U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran

The Pronk Pops Show 1349, October 31, 2019, Story 1: Democrat Party Cover-up of Spy-gate — Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Continues With Passage of House Rule Resolution For Behind Closed Door Kangaroo Court — Videos — Story 2: Big Lie Media Spinning and Lying About Tim Morrison Testimony About Trump Phone Call With Ukraine — Nothing Illegal Was Discussed and No Quid Pro Quo — Videos — Story 3: Long Term China Trade Deal Not Likely Any Time Soon With Chinese Communist Party — Short Term Deal Only — Maximum Pressure Required — Trust But Verify — Enforcement of Any Agreement Is Essential and Chinese Will Never Comply With Any Enforcement Language — Escalating Trade War Between United States and Chinese Communist Party  Leading to Total Embargo of Trade With Communist China — U.S./Communist Trade Agreement: All Talk and More Talk But No Long Term Enforceable Trade Deal — Time To Walk Out — Videos

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Stealth War: How China Took Over While America's Elite SleptSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

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Story 1: Democrat Party Cover-up of Spy-gate — Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Continues With Passage of House Rule Resolution For Behind Closed Door Kangaroo Court — Videos —

Impeachment witness says Trump-Ukraine call wasn’t illegal

Jim Jordan makes explosive accusation against Schiff

Tom Fitton reacts to the upcoming House vote on the impeachment probe

Tucker: Schiff is obsessed with impeachment

TRUMP RALLY: Whistleblower

POSSIBLE UKRAINE WHISTLEBLOWER: CIA Eric Ciaramella worked WITH DNC “operative” Brennan, Chalupa

OAN gives alleged whistleblower Eric Ciaramella the opportunity to deny media claims

Rep.Louie Gohmert Essentially Names Eric Ciaramella As Ukraine Whistleblower

Hannity: Latest testimony blows whistleblower claim out of the water

Another Key Witness Confirms Trump Quid Pro Quo On Ukraine | Hardball | MSNBC

Rep. Collins’ warning to House Dems leading impeachment inquiry

“IMPEACHMENT SHAM” Republicans Say Impeachment Process Is A COUP

Lou Dobbs 10/31/19 | Breaking Fox News October 31, 2019

What’s next after the House vote on impeachment rules?

House passes Democrat-backed rules for impeachment inquiry

Nightly News Broadcast (Full) – October 31st, 2019 | NBC Nightly News

Top GOP lawmakers speak after House passes impeachment inquiry resolution

WATCH: House Votes To Pass Rules For Impeachment Probe | MSNBC

Leader McCarthy with Laura Ingraham: Democrats are Fixated on Impeachment

Russia probe review becomes a criminal investigation

DOJ criminal investigation into its own Russia probe a political win for Trump

‘The Five’ breaks down DOJ’s criminal inquiry into Russia probe

Fox News warns impeachment inquiry is Democratic ‘coup’ of Trump

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Nancy Pelosi sets up ultra-partisan televised impeachment probe by jamming new rules through House without Republican backing – and two of her own side vote AGAINST new stage in investigating Donald Trump

  • House Democrats approved an impeachment inquiry into the president in a vote almost entirely along party lines
  • ‘What is at stake is our democracy. What are we fighting for? Defending our democracy for the people,’ Speaker Pelosi said 
  • The vote was 232 in favor with 196 voting no; two Democrats rebelled and voted with Republicans
  • ‘The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!,’ Trump tweeted afterward
  • Trump spent morning tweeting and retweeting words from his supporters
  • He called on Republicans to stand together and back him
  • The resolution outlines how the impeachment investigation will proceed and what rights the president will have during it
  • Republicans complained about the lack of ‘due process’ for Trump and charged Democrats with trying to overturn the 2016 election 
  • White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said the administration is considering bringing aboard additional staff to combat the impeachment inquiry
  • The vote comes as Tim Morrison, who was Trump’s top adviser for Russian and European affairs, testifies behind closed doors in the impeachment inquiry

A divided House of Representatives voted on Thursday to begin the next stage of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, taking the investigation from behind closed doors to Americans’ television screens with a series of public hearings.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers took to the House floor to engage in a bitter debate over the impeachment process before voting almost entirely along along party lines on the resolution.

Thursday’s vote was 232 in favor with 196 lawmakers voting no. There were two Democratic defections – Congressmen Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

Both hold swing districts that Trump carried in the 2016 election. Trump carried Peterson’s district by over 30 points. Republicans had hoped more Democrats in vulnerable seats would vote against.

Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican who became an Independent, voted in favor of the resolution.

Nancy Pelosi was left with no fig leaf of bipartisanship when no Republican backed her case; the Republicans got two Democrats voting with them but not the up to a dozen they had hoped would rebel against the Speaker.

Steve Scalise, the Republican whip boasted afterwards about keeping his side united.

The contentious debate is likely a preview of the public hearings to come.

Democrats focused on their constitutional duty; they talked about following the law and protecting national security interests.

Republicans railed against the process, echoing a White House argument there is no due process for the president and no Republican in-put into the proceedings, and accused their colleagues across the aisle of trying to overturn the 2016 election.

The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!,’ Trump tweeted after the vote was finished, using his favorite phrase to describe any investigation into him.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi gavels the vote on the impeachment resolution to a close

Speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over the vote and gaveled it to a close, announcing the final total.

She kept her words on the matter short: ‘On this vote the yeas are 232, the nays are 196. The resolution is adopted without objection.’

Four lawmakers did not vote. Three Republicans – Jody Hice of Georgia, John Rose of Tennessee, and William Timmons of South Carolina – and one Democrat: Donald McEachin of Virginia.

Rep. Hice tweeted he missed the vote because his father died but he would have voted no on the resolution if he had been present.

Democrats launched the formal impeachment inquiry in September after a whistleblower revealed concerns that President Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe and Hunter Bidens, his political enemies, during a July 25 phone call.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the call ‘perfect.’

The weeks-long inquiry accumulated into Thursday’s five-minute vote. The House chamber was crowded with lawmakers as it took place. They chatted with each other on their respective sides of aisle.

After it was over, Democrats moved on to the next vote on the schedule while Republicans yelled in protest. ‘Order, order,’ they yelled, ‘we have rules.’

But Democrats, who control the chamber, moved on.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, as soon as the vote was over, charged House Democrats with an ‘obsession’ with impeaching the president.

‘The President has done nothing wrong, and the Democrats know it. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding does not hurt President Trump; it hurts the American people,’ she said in a statement.

President Trump spent the morning before the House votes on an impeachment resolution into him tweeting and retweeting words from his supporters

President Trump spent the morning before the House votes on an impeachment resolution into him tweeting and retweeting words from his supporters

Trump spent Thursday morning tweeting and retweeting words from his supporters, calling on Republicans to stand by him in the upcoming vote.

‘The Impeachment Hoax is hurting our Stock Market. The Do Nothing Democrats don’t care!,’ he wrote shortly before the House started voting on the resolution against him.

Earlier he called on Republicans to stand by him during the proceedings.

‘Now is the time for Republicans to stand together and defend the leader of their party against these smears,’ Trump tweeted, quoting conservative talk host Laura Ingraham.

Pelosi, meanwhile, gaveled the House into order on Thursday morning as lawmakers took to the floor to debate the resolution.

Democrats talked about following the law and protecting national security interests. Republicans railed against the process, echoing a White House argument there is no due process for the president and no Republican in-put into the proceedings.

‘It’s not a fair process. It’s not a transparent process. It’s not an open process. But instead it’s limited and a closed process with a pre-ordained outcome,’ argued Republican Rep. Tom Cole said on the House floor Thursday morning.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence panel, compared Democrats pursuing impeachment to a ‘cult,’ and their inquiry to a ‘show trial.’

‘They have always intended to transform the Intelligence committee into the impeachment committee,’ said Nunes, a California Republican who was himself accused of politicizing the Intelligence panel during the Mueller investigation.

‘Every one of their actions from the staff they hired to the Trump conspiracy theories they investigate … indicates this has been their plan from day one,’ he said on the House floor.

He accused Democrats of harboring a ‘bizarre obsession with overturning the results of the last presidential election.’

What we’re seeing among Democrats on the Intelligence Committees, down in the [secure Capitol facility] right now, is like a cult. These are a group of people loyally following their leader as he bounces from one outlandish conspiracy theory to another. And the media are the cult followers, permanently stationed outside the committee spaces, pretending to take everything seriously, because they too support the goal of removing the president from office,’ Nunes said.

Pelosi, like many of her colleagues, delivered floor remarks in front of a poster of an American flag where lawmakers often place visual aids.

The Speaker, who only occasionally speaks on legislation or procedures on the floor of the House, began her remarks by reading the preamble to the Constitution.

‘What is at stake is our democracy. What are we fighting for? Defending our democracy for the people,’ she said.

‘The genius of the Constitution, a separation of powers. Three coequal branches of government to be a check and balance on each other,’ Pelosi told colleagues.

‘Sadly this is not any cause for any glee or comfort. This is something that is very solemn that is something prayerful.’ Addressing arguments that the House was authorizing something that has already begun, she said: ‘We had to gather so much information to take us to this next step.’

‘I doubt anybody in this place … comes to Congress to take the oath of office … to impeach the president of the United States, unless his actions are jeopardizing our honoring our oath of office,’ said Pelosi, who earlier this month walked out of a meeting with President Trump after it grew heated.

 ‘Let us honor our oath of office. Let us defend our democracy. Let us have a good vote today and have clarity, clarity as to how we proceed,’ she said.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor with a poster of a flag+14

Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor with a poster of a flag

Rep. Steve Scalise, the Number Two Republican in the House, called the proceedings 'Soviet-style'

Rep. Steve Scalise, the Number Two Republican in the House, called the proceedings ‘Soviet-style’

‘At the end of the day, this resolution isn’t about Donald Trump. It isn’t about any of us. It’s about our Constitution. It’s about our country. And so I urge my colleagues to not just think about the political pressures of the moment. These will pass. Please consider the heavy responsibility you have today, to this institution, the Constitution, and our country,’ said Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Jim McGovern on the House floor Thursday morning.

”I never wanted our country to reach this point. I do not take any pleasure in the need for this resolution. We are not here in some partisan exercise. We are here because the facts compel us to be here. There is serious evidence that President Trump may have violated the Constitution. This is about protecting our national security and safeguarding our elections,’ he added.

‘I support this resolution because it lays the groundwork for open hearings. The House and the American public must see all of the evidence for themselves,’ said Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler in his floor speech.

Nadler’s committee will hold some of those public hearings.

‘I support this resolution because I know we must overcome this difficult moment for the Nation. This resolution is necessary to ensure that our constitutional order remains intact for future generations,’ he added. ‘I support this resolution because we simply have no choice.’

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler spoke in support of the resolution; his committee will hold some of the public hearings

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy charged Democrats with trying to overturn the 2016 election+14

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy charged Democrats with trying to overturn the 2016 election

House minority whip Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana tried to turn the table on Democrats, who have spent years focusing on Russian election interference and Trump campaign contacts with Russians.

He spoke next to a blow-up posture of the Kremlin, and accused the Democrats of conducting a Soviet-style inquiry.

‘If the chair chooses, at his whim, they can literally kick out the president’s legal counsel. This is unprecedented. It’s not only unprecedented, this is Soviet-style rules. Maybe in the Soviet Union, you’d do things like this, where only you make the rules, where you reject the ability of the person you are accusing to even be in the room to question what’s going on, for anybody else to call witnesses,’ said Scalise.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy blasted Democrats for ‘not working for the American people.’

‘This Congress has more subpoenas than laws,’ he said in his floor speech.

‘Democrats are trying to impeach the president because they are scared they cannot beat him at the ballot,’ McCarthy complained. ‘This impeachment is not only an attempt to undo the last election. It is an attempt to undo the last one as well.’

For both sides the vote will become a political weapon in 2020 with Republicans targeting Democrats who represent House districts that Trump won in 2016 and Democrats using it as a rallying cry for their base.

Tim Morrison, who was Trump's top adviser for Russian and European affairs, arrives on Capitol Hill Thursday to testify

Tim Morrison, who was Trump’s top adviser for Russian and European affairs, arrives on Capitol Hill Thursday to testify

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said  the administration is considering bringing aboard additional staff to combat the impeachment inquiry

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Thursday morning the administration is considering bringing aboard additional staff to combat the impeachment inquiry.

‘Possibly and if we do it’s because our portfolios are already over flowing,’  she told reporters in the White House drive way. ‘So possibly. Stephanie Grisham is the press secretary and communications director the president and to the first lady. She’s got a pretty busy portfolio already.’

She added that any additions would be temporary and single-focused on the impeach issue, comparing it to how the administration brought on small teams of extra staff to handle other key issues, such as Supreme Court nominations.

‘So if it’s something intense, but single focused albeit temporary, there’s an argument for bringing a few extra hands and minds on to the team. So I would analogize it to Kavanaugh Part II for example,’ she said. ‘You have a short window and somebody who is single-focused on just that which is, frankly, something the rest of us can’t do.’

She was quick to add: ‘It’s not a war room. The president has made it pretty clear he doesn’t need a war room.’

The vote comes as Tim Morrison, who was Trump’s top adviser for Russian and European affairs, arrived on Capitol Hill Thursday morning to testify in the inquiry.

Morrison recently left his White House post and Democrats will seek details from him on an allegation that president linked nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid to the Ukraine to officials there undertaking an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden, along with probing an unproven theory that it was the Ukrainians who hacked the Democratic National Committee’s email server and blamed the Russians.

Trump has maintained he’s done nothing wrong.

The House resolution includes a package of rules for how the Intelligence Committee – now leading the investigation closed-door testimony from witness – would transition to public hearings.

It also details how Intelligence panel Chair Adam Schiff will have most of the power in the process – deciding who will testify in front of the cameras and for how long – before issuing a public report and handing the matter over to the House Judiciary Committee, which will compose any formal articles of impeachment against the president.

Republicans and the White House are objecting to how that process is laid out.

Under the resolution, GOP lawmakers can only issue subpoenas for witnesses if the entire panel approved them – in effect giving Democrats veto power over their requests. Democrats argue this was the same procedure Republicans used when they had the majority during Bill Clinton’s impeachment process in the 1990s.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring a resolution to a vote that outlines how the investigation will proceed and what rights the president will have during it

Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring a resolution to a vote that outlines how the investigation will proceed and what rights the president will have during it

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff will play a lead role in the public hearing phase of the investigation+14

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff will play a lead role in the public hearing phase of the investigation

Additionally, there is no role for President Trump’s lawyers when the Intelligence panel holds its public hearings – a time when the cable news networks will run wall-to-wall coverage and viewership is expected to be high.

Trump’s lawyers aren’t allowed into the process into the Judiciary committee phase but what rights they will have – such as the ability to question witnesses – are not outlined in the resolution.

The White House blasted the rules as ‘an illegitimate sham’ that lacks ‘any due process’ for President Trump.

‘The White House is barred from participating at all, until after Chairman Schiff conducts two rounds of one-sided hearings to generate a biased report for the Judiciary Committee. Even then, the White House’s rights remain undefined, unclear, and uncertain – because those rules still haven’t been written,’ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham argued in a statement earlier this week on the resolution.

By the time the president gets to participate, most of the drama will have played out on television screens across the country.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the procedure as denying the president his ‘basic due process rights.’

‘It does not confer on President Trump the most basic rights of due process,’ McConnell complained in a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in the Ukraine whose closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry against Trump shocked Democrats with its details, is willing to testify in public when the hearings move to that stage.

No request has been made for his public testimony, CNN reports, but he is likely to be on the Democrats’ list when the time comes.

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blasted House Democrats' impeachment resolution on the Senate floor on Wednesday

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blasted House Democrats’ impeachment resolution on the Senate floor on Wednesday

Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in the Ukraine, is wiling to testify in public

Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in the Ukraine, is wiling to testify in public

Taylor testified last week that he was told that American military aid to the Ukraine was contingent on Kiev putting out a statement they were investigating the Bidens and the 2016 election.

Democrats believe he could be a star witness.

He’s rock solid, detailed notetaker and unimpeachable,’ Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN. ‘Fifty years given to his country — it doesn’t get much more ‘Top Gun’ than that.’

Taylor testified behind closed doors last week that Trump refused to release U.S. security aid or meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky until Zelensky agreed to investigate the president’s political rivals.

Trump wanted a public commitment from the Ukraine they would investigate Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company with Hunter Biden on its board, Taylor – a Vietnam veteran and career State Department official  – told Congress, and said the president wanted Ukraine ‘put in a box.’

Trump and his allies have pushed an unproven theory Joe Biden, as vice president, demanded the Ukraine remove a prosecutor to the benefit of the company.

The president also pushed an unproven conspiracy theory that an email server belonging to the Democratic National Committee was hacked by Ukrainians during the 2016 election and they made it look as it were the Russians – a story, that if true, would indicate he won the 2016 contest without Russian interference.

Bolton was in meetings with EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland on Ukraine policy+14

Bolton was in meetings with EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland on Ukraine policy

Taylor said he was told that Trump had made clear that military aid to help keep Ukraine safe from Russia would only be made available if Zelensky went public to order ‘investigations,’ otherwise there was a ‘stalemate.’

And Taylor testified that Sondland told another diplomat: ‘President Trump did insist that President Zelensky go to a microphone and say that he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference, and that President Zelensky should want to do this himself.’

The bombshell testimony rocked Washington D.C. and left the White House reeling – after Trump had started the day by calling impeachment ‘a lynching.’

As Democratic lawmakers trickled out of the hearing, they called they evidence ‘damning,’ while Republicans had little to say.

Taylor called the involvement of Rudy Giuliani in a ‘parallel’ foreign policy ‘highly irregular’; confirmed that John Bolton had called linking military aid to Ukraine to a Biden probe a ‘drug deal’; implicated Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo and Mick Mulvaney in the scheme; and painted EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland as part of Giuliani’s scheme as well as an error-prone official lax on security and an unreliable witness – who one Republican conceded is likely to be recalled to the probe.

He recalled a phone call with Sondland, whom the president put in charge of Ukrainian affairs despite that country not being an EU member.

‘During that phone call, Amb. Sondland told me that President Trump had told him that he wants President Zelensky to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election,’ Taylor said in his statement.

He added Sondland told him ‘everything’ – meaning U.S. military aid and a White House meeting – was contingent on the Ukraine publicly agreeing to the probe.

‘Amb. Sondland also told me that he now recognized that he had made a mistake by earlier telling the Ukrainian officials to whom he spoke that a White House meeting with President Zelensky was dependent on a public announcement of investigations — in fact, Amb. Sondland said, ‘everything’ was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance,’ Taylor said.

‘He said that President Trump wanted President Zelensky ‘in a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such investigations,” he noted.

Taylor is considered the biggest threat to Trump to come before lawmakers.

He left his retirement to take up the top U.S. post in the Ukraine after Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was fired by Trump. He has no ties to the administration and no diplomatic career to worry about given his senior statesman status. He has worked in administrations for both political parties.

White House blasts impeachment resolution as ‘illegitimate sham’ without ‘any due process’ for Donald Trump after Democrats release proposal that omits details about president’s rights when public hearings are televised

  • White House blasted the Democrats’ impeachment resolution 
  • It’s ‘an illegitimate sham … without any due process for the President,’ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement
  • House Democrats released their impeachment resolution on Tuesday that outlines the next stage of the investigation into Donald Trump
  • It includes public hearings and gives Republicans limited power to call witnesses
  • Power is concentrated in hands on Intel Committee Chair Adam Schiff
  • He will get to approve Republican witnesses and their requests for subpoena
  • After Intel finishes its investigation, it will write a public report
  • Matter then goes to Judiciary panel which writes articles of impeachment 
  • Trump and his lawyer cannot participate in process until that final stage 
  • House votes on resolution on Thursday, which is Halloween  

Under the resolution, power is concentrated in the hands of House Intelligence committee Chair Adam Schiff, who can authorize longer periods to question witnesses and who can approve Republican requests for witnesses to appear. 

The Intelligence panel will take the lead in the next, immediate steps. Those include public hearings where Republican lawmakers and staff can question witnesses.

But there is no role for the president’s lawyer in the that stage – which is the White House’s chief complaint. 

After its public hearings conclude, the Intelligence panel will submit its findings to the House Judiciary Committee, which will have the responsibility for drafting any articles of impeachment that would charge the president.

STEPHANIE GRISHAM STATEMENT ON RESOLUTION

The resolution put forward by Speaker Pelosi confirms that House Democrats’ impeachment has been an illegitimate sham from the start as it lacked any proper authorization by a House vote.

It continues this scam by allowing Chairman Schiff, who repeatedly lies to the American people, to hold a new round of hearings, still without any due process for the President.

The White House is barred from participating at all, until after Chairman Schiff conducts two rounds of one-sided hearings to generate a biased report for the Judiciary Committee. Even then, the White House’s rights remain undefined, unclear, and uncertain – because those rules still haven’t been written.

This resolution does nothing to change the fundamental fact that House Democrats refuse to provide basic due process rights to the Administration.

It’s in that stage that President Trump’s lawyers will get to be involved but what rights they will have – such as the ability to question witnesses – are not outlined in the resolution.

‘The White House is barred from participating at all, until after Chairman Schiff conducts two rounds of one-sided hearings to generate a biased report for the Judiciary Committee. Even then, the White House’s rights remain undefined, unclear, and uncertain – because those rules still haven’t been written,’ Grisham argued in her statement on the resolution.

By the time the president gets to participate, most of the drama will have played out on television screens across the country.

Republicans, meanwhile, have called foul on the restrictions Democrats have placed on them when it comes to presenting Trump’s case when the hearings move the public stage.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the intelligence panel, can request witnesses, documents and any subpoenas the GOP want but Schiff must sign off on those requests and the full committee, which has a majority of Democrats, must approve them by vote.

Democrats point out that it is the same practice Republicans used for the minority power during the impeachment proceedings into President Bill Clinton into 1998.

The resolution puts the power in the impeachment inquiry into House Intelligence panel Chair Adam Schiff

Speaker Nancy Pelosi will lead Democrats in voting on the resolution on Thursday

The resolution is slated for a vote on Thursday in the full House. Republican leadership is telling its members to vote no on what they call a ‘Soviet-style’ resolution.

Under the Democratic-written measure, the House committees are directed ‘to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, and for other purposes.’

Besides setting out the procedure for public hearings, the House intelligence panel  is directed to write a public report – with classified information redacted – and ultimately transfer its findings to the House Judiciary Committee, which will take the lead in the final stage of the impeachment inquiry.

That panel, led by Chairman Jerry Nadler, will draw up any articles of impeachment that will end up before the full House for a vote.

The Judiciary panel can also hold public hearings as it works on drafting the articles.

For both committees, in the public hearings, each side could engage in extended questioning of witnesses in rounds of up to 90 minutes before beginning the traditional five-minute rounds extended to lawmakers on those panels under existing rules.

Both lawmakers and staff would have the ability to ask questions.

The resolution also allows for Trump to make his case before lawmakers in the Judiciary Committee stage.

‘The House authorizes the Committee on the Judiciary to conduct proceedings relating to the impeachment inquiry referenced in the first section of this resolution pursuant to the procedures submitted for printing in the Congressional Record by the chair of the Committee on Rules, including such procedures as to allow for the participation of the President and his counsel,’ it reads.

A fact sheet put out by Democrats says that the president’s lawyers can will have an opportunity to present their case, attend hearings, respond to evidence, and raise an objection to testimony given.

B

President Trump and Republicans have cried foul on impeachment process

President Trump and Republicans have cried foul on impeachment process

By offering a resolution on the next steps, Democrats could undercut that argument if Republicans bring it up during the public hearings.

Additionally, by putting the Intelligence and Judiciary panels in charge of the next steps, it would appear to cut out the House Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, which have played a role in the closed-door hearings.

That result could see some of Trump’s most ardent defenders – Republican lawmakers Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows among them – not part of the panels that will question witnesses in the public hearings, which are sure to play out on the 24-hour cable news channels.

GOP lawmakers immediately attacked the resolution for giving Schiff approval over the witnesses they want to call.

‘Socialist Dem impeachment resolution lets Repubs call witnesses … IF Adam Schiff okays. Duh! Will Adam Schiff allow exculpatory witnesses that embarrass Socialist Dems and help public discern truth? Schiff past partisan dishonesty suggests UNLIKELY!,’ Republican Congressman Mo Brooks tweeted.

But Democrats argued the resolution outlines the path forward.

‘The House impeachment inquiry has collected extensive evidence and testimony, and soon the American people will hear from witnesses in an open setting. The resolution introduced today in the House Rules Committee will provide that pathway forward,’ Schiff and his fellow committee chairs Eliot Engel, Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler said in a statement.

‘The resolution provides rules for the format of open hearings in the House Intelligence Committee, including staff-led questioning of witnesses, and it authorizes the public release of deposition transcripts.

‘The resolution also establishes procedures for the transfer of evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and it sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel in the Judiciary Committee proceedings,’ they said.

Impeachment in the United States

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Impeachment in the United States is the process by which a legislature (usually in the form of the lower house) brings charges against a civil officer of government for crimes alleged to have been committed, analogous to the bringing of an indictment by a grand jury. At the federal level, this is at the discretion of the House of Representatives. Most impeachments have concerned alleged crimes committed while in office, though there have been a few cases in which officials have been impeached and subsequently convicted for crimes committed prior to taking office.[1] The impeached official remains in office until a trial is held. That trial, and their removal from office if convicted, is separate from the act of impeachment itself. Analogous to a trial before a judge and jury, these proceedings are (where the legislature is bicameral) conducted by the upper house of the legislature, which at the federal level is the Senate.

Impeachment may occur at the federal level or the state level. The federal House can impeach federal officials, including the President, and each state‘s legislature can impeach state officials, including the governor, in accordance with their respective federal or state constitution.

Federal impeachment

Constitutional provisions

The House of Representatives … shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

— Article I, Section 2, Clause 5

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Article I, Section 3, Clauses 6 and 7

[The President] … shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

Article II, Section 2

The PresidentVice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, TreasonBribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article II, Section 4

Impeachable offenses: “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”

The Constitution limits grounds of impeachment to “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”.[2] The precise meaning of the phrase “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” is not defined in the Constitution itself.

The notion that only criminal conduct can constitute sufficient grounds for impeachment does not comport with either the views of the founders or with historical practice.[1] Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 65, described impeachable offenses as arising from “the misconduct of public men, or in other words from the abuse or violation of some public trust.”[3] Such offenses were “political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”[3] According to this reasoning, impeachable conduct could include behavior that violates an official’s duty to the country, even if such conduct is not necessarily a prosecutable offense. Indeed, in the past both houses of Congress have given the phrase “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” a broad reading, finding that impeachable offenses need not be limited to criminal conduct.[4][1]

The purposes underlying the impeachment process also indicate that non-criminal activity may constitute sufficient grounds for impeachment.[1][5] The purpose of impeachment is not to inflict personal punishment for criminal activity. Instead, impeachment is a “remedial” tool; it serves to effectively “maintain constitutional government” by removing individuals unfit for office.[6][1] Grounds for impeachment include abuse of the particular powers of government office or a violation of the “public trust”—conduct that is unlikely to be barred via statute.[6][4][1]

In drawing up articles of impeachment, the House has placed little emphasis on criminal conduct.[1] Less than one-third of the articles that the House have adopted have explicitly charged the violation of a criminal statute or used the word “criminal” or “crime” to describe the conduct alleged.[1] Officials have been impeached and removed for drunkenness, biased decision-making, or inducing parties to enter financial transactions, none of which is specifically criminal.[1] Two of the articles against President Andrew Johnson were based on rude speech that reflected badly on the office: President Johnson had made “harangues” criticizing the Congress and questioning its legislative authority, refusing to follow laws, and diverting funds allocated in an army appropriations act, each of which brought the presidency “into contempt, ridicule, and disgrace”.[7] A number of individuals have been impeached for behavior incompatible with the nature of the office they hold.[1] Some impeachments have addressed, at least in part, conduct before the individuals assumed their positions: for example, Article IV against Judge Porteous related to false statements to the FBI and Senate in connection with his nomination and confirmation to the court.[1]

On the other hand, the Constitutional Convention rejected language that would have permitted impeachment for “maladministration,” with Madison arguing that “[s]o vague a term will be equivalent to a tenure during pleasure of the Senate.”[8]

Congressional materials have cautioned that the grounds for impeachment “do not all fit neatly and logically into categories” because the remedy of impeachment is intended to “reach a broad variety of conduct by officers that is both serious and incompatible with the duties of the office”.[6][1] Congress has identified three general types of conduct that constitute grounds for impeachment, although these categories should not be understood as exhaustive:

(1) improperly exceeding or abusing the powers of the office;
(2) behavior incompatible with the function and purpose of the office; and
(3) misusing the office for an improper purpose or for personal gain.[6][1]

Conversely, not all criminal conduct is impeachable: in 1974, the Judiciary Committee rejected an article of impeachment against President Nixon alleging that he committed tax fraud, primarily because that “related to the President’s private conduct, not to an abuse of his authority as President.”[1]

Several commentators have suggested that Congress alone may decide for itself what constitutes a “high Crime or Misdemeanor”, especially since the Supreme Court decided in Nixon v. United States that it did not have the authority to determine whether the Senate properly “tried” a defendant.[9] In 1970, then-House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford defined the criterion as he saw it: “An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.”[10]

Of the 17 impeachments voted by the House:

  • No official has been charged with treason. (In 1797, Senator Blount was impeached for assisting Britain in capturing Spanish territory. In 1862, Judge Humphries was impeached and convicted for siding with the Confederacy and taking a position as a Confederate judge during the Civil War.)
  • Three officials have been charged with bribery. Of those, two proceeded to trial and were removed (Judge Archibald and Judge Hastings); the other resigned prior to trial (Secretary Belknap).
  • The remaining charges against all the other officials fall under the category of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors”.

The standard of proof required for impeachment and conviction is also left to the discretion of individual Representatives and Senators, respectively. Defendants have argued that impeachment trials are in the nature of criminal proceedings, with convictions carrying grave consequences for the accused, and that therefore proof beyond a reasonable doubt should be the applicable standard. House Managers have argued that a lower standard would be appropriate to better serve the purpose of defending the community against abuse of power, since the defendant does not risk forfeiture of life, liberty, or property, for which the reasonable doubt standard was set.[11]

Officers subject to impeachment: “civil officers of the United States”

The Constitution gives Congress the authority to impeach and remove “The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States” upon a determination that such officers have engaged in treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. The Constitution does not articulate who qualifies as a “civil officer of the United States”.[12]

Federal judges are subject to impeachment. In fact, 15 of 19 officers impeached, and all eight officers removed after Senate trial, have been judges. The most recent impeachment effort against a Supreme Court justice that resulted in a House of Representatives investigation was against Justice William O. Douglas. In 1970, Representative Gerald Ford, who was then House minority leader, called for the House to impeach Douglas. However, a House investigation led by Congressman Emanuel Celler (D-NY) determined that Ford’s allegations were baseless. According to Professor Joshua E. Kastenberg at the University of New Mexico, School of Law, Ford and Nixon sought to force Douglas off the Court in order to cement the “Southern Strategy” as well as to provide cover for the invasion of Cambodia. When their efforts failed, Douglas remained on the Court.[13]

Within the executive branch, any Presidentially appointed “principal officer,” including a head of an agency such as a Secretary, Administrator, or Commissioner, is a “civil officer of the United States” subject to impeachment.[1] At the opposite end of the spectrum, lesser functionaries, such as federal civil service employees, do not exercise “significant authority”, and are not appointed by the President or an agency head. These employees do not appear to be subject to impeachment, though that may be a matter of allocation of House floor debate time by the Speaker, rather than a matter of law.

The Senate has concluded that members of Congress (Representatives and Senators) are not “civil officers” for purposes of impeachment.[14] As a practical matter, expulsion is effected by the simpler procedures of Article I, Section 5, which provides “Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members … Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.” (see List of United States senators expelled or censured and List of United States Representatives expelled, censured, or reprimanded). This allows each House to expel its own members without involving the other chamber. In 1797, the House of Representatives impeached Senator William Blount of Tennessee,[15] The Senate expelled Senator Blount under Article I, Section 5, on the same day. However, the impeachment proceeding remained pending (expulsion only removes the individual from office, but conviction after impeachment may also bar the individual from holding future office, so the question of further punishment remained to be decided). After four days of debate, the Senate concluded that a Senator is not a “civil officer of the United States” for purposes of the Impeachment clause, and dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.[14][16] The House has not impeached a Member of Congress since Blount.

Procedure

At the federal level, the impeachment process is a three-step procedure.

  • First, the Congress investigates. This investigation typically begins in the House Judiciary Committee, but may begin elsewhere. For example, the Nixon impeachment inquiry began in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The facts that led to impeachment of Bill Clintonwere first discovered in the course of an investigation by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.
  • Second, the House of Representatives must pass, by a simple majority of those present and voting, articles of impeachment, which constitute the formal allegation or allegations. Upon passage, the defendant has been “impeached”.
  • Third, the Senate tries the accused. In the case of the impeachment of a president, the Chief Justice of the United States presides over the proceedings. For the impeachment of any other official, the Constitution is silent on who shall preside, suggesting that this role falls to the Senate’s usual presiding officer, the President of the Senate who is also the Vice President of the United States. Conviction in the Senate requires a two-thirds supermajority vote of those present. The result of conviction is removal from office.

Rules

A number of rules have been adopted by the House and Senate, and are honored by tradition.

Jefferson’s Manual, which is integral to the Rules of the House of Representatives,[17] states that impeachment is set in motion by charges made on the floor, charges proffered by a memorial, a member’s resolution referred to a committee, a message from the president, or from facts developed and reported by an investigating committee of the House. It further states that a proposition to impeach is a question of high privilege in the House and at once supersedes business otherwise in order under the rules governing the order of business.

The House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House[18] is a reference source for information on the rules and selected precedents governing the House procedure, prepared by the House Parliamentarian. The manual has a chapter on the House’s rules, procedures, and precedent for impeachment.

In 1974, as part of the preliminary investigation in the Nixon impeachment inquiry, the staff of the Impeachment Inquiry of the House Judiciary Committee prepared a report, Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment.[6] The primary focus of the Report is the definition of the term “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” and the relationship to criminality, which the Report traces through history from English roots, through the debates at the 1787 Constitutional Convention, and the history of the impeachments before 1974.

The 1974 report has been expanded and revised on several occasions by the Congressional Research Service, and the current version Impeachment and Removal dates from October 2015.[1] While this document is only staff recommendation, as a practical matter, today it is probably the single most influential definition of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

The Senate has formal Rules and Procedures of Practice in the Senate When Sitting on Impeachment Trials.[19]

Calls for impeachment, and Congressional power to investigate

While the actual impeachment of a federal public official is a rare event, demands for impeachment, especially of presidents, are common,[20] going back to the administration of George Washington in the mid-1790s.

While almost all of them were for the most part frivolous and were buried as soon as they were introduced, several did have their intended effect. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon[21] and Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas both resigned in response to the threat of impeachment hearings, and, most famously, President Richard Nixon resigned from office after the House Judiciary Committee had already reported articles of impeachment to the floor.

In advance of the formal resolution by the full House to authorize proceedings, committee chairmen have the same power for impeachment as for any other issue within the jurisdiction of the committee: to investigate, subpoena witnesses, and prepare a preliminary report of findings. For example:

Targets of congressional investigations have challenged the power of Congress to investigate before a formal resolution commences impeachment proceedings. For example, President Buchanan wrote to the committee investigating his administration:

I do, therefore, … solemnly protest against these proceedings of the House of Representatives, because they are in violation of the rights of the coordinate executive branch of the Government, and subversive of its constitutional independence; because they are calculated to foster a band of interested parasites and informers, ever ready, for their own advantage, to swear before ex parte committees to pretended private conversations between the President and themselves, incapable, from their nature, of being disproved; thus furnishing material for harassing him, degrading him in the eyes of the country [23]

He maintained that the House of Representatives possessed no general powers to investigate him, except when sitting as an impeaching body.

When the Supreme Court has considered similar issues, it held that the power to secure “needed information … has long been treated as an attribute of the power to legislate. … [The power to investigate is deeply rooted in the nation’s history:] It was so regarded in the British Parliament and in the colonial Legislatures before the American Revolution, and a like view has prevailed and been carried into effect in both houses of Congress and in most of the state Legislatures.”[24] The Supreme Court also held, “There can be no doubt as to the power of Congress, by itself or through its committees, to investigate matters and conditions relating to contemplated legislation.”[25]

The Supreme Court considered the power of the Congress to investigate, and to subpoena executive branch officials, in a pair of cases arising out of alleged corruption in the administration of President Warren G. Harding. In the first, McGrain v. Daugherty, the Court considered a subpoena issued to the brother of Attorney General Harry Daugherty for bank records relevant to the Senate’s investigation into the Department of Justice. Concluding that the subpoena was valid, the Court explained that Congress’s “power of inquiry … is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function,” as “[a] legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of information respecting the conditions which the legislation is intended to affect or change.” The Supreme Court held that it was irrelevant that the Senate’s authorizing resolution lacked an “avow[al] that legislative action was had in view” because, said the Court, “the subject to be investigated was … [p]lainly [a] subject … on which legislation could be had” and such legislation “would be materially aided by the information which the investigation was calculated to elicit.” Although “[a]n express avowal” of the Senate’s legislative objective “would have been better,” the Court admonished that “the presumption should be indulged that [legislation] was the real object.”[24]

Two years later, in Sinclair v. United States,[26] the Court considered investigation of private parties involved with officials under potential investigation for public corruption. In Sinclair, Harry Sinclair, the president of an oil company, appealed his conviction for refusing to answer a Senate committee’s questions regarding his company’s allegedly fraudulent lease on federal oil reserves at Teapot Dome in Wyoming. The Court, acknowledging individuals’ “right to be exempt from all unauthorized, arbitrary or unreasonable inquiries and disclosures in respect of their personal and private affairs,” nonetheless explained that because “[i]t was a matter of concern to the United States,” “the transaction purporting to lease to [Sinclair’s company] the lands within the reserve cannot be said to be merely or principally … personal.” The Court also dismissed the suggestion that the Senate was impermissibly conducting a criminal investigation. “It may be conceded that Congress is without authority to compel disclosures for the purpose of aiding the prosecution of pending suits,” explained the Court, “but the authority of that body, directly or through its committees, to require pertinent disclosures in aid of its own constitutional power is not abridged because the information sought to be elicited may also be of use in such suits.”

The Supreme Court reached similar conclusions in a number of other cases. In Barenblatt v. United States,[27] the Court permitted Congress to punish contempt, when a person refused to answer questions while testifying under subpoena by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. The Court explained that although “Congress may not constitutionally require an individual to disclose his … private affairs except in relation to” “a valid legislative purpose,” such a purpose was present. Congress’s “wide power to legislate in the field of Communist activity … and to conduct appropriate investigations in aid thereof[] is hardly debatable,” said the Court, and “[s]o long as Congress acts in pursuance of its constitutional power, the Judiciary lacks authority to intervene on the basis of the motives which spurred the exercise of that power.”

Presidents have often been the subjects of Congress’s legislative investigations. For example, in 1832, the House vested a select committee with subpoena power “to inquire whether an attempt was made by the late Secretary of War … [to] fraudulently [award] … a contract for supplying rations” to Native Americans and to “further … inquire whether the President … had any knowledge of such attempted fraud, and whether he disapproved or approved of the same.” In the 1990s, first the House and Senate Banking Committees and then a Senate special committee investigated President and Mrs. Clinton’s involvement in the Whitewater land deal and related matters. The Senate had an enabling resolution; the House did not.

The Supreme Court has also explained that Congress has not only the power, but the duty, to investigate so it can inform the public of the operations of government:

It is the proper duty of a representative body to look diligently into every affair of government and to talk much about what it sees. It is meant to be the eyes and the voice, and to embody the wisdom and will of its constituents. Unless Congress have and use every means of acquainting itself with the acts and the disposition of the administrative agents of the government, the country must be helpless to learn how it is being served; and unless Congress both scrutinize these things and sift them by every form of discussion, the country must remain in embarrassing, crippling ignorance of the very affairs which it is most important that it should understand and direct. The informing function of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function.[28]

House of Representatives: Impeachment

Impeachment proceedings may be requested by a member of the House of Representatives on his or her own initiative, either by presenting a list of the charges under oath or by asking for referral to the appropriate committee. The impeachment process may be requested by non-members. For example, when the Judicial Conference of the United States suggests a federal judge be impeached, a charge of actions constituting grounds for impeachment may come from a special prosecutor, the President, or state or territorial legislaturegrand jury, or by petition. An impeachment proceeding formally begins with a resolution adopted by the full House of Representatives, which typically includes a referral to a House committee.

First day of The Judiciary Committee’s formal impeachment hearings against President Nixon, May 9, 1974

The type of impeachment resolution determines the committee to which it is referred. A resolution impeaching a particular individual is typically referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. A resolution to authorize an investigation regarding impeachable conduct is referred to the House Committee on Rules, and then to the Judiciary Committee. The House Committee on the Judiciary, by majority vote, will determine whether grounds for impeachment exist (this vote is not law and is not required, US Constitution and US law). If the Committee finds grounds for impeachment, it will set forth specific allegations of misconduct in one or more articles of impeachment. The Impeachment Resolution, or Articles of Impeachment, are then reported to the full House with the committee’s recommendations.

The House debates the resolution and may at the conclusion consider the resolution as a whole or vote on each article of impeachment individually. A simple majority of those present and voting is required for each article for the resolution as a whole to pass. If the House votes to impeach, managers (typically referred to as “House managers”, with a “lead House manager”) are selected to present the case to the Senate. Recently, managers have been selected by resolution, while historically the House would occasionally elect the managers or pass a resolution allowing the appointment of managers at the discretion of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. These managers are roughly the equivalent of the prosecution or district attorney in a standard criminal trial. Also, the House will adopt a resolution in order to notify the Senate of its action. After receiving the notice, the Senate will adopt an order notifying the House that it is ready to receive the managers. The House managers then appear before the bar of the Senate and exhibit the articles of impeachment. After the reading of the charges, the managers return and make a verbal report to the House.

Senate: Trial

Depiction of the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in 1868, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase presiding.

The proceedings unfold in the form of a trial, with each side having the right to call witnesses and perform cross-examinations. The House members, who are given the collective title of managers during the course of the trial, present the prosecution case, and the impeached official has the right to mount a defense with his or her own attorneys as well. Senators must also take an oath or affirmation that they will perform their duties honestly and with due diligence. After hearing the charges, the Senate usually deliberates in private. The Constitution requires a two-thirds super majority to convict a person being impeached.[29] The Senate enters judgment on its decision, whether that be to convict or acquit, and a copy of the judgment is filed with the Secretary of State.[19] Upon conviction in the Senate, the official is automatically removed from office and may also be barred from holding future office. The trial is not an actual criminal proceeding and more closely resembles a civil service termination appeal in terms of the contemplated deprivation. Therefore, the removed official may still be liable to criminal prosecution under a subsequent criminal proceeding. The President may not grant a pardon in the impeachment case, but may in any resulting Federal criminal case.[30]

Beginning in the 1980s with Harry E. Claiborne, the Senate began using “Impeachment Trial Committees” pursuant to Senate Rule XI.[19] These committees presided over the evidentiary phase of the trials, hearing the evidence and supervising the examination and cross-examination of witnesses. The committees would then compile the evidentiary record and present it to the Senate; all senators would then have the opportunity to review the evidence before the chamber voted to convict or acquit. The purpose of the committees was to streamline impeachment trials, which otherwise would have taken up a great deal of the chamber’s time. Defendants challenged the use of these committees, claiming them to be a violation of their fair trial rights as this did not meet the constitutional requirement for their cases to be “tried by the Senate”. Several impeached judges, including District Court JudgeWalter Nixon, sought court intervention in their impeachment proceedings on these grounds. In Nixon v. United States (1993),[9] the Supreme Court determined that the federal judiciary could not review such proceedings, as matters related to impeachment trials are political questions and could not be resolved in the courts.[31]

In theory at least, as President of the Senate, the Vice President of the United States could preside over their own impeachment, although legal theories suggest that allowing a defendant to be the judge in their own case would be a blatant conflict of interest. If the Vice President did not preside over an impeachment (of anyone besides the President), the duties would fall to the President pro tempore of the Senate.

To convict an accused, “the concurrence of two thirds of the [Senators] present” for at least one article is required. If there is no single charge commanding a “guilty” vote of two-thirds majority of the senators present, the defendant is acquitted and no punishment is imposed.

Result of conviction: removal, and with an additional Senate vote, disqualification

Conviction immediately removes the defendant from office. Following conviction, the Senate may vote to further punish the individual by barring him or her from holding future federal office, elected or appointed. As the threshold for disqualification is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, the Senate has taken the position that disqualification votes only require a simple majority rather than a two-thirds majority. The Senate has used disqualification sparingly, as only three individuals have been disqualified from holding future office.[32]

Conviction does not extend to further punishment, for example, loss of pension. After conviction by the Senate, “the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law” in the regular federal or state courts.

History of federal constitutional impeachment

In the United Kingdom, impeachment was a procedure whereby a member of the House of Commons could accuse someone of a crime. If the Commons voted for the impeachment, a trial would then be held in the House of Lords. Unlike a bill of attainder, a law declaring a person guilty of a crime, impeachments did not require royal assent, so they could be used to remove troublesome officers of the Crown even if the monarch was trying to protect them.

The monarch, however, was above the law and could not be impeached, or indeed judged guilty of any crime. When King Charles I was tried before the Rump Parliament of the New Model Army in 1649 he denied that they had any right to legally indict him, their king, whose power was given by God and the laws of the country, saying: “no earthly power can justly call me (who is your King) in question as a delinquent … no learned lawyer will affirm that an impeachment can lie against the King.” While the House of Commons pronounced him guilty and ordered his execution anyway, the jurisdictional issue tainted the proceedings.

With this example in mind, the delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention chose to include an impeachment procedure in Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution which could be applied to any government official; they explicitly mentioned the President to ensure there would be no ambiguity. Opinions differed, however, as to the reasons Congress should be able to initiate an impeachment. Initial drafts listed only treason and bribery, but George Mason favored impeachment for “maladministration” (incompetence). James Madisonargued that impeachment should only be for criminal behavior, arguing that a maladministration standard would effectively mean that the President would serve at the pleasure of the Senate.[33] Thus the delegates adopted a compromise version allowing impeachment for “treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors”.

Formal federal impeachment investigations and results

The House of Representatives has initiated impeachment proceedings 62 times since 1789.[citation needed]

The House has impeached 19 federal officers. Of these:

Of the 19 impeachments by the House, two cases did not come to trial because the individuals had left office, seven were acquitted, and eight officials were convicted, all of whom were judges.[35][36] One, former judge Alcee Hastings, was elected as a member of the United States House of Representatives after being removed from office.

Additionally, an impeachment process against Richard Nixon was commenced, but not completed, as he resigned from office before the full House voted on the articles of impeachment.[31] To date, no president has been removed from office by impeachment and conviction.

The following table lists federal officials for whom impeachment proceedings were instituted and referred to a committee of the House of Representatives. Numbered lines of the table reflect officials impeached by a majority vote of the House. Unnumbered lines are those officials for whom an impeachment proceeding was formally instituted, but ended when (a) the Committee did not vote to recommend impeachment, (b) the Committee recommended impeachment but the vote in the full House failed, or (c) the official resigned or died before the full House vote.

# Date of Impeachment or Investigation Accused Office Accusations Result[Note 1]
1 July 7, 1797 William-blount-wb-cooper.jpg William Blount United States Senator(Tennessee) Conspiring to assist Britain in capturing Spanish territory Senate refused to accept impeachment of a Senator by the House of Representatives, instead expelling him from the Senate on their own authority[37][Note 2][38]
2 March 2, 1803 John Pickering Judge (District of New Hampshire) Drunkenness and unlawful rulings Convicted; removed on March 12, 1804[37][39][38][39]
3 March 12, 1804 Samuel Chase (bust crop).jpg Samuel Chase Associate Justice (Supreme Court of the United States) Political bias and arbitrary rulings, promoting a partisan political agenda on the bench[40] Acquitted on March 1, 1805[37][39]
4 April 24, 1830 JamesHPeck.jpg James H. Peck Judge (District of Missouri) Abuse of power[41] Acquitted on January 31, 1831[37][39][38][39]
March to June 1860 James Buchanan.jpg James Buchanan President of the United States Corruption The Covode committee was established March 5, 1860, and submitted its final report on June 16, 1860. The committee found that Buchanan had not done anything to warrant impeachment, but that his was the most corrupt administration since the adoption of the US Constitution in 1789.[42][43]
5 May 6, 1862 West Hughes Humphreys.jpg West Hughes Humphreys Judge (EasternMiddle, and Western Districts of Tennessee) Supporting the Confederacy Convicted; removed and disqualified on June 26, 1862[38][37][39] [38][39]
6 February 24, 1868 President Andrew Johnson.jpg Andrew Johnson President of the United States Violating the Tenure of Office Act. The Supreme Court would later state in dicta that the (by then repealed) Tenure of Office Act had been unconstitutional.[44] Acquitted on May 26, 1868, 35–19 in favor of conviction, falling one vote short of two-thirds.[37][38]
7 February 28, 1873 Mark W. Delahay.jpg Mark W. Delahay Judge (District of Kansas) Drunkenness Resigned on December 12, 1873[39][45][39][45]
8 March 2, 1876 WWBelknap.jpg William W. Belknap United States Secretary of War(resigned after impeachment and before trial) Graft, corruption Acquitted after his resignation on August 1, 1876[37][38]
9 December 13, 1904 Charles Swayne Judge (Northern District of Florida) Failure to live in his district, abuse of power[46] Acquitted on February 27, 1905[37][39][38][39]
10 July 11, 1912 Robert W. Archbald cph.3a03594 (bust crop).jpg Robert Wodrow Archbald Associate Justice (United States Commerce Court)
Judge (Third Circuit Court of Appeals)
Improper acceptance of gifts from litigants and attorneys Convicted; removed and disqualified on January 13, 1913[38][37][39][38][39]
11 April 1, 1926 George W. English cph.3a03600.jpg George W. English Judge (Eastern District of Illinois) Abuse of power Resigned on November 4, 1926,[38][37] proceedings dismissed on December 13, 1926[38][39][38][39]
12 February 24, 1933 Harold Louderback Judge (Northern District of California) Corruption Acquitted on May 24, 1933[37][39][38][39]
13 March 2, 1936 Halsted Ritter (US federal judge).jpg Halsted L. Ritter Judge (Southern District of Florida) Champerty, corruption, tax evasion, practicing law while a judge Convicted; removed on April 17, 1936[37][39][38][39]
1953 Justice William O Douglas.jpg William O. Douglas Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Brief stay of execution for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg Referred to Judiciary Committee (Jun. 18, 1953); committee voted to end the investigation (Jul 7, 1953).
1970 Justice William O Douglas.jpg William O. Douglas Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Failure to recuse on obscenity cases while at the same time having articles published in Evergreen Review and Avant-Garde magazines; conflict of paid board positions with two non-profits Referred to a special subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee (Apr. 21, 1970); subcommittee voted to end the investigation (Dec. 3, 1970).
proceedings aborted before impeachment vote, January to August 1974 Richard Nixon presidential portrait.jpg Richard Nixon President of the United States Obstruction of justice, Abuse of Power, Contempt of Congress House Judiciary Committee begins investigating and issuing subpoenas (Oct. 30, 1973); House Judiciary Report on committee investigation (Feb. 1, 1974);[47] House resolution 93-803 authorizes Judiciary Committee investigation (Feb. 6, 1974);[48] House Judiciary Committee votes three articles of impeachment to House floor (July 27–30, 1974);[49] proceedings terminated by resignation of President Nixon (August 8, 1974).
14 July 22, 1986 Harry Claiborne (bust crop).jpg Harry E. Claiborne Judge (District of Nevada) Tax evasion Removed on October 9, 1986[37][39][38][39]
15 August 3, 1988 Alcee Hastings Portrait c111-112th Congress.jpg Alcee Hastings Judge (Southern District of Florida) Accepting a bribe, and committing perjury during the resulting investigation Removed on October 20, 1989[37][39][38][39]
16 May 10, 1989 Walter Nixon (bust crop).jpg Walter Nixon Chief Judge (Southern District of Mississippi) Perjury Removed on November 3, 1989[37][39][Note 3][38][39]
17 December 19, 1998 Bill Clinton.jpg Bill Clinton President of the United States Perjury and obstruction of justice[50] Acquitted on February 12, 1999: 45–55 on obstruction of justice and 50–50 on perjury[37][51]
18 June 19, 2009 KentSamuel.jpg Samuel B. Kent Judge (Southern District of Texas) Sexual assault, and obstruction of justice during the resulting investigation Resigned on June 30, 2009,[39][52] proceedings dismissed on July 22, 2009[37][39][53][39][54]
19 March 11, 2010 PorteousThomasG.jpg Thomas Porteous Judge (Eastern District of Louisiana) Making false financial disclosures, corruption. Convicted, removed and disqualified on December 8, 2010[37][39][55][39][56]
September 24, 2019 President Donald J. Trump September 2019.jpg Donald Trump President of the United States Enlisting the assistance of foreign governments with re-election Financial Servicesthe JudiciaryIntelligenceForeign AffairsOversight and Reform, and Ways and Meanscommittees undertaking an impeachment inquiry beginning on September 24, 2019. The inquiry is presently ongoing.

There have been unsuccessful attempts to initiate impeachment proceedings against John TylerRichard NixonGeorge W. Bush and Barack Obama.

One notable impeachment attempt that never reached the point of House resolution was an attempt to impeach Associate Justice William O. Douglas by then-House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford. The Legislative Reference Service of the Library of Congress prepared a report as part of Ford’s vetting for confirmation as Vice President in 1973.[22]

President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, was impeached on December 19, 1998, by the House of Representatives on articles charging perjury (specifically, lying to a federal grand jury) by a 228–206 vote and obstruction of justice by a 221–212 vote. The House rejected other articles: one was a count of perjury in a civil deposition in Paula Jones‘ sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton (by a 205–229 vote); the second accused Clinton of abuse of power (by a 148–285 vote). President Clinton was acquitted by the Senate. The votes in the Senate to remove him from office did not even reach a majority, let alone two-thirds: 45–55 on obstruction of justice and 50–50 on perjury.

Impeachment in the states

State legislatures can impeach state officials, including governors, in every State except Oregon. The court for the trial of impeachments may differ somewhat from the federal model—in New York, for instance, the Assembly (lower house) impeaches, and the State Senate tries the case, but the members of the seven-judge New York State Court of Appeals (the state’s highest, constitutional court) sit with the senators as jurors as well.[57] Impeachment and removal of governors has happened occasionally throughout the history of the United States, usually for corruption charges. A total of at least eleven U.S. state governors have faced an impeachment trial; a twelfth, Governor Lee Cruce of Oklahoma, escaped impeachment conviction by a single vote in 1912. Several others, most recently Missouri‘s Eric Greitens, have resigned rather than face impeachment, when events seemed to make it inevitable.[58] The most recent impeachment of a state governor occurred on January 14, 2009, when the Illinois House of Representatives voted 117–1 to impeach Rod Blagojevichon corruption charges;[59] he was subsequently removed from office and barred from holding future office by the Illinois Senate on January 29. He was the eighth U.S. state governor to be removed from office.

The procedure for impeachment, or removal, of local officials varies widely. For instance, in New York a mayor is removed directly by the governor “upon being heard” on charges—the law makes no further specification of what charges are necessary or what the governor must find in order to remove a mayor.

In 2018, the entire Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia was impeached, something that has been often threatened, but had never happened before.

State and territorial officials impeached

Date Accused Office Result
1804 William W. Irvin.jpg William W. Irvin Associate JudgeFairfield County, Ohio,Court of Common Pleas Removed
1832 Theophilus W. Smith.jpg Theophilus W. Smith Associate JusticeIllinois Supreme Court Acquitted[60]
February 26, 1862 CRobinson.jpg Charles L. Robinson Governor of Kansas Acquitted[61]
John Winter Robinson Secretary of State of Kansas Removed on June 12, 1862[62]
George S. Hillyer State auditor of Kansas Removed on June 16, 1862[62]
1871 NCG-WilliamHolden.jpg William Woods Holden Governor of North Carolina Removed
1871 Hon. David Butler. Governor Nebraska - NARA - 528665.jpg David Butler Governor of Nebraska Removed[61]
February 1872 Governor Harrison Reed of Florida.jpg Harrison Reed Governor of Florida Acquitted[63]
March 1872 Thirty years of New York politics up-to-date (1889) (14592180978).jpg George G. Barnard New York Supreme Court (1st District) Removed
1872 H C Warmoth 1870s W Kurtz.jpg Henry C. Warmoth Governor of Louisiana “Suspended from office,” though trial was not held[64]
1876 Gen. Adelbert Ames - NARA - 527085.jpg Adelbert Ames Governor of Mississippi Resigned[61]
1888 Honest Dick Tate.png James W. Tate Kentucky State Treasurer Removed
1901 David M. Furches Chief JusticeNorth Carolina Supreme Court Acquitted[65]
Robert M. Douglas Associate JusticeNorth Carolina Supreme Court Acquitted[65]
August 13, 1913[66] William Sulzer NY.jpg William Sulzer Governor of New York Removed on October 17, 1913[67]
July 1917 James E. Ferguson.jpg James E. Ferguson Governor of Texas Removed[68]
October 23, 1923 Jack Walton.jpg John C. Walton Governor of Oklahoma Removed
January 21, 1929 Henry S. Johnston Governor of Oklahoma Removed
April 6, 1929[69] HueyPLongGesture.jpg Huey P. Long Governor of Louisiana Acquitted
June 13, 1941 Daniel H. Coakley Massachusetts Governor’s Councilor Removed on October 2, 1941
May 1958[70] Raulston Schoolfield Judge, Hamilton County, TennesseeCriminal Court Removed on July 11, 1958[71]
March 14, 1984[72] Paul L. Douglas Nebraska Attorney General Acquitted by the Nebraska Supreme Court on May 4, 1984[73]
February 6, 1988[74] Evan Mecham Governor of Arizona Removed on April 4, 1988[75]
March 30, 1989[76] A. James Manchin State treasurer of West Virginia Resigned on July 9, 1989 before trial started[77]
January 25, 1991[78] Ward “Butch” Burnette Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Resigned on February 6, 1991 before trial started[79]
May 24, 1994[80] Rolf Larsen Associate JusticePennsylvania Supreme Court Removed on October 4, 1994, and declared ineligible to hold public office in Pennsylvania[81]
October 6, 1994[82] Judith Moriarty Secretary of State of Missouri Removed by the Missouri Supreme Court on December 12, 1994[83]
November 11, 2004[84] Kathy Augustine Nevada State Controller Censured on December 4, 2004, not removed from office[85]
April 11, 2006[86] David Hergert Member of the University of NebraskaBoard of Regents Removed by the Nebraska Supreme Court on July 7, 2006[87]
January 8, 2009
(first vote)[88]
Rod Blagojevich (2911120436) (cropped).jpg Rod Blagojevich Governor of Illinois 95th General Assembly ended
January 14, 2009
(second vote)[89]
Removed on January 29, 2009, and declared ineligible to hold public office in Illinois[90]
February 11, 2013[91] Benigno Fitial 2009.jpg Benigno Fitial Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands Resigned on February 20, 2013
August 13, 2018[92] Robin Davis Associate Justices, Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Retired on August 13, 2018.[93] Despite her retirement, the West Virginia Senate refused to dismiss the articles of impeachment and scheduled trial for October 29, 2018 although the trial is currently delayed by court order.[94]
Allen Loughry Resigned on November 12, 2018.[95][96] Possible trial before the West Virginia Senate delayed by court order.[94]
Beth Walker Reprimanded and censured on October 2, 2018, not removed from office.[97]
Margaret Workman Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Trial before the West Virginia Senate delayed by court order after originally being scheduled for October 15, 2018.[98][99]
July 24, 2019[100] Ricardo Rossello (cropped).jpg Ricardo Rossello Governor of Puerto Rico Resigned on July 24, 2019; with effect August 2, 2019, immediately stopping impeachment proceedings

State governors

At least four state governors have been impeached and removed from office:

See also

Notes

  • Stephen B. Presser, Essays on Article I: ImpeachmentPresser, Stephen B. “Essays on Article I: Impeachment”The Heritage Guide to the Constitution. Heritage Foundation. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  1. ^ “Removed and disqualified” indicates that following conviction the Senate voted to disqualify the individual from holding further federal office pursuant to Article I, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, which provides, in pertinent part, that “[j]udgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.”
  2. ^ During the impeachment trial of Senator Blount, it was argued that the House of Representatives did not have the power to impeach members of either House of Congress; though the Senate never explicitly ruled on this argument, the House has never again impeached a member of Congress. The Constitution allows either House to expel one of its members by a two-thirds vote, which the Senate had done to Blount on the same day the House impeached him (but before the Senate heard the case).
  3. ^ Judge Nixon later challenged the validity of his removal from office on procedural grounds; the challenge was ultimately rejected as nonjusticiable by the Supreme Court in Nixon v. United States.

References…

Further reading

External links

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

 

Story 2: Big Lie Media Spinning and Lying About Tim Morrison Testimony About Trump Phone Call With Ukraine — Nothing Illegal Was Discussed and No Quid Pro Quo — Videos —

 See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

Impeachment witness says Trump-Ukraine call wasn’t illegal

Hannity: Latest testimony blows whistleblower claim out of the water

PBS NewsHour West live episode October 31, 2019

Ingraham: The Democrats’ witching hour

Ingraham: Deep state’s coordinated effort to take down Trump

Ingraham: Durham’s criminal probe has a lot of folks nervous

Ingraham: Desperate Democrats go to Defcon 1

Brit Hume: If the impeachment inquiry is perceived as unfair then House Democrats have a problem

 

 Official Tim Morrison To Schiff: ‘I Was Not Concerned That Anything Illegal Was Discussed’ In Trump-Ukraine Phone Call

Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council official under Trump, told Rep. Adam Schiff in testimony today that he was never concerned that Trump discussed anything illegal in his July 25 phone call with the Ukrainain president.

A top National Security Council (NSC) official who listened to President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky testified to Congress today that he did not believe Trump had discussed anything illegal during the conversation.

“I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” former NSC Senior Director for European Affairs Tim Morrison testified today, according to a record of his remarks obtained by The Federalist.

Morrison testified that Ukrainian officials were not even aware that certain military funding had been delayed by the Trump administration until late August 2019, more than a month after the Trump-Zelensky call, casting doubt on allegations that Trump somehow conveyed an illegal quid pro quo demand during the July 25 call.

“I have no reason to believe the Ukrainians had any knowledge of the [military funding] review until August 28, 2019,” Morrison said. That is the same day that Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chief anti-Trump inquisitor in the U.S. House of Representatives, disclosed on Twitter that funding had been held up. Politico also published a story that day, sourced to anonymous leaks, that military funding had been temporarily held up.

Although Schiff claimed that neither he nor his staff ever spoke to the anti-Trump whistleblower, The New York Times reported that the complainant, whom RealClearInvestigations identified as Eric Ciaramella, coordinated with Schiff’s office before filing his complaint with the intelligence community inspector general on August 12. While Schiff initially demanded that the anti-Trump complainant be allowed to publicly testify, he quickly changed course following the reports that he and his staff had secretly colluded with the whistleblower and then lied about the interactions.

Morrison also pointed out key factual inaccuracies in testimony provided by William Taylor, a State Department official who works in the U.S. embassy in Kiev, Ukraine. Morrison said that, contrary to Taylor’s claims, Morrison never met with the Ukrainian National Security advisor in his private hotel room.

Morrison also said Taylor falsely claimed that Ambassador Gordon Sondland demanded a public statement from the Ukrainian president committing to investigate Burisma, a controversial Ukrainain energy company that paid Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter millions of dollars to sit on its board.

“My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland’s proposal to [Ukrainian National Security Advisor Andriy] Yermak was that it could be sufficient if the new Ukrainian prosecutor general — not President Zelensky — would commit to pursue the Burisma investigation,” Morrison testified.

Morrison testified that the transcript of the phone call that was declassified and released by Trump in late September “accurately and completely reflects the substance of the call,” and that he was concerned that the substance of the call would be leaked to the media. Morrison said he immediately informed a NSC lawyer about his concerns that the phone call would be leaked. Democrats have alleged that security measures taken to prevent leaks of the top secret call transcript prove that Trump should be removed from office.

He also told lawmakers that the national security process worked as designed in the case of the military funding that Congress appropriated for Ukraine.

“I am pleased our process gave the president the confidence he needed to approve the release of the security sector assistance,” he said. “I am proud of what I have been able, in some small way, to help the Trump administration accomplish.”

Democrats on Thursday morning voted to rubber-stamp Schiff’s efforts to impeach Trump with secret hearings and lopsided rules that prevent Republicans from subpoenaing witnesses or evidence without first obtaining Schiff’s permisison. A bipartisan coalition of Democrats and Republicans opposed the measure.

Sean Davis is the co-founder of The Federalist.

Big Lie Media Is Lying About What Morrison Testified To

Hannity: Latest testimony blows whistleblower claim out of the water

Tim Morrison arrives to testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP) (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
Tim Morrison arrives to testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP) (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
Oct. 31, 2019 at 3:33 p.m. CDT

Tim Morrison, the former White House national security adviser who engaged in multiple crucial conversations with Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr. about the quid pro quo that withheld military aid to try to leverage Ukraine into doing President Trump’s political bidding, has been testifying in the impeachment inquiry.

Here’s the most important part of Morrison’s opening statement:

In preparation for my appearance today, I reviewed the statement Ambassador Taylor provided this inquiry on October 22, 2019. I can confirm that the substance of his statement, as it relates to conversations he and I had, is accurate.
My recollections differ on two of the details, however. I have a slightly different recollection of my September 1, 2019 conversation with Ambassador [Gordon] Sondland. On page 10 of Ambassador Taylor’s statement, he recounts a conversation I relayed to him regarding Ambassador Sondland’s conversation with Ukrainian Presidential Advisor [Andriy] Yermak. Ambassador Taylor wrote: “Ambassador Sondland told Mr. Yermak that security assistance money would not come until President [Volodymyr] Zelensky committed to pursue the Burisma investigation.”
My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland’s proposal to Mr. Yermak was that it could be sufficient if the new Ukrainian prosecutor general — not President Zelensky — would commit to pursue the Burisma investigation.
I also would like to clarify that I did not meet with the Ukrainian National Security Advisor in his hotel room, as Ambassador Taylor indicated on page 11 of his statement. Instead, an NSC aide and I met with Mr. [Oleksandr] Danyliuk in the hotel’s business center.

Pro-Trump Twitter is trying to spin the minor discrepancies between the two accounts into something big, but that’s just absurd. In one case, the difference is over where Morrison met with a Ukrainian official. In the other, the difference is over who would announce the investigation into Burisma, the company on whose board Joe Biden’s son Hunter sat, as part of the quid pro quo.

But what is not in dispute is that the quid pro quo was articulated plainly and clearly. Let me isolate out the part of Morrison’s testimony where he says this explicitly:

AD
Ambassador Taylor wrote: “Ambassador Sondland told Mr. Yermak that security assistance money would not come until President Zelensky committed to pursue the Burisma investigation.”
My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland’s proposal to Mr. Yermak was that it could be sufficient if the new Ukrainian prosecutor general — not President Zelensky — would commit to pursue the Burisma investigation.

Thus, Morrison is saying that Sondland — the ambassador to the European Union who was a leading agent in this whole plot — did indeed tell him that the military aid was conditional on the Ukrainians committing to the Burisma investigation.

Sondland simply proposed a version of this that might be more amenable to the Ukrainians, since it wouldn’t require Zelensky himself to announce it. Thus it is that Morrison says the “substance” of Taylor’s testimony about their conversations was “accurate.”

Importantly, this account comes from someone who discussed these matters directly with Sondland.

Morrison confirms the quid pro quo elsewhere as well:

I had no reason to believe that the release of the security sector assistance might be conditioned on a public statement reopening the Burisma investigation until my September 1, 2019 conversation with Ambassador Sondland. Even then I hoped that Ambassador Sondland’s strategy was exclusively his own and would not be considered by leaders in the Administration and Congress.

After talking to Sondland, Morrison understood that the money was conditioned just that way. And in this context, it’s important to note that Morrison’s hope that this didn’t represent the views of the administration was in vain: You will recall that Sondland was taking his direction straight from the president.

AD

Some have pointed out that Morrison claims he didn’t see anything illegal on Trump’s July 25 call with the Ukrainian president. But so what? That’s not his decision, and the question of the conduct’s legality is not even necessarily relevant to an impeachment context. What’s more, the list of people who actually were deeply alarmed by the conduct is already very long.

They really wanted a public statement

One other point: It’s important to underscore that Trump and his lawyer Rudolph Giuliani didn’t just want an investigation of Biden. They wanted a public announcement of it, to get news organizations to start treating the allegations seriously and help them create an aura of vague corruption around Biden.

This is Trumpworld’s M.O. As Stephen K. Bannon revealed to journalist Joshua Green, the key to this is to vault such charges, no matter how spurious, out of the conservative media, in order to get them merely covered in the mainstream press, to “weaponize” them, as Bannon put it. This helps create what Green described as the “whiff of corruption.”

AD

As those texts show, there were extensive negotiations with the Ukrainians over what that public statement might look like, precisely because Giuliani, acting as Trump’s consigliere, cared about it so much. Thus it might be expected that Sondland and the Ukrainians would haggle over who made the statement, as Sondland tried (but ultimately failed) to get them to do it.

In this sense, Morrison has helped underscore another important part of the story here.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/31/tim-morrison-just-confirmed-quid-pro-quo-thats-big-story-here/

White House Aide Confirms He Saw Signs of a Quid Pro Quo on Ukraine

Timothy Morrison, a National Security Council aide, said a top diplomat close to President Trump suggested a military aid package for Ukraine was conditioned on investigations into his political rivals.

Timothy Morrison, a top Russia and Europe expert on the National Security Council, arriving Thursday on Capitol Hill.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — A senior National Security Council aide on Thursday confirmed a key episode at the center of the impeachment inquiry, testifying that a top diplomat working with President Trump told him that a package of military assistance for Ukraine would not be released until the country committed to investigations the president sought.

In a closed-door deposition, the aide, Timothy Morrison, also said he had been told of a September call between Mr. Trump and the diplomat, Gordon D. Sondland. In that conversation, the president said he was not looking for a quid pro quo with Ukraine, but then went on to “insist” that the country’s president publicly announce investigations into Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son and other Democrats.

William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine, spoke of his alarm about the conversations during his private testimony last week, saying that he had been briefed about them by Mr. Morrison, the senior director for Europe and Russia for the National Security Council. Mr. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, has also given investigators a more limited account of his call with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Morrison’s confirmation of the conversations could be important for House Democrats as they seek to build their impeachment case against Mr. Trump. A publicly available, reconstructed transcript already shows that Mr. Trump pressed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine during a July 25 phone call to undertake the investigations of Democrats. Investigators are trying to establish whether Mr. Trump used $391 million in security aid and a coveted White House meeting with Mr. Zelensky as leverage in a pressure campaign to secure the inquiries.

But Mr. Morrison, a Trump political appointee and a former longtime Republican congressional aide, resisted making the kind of sweeping, often damaging judgments about what was taking place that Democrats have heard from other witnesses, and Republicans emerged calling him the most favorable witness they had heard from so far.

In his opening remarks, obtained by The New York Times, he did not draw conclusions about Mr. Trump’s involvement in the pressure tactics, pointing back repeatedly to Mr. Sondland, whose involvement in Ukraine policy he said he “did not understand.” In subsequent testimony, he said he did not view the July phone call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky as illegal or improper, but he found it striking enough to ask the National Security Council’s chief lawyer, John Eisenberg, to review it, in part out of a concern that a summary might leak out.

He did so, Mr. Morrison testified, because he worried about how disclosure of what was said in the call “would play out in Washington’s polarized environment,” how it could affect bipartisan backing for Ukraine in Congress, and “how it would affect the Ukrainian perceptions of the U.S.-Ukraine relationship.”

Rather than ascribe a political motive to the pressure campaign against Ukraine, as some witnesses have, Mr. Morrison characterized the behavior he saw as bad foreign policy of the sort that could potentially squander a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” afforded by the election of Mr. Zelensky, who campaigned as a reformer who would crack down on rampant corruption.

“Ambassador Taylor and I had no reason to believe that the public release of the security sector assistance might be conditioned on a public statement reopening the Burisma investigation until my Sept. 1, 2019, conversation with Ambassador Sondland,” Mr. Morrison said. “Even then I hoped that Ambassador Sondland’s strategy was exclusively his own and would not be considered by the leaders of the administration and Congress, who understood the strategic importance of Ukraine to our national security.”

Mr. Morrison’s testimony came as Democrats were moving to wrap up their closed portion of their inquiry in the coming week or so. As he met with investigators, they muscled through a resolution on the floor of the House endorsing the inquiry and laying out a path to move their work into the open and begin a debate over impeachment articles in the coming weeks. Republicans uniformly opposed the measure, which they said fell short of redeeming an illegitimate, politically motivated crusade by Democrats to undo the 2016 election.

What’s New in the Impeachment Case

Updated Oct. 31, 2019


    • The House voted 232-196 to endorse the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The resolution sets out rules for the investigation, which will soon go public with hearings and the publication of documents.
    • Only two Democrats broke with their party to vote against the measure, a sign of how unified the caucus is on impeachment — and how much confidence it has in the evidence of Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. “This is not any cause for any glee or comfort,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “What is at stake in all of this is nothing less than our democracy.”
    • Republicans, who for weeks had called for a vote, unanimously opposed the resolution, accusing it of attempting to undo the 2016 election. “Democrats are trying to impeach the president because they are scared they cannot defeat him at the ballot box,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, said. “Why do you not trust the people?”
    • In closed-door testimony today, a National Security Council aide corroborated a key fact when he confirmed that Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, said that a package of military assistance for Ukraine would not be released until the country committed to investigating the Bidens.
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Mr. Morrison appeared under subpoena despite a White House directive not to, according to an official involved in the inquiry who was not authorized to discuss it publicly. He told colleagues Wednesday on the eve of his appearance before impeachment investigators that he would leave his post.

Mr. Morrison has been weighing leaving the council for some time. He told investigators that he did “not want anyone to think there is a connection between my testimony today and my impending departure.”

He was the second White House official to testify before the inquiry this week, following Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a Ukraine expert at the National Security Council.

Mr. Taylor testified last week that Mr. Morrison had informed him in early September of a meeting in Warsaw between Mr. Sondland and a top aide to Mr. Zelensky. Mr. Sondland told the Ukrainian aide that the United States would provide the security assistance package only if Mr. Zelensky committed to investigate allegations related to Mr. Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.

Mr. Sondland claimed in testimony that he failed to appreciate that Burisma was directly tied to Hunter Biden.

Mr. Morrison did depart in one respect from that account, telling investigators that he remembered Mr. Sondland’s remarks slightly differently. He thought Mr. Sondland said Ukraine’s prosecutor general, not Mr. Zelensky, needed to open the inquiry.

Mr. Taylor also testified that, a few days later, Mr. Morrison told him that he had learned of a conversation between Mr. Sondland and Mr. Trump that Mr. Morrison had said gave him a “sinking feeling.” In it, Mr. Trump had told Mr. Sondland that he was not asking for a “quid pro quo” from Ukraine, but then went on to “insist” that Mr. Zelensky publicly announce an investigation into both the Bidens and an unproven theory that Democrats had colluded with Ukraine in the 2016 elections.

Subpoenas and Requests for Evidence in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry

The status of the documents and witness testimony being collected by congressional investigators.

Mr. Morrison told investigators that he first learned that Mr. Trump and people around him might have motives beyond official United States policy when he took over as senior director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council from his predecessor, Fiona Hill.

“Dr. Hill told me that Ambassador Sondland and President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, were trying to get President Zelensky to reopen Ukrainian investigations into Burisma,” he said. “At the time, I did not know what Burisma was or what the investigation entailed.”

He said he later worked to persuade Mr. Trump to release the security aid. Mr. Trump froze the aid in July and kept it that way until September, despite the objections of officials at the Defense and State Departments who viewed it as a crucial resource to help Ukraine in its military conflict with Russia.

“Ambassador Taylor and I were concerned that the longer the money was withheld, the more questions the Zelensky administration would ask about the U.S. commitment to Ukraine,” Mr. Morrison said.

Mr. Morrison said he did not have reason to believe Ukraine’s leaders knew the aid had been suspended until it was publicly reported at the end of August.

thttps://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/us/politics/morrison-testimony-impeachment.html

New Poll Highlights Risks for Democrats

Byron York

There’s no doubt Democrats in Washington are hell-bent on impeaching President Trump over the Ukraine matter. But after weeks of polling, it is still unclear precisely what Americans outside the Beltway think.

Much depends on how pollsters ask their questions. Some are straightforward, while others are a bit more complicated. But in the last few weeks, many have asked a variation of: “Do you support or oppose impeaching President Trump?” A new poll, however, done by Suffolk University for USA Today, gets at some of the nuance behind public opinion on the president and Ukraine.

The Suffolk pollsters gave 1,000 registered voters an opportunity to choose among three options regarding impeachment. Which did respondents personally prefer?

“B. The House should continue investigating Trump, but not vote to impeach him.

“C. Congress should drop its investigations into President Trump and administration.”

Thirty-six percent of those polled said the House should vote to impeach; 22 percent said the House should continue investigation but not impeach; and 37 percent said the House should drop its investigations. The last 5 percent did not have an answer or refused to give one.

Looking inside the results, there are some major differences based on party, gender, race and more.

Seventy percent of Democrats said the House should vote to impeach, while just 8 percent of Republicans and 22 percent of independents favored an impeachment vote.

Twenty-one percent of Democrats favored more investigation but not impeachment, while 15 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of independents agreed.

And just 8 percent of Democrats favored dropping the House investigations altogether, while 71 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of independents favored the no-more-investigations option.

Forty-one percent of women supported a House vote to impeach, while just 31 percent of men did. Forty-two percent of men wanted to see the investigation dropped entirely, versus 32 percent of women.

Thirty percent of the white voters and 38 percent of Hispanic voters polled wanted a House impeachment vote, versus 73 percent of black voters. Forty-five percent of white voters wanted the matter dropped, along with 28 percent of Hispanic voters, while just 7 percent of black voters favored that result.

The overall message of the poll is that there is a range of opinions among voters that is more complex than much of the yes-impeach-no-don’t-impeach commentary in the media today. But the Suffolk questions do leave at least one issue unclear.

The opinions of those who want a House impeachment vote, as well as those who want the House to drop its investigations altogether, are pretty clear. But what about those who say the House should “continue investigating Trump, but not vote to impeach him”?

Fortunately, another question in the poll sheds some light on that. It is about the infamous phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky:

“The White House has released a transcript summary of a July 25th phone call in which President Trump encouraged the Ukrainian president to pursue investigations involving Democratic rival Joe Biden, and hacking allegations in the 2016 election. Which comes closest to your view? A. The phone conversation is an impeachable offense. B. The phone conversation was wrong, but doesn’t rise to an impeachable offense. C. There was nothing wrong with the phone conversation.”

Thirty-eight percent said the conversation is an impeachable offense. Twenty-one percent said the conversation was wrong, but not impeachable. And 31 percent said there was nothing wrong with the conversation. Ten percent were undecided.

That means, at the moment, according to Suffolk, there is a bare majority that does not believe Trump should be impeached for the phone call — which, of course, is the heart of the Democrats’ impeachment effort. The number that believes the call is an impeachable offense, 38 percent, is well below what could be called a groundswell. The 10 percent who haven’t decided are important.

The Suffolk numbers suggest many Americans hold complex views of the Trump impeachment. Some are fine with continued investigation, although large numbers don’t believe they have yet seen an impeachable offense. The numbers of people who are ready to impeach Trump now, or who believe the whole thing should be called off, are not big enough to win the day.

Just as they did after the release of the Mueller report, Democrats now hope televised hearings will convince Americans Trump must be impeached. It didn’t work out before. Now, the Suffolk poll suggests Democrats should be cautious as they try again.

Hillary Clinton and Ukraine

A letter released Monday raises questions beyond the Bidens.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Georgetown University on Friday. PHOTO: WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY IMAGES

The Biden clan still needs to explain why a vice president’s son was enjoying a $50,000-per-month gig for which his principal qualification appears to have been his last name. But Joe Biden isn’t the only pillar of the Democratic establishment who won’t enjoy the new spotlight on American relations with Ukraine. And President Donald Trump isn’t the only one who wants a fuller accounting of that country’s role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In a letter released on Monday morning, Republican senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin ask U.S. Attorney General William Barr if he’s trying to answer the lingering questions:

We write to follow up on Senator Grassley’s July 20, 2017 letter, which highlighted brazen efforts by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign to use the government of Ukraine for the express purpose of finding negative information on then candidate Trump in order to undermine his campaign. That letter also highlighted news reports that, during the 2016 presidential election, “Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump” and did so by “disseminat[ing] documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggest[ing] they were investigating the matter[.]” Ukrainian officials also reportedly “helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers.”

The senators aren’t relying on reports from conservative bloggers. The quotations come from a 2017 story in Politico, hardly a pro-Trump outfit. “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire,” read the headline on the article by Kenneth P. Vogel and David Stern. “Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton,” said the subhead of the article, which was published shortly before Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

The authors reported that Ukrainian government officials “helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers” with the goal of “advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia.”

With the benefit of hindsight and the results of the Mueller investigation, it’s now clear that there was no evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia. What is not clear and what demands further investigation is how this baseless claim managed to consume the first two years of an American presidency.

Among the questions to resolve: the Politico story featured what appear to be contradictory statements about the level of help provided to Democrats by people who worked at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington in 2016. “Politico’s investigation found evidence of Ukrainian government involvement in the race that appears to strain diplomatic protocol dictating that governments refrain from engaging in one another’s elections,” according to the report.

The reporting certainly appears solid but one should not simply accept all the particulars of the Politico story as proven fact, just as—to take an extreme example—a reasonable person would not authorize the wiretap of an opposition political campaign based on a dispatch from Yahoo News. But the Politico piece may be helpful in figuring out exactly how the surveillance tools of America’s national security apparatus were turned against the party out of power in 2016.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hillary-clinton-and-ukraine-11569881729

Story 3: Long Term China Deal Not Likely Any Time Soon With Chinese Communist Party — Short Term Deal Only — Maximum Pressure Required — Trust But Verify — Enforcement of Any Agreement Is Essential and Chinese Will Never Comply With Any Enforcement Language — Escalloping Trade War Between United States and Chinese Communist Party  Leading to Total Embargo of Trade With Communist China — All Talk and More Talk — Time To Walk Out — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

China is more relieved than happy on US-China trade deal: Michael Pillsbury

Why these experts say a long-term China trade deal may not happen soon

It will be difficult for US and China to reach an agreement, says analyst

Are the US and China Decoupling? What are the Consequences for the Global Order?

New location for signing of partial US-China trade deal to be announced soon, says Trump

China is more relieved than happy on US-China trade deal: Michael Pillsbury

Here’s how Beijing is reacting to the ‘phase one’ US-China trade deal

Stealth War: How China Took Over While America's Elite Slept

President Trump holds press conference on US-China trade deal phase 1

Trump: China will probably try to delay trade deal until US election

How to Win the US China Trade War & Communist China’s Broader Stealth War On America-Robert Spalding

WE WILL NOT HAVE A TRADE DEAL WITH CHINA: ROBERT SPALDING

Is the US-China Trade War a Cold War? (w/ Kyle Bass and Gen. Robert Spalding)

Communist Party of China could ‘start by improving their human rights’

Private survey of China factory activity contradicts official data

How China’s tech sector is challenging the world – Part 1

How China’s tech sector is challenging the world – Part 2

China sees Trump as a weak president: Michael Pillsbury

China May Not Be As Strong As You Think

 

Deal to end bitter trade war between Washington and Beijing might not be ready in time for President Trump and China’s Xi to sign it next month as planned, US official warns

  • Washington and Beijing are producing a text to sign at APEC summit next month
  • ‘If it’s not signed in Chile, that doesn’t mean that it falls apart,’ official said today 
  • The deal hopes to bring to an end a nearly 16-month trade war with China 
  • US stocks slumped after potential stall to negotiations was reported by Reuters

A trade agreement between the US and China might not be completed in time for its planned signing next month at a summit in Chile, a US official warned today.

Negotiators in Washington and Beijing are working to finalize agreements for President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping to sign at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on the weekend of November 16.

Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other top US officials have all said good progress is being made on the deal after a nearly 16-month trade war, while also noting that it would be fine if it was not completed by the APEC summit.

‘If it’s not signed in Chile, that doesn’t mean that it falls apart. It just means that it’s not ready,’ the administration official said. ‘Our goal is to sign it in Chile. But sometimes texts aren’t ready. But good progress is being made and we expect to sign the agreement in Chile.’

President Donald Trump smiles at Chinese President Xi Jinping as he shakes his hand during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka in June

President Donald Trump smiles at Chinese President Xi Jinping as he shakes his hand during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka in June

Deal to end US-China trade war may not be ready for leaders’ signing

White House spokesman Judd Deere said both sides were still working to complete the interim deal.

‘As the president said several weeks ago, we have reached a phase-one agreement with the Chinese, and both sides are working to finalize the text for a signing in Chile,’ he said.

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the two nations’ lead trade negotiators would hold another telephone call shortly while working-level consultations continued at a fast pace.

‘It is China’s hope that the two sides can find a way to resolve the economic and trade issues on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit,’ he told a daily briefing on Wednesday.

US stocks turned negative after Reuters reported the administration official’s comments, as investors bet the closely watched trade talks were further away from resolution.

The interim trade agreement announced by Trump on October 11 had buoyed markets, promising relief for companies rocked by nearly 16 months of tit-for-tat tariffs that have slowed global growth to its slowest since the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Stocks rally, White House calls China trade talks ‘productive’

The South China Morning Post, citing a person briefed on the arrangements, said on Tuesday the leaders of the world’s two largest economies were tentatively set to sign the interim trade deal on November 17 ‘if everything goes smoothly.’

A U.S.-based source confirmed that was the target date for a meeting, but the administration official cautioned that the text might not be completed in time.

White House adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, told an investment panel in Riyadh that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mnuchin ‘have made a fabulous deal’ with Beijing.

‘I think people understand the president, that he’s firm. They know that he’s going to make the decisions that he thinks are right, and I think ultimately that we’ve come to an understanding with China now on where we want to head.’

Lighthizer said on Friday Washington and Beijing are ‘close to finalizing’ some sections of a trade pact after a phone call between top negotiators.

President Trump and China's Xi are joined by their respective aides at a meeting at the G20 summit in Osaka earlier this year

President Trump and China’s Xi are joined by their respective aides at a meeting at the G20 summit in Osaka earlier this year

U.S. officials have said the deal is to cover Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural goods, intellectual property protections, currency practices and increased access for U.S. companies to China’s financial services market.

Jude Blanchette, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the phase one deal was restoring the status quo to before the trade war began in 2017, calling into question how much progress had actually been made.

Tougher issues, such as China’s industrial policy, subsidies for state-owned enterprises and forced technology transfers had been deferred, he said.

‘The can has been kicked down to a phase two or phase three, but we’re really just wondering if we’re going to get through phase one,’ he said.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7630397/Deal-end-bitter-China-trade-war-not-ready-time-presidents-sign-month.html

 

Air Force general behind 5G memo leaves White House

Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Spalding

U.S. AIR FORCE

The author of a memo arguing for a government takeover of development of the nation’s 5G mobile network has been removed from the National Security Council staff. The memo’s unauthorized release this week caused uproar in the telecom community and created embarrassment for the White House.

A senior administration official confirmed that Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Spalding is no longer serving as NSC senior director for strategic planning. Spalding was not fired, according to the official, who said his detail had ended and was not renewed. His last day as a White House staffer was Jan. 31. Spalding was not implicated in the leak of the memo, but officials said his advocacy for the plan had gone beyond his role, contributing to the NSC leadership’s decision to send him back to the Air Force.

Spalding was informed that his White House tenure was ending last week, the senior administration official said, before his memo and PowerPoint proposal were leaked. The Jan. 28 Axios story sparked alarm, drawing opposition from major telecom companies and catching the White House off guard.

Another senior administration official said there was considerable upheaval inside the White House this week after the 5G memo story broke. Although it is unclear whether Spalding leaked the memo, because he had shared it so widely, some officials judged him responsible.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Jan. 29 that consideration of the plan was at its “earliest stages” and the administration was nowhere near a decision. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said spending federal dollars to build a 5G network would be a “costly and counterproductive distraction” from the competitive, market-driven approach that was needed.

“There is nothing that would slam the brakes more quickly on our hard-won momentum to be the leader in the global race for 5G network deployment,” Jonathan Spalter, chief executive of the industry trade group USTelecom, said in a statement.

Spalding was known both inside and outside the administration as a China hawk. From 2014 to 2016 he led the China division at the Joint Chiefs of Staff and before joining the Trump White House he was the U.S. defense attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. One key argument for Spalding’s 5G plan was that only the government can properly defend technological infrastructure from Chinese interference.

There are no plans to replace Spalding, officials said. Spalding declined to comment.

https://www.stripes.com/news/us/air-force-general-behind-5g-memo-leaves-white-house-1.509849

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The Pronk Pops Show 1322, September 18, 2019, Story 1: Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) Lowers The Federal Funds Target Rate by .25% with New Range of 1.75% to 2.00% Reflecting Slowing Moderate Rate of Growth of Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.5% Below The Historical Average of Between 3.0% to 3.5% GDP Growth Rate — Trump Panics Wants Return To Irresponsible Near Zero Interest Rate Policy and Financial Repression of The Great Recession — Trump Just Another Big Government Bubble Blower Inflating Stock Market Prices — Videos — Story 2: Federal Reserve Injects Billions Into The Economy in Overnight Repo Operations — Videos — Story 3: The Ranting Former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton — Neoconservative Interventionist War Monger — Videos — Story 4: President Trump Visits the Double Wall with Road In Between — The U.S. Border Agents Wanted — A Game Changer — Need To Build 1500 Miles of New Wall To Stop The 30-60 Million Illegal Alien Invasion of United States Over Last 33 Years — Videos

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Story 1: Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) Lowers The Federal Funds Target Rate by .25% with New Range of 1.75% to 2.00% Reflecting Slowing Moderate Rate of Growth of Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.5% Below The Historical Average of Between 3.0% to 3.5% GDP Growth Rate — Trump Panics Wants Return To Irresponsible Near Zero Interest Rate Policy and Financial Repression of The Great Recession — Trump Just Another Big Government Bubble Blower Inflating Stock Market Prices  — Videos —

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Fed Chairman Powell faces dilemma as Trump continues his public criticism

Powell Says Fed Rate Cut Is Insurance Against Ongoing Risks

WATCH LIVE: Fed Chairman Jerome Powell speaks after interest rate cut decision – 09/18/2019

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Fed cuts rates, policy expert says

Published on Aug 21, 2019

Fiat money may not survive this recession

Peter Schiff on recession warning: It’s going to be worse than 2008

What Happens When the Fed Lowers Interest Rates

Can Low Interest Rates Hold Off Recession? (w/ Richard Wolff)

Gold & Silver Prices Fall on FED Rate Cut Announcement

Trump on Fed: ‘Only problem we have is Jay Powell and the Fed’

The discount rate | Money, banking and central banks | Finance & Capital Markets | Khan Academy

A crack just emerged in the financial markets: The NY Fed spends $53 billion to rescue the overnight lending market

 

Current Federal Reserve Interest Rates and Why They Change

Why the Fed Lowered Its Benchmark Rate in September 2019

The interest rate targeted by the Federal Reserve, the federal funds rate, is currently 1.75% to 2%. That’s after the Fed cut it a quarter of a percentage point on Sept. 18, 2019.1 The federal funds rate is the benchmark interest rate banks charge each other for overnight loans. It generally reflects the health of the economy and has a big impact on other interest rates. The Sept. 18 cut was the second rate drop in 2019, after years of steady increases following the Great Recession.2

The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the United States and it is mandated by Congress to promote economic stability, mainly by raising or lowering the cost of borrowing.3 The Fed said it lowered interest rates because, although the U.S. economy is strong and unemployment is low, business investments and exports have “weakened” since the last meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.4 The FOMC is the Fed’s rate-setting body, and it votes on interest rate changes every six weeks or so.

The FOMC looks at where it thinks the economy is headed and sets interest rates to help the economy reach or maintain full employment, moderate long-term interest rates, and an inflation rate of 2%.5

The fed funds rate is critical in determining the U.S. economic outlook. It is used to set short-term interest rates, including banks’ prime rate (the rate banks charge customers for loans), most adjustable-rate mortgages, and credit card rates.

 

Why the Fed Raises or Lowers Interest Rates 

The Fed uses interest rates as a lever to grow the economy or put the brakes on it. If the economy is slowing, the Fed can lower interest rates to make it cheaper for businesses to borrow money, invest, and create jobs. Lower interest rates also tend to make consumers more eager to borrow and spend, which helps spur the economy.

On the other hand, if the economy is growing too fast and inflation is heating up, the Fed may raise interest rates to curtail spending and borrowing.

In December 2008, the Fed cut the fed funds rate to 0.25%. That’s effectively nothing. It did so amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, in an effort to light a spark under the economy. The rate stayed unchanged until 2015, and rose steadily through 2018 as the economy picked up steam.6 The 2019 cuts are a sign that growth is beginning to slow.

 

How the Fed Funds Rate Works

The FOMC targets a specific level for the fed funds rate, which determines the interest rates banks actually charge one another for overnight loans. Banks use these loans to help them meet cash reserve requirements: Banks that are short borrow from banks that have excess.

reserve requirement is the amount of cash a bank must keep overnight. It’s set by the Fed and is a percentage of the bank’s deposits. The current top reserve requirement is 10% for banks with more than $124.2 million on deposit.

Prior to the financial crisis, the Fed controlled the fed funds rate by buying and selling U.S. government securities on the open market. When the Fed buys a security, that increases the reserves of the bank associated with the sale, which makes the bank more likely to lend. To attract borrowers, the bank lowers interest rates, including the rate it charges other banks.

When the Fed sells a security, the opposite happens. Bank reserves fall, making the bank more likely to borrow, causing the fed funds rate to rise.7 These shifts in the fed funds rate ripple through the rest of the credit markets, influencing other short-term interest rates such as savings, bank loans, credit card interest rates, and adjustable-rate mortgages.

Actions the Fed took during the financial crisis and throughout the recession that followed had the effect of ballooning banks’ reserve balances, and as a result, banks didn’t need to borrow from one another to meet reserve requirements.8 The Federal Reserve could no longer rely on reserve balance manipulation to control interest rates. Because of that, the Fed has developed other tools to affect the rate.

 

How the Fed Now Sets the Fed Funds Rate

Today, the Fed sets a target range for the fed funds rate. It started back in October 2008, when the Fed began paying interest on reserves (IOR), but to a limited number of institutions. This was intended as the floor on the fed funds rate.9 After all, banks won’t lend to each other at a lower rate than what they’re getting from the Fed.

But eventually, the Fed realized the IOR wasn’t sufficient. It needed a sub-floor, so in 2013 it added another tool to help it control the target rate: the overnight reverse repurchase agreement facility (ON RRP, or “reverse repo”).10 This program is available to a broader range of financial institutions than IOR.11

With the ON RPP, the Fed agrees to sell a security and buy it back at a higher price, which is effectively the interest rate. This rate is set high enough to attract buyers, but below IOR. When banks need to borrow from one another, they do so within the range bounded by IOR and ON RPP. And when the Fed acts to raise or lower interest rates, it adjusts both IOR and ON RPP.

 

How Other Interest Rates Are Determined

The fed funds rate is one of the most significant leading economic indicators in the world. Its importance is psychological as well as financial, as many of the interest rates businesses and consumers pay are based on it, if only indirectly. For example, the prime lending rate is determined by individual banks themselves, who base their rates on the fed funds rate.12

Variable interest rates for credit cards and other consumer loans, for example, rely on the prime rate, which means they’re also affected by the fed funds rate.

However, not all loans rely on the prime lending rate. In fact, the interest rates for 30-year mortgages correlate with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. That’s because investors who are interested in safe long-term returns on their investments see lots in common between the two—but not because one rate is determined by the other.13 Ultimately, supply and demand determine the rates for both.

Another important benchmark interest rate that is not set by the Fed is the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). It is the average interest rate major global banks charge each other to borrow. LIBOR is calculated daily, and is the basis for a host of commercial and consumer interest rates, from corporate bonds to adjustable-rate mortgages.14

Fed Cuts Rates By Quarter Point But Faces Growing Split

Central bankers divided over Wednesday’s decision and the outlook for further reductions.

Federal Reserve rate targetSource: Federal Reserve
%2009’10’11’12’13’14’15’16’17’18’190.000.250.500.751.001.251.501.752.002.252.502.75

WASHINGTON—The Federal Reserve voted to cut interest rates by a quarter-percentage point for the second time in as many months to cushion the economy against a global slowdown amplified by the U.S.-China trade conflict.

While the central bankers left the door open to additional cuts, they were split over Wednesday’s decision and the outlook for further reductions.

Seven of 10 officials voted in favor lowering the short-term benchmark to a range between 1.75% and 2%. As in July, two reserve bank presidents dissented from the decision in favor of holding rates steady. This time, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell faced a third dissent from a bank president who preferred a larger, half-point cut.

“We took this step to keep the economy strong,” said Mr. Powell in a news conference after the decision.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell explaining the central bank’s monetary-policy decision at news conference in Washington. PHOTO: PATRICK SEMANSKY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

He also indicated rates could be cut further if the economy weakened further, even though he said officials still have a positive outlook for the U.S. economy.

[For up-to-the-minute of the Fed’s monetary policy meeting, please see Federal Reserve Interest-Rate Decision—Live Analysis]

U.S. stocks wobbled, then pared declines after the Fed’s decision. Treasury yields, which move inversely to prices, ticked higher though held their recent range.

The policy statement released after the meeting was little changed from July, when officials held the door open to future rate cuts. As the rate-setting committee “contemplates the future path” of its policy rate, “it will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion,” the statement said, repeating language from July.

The statement noted household spending had been rising at a strong pace while business investment and exports had weakened.

Projections released after Wednesday’s two-day meeting showed the extent of the split over the policy outlook, complicating the challenge facing Mr. Powell.

Seven of 17 officials penciled in one more rate cut this year. The other 10 were split evenly between those who thought the new level of rates, after Wednesday’s cut, would be appropriate and those who thought rates shouldn’t have to go any lower.

Lowered Expectations

The Fed’s forecasts of the federal-funds rate for the end of 2019 have changed over time. Circles below are sized according to the number of officials who set their projections to the corresponding rate for each release.

Projected midpoint for rate at end of 2019

Target range following

this quarter’s release

10 officials

5

Seven of 17 officials projected one more quarter-point cut this year

4.0%

3.5

3.0

2.5

2.0

1.5

1.0

0.5

0.0

Sept. ’17

Dec.

March ’18

June

Sept.

Dec.

March ’19

June

Sept.

PROJECTION RELEASE DATE

Source: Federal Reserve

Those divides are even sharper in projections for next year. Roughly half of officials projected rates by December 2020 would sit one-quarter point below the new level, while another half thought it would be appropriate to reverse at least one of the two recent cuts.

Officials cited three reasons—weakening global growth, rising trade-policy uncertainty and muted inflation—for cutting rates at their July 30-31 meeting. The U.S.-China trade conflict worsened immediately after the July meeting, and the global industrial downturn shows no sign of bottoming out.

The Fed faces an unusual challenge setting policy given the volatile outlook for the global trading environment, that has chilled business investment. “There is a piece of this that we really can’t address,” said Mr. Powell. “It’s an unusual situation… It’s a challenging time, I admit it.”

Officials expected the U.S. economy to slow this year, but increased uncertainty means officials aren’t sure if the economy is going to cool a little bit or a lot.

U.S. economic data paint a mixed picture. Consumer spending has been solid, but manufacturing has weakened. Recent revisions to employment and profit growth show that the economy over the past year wasn’t as strong as previously thought.

 

Some Fed officials have warned that waiting for signs of consumer spending and hiring to slow more sharply could require the Fed to deliver more aggressive stimulus at a time when its policy rate is already historically low.

Hiring has slowed this year. The private sector added 129,000 jobs on average over the three months ended August, down from 236,000 for the three-month period ended December.

One challenge for the Fed in reading these numbers is that for years, officials have expected hiring to slow as the economic expansion matures. At the same time, wage growth hasn’t accelerated substantially this year, as would occur when the demand for workers outstrips supply.

Powell Signals Rate Cut at Senate Hearing

Powell Signals Rate Cut at Senate Hearing
Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell again signaled that the central bank is ready to cut interest rates later this month. Photo: AP

Meantime, the Fed has come under growing pressure from President Trump to aggressively cut interest rates—to boost stock markets and weaken the U.S. dollar—after the White House’s trade talks with China hit an impasse this spring. Mr. Trump had called for the Fed to cut rates by a half-point in April, but he has since said the Fed should lower rates more aggressively.

Soon after the Fed announced its rate cut, Mr. Trump lashed out at Mr. Powell on Twitter. “Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again,” he wrote, one of 30 such statements about Fed policy since the July meeting. “No ‘guts,’ no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!”

Mr. Powell has said the Fed doesn’t make policy decisions based on demands from political leaders and instead focuses on its congressional mandate to boost employment while keeping inflation stable. The unemployment rate, at 3.7%, is near a half-century low, while inflation, excluding volatile food and energy categories, has been running around 1.6%, according to the Fed’s preferred gauge, below its 2% target.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again. No “guts,” no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!

17.9K people are talking about this

Separately, the Fed announced steps designed to boost liquidity in short-term funding markets after the central bank was twice forced this week to inject cash into money markets to pull down interest rates.

The Fed’s benchmark rate rose to 2.3% on Tuesday, trading outside of its range of 2% to 2.25%, after technical factors and monetary and regulatory changes created shortages of funds for banks.

Earlier Wednesday, the New York Fed injected $75 billion in cash into money markets, following a $53 billion infusion on Tuesday.

At the two-day meeting, the Fed’s rate-setting committee lowered a separate interest rate paid to banks on deposits, known as reserves, held at the Fed, which could reduce banks’ demand for that cash and increase their lending in other money markets. The committee cut that rate and another borrowing rate by 0.3 percentage point, larger than the 0.25 percentage-point reduction in the fed-funds target.

Trump Says Fed Should Cut Rates to ‘Zero, or Less,’ Attacks Jerome Powell Again

Some economists warn president’s push might send up long-term Treasury yields, making it harder to achieve goal of locking in low rates

WASHINGTON—President Trump renewed his call for lower interest rates and his criticism of the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, by pressing for the central bank to cut short-term rates to “ZERO, or less,” negative rates that the U.S. avoided even after the 2008 financial crisis.

For weeks, Mr. Trump has pushed for lower rates to help cushion the economy against fears of a broader global slowdown. On Wednesday, he introduced a different argument for rate cuts by saying it would allow the U.S. to lock in lower interest rates for a longer period of time.

“We should then start to refinance our debt,” he wrote on Twitter, arguing it would reduce interest costs “while at the same time substantially lengthening the term.”

But some economists, including one of Mr. Trump’s former advisers, warned that his push for lower short-term interest rates might make it harder to achieve the stated goal of locking in lower rates, because it could send up long-term Treasury yields.

The tweets marked the latest escalation of Mr. Trump’s pressure on the Fed and attacks on Chairman Jerome Powell, whom the president picked for the post in 2017. Mr. Trump said the U.S. should always be paying the lowest rate and complained that the “naivete” of Mr. Powell and the Fed means that this was a “once in a lifetime opportunity that we are missing because of ‘Boneheads.’ ”

A Fed spokeswoman declined to comment on the tweets. Mr. Powell has previously defended the Fed’s tradition of independence from political pressure.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt. INTEREST COST COULD BE BROUGHT WAY DOWN, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term. We have the great currency, power, and balance sheet…..

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….The USA should always be paying the the lowest rate. No Inflation! It is only the naïveté of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn’t allow us to do what other countries are already doing. A once in a lifetime opportunity that we are missing because of “Boneheads.”

After cutting their benchmark interest rate in July by a quarter percentage point, Fed officials are gearing up to cut rates again, likely by another quarter point, at their Sept. 17-18 policy meeting.

Mr. Powell framed the July decision to lower the Fed’s benchmark short-term rate to a range between 2% and 2.25% as a “mid-cycle adjustment.” The global growth and trade outlook has deteriorated since then amid an escalation in Mr. Trump’s trade war with China.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

How do you think another rate reduction might affect the U.S. economy? Join the conversation below.

Economists warn that pushing short-term interest rates to near zero could signal that Fed officials expect a much deeper economic downturn.

“That could have the unintended consequence of triggering a major drop in confidence in the economy that could precipitate a recession, which would have the opposite effect,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton.

Lowering rates all the way to zero now, when the economy is still on solid footing, could also leave the Fed without any ammunition if an actual recession hits, Ms. Swonk said.

Some economists were also skeptical that pushing interest rates to zero would actually lead to lower interest costs on government debt.

Mr. Trump has previously floated the idea of refinancing the U.S.’s nearly $17 trillion in publicly held debt, which has jumped in the wake of Republican tax cuts and bipartisan budget deals that boosted federal deficits.

“I would like to see the rates be low and pay amortization, pay off debt,” Mr. Trump said in an October 2018 interview with The Wall Street Journal, complaining that the Fed had made this difficult by raising rates several times in recent years.

Debt-servicing costs are one of the fastest growing drivers of federal spending: Interest payments have increased nearly 10% so far this fiscal year, totaling $497.2 billion through July, roughly $1.6 billion a day, according to the Treasury Department.

It isn’t exactly clear what Mr. Trump envisions. Sovereign debt is different from mortgage debt, and can’t be renegotiated to reduce monthly payments or pay debt off early. But the Treasury can replace maturing government securities with new, long-term debt at lower interest rates, which could bring down costs.

“The Treasury should start issuing debt in much longer terms,” said Stephen Moore, an economic adviser to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign who at one point was under consideration for a slot on the Fed board, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last month. “This would lock in today’s low interest rates on the national debt for 10, 20, 30 years or perhaps even longer.”

Ernie Tedeschi, an economist at Evercore ISI, said such an idea makes sense, but it is something that the Treasury is already doing. The average length to maturity of publicly held federal debt has risen to 66 months, from 46 months at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

The Treasury has also asked an advisory group to reconsider the potential benefits of issuing ultra-long bonds, as other countries have done.

Lowering the Fed’s benchmark federal-funds rate to zero wouldn’t automatically translate to lower interest rates on government debt, which is determined by bond markets, Mr. Tedeschi said. While short-term interest costs would likely fall, “it could be that the 10-year [Treasury note] goes up because markets are more confident in the Fed management of the economy,” he said, a shift that would lead to higher interest costs.

Paul Winfree, the director of the Heritage Foundation’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies and a former budget adviser to Mr. Trump, said the president’s argument is “economically inaccurate.”

“Treasury has to offer interest rates that will attract buyers,” he said. “If all of a sudden we decide to roll over all of our debt, well, that will surely influence the interest rate on the debt. Like if all of a sudden every household in America decided to refinance.”

Mr. Trump said last month that the Fed should cut its benchmark interest rate by at least a full percentage point and resume its crisis-era program of buying bonds to lower long-term borrowing costs. Such moves would typically be considered only when the economy faces a substantial downturn.

Wednesday’s comments are the first time Mr. Trump has called for rates below zero. In response to a reporter’s question several weeks ago, Mr. Trump said he didn’t want negative rates.

Yields in some countries, including Germany, France and the Netherlands, have fallen below zero already. On Tuesday, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive James Dimon said the bank has begun discussing what fees and charges it could introduce if interest rates go to zero or lower. Even during the last recession, the Fed didn’t employ negative rates.

Mr. Trump and White House officials have said they don’t believe the U.S. is headed toward a slowdown, but also have floated other ideas, such as tax cuts, to boost the economy.

A rate cut of the magnitude Mr. Trump is calling for hasn’t happened since the global financial crisis in late 2008.

In comments last week, Mr. Powell said the U.S. economy faced a favorable outlook despite significant risks from weaker global growth and trade uncertainty.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-says-fed-should-reduce-rates-to-zero-or-less-11568201306

Story 2: Federal Reserve Injects Billion Into The Economy in Overnight Repo Operation — Videos

Fed accepts $75 billion of $80 billion in bids in repo operation

NY Fed concludes first repo in 11 years amid liquidity concerns

The Fed has cut rates, so what’s next for the markets?

Top strategist: ‘Biggest bubble ever’ just burst. Here’s what happens next

BITCOIN. And Here We Go! FED Prints $128 Billion To “Calm The Financial Markets”

 

A crack just emerged in the financial markets: The NY Fed spends $53 billion to rescue the overnight lending market

“It’s unprecedented, at least in the post-crisis era,” said Mark Cabana, rates strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
On Tuesday morning, the NY Fed launched what’s called an “overnight repo operation,” during which the central bank attempts to ease pressure in markets by purchasing Treasuries and other securities. The goal is to pump money into the system to keep borrowing costs from creeping above the Fed’s target range.
The first attempt by the NY Fed was canceled because of “technical difficulties.” Minutes later, the NY Fed successfully injected $53 billion into the system.
The episode demonstrates evidence of emerging strains in financial markets and raises concern that the Federal Reserve could be losing its grip on short-term rates.
“The funding markets are clearly stressed,” said Guy LeBas, managing director of fixed income strategy at Janney Capital Markets. “It’s going to require Fed action.”
The NY Fed announced plans late Tuesday to hold another repurchase agreement operation on Wednesday that would aim to repurchase up to an additional $75 billion.

Rates spike

The rate on overnight repurchase agreements hit 5% on Monday, according to Refinitiv data. That’s up from 2.29% late last week and well above the target range set in July by the Federal Reserve, which is 2% to 2.25%. The surge continued Tuesday, with the overnight rate hitting a high of 10% before the NY Fed stepped in.
Although it doesn’t get as much attention as the Dow or the 10-year Treasury rate, this overnight market plays a central role in modern finance. It allows banks to quickly and cheaply borrow money, for short periods of time, often to buy bonds like Treasuries. This market broke down during the 2008 financial crisis.
However, analysts drew a distinction between the current period of stress and what happened during the crisis. Back then, investors were deeply worried about the financial health of banks. Today, banks are hauling in record profits and balance sheets look sturdy.
It’s unclear what exactly is causing the stress in the overnight market, or how long it will last.
“No one knows why this is happening,” Jim Bianco CEO of Bianco Research, said on Twitter. “If it persists more than another day or two, it will be a problem.”

$1 trillion deficits and paying Uncle Sam

There are some theories.
Cabana, the Bank of America analyst, blamed the spike in overnight lending rates on the Fed badly underestimating the amount of cash needed to keep the financial system operating smoothly.
“The Fed just made a policy mistake,” Cabana said. “There is not enough cash in the banking system for the banks to meet all of their liquidity and regulatory needs. I’m not that worried, because the Fed will fix it.”
The catalyst for the stress, according to Cabana, was the fact that US companies withdrew vast sums of money from banks to make quarterly tax payments to the US Treasury Department. That forced banks to draw down their reserves at the Fed.
The rate spike may also be a symptom of the sharp increase in Treasury bonds being issued to fund the federal government. The federal deficit has spiked to $1 trillion this fiscal year because of the tax cuts and surge in government spending.
Banks typically buy Treasuries by borrowing in the overnight market. The jump in Treasury issuance caused a large increase in demand for short-term financing.
“The fundamental issue is there are just too many darn Treasuries out there,” Cabana said. “Both parties are to blame. The $1 trillion deficit will keep this an issue.”

The return of QE?

No matter the cause, more Fed action may be needed, including additional temporary NY Fed operations.
“They may have to do the same thing tomorrow morning,” said LeBas.
The Fed may also need to lower the interest it pays on excess bank reserves, or IOER. Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicted the Fed will cut this rate slightly on Wednesday.
“That’s like a Band-Aid,” Cabana said.
As a longer-term solution, Barclays and Bank of America expect the Fed to begin expanding its balance sheet again by purchasing Treasuries. The Fed’s bond buying program, known as quantitative easing, or QE, was launched during the financial crisis to keep borrowing costs extremely low. As the economy healed, the Fed reversed course and started to shrink its balance sheet.
Cabana doesn’t think the Fed will call this QE, though he said it will work the same way. The central bank will grow its balance sheet by purchasing Treasuries.
“The Fed won’t admit this,” Cabana said, “but it looks and smells an awful lot like the monetary authority is financing the fiscal authority.”

 

Story 3: The Ranting Former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton — Neoconservative Interventionist War Monger — Videos

John Bolton and Donald Trump
President Donald Trump and and his former national security adviser, John Bolton. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

EXCLUSIVE

Bolton unloads on Trump’s foreign policy behind closed doors

The recently fired national security adviser made little secret of his disagreements with the president.

John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s fired national security adviser, harshly criticized Trump’s foreign policy on Wednesday at a private lunch, saying inviting the Taliban to Camp David sent a “terrible signal” and that it was “disrespectful” to the victims of 9/11 because the Taliban had harbored al Qaeda.

Bolton also said that any negotiations with North Korea and Iran were “doomed to failure,” according to two attendees.

All the North Koreans and Iranians want to do is negotiate for relief from sanctions to support their economies, said Bolton, who was speaking before guests invited by the Gatestone Institute, a conservative think tank.

“He ripped Trump, without using his name, several times,” said one attendee. Bolton didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bolton also said more than once that Trump’s failure to respond to the Iranian attack on an American drone earlier this summer set the stage for the Islamic Republic’s aggression in recent months.

At one point, Bolton, a previous chairman of Gatestone, suggested that had the U.S. retaliated for the drone shootdown, Iran might not have damaged the Saudi oil fields.

Bolton called the alleged attack on Saudi Arabia, which U.S. and Saudi officials have blamed on Iran, “an act of war” by anyone’s definition.

The former national security adviser’s comments come on the same day Trump named his successor, hostage negotiator Robert C. O’Brien.

Speaking on an airport tarmac in Los Angeles, Trump introduced his new top foreign policy aide as “highly respected” and hailed their “good chemistry.” The remarks indicated that in O’Brien, Trump sees a more compatible adviser than Bolton, whose disagreements with the president and clashes with other senior officials often spilled into public view.

After the attack in June, Trump was poised to launch a military response against the Iranians — strongly urged by Bolton — but pulled back after Fox News host Tucker Carlson and others warned him that it was a bad idea.

During Wednesday’s luncheon, Bolton said the planned response had gone through the full process and everybody in the White House had agreed on the retaliatory strike.

But “a high authority, at the very last minute,” without telling anyone, decided not to do it, Bolton complained.

Bolton spoke to around 60 Gatestone donors at the exclusive restaurant Le Bernardin in Manhattan. Attendees included noted lawyer Alan Dershowitz and his wife Carolyn, former attorney general Michael Mukasey, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, former Fox News host John Stossel, former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey and New York billionaire John Catsimadis.

Billionaire Rebekah Mercer introduced Bolton as “the best national security adviser our country could have hoped for,” garnering her very loud applause. Bolton had been scheduled to speak to the group before Trump fired him.

In his talk and the Q&A session that followed, Bolton took attendees through a number of global issues.

On Afghanistan, another frequent subject of disagreement with the president, Bolton said that the U.S. should not have pursued a peace deal with the Taliban.

Instead, he said, the U.S. should keep 8,600 troops in Afghanistan with intelligence support and other support elements. He called the proposed deal that was on the table similar to the agreement the Taliban offered the U.S. after 9/11, but said “it doesn’t make any sense.”

More than once, Bolton said, Israel would “sooner or later” see a new government, even though he personally liked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Venezuela, a focus of his short White House tenure, Bolton claimed there were 20,000 to 25,000 Cuban troops in the South American country. The day they left, he predicted, the Nicholas Maduro regime would fall by midnight.

He also said that if British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn were to become prime minister, it would be “fatal to the special relationship” between the U.S. and Britain.

During the Q&A session, Dershowitz told the crowd that it was “a national disaster” that Bolton had been booted from the White House, to what the attendee described as “thunderous applause.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/18/bolton-trump-foreign-policy-1501932

Story 4: President Trump Visits the Double Wall with Road In Between The U.S. Border Agents Wanted — A Game Changer — Need To Build 1500 Miles of New Wall To Stop The 30-60 Million Illegal Alien Invasion of United States Over Last 33 Years — Videos

Live: Trump tours border wall site in San Diego, California

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The Pronk Pops Show 1321, September 17, 2019, Story 1: United States Concludes The Attack on Saudi Arabia’s Oil Refinery and Oil Fields Was By Iranian Drones and Missiles (Ya Ali land-attack missiles) Fired From Iranian Base Near Southern Iraq Ruling Out Yemen As Launch Site– Iran Denies Attack — Cold War To Become Hot War? — Videos –Story 2: U.S. Gasoline Prices Rising — Videos — Story 3: New York States Band Flavored E-Cigarettes Vaping Products — Videos —

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Story 1: United States Concludes The Attack on Saudi Arabia’s Oil Refinery and Oil Fields Was By Iranian Drones and Missiles (Ya Ali land-attack missiles) Fired From Iranian Base Near Southern Iraq Ruling Out Yemen As Launch Site– Iran Denies Attack — Cold War To Become Hot War? — Videos —

See the source image

See the source image

Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that US is 'locked and loaded depending on verification', suggesting he was waiting for Riyadh's confirmation before acting

See the source image

Iran is trying to pressure US into removing sanctions: Gen. Keane

Saudi Oil Field Attack Originated From Iran, Used Cruise Missiles And Drones | NBC Nightly News

Saudi Arabia to Reportedly Resume 70% of Lost Oil Output

Trump says it’s “looking like” Iran responsible for drone attack | Nine News Australia

Trump Says Tehran Likely Behind Aramco Attack

Would be difficult for Saudi Aramco to list now after oil attack, analyst says | Squawk Box Europe

Saudi Aramco CEO: Oil attack was huge, but we managed to restore capacity

Attack on Saudi Arabia ‘caught us all by surprise’: Strategist | Street Signs Asia

USA: Lethal attack on Iran ‘proportionate’ after Saudi Arabia oil strike – Trump

Sankey: A potential response by Saudi Arabia against Iran would be ‘horrific’ for oil prices

Attack on Saudi oil plant WAS launched from Iranian base near Iraq, US investigators conclude – as experts study images of missile wreckage and video of ‘drones flying south towards their target’

  • Saudi Arabian oil supply blown up in what Yemen’s Houthis called a drone attack 
  • US investigators have concluded that drones and missiles were fired from an Iranian air base near the border with Iraq, source said
  • Officials believe the missiles flew over southern Iraq and Kuwaiti airspace to avoid powerful radar in Persian Gulf, before striking their targets 
  • Experts are studying video from Kuwait which seems to record sound of missiles overhead, and image of what appears to be missile wreck in Saudi desert  
  • Analysts say the missile appears to be a Quds-1, which would rule out Yemen as a launch site and strongly suggest Iraq, Iran or a boat in the Persian Gulf
  • Saudi has also blamed Iran, and says it is ready to ‘forcefully respond’ to attack
  • Iran’s foreign minister said that Washington was ‘in denial’ by blaming Tehran 

 

America has concluded that weekend attacks on two Saudi oil facilities were launched from Iranian soil and cruise missiles were involved, an official said today.

The official, who declined to be identified, said the United States was gathering evidence about the attack to present to the international community, notably European allies, at the UN General Assembly next week.

Another source, who spoke to CNN, said the attack involved a mixture of drones and missiles launched from an Iranian base near Iraq, flying at low altitude through Iraqi and Kuwaiti airspace to avoid radar detection, before striking the Abqaiq refinery and Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia.

Kuwaiti officials have already launched an investigation into two videos that seemed to record the sound of projectiles flying over their territory shortly before the Saudi targets were struck.

The source also told CNN that investigators are studying wreckage of at least one missile that failed to hit its target that was recovered from the Saudi desert.

An image which appears to show that missile has been circulating on Saudi social media, and has been examined by weapon analysts who say its design could rule out Yemen as a launch site, with either Iraq or Iran as more likely possibilities.

If it can be proven that the attack originated in Iran, there are fears it could spark a new Gulf War.

Donald Trump has refused to rule out military action once the source of the attack has been proven, while Saudi Arabia has said it is ready to ‘forcefully respond’.

US investigators say they have concluded that an attack on Saudi oil facilities was launched from Iran. As part of their investigation, they have been studying the wreckage of a missile recovered from the desert that failed to hit its target. Pictured is the wreckage of a missile that was posted on Saudi social media shortly after the attack

US investigators say they have concluded that an attack on Saudi oil facilities was launched from Iran. As part of their investigation, they have been studying the wreckage of a missile recovered from the desert that failed to hit its target. Pictured is the wreckage of a missile that was posted on Saudi social media shortly after the attack

An image of the Quds-1 missile which was released by the Houthi group in July, when they unveiled the weapon. It is similar to two Iranian designs - the Soumar and Ya Ali

An image of the Quds-1 missile which was released by the Houthi group in July, when they unveiled the weapon. It is similar to two Iranian designs – the Soumar and Ya Ali

Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that the United States is evaluating evidence on the attacks on Saudi oil facilities and stands read to defend its interests and allies in the Middle East.

In other developments…

  • The Saudi ministry of foreign affairs insisted it ‘has the capability and resolve to defend its land and people, and to forcefully respond to these aggressions’ 
  • Saudi Arabia also called on nations to ‘shoulder their responsibility in condemning the perpetrators’ and ‘clearly confronting’ those behind an attack 
  • The kingdom said its oil production could be fully online again within two to three weeks 
  • Trump said it ‘looks like’ Iran was behind the attacks but stressed that military retaliation was not yet on the table 
  • Washington confirmed it is exchanging intelligence with Saudi Arabia which it says points to Iran being responsible 
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran will never hold talks with US, killing off hopes of discussions between Trump and Hassan Rouhani
  • The chair of the UN Security Council said the attack was ‘unanimously and unequivocally condemned’ by all 15 members
  • Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the attack was a ‘legitimate defense and counterattack’ against the Saudi-led war in Yemen
  • The Islamic Republic’s foreign minister said Washington was ‘in denial’ by pointing the finger of blame at Tehran.  

Officially, Iran-backed Houthi rebels fighting against Saudi Arabia in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the blasts – which knocked out 5 per cent of the world’s oil supply – saying they used drones.

But Fabian Hinz, of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, analysed an image of the wreckage and says it clearly shows a cruise missile, not a drone.

He added that the weapon shown is likely a short-range Quds-1 missile, a Houthi weapon which was unveiled by the group in July this year.

The missile is based on the Iranian Soumar design, which has a range of some 840 miles, but the Houthi version has a smaller body – meaning less space for fuel – and is fitted with a less-efficient engine.

Because of this, Mr Hinz writes, it is unlikely the missile could have reached either the Abqaiq refinery or the Khurais oil field if it had been fired from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen.

However, he stressed that information around the attack is still emerging, that the image has not been independently verified, and his analysis is purely speculation based on that image.

He did say that the image appears to be new and does not appear to have been digitally altered.

When a Quds-1 was used to attack Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport in June, the Saudis  initially mistook it for an Iranian Ya Ali cruise missile, suggesting it could have similar specifications.

The Ya Ali missile has a estimated range of 435 miles, which would also rule out Yemen as a launch site, with Iran and Iraq also likely launch sites.

Washington has released satellite images which it claims shows damage on the Saudi oil refinery which is consistent with an attack from the north or northwest, in the direction of Iran and Iraq, rather than Yemen to the south

Analysts also said that the pattern of precision damage on the facility is consistent with guided missile attacks, rather than drones

Analysts also said that the pattern of precision damage on the facility is consistent with guided missile attacks, rather than drones

Damage is shown at the Khurais oil field, which was also struck in Saturday's attacks

Damage is shown at the Khurais oil field, which was also struck in Saturday’s attacks

He also notes that, while the Quds-1 is thought to have been developed with help from Iran, it is a Houthi weapon and has never be seen in Iran itself, raising doubts over whether it could have been fired from there.

The Houthis have used the Quds-1 in combat themselves, most recently in an attack on Abha Airport in southern Saudi Arabia which wounded 26.

In that instance, the Houthis claimed responsibility and admitted using the missile, begging the question of why they would omit that detail this time around.

Quds-1 missile

Unveiled by Houthi rebels in July, the Quds-1 is a cruise missile which appears to be based on the Iranian Soumar design.

While we know nothing of its specifications, we do know it was used in an attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport in June.

Pieces of the missile recovered by Saudi Arabia showed it uses a TJ-100 jet engine or near-replica, which uses up more fuel than its Iranian equivalent.

The Quds-1 fuselage is also significantly smaller than the Iranian Soumar missile, meaning it has less space for fuel.

Because of this, it almost certainly has a smaller range, though how much smaller is unclear.

But even a small reduction in the Soumar’s 840mile range would put the Saudi oil facilities attacked at the weekend outside of its capabilities, meaning – if the image is genuine – then the launch site would have to be outside Yemen.

On Monday, the White House released satellite imagery which it said indicated the attack came from either Iran or Iraq – where Iran has been training militia groups – because the position of blast marks was located on the north or northwest of the structures, in the direction of those two countries and away from Yemen.

American officials also told the Wall Street Journal that they have shared intelligence with Riyadh indicating that Iran was the staging ground for devastating drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations.

The US assessment determined that ‘Iran launched more than 20 drones and at least a dozen missiles,’ according to unnamed sources.

‘But Saudi officials said the US didn’t provide enough to conclude that the attack was launched from Iran, indicating the US information wasn’t definitive,’ the WSJ added.

‘US officials said they planned to share more information with the Saudis in the coming days.’

However, an analysis by the New York Times shows at least some of the blast marks faced west, which is not in the direction of any of those countries.

Experts also said cruise missiles and drones can be directed to turn around on their targets, hitting them in the opposite direction from which they were fired.

The near-symmetrical pattern of blast-marks on the buildings do appear consistent with guided missiles rather than drones, they noted, which tallies with Washington’s account of the attacks.

Meanwhile, a former US diplomat said Saudi Arabia has ‘great deal of explaining to do’ over how its oilfields were hit, disrupting global supplies, despite it possessing state-of-the-art military technology, much of it bought from America.

The attacks have knocked out half of Saudi Arabia's oil supply and 5 per cent of global supplies, leading to fear of fuel price rises

The attacks have knocked out half of Saudi Arabia’s oil supply and 5 per cent of global supplies, leading to fear of fuel price rises

Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that US is 'locked and loaded depending on verification', suggesting he was waiting for Riyadh's confirmation before acting

Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that US is ‘locked and loaded depending on verification’, suggesting he was waiting for Riyadh’s confirmation before acting

Gary Grappo, former US ambassador to Oman, told CNBC: I think the Saudi leadership has a great deal of explaining to do.

‘A country that ranks third in terms of total defence spending… was not able to defend its most critical oil facility from these kinds of attacks.

‘They had to be able to see that this was a strong possibility given the previous attacks they’ve experienced in previous oil facility, airports and elsewhere.’

Saudi Arabia says its initial investigations indicate that Iranian weapons were used in attacks on key oil installations and it ‘will invite U.N. and international experts to view the situation on the ground and to participate in the investigations.’

A statement from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday says, ‘The kingdom will take the appropriate measures based on the results of the investigation, to ensure its security and stability.’

Saudi Arabia's Colonel Turki al-Malki said drone strikes against two of his country's oil facilities at the weekend did not come from Yemen, and pointed the finger directly at Tehran

Saudi Arabia’s Colonel Turki al-Malki said drone strikes against two of his country’s oil facilities at the weekend did not come from Yemen, and pointed the finger directly at Tehran

Russia’s U.N. ambassador, who currently chairs the U.N. Security Council, says the attacks on key Saudi oil installations were ‘unanimously and unequivocally condemned’ by all 15 council members.

Vassily Nebenzia said after a council meeting on Yemen on Monday that ‘it is inadmissible that civil objects and socio-economic infrastructure are being targeted.’Iran’s president says weekend drone attacks claimed by Yemeni rebels on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia were a ‘legitimate defense and counterattack’ against the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Iranian state TV broadcast Hassan Rouhani’s comments to reporters Monday during a summit in Turkey to discuss the war in Syria with the Russian and Turkish leaders.

Rouhani said: ‘Regarding the drones attack, this problem has its root in invading Yemen. They (the Saudi-led coalition) are bombing Yemen on a daily basis.’

The attack has led to fears that action on any side could rapidly escalate a confrontation that has been raging just below the surface in the wider Persian Gulf in recent months.

Just last week there were hopes of deescalation following the departure of National Security Adviser John Bolton and the suggestion of talks between Trump and Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of an upcoming UN summit.

But Washington has now rubbished the idea of talks and put the option of military action firmly back on the table.

It comes after a summer which saw attacks on oil tankers that Washington blames on Tehran, at least one suspected Israeli strike on Shiite forces in Iraq, and the downing of a US military surveillance drone by Iran.

Stalling 5.7million barrels of oil per day marks the single largest disruption to global oil supplies in history, topping the start of the Iranian revolution in 1979

Stalling 5.7million barrels of oil per day marks the single largest disruption to global oil supplies in history, topping the start of the Iranian revolution in 1979

Those tensions have increased ever since Mr Trump pulled the US out of Iran’s 2015 agreement with world powers that curtailed its nuclear activities and the US re-imposed sanctions on the country that sent its economy into freefall.

Benchmark Brent crude gained nearly 20 per cent in the first moments of trading Monday before settling down to over 10 per cent higher as trading continued.

That spike represented the biggest percentage value jump in Brent crude since the run-up to the 1991 Gulf War that saw a US-led coalition expel Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.

The attack halted production of 5.7 million barrels of crude a day, more than half of Saudi Arabia’s global daily exports and more than 5% of the world’s daily crude oil production. Most of that output goes to Asia.

At 5.7 million barrels of crude oil a day, the Saudi disruption would be the greatest on record for world markets, according to figures from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA).

It just edges out the 5.6 million-barrels-a-day disruption around the time of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, according to the IEA.

Saudi Arabia has pledged that its stockpiles would keep global markets supplied as it rushes to repair damage at the Abqaiq facility and its Khurais oil field.

However, Saudi Aramco has not responded publicly to questions about its facilities.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have been targeted by a Saudi-led coalition since March 2015 in a vicious war in the Arab world’s poorest country, maintain they launched 10 drones that caused the extensive damage.

Iraqi premier Adel Abdel-Mahdi said he received a call on Monday from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who confirmed that the attack did not come from Iraq.

The State Department did not immediately acknowledge what was discussed.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi again denied the US claims on Monday, telling journalists the accusation was ‘condemned, unacceptable and categorically baseless’.

Saudi Arabia Implicates Iran in Oil Attacks

Military stops short of explicitly accusing Tehran of carrying out strikes

 

Saudi military spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki in Riyadh on Wednesday displayed what he describes as an Iranian cruise missile and drones used in an attack on the kingdom’s oil industry. PHOTO: AMR NABIL/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Saudi Arabia said it holds Iran responsible for attacks that debilitated Saudi oil facilities, directly implicating Tehran for the first time but stopping short of explicitly accusing it of conducting the strikes.

Saudi officials have concluded that Iran or one of its proxies launched a complex assault involving drones and cruise missiles from a location north of Saudi Arabia, Col. Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen, told reporters in Riyadh on Wednesday.

He said Saudi Arabia made its judgment based on the direction of the cruise missiles when they struck the facilities and the maximum distance of 435 miles they could travel. The weapons found at the two attack sites also could be traced back to Iran, he said.

Three Reasons the U.S. Could Be Less Likely to Defend Saudi Arabia

Three Reasons the U.S. Could Be Less Likely to Defend Saudi Arabia
Fears of a military conflict between the U.S. and Iran are high following an attack on a critical Saudi oil facility Saturday. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib highlights three reasons the U.S. is less likely than it once was to defend Saudi Arabia if that happens. Photo: Associated Press

Iran has denied it carried out the attacks.

At the press briefing, Col. Maliki displayed debris from the attacks, including what the Ministry of Defense described as Iranian drones and cruise missiles. He said Saudi Arabia was still working to determine the launch site and didn’t explicitly say the attacks had been mounted by Iran or from Iranian territory.

The ministry on Wednesday also displayed debris from what it said was an earlier attack on an oil facility in Afif in May.

Col. Maliki said the ministry knew the range of the cruise missiles, which he said were Iranian-made Ya Ali land-attack missiles, based on its military assessments and the range of previous attacks.

Cruise missiles have vastly different ranges, with some traveling a couple hundred miles while the U.S.-made Tomahawk missile has a range of more than 1,000 miles. Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in 2015 quoted then-Deputy Defense Minister Mohammad Eslami as saying the Ya Ali outstripped other Iranian cruise missiles with a range of 435 miles.

Saudi Arabia has largely faced ballistic-missile attacks. Col. Maliki said about 230 ballistic missiles had been fired on the kingdom in recent years, demonstrating the strength of Saudi aerial-defense systems.

The Saudi claims escalate tensions in the region, although Col. Maliki didn’t say whether or how the kingdom would respond against Iran.

Firing Range

Saudi Arabia estimates the range of the missiles that targeted its oil facilities is 435 miles. The range would exclude Yemen, where Iran says Houthi rebels conducted the strikes, as a launch point.

Saudi Arabian targets attacked Saturday

SYRIA

Tehran

435-MILE RANGE

FROM TARGETS

IRAN

IRAQ

SAUDI

ARABIA

Abqaiq facility

Persian

Gulf

Riyadh

U.A.E.

Khurais oil field

Red

Sea

OMAN

YEMEN

Sana’a

300 miles

300 km

Source: Saudi Ministry of Defense

The display of debris instead indicated that Saudi Arabia is trying to build a credible case against Iran that it was behind the attacks, and at the same time, leave room for diplomacy. It called on the international community to hold Iran responsible for its aggressive posture in the region.

“This attack was not against Aramco or Saudi Arabia,” he said. “It was an assault on the international community.”

President Trump said on Twitter on Wednesday that he has ordered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to “substantially increase” sanctions on Iran in the wake of the attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

While Mr. Trump didn’t directly link Iran to Saturday’s attacks in his tweet, he said this week that it was “certainly looking” like Iran was responsible.

Later, in comments to reporters in California, Mr. Trump said further details on sanctions would be released in the next 48 hours and he is looking at various other options in responding to the strike.

“There’s the ultimate option and there are options a lot less than that,” he said.

U.S. officials say they are waiting for the results of an investigation by the Saudi government before proceeding.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was more explicit than Mr. Trump in blaming Iran. Landing in Jeddah ahead of a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the U.S. diplomat said Iran had conducted the attack, not its Yemeni proxy, known as the Houthis.

“The intelligence community has high confidence that…these were not weapons that would have been in the possession of the Houthis,” Mr. Pompeo said. Additionally, the flight patterns required to have inflicted the level of damage to the Saudi facilities rule out Yemen as a point of origin, he added.

Mr. Pompeo called the attack an act of war. “We’re blessed that there were no Americans killed in this attack, but any time you have an act of war of this nature, there’s always risk that that could happen.”

Tehran on Wednesday continued to say Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen were behind the strikes on the Aramco facilities. President Hassan Rouhani after a cabinet meeting in Tehran told state media that the U.S. was falsely accusing Iran of the attack to pressure it. The attack was a warning from the Houthis to Saudi Arabia, which has been waging a bloody war against the rebels for nearly five years, he said.

Addressing Saudi Arabia, Mr. Rouhani added: “Learn lessons from this warning and consider that there could be a war in the region.”

Saturday’s twin attacks on the Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities knocked out 5.7 million barrels a day of production at Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramco, sending global oil prices higher.

On Tuesday, Saudi officials said they would use reserves to return production to normal levels within weeks and had restored 50% of lost output.

The price of Brent crude—the global benchmark—jumped 15% to $69.02 a barrel on Monday, its largest one-day climb since 1988. It was trading at $64.44 a barrel on Wednesday.

Some Saudi officials were skeptical of the defense ministry’s claims of aerial robustness. The strikes demonstrated a vulnerability in Saudi Arabia’s overstretched air systems, which have been taxed by months of attacks throughout the country, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to speak to the media.

The kingdom’s air defenses never had a chance to activate because neither Saudi nor American systems detected the launch of the airstrike on Saturday morning, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

The Saudi government recently moved the position of some air-defense systems, Saudi officials said, in order to cope with recent strikes that have hit airports, oil installations, and a desalination plant. Houthi rebels claimed the bombings.

The failure of Saudi and American air defenses to stop Saturday’s attack has raised alarms about the security of facilities that are a key component of the world’s oil supply. The combination of cruise missiles and drones represents a complex attack that would have challenged even the most sophisticated air-defense systems in the world, experts said.

“It looks like the attack was very carefully and thoroughly planned and that great care was taken to construct the attack plan in such a way to evade the air defenses that the Saudis are known to have,” said Bradley Boyer, a defense and energy analyst and retired U.S. Navy intelligence officer.

Saudi Arabia’s air defenses include the American Patriot and Hawk missile systems, which are better suited to shoot down mid- and long-range ballistic missiles, rather than the lighter and lower-flying cruise missiles and drones used in Saturday’s attack. The country also possesses short-range defense systems.

Saudi Arabia has a mixed record in defending itself from missile attacks. In one well-documented case, the country activated its Patriot missile defenses during an attack on the Riyadh airport in November 2017. The government said it shot down the incoming missile. Video footage and other evidence showed the defenses fell short of their targets.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-holds-iran-responsible-for-oil-attacks-11568820602

Oil storage tanks
The weekend drone attack in Buqyaq on one of the world’s largest crude oil processing plant dramatically cut into global oil supplies. | Amr Nabil/AP Photo

DEFENSE

Attack on Saudi oil sites raises risks amid U.S.-Iran tension

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A weekend drone attack on Saudi Arabia that cut into global energy supplies and halved the kingdom’s oil production threatened Sunday to fuel a regional crisis, as the U.S. released new evidence to back up its allegation that Iran was responsible for the assault amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s collapsing nuclear deal.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed Iran for the attack Saturday on key Saudi oil infrastructure. On Sunday, senior U.S. officials again said the American government believes there is no doubt Iran was responsible, saying satellite imagery and other intelligence, show the strike was inconsistent with one launched from Yemen, where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels had claimed responsibility.

Iran, meanwhile, called the U.S. claims “maximum lies,” while a commander in its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard reiterated its forces could strike U.S. military bases across the Mideast with their arsenal of ballistic missiles.

The U.S. government produced satellite photos showing what officials said were at least 19 points of impact at two Saudi energy facilities, including damage at the heart of the kingdom’s crucial oil processing plant at Abqaiq. Officials said the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen to the south.

Iraq denied Sunday that its territory was used for an attack on the Kingdom and U.S. officials said a strike from there would be a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.

The U.S. officials said additional devices, which apparently didn’t reach their targets, were recovered northwest of the facilities and are being jointly analyzed by Saudi and American intelligence. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, did not address whether the drone could have been fired from Yemen, then taken a round-about path, but did not explicitly rule it out.

The attacks and recriminations are increasing already heightened fears of an escalation in the region, after a prominent U.S. senator suggested striking Iranian oil refineries in response to the assault, and Iran warned of the potential of more violence.

“Because of the tension and sensitive situation, our region is like a powder keg,” said Iranian Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh. “When these contacts come too close, when forces come into contact with one another, it is possible a conflict happens because of a misunderstanding.

Actions on any side could break into the open a twilight war that’s been raging just below the surface of the wider Persian Gulf in recent months. Already, there have been mysterious attacks on oil tankers that America blames on Tehran, at least one suspected Israeli strike on Shiite forces in Iraq, and Iran shooting down a U.S. military surveillance drone.

The attack Saturday on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq plant and its Khurais oil field led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels of the kingdom’s crude oil production per day, equivalent to more than 5% of the world’s daily supply. It remains unclear how King Salman and his assertive son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will respond to an attack targeting the heart of the Saudi oil industry.

Crude oil futures shot up 9.5% to $60 as trading opened Sunday evening in New York, a dramatic increase.

Saudi Arabia has promised to fill in the cut in production with its reserves, but has not said how long it will take to repair the damage. The Wall Street Journal cited Saudi officials as saying a third of output would be restored on Monday, but a return to full production may take weeks.

In Washington, President Donald Trump said Sunday evening that he had approved the release of U.S. strategic petroleum reserves “if needed” to stabilize energy markets. The president said the final amount of the release, if any, would be “sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied.” The announcement followed a National Security Council meeting at the White House that included Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

Images from the European Commission’s Sentinel-2 satellite examined by the AP showed black char marks at the heart of the Abqaiq plant on Sunday, marks not seen over the prior month. Identical marks are visible on the U.S. imagery. The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies in August identified the area with the char marks as the plant’s stabilization area. The center said the area includes “storage tanks and processing and compressor trains — which greatly increases the likelihood of a strike successfully disrupting or destroying its operations.”

The state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco, which the kingdom hopes to offer a sliver of in a public stock offering, did not respond to a request for comment.

Pompeo directly blamed Iran for the Saudi attack on Twitter late Saturday, and officials worked to provide evidence for his claim the following day.

“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” Pompeo wrote. “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

The U.S., Western nations, their Gulf Arab allies and U.N. experts say Iran supplies the Houthis with weapons and drones — a charge that Tehran denies.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Sunday dismissed Pompeo’s remarks as “blind and futile comments.”

“The Americans adopted the ‘maximum pressure’ policy against Iran, which, due to its failure, is leaning toward ‘maximum lies,’” Mousavi said in a statement.

Separately, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s office issued a statement on Sunday denying the drone attack came from there. Oil-rich Kuwait also said it would increase security around the country’s “vital sites” over the attacks.

Houthi leader Muhammad al-Bukhaiti reiterated his group’s claim of responsibility, telling The Associated Press on Sunday it exploited “vulnerabilities” in Saudi air defenses to strike the targets. He did not elaborate.

Iran, meanwhile, kept up its own threats.

Hajizadeh, the brigadier general who leads the country’s aerospace program, said in an interview published across Iranian media Sunday that Revolutionary Guard forces were ready for a counterattack if America responded, naming the Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar and Al-Dhafra Air Base near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates as immediate targets, as well as U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea.

“Wherever they are, it only takes one spark and we hit their vessels, their air bases, their troops,” he said in a video published online with English subtitles.

It wasn’t just Iran making threats. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican close to Trump, suggested retaliatory strikes targeting Iran. “Iran will not stop their misbehavior until the consequences become more real, like attacking their refineries, which will break the regime’s back,” Graham wrote on Twitter.

All this comes before the United Nations General Assembly in a little over a week. There’s been speculation of a potential meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the summit’s sidelines, possibly in exchange for the lifting of some economic sanctions the American leader imposed on Tehran after unilaterally withdrawing from the nuclear accord over a year ago.

If Iran had a hand in Saturday’s attack, it could be to bolster their position ahead of any talks, analysts say.

“The main point for Iran, in my opinion, is not necessarily to derail a meeting between Trump and Rouhani but to increase its leverage ahead of it,” said Michael Horowitz, the head of intelligence at the Bahrain-based risk management firm Le Beck International. “By carrying out such a major attack, Iran wants to send the message that the only way to decrease tensions is to comply with its demands regarding sanctions relief.”

However, he warned there could be a danger of Iran “overplaying” its hand.

“There will be no political benefit for Trump in a meeting with Rouhani if this meeting sends the message that the U.S. simply surrendered to Iranian demands,” he said.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/15/saudi-oil-attack-iran-1497449

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Story 3: Congress Subpoenaed Corey Lewandowski in Impeachment Probe — No Collusion With Russia — Same Conclusion as Mueller Report — Videos 

Lewandowski becomes first witness to testify in impeachment probe

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Democrats threaten Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with CONTEMPT as he mocks and stonewalls them at first House impeachment hearing – before attorney confronts him with his own words and he admits he is ‘not honest with the media’

  • Corey Lewandowski stonewalled Democrats who were questioning him about possible obstruction of justice charges against Donald Trump 
  • I think that this fake Russia collusion narrative is the greatest crime committed against the American people in our generation if not ever,’ he said  
  • Lewandowski took a combative and aggressive stance from the start of his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee 
  • Trump praised Lewandowski’s opening statement, calling it ‘beautiful’ 
  • Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler charged the president with obstructing House Democrats’ investigation into his administration
  • ‘President Trump now appears to be using the powers of his office to obstruct all investigations by the only branch of the federal government currently capable of holding him accountable,’ Nadler wrote to the White House counsel   
  • White House counsel told committee Lewandowski would not to discuss conversations he had with Trump about government matters
  • White House forbid former aides Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn from testifying 
  • Lewandowski is mulling a New Hampshire Senate bid 
  • Committee counsel Barry Berke tore into his past statements during a late-hearing grilling 

Tuesday’s House hearing with Corey Lewandowksi culminated with angry threats by the Democratic majority to hold him in contempt – and damaging admissions by the former Donald Trump campaign manager that he has been untruthful in national TV interviews.

The fireworks came after a full day of testimony, after House Democrats armed with new rules they pushed through allowed an outside consultant to grill Trump’s combative former campaign head for 30 consecutive minutes.

Lewandowski was for the first time confronted with his past statements on Fox and MSNBC interviews, as well as statements he made in his own book about his interactions with the president.

‘I have no obligation to be candid with the media whatsoever,’ Lewandowski said at one point.

I’m a truth teller every time I stand before Congress,’ he said under questioning by majority counsel Barry Berke, saying he was truthful ‘every time I raised my right hand to God.’

Scroll down for video 

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was aggressive and combative in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was aggressive and combative in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee

Lewandowski was confronted with a clip of himself saying on MSNBC he didn’t ever remember the president ‘ever asking me to get involved with [former attorney general] Jeff Sessions or the Department of Justice in any way shape, or form, ever.’

It was a key moment of alleged obstruction from the Mueller report – where Trump dictated to Lewandowski, a private citizen, a statement he wanted the former attorney general to give while curtailing the special counsel’s investigation.

‘That was not true, was it?’ the Harvard law grad and white collar defense attorney Berke asked him.

Outside lawyer Barry Berke tore into Lewandowski on behalf of the majority

Outside lawyer Barry Berke tore into Lewandowski on behalf of the majority

The Trump loyalist was forced to defend public statements about the special counsel and his relationship with the president

The Trump loyalist was forced to defend public statements about the special counsel and his relationship with the president

‘I have no obligation to be honest with the media because they are just as dishonest as everybody else,’ Lewandowski responded.

Judiciary Chairman Jerold Nadler, who during the hearing shut down fellow Democrats efforts to bring maximum pressure on the witness, came down on the witness at the end of the hearing.

‘Mr. Lewandowski, your behavior in this hearing room has been completely unacceptable. It is part of a pattern of a White House desperate for the American people not to hear the truth,’ the New York Democrat fumed.

‘I’ve been asked several times today whether the committee will hold you in contempt. It is certainly under consideration,’ he warned.

Republicans howled in protest when the Democrats brought in their ringer to conduct intensive questioning at the end of the hearing. Previously, individual members tried to get the former New Hampshire police officer to buckle during five-minute increments of questioning.

In another tense moment with Berke, the lawyer asked him: ‘On national television did you lie about your relationship with the special counsel and whether they sought your interview?’

‘I don’t know,’ he replied.

Lewandowski tweeted out a message about the launch of his campaign for senator from New Hampshire during the hearing, irking one Democratic lawmaker who mentioned it.

He got accolades from the president for his early loyal performance, but cracks soon developed in his testimony as the day wore on.

Lewandowski has stonewalled Democrats who were questioning him about possible obstruction of justice charges against Donald Trump as the president praised his former campaign manager’s tough stance.

Lewandowski took a combative and aggressive stance from the start of his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, which he could also use as a launch pad for a Senate bid.

The former Trump campaign manager offered a strong defense of the president, claiming he was a victim of ‘haters’ and resisted Democrats’ efforts to ask him about his conversations with the president.

The hearing is part of the Democrats’ strategy to prove there is enough evidence to impeach President Trump and they’ve issued a round of subpoena to witnesses from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to help make their case to the American people.

Corey Lewandowski testifies before the House Judiciary Committee

Lewandowski’s more than four hours before the panel had its share of made-for-TV moments as he resisted their efforts to implicate Trump and snapped back at many of their questions.

In one of those moments, he mocked Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell, who suggested Lewandowski was ‘ashamed’ to read his own words from Mueller’s report that were projected on a screen in the room.

‘Why don’t you want to read it Mr. Lewandowski?’ the congressman for California asked.

‘I think you should afford me the same privilege you gave Mr. Mueller,’ he responded, referring to Mueller’s June testimony before the committee, where he did not have to read from his report.

‘Are you ashamed of the words you wrote down,’ Swalwell asked.

Lewandowski then called him ‘President Swalwell,’ in his response, alluding to the congressman’s failed presidential bid.

‘President Swalwell – I’m very happy with what I’ve written but you’re welcome to read it if you like,’ he said.

And when Swalwell pressed him if he was ashamed of what he wrote, Lewandowski pushed back: ‘I’m not ashamed of anything in my life. Are you?’

Swalwell also asked about Lewandowski’s testimony to Mueller, where he stated he kept notes from his conversations with President Trump in a safe.

‘It’s a big safe congressman. There’s a lot of guns in there,’ Lewandowski said.

But Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal got in a shot at her own at Lewandowski during her questioning period.

‘You are not yet in the Senate. You are a witness before the Judiciary Committee. Please act like it,’ she told him, referring to speculation he may run for New Hampshire’s Senate seat next year.

The lawmaker from Washington state appeared to rattle Lewandowski when she asked him if he lied to Mueller’s investigators or to the president.

‘Not to the best of my recollection, no,’ he told her.

She then asked him about a tweet from Trump in April, after the Mueller report came out, when the president wrote: ‘Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue.’

‘So the president is wrong that the report is fabricated and totally untrue?,’ Jayapal asked Lewandowski.

‘That’s a question for the president,’ he replied.

‘Did you lie to the president and is the president correct that everything in the report is fabricated?,’ she asked.

‘I won’t comment on private conversations but I don’t appreciate the insinuation that I lied about anything. And I’ve answered it multiple times. I’ve answered your question multiple times,’ Lewandowski replied.

Rep. Pramila Jayapa appeared to rattle Corey Lewandowski with her questions

Rep. Pramila Jayapa appeared to rattle Corey Lewandowski with her questions

Corey Lewandowski confers with his personal attorney Peter Chavkin during his testimony

Corey Lewandowski confers with his personal attorney Peter Chavkin during his testimony

Lewandowski mocked Rep. Eric Swalwell's failed presidential bid

Lewandowski mocked Rep. Eric Swalwell’s failed presidential bid

The former Trump campaign manager also made some head-scratching comments in his testimony, claiming he never read Mueller’s report and arguing the ‘fake Russian collusion narrative’ is the ‘greatest crime committed’ against the American people.

‘I think that this fake Russia collusion narrative is the greatest crime committed against the American people in our generation if not ever,’ he said.

Lewandowski also had a contentious back-and-forth with Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee.

‘Don’t ask me a question I won’t answer,’ he told her when she pressed him on his conversations with the president.

‘This is House Judiciary – not a house party,’ she shot back.

And when Jackson Lee pressed him to answer a question about a section of Mueller’s report, which was projected on a screen in the hearing room, Lewandowski snapped back: ‘ You’re welcome to read it, congresswoman.’

‘You’re welcome to be stalling, and I’m not going to stall. Either answer the question yes or no,’ Jackson Lee responded.

I will not disclose any conversation I’ve had with the president,’ Lewandowski said. ‘The White House has directed me that I not disclose the substance of any conversation with the president.’

With Jackson Lee’s five minutes of question time expired, Chairman Jerry Nadler said Lewandowski could answer her last question.

‘I don’t believe there was a question, congressman,’ Lewandowski responded. ‘Just a rant.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7474059/Corey-Lewandowski-House-Judiciary-Committees-formal-impeachment-witness.html

 

Story 4: New York States Band Flavored E-Cigarettes Vaping Products — Juuling — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

 

See the source image

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I got a New VAPE to Blow BIGGER Clouds…

Learning how to JUUL from my little brother!

[yourUVW=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUCM6P-AnHY]

Refilling Juul Pods: The right way.

How Juul Became A $15 Billion Giant

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Juul Labs announces ID verification system to curb underage e-cigarette use

Doctor on vaping: “Nobody is saying that this has value or benefit” for youths

New York becomes the first state to ban the sale of flavored vaping products as panel approves Governor Cuomo’s emergency prohibition

  • Public Health and Health Planning Council approved the ban on Tuesday
  • Sale of all flavored vaping products is banned immediately under the rule
  • Vape shop owners say they will go under and smokers will return to cigarettes
  • Advocates of ban say the fruity flavors are getting kids hooked on vaping
  • CDC reports 380 cases of illness and seven deaths linked to vaping cannabis

New York became the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes Tuesday, a move that comes as federal health officials investigate a mysterious surge of severe breathing illnesses linked to vaping.

The vote by the state Public Health and Health Planning Council means the prohibition, which covers flavored e-cigarettes and other vaping products except for menthol and tobacco flavors, goes into effect immediately. Retailers will have two weeks to remove merchandise from store shelves.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, had proposed the emergency ban Sunday , citing surging use among young people.

According to data from the state health department, nearly 40% of high school seniors and 27% of high school students overall in the state use e-cigarettes. Use among high-school students went from 10.5% in 2014 to 27.4% in 2018.

Andy Ramkumar, who works at Gotham Vape in Queens, vapes at the store on Tuesday as a new ban on flavored vaping products goes into effect

Andy Ramkumar, who works at Gotham Vape in Queens, vapes at the store on Tuesday as a new ban on flavored vaping products goes into effect

Vaping products, including flavored vape liquids and pods, are displayed at Gotham Vape

Vaping products, including flavored vape liquids and pods, are displayed at Gotham Vape

Cuomo pointed to vaping flavors like bubblegum and cotton candy that he said seemed aimed at young people.

‘We don’t really know the health consequences of these devices,’ he said on public radio Monday.

Vape shop owners say they’re considering a legal challenge to the new regulation, which they say should have gone before lawmakers for hearings, debate and a vote. Several spoke at the meeting to urge council members to reject the ban.

Mike Kruger owns two vape shops in the Albany region and said the ban could force hundreds of businesses like his to close. He said smokers looking to quit will have fewer options under the ban, potentially leading to an increase in the use of traditional tobacco products. As for the breathing illnesses, Kruger said he believes they are the result of people buying black market vape liquid, not the items he sells.

‘We are bypassing the legislative process,’ he said of the ban. Kruger added that many adults seek out the flavored versions. He himself prefers blue raspberry. ‘Vaping has been around for 12 years. And now this.’

Keith Mautner, who owns a vape store in Queens and uses the products himself, estimates that flavored e-cigarettes make up 95% percent of his business. He said state leaders should have cracked down on manufacturers if they were concerned about the products being used by teens.

‘That’s the problem, the manufacturers. It’s not us,’ he said.

Vaping, which many Americans have taken up as an alternative to smoking, has come under increased federal scrutiny following a rash of deaths related to vaping cannabis. Seen above are flavored vaping products in Queens that are now forbidden under the rule

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, had proposed the emergency ban Sunday , citing surging use among young people

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, had proposed the emergency ban Sunday , citing surging use among young people

The exemption for menthol was criticized by some health groups, who worried young people would switch to that variety. It includes all types of flavored vaping products, including disposable and refillable devices.

Juul Labs, Inc., the company with the biggest footprint in the industry, has said it agrees with the need for action in the flavored e-cigarette sector and will comply with any final state and federal regulations.

Nationwide, health officials are investigating hundreds of cases of serious breathing illnesses in people who use e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. They have identified 380 confirmed and probable cases in 36 states and one territory, including six deaths. President Donald Trump has proposed a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products.

New York becomes the first state to enact the ban. Michigan approved a ban that includes menthol, but not tobacco flavor, but rules for enactment have not yet been put into place. Other states are also considering bans.

The statewide smoking age is going up to 21, after Cuomo signed legislation earlier this year. He also recently signed a mandate that requires state anti-tobacco campaigns to also include vaping.

The emergency regulation enacted Tuesday will expire in 90 days unless it’s renewed. Cuomo has proposed legislation that would put the ban in state law, eliminating the need to renew the ban.

The FDA has been able to ban vaping flavors since 2016 but has yet to take the step.

The global market is estimated to have a value of as much as $11 billion.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7475005/Panel-approves-ban-sale-flavored-e-cigs-New-York.html

 

What Is Juuling? Everything To Know About The Teen Vaping Trend

It’s all the rage…

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared that teen vaping (and Juuling) had reached “epidemic proportions.” A year later? It doesn’t seem as if the obsession among teens has slowed down.

Case in point: This month, eight Wisconsin teenagers were taken to the hospital with extreme coughs, shortness of breath, and fatigue, per CBS News. Doctors suspected that vaping was the cause of these teenagers’ respiratory problems, some of whom were unable to breathe on their own when they were hospitalized.

While it’s unclear what the kids were inhaling that may have caused their lung and breathing issues, some of the teens said that they may have been vaping nicotine and THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana), as Women’s Health reported previously.

But the agency isn’t slowing down when it comes to cracking down on retailers to prevent kids from wanting to vape and getting their hands on Juuls and other vape products. And we’ll get to that.

But first: Why are young adults so into Juuls, and vaping in general? And just how bad is it really for teens’ health? Here, a primer on the controversy.

What is Juuling exactly?

First off, it’s important to note that vaping and Juuling are the same thing. Juuls are a type of vaporizer or e-cigarette, designed so discreetly that most people don’t even recognize them as an e-cig. Juul devices (and other vaporizers) work by heating up a cartridge that contains oils and make a vapor that can be inhaled.

According to the company’s website, they were designed to help cigarette smokers transition off of smoking. “We envision a world where fewer people use cigarettes, and where people who smoke cigarettes have the tools to reduce or eliminate their consumption entirely, should they so desire,” the website says. It also says in its marketing and social media code that Juul products are “not appropriate or intended for youth.”

However, the vaporizers are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and they can be charged when plugged into a laptop’s USB slot—making it easy for students to pass them off as flash drives in class.

Why is Juuling so popular?

Between those two design elements, and the fact that the Juul pods come in flavors like crème brulee, cool cucumber, and mango, these e-cigs have become insanely popular with kids. But they’re also popular among adults, given that they were originally designed to help smokers quit, as mentioned.

Just how widespread is the Juul fad, you’re wondering? The Juul vaping device was invented by two Stanford grads in 2007, and has since become the best-selling e-cigarette on the market, capturing 32 percent of the market share, according to Nielsen data. And according to not-yet published data from the FDA, there was a 75 percent increase in overall e-cigarette use (vaping and juuling) among high schoolers in 2018 compared to 2017, per the Washington Post.

However, one Boston doctor told WFXT that teenagers are still buying Juuls online by lying about their age and using a prepaid debit card.

Why is vaping (or Juuling) bad?

Many people use e-cigarettes, like Juuls, because they aren’t made with tar and all the cancer-causing chemicals you’ll find in a tobacco cigarette. Still, a 2018 study published in the journal Pediatrics found that teenagers who smoked e-cigarettes had higher levels of cancer-causing chemicals in their bodies than non-smokers.

Although they’re marketed as safer than regular cigarettes, vapes are certainly not risk-free. “This is not a safe alternative,” says Michael Blaiss, MD, the executive medical director of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “Is it safer than a tobacco cigarette? Yes. The problem is that nicotine itself can have major effects.”

“Think of it this way: In comparing e-cigarettes to traditional cigarettes, we are comparing e-cigarettes to the deadliest consumer product on the market,” says Christy Sadreameli, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist at Johns Hopkins and spokesperson for the American Lung Association.

Is Juuling more dangerous for kids than for adults?

Vaping can be particularly harmful for children and teenagers. The human lung develops rapidly within a child’s first two years, Dr. Sadreameli says, but it continues to grow until a child is 15 years old, on average.

Exposure to e-cigarette vapor during periods of lung growth and development may be more harmful to the lungs compared to when they’re fully developed, she says. “Teens who are using e-cigarettes themselves may be getting exposed to very high doses of these products,” she says. “We know that e-cigarettes contain extremely dangerous compounds, such as formaldehyde, heavy metals, acrolein (which causes irreversible lung damage), and sometimes harmful substances such as menthol and diacetyl (which can cause a dangerous lung disease called ‘popcorn lung’).”

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a18377132/juuling/

Juuling: The Addictive New Vaping Trend Teens Are Hiding

Here’s what you need to know about Juul, the e-cigarette brand that contains double the nicotine and is vaped from a device that looks like a USB drive.

Forty years ago, nearly 29 percent of high school seniors reported smoking cigarettes daily, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. By 2018, less than 1 in 25 high schoolers smokes daily.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source reports a similar decline, with 4.3 percent fewer middle schoolers and 15.8 percent fewer high schoolers admitting to smoking cigarettes between 2011 and 2018.However, as cigarette smoking seems to be on the decline, another method of nicotine use has managed to hook today’s youth.

The same CDC report that discussed the decline of cigarette use revealed an increase in vaping.

In 2018, 4.9 percent of middle schoolers reported using electronic cigarettes, and 20.8 percent of high schoolers reported the same.

 

What parents need to know about Juuling, the vaping device in disguise

When it comes to tobacco use, cigarettes are considered a combusted or burned product. The cigarette has to be lit, the tobacco burned, and the smoke inhaled.

Vaping, on the other hand, involves no combustion or burning. Instead, vaping products release an aerosol that is inhaled.

While many people make the mistake of assuming this aerosol is as harmless as water vapor, it actually consists of fine particles containing toxic chemicals, many of which have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart diseases.

Vaping devices, which include e-cigarettes and vape pens, were first introduced to the commercial market in 2007. They typically have to be plugged in or powered by battery so a heating component can warm an e-liquid cartridge that then releases the aerosol to be inhaled in the lungs.

“A lot of these cartridges are actually marketed as health products,” Winickoff explained. “They have ‘healthy’ flavors, things like mango and berry that are associated with high antioxidants. But they’re just flavors. There are no actual health benefits.”

The CDCTrusted Source has found that these flavors are a big part of the reason teens are latching onto these products. Even worse, Winickoff told Healthline about a study where 60 percent of kids believed that pods used in Juuls (a specific brand of e-cigarette) were nicotine-free — when the reality is that 99 percent of these products contain nicotine.

In 2018, Juuls accounted for about 40 percent of the e-cigarette market, grossing 150 million in retail sales the last quarter alone. The appeal of this product specifically is that they don’t look like e-cigarettes. Juuls are small, can be mistaken for a USB drive, and are easily concealed in a person’s hand.

In other words, this is a product teens are able to use more discreetly, without drawing as much attention from their parents and teachers.

With the introduction of Juuling, e-cigarette use among teens is on the rise. So much so that both Time and The Washington Post reported on Juuling and what parents need to be aware of.

The risks of e-cigarettes

A large number of people believe e-cigarettes are simply a safer way to consume nicotine, and that nicotine isn’t harmful by itself. But that’s not true.

ResearchTrusted Source has found numerous negative impacts of nicotine alone: on metabolism, increased cancer risks and respiratory problems, as well as more asthma attacks and symptoms experienced by those who vape.

“We know based on Juul’s own published testing that these products contain carcinogens. Group 1 carcinogens — the most potent carcinogens known,” Winickoff revealed.

There’s also another risk that parents should be aware of when it comes to teens and e-cigarette use — the addiction may be harder to kick.

According to AAP, Juul pods contain nearly double the concentration of nicotine compared to other e-cigarette cartridges. This is especially concerning because the risk for addiction is already higher among teens.

Winickoff explained, “The younger the developing brain is exposed to nicotine, the stronger and more rapid the addiction. The earlier you become addicted, the harder it is to quit.”

But that’s not all. According to Winickoff, addiction to nicotine at a young age actually causes brain remodeling, changing the threshold for addiction to other substances.

In other words, kids who use nicotine earlier are more likely to fall in love with other drugs later on.

Tips for talking to kids before they start vaping

The risks of Juuling and vaping for kids are real, making it all the more important for parents to begin addressing these issues before their children decide to try these products.

A licensed clinical psychologist from Connecticut, Dr. Elaine Ducharme, PhD, told Heathline, “Parents really need to start talking to their kids in elementary school about this issue.”

She offered these tips for engaging in those discussions:

  1. Educate yourself first. Get the facts on these products so you know what you’re talking about when you approach the discussion with your kids.
  2. Be a role model. Parents are responsible for shaping many of their children’s ideas and behaviors, so set the tone with your own actions.
  3. Establish a safe environment where your kids can talk about their feelings and opinions without feeling judged.
  4. Really listen and let them tell you what they know.
  5. It can sometimes be helpful to give them something to read that you can then discuss together.
  6. Help them figure out ways to handle situations where they may be pressured to engage in these behaviors.
  7. Create a plan, even specific things for them to say like, “I have asthma and my doctor says I could become very ill if I try this,” or, “I just don’t think it looks cool.”
  8. Help them understand that using willpower to stand up to peers is really hard, but willpower is like a muscle — the more you use it, the stronger it gets.

Winickoff had this to add, “What the research says about tobacco use, which we can apply to Juuling and vaping, is that parents expressing how they feel about these products — their strong negative opinions — actually can make a difference. Kids may protest, but they do internalize their parent’s belief system.”

Winickoff says this is true even if a parent uses the product themselves. Talking about the negatives of that product, and about how the addiction has taken hold and why parents can’t quit (even though they want to) can still send a strong message to teens about why they shouldn’t start.

Getty Images

How teens purchase and hide Juuls

While the legal age for purchasing these products is 18 in some states and 21 in others, Winickoff explained that many kids are ordering them online — simply checking a box to verify they are of legal age. For this reason, parents should pay attention to their teen’s online purchases and packages that may arrive in the mail.

Juul pods also look very similar to an average USB flash drive. Examine any questionable device closely.

Addressing the nicotine addiction

If you discover that your teen is already Juuling, Winickoff is clear that it’s important to recognize this as more than just a “bad habit.” It’s a medical problem that requires a major response from the family, the child’s pediatrician, and possibly a therapist to help get that teen out from under the nicotine addiction.

“It’s not easy to get kids to stop. Their body craves it. They need it just to get through the day. I can tell you from anecdotal experience just from my office, I’ve had a terrible time getting kids to give up electronic cigarettes. It’s that young brain and extra susceptibility. They’re locked in.”

Ducharme added, “If the situation seems out of control, it’s time to speak with a psychologist or other mental health professional trained in working with teens and addictions.”

Currently, there aren’t any addiction programs specifically geared toward teens and nicotine use, which makes prevention and enforcement of existing rules all the more important.

Winickoff recommends advocating for zero-tolerance policies in schools and tobacco-free zones around every school, middle grade through college. He also recommends parents get involved in the Tobacco 21 movement, which aims to increase the legal age for purchasing tobacco products to 21. So far, six states have adopted such laws.

With the help of active and informed parents, yours could be next.

Editor’s note: This piece was originally reported on August 17, 2018. Its current publication date reflects an update, which includes a medical review by Alana Biggers, MD, MPH.

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/juuling-the-new-vaping-trend-thats-twice-as-addictive-as-cigarettes#9

 

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Tensions are running high in the region after attacks in June and July on oil tankers in Gulf waters that Riyadh and Washington blamed on IranSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

Story 1: Oil Prices Spike After Iran Backed Houthi Rebel Drone Strike on Saudi Arabia’s Biggest Oil Refinery and Oil Field and Shut Down of Oil Production– Videos

UPDATED: September 18, 2019

Senior U.S. official says missiles fired on Saudi oil plant were launched from Iran

President Trump: Looks like Iran was responsible for Saudi oil attack

US says Iran attacked Saudi oil refineries, Yemen rebels say they did – so who was it? | ABC News

Yemeni rebel drones spark fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities

Saudi Arabia slashing oil output after drone strikes: Report

Fears for global oil prices after drone attack on Saudi refineries | Nine News Australia

Drones hit 2 Saudi Aramco oil facilities, causes fires

Saudi Arabia’s oil output decimated by drone attack

Trump points finger at Iran for Saudi oil attacks

Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa visits the White House amid Trump’s push for an international pressure campaign against Iran.

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Questions raised about whether Iran is to blame for Saudi Arabia attack

 

Pompeo: Iran to blame for Houthi attack on Saudi oil facilities

Houthi rebels claim drone attack on Saudi Arabia oil facility

Yemen’s Houthi group vows to strike 300 targets in Saudi Arabia, UAE

Saudi Arabia: major fire at world’s largest oil refinery after drone attack

History of US-Iran Conflict Explained

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

Why are Iran and Saudi Arabia enemies?

Why Are Saudi Arabia And The U.S. Allies?

Israel and the Gulf: an unholy alliance?

Why the US and Iran are fighting over this tiny waterway

Can Iran Stop the US? A look at Irans Defenses

Iran vs Saudi Arabia – Who Would Win? (Military / Army Comparison)

Saudi Arabia’s Emergency Arab Summit

How the Saudis ended up with so many American weapons

UNITED STATES vs ARAB LEAGUE – Military Power Comparison ✪ 2018

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Arab League States [Population/Economic/Military] Comparison (1960~2018)

 

Attack on Saudi oil plant WAS launched from Iranian base near Iraq, US investigators conclude – as experts study images of missile wreckage and video of ‘drones flying south towards their target’

  • Saudi Arabian oil supply blown up in what Yemen’s Houthis called a drone attack 
  • US investigators have concluded that drones and missiles were fired from an Iranian air base near the border with Iraq, source said
  • Officials believe the missiles flew over southern Iraq and Kuwaiti airspace to avoid powerful radar in Persian Gulf, before striking their targets 
  • Experts are studying video from Kuwait which seems to record sound of missiles overhead, and image of what appears to be missile wreck in Saudi desert  
  • Analysts say the missile appears to be a Quds-1, which would rule out Yemen as a launch site and strongly suggest Iraq, Iran or a boat in the Persian Gulf
  • Saudi has also blamed Iran, and says it is ready to ‘forcefully respond’ to attack
  • Iran’s foreign minister said that Washington was ‘in denial’ by blaming Tehran 

America has concluded that weekend attacks on two Saudi oil facilities were launched from Iranian soil and cruise missiles were involved, an official said today.

The official, who declined to be identified, said the United States was gathering evidence about the attack to present to the international community, notably European allies, at the UN General Assembly next week.

Another source, who spoke to CNN, said the attack involved a mixture of drones and missiles launched from an Iranian base near Iraq, flying at low altitude through Iraqi and Kuwaiti airspace to avoid radar detection, before striking the Abqaiq refinery and Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia.

Kuwaiti officials have already launched an investigation into two videos that seemed to record the sound of projectiles flying over their territory shortly before the Saudi targets were struck.

The source also told CNN that investigators are studying wreckage of at least one missile that failed to hit its target that was recovered from the Saudi desert.

An image which appears to show that missile has been circulating on Saudi social media, and has been examined by weapon analysts who say its design could rule out Yemen as a launch site, with either Iraq or Iran as more likely possibilities. 

If it can be proven that the attack originated in Iran, there are fears it could spark a new Gulf War. 

Donald Trump has refused to rule out military action once the source of the attack has been proven, while Saudi Arabia has said it is ready to ‘forcefully respond’.

US investigators say they have concluded that an attack on Saudi oil facilities was launched from Iran. As part of their investigation, they have been studying the wreckage of a missile recovered from the desert that failed to hit its target. Pictured is the wreckage of a missile that was posted on Saudi social media shortly after the attack

An image of the Quds-1 missile which was released by the Houthi group in July, when they unveiled the weapon. It is similar to two Iranian designs - the Soumar and Ya Ali

An image of the Quds-1 missile which was released by the Houthi group in July, when they unveiled the weapon. It is similar to two Iranian designs – the Soumar and Ya Ali

Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that the United States is evaluating evidence on the attacks on Saudi oil facilities and stands read to defend its interests and allies in the Middle East.

In other developments…

  • The Saudi ministry of foreign affairs insisted it ‘has the capability and resolve to defend its land and people, and to forcefully respond to these aggressions’ 
  • Saudi Arabia also called on nations to ‘shoulder their responsibility in condemning the perpetrators’ and ‘clearly confronting’ those behind an attack 
  • The kingdom said its oil production could be fully online again within two to three weeks 
  • Trump said it ‘looks like’ Iran was behind the attacks but stressed that military retaliation was not yet on the table 
  • Washington confirmed it is exchanging intelligence with Saudi Arabia which it says points to Iran being responsible 
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran will never hold talks with US, killing off hopes of discussions between Trump and Hassan Rouhani
  • The chair of the UN Security Council said the attack was ‘unanimously and unequivocally condemned’ by all 15 members
  • Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the attack was a ‘legitimate defense and counterattack’ against the Saudi-led war in Yemen
  • The Islamic Republic’s foreign minister said Washington was ‘in denial’ by pointing the finger of blame at Tehran.  

Officially, Iran-backed Houthi rebels fighting against Saudi Arabia in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the blasts – which knocked out 5 per cent of the world’s oil supply – saying they used drones.

But Fabian Hinz, of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, analysed an image of the wreckage and says it clearly shows a cruise missile, not a drone.

He added that the weapon shown is likely a short-range Quds-1 missile, a Houthi weapon which was unveiled by the group in July this year.

The missile is based on the Iranian Soumar design, which has a range of some 840 miles, but the Houthi version has a smaller body – meaning less space for fuel – and is fitted with a less-efficient engine.

Because of this, Mr Hinz writes, it is unlikely the missile could have reached either the Abqaiq refinery or the Khurais oil field if it had been fired from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen.

However, he stressed that information around the attack is still emerging, that the image has not been independently verified, and his analysis is purely speculation based on that image.

He did say that the image appears to be new and does not appear to have been digitally altered.

When a Quds-1 was used to attack Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport in June, the Saudis  initially mistook it for an Iranian Ya Ali cruise missile, suggesting it could have similar specifications. 

The Ya Ali missile has a estimated range of 435 miles, which would also rule out Yemen as a launch site, with Iran and Iraq also likely launch sites. 

Washington has released satellite images which it claims shows damage on the Saudi oil refinery which is consistent with an attack from the north or northwest, in the direction of Iran and Iraq, rather than Yemen to the south

Analysts also said that the pattern of precision damage on the facility is consistent with guided missile attacks, rather than drones

Damage is shown at the Khurais oil field, which was also struck in Saturday's attacks

Damage is shown at the Khurais oil field, which was also struck in Saturday’s attacks

He also notes that, while the Quds-1 is thought to have been developed with help from Iran, it is a Houthi weapon and has never be seen in Iran itself, raising doubts over whether it could have been fired from there.

The Houthis have used the Quds-1 in combat themselves, most recently in an attack on Abha Airport in southern Saudi Arabia which wounded 26.

In that instance, the Houthis claimed responsibility and admitted using the missile, begging the question of why they would omit that detail this time around.

Quds-1 missile 

Unveiled by Houthi rebels in July, the Quds-1 is a cruise missile which appears to be based on the Iranian Soumar design.

While we know nothing of its specifications, we do know it was used in an attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha Airport in June.

Pieces of the missile recovered by Saudi Arabia showed it uses a TJ-100 jet engine or near-replica, which uses up more fuel than its Iranian equivalent.

The Quds-1 fuselage is also significantly smaller than the Iranian Soumar missile, meaning it has less space for fuel.

Because of this, it almost certainly has a smaller range, though how much smaller is unclear.

But even a small reduction in the Soumar’s 840mile range would put the Saudi oil facilities attacked at the weekend outside of its capabilities, meaning – if the image is genuine – then the launch site would have to be outside Yemen.

On Monday, the White House released satellite imagery which it said indicated the attack came from either Iran or Iraq – where Iran has been training militia groups – because the position of blast marks was located on the north or northwest of the structures, in the direction of those two countries and away from Yemen.

American officials also told the Wall Street Journal that they have shared intelligence with Riyadh indicating that Iran was the staging ground for devastating drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations.

The US assessment determined that ‘Iran launched more than 20 drones and at least a dozen missiles,’ according to unnamed sources.

‘But Saudi officials said the US didn’t provide enough to conclude that the attack was launched from Iran, indicating the US information wasn’t definitive,’ the WSJ added.

‘US officials said they planned to share more information with the Saudis in the coming days.’

However, an analysis by the New York Times shows at least some of the blast marks faced west, which is not in the direction of any of those countries.

Experts also said cruise missiles and drones can be directed to turn around on their targets, hitting them in the opposite direction from which they were fired.

The near-symmetrical pattern of blast-marks on the buildings do appear consistent with guided missiles rather than drones, they noted, which tallies with Washington’s account of the attacks.

Meanwhile, a former US diplomat said Saudi Arabia has ‘great deal of explaining to do’ over how its oilfields were hit, disrupting global supplies, despite it possessing state-of-the-art military technology, much of it bought from America.

The attacks have knocked out half of Saudi Arabia's oil supply and 5 per cent of global supplies, leading to fear of fuel price rises

Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that US is 'locked and loaded depending on verification', suggesting he was waiting for Riyadh's confirmation before acting

 

Donald Trump tweeted Sunday to say that US is ‘locked and loaded depending on verification’, suggesting he was waiting for Riyadh’s confirmation before acting

Gary Grappo, former US ambassador to Oman, told CNBC: I think the Saudi leadership has a great deal of explaining to do.

‘A country that ranks third in terms of total defence spending… was not able to defend its most critical oil facility from these kinds of attacks.

‘They had to be able to see that this was a strong possibility given the previous attacks they’ve experienced in previous oil facility, airports and elsewhere.’

Saudi Arabia says its initial investigations indicate that Iranian weapons were used in attacks on key oil installations and it ‘will invite U.N. and international experts to view the situation on the ground and to participate in the investigations.’

A statement from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday says, ‘The kingdom will take the appropriate measures based on the results of the investigation, to ensure its security and stability.’

Saudi Arabia's Colonel Turki al-Malki said drone strikes against two of his country's oil facilities at the weekend did not come from Yemen, and pointed the finger directly at Tehran

Saudi Arabia’s Colonel Turki al-Malki said drone strikes against two of his country’s oil facilities at the weekend did not come from Yemen, and pointed the finger directly at Tehran

Russia’s U.N. ambassador, who currently chairs the U.N. Security Council, says the attacks on key Saudi oil installations were ‘unanimously and unequivocally condemned’ by all 15 council members.

Vassily Nebenzia said after a council meeting on Yemen on Monday that ‘it is inadmissible that civil objects and socio-economic infrastructure are being targeted.’Iran’s president says weekend drone attacks claimed by Yemeni rebels on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia were a ‘legitimate defense and counterattack’ against the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Iranian state TV broadcast Hassan Rouhani’s comments to reporters Monday during a summit in Turkey to discuss the war in Syria with the Russian and Turkish leaders.

Rouhani said: ‘Regarding the drones attack, this problem has its root in invading Yemen. They (the Saudi-led coalition) are bombing Yemen on a daily basis.’

The attack has led to fears that action on any side could rapidly escalate a confrontation that has been raging just below the surface in the wider Persian Gulf in recent months.

Just last week there were hopes of deescalation following the departure of National Security Adviser John Bolton and the suggestion of talks between Trump and Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of an upcoming UN summit.

But Washington has now rubbished the idea of talks and put the option of military action firmly back on the table.

It comes after a summer which saw attacks on oil tankers that Washington blames on Tehran, at least one suspected Israeli strike on Shiite forces in Iraq, and the downing of a US military surveillance drone by Iran.

Stalling 5.7million barrels of oil per day marks the single largest disruption to global oil supplies in history, topping the start of the Iranian revolution in 1979

Stalling 5.7million barrels of oil per day marks the single largest disruption to global oil supplies in history, topping the start of the Iranian revolution in 1979

Those tensions have increased ever since Mr Trump pulled the US out of Iran’s 2015 agreement with world powers that curtailed its nuclear activities and the US re-imposed sanctions on the country that sent its economy into freefall.

Benchmark Brent crude gained nearly 20 per cent in the first moments of trading Monday before settling down to over 10 per cent higher as trading continued.

That spike represented the biggest percentage value jump in Brent crude since the run-up to the 1991 Gulf War that saw a US-led coalition expel Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.

The attack halted production of 5.7 million barrels of crude a day, more than half of Saudi Arabia’s global daily exports and more than 5% of the world’s daily crude oil production. Most of that output goes to Asia.

At 5.7 million barrels of crude oil a day, the Saudi disruption would be the greatest on record for world markets, according to figures from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA).

It just edges out the 5.6 million-barrels-a-day disruption around the time of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, according to the IEA.

Saudi Arabia has pledged that its stockpiles would keep global markets supplied as it rushes to repair damage at the Abqaiq facility and its Khurais oil field.

However, Saudi Aramco has not responded publicly to questions about its facilities.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have been targeted by a Saudi-led coalition since March 2015 in a vicious war in the Arab world’s poorest country, maintain they launched 10 drones that caused the extensive damage.

Iraqi premier Adel Abdel-Mahdi said he received a call on Monday from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who confirmed that the attack did not come from Iraq.

The State Department did not immediately acknowledge what was discussed.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi again denied the US claims on Monday, telling journalists the accusation was ‘condemned, unacceptable and categorically baseless’.

Saudi Oil Attack Is the Big One

The technological sophistication and audacity of Saturday’s attack will linger over the energy market

Smoke billowed from an Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province, where attacks sparked fires Saturday. PHOTO:-/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Saturday’s attack on a critical Saudi oil facility will almost certainly rock the world energy market in the short term, but it also carries disturbing long-term implications.

Ever since the dual 1970s oil crises, energy security officials have fretted about a deliberate strike on one of the critical choke points of energy production and transport. Sea lanes such as the Strait of Hormuz usually feature in such speculation. The facility in question at Abqaiq is perhaps more critical and vulnerable. The Wall Street Journal reported that 5.7 million barrels a day of output, or some 5% of world supply, had been taken offline as a result.

To illustrate the importance of Abqaiq in the oil market’s consciousness, an unsuccessful terrorist attack in 2006 using explosive-laden vehicles sent oil prices more than $2.00 a barrel higher. Saudi Arabia is known to spend billions of dollars annually protecting ports, pipelines and processing facilities, and it is the only major oil producer to maintain some spare output. Yet the nature of the attack, which Iranian-supported Houthi fighters from Yemen claimed was the result of an attack by their forces, shows that protecting such facilities may be far more difficult today. U.S. officials blamed Iran and U.S. and Saudi officials were investigating the possibility that another Iranian-backed group carried out all or part of the attack using cruise missiles launched from Iraq. Iranian officials on Sunday denied responsibility for the attacks.

There are countries that even today see their output ebb and flow as a result of militant activity, most notably Nigeria and Libya. Others, such as Venezuela, are in chronic decline due to political turmoil. Such news affects the oil price at the margin but is hardly shocking.

Deliberate attacks by actual military forces have been far rarer, with the exception of the 1980s “Tanker War” involving Iraq, Iran and the vessels of other regional producers such as Kuwait. When Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait in 1990, removing its production from the market and putting Saudi Arabia’s massive crude output under threat, prices more than doubled over two months.

Yet Saturday’s attack could be more significant than that. Technology from drones to cyberattacks are available to groups like the Houthis, possibly with support from Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran. That major energy producer, facing sanctions but still shipping some oil, has both a political and financial incentive to weaken Saudi Arabia. The fact that the actions ostensibly were taken by a nonstate actor, though, limits the response that the U.S. or Saudi Arabia can take. Attempting to further punish Iran is a double-edged sword, given that pinching its main source of revenue, also oil, would further inflame prices.

While the redundancies in Saudi oil infrastructure mean that output may be restored as soon as Monday, the attack could build in a premium to oil prices that has long been absent due to complacency. Indeed, traders may now need to factor in new risks that threaten to take not hundreds of thousands but millions of barrels off the market at a time. U.S. shale production may have upended the world energy market with nimble output, but the market’s reaction time is several months, not days or weeks, and nowhere near enough to replace several million barrels.

After the smoke clears and markets calm down, the technological sophistication and audacity of Saturday’s attack will linger over the energy market.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-oil-attack-this-is-the-big-one-11568480576

Iran-backed militants admit drone swarm strike on world’s largest oil processing plant in Saudi and at second nearby facility sparking huge fires as tensions reach boiling point following tanker attacks

  • Drone attacks sparked fires at Aramco oil facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia today
  • Attacks took place at 4:00am at world’s largest oil processing plant Abqaiq
  • The Saudi interior ministry said the fires have now been brought under control 
  • Iran-backed Houthis claimed responsibility for attacks in Buqyaq and Khurais 
  • Tensions are running high in the region after attacks in June and July on oil tankers in Gulf waters that Riyadh and Washington blamed on Iran

Ten drones launched by Iran-backed militants sparked a huge fire at the world’s largest oil processing facility and a major oilfield in Saudi Arabia in the early hours of this morning.

The fires at Abqaiq in Buqayq, which contains the world’s largest oil processing plant, and Khurais, which contains the country’s second largest oilfield, have now been brought under control since the drone attacks at 4.00am local time.

Tensions are running high in the region after attacks in June and July on oil tankers in Gulf waters that Riyadh and Washington blamed on Iran.

A military spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi rebels, considered an Iranian proxy force in the region, has claimed responsibility for today’s attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two major facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia run by state-owned oil giant Aramco.

Houthi fighters in Yemen have previously launched attacks over the border, hitting Shaybah oilfield with drones last month and two oil pumping stations in May. Both attacks caused fires but did not disrupt production.

Ten drones launched by Iran-backed militants sparked a huge fire at the world’s largest oil processing facility and a major oilfield in Saudi Arabia in the early hours of this morning.

The fires at Abqaiq in Buqayq, which contains the world’s largest oil processing plant, and Khurais, which contains the country’s second largest oilfield, have now been brought under control since the drone attacks at 4.00am local time.

Tensions are running high in the region after attacks in June and July on oil tankers in Gulf waters that Riyadh and Washington blamed on Iran.

A military spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi rebels, considered an Iranian proxy force in the region, has claimed responsibility for today’s attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two major facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia run by state-owned oil giant Aramco.

Houthi fighters in Yemen have previously launched attacks over the border, hitting Shaybah oilfield with drones last month and two oil pumping stations in May. Both attacks caused fires but did not disrupt production.

Abqaiq facility, located 37 miles southwest of Aramco's Dhahran headquarters, is home to the company's largest oil processing plant, according to its website (pictured: Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq)

Abqaiq facility, located 37 miles southwest of Aramco’s Dhahran headquarters, is home to the company’s largest oil processing plant, according to its website (pictured: Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq)

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14+26

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14

A satellite image provided by NASA Worldview shows fires following Yemen's Houthi rebels claiming a drone attack on two major oil installations in eastern Saudi Arabia

A satellite image provided by NASA Worldview shows fires following Yemen’s Houthi rebels claiming a drone attack on two major oil installations in eastern Saudi Arabia

Tensions are running high in the region after attacks in June and July on oil tankers in Gulf waters that Riyadh and Washington blamed on Iran

Yahia Sarie announced that the Houthi’s were taking responsibility for the attacks on Saturday in a televised address carried by the Houthi’s Al-Masirah satellite news channel.

He said the Houthis sent 10 drones to attack an oil processing facility in Buqyaq and the Khurais oil field, warning that attacks by the rebels against the kingdom would only get worse if the war in Yemen continues.

Sarie said: ‘The only option for the Saudi government is to stop attacking us.’

Iran denies supplying the Houthis with weapons, although the U.N., the West and Gulf Arab nations say Tehran does. Drone models nearly identical to those used by Iran have been used in the conflict in Yemen.

The attacks highlight how the increasingly advanced weaponry of the Iran-linked Huthi rebels – from ballistic missiles to unmanned drones – poses a serious threat to oil installations in Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter.

A military spokesman for Yemen's Houthi rebels has claimed responsibility for today's attacks on Abqaiq (pictured) and Khurais

A military spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi rebels has claimed responsibility for today’s attacks on Abqaiq (pictured) and Khurais

The Abqaiq facility (pictured), which processes sour crude oil into sweet crude, then later transports onto transshipment points on the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, has been targeted in the past by militants

The Abqaiq facility (pictured), which processes sour crude oil into sweet crude, then later transports onto transshipment points on the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, has been targeted in the past by militants

Saudi Arabia’s oil production and exports have been disrupted, three sources familiar with the matter have said.

One of the sources said the attacks have impacted 5 million barrels per day of oil production – almost half the kingdom’s current output. The source did not elaborate.

Saudi Aramco operates the world’s largest oil processing facility and crude oil stabilisation plant in the world at Abqaiq, in eastern Saudi Arabia. The plant has a crude oil processing capacity of more than 7 million barrels per day.

Authorities have not reported on casualties. A witness nearby said at least 15 ambulances were seen in the area and there was a heavy security presence around Abqaiq.

The attack will likely heighten tensions further across the wider Persian Gulf amid a confrontation between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

Saudi Aramco describes its Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq as ‘the largest crude oil stabilisation plant in the world.’

The facility, which processes sour crude oil into sweet crude, then later transports onto transshipment points on the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, has been targeted in the past by militants.

The fires at Abqaiq, which contains the world's largest oil processing plant, and Khurais, which contains the country's second largest oilfield, have now been brought under control+26

The fires at Abqaiq, which contains the world's largest oil processing plant, and Khurais, which contains the country's second largest oilfield, have now been brought under control

The fires at Abqaiq, which contains the world’s largest oil processing plant, and Khurais, which contains the country’s second largest oilfield, have now been brought under control

Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two major Aramco facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia (pictured: Abqaiq)

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two major Aramco facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia (pictured: Abqaiq)

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7463189/Drone-attacks-spark-huge-fires-two-Saudi-oil-refineries.html

Saudi Arabia Shuts Down About Half Its Oil Output After Drone Strikes

Shutdown amounts to a loss of some five million barrels a day, roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude

Smoke billowing after a fire at a Saudi Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday. PHOTO: VIDEOS OBTAINED BY REUTERS/REUTERS

Coordinated drone strikes on the heart of the Saudi oil industry forced the kingdom to shut down half its crude production on Saturday, people familiar with the matter said, potentially roiling petroleum prices and demonstrating the power of Iran’s proxies.

Yemen’s Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels claimed credit for the attack, saying they sent 10 drones to strike at important facilities in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province. The production shutdown amounts to a loss of about five million barrels a day, the people said, roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude oil.

Officials said they hoped to restore production to its regular level of 9.8 million barrels a day by Monday.

The strikes mark the latest in a series of attacks on the country’s petroleum assets in recent months, as tensions rise among Iran and its proxies like the Houthis, and the U.S. and partners like Saudi Arabia. The attacks could drive up oil prices if the Saudis can’t turn production back on quickly and potentially rattle investor confidence in an initial public offering of the kingdom’s national oil company.

President Trump called Saudi Arabia’s day-to-day ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on Saturday and said the U.S. was ready to “cooperate with the kingdom in supporting its security and stability,” according to the Saudi Press Agency, the official news service.

Prince Mohammed told Mr. Trump that Saudi Arabia “is willing and able to confront and deal with this terrorist aggression,” according to the agency.

The attacks happened a few days before world leaders are set to gather in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, where President Trump has said he is interested in meeting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to defuse tensions. Iran didn’t react to the attacks on Saturday, and officials have said Mr. Rouhani won’t meet with Mr. Trump until the U.S. lifts sanctions imposed after the president pulled out of the 2015 international nuclear deal.

Saturday’s attack was the largest yet claimed by the Houthis in terms of its overall impact on the Saudi economy, thrusting the petroleum industry into crisis in the world’s largest exporter of oil. The attack hit hundreds of miles away from their Yemen stronghold.

“The attack has been quite surprising for the mere amount of damage it caused,” said Fabian Hinz, an arms researcher at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Calif.

“We have seen quite a few drone and missile attacks against Saudi infrastructure, but in most cases the actual damage caused has been quite minimal,” said Mr. Hinz.

The Saudi government called the strikes a terrorist attack and said it was investigating.

Armed Drones Are a Growing Threat From Rebels in Yemen

Armed Drones Are a Growing Threat From Rebels in Yemen
Yemen’s Houthi rebels are using armed drones with startling success. WSJ reporters describe their increasing sophistication and recent confirmed attacks. Illustration: Laura Kammermann

Analysts cautioned against accepting the Houthi claim of responsibility at face value. An attack in May on a Saudi oil-pumping station, which Saudi officials initially blamed on the Houthis and Iran, later turned out to have been launched by an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq, according to U.S. officials.

Saudi officials aren’t sure the attack emanated from Yemen and were discussing on Saturday the possibility that the attack came from the north, according to people familiar with the matter.

Saudi oil officials said they were rushing to contain the damage as fires raged in two major oil facilities. Saudi Aramco, the national oil company, held an emergency board meeting on Saturday to manage the unfolding crisis, the people familiar with the matter said.

Disruptions in Saudi oil production could have ripple effects through the global economy, as the kingdom exports more crude petroleum than any other country.

Saudi officials are discussing drawing down their oil stocks to sell to foreign customers to ensure that world oil supplies aren’t disrupted, the people familiar with the matter said. The people said Saudi officials were trying to restore the production soon but gave no firm timetable.

The attacks hit Hijra Khurais, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest oil fields, which produces about 1.5 million barrels a day. They also hit Abqaiq, the world’s biggest crude stabilization facility, processing seven million barrels of Saudi oil a day, about 8% of the world’s total.

The damage at Abqaiq has knock-on effects throughout the kingdom’s oil fields because it is a collection point for much of its industry, turning crude oil into specific grades requested by customers. The Ghawar field, the world’s largest, and Shaybah, which produces one million barrels a day, also reported disruptions because of Abqaiq’s problems, said the people familiar with the matter.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Houthis took control of Yemen’s capital, San’a, in 2014 during a civil war. Since then, a Saudi-led coalition has fought a war to unseat the Houthis and reinstate a government supported by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other regional powers.

In recent months the Houthis, along with Iranian-backed armed groups in Iraq, have intensified a campaign of missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, launching more than a dozen attacks at Saudi airports, a desalination plant and oil infrastructure. Suspected Houthi ordnance originating from the Yemeni border is launched at Saudi Arabia several times a week, a U.S. official said.

The strikes have put pressure on Saudi Arabia’s air defenses, as the Saudi government says it has shot down multiple drones and missiles.

Big OilKhurais, which was disrupted in a drone strike,is one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest oil fields.Oil field productionSource: International Energy Agency
GhawarSafaniyaKhuraisShaybahManifa0 million barrels a day2468

The increasing sophistication of the drone and missile attacks this year have shown deepening cooperation between the Houthis and Iran as Tehran has sought ways to apply pressure on their Saudi and American adversaries, according to U.S. officials and analysts. The Iranian government denies controlling the Houthi movement.

A U.N. panel last year said there were “strong indications” that Iran was the source of Houthi missile and drone technology but didn’t directly accuse the Tehran government of providing the weaponry itself. It said Iran has failed to take the necessary measures to prevent such transfers.

Saturday’s attack also came amid a sharp escalation of hostilities in neighboring Yemen after a Saudi airstrike killed more than 100 people at a detention center on Sept. 1.

“We promise the Saudi regime that our future operations will expand and be more painful as long as its aggression and siege continue,” a Houthi spokesman said Saturday.

The strikes complicate U.N. and U.S. efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict, which has killed more than 10,000 people over the last four years. U.S. officials had quietly attempted to launch a back channel to the Houthis.

A conservative kingdom with a Sunni Muslim majority, Saudi Arabia has been an opponent of Iran in a struggle for power across the broader Middle East since the 1979 revolution that toppled Iran’s monarchy.

The drone attacks on Aramco’s facilities are poorly timed for Aramco’s coming IPO and pose a challenge to oil officials after a changing of the guard in their leadership. The country’s rulers recently replaced Aramco’s chairman and the kingdom’s oil minister.

Aramco last week picked seven international banks to help it list on Saudi Arabia’s domestic exchange, an IPO that could value the company at about $2 trillion dollars and come before the end of the year.

The damage to Aramco facilities could affect investor appetite to buy into the company and its ultimate valuation, said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at the Gulf Research Center in Riyadh, a privately funded think tank.

But Aramco, the world’s most profitable firm, could also use this crisis to demonstrate its growing push for transparency and keep potential investors abreast of developments, said Mr. Sfakianakis, a former adviser to the kingdom’s finance ministry.

“There will be short term concern…The latest IPO announcement is being watched by all,” he said.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/drone-strikes-spark-fires-at-saudi-oil-facilities-11568443375

Country comparison Iran vs Saudi Arabia

Gouvernement
Annual GDP [+] 2018 452,275M.$ chart 782,483M.$ 2018 Annual GDP [+]
GDP per capita [+] 2018 5,529$ chart 23,219$ 2018 GDP per capita [+]
Debt [+] 2017 170,342 chart 149,279 2018 Debt [+]
Debt (%GDP) [+] 2017 39.53% chart 19.08% 2018 Debt (%GDP) [+]
Debt Per Capita [+] 2017 2,092$ chart 4,430$ 2018 Debt Per Capita [+]
Deficit (M.$) [+] 2017 -7,828 chart -36,267 2018 Deficit (M.$) [+]
Deficit (%GDP) [+] 2017 -1.82% chart -4.64% 2018 Deficit (%GDP) [+]
Expenditure (M.$) [+] 2017 83,377.9 chart 274,773.5 2018 Expenditure (M.$) [+]
Education Expenditure (M.$) [+] 2017 16,325.6 chart 26,706.2 2008 Education Expenditure (M.$) [+]
Education Expenditure (%Bud.) [+] 2017 20.04% chart 19.26% 2008 Education Expenditure (%Bud.) [+]
Gov. Health Exp.(M.$) [+] 2016 17,868.7 chart 25,107.5 2016 Gov. Health Exp.(M.$) [+]
Gov. Health Exp. (%Bud.) [+] 2016 22.60% chart 10.06% 2016 Gov. Health Exp. (%Bud.) [+]
Defence Expenditure (M.$) [+] 2018 12,064.5 chart 68,660.7 2018 Defence Expenditure (M.$) [+]
Defence Expenditure (%Bud.) [+] 2018 15.78% chart 24.59% 2018 Defence Expenditure (%Bud.) [+]
Expenditure (%GDP) [+] 2017 19.35% chart 35.12% 2018 Expenditure (%GDP) [+]
Expenditure Per Capita [+] 2017 1,024$ chart 8,154$ 2018 Expenditure Per Capita [+]
Education Expenditure P.C [+] 2017 201$ chart 1,036$ 2008 Education Expenditure P.C [+]
Gov. Health Exp. P.C. [+] 2016 226$ chart 778$ 2016 Gov. Health Exp. P.C. [+]
Defence Expenditure P.C. [+] 2018 147$ chart 2,037$ 2018 Defence Expenditure P.C. [+]
A1 04/13/2018 Moody’s Rating [+]
A- 02/17/2016 S&P Rating [+]
Fitch Rating [+] 04/24/2006 B+ A+ 04/30/2019 Fitch Rating [+]
Corruption Index [+] 2018 28 chart 49 2018 Corruption Index [+]
Competitiveness Ranking [+] 2018 89º chart 39º 2018 Competitiveness Ranking [+]
Fragile States Index [+] 2018 84.3 chart 70.2 2018 Fragile States Index [+]
RTI Raking [+] 09/28/2018 99º
Innovation Ranking [+] 2018 65º chart 61º 2018 Innovation Ranking [+]
Labour
Unemployment rate [+] 2017Q1 12.5% chart 5.6% 2016Q2 Unemployment rate [+]
Unemployed [+] 2017Q1 3,199 m. chart 699 m. 2016Q2 Unemployed [+]
NMW [+] 2011 319.0 $ chart 800.0 $ 2013 NMW [+]
Human Capital Ranking [+] 2017 104º chart 82º 2017 Human Capital Ranking [+]
Markets
US Dollar exchange rate [+] 05/14/2018 42,000.0000 chart 3.7500 05/14/2018 US Dollar exchange rate [+]
1.28% 09/19/2019 Stock ExchangeYTD % [+]
Business
Doing Business [+] 2019 128º chart 92º 2019 Doing Business [+]
Passengers vehicles Year [+] December 2017 1,592,282 chart 438,421 December 2017 Passengers vehicles Year [+]
Annual Vehicles/ 1,000 p. [+] December 2017 21.11 chart 16.84 December 2017 Annual Vehicles/ 1,000 p. [+]
Motor vehicle production [+] 2018 1,342,000
Vehicles / 1,000 people [+] 2015 177.79 chart 212.79 2015 Vehicles / 1,000 people [+]
Taxes
5.00% 01/01/2018 Standard VAT [+]
0% 2018 Top tax rate + SSC [+]
Trade
Exports [+] 2017 91,000.0 M.$ chart 218,374.0 M.$ 2017 Exports [+]
Exports % GDP [+] 2017 21.13% chart 31.71% 2017 Exports % GDP [+]
Imports [+] 2017 49,000.0 M.$ chart 134,520.0 M.$ 2017 Imports [+]
Imports % GDP [+] 2017 11.38% chart 19.54% 2017 Imports % GDP [+]
Trade balance [+] 2017 42,000.0 M.$ chart 83,854.0 M.$ 2017 Trade balance [+]
Trade balance % GDP [+] 2017 9.75% chart 12.18% 2017 Trade balance % GDP [+]
Socio-Demography
Density [+] 2018 47 chart 16 2018 Density [+]
Global Peace Ranking [+] 2019 139º chart 129º 2019 Global Peace Ranking [+]
Remittance received (M.$) [+] 2017 1,378.8 chart 286.5 2017 Remittance received (M.$) [+]
% Immigrant [+] 2017 3.31% chart 37.43% 2017 % Immigrant [+]
% Emigrant [+] 2017 1.44% chart 0.86% 2017 % Emigrant [+]
Birth Rate [+] 2017 15.92‰ chart 19.19‰ 2017 Birth Rate [+]
Remittance sent (M.$) [+] 2017 296.0 chart 46,724.6 2017 Remittance sent (M.$) [+]
Crude death rate [+] 2017 4.49‰ chart 3.58‰ 2017 Crude death rate [+]
Fertility Rate [+] 2017 1.64 chart 2.49 2017 Fertility Rate [+]
Rate Homicides per 100.000 [+] 2015 4.12 chart 1.50 2015 Rate Homicides per 100.000 [+]
Population [+] 2018 81,800,269 chart 33,699,947 2018 Population [+]
Immigrant stock [+] 2017 2,699,155 chart 12,185,284 2017 Immigrant stock [+]
Emigrant stock [+] 2017 1,170,491 chart 278,912 2017 Emigrant stock [+]
HDI [+] 2017 0.798 chart 0.853 2017 HDI [+]
Gender Gap Ranking [+] 2018 142º chart 141º 2018 Gender Gap Ranking [+]
Life expectancy [+] 2017 76.15 chart 74.72 2017 Life expectancy [+]
Number of homicides [+] 2015 3,259 chart 472 2015 Number of homicides [+]
Energy and Environment
CO2 Tons per capita [+] 2017 8.27 chart 19.39 2017 CO2 Tons per capita [+]

196519651970197019751975198019801985198519901990199519952000200020052005201020102015201520,000,00020,000,00040,000,00040,000,00060,000,00060,000,00080,000,00080,000,000IranIranSaudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia

Iran Saudi Arabia
1960 21,906,914 4,086,539
1961 22,480,372 4,218,853
1962 23,071,315 4,362,786
1963 23,680,258 4,516,533
1964 24,307,860 4,677,298
1965 24,954,873 4,843,635
1966 25,624,373 5,015,357
1967 26,317,783 5,195,135
1968 27,032,571 5,387,828
1969 27,764,924 5,599,904
1970 28,513,866 5,836,389
1971 29,281,591 6,100,626
1972 30,075,297 6,392,970
1973 30,905,707 6,711,923
1974 31,786,471 7,054,532
1975 32,729,772 7,419,493
1976 33,733,961 7,802,926
1977 34,803,045 8,207,697
1978 35,960,805 8,646,845
1979 37,237,137 9,137,927
1980 39,291,000 9,320,000
1981 40,826,000 9,786,000
1982 42,420,000 10,276,000
1983 44,077,000 10,790,000
1984 45,798,000 11,330,000
1985 47,587,000 11,897,000
1986 49,445,000 12,492,000
1987 50,662,000 13,118,000
1988 51,909,000 13,774,000
1989 53,187,000 14,463,000
1990 54,496,000 15,187,000
1991 55,837,000 15,947,000
1992 56,656,000 16,948,000
1993 57,488,000 17,277,000
1994 58,331,000 17,701,000
1995 59,187,000 18,136,000
1996 60,055,000 18,581,000
1997 61,070,000 19,037,000
1998 62,103,000 19,504,000
1999 63,152,000 19,983,000
2000 64,219,000 20,474,000
2001 65,301,000 20,976,000
2002 66,300,000 21,491,000
2003 67,315,000 22,020,000
2004 68,345,000 22,564,000
2005 69,390,000 23,330,000
2006 70,496,000 24,122,000
2007 71,366,000 24,941,000
2008 72,266,000 25,787,000
2009 73,196,000 26,661,000
2010 74,157,000 27,563,000
2011 75,150,000 28,376,000
2012 76,038,000 29,196,000
2013 76,942,000 29,994,000
2014 78,470,000 30,770,000
2015 79,476,000 31,016,000
2016 80,460,000 31,743,000
2017 81,423,000 32,552,000
2018 81,800,269 33,699,947
CountrySubcontinentContinentWorld
CountrySubcontinentContinentWorld
Saudi Arabia

 

 

 

 

 

Story 2: Morally Bankrupt New York Time Smear Campaign of Lies Against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — No Victim and No Witnesses — Big Lie Media — Junk Journalism — — Videos —

See the source image

Trump Urgest Kavanaugh To Sue New York Times For Libel

Hemingway accuses NYT of hiding facts, using ‘gossip’ to smear Kavanaugh

Trump calls for NY Times staff to resign over Kavanaugh story

Sen. Tillis on New York Times Kavanaugh report

New York Times faces intense scrutiny over Kavanaugh article

Tucker: New York Times revives attacks on Kavanaugh

Ingraham: Democrats’ smash and smear campaign

Bongino blasts NYT’s ‘disgraceful’ reporting on Kavanaugh

Ben Shapiro blasts The New York Times’ reporting on Kavanaugh

Gowdy compares impeaching Kavanaugh to ‘political death penalty’

Gutfeld on the latest New York Times scandal

Trump demands DOJ ‘rescue’ Kavanaugh as fresh allegations emerge

Napolitano on new questions surrounding Kavanaugh accuser’s motivation

New video raises questions about Kavanaugh accuser’s testimony

Graham: Kavanaugh impeachment based on this is ‘dead on arrival’

‘Squad’ member to introduce Kavanaugh impeachment resolution

Why the Times bungled so badly in its latest Kavanaugh smear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I wrote a column Sunday torching The New York Times for its latest attempt to attack Justice Brett Kavanaugh, I had no idea how quickly its story would fall apart. Explaining how and why is now in order.

The primary reason is that the anti-conservative bias within the Times organization is now so overwhelming that, at least on the continually troubled opinion side, there is simply no one in the loop who isn’t already positive Kavanaugh is a sexual predator — no one both able and willing (which, given today’s culture of fear regarding the #MeToo subject matter, may have been the more daunting hurdle) to express skepticism about a story that seeks to prove what everyone there already “knows” to be true.

I saw an obvious red flag before I even read the story. Liberals on Twitter were immediately excited by these “bombshell” revelations about Kavanaugh in an article that was innocuously titled as a piece on Yale University’s culture at the time when he and his “accuser” went there. That is obviously not how a story with legitimate new damning information would have been framed, even on a weekend.

As it turns out, there was very good reason why the two Times reporters, who are promoting a book about Kavanaugh’s past, were forced to go that very circuitous route to sneak in their extremely flimsy allegations.

It turns out the Times’ news editors had reportedly declined to run their “revelations” as a news story due to lack of evidence, just like The Washington Post had done, correctly, a year ago.

Then comes the issue of the “country club” aspect of an exclusive place like the Times filled with alleged journalistic elites. These two reporters are obviously respected colleagues of everyone in the decision-making roles, and they are naturally going to be given far wider latitude and trust than an outside author.

Surely that had to be part of the reason the Times somehow allowed one of the book’s authors to write a totally outrageous tweet for the outlet about her own story, which the paper had to then delete. That tweet, on its own, should discredit the book’s co-author, as it could not be more obvious evidence of someone who already had her conclusion about the case and simply went about desperately — and mostly unsuccessfully — trying to find some actual evidence to substantiate it.

Connected to this is the extraordinary arrogance of people who work at the Times. In my direct experience, they truly believe that if a story comes from a Times reporter that it must be the gospel truth, unless God herself declares it not to be, and even then they will only send it out for a quick fact-check.

Then there is the increasing challenge that, thanks to having gone to a subscription model and with the advent of Twitter, the Times is becoming beholden to its very liberal base of most passionate customers.

As several recent episodes have shown, the Times is now often edited by the whims of liberal Twitter, and surely anxiety over potentially pissing off this group by either censoring potentially negative Kavanaugh information, or, even worse, making him seem potentially innocent, had to play at least a subconscious role here.

This last point is likely the cause of one of the many egregious mistakes in the piece. While it has still not gotten widespread news media coverage, the Times absurdly censored its own story by omitting what is very likely the most substantive nugget of new information in their book.

It turns out that Leland Keyser, friend of Christine Ford (Kavanaugh’s first and primary accuser) — whom Ford claimed was the only other girl at the infamous pool party — gave the authors her first major interview.

Keyser, who was once married to Democratic operative Bob Beckel, told them that Ford’s story “makes no sense,” that she doesn’t have “any confidence” in the allegation and that she was targeted by Ford allies in an effort to get her to lie by backing up Ford’s uncorroborated account.

Now THAT is a real bombshell but one that clearly conflicts with the preferred liberal narrative of this entire fiasco in which both the Times and the two reporters are invested.

All of this has backfired spectacularly, and has given President Donald Trump yet another data point in his quest to paint every negative report about him and his administration “Fake News!”

Unless the culture at the Times and other mainstream outlets dramatically changes (spoiler alert: It will not), this kind of thing is only going to continue.

John Ziegler is a senior columnist for Mediaite.com, from which this was adapted.

https://nypost.com/2019/09/17/why-the-times-bungled-so-badly-in-its-latest-kavanaugh-smear/

Alleged Victim In New York Times Kavanaugh Story Denies Any Recollection Of Incident

New York Times reporters Robin Pogebrin and Kate Kelly are out with a new book that attempts to buttress the unsubstantiated claims deployed last year against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation” is neither a look at the education of Brett Kavanaugh nor an investigation. They admit they found no evidence to support the claims made by Christine Blasey Ford or Debbie Ramirez, although they say their “gut reaction” to the allegations is that they are true. They generously concede that their “gut” tells them that Michael Avenatti client Julie Swetnick’s claims are not true, citing the lack of corroboration.

The “lack of corroboration” standard was unevenly held to by the authors. Blasey Ford’s four witnesses all denied knowledge of the party at which her alleged assault took place. Ramirez went from telling Ronan Farrow “I don’t have any stories about Brett Kavanaugh and sexual misconduct,” to telling friends of an incident for which she “couldn’t be sure” Kavanaugh was involved, to now being the centerpiece of the Pogebrin and Kelly book. Ramirez also had no eyewitness support for her story that allegedly took place at a well-attended party, even after friendly media outlets contacted some 75 classmates trying to find corroboration. Both women had the support of many friends and activists, however.

The only supposedly new claim made in the book isn’t new and comes from Democrat attorney Max Stier, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s with whom he has a long and contentious history. In the words of the Yale Daily News, they were “pitted” against each other during the Whitewater investigation in the 1990s when Kavanaugh worked for Independent Counsel Ken Starr. Stier defended President Bill Clinton, whose legal troubles began when a woman accused him of exposing himself to her in hotel room she had been brought to. Clinton later settled with the woman for $850,000 and, due to a contempt of court citation for misleading testimony, ended up losing his law license for five years. Stier worked closely with David Kendall, who went on to defend Hillary Clinton against allegations of illegally handling classified information. Kavanaugh’s reference to his opponents being motivated by “revenge on behalf of the Clintons” met with befuddlement by liberal media, despite the surprisingly large number of Clinton-affiliated attorneys who kept popping up during his confirmation hearings.

In any case, Stier’s claim, which even two Democratic senators’ offices didn’t find particularly worthwhile, was that he had seen an inebriated Kavanaugh, pants-down, at a freshman-year party. Stier’s claim to the staffers, we’re told, was that other people at the party put Kavanaugh’s genitalia into the hands of a classmate. Another unnamed person alleged said that he or she might have remembered hearing that the female student had transferred out of her college because of Kavanaugh, “though exactly why was unclear.”

The reporters, who describe Democrats in glowing terms and Republicans otherwise, say that Stier is a “respected thought leader” in the defense of the federal bureaucracy. They don’t mention his history of working for the Clintons. As for the victim? They say she “has refused to discuss the incident, though several of her friends said she does not recall it.”

To repeat: Several of her friends said she does not recall it.

So to summarize, the only new claim in the new book is that a Democratic attorney told two senators that he saw an incident where a third party allegedly did something to Kavanaugh and the young woman. In their book, the authors are upset that this claim didn’t lead to a massive FBI investigation, although they don’t explain why they think it should have.

Pogebrin and Kelly left the victim’s denial out of their New York Times story. It is unclear why the reporters and editors allowed the story to be published without this salient fact that they conceded, albeit briefly, in their own book.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. She is Senior Journalism Fellow at Hillsdale College and a Fox News contributor.

The Ongoing Smear Campaign against Brett Kavanaugh

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, September 4, 2018. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

The New York Times had a significant story to tell about Brett Kavanaugh. It’s this: In a new book, the Times reporters produced new evidence that profoundly undermined the central claims against Kavanaugh. Leland Keyser — Christine Blasey Ford’s friend and the person Ford herself testified was also at the party where Ford claimed Kavanaugh assaulted her — has stated on the record that she doesn’t have “any confidence” in Ford’s story.

Not only does she not recall the specific party at issue, she doesn’t recall “any others like it.” Moreover, Keyser maintains this recollection in spite of a determined effort by old friends to get her to change her testimony — a pressure campaign that Keyser admirably resisted.

In other words, “Never mind.” But even that editor’s note is incomplete. It turns out that Max Stier served as one of Bill Clinton’s lawyers during the Starr investigation, a fact that’s at least relevant to the existence of partisan bias.

But for sheer malice nothing can match the speed and ferocity with which reporters accepted the facially ludicrous rape story pushed by Michael Avenatti client Julie Swetnick. She claimed that she saw Kavanaugh “waiting his turn” for a gang rape and spiking punch to facilitate gang rapes. The story was never remotely plausible, but that didn’t stop media figures from shaming anyone who expressed public doubts on Twitter.

Trump Urges Kavanaugh To Sue New York Times For Libel

Perhaps the nadir of the whole affair is when Vox helped “explain the news” by publishing a piece arguing that the John Hughes movie Sixteen Candles provided “important context” for the Kavanaugh allegations. In the 1980s, you see, there was a different “cultural understanding” about gang rape.

Against this backdrop, the Democrats calling for impeaching Kavanaugh — including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris — are disgracing themselves. The claims against Kavanaugh never stood up to scrutiny, and the evidence that has emerged since the hearings last fall has only served to undercut further the claims against him.

In a speech earlier this year, Ford’s attorney Debra Katz admitted to the partisanship that at least in part motivated her client: They wanted to put an “asterisk” next to his name. “When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade,” she said, “we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him, and that is important; it is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine.”

2020 Dems Assail Kavanaugh Despite NYT Story Correction

By Susan Crabtree – RCP Staff

September 17, 2019

2020 Dems Assail Kavanaugh Despite NYT Story Correction

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

On Sunday, the New York Times walked back and significantly revised the latest incendiary allegation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, but the unusual correction to a central part of its bombshell story seemed to mean little to the field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders.

Sen. Kamala Harris had “pinned” her weekend reaction to the story — a call for Kavanaugh’s impeachment — to the top of her Twitter page, the social media equivalent of running a banner headline about a position on a high-priority issue.

Harris’ Tweet was still there by Monday night, without qualification, despite a fierce bipartisan backlash against the Times’ initial reporting of the uncorroborated sexual misconduct allegation, and the Gray Lady’s clumsy efforts to correct its original reporting about it.

The controversy began Saturday when the Times ran a “news analysis” piece by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, adapted from their forthcoming book, “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh.”

The wide-ranging story included a seemingly new allegation — that a Kavanaugh classmate at Yale, nonprofit CEO Max Stier, “saw Kavanaugh with his pants down at a drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.”

Late Sunday, the Times updated the Kavanaugh story with an “editor’s note” acknowledging that the alleged victim of the incident had declined to be interviewed and several friends had said she did not recall the alleged misconduct.

The Times only added that note after The Federalist’s Mollie Hemmingway, who had an advance copy of the book, flagged the glaring omission in the Times reporting.

Pogrebin and Kelly on Monday night blamed their editors for cutting the critical pieces of exculpatory information from the story. They said they had included the details about the victim declining to be interviewed for the story and her friends saying she didn’t recall the incident, along with the woman’s name. Pogrebin said their editors decided against using the woman’s name and in “the haste” of trying to close the editorial process edited out all of the information about the woman, instead of just her name. The pair did not say why they didn’t object.

Pogrebin and Kelly are hardly new to the editing process. Pogrebin has been a Times reporter since 1995, and her mother, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, is a founding editor of Ms. magazine, a liberal feminist publication created in the early 1970s. Kelly has been covering business and finance for 20 years, including a decade at the Wall Street Journal.

“We certainly never intended to mislead in any way. We wanted to give as full a story as possible,” Pogrebin told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell Monday evening.

But that wasn’t the only hole in the story. The piece also omitted relevant information about Stier’s work during the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal as a member of Bill Clinton’s defense team at the law firm Williams & Connolly.

And it included a strangely constructed attribution that wouldn’t pass most major newsrooms’ standards when reporting on a sexual assault allegation against a major public figure. In the piece, the reporters wrote: “We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.” But they did not indicate what type of “officials,” government or otherwise, those sources are.

Several liberal commentators across a variety of media, from MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to National Public Radio and at least one host on “The View,” spent Monday blasting the Times’ report as a particularly egregious example of journalistic malfeasance.

Despite the widespread criticism of the piece, Harris and other 2020 Democrats who spent the weekend calling for Kavanaugh’s impeachment based on the new report, aren’t dialing back their demands or even acknowledging the Times’ correction of the very story that sparked those demands.

In fact, billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer jumped into the fray to call for Kavanaugh’s impeachment on Monday after the Times issued the correction.

“The @GOP is so hell bent on guaranteeing a conservative court, they are willing to overlook serious allegations on sexual misconduct and perjury,” he tweeted Monday. “The system is broken.”

RealClearPolitics reached out to spokespersons for Harris, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, all of whom called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment over the weekend after the Times’ story broke. None of the campaigns responded.

In fact, Harris continued to attack Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Twitter Monday morning, the day after the Times issued its correction.

The Times also did not respond to an RCP inquiry on how it planned to restore its credibility, whether any reporter or editor would be fired over the failings and where the breakdown in journalistic standards occurred that allowed the seemingly new but uncorroborated allegation to be published.

Since the Times’ corrected the piece, President Trump has lambasted the paper, firing off multiple tweets calling the new efforts to force Kavanaugh off the court “lies and fake news,” and encouraging lawsuits against the paper.

At a campaign rally in New Mexico Monday night, he assailed the paper once again, calling for the resignation of “everybody at the New York Times involved in the Kavanaugh smear story.”

The president was in the rare position of following a bipartisan outpouring of outrage over the story, as well as the correction, which for some journalists raised more questions about the process that led to the material’s publication than it answered.

Early Monday, MSNBC’s anti-Trump host Joe Scarborough said it was a “stunning decision to leave that central [lack of corroboration] fact out of an article filled with damning accusations.”

Liberal Yale law professor Scott Shapiro called it an “outrageous omission” and appeared to promote a boycott of the paper over the issue.

“Would love to see my fellow liberals who routinely threaten to unsubscribe to the NYT to make the same threat now,” he tweeted.

NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik asserted that having the alleged victim corroborate the story was a central and necessary part of any reporting on the incident.

“One can argue that the failure to remember, given her intoxication, is not dispositive,” he tweeted. “One can’t argue, however, that that fact didn’t need to be in the Kavanaugh story from the outset.”

“The View’s” self-described moderate, Abby Huntsman, denounced the Times’ report as “sloppy and lazy” and congratulated the paper for helping Trump get re-elected.

Conservative media critics cited the Times’ reporting as proof that the media is working hand-in-glove with Democrats to relentlessly and falsely attack Republicans.

“Omitting these facts from the @nytimes story is one of the worst cases of journalistic malpractice I can recall,” tweeted National Review’s John McCormack.

The controversy also played into the hands of some of Kavanaugh’s staunchest supporters. Carrie Severino, the chief counsel and policy director for the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative group that reportedly spent $10 million backing the Supreme Court nominee last year, called the Times’ reporting of uncorroborated accusations a part of several “shameful attempts to reignite baseless smears about Kavanaugh.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, who ran Kavanaugh’s tumultuous Judiciary Committee confirmation process last year, on Twitter pointed out that no one from the Times’ had reached out to his office for the story and his office had not received an allegation against Kavanaugh “like the one referenced over the weekend.”

The Iowa Republican later Monday disputed the references to the alleged incident as a “new allegation.” Instead, during a speech on the Senate floor he said the report amounts to “barely a third-hand rumor” and the type of reckless, uncorroborated reporting that is having a corrosive impact on the country’s democratic process.

“These writers – can you believe this? – these writers didn’t even speak to the man whom they claim originally recounted this rumor. What’s left are only layers and layers of decades-old hearsay. No more corroboration, no more verification, not even anything from the accuser himself.”

Referencing the New York Times’ slogan, “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” Grassley said journalism has hit a new, Trump-era low.

“When did this stuff I described become something fit to print by the supposed American paper of record?” he asked. “The sad consequences of this article are a misinformed public, a greater divide in our own discourse, and a deeper lack of faith in our news media.”

Susan Crabtree is RealClearPolitics’ White House/national political correspondent.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2019/09/17/2020_dems_assail_kavanaugh_despite_nyt_story_correction__141272.html

 

Story 3: U.S. Federal Government Record Spending Exceeds $4 Trillion and Rising — Videos

$4,155,323,000,000: Federal Spending Sets Record Through August

By Terence P. Jeffrey | September 13, 2019 | 12:48 PM EDT

(Getty Images/Win McNamee)

(CNSNews.com) – The federal government spent a record $4,155,323,000,000 in the first eleven months of fiscal 2019 (October through August), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released Thursday.

While spending a record $4,155,323,000,000, the government ran a deficit of $1,067,156,000,000.

The most the federal government had ever spent in the first eleven months of a fiscal year before this one was in fiscal 2018 when the Treasury spent $3,951,247,170,000 (in constant August 2019 dollars, adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator).

Total federal tax revenues in the first eleven months of fiscal 2019 equaled $3,088,167,000,00. That was more than the $3,037,420,180,000 (in constant August 2019 dollars) that the Treasury collected in total taxes in the first eleven months of fiscal 2018, but less than the $3,099,536,720,000 in total taxes (in constant August 2019 dollars) that the Treasury collected in the first eleven months of fiscal 2017.

The Treasury also collected less in individual income taxes in the first eleven months of this year ($1,534,886,000,000) than it did in the first eleven months of fiscal 2018 ($1,548,213,460,000 in constant August 2019 dollars).

According to Table 3 in the Monthly Treasury Statement, the Department of Health and Human Services spent the most of any federal agency in the first eleven months of fiscal 2019 ($1,138,456,000,000), the Social Security Administration spent the second most ($1,013,175,000,000), and the Department of Defense-Military Programs spent the third most ($601,137,000,000).

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/4155323000000-federal-spending-sets-record-through-august

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