not all the facts were correct” and by the time ABC tried to “heal the problem” it was “too late.”[55] In an interview two weeks before the film was to air he said more scenes needed to be corrected because “you cannot cross the line from a conflation of events to a distortion of the event.”[55] Keitel also said there was “discussion” and “argument” on-set during the filming about what was truthful and what was not, and that he disagreed with certain decisions.[55]

Producer Marc Platt has acknowledged that the script was based in part on a book co-written by a Bush administration official. The book, The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, and Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It was co-written by John Miller, who serves as the assistant director of public affairs for the FBI.[56]

Cyrus Nowrasteh, script writer for the film, said it was “an objective telling of the events of 9/11.”[57]

Response from Barbara Bodine

On September 8, former Ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine complained in a Los Angeles Times Op-Ed about her portrayal in the film: “According to the mythmakers, a battle ensued between a cop obsessed with tracking down Osama bin Laden and a bureaucrat more concerned with the feelings of the host government than the fate of Americans and the realities of terrorism. I know this is false. I was there. I was the ambassador.”[58] The ABC miniseries compressed Bodine’s role to a single extended scene, suggesting she was dismissive, hostile, and vulgar toward FBI investigator John O’Neill from the moment of his October 2000 arrival in Yemen (see USS Cole bombing).

Television actress Patricia Heaton, who played Bodine and who has her own independent ABC development deal, did not comment on the controversy surrounding The Path to 9/11 nor its worldwide broadcast on September 10–11, 2006.[citation needed]

Errors and other criticism

In addition to the fictionalized scenes and misrepresentations, preview copies contained several smaller errors that prompted criticism that the film is sloppy in its fidelity to facts. For example, a caption in the film misspelled Madeleine Albright’s name.[59][not in citation given]Another example is a scene portraying a warning popping up on a computer when Mohamed Atta boarded American Airlines Flight 11 in Boston. The scene was factually inaccurate; Atta actually boarded a connecting U.S. Airways flight in Bangor, Maine.[60]

During production of the movie, there was a controversy in the Toronto media over the use of discarded medical charts and records as document props. The Privacy Commissioner for the province of Ontario launched an investigation and the producers destroyed footage including the garbage and sent all remaining documents to a shredding service for disposal.[61]

Republican William Bennett joined those saying there is “no reason to falsify the record” or “falsify conversations”. During an appearance on CNN he called on ABC to correct the inaccuracies of the show and for fellow conservatives to join him in such a demand.[62]

On December 22, 2006 Media Matters for America named ABC as “Misinformer” of 2006 for, among other things in The Path to 9/11, calling it:

a two-part miniseries that placed the blame for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Clinton administration and whitewashed some of the Bush administration’s failures leading up to the attacks.[63][63]

Advertising discrepancies

While in the U.S. the film was marketed as a loose dramatization of events based on the 9/11 Commission Report, television advertising for the film in countries outside the U.S. called the film the “Official True Story”.[64] Further, an Australian TV listing called the film “the story of exactly what happened”, which later changed to “The thrilling dramatised investigation” as the airing time drew near.[65]

Allegation of non-profit involvement

Allegations of religious involvement surfaced in 2006, when journalist Max Blumenthal commented on David Loren Cunningham and his former links to the international mission organization Youth With A Mission. David is the son of Youth With A Mission founder Loren Cunningham. This connection to Youth With A Mission, and past allegations of a political agenda within the organization, were mentioned by Blumenthal. He also noted the previous intentions of David Cunningham to ‘revolutionize’ film and television by founding an auxiliary group within Youth With A Mission called TFI (The Film Institute). Youth With A Mission International Chairman Lynn Green acknowledged the allegations, yet rebutted these concerns, insisting that the organization, “had nothing to do with financing the film, nor did any YWAM personnel have any influence on the content of the film.”[66][67][68]

Support for The Path to 9/11

Responses from the right

Prior to its broadcast, conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt described as “a very accurate docudrama” and claimed the controversy by suggesting that what they call “the deep anger of the Clinton political machine” or the “narcissistic whining of the Clinton coterie” amounts to “self-serving complaints,” to “an irrelevant diversion,” to a “repellent” “hissy fit”.[69] Brent Bozell wrote, also before it was broadcast, that both “Clinton and Bush officials come under fire, and if it seems more anti-Clinton, that’s only because they were in office a lot longer than Team Bush before 9-11. Indeed, the film drives home the point that from our enemies’ perspective, it’s irrelevant who is in the White House. They simply want to kill Americans and destroy America. The film doesn’t play favorites, and the Bush administration takes its lumps as well.” [70] Hewitt added that the “program is not primarily about the Clinton stewardship—or lack thereof—of the national security. It is not even secondarily about that. Rather the mini-series is the first attempt — very successful — to convey to American television viewers what we are up against: The fanaticism, the maniacal evil, the energy and the genius for mayhem of the enemy.”[69]

To date, the miniseries has not been released on DVD. Writer and producer Cyrus Nowrasteh said that a stalled release is not due to lack of interest but rather political pressure, telling the Los Angeles Times in 2007 they were protecting Bill Clinton‘s presidential legacy and shielding Hillary Clinton from criticism for her 2008 presidential campaign.[71][72] According to the LA Times, an ABC spokeswoman reached September 4, 2007 said that the company “has no release date at this time,” and she declined to comment further.[71]

Documentary revisits controversy

In August, 2008, talk show host and documentary filmmaker John Ziegler and producer David Bossie of Citizens United premiered a documentary co-produced, written and directed by Ziegler entitled Blocking The Path to 9/11, which revisits the political controversy behind the ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11.[73][74][75] Through interviews with the Path to 9/11 filmmakers and others, news clips regarding the controversy, and footage from the miniseries itself, the documentary argues not only that accusations of the filmmakers’ covert political agenda were unfounded, but that they were generated by Clinton-era politicians concerned that the miniseries tarnished their political legacy, and were reported uncritically by bloggers and a biased news media. The documentary also asserts that Disney/ABC ultimately shelved plans to release a DVD of the miniseries as a result of pressure from the political left, specifically the Clintons themselves. As noted in the documentary, Disney/ABC denies this and claims the decision not to release a DVD was purely a business decision.[76]

Jeffrey Ressner of The Politico, wrote Blocking ‘The Path to 9/11 mirrored The Path to 9/11 because it “raises even more questions and adds its own set of disconnected dots to this broadcasting dilemma”.[77]

Awards

  • 2007 Emmy Award: Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or a Movie
  • 2007 Emmy Award nominations: Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special; Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie; Outstanding Main Title Design; Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Original Dramatic Score); Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special; Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special;
  • 2007 American Cinema Editors Eddie Award: Best Edited Miniseries or Motion Picture for Commercial Television

Ratings in the United States

During the first night of the original broadcast in the United States, The Path to 9/11 was beat by NBC‘s Sunday Night Football with 20.7 million watching the game, with Path tying a rerun of the film 9/11 shown on CBS with 13 million viewers.[5][78][79] During its second night, The Path to 9/11 was again beat by an NFL doubleheader, this time the premiere of Monday Night Football on ESPN, with 10.5 million households watching those games, and The Path to 9/11 coming in second.[80]

Ratings
Shown/Network Rating Share
Sunday Night Football (NBC) 15.1 23
Path to 9/11 (ABC) 8.2 12
9/11 (CBS) 8.2 12

Cast

Broadcasting

United States

  • Part 1: September 10, 2006 at 8:00 pm–10:45 pm (shortened from 11 pm) at EDT on ABC
  • Part 2: September 11, 2006 at 8:00 pm–9:00 pm at EDT on ABC
  • Part 2 (continued): September 11, 2006 at 9:20 pm – 10:17 pm at EDT on ABC (After President Bush National Address) (See exception)

ABC’s broadcasts though originally planned to be shown “with limited commercial interruption” were aired with no commercials, since the network was unable to obtain sponsorship.[81] The broadcasts were also watched in Canada, where the network is available on cable and satellite.

Part 2 of the miniseries, also uninterrupted, aired in the San Diego, California market on KGTV nearly a week later, on September 16, 2006, from 8:30pm–10:30 pm.[citation needed]

Australia

  • Part 1: September 10, 2006 at 8:30 pm on Channel Seven
  • Part 2: September 11, 2006 at 9:30 pm on Channel Seven

Belgium

  • Part 1: September 13, 2006 at 9:05 pm on VT4
  • Part 2: September 20, 2006 at 9:05 pm on VT4
  • Part 1: August 20, 2008 at 9:10 pm on RTL-TVI
  • Part 2: August 20, 2008 at 10:00 pm on RTL-TVI
  • Part 3: August 20, 2008 at 10:50 pm on RTL-TVI

Croatia

  • Part 1: March 6, 2010 at 23:15 pm on Nova TV
  • Part 2: March 13, 2010 at 23:15 pm on Nova TV

Finland

  • Part 1: November 11, 2007 on MTV3
  • Part 2: November 18, 2007 on MTV3
  • Part 3: November 25, 2007 on MTV3
  • Part 4: December 2, 2007 on MTV3
  • Part 5: December 9, 2007 on MTV3

In Finland the miniseries was shown in five parts as distinct from normal two.

India

  • Part 1: September 10, 2006 at 9:00 pm on Zee Studio
  • Part 2: September 11, 2006 at 9:00 pm on Zee Studio

Italy

  • Part 1 & 2: March 13, 2007 on Sky

Japan

  • Part 1 & 2: January 14, 2007 at 8:00 pm on Wowow
  • Synopsis: September 13, 2009, from 9:00 pm – 10:54 pm on TV Asahi

New Zealand

  • Part 1: September 10, 2006 at 7:30 pm on TV One
  • Part 2: September 11, 2006 at 7:30 pm on TV One

Norway

  • Part 1: January 3, 2008 on TVNorge
  • Part 2: January 4, 2008 on TVNorge
  • Part 1: September 12, 2008 on TVNorge

South Africa

  • Part 1: September 11, 2007 on M-Net
  • Part 2: September 11, 2007 on M-Net

Spain

  • Part 1: September 12, 2007 at 10.00 pm on Antena 3
  • Part 2: September 12, 2007 at 12:00 pm on Antena 3

United Kingdom

  • Part 1: September 10, 2006 at 8:00 pm on BBC2
  • Part 2: September 11, 2006 at 8:30 pm on BBC2

BBC2’s broadcasts were also watched in IrelandBelgium and the Netherlands, where the channel is available on cable.

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Path_to_9/11

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018, Story 1: U.S. Economy Growth Close to 3% With Higher Interest Rates and Federal Reserve Raising Fed Funds Target Rate By 2% Over Next Two Years– Gas and Oil Prices Rapidly Rising Again — Areas of Uncertainty Include Trade Dispute With China and Stopping Nuclear Proliferation in Far East and Middle East (North Korea and Iran) — Diplomacy or War? — Videos — Story 2: Rising Red Tidal Wave of Republican Victories in November 2018 — For High Taxes and Government Spending and Impeach Trump — Vote Democratic — Not A Winning Message — Videos — Story 3: President Trump’s First State Dinner — Videos

Posted on April 28, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, China, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, European History, European Union, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government Spending, Great Britain, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Investments, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Japan, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Middle East, Mike Pompeo, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, National Security Agency, Networking, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Russia, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Social Security, South Korea, Spying on American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Trade Policy, Trump Surveillance/Spying, U.S. Dollar, United Kingdom, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1054, March 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1053, March 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1052, March 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1051, March 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1050, March 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1049, March 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1048, March 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1047, March 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1046, March 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1045, March 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1044, March 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1043, March 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1041, February 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1040, February 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1039, February 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1038, February 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1037, February 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1036, February 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1030, February 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1025, January 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1024, January 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1023, January 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1022, January 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1021, January 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1020, January 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1019, January 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1018, January 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1017, January 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1016, January 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1015, January 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1014, January 8, 2018

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Chief Economist, Michael Carey, presents economic perspectives for the US

PETER SCHIFF – The Federal Reserve is Preparing Itself Against the Dismay of Disaster

Crude Oil Prices Hit 3 Year High

Why are oil prices so high?

Gas Prices On The Rise, Distressing Drivers | NBC Nightly News

Oil hits highest level in more than three years on falling supplies

Expect higher gas prices in 2018

Will the market end on a high note in 2018?

Larry Kudlow on tax law impact, China “trade dispute,” Abe summit

Spending growth the biggest risk to the US economy?

How to Enrich a Country: Free Trade or Protectionism?

Tariffs and Protectionism

Trump vs Friedman – Trade Policy Debate

Milton Friedman explains why Trump is wrong about Trade

Milton Friedman – Free Trade Vs Protectionism

Milton Friedman on Trade Balance and Tariffs

Murray Rothbard on Balance of Trade “Deficit”

Protectionism Smashed (by Murray Rothbard)

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index Increased in April
24 April, 2018

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® increased in April, following a decline in March. The Index now stands at 128.7 (1985=100), up from 127.0 in March. The Present Situation Index increased from 158.1 to 159.6, while the Expectations Index improved from 106.2 last month to 108.1 this month.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was April 12.

“Consumer confidence increased moderately in April after a decline in March,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved somewhat, with consumers rating both business and labor market conditions quite favorably. Consumers’ short-term expectations also improved, with the percent of consumers expecting their incomes to decline over the coming months reaching its lowest level since December 2000 (6.0 percent). Overall, confidence levels remain strong and suggest that the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace in the months ahead.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved modestly in April. The percentage saying business conditions are “good” decreased from 37.6 percent to 35.2 percent, however those claiming business conditions are “bad” also decreased, from 13.3 percent to 11.3 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also mixed. The percentage of consumers claiming jobs are “plentiful” declined from 39.5 percent to 38.1 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” also declined, from 15.7 percent to 15.2 percent.

Consumers were moderately more positive about the short-term outlook in April. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 23.2 percent to 24.5 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen decreased from 10.2 percent to 9.7 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also more positive. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 18.9 percent to 19.5 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs remained at 12.5 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement was virtually unchanged at 23.1 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 7.2 percent to 6.8 percent.

Source: April 2018 Consumer Confidence Survey®

The Conference Board / Release #6013

The Conference Board publishes the Consumer Confidence Index® at 10 a.m. ET on the last Tuesday of every month. Subscription information and the technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: https://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerdata.cfm.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE BOARD

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. Winner of the Consensus Economics 2016 Forecast Accuracy Award (U.S.), The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org

ABOUT NIELSEN

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services for all devices on which content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen also provides its clients with analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

https://www.conference-board.org/press/pressdetail.cfm?pressid=7414

U.S. consumer confidence, housing data highlight economy’s strength

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. consumer confidence rebounded in April and new home sales increased more than expected in March, pointing to underlying strength in the economy despite signs that growth slowed in the first quarter.

Other data on Tuesday also showed house prices increasing solidly in February. Strong consumer confidence and rising house prices should underpin consumer spending, which appears to have braked sharply at the start of the year.

“Americans appear to think the economy is headed in the right direction and it’s not just all talk because their greater confidence is leading them to buy more new homes,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.

“Everywhere you look confidence seems to be a rising tide that will lift all the boats.”

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index increased to a reading of 128.7 this month from a downwardly revised 127.0 in March. The index was previously reported at 127.7 in March. Confidence raced to more than a 17-year high of 130.0 in February.

Consumers’ short-term expectations also improved in April, with the share of those expecting their incomes to decline over the coming months reaching its lowest level since December 2000. But the survey’s so-called labor market differential, derived from data on respondents’ views on whether jobs are plentiful or hard to get, fell to 22.9 from 23.8 in March.

That measure closely correlates to the unemployment rate in the Labor Department’s employment report. The jobless rate has been stuck at 4.1 percent for six straight months.

The economy added 103,000 jobs in March, the fewest in six month. Though economists shrugged off the modest job gains as payback after February’s outsized increase in hiring, they also acknowledged that employment growth was slowing.

“We have now seen two straight months of weakening in the labor market differential since the high for the cycle to date that was reached in February,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York. “Several other labor market indicators have also cooled off over the past month or so.”

Consumer confidence has remained strong despite stock market volatility, which was in part triggered by fears of a trade war between the United States and China, as well as geopolitical worries. In April, confidence was high among households with an annual income below $25,000 and those in the $75,000-$125,000 bracket.

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data.

Stocks on Wall Street reversed earlier gains as the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note breached 3 percent for the first time in more than four years.

Prices of U.S. Treasuries were mostly trading lower while the dollar .DXY dipped against a basket of currencies.

Adding to the report’s strength, February’s sales pace was revised up to 667,000 units from the previously reported 618,000 units. Data for January was also revised to show sales unchanged instead of declining 4.7 percent.

New home sales, which account for 11 percent of housing market sales, jumped 8.8 percent from a year ago.

While the bullish new home sales report did little to change economists’ expectations that residential investment fell in the first quarter, it supported the view that an anticipated economic growth slowdown during that period would be temporary.

Gross domestic product estimates for the January-March quarter are below a 2 percent annualized rate, largely reflecting weak consumer spending.

First-quarter GDP also tends to be soft because of a seasonal quirk. The economy grew at a 2.9 percent rate in the fourth quarter. The government will publish its snapshot of first-quarter GDP on Friday.

A third report on Tuesday showed the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller composite index of home prices in 20 metropolitan areas increased 6.8 percent in the 12 months to February after rising 6.4 percent in January. House prices are being driven by an acute shortage of properties available for sale.

“Rising prices are a mixed bag for the housing market,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com. “While homeowners benefit from extra equity, potential buyers can get discouraged as the dream of homeownership becomes more elusive.”

Strong house price inflation was also corroborated by a fourth report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) that showed its house price index rising a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent in February after a 0.9 percent increase in January.

Home prices advanced 7.2 percent on a year-on-year basis in February.

Hear Trump’s toast to President Macron

 

‘May our sacred liberty never die’: Trump and Macron conclude their love-in with gushing toasts about ‘unbreakable friendship’ between US and France as First Lady Melania pulls out all the stops for their first ever state dinner

  • President Donald Trump and wife Melania welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte to the White House Tuesday night for their first state dinner
  • The Trumps held hands on the steps of the White House before they each exchanged kisses with the Macrons
  • Melania stole the show in a Chanel haute couture silver gown embroidered with crystals and sequins
  • In a toast before Tuesday’s dinner honoring France, Trump described his wife as ‘America’s absolutely incredible first lady’
  • He went on to raise a glass to President Macron saying: ‘May our friendship grow even deeper’  
  • Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner were among the first to arrive with the first daughter wearing a $12,000 pink Rodarte gown 
  • Other notable guests included Rupert Murdoch and wife Jerry Hall, as well as IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Apple CEO Tim Cook, DOD head James Mattis and Speaker Paul Ryan 

President Donald Trump and wife Melania welcomed the French president and first lady to the White House for their first state dinner as the two leaders toasted to continued warm relations between their countries.

Trump held hands with Melania on the steps of the White House before they each exchanged hugs and kisses with President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte ahead of the glitzy White House state dinner on Tuesday night.

All eyes were on Melania as she stole the show in a Chanel black Chantilly lace haute couture gown that had been hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystal and sequins. The First Lady paired her gown with a pair of gunmetal stilettos.

Brigitte Macron opted for a cream full-length gown with long sleeves and gold details.

In a toast before Tuesday’s dinner honoring France, Trump described his wife as ‘America’s absolutely incredible first lady’ before he raised a glass to President Macron.

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President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania held hands outside the White House on Tuesday awaiting the arrival of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte for the state dinner

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania held hands outside the White House on Tuesday awaiting the arrival of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte for the state dinner

During his state dinner toast, President Trump raised a glass to President Macron saying: 'May our friendship grow even deeper'

During his state dinner toast, President Trump raised a glass to President Macron saying: ‘May our friendship grow even deeper’

Donald and Melania Trump greeted French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte ahead of their first White House state dinner on Tuesday evening 

Donald and Melania Trump greeted French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte ahead of their first White House state dinner on Tuesday evening

He thanked her for her efforts on the dinner and said she had created an evening that everyone will always ‘cherish and remember.’ The dinner for 123 guests marked Mrs Trump’s highest-profile hostess gig to date as first lady.

Trump went on to raise a glass to President Macron saying: ‘May our friendship grow even deeper’.

In his toast, Macron, who spoke in French, thanked Trump for making him the first world leader honored with a state visit.

He added that he and Trump had pledged to work together and listen to one another.

‘Thank you for the quality of our exchanges,’ he said before toasting the ‘unbreakable friendship’ of the US and France.

Among the guests were Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner who were among the first to arrive at the White House shortly after 6pm with the first daughter choosing a $13,686 pink tulle Rodarte gown for the occasion.

In a toast before Tuesday's dinner honoring France, Trump described his wife as 'America's absolutely incredible first lady'

In a toast before Tuesday’s dinner honoring France, Trump described his wife as ‘America’s absolutely incredible first lady’

Trump and Macron toasted during the state dinner to continued warm relations between their countries

Trump and Macron toasted during the state dinner to continued warm relations between their countries

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a state dinner in his honor at the White House

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a state dinner in his honor at the White House

The Trumps held hands as they made their way into the state dinner on Tuesday, which Melania played a central role in planning

The Trumps held hands as they made their way into the state dinner on Tuesday, which Melania played a central role in planning

President Macron, above with his wife Brigette, was honored Tuesday at the first state dinner of the Trump administration

President Macron, above with his wife Brigette, was honored Tuesday at the first state dinner of the Trump administration

Trump and his wife, Melania, exchanged hugs and air kisses with the Macrons before going inside the White House for the festivities

Melania kissed President Emmanuel Macron as she greeted him ahead of the glitzy White House state dinner

Trump kissed France's First Lady Brigitte Macron as he welcome her to the administration’s first state dinner

Trump kissed France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron as he welcome her to the administration’s first state dinner

Macron and his wife Brigitte arrived at the White House as a light rain fell Tuesday evening

Macron and his wife Brigitte arrived at the White House as a light rain fell Tuesday evening

All eyes were on Melania as she stole the show in a Chanel black Chantilly lace haute couture gown that had been hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystal and sequins

All eyes were on Melania as she stole the show in a Chanel black Chantilly lace haute couture gown that had been hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystal and sequins

The Macrons and Trump head inside the White House for the festivities soon after they greeted each other

The Macrons and Trump head inside the White House for the festivities soon after they greeted each other

Trump and Macron give toasts during the White House state dinner

They were followed closely by Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen.

Reporters were left off the invite list but one media mogul made the list: the owner of Fox News Channel Rupert Murdoch. The media mogul held his wife Jerry Hall’s hand as they made their way into the White House.

Other notable guests who made their way into the White House included CEO of Apple Tim Cook and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

Aides had feared that the president would personally dole out invitations to the dinner last week while visiting Mar-a-Lago so they constrained him to adding just four names to the guest list. It’s unclear if Murdoch and Hall were among that group.

The White House released the full guest list of 130 people directly before the dinner. Congressional Democrats and White House reporters were already known to have been left out.

The only Democrat on the list was Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and his wife Donna, as it is custom to invite Louisiana politicians to state dinners with France because of the state’s Cajun-French roots.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his colorful actress wife Louise Linton were also in attendance.

Linton, wearing a champagne and silver gown by Italian designer Roberto Cavalli, told reporters she was looking forward to ‘everything French’ when she stepped into the White House.

First daughter Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner arrived at the White House state dinner on Tuesday night honoring French President Emmanuel Macron. Ivanka wore a $13,686 pink tulle Rodarte gown for the occasion

First daughter Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner arrived at the White House state dinner on Tuesday night honoring French President Emmanuel Macron. Ivanka wore a $13,686 pink tulle Rodarte gown for the occasion

Ivanka, wearing a $13,686 pink tulle Rodarte gown, laughed with her husband as they made their way to the state dinner

Vice President Mike Pence waved to the cameras as he held his wife Karen’s hand in the Booksellers Area of the White House

Reporters were left off the invite list but one media mogul made the list: the owner of Fox News Channel Rupert Murdoch. He is pictured above entering the White House with wife Jerry Hall

Reporters were left off the invite list but one media mogul made the list: the owner of Fox News Channel Rupert Murdoch. He is pictured above entering the White House with wife Jerry Hall

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his colorful actress wife Louise Linton were also in attendance. Linton wore a champagne and silver gown by Italian designer Roberto Cavalli

Guests arrive at the White House for Trump’s first state dinner

The White House showed off the finishing touches of first lady Melania Trump’s decor on Monday night, from the place-setting to the giant flower arrangements greeting guests.

WHAT’S ON THE STATE DINNER MENU?

First course: Goat cheese gateau, tomato jam, buttermilk biscuit crumbles and young variegated lettuces.

Second course: Rack of spring lamb, burnt cipollini soubise and Carolina gold Rice Jambalaya

Dessert: Nectarine tart and crème fraîche ice cream.

Two wines from Oregon will be served and a demi-sec champagne.

Reporters were briefly allowed into the White House and were greeted by gold table settings, gold silverware, gold candlesticks, gold wine glasses, gold chairs – situated elegantly around puffs of green and white flowers – in the candlelit state dining room.

At each of the place settings there was a menu, with the White House seal and the fleur-de-lis, which were also in gold.

Just outside the state dining room, the first lady went with a different theme, using some 1,200 cherry blossoms in giant black vases that would greet guests as they came in.

Earlier on Monday, the White House had released some details about the dinner, including the menu.

Goat cheese gateau, tomato jam, buttermilk biscuit crumbles, young variegated lettuces would be served, along with a rack of spring lamb, burnt cipollini soubise and Carolina gold Rice Jambalaya, with a nectarine tart and crème fraîche ice cream for dessert.

Two wines from Oregon will be served and a demi-sec champagne.

The meal was being prepared by White House Executive Chef Christeta Comerford, who was hired during President George W. Bush’s administration, and stayed through the Obama years.

CEO of Apple Tim Cook

Marillyn A. Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin

CEO of Apple Tim Cook (left), IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde (center) and Marillyn A. Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin (right), arrive at the White House state dinner

The only Democrat on the list was Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and his wife Donna, as it is custom to invite Louisiana politicians to state dinners with France because of the state's Cajun-French roots

The only Democrat on the list was Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and his wife Donna, as it is custom to invite Louisiana politicians to state dinners with France because of the state’s Cajun-French roots

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross arrives with his wife

Chief of Staff John Kelly

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (left) arrives with his wife shortly before Chief of Staff John Kelly and his wife Karen (right)

Chief Executive Officer of LVMH Bernard Arnault and his wife Helene Mercier arrive at the White House

Chief Executive Officer of LVMH Bernard Arnault and his wife Helene Mercier arrive at the White House

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and his wife

Trump's pick for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and his wife (left) arrive in the Booksellers Area of the White House shortly after Trump’s pick for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo (right)

US Defense Secretary James Mattis

US Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

Paul Ryan and his wife

US Defense Secretary James Mattis (left) and US Rep. Kevin McCarthy (right) were among the first to arrive at the White House for the state dinner on Tuesday. Paul Ryan and his wife were also in attendance

The first lady spent last Saturday in bipartisan company, attending the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush alongside the Clintons and Obamas – all Democrats – and former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, with his wife Laura.

During the state dinner, she’ll be showcasing china from the administrations of President Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush.

The first lady’s office said that selected pieces from the Vermeil and American Silver collections, as well as Tiffany & Co. and S. Kirk & Sons, would also be included.

‘Remember, she has a design background,’ the first lady’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham told the Washington Post.

Social secretary Rickie Niceta told the publication that the first lady, a former model, ‘has amazing taste, which makes things very, very easy.’

Reporters were briefly allowed into the White House's state dining room Monday night to take in the first lady's designs for the Trump administration's first state dinner 

Reporters were briefly allowed into the White House’s state dining room Monday night to take in the first lady’s designs for the Trump administration’s first state dinner

Earlier in the day, the first lady tweeted pictures of herself huddling with her social secretary Rickie Niceta (right) as the two women went over last minute details for Tuesday's state dinner with France

Earlier in the day, the first lady tweeted pictures of herself huddling with her social secretary Rickie Niceta (right) as the two women went over last minute details for Tuesday’s state dinner with France

Melania Trump's vision for her first state dinner included golden place settings, puffs of white and light green flowers and dinner by candlelight 

Melania Trump’s vision for her first state dinner included golden place settings, puffs of white and light green flowers and dinner by candlelight

The first lady used china from two administrations - Bill Clinton's and George H.W. Bush's - to create a golden look for the tables, which glowed under the candlelight 

The first lady used china from two administrations – Bill Clinton’s and George H.W. Bush’s – to create a golden look for the tables, which glowed under the candlelight

Touches of gold were used on the menu too, including a golden presidential seal, and a golden fleur-de-lis 

Touches of gold were used on the menu too, including a golden presidential seal, and a golden fleur-de-lis

Mrs. Trump chose Clinton china services to coordinate with the dinner’s cream and gold color scheme, and Bush china with a green color palette to “compliment the spring garden and white flowers that will be featured in the State Dining Room”

Mrs. Trump chose Clinton china services to coordinate with the dinner’s cream and gold color scheme, and Bush china with a green color palette to ‘compliment the spring garden and white flowers that will be featured in the State Dining Room’

The Office of the First Lady has prepared the following details, all carefully selected by First Lady Melania Trump, to complement and pay homage to the long-standing friendship between the United States and France

The Office of the First Lady has prepared the following details, all carefully selected by First Lady Melania Trump, to complement and pay homage to the long-standing friendship between the United States and France

The Trumps, the Macrons and their guests will dine on food that showcases “the best of America’s cuisines and traditions” with some French influence: the main course is a rack of spring lamb and Carolina Gold rice jambalaya cooked with celery, peppers, onions, and herbs from the South Lawn

The Trumps, the Macrons and their guests will dine on food that showcases ‘the best of America’s cuisines and traditions’ with some French influence: the main course is a rack of spring lamb and Carolina Gold rice jambalaya cooked with celery, peppers, onions, and herbs from the South Lawn

Mrs. Trump 'carefully selected' all of the details for the state visit and paid particular attention to how the dining room looked

Mrs. Trump ‘carefully selected’ all of the details for the state visit and paid particular attention to how the dining room looked

Melania Trump chose 1,200 cheery blossoms to line the Cross Hall, which state dinner guests will walk through to get to the state dining room 

Melania Trump chose 1,200 cheery blossoms to line the Cross Hall, which state dinner guests will walk through to get to the state dining room

Mrs. Trump has also been doing some homework, educating herself about the protocol and history of these sorts of White House events. This is to ensure her selections for the Macrons' visit have meaning behind them, down to the china, flowers, color scheme and menu, which, while American, will highlight the influence France has had on American cuisine

Mrs. Trump has also been doing some homework, educating herself about the protocol and history of these sorts of White House events. This is to ensure her selections for the Macrons’ visit have meaning behind them, down to the china, flowers, color scheme and menu, which, while American, will highlight the influence France has had on American cuisine

The giant vases of cherry blossoms are seen Monday night in the Cross Hall as reporters were briefly allowed into the White House to see the set-up for Tuesday night's state dinner with France 

The giant vases of cherry blossoms are seen Monday night in the Cross Hall as reporters were briefly allowed into the White House to see the set-up for Tuesday night’s state dinner with France

The White House's Cross Hall was decorated with giant vases of cherry blossoms, in preparation for tomorrow's state dinner with France 

The White House’s Cross Hall was decorated with giant vases of cherry blossoms, in preparation for tomorrow’s state dinner with France

President Bill Clinton's portrait hangs next to one of Melania Trump's giant vases of cherry blossoms. Despite their political differences, the first lady used the Clinton china as part of her first state dinner's place settings 

President Bill Clinton’s portrait hangs next to one of Melania Trump’s giant vases of cherry blossoms. Despite their political differences, the first lady used the Clinton china as part of her first state dinner’s place settings

During the Obama years, the White House tried to invite several A and B-listers out of Hollywood to each dinner, along with a number of television personalities and White House reporters.

Obama would also try to invite several Republicans in an effort to break bread across the aisle.

The Washington National Opera will provide the evening’s entertainment.

The Trump administration’s first state dinner comes later than the inaugural dinner of the White House’s two immediate predecessors, with President Obama hosting his first state dinner in November 2009.

That dinner made headlines when two reality television stars – Tareq and Michaele Salahi – crashed the cocktail hour, which led to several security probes.

President George W. Bush hosted his first state dinner on September 5, 2001, six days before the 9/11 terror attacks.

France is getting its turn earlier under Trump than it did under either previous American president, with the last two coming in 2007 and 2014.

Melania Trump highlighted the work her office had done in a Monday morning tweet that said: ‘After months of preparations, @POTUS and I are looking forward to hosting our first State Dinner with France! Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make this visit a success.’

She later tweeted several pictures of her ‘checking on the final details,’ which included a look at the cherry blossoms – 1,200 which were used – to decorate the Cross Hall.

On Monday, first lady Melania Trump tweeted out several photos of the preparations she was making for her first state dinner, which will be held Tuesday with the French president and first lady 

On Monday, first lady Melania Trump tweeted out several photos of the preparations she was making for her first state dinner, which will be held Tuesday with the French president and first lady

First lady Melania Trump (center) and social secretary Rickie Niceta (right) go over details for Tuesday's state dinner with France 

First lady Melania Trump (center) and social secretary Rickie Niceta (right) go over details for Tuesday’s state dinner with France

First lady Melania Trump gestures toward the large displays of cherry blossoms that were installed for Tuesday's state dinner with France 

First lady Melania Trump gestures toward the large displays of cherry blossoms that were installed for Tuesday’s state dinner with France

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5653611/Trump-state-dinner-President-Melania-host-French-leader-Macron-White-House.html#ixzz5DeT5i0Ek

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