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The Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018, Story 1: Stopping A Nuclear Arms Race in Far East and Middle East By Starting The Elimination of Nuclear Weapons in The Korean Peninsula — Trump and Kim Momentous Beginning In Stopping Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorist Nuclear Attacks  — Videos — Story 2: U.S. Maximum Pressure on China’s Unfair Trade Barriers, Subsidies and Tariffs and Chinese Communist Maximum Pressure on North Korea To Dismantle Nuclear Weapons and Missiles — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1085, May 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1068, April 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1067, April 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1054, March 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1053, March 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1052, March 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1051, March 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1050, March 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1049, March 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1048, March 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1047, March 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1046, March 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1045, March 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1044, March 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1043, March 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018

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Story 1: Stopping A Nuclear Arms Race in Far East and Middle East By Starting The Elimination of Nuclear Weapons in The Korean Peninsula — Trump and Kim Momentous Beginning In Stopping Nuclear Proliferation and Terrorist Nuclear Attack  — Videos

I’ve studied nuclear war for 35 years — you should be worried. | Brian Toon | TEDxMileHigh

Trump: We want to denuclearize the entire peninsula

Trump: Sometimes I felt foolish for North Korea rhetoric

Woolsey: Trump keeps the North Koreans off balance

Ingraham: Pride, bitterness, refusal to give peace a chance

What does “denuclearization” mean?

Gen. Jack Keane on Kim Jong Un’s denuclearization promise

Tucker Carlson Tonight 6.12 .2018 | Tucker Carlson Fox News June 12, 2018 Breaking News

Breaking down the fallout from the Trump-Kim summit

Trump Leaves Singapore After Summit with Kim

The historic Trump-Kim Singapore summit, in about 2 minutes

President Donald Trump Holds Press Conference After Historic Summit With Kim Jong Un | TIME

South Koreans weigh in on the Trump-Kim summit

Trump celebrates historic summit with NoKo’s Kim Jong Un

Trump celebrates historic summit with NoKo’s Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un commits to ‘complete denuclearization’

Gorka: Singapore summit went beyond all expectations

Trump and Kim hold surprise document signing during summit

Hannity: Obvious that White House felt good after Kim meeting

Hannity: Trump’s peace through strength strategy works

Dr. Sue Mi Terry on Trump, Kim signing historic document

Lt. Col. Davis: Great play by Trump to suspend SoKo drills

Amb. Vershbow: Summit won’t advance denuclearization process

Tara Maller on the problems with the Trump-Kim agreement

‘I do trust him’: Trump reflects on Kim meeting

Ben Shapiro criticizes Trump’s praise of Kim Jong Un

2018 United States–North Korea Singapore Summit: History Made, World Focus and Media Reaction

Gen. Keane: Summit is getting off on the right foot

Kurtz: The hypocrisy in the Trump-Kim coverage

Steyn: Kim-Trump meeting is ‘upside down summit’

This Video Will Change Your Perception of North Korea

Trump arrives in Singapore for summit with North Korea

What to know about North Korea and its weapons programs

With the Trump-Kim summit about to get underway in Singapore here is what we know about the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs.

Who is in charge of North Korea’s military?
Kim Jong Un is the 33-year-old “Supreme Leader” of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, more commonly known as North Korea. He is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. He inherited his position as North Korea’s leader following the death of his father Kim Jong Il in December 2011. North Korea is the world’s only hereditary communist dictatorship: Kim Jong Un’s grandfather was the founder of North Korea.

How large is North Korea’s military?
The Pentagon estimates that North Korea’s army has more than 1 million soldiers, making it the fourth largest army in the world. Some 4 to 5 percent of North Korea’s 24 million people serve on active military duty and another 25 to 30 percent of the population serve in some reserve military capacity.

What is the DMZ?
DMZ stands for the Demilitarized Zone that divides North Korea and South Korea. The 2.5-mile-wide DMZ stretches for 160 miles along the Korean Peninsula and is a buffer zone created by the 1953 Armistice that halted the Korean War. While the zone itself is demilitarized, the areas beyond it on both sides of the border are some of the most militarized in the world. Panmunjom is the Joint Security Area where occasional meetings are held by representatives of North Korea and the United Nations Command.

Is the North Korean military a threat?
Most of North Korea’s military equipment dates to the Cold War-era and was obtained from the Soviet Union and China. But the large size of its military poses a continual standing threat to South Korea, since 70 percent of its ground forces half its air and navy forces are stationed within 60 miles of the DMZ. And North Korea has been working for the last decade to develop a nuclear weapons program and long-range ballistic missile program.

What is a ballistic missile?
A ballistic missile uses propulsion to launch it into an upward trajectory and then it falls to the earth on its own toward a target using gravity. The use of ballistic to describe these missiles comes from the physics term “ballistic trajectory” that describes the boosted launch and fall to earth by gravity.

What does ICBM stand for?
ICBM stands for intercontinental ballistic missile, a guided missile capable of traveling more than 3,418 miles to deliver a nuclear warhead. ICBMs are usually multi-stage rockets used to boost a payload into a sub-orbital trajectory. At that point, the nuclear warhead inside the payload would re-enter the atmosphere using a guidance system to strike its intended target.

Does North Korea have an ICBM?
Yes. In 2017 North Korea conducted three ICBM tests, the first time they had demonstrated that long range missile capability. The first two tests on July 4 and July 28 were carried out using a new two-stage missile similar to the KN-17 missile that had achieved a high altitude when tested in mid-May. prior to these launches there had been little indication that nation was close to testing this type of missile. The third missile test in November was with a new larger type of ICBM that North Korea called the Hwasong 15. That missile reached an altitude of 2,800 miles, the highest missile test to date, and traveled for 50 minutes, the longest duration flight ever conducted by North Korea.

How many missiles does North Korea possess?
The Pentagon estimates that North Korea has about 200 launchers that can be used to fire short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. It estimates North Korea has fewer than 100 launchers for various versions of the SCUD missile that can travel from 200 to 600 miles. And fewer than 50 launchers for its medium-range No Dong missile that can travel 800 miles. The Pentagon estimates North Korea also has fewer than 50 launchers for intermediate range missiles like the Musudan and KN-11 that can travel up to 2,000 miles.

Can North Korean missiles reach the United States?
Yes. According to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, North Korea’s recently tested ICBM can traveled 2,800 miles into space. Experts fear that if they angled the trajectory of that missile, it could potentially travel as far as Washington, D.C., or New York.

Why are North Korea’s missile launches a provocation?
Over the past decade North Korea has continued to conduct missile tests and launches in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions barring it from conducting a ballistic missile program.

Does North Korea have nuclear weapons?
Yes. North Korea has a small arsenal of small nuclear weapons as proven by its six nuclear tests. As of last summer, U.S. intelligence believes that North Korea has enough nuclear fissile material for as many as 60 nuclear weapons based on the amount of enriched uranium and separated plutonium it possesses.

Does North Korea have miniaturized nuclear warheads?
No, but it is working toward its stated goal of placing a nuclear warhead small enough to be placed atop an ICBM that could target the United States. In September, 2017 North Korea conducted it’s largest underground nuclear test to date that it claimed was a hydrogen bomb. U.S. intelligence later confirmed that was likely the case.

Where are the closest American troops?
There are 28,500 American troops permanently stationed in South Korea as part of the U.S. security commitment to South Korea after the Korean War. There are there also 54,000 American troops in Japan, the largest number of American forces in Japan are stationed on the island of Okinawa.

What other countries in the region have nuclear weapons?
North Korea is bordered by Russia and China, both which have nuclear weapons arsenals. Russia currently has 1,796 nuclear warheads, a legacy from the Soviet Union’s Cold War arsenal. China does not make available information about its nuclear weapons program, but various think tanks estimate it has 260 nuclear warheads. The Pentagon believes China has between 75 and 100 nuclear-capable ICBMs.

Can the United States defend against a North Korean missile attack?
The United States has a layered missile defense system designed to track and intercept a missile launch from North Korea. It includes missile interceptors aboard Navy ships in the Pacific and large ground-based interceptors located in Alaska and California. However, the viability of the large interceptors has been routinely questioned since they became operational nearly a decade ago. In late May, the Missile Defense Agency successfully tested an interceptor that targeted an ICBM test missile fired from Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific.

What is THAAD?
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is a missile defense shield designed to intercept short and medium range missiles. In April, the United States deployed THAAD to South Korea for the first time, a long-planned move agreed to last summer after a series of North Korean missile tests. The United States has also placed the THAAD system in Guam, which could be the maximum reach for some of North Korea’s long-range missiles.

ABC News’ Jack Arnholz and Elizabeth McLaughlin contributed to this report.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/north-korea-weapons-programs/story?id=45971921

BAN THE BOMB 

What nuclear weapons does North Korea have and has Kim Jong-un agreed to ‘complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula’?

In a joint text issued by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader had committed to a ‘complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula’

KIM Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, had previously threatened to launch nuclear strikes on the West and its allies but has now committed to a denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula after the Singapore summit

The North Korean dictator had accelerated the country’s nuclear weapons programme under his rule but he has now met with US President Donald Trump and agreed to the removal of nuclear weapons in the Korean Peninsula.

 A North Korea test launch of a Hwasong-12 missile

REUTERS
6
A North Korea test launch of a Hwasong-12 missile

What is the latest on the nuclear situation in North Korea?

On April 21, 2018, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the reclusive nation is suspending long-range nuclear missile tests and shutting its test site.

At the Singapore summit on June 11 between Trump and Kim the two leaders agreed to start the denuclearisation “very quickly”.

Trump said the meeting had gone “better than anyone could have expected”.

He told reporters: “It is a tremendous honour, and I have no doubt we will have a terrific relationship.”

Kim said: “The old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward, but we’ve overcome all of them, and we are here today”, to which Trump replied “that’s true”.

Kim added: “There were moments when we covered our ears and eyes, but we have overcome them to arrive here.”

After a working lunch, the two leaders signed an unspecified agreement, with Trump promising they would start the denuclearisation process “very, very quickly”.

“We are going to sign this historic agreement,” says Kim. “The world will see a major change.”

In the agreement, Kim committed to “complete denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula”.

 Satellite images show activity at a North Korea nuke site

PLANET/ QUARTZ
6
Satellite images show activity at a North Korea nuke site

What nuclear weapons does North Korea have?

In July 2017, North Korea successfully launched the country’s first inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), which had the capability of reaching US territory.

The Pentagon, the US military headquarters, believes North Korea has around 200 missile launchers across the country, which can be used to fire short and medium-range missiles.

The most likely target of such a missile launch would be South Korea, Japan, Australia and possibly US territories in the Pacific Ocean.

Revised estimates suggest the total number of missiles the rogue state has is believed to be between 13 and 21.

And the regime is estimated to have at least four nuclear warheads.

Satellite images of Jong-un’s main missile test site in August 2017 revealed North Korea’s weapons were more powerful than initially thought.

On November 28, 2017, North Korea launched ICBM Hwasong-15 – which is a new nuclear missile capable of hitting anywhere on the planet.

 Trump and Kim have agreed to the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula

AP:ASSOCIATED PRESS
6
Trump and Kim have agreed to the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula

READ MORE: Could World War 3 happen? How North Korea and Kim Jong-un could cause a nuclear apocalypse


Why have tensions between North Korea and the US escalated?

Here’s how the relationship between the US President and North Korean leader has changed since the beginning of 2017:

2018

2017

 North Korea parades nukes through the street at parades marking 105 years since the state’s founder Kim Il-sung was born

AP:ASSOCIATED PRESS
6
North Korea parades nukes through the street at parades marking 105 years since the state’s founder Kim Il-sung was born

Could North Korea launch a nuclear strike on the UK?

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said North Korea’s missiles can “threaten everywhere in the world”.

The pariah state claimed a nuclear test in September 2017 – its most powerful yet – was a sophisticated 120 kiloton hydrogen bomb small enough to be carried on a missile.

The regime has successfully tested two Hwasong-14 long-range rockets over the Pacific Ocean causing significant concern for Japan – a crucial American ally.

The intercontinental ballistic missile is said to have a potential range of more than 10,000 kilometres or 6,200 miles.

If that were true, London would fall within its strike zone. The UK capital is 5,388 miles from Pyongyang.

100 kiloton H-bomb blast on central London would dwarf the US nukes dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Experts say 130,000 people would be killed instantly and all brick and concrete buildings within a mile of the epicentre would be destroyed.

Former Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon had previously warned that Britain is at risk from North Korea’s long-range nuclear missile programme as some cities are closer than American targets.

 Relations are improving between the North and South

REUTERS
6
Relations are improving between the North and Southhttps://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2497570/north-korea-nuclear-weapons-kim-jong-un-denuclearisation-trump-singapore/

Trump and Kim Jong-un sign ‘historic document’: What the joint statement says in full

  • The statement was signed by the two leaders after they met in Singapore 
  • In the document President Trump gave security guarantees to North Korea
  • Kim Jong-un committed to ‘complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’

After their historic meeting in SingaporeDonald Trump and Kim Jong-un signed a ‘historic document’. 

In the statement, the US president committed to ‘provide security guarantees’ to North Korean while Kim Jong-un declared his ‘unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’. 

Reaction to the joint statement was greeted with cheers by people in South Korea watching the events unfold.

China, North Korea’s backer, said the two nations were ‘creating a new history’.

Here is the full text of the statement the two leaders issued:

Joint Statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit

President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump sign the statement after their meeting in Singapore 

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump sign the statement after their meeting in Singapore

Convinced that the establishment of new US-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognizing that mutual confidence building can promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:

1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.

2. The United States and DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

President Trump shows off a signed copy of the statement with his and Kim Jong-un's signatures on the bottom

President Trump shows off a signed copy of the statement with his and Kim Jong-un’s signatures on the bottom

Having acknowledged that the US-DPRK summit – the first in history – was an epochal event of great significance in overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening up of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in the joint statement fully and expeditiously. The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations, led by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the US-DPRK summit.

President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new US-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and the security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.

DONALD J. TRUMP President of the United States of America

KIM JONG UN Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

June 12, 2018 Sentosa Island Singapore

How the world reacted to the historic meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un

The meeting and the joint statement issued by the two adversaries, who until recently were trading insults, has been warming welcomed around the world.

South Koreans watching on television at train stations and other public places broke out into applause while a one-page extra edition of a Japanese newspaper was snapped up commuters.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: ‘Hopes for peace on the long-divided Korean Peninsula, however, remain tempered by the many failed attempts in the past.

‘The United States and North Korea have been in a state of antagonism for more than half a century.

South Koreans watching the summit on television begin clapping as they watch the meeting of the two leaders in Singapore 

South Koreans watching the summit on television begin clapping as they watch the meeting of the two leaders in Singapore

‘Today, that the two countries’ highest leaders can sit together and have equal talks, has important and positive meaning, and is creating a new history.’

An editorial in the official English-language China Daily emphasized China’s role in bringing Trump and Kim together. It called on them to maintain the positive momentum.

‘This would not only reward all those who have spared no efforts in their attempts to make their meeting a reality, it would also enable both to hail it as a success,’ the editorial read.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says his country will reopen its embassy in Pyongyang.

The two countries were embroiled in a diplomatic row after the killing of Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un’s half brother, in 2017.

At a train station in Seoul, the South Korean capital, people cheered and applauded as televisions screens broadcast the Trump-Kim handshake live.

Japan’s largest newspaper, the Yomiuri, printed a special edition in both Japanese and English that was distributed for free in major cities 90 minutes after the meeting began.

World reaction to the meeting of Trump and Kim has been warm, with China emphasising its role in bringing then together

Passers-by outside a Tokyo train station snapped up 500 copies in a flash, excited to have a souvenir of the historic event.

They generally welcomed the meeting as a good first step but wondered if any progress would be made on the fate of Japanese abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s.

‘My biggest concern is the abduction issue, then the nuclear and missile,’ said 70-year-old retiree Tomoaki Kenmotsu.

‘I have no idea how much the abduction issue is being taken up at the summit, but I hope it will be a good start for that issue too.’

The hard work remains to come, said Momoko Shimada, a 20-year-old student: ‘After the handshake and political show will be the real action. I believe that won’t be easy.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5833839/Trump-Kim-Jong-sign-historic-document-joint-statement-says-full.html

‘We’re ready to write a new chapter between our two nations’: Trump declares victory, boasting that he TRUSTS Kim Jong-un and persuaded him to sign a ‘very comprehensive’ agreement for ‘complete denuclearization’ after nearly 5 HOURS of meetings

  • Donald Trump told reporters in Singapore that he expects Kim Jong-un to uphold his part of a landmark agreement that requires him to destroy his entire nuclear weapons and missile programs
  • Trump said he addressed human rights with the North Korean dictator and said economic sanctions will remain as long as Pyongyang is a major abuser
  • Sanctions relief also depends on Kim’s follow-through on denuclearization
  • ‘Our eyes are wide open, but peace is always worth the effort, especially in this case,’ Trump declared, saying he had been up for more than 25 hours to oversee the negotiations
  • Trump said joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises will end and called them ‘provocative’ to the North, but hs spun that decision as an economic one, not as a negotiated concession
  • The press conference began with the playing of a video, first in Korean and then in English, that Trump said his delegation showed Kim on an iPad to encourage him to choose the right path 
  • Trump said he spotted inviting-looking beaches in the footage, and said: ‘Look at that beach, wouldn’t that make a great condo? … Think of it from a real estate perspective!’ 
  • Trump called Kim’s stockpile ‘a very substantial arsenal’ but predicted he would be tearing it up
  • He said ‘we’re much further along than I would have thought,’ and projected a time when the two nations have exchanged ambassadors and he has personally visited Pyongyang and invited Kim to the White House
  • In an interview taped before the summit, Trump told ABC News of his North Korean adversary that ‘I think he trusts me, and I trust him’

 

Trump, Kim claim big summit success, but details are scant

Claiming success at their whirlwind summit, President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un left Singapore Tuesday, praising their face-to-face progress toward ridding the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons. Yet Trump faced pointed questions at home about whether he got little and gave away much — including an agreement to halt U.S. military exercises with South Korea.

Meeting with staged ceremony on a Singapore island, Trump and Kim had come together for an unprecedented U.S.-North Korea meeting that seemed unthinkable months earlier when the two nations traded insults and nuclear threats. The gathering of the two unpredictable leaders marked a striking gamble by the American president to grant Kim long-sought recognition on the world stage in hopes of ending the North’s nuclear program.

Both leaders expressed optimism throughout roughly five hours of talks, with Trump thanking Kim afterward “for taking the first bold step toward a bright new future for his people.” Kim, for his part, said the leaders had “decided to leave the past behind” and promised: “The world will see a major change.”

Soon, Kim was on a plane headed home, while a clearly ebullient Trump held forth for more than an hour before the press on what he styled as a historic achievement to avert the prospect of nuclear war. Along the way, Trump tossed out pronouncements on U.S. alliances, human rights, and the nature of the accord that he and Kim had signed.

Then he was off to Guam on the way back to the U.S.

The details of how and when the North would denuclearize appear yet to be determined, as are the nature of the unspecified “protections” Trump is pledging to Kim and his government.

During his press conference, Trump acknowledged that denuclearization won’t happen overnight. But he contended, “Once you start the process it means it’s pretty much over,” an analysis that has proven faulty in the past despite inspection efforts.

Light on specifics, the Singapore accord largely amounts to an agreement to continue discussions, echoing previous public statements and commitments. It does not, for instance, include an agreement to take steps toward ending the technical state of warfare between the U.S. and North Korea.

Nor does it include a striking concession by Trump, who told reporters he would freeze U.S. military “war games” with ally South Korea while negotiations between the U.S. and the North continue. Trump cast that decision as a cost-saving measure, but also called the exercises “inappropriate” while talks continue. North Korea has long objected to the drills as a security threat.

It was unclear whether South Korea was aware of Trump’s decision before he announced it publicly. U.S. Forces Korea said in a statement Tuesday it was unaware of any policy change. Trump phoned South Korean President Moon Jae-in after leaving Singapore to brief him on the discussions.

Trump also said he’d obtained a separate concession from Kim to demolish a missile engine testing site, though it was just one site of many connected to the nuclear program.

As Trump took a victory lap on the world stage, experts and allies struggled to account for what Trump and Kim had agreed to — and whether this agreement could actually be the first of its kind not to be broken by the North Koreans.

North Korea is believed to possess more than 50 nuclear warheads, with its atomic program spread across more than 100 sites constructed over decades to evade international inspections. Trump insisted that strong verification of denuclearization would be included in a final agreement, saying it was a detail his team would begin sorting out with the North Koreans next week.

The agreement’s language on North Korea’s nuclear program was similar to what the leaders of North and South Korea came up with at their own summit in April. Trump and Kim referred back to the so-called Panmunjom Declaration, which contained a weak commitment to denuclearization but no specifics on how to achieve it.

Between handshakes, a White House invitation, and even an impromptu tour of “The Beast,” the famed U.S. presidential limousine known for its high-tech fortifications, Trump sought to build a personal connection with Kim and said they have a “very good” relationship.

The U.S. president brushed off questions about his public embrace of the autocrat whose people have been oppressed for decades. He added that Otto Warmbier, an American who died last year just days after his release from imprisonment in North Korea, “did not die in vain” because his death helped bring about the nuclear talks.

In the run-up to Tuesday’s historic face-to-face with Kim, Trump has appeared unconcerned about the implications of feting an authoritarian leader accused by the U.S. of ordering the public assassination of his half brother with a nerve agent, executing his uncle by firing squad and presiding over a notorious gulag estimated to hold 80,000 to 120,000 political prisoners.

In their joint statement, the two leaders promised to “build a lasting and stable peace regime” on the Korean Peninsula. Trump has dangled the prospect of economic investment in the North as a sweetener for giving up its nuclear weapons. The longtime property developer-turned-politician later mused about the potential value of condos on the country’s beachfront real estate.

The formal document-signing, which also included an agreement to work to repatriate remains of prisoners of war and those missing in action from the Korean War, followed a series of meetings at a luxury Singapore resort.

Ahead of the meeting Trump had predicted the two men might strike a nuclear deal or forge a formal end to the Korean War in the course of a single meeting or over several days. But in the hours before the summit, the White House unexpectedly announced Trump would depart Singapore earlier than expected — Tuesday evening — raising questions about whether his aspirations for an ambitious outcome had been scaled back.

Aware that the eyes of the world were on a moment many people never expected to see, Kim said many of those watching would think it was a scene from a “science fiction movie.”

Critics of the summit leapt at the leaders’ handshake and the moonlight stroll Kim took Monday night along the glittering Singapore waterfront, saying it was further evidence that Trump was helping legitimize Kim on the world stage.

“It’s a huge win for Kim Jong Un, who now — if nothing else — has the prestige and propaganda coup of meeting one on one with the president, while armed with a nuclear deterrent,” said Michael Kovrig, a northeast Asia specialist at the International Crisis Group in Washington.

Trump responded that he embracing diplomacy with Kim in hopes of saving as many as 30 million lives.

The North has faced crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions for years as it has advanced development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Pompeo held firm to Trump’s position that sanctions will remain in place until North Korea denuclearizes — and said they would even increase if diplomatic discussions did not progress positively.

https://apnews.com/2d80cb7d512c49978e69853a7daa4d5c/Trump,-Kim-claim-big-summit-success,-but-details-are-scant

Trump and Kim agree to more talks but fail to produce nuclear disarmament plan

Trump and Kim agree to more talks but fail to produce nuclear disarmament plan
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump sign an agreement resulting from their historic June 12 summit on Sentosa island in Singapore. (Handout / Getty Images)

President Trump wrapped up his improbable summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, vowing to “start a new history” with the nuclear-armed nation after signing a vaguely worded agreement that contained no concrete plan for disarmament.

Later, at a 65-minute news conference, Trump said he had agreed to North Korea’s longtime demands to stop joint U.S. military exercises with South Korea. The war games have been a mainstay of the U.S. alliance with Seoul for decades.

Trump said halting the drills would save “a lot of money” and he called them “provocative,” the complaint North Korea often made. He also said he hopes eventually to withdraw the 28,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, although not as part of the current agreement with Kim.

In only the second full solo news conference of his presidency, Trump said he had been awake for 25 hours — he turns 72 on Thursday — but that he was bullish about his day of diplomacy with the young autocrat from Pyongyang.

He lavished praise on Kim as a “great talent,” denied concerns about treating him as an equal and painted a rosy picture of North Korea’s potential future — one laid out in a bizarre, propaganda-style video that the White House had prepared for the North Korean leader.

Asked why he trusted a ruler who had murdered family members and jailed thousands of political prisoners, Trump lauded Kim for taking over the regime at age 26, when his father died in 2011, and being “able to run it, and run it tough.”

While Trump repeatedly portrayed his two-page agreement with Kim as “comprehensive,” it contained little new except a commitment by both sides to continue diplomatic engagement, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leading the U.S. side in future talks.
That is no small achievement considering that the two leaders were threatening each other with nuclear war last summer. But it was far less than the ambitious arms control deal Trump hoped to gain when he agreed to the summit in March.
The document instead reiterated the same vague North Korean commitment to denuclearize that Kim made after he met South Korea’s president in April, but it offered no specifics of how or when any disarmament might take place.
“We will do it as fast as it can mechanically and physically be done,” Trump said, adding it would “take a long time” to wind down the nuclear weapons program. Until recently, Trump had demanded Pyongyang quickly dismantle its vast nuclear infrastructure.
A person familiar with the working-level talks that set the final stage for Tuesday’s summit said the U.S. team had pushed for a commitment from Kim to denuclearize by 2020, when the next U.S. presidential election will be underway.
North Korea’s representatives balked at the demand for a deadline, the person said.
The signed agreement, which was released by the White House, says North Korea will “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” It does not offer the pledge of “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization” that Pompeo had insisted was the U.S. objective.
A verifiable and permanent disarmament agreement would require North Korea to let international inspectors in to collect records, monitor sites and ensure it does not cheat. Pyongyang expelled United Nations nuclear inspectors nearly a decade ago and Tuesday’s agreement does not mention bringing them back.
The agreement was weaker than the pledge North Korea made in 2005, during an ultimately unsuccessful bout of nuclear diplomacy, when it committed itself to “abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.”
The regime instead tested its first nuclear device the following year. It has conducted five underground tests since then, most recently in September. It is believed to have assembled at least two dozen warheads.
In a largely symbolic U.S. gain, North Korea committed itself to the “immediate repatriation” of any remains it had identified of U.S. soldiers and prisoners of war from the Korean War, which ended 65 years ago. Trump said families had implored him for help on that painful issue.
Tuesday’s agreement does not mention North Korea’s gruesome record of human rights abuses, including a vast internal gulag of prison camps. Asked if he had raised the problem with Kim, Trump said they had discussed it “relatively briefly” because their talks chiefly focused on nuclear weapons.
He suggested that human rights in North Korea, which the U.N. has accused of “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations,” did not differ greatly from other nations.
“I believe it’s a rough situation over there, there’s no question about it,” he said. “It’s rough in a lot of places by the way.”

But Trump suggested that negative publicity about the death last year of Otto Warmbier, a college student from Ohio who was returned home in a coma from a North Korean prison, had helped pave the way for the diplomatic thaw.

“Otto did not die in vain,” Trump said. “He had a lot to do with us being here today.”

Trump denied that he was lending legitimacy to the oppressive leader of a long-marginalized regime by standing shoulder to shoulder with him. He said sitting at the table with Kim wasn’t a concession.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to make the world a safer place,” he said. “All I can say is they want to make a deal. That’s what I do. My whole life has been deals I’m great at it.”

In Seoul, South Korean President Moon Jae-in heralded the agreement, saying, “It will be recorded as a historic event that has helped break down the last remaining Cold War legacy on Earth.”

Moon’s statement did not address Trump’s decision to cancel joint military exercises, a crucial part of the close military alliance that emerged from the 1950-’53 Korean War. The exercises involve life-fire drills, bomber flyovers, computer simulations and other operations.

It was not clear if Trump had told Moon of his decision. A defense ministry spokesman said officials were still seeking the “exact meaning and intention” about the exercises, South Korean media reported.

Independent analysts praised the continued diplomacy with North Korea but most found little to like in the agreement and Trump’s concession on military exercises.

“It doesn’t say anything,” Joseph Yun, a former senior U.S. diplomat and special representative for North Korea policy, said on CNN.

Olivia Enos, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank, said the decision to suspend military exercises was “concerning” because they help project U.S. strength in the region.

“The joint military exercises … is about more than just countering the North Korean threat,” she said.

Ellen Tauscher, a former member of Congress from California who served as undersecretary of State for arms control in the Obama administration, tweeted that Trump was “conned” by Kim.

“China has to be thrilled with Kim’s haul in Singapore,” Tauscher said. She said Trump had agreed to end valuable military exercises in exchange “for promises by a lying despot of ‘denuclearization’ in [a] bilateral, unverifiable agreement.”

Abraham M. Denmark, former deputy assistant secretary of Defense for East Asia, said Trump gave up the exercises “for little new and nothing in return.”

“Kim got a huge propaganda win and a metric ton of legitimacy,” he said on Twitter. “The silver lining is that dialogue will continue, and where there is diplomacy there is hope.”

Others also expressed hope. Nuclear disarmament “can and will come, if we focus on transforming a relationship that has been deeply hostile, unremittingly hostile,” said John Delury, an associate professor at Yonsei University in Seoul and an expert on the Koreas and China.

To convince Kim to eventually give up his nuclear weapons, Trump said he played for him on an iPad a U.S. government-produced video that looked like a Hollywood movie trailer about an action hero.

“When a man is presented with a chance that may never be repeated, what will he choose?” a narrator said in the video, which was played at the press conference. “The world will be watching, listening, anticipating, hoping. Will this leader choose to advance his country … be the hero of his people?”

7:15 a.m.: This article was updated with quotes from analysts.

3:50 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details from the news conference.

3:34 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details from the news conference.

This article was originally published at 2:02 a.m.

http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-trump-summit-react-20180612-story.html

Today’s Nuclear North Korea Is Yesterday’s China: Lessons From History

North Korea’s recent successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests have put Pyongyang on the cusp of having the means to credibly threaten the continental United States with a nuclear strike. The Trump administration has vowed to “not allow” North Korea to continue on its “destructive path” but so far has not put forth specific new policies to stop Pyongyang. Since the latest test, several senior administration officials have stepped up their rhetoric, labeling the DPRK as the most urgent threat facing the United States and stating that it is “unimaginable” to allow North Korea to have the capability to attack the U.S. mainland.

As U.S. policymakers ponder how to deal with North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, it is important to remember that we are not in uncharted territory. The United States found itself in a similar situation more than 50 years ago, when faced with the prospect of Maoist China going nuclear. Then as now, experts questioned if rational decision makers were behind the nuclear controls of a reclusive communist state and military options — no matter how risky — were seriously considered. Despite initially having great fears about the prospect of a nuclear China, both the Kennedy and the Johnson administrations came to realize that China’s modest nuclear arsenal failed to alter the underlying balance of power in East Asia or undermine the confidence of U.S. allies in the credibility of Washington’s security guarantees. And even though nuclear-armed China continued to champion global revolutionary causes and provide direct military assistance to North Vietnam against the United States, Chinese rhetoric on nuclear weapons gradually moderated and began to show evidence of calculated restraint vis-à-vis the United States.

A Rogue China   

n December of 1960, the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) warned that, “[China’s] arrogant self-confidence, revolutionary fervor, and distorted view of the world may lead [Beijing] to miscalculate risks. This danger would be heightened if Communist China achieved a nuclear weapons capability.” Revolutionary fervor aside, the same assessment could be written about North Korea today. North Korea continues to be one of the most isolated regimes in the world, run by the mercurial Kim Jong-un. In addition, the country engages in kidnappings and assassinations, hurls utterly bizarre imprecations against the United States, and regularly threatens preemptive nuclear strikes against South Korea. When observing North Korea from afar it is easy to mistake it for an exceptional case of obdurate despotism.

As the NIE suggests, however, the same rogue state description fit the profile of China in the 1960s. Throughout the decade, Chinese leaders routinely dismissed the dangers of nuclear war and would stress the inevitable victory of the “people’s war” against U.S. imperialism and Soviet revisionism. At the same time, Chinese leaders greatly exaggerated the capabilities of their own nuclear program and downplayed the risks posed by potential counter force strikes against the Chinese mainland.

In reality, China’s belligerent rhetoric was a strategic bluff to compensate for the great disparity between China and the two superpowers in nuclear capabilities. When looking today at uncannily similar boasts by North Korean state press that their country is now “a strong nuclear power state” and has “a very powerful ICBM that can strike any place in the world” it is important to remember that North Korea continues to have a small nuclear arsenal, has no second strike capability, and will never be able to shift the military power balance in the region on its own. North Korean saber rattling is a screen to deflect from the regime’s weakness and fear of the future.

North Korea’s Nuclear Doctrine

The DPRK does not have a publicly available official nuclear doctrine, which leaves analysts the sole option of piecing together a strategy from open-source statements. Kim Jong-un has spoken about the importance of breaking the “nuclear monopoly” held by the United States. Pyongyang has stated that it has a “no first use” policy and that it is in favor of complete global disarmament. Despite the “no first use” language, North Korea has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons in preventive strikes against either the United States or South Korea. Since pulling out of the Six Party Talks, North Korea has effectively rejected efforts to denuclearize the North Korean peninsula.

North Korea’s commentary on nuclear weapons closely parallels China’s official positions on nuclear weapons during the 1960s. Following China’s first nuclear test in 1964, Beijing also stressed three points: China’s goal for developing nuclear weapons was “to break the superpower monopoly;” China holds a “no first use” policy; and that China supports the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Despite the cautious public stance, China was vehemently opposed to the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) and did not moderate its hostile position toward nonproliferation until its nuclear program reached a more mature stage in the 1970s. China’s record suggests that North Korea is purposely adopting a hostile stance to compensate for the overall weakness of the North Korean arsenal.

Dealing with North Korea Effectively  

As William Burr and Jeffrey T. Richelson document in Whether to “Strangle the Baby in the Cradle”: The United States and the Chinese Nuclear Program, 1960-64, John F. Kennedy viewed a potential Chinese nuclear test as “likely to be historically the most significant and worst event of the 1960s.” The Kennedy Administration was so concerned about the specter of a nuclear China that every measure from direct U.S. strikes to parachuting Chinese Nationalist commandos from Taiwan was considered. Kennedy even authorized officials to approach America’s archrival, the Soviet Union, regarding joint preventive action against China.

Kennedy was hardly alone in his fears that a nuclear China was the greatest threat to world peace. As the Cultural Revolution unfolded, the U.S. Navy was concerned that China would quickly gain submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) technology and would launch them in a way to fake a Soviet strike, triggering a global nuclear war. (See Lyle J. Goldstein in When China Was a ‘Rogue State’: The Impact of China’s Nuclear Weapons Program on US-China Relations during the 1960s.)  To counter this putative threat, the Navy recommended the sinking of China’s first missile-armed submarine on its maiden voyage. Not only did these fears border on paranoia, they greatly exaggerated China’s technological capabilities. In the case of SLBMs, China would not test its first submarine-launched missile until 1982. The press was also highly critical of Mao possessing nuclear weapons and called for military action to curtail Beijing’s nuclear ambitions.

Kennedy’s fears over the prospect of China going nuclear were not shared by everyone in government. The State Department’s Policy Planning Council produced an influential study that questioned the consequence of China’s nuclear test. The study argued that the Chinese nuclear arsenal could not pose a major threat to the United States and would hardly alter the balance of power in the region. Moreover, China’s nuclear arsenal was vulnerable to a U.S. counter force strike. Hence, a nuclear China would not feel emboldened to further challenge the United States. Although initially controversial, proponents of this view eventually won out in the Johnson administration.

The report acknowledged that there could be some adverse political ramifications of a Chinese nuclear test (i.e., proliferation), but they could be addressed by U.S. reassurances to its allies. Indeed, even though in the wake of China’s first nuclear test Japan expressed a strong desire to develop its own bomb, the Johnson administration was able to provide security reassurances combined with diplomatic pressure to dissuade Tokyo from going down the nuclear path. In the subsequent years, the United States applied similar pressure to block Taiwan and South Korea from going forward with their own nuclear weapons programs.

If China’s nuclear program did not pose a serious threat to the United States in the 1960s, then there is even less reason to fear North Korea’s today. Even with improvements in North Korean missile capabilities, the United States and its allies still enjoy an overwhelming military and economic advantage over the North. Just as during the 1960s, the United States simply needs to be public and credible in its reassurances to its regional allies and partners. Any North Korean effort to split the U.S.-ROK alliance will fail if the United States continues to provide a broad security guarantee to South Korea. As long as the Trump administration continues to offer its public support to Japan, Tokyo too will feel that there is no need for drastic action.

Lastly the United States needs to forcefully come out against the linkage of the North Korean nuclear question with unrelated issues in the U.S.-China relationship to address Taiwanese concerns that Washington will trade away the de facto independence of the island in exchange for Chinese assistance in reigning in North Korea. It has become clear that either due to a lack of leverage or deliberate unwillingness, Beijing will not apply the necessary level of pressure to compel Pyongyang to reverse course. The United States should not fall into the trap of expanding the scope of talks in the hope of eliciting additional Chinese cooperation on North Korea.

Conclusion

After the 1964 Chinese nuclear test, President Johnson used trade controls and extra intelligence monitoring to slow down the pace of China’s nuclear development. Despite continued apprehension, the U.S. learned to live with China’s nuclear program. This was made possible in large part due to swift and credible U.S. reassurances to key regional allies such as Japan. Over time, as Chinese leaders decided to shift strategies and pursue greater engagement with the Western world, China’s nuclear positions underwent a gradual evolution. North Korea is not China, but a similar policy of strategic patience combined with robust security assurances to South Korea and Japan is the best bet for getting North Korea back to the negotiating table. The alternative is untenable.

Yevgen Sautin is a Gates Scholar at Cambridge University working on a Ph.D. in modern Chinese history.

https://thediplomat.com/2017/08/todays-nuclear-north-korea-is-yesterdays-china-lessons-from-history/

 

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Story 1: President Trump Participates on Immigration Roundtable and Threat of MS-13 Gangs (Kill, Rape, Control) — Videos —

What is MS-13?

President Trump participates in a roundtable on immigration. Bethpage, NY May 23, 2018

Trump administration goes after MS-13 gang

MS-13 Gang documentary / America’s Deadliest Gangs

National Geographic – MS13 [Mara Salvatrucha ] : America’s Deadliest Gang – full Documentary HD

Inside MS-13

Why MS-13 is more dangerous than ISIS

Inside Long Island’s war with MS-13

A firsthand look at how MS-13 terrorizes Suffolk County

ICE Chasing Down MS-13 Gang (Compilation)

Gangs of El Salvador (Full Length)

Gang World : MS13 (Full)

Border Patrol arrests MS 13 Gang Member

 

MS-13 spreads to 22 states, fed by 300,000 illegals, DACA recipients, tied to 207 murders

ms-13
In this April 19, 2017 file photo, the casket of Justin Llivicura is carried from St. Joseph the Worker Church after Llivicura’s funeral in East Patchogue, N.Y. Llivicura, 16, was one of four young men found slain in a suspected MS-13 gang killing in a park in Central Islip, N.Y., on April 12. The gang has been blamed for the deaths of nearly a dozen young people in blue-collar Brentwood and Central Islip since the school year began. (AP Photo/Frank Eltman, File)
Frank Eltman

Since 2012, 207 murders have been tied to the gang called “Mara Salvatrucha,” and there are over 500 cases nationwide of MS-13 members being charged in major crimes, according to the report from the Center for Immigration Studies.


But it can sometimes be hard to deport the illegals involved because about half of the crimes detailed in the report occurred in so-called “sanctuary cities” that do not cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

President Trump has pledged to crack down on the gang and deport those in the United States illegally, and report author Jessica M. Vaughan suggested that it can’t happen soon enough.

Detailing how the gang rebuilt itself under Obama’s open-border immigration policies, she said, “this resurgence represents a very serious threat to public safety in communities where MS-13 has rebuilt itself. The resurgence is directly connected to the illegal arrival and resettlement of more than 300,000 Central American youths and families that has continued unabated for six years, and to a de-prioritization of immigration enforcement in the interior of the country that occurred at the same time.”

The research she supervised at the immigration think tank found that MS-13 concentrations were in areas where so-called “unaccompanied alien children” were put under Obama, including Virginia, California, Maryland and New York. They included those participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals who Democrats in Congress are fighting for.

She cited an example of a Maryland DACA recipient charged with gang activity who urged pals in El Salvador to take advantage of Obama’s policies:

One MS-13 clique leader in Frederick, Md., who had received a DACA work permit and was employed as a custodian at a middle school in Frederick, Md., and who was recently incarcerated for various gang-related crimes, reportedly was told by gang leaders in El Salvador to take advantage of the lenient policies on UACs to bring in new recruits, knowing that they would be allowed to resettle in the area with few questions asked. Several of these unaccompanied minors now have been arrested and incarcerated for various crimes, including a vicious random attack on a sheriff’s deputy in 2015.

Crime, torture and theft are the trademarks of the gang.

“The MS-13 members identified in the cases we found were accused of very serious crimes, including 207 murders. More than 100 were accused of conspiracy/racketeering, and dozens of others were charged with drug trafficking, sex trafficking, attempted murder, sexual assaults, and extortion,” said the report. Vaughan is the center’s policy director.

The report noted the difficulty in seizing and deporting some of those involved because the crimes occurred in many of the 300 sanctuary regions in the nation that don’t cooperate with ICE.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/ms-13-spreads-to-22-states-fed-by-300-000-illegals-daca-recipients-tied-to-207-murders

 

Morrelly Homeland Security Center

Bethpage, New York

2:05 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, everybody.  Thank you.  Great to be here.  Oh, do I know this location well.  That beautiful Bethpage State Park.  I spent a lot of hours there.  Great place.  Thank you very much and good afternoon.

We’re here today to discuss the menace of MS-13.  It’s a menace.  A ruthless gang that has violated our borders and transformed once peaceful neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields.  They’re horrible people, by the way.

Thank you very much to Secretary Nielsen; Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — Rod, thank you; Acting ICE Director Tom Homan, who is going to be — I hope you’re going to be with us for a long time.  I’m hearing he’s going to go into a little bit of an easier job, but you won’t be happy.  You won’t be happy.  What a job you’ve done.  Thank you very much, Tom.  And Acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan.  Thank you very much.  Thank you, John.

And we also have a couple of folks with us today — Laura Curran, Nassau County Executive.  Wherever Laura may be.  Hi, Laura.

CURRAN:  Hi.

THE PRESIDENT:  How are you, Laura?  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.

I want to thank a very good friend of mine for a long time that this area knows very well, the great Peter King.  Thank you, Peter.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Doing a good job.  And he’s fully got my endorsement, even though I assume he has no opponents.  I don’t know if he has any opponent.  Nobody would be that crazy to run against Peter.  (Laughter.)

Congressman Lee Zeldin.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you, Lee.  Great job you’re doing.  Thank you for all your help.

And Congressman Daniel Donovan, really known as “Dan,” right?  Dan Donovan.  (Applause.)  He’s been a friend.

For their great leadership in combatting MS-13.  Also, Erin King — you know who I’m talking about — Sweeney.  Where’s Erin?  Where are you?  Where are you?  Hello, Erin.  How are you?  A little bit of a relationship.

REPRESENTATIVE KING:  That’s my wife, Rosemary, next to her.

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, Rosemary.  Hi, Rosemary.  See, you say, “That’s my wife.”  I know that’s your wife.  (Laughter.)  Nice to see you.  Thanks, Rosemary.  Thanks for being here.  Thank you very much, Erin.  It’s a great honor to have you.

We’re also grateful to be joined by Commissioner Geri Hart of Suffolk County, and Commissioner Patrick Ryder.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.  And they know this threat probably as well as anybody.

We’re especially moved today to be joined by families who have suffered unthinkable heartbreak at the hands of the MS-13 gangs.  I’m truly honored to be joined again by the courageous families who were my guests at the State of the Union.  That was a special evening.  Elizabeth Alvarado, Robert Mickens, Evelyn Rodriguez, and Freddy Cuevas.  Thank you.  Thank you all.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

Their beautiful daughters, Kayla and Nisa, were murdered by MS-13 gang members, many of whom exploited glaring loopholes — and we have the biggest loopholes of any country anywhere in the world.  We have the worst immigration laws of any country anywhere in the world.  But they exploited the loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors.  They look so innocent; they’re not innocent.

We are praying for these families with us today, and we pledge to honor the memory of those you lost with action and resolve — and I’ll just add another word — with great success.  And thank you very much for being here.  Thank you so much.  Really appreciate it.  (Applause.)  And they will not have passed in vain, that I can tell you.

MS-13 lives by the motto, “Kill, Rape, and Control.”  That’s actually their motto.  “Kill, Rape, and Control.”  Last month, MS-13 reportedly called for its members here on Long Island, where I essentially grew up.  You know Jamaica, right?  I always said, “Long Island.”  It’s very close.  To call and to see what happened is just incredible.

But they killed a cop for the sake of making a statement.  They wanted to make a statement, so they killed a cop, a policeman.  Here in Nassau County, MS-13 gang members were charged with killing and hacking up a teenager.  And police officers just told me four other young men were brutally murdered recently by MS-13 in Suffolk — Suffolk County.

In Maryland, MS-13 gang members are accused of stabbing a man 100 times, decapitating him, and ripping out his heart.  Police officers also believe the MS-13 members beat a sex-trafficked 15-year-old girl with a bat 28 times, totally disfiguring a beautiful young woman.

In Texas, two MS-13 gang members were charged after kidnapping, drugging, and raping a 14-year-old girl.  They then murdered her and somebody else.

Crippling loopholes in our laws have enabled MS-13 gang members and other criminals to infiltrate our communities, and Democrats in Congress refuse to close these loopholes, including the disgraceful practice known as catch and release.  That’s — you catch them, you write up a little piece of paper that’s meaningless, and then you release them.  And they go all through the country, and they’re supposed to come back for trials.  They never come back — or very rarely.  It’s the rare person that comes back.

Democrats have to abandon their resistance to border security so that we can support law enforcement and save innocent lives.  And I noticed recently, where Democrats — Nancy Pelosi, as an example — are trying to defend MS-13 gang members.  I called them “animals” the other day, and I was met with rebuke.  They said, “They are people.”  They’re not people.  These are animals, and we have to be very, very tough.  (Applause.)

So I’d now like to turn this over to a man — really, he has been a great friend of mine — a tremendous supporter — and I’ve always been a supporter of his, Peter King.  He does an incredible job, and nobody knows this situation and this horror show, and these laws — how bad they are — worst in the world — better than Peter King.  Peter.

REPRESENTATIVE KING:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Thank you very much.  And let me say what a — (applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

REPRESENTATIVE KING:  Mr. President, what an honor it is to have you back here on Long Island.  As you say, you’re a neighbor.  You were in Suffolk County last year; Nassau County this year.  And you, more than anyone in the country, is highlighting the evil of MS-13.  So I congratulate you.  I thank you for leading this effort.  It’s a — they are horrible, vicious, rotten murderers.  And you are really leading the charge.  And thank you for doing this.  Thank you for assembling all of us here today.  And thank you for mobilizing all the efforts of the federal government behind this.  So thank you very much.

Also, on a somewhat jocular note, let me tell Laura Curran — I want to thank her — I’ll be giving visas to Donovan and Zeldin, to let them into Nassau County.  (Laughter.)  I promise you I’ll get them out of here as soon as I can.  Okay?  (Laughter.)

CURRAN:  They can stay as long as they want.

REPRESENTATIVE KING:  Okay.  This is a very serious issue.  To have these family members here.  I’ve worked with them; I know what they’ve gone through.

And for anyone who wants to minimize the danger of MS-13, just ask Commissioner Hart, Commissioner Ryder.  They know firsthand exactly what this is all about.

Let me also commend ICE for the great job that they do.  Tom is here and he’s done excellent work in Suffolk County and in Nassau County, working with our Nassau and Suffolk Country Police.

So, Mr. President, you have experts here that can talk.  I just want to, again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you’re doing.  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much, Peter.  (Applause.)

I do want to say, and I have to pay great tribute to ICE and Border Patrol.  But ICE came in and they are doing a job.  We are taking them out by the thousands.

Now, if we had laws that were proper, they wouldn’t be coming back to the extent, but they’ve taken them out by the thousands.  And it’s way down, but it’s still far too much.  And it’s unacceptable.

So I thought maybe what we’ll do is we’ll go around the table, say a few words, if you might.  We’ll start right here.  You have done a fantastic job and we appreciate it.

Let’s go.  Why don’t we start?  Thank you, John.

CRONAN:  Thank you, Mr. President.  On the very day that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sworn in, you signed an executive order with a very clear directive: reduce crime in America.

And it is my honor to support carrying out your mandate by helping to bring MS-13 to justice and by working to dismantle this gang that’s terrorizing our communities.  I know people in this room are very familiar with the horrifying stats, but MS-13 is one of the most violent and formidable threats that our country faces today.

MS-13 leaders may operate out of prisons in El Salvador but the gang is alive and well in our streets.  It is estimated there are 10,000 MS-13 members in the United States; 2,000 are estimated to be right here in Long Island.  And their ranks are continually being refilled with new emissaries from El Salvador.  MS-13 is infiltrating our high schools, our middle schools, even our elementary schools.

The gang’s brutality, as you alluded to, Mr. President, just cannot be captured by words.  You mentioned their motto, “Kill, Rape, Control.”  They live by that motto.  They kill — murdering their victims, murdering them with machetes, chains, knives, bats, firearms.  They rape — gang-raping young girls, selling them for sex.  They control — killing not just rival gang members but also fellow MS-13 members who are suspected of being cooperators with law enforcement or violated gang rules.

For example, in March, an MS-13 member named Elmer Lopez pled guilty to murdering a fellow gang member who was suspected of cooperating with law enforcement.  Lopez and his cohorts brought their victim to a secluded wooded area in Brentwood, maybe about 15 miles from here, where they took turns slashing and stabbing him to death.  Mr. President, the victim’s skeletal remains were discovered more than four months later.

A few months ago, an MS-13 member, Raul Landaverde-Giron, who also is facing federal charges for illegally — allegedly illegally reentering the company [sic] after he was deported.  Landaverde-Giron was convicted of murdering someone who had fled El Salvador, for Maryland, to avoid a kill order from MS-13.  Landaverde-Giron and his fellow thugs lured that victim to the woods, shot him in the head, and stabbed him in the face and neck.  For his role in the murder, Landaverde-Giron received a promotion from MS-13.

Well, Mr. President, thanks to our criminal justice system, he will also be receiving a mandatory life sentence.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Great.

CRONAN:  And to give one other example, Mr. President — last November, Yerwin Hernandez-Ordonez, a Honduran national, who was illegally in the United States, was sentenced for his role of an MS-13 murder in Virginia.  Hernandez-Ordonez oversaw two young MS-13 recruits.  They were tasked with murdering a rival gang member to gain admission into MS-13.

After two failed attempts to shoot the victim, the victim almost managed to flee.  But Hernandez-Ordonez made sure he didn’t get away.  He chased him down, caught him, and brought him back.  The two recruits then shot their victim in the head and were initiated into MS-13 later that same day.

Mr. President, these and the disgraceful examples that you mentioned in your opening remarks are just a small sample of the unspeakable violence of MS-13.  But we are hitting MS-13 hard, with targeted prosecutions across the country, including right here in Long Island.  We are surging federal prosecutors, surging them to the border to prosecute immigration offenses; surging them to U.S. attorneys’ offices around the country to prosecute violent crimes.  We are working with our partners in Central America — work that has resulted in thousands of arrests of MS-13 members.

We want these savages incapacitated before they can try to cross over our borders.  We cannot — and we will not — permit our country to be a playground for MS-13 to pursue its murderous mission.  Dismantling violent gangs is a top priority of this Department of Justice, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and it will remain such as we continue to use all law enforcement tools at our disposal to rid our streets of the scourge of MS-13.

Thank you, Mr. President.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, John.  Great job.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Great job, John.

Tom?

HOMAN:  Mr. President, I want to — first of all, I want to thank you for your leadership on this issue.  I want to thank the Secretary.  I couldn’t ask for two better bosses that take border security and public safety more seriously than you all.

I also want to give a shout-out to law enforcement officers in this room, the ones that carry a badge and gun every day and put their lives on the line for the communities.  We got a President — unprecedented support for law enforcement, and I thank you guys.  As a 33-year veteran of law enforcement, you’re doing a tremendous job.  You got the backs of law enforcement.  You got their six recruits here.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

HOMAN:  Now, I’m much older and blinder than John, so I got to wear my glasses, because there are some important numbers I want to read to back you up on the statements you made coming here, because a lot of times you’re questioned about it.  So I want to read some numbers.

I want to thank Rod and John for partnership.  They are stepping up.  We are prosecuting more MS-13 members and gang members in the history of ICE.  ICE is working hard to ensure the United States does not become a safe haven for these criminals.  HSI — our criminal investigators at HSI have continued to attack the efforts of MS-13 here, domestically and abroad, which I’ll speak to in a minute.

We have doubled our arrests of MS-13 members under your command, President Trump.  In FY17, the first year, HSI and ICE arrested 896 MS-13 leaders, members, and associates.  They totally arrested — they arrested another 4,800 total gang members throughout the United States, to include MS-13.

Since FY16, ICE has removed nearly 11,000 criminal gang members.  Specifically about New York — the target of MS-13 on Long Island is one of the primary goals of ICE because New York is under attack.  With a cooperative focus on sources and intelligence — our on ongoing initiative — we arrested, in the past year, 300 MS-13 criminal arrests here on Long Island, and more than 40 percent of those we have verified are unaccompanied alien children.  So it is a problem.  There is a connection.

MS-13 terrorizes communities and they commit violent crimes, as you said.  I know you’ve been taken a hit on your comments about animals and MS-13, but I think you’re being kind.  Animals kill for survival; MS-13 kills for sport.  They kill to terrorize, and there’s a big difference there.

We want to push our borders South, so we’re attacking MS-13 where the command and control is in El Salvador.  Our attaché offices in Central America are working very closely with the federal police in El Salvador, along with El Salvadorian prosecutors.  We have arrested and taken off the streets in El Salvador hundreds of MS-13 gang members.

We just did a trip down there.  We took local law enforcement and some prosecutors down there to meet with the federal police and the prosecutors who we’ve totally vetted, they are part of our vetted unit, and we trained them.  We went to one of the prisons down there, where 70 percent of the population in that prison is MS-13 gang members.  These are the worst of the worst.  And because of ICE’s work along the Bureau and Department of Justice, our intelligence and our evidence supplied to the officials in El Salvador put most of their people in that prison — which, if you think about it, we prevented many of these people from getting to the United States, and took them out right there in El Salvador.

We’ll continue to do that.  We’ll continue to work along our Salvadorian and Central American partners to play the away game, and stop most of them before they get there.  I can tell you that ICE is not going to stop making this a priority until we totally dismantle this organization.  We won’t rest until that’s happened.

So I want to thank you again for your leadership.  ICE is on the job.  ICE isn’t going away.  New York, despite your Governor’s comments about ICE, ICE has done a lot for this state, and we’ll continue doing a lot for this state.  We’ve taken nearly 5,000 criminal aliens off the street in New York, and we’re not going anywhere.  We’re going to be here and do our job, and try to make this the safest place that the community is going to have.

Thank you very much.  Appreciate it.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Tom.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Tom.  Great job.  Thank you.

Rod.  Thank you.

ROSENSTEIN:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Under your leadership, Attorney General Sessions has made violent crime and illegal immigration a top priority for the Department of Justice, and we’re making tremendous progress.  We’re working in coordination with Homeland Security and with our other federal partners, as well as state and local law enforcement.

The feedback that we’re getting, as Tom mentioned, around the country, is that state and local law enforcement appreciate their partnership.  It’s an unprecedented level of coordination with federal law enforcement around the country, particularly on this challenge of violent crime and MS-13.

John mentioned that some of the recent cases, the horrific cases we’ve handled in the Department of Justice.  I saw this firsthand when I was U.S. Attorney in Maryland in 2005.  We began using federal racketeering statutes to try and dismantle the MS-13 gang, and we had tremendous success for quite a few years.

What we found in recent years is a resurgence of MS-13 in Maryland, in the D.C. area, and it was fueled by illegal immigration and particularly by the challenge of unaccompanied minor children.  And there are several loopholes in federal law that facilitate this.  They create a particular problem for Homeland Security and for us, with regard to unaccompanied children who enter the United States illegally.

The first is that they are not eligible for expedited removal, which means that — you know, most aliens who enter the United States, if they’re caught within 14 days, within about 100 miles of the border, they can be removed in an expedited basis without needing to see an immigration judge.

But under federal law, all unaccompanied alien children, regardless of nationality, they have to go before a judge.  They cannot be subject to expedited removal proceedings.

The second challenge is that almost all unaccompanied children are released from custody, even if they want to go home.  And the reason for that is that there’s an exception for aliens from Mexico and Canada.  They’re permitted to withdraw their applications and return home.

But for other countries, even if those aliens request to go home, we’re not allowed to do it.  We’re required to put them in immigration proceedings.  And in addition to that, Homeland Security is required to turn them over to HHS within 72 hours, as a result of federal law.  It can take months and sometimes years to adjudicate those claims once they get into the federal immigration court system, and they often fail to appear for immigration proceedings.  In fact, approximately 6,000 unaccompanied children each year fail to appear when they’ve been summoned.  They’re released and they don’t show up again.

The third challenge is a consent decree entered by the government in 1997, which continues to burden our efforts to enforce immigration laws.  Under that consent decree, INS, at the time, agreed that illegal alien children would be subject to special rules, special judicial supervision that handicaps DHS’s ability to detain and promptly remove unaccompanied alien children.

And the fourth challenge that we face is that, once released, as you mention, many of them never come back again.  With very few exceptions, once those unaccompanied alien children are released into the community, even if they’re gang members, they will generally remain in the United States.  They frequently abscond and fail to appear for their removal hearings.  Approximately 90 percent of all removal orders each year result from a failure to appear at a hearing.

And according to Homeland Security statistics, less than 4 percent of illegal alien children are ultimately removed from the United States.  So most of them, once they’re released, they’re here to stay.

The consequence of these loopholes, Mr. President, is that, although we’re doing everything we can to combat crime in the United States, we’re letting people in who are creating problems.  We’re letting people in who are gang members.  We’re also letting people in who are vulnerable.  Many of these alien children, who have no parents, no family structure — we’re releasing them into communities where they’re vulnerable to recruitment by MS-13.

And so some of these kids who come in without any gang ties develop gang ties as a result of the pressure that they face from people that they confront in the communities.

So we’re hopeful, Mr. President, that we can get some assistance from the Congress in closing some of these loopholes so that our law enforcement officers won’t have to work so hard, and so we won’t have more victims like Kayla and Nisa.

Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  And I think that’s great, Rod.  And I think it’s happening.  I mean, I’m seeing a willingness, even, to a certain extent, by the Democrats.  They’re starting to come around, but it’s brutal.  It’s brutal.  As you know better than anybody, it’s a tough situation.  We need the laws enhanced very substantially and very quickly.

Thank you, Rod, very much.  Very nice.  (Applause.)

Patrick.

COMMISSIONER RYDER:  Mr. President, first of all, on behalf of all our Nassau County police officers — and I think I can speak for every officer in this room and in this country — we know we have a President that has our back and supports us every single day when we go out and do the mission that we are tasked to do.

We have about 500 identified MS-13 members in Nassau County.  About 250 of them are active.  And we do that through — everything is evidence-based and through intelligence-led policing.

Last year, in 2017, we had six kids that were murdered in Nassau County by MS-13.  Of those six, one was shot in the face, one was shot in the back of the head, four of them were violently butchered by machetes, and buried in shallow graves throughout our county.

Those victims, three of them were 15 years of age.  Two of them were 18.  Out of the six people that committed these murders, nine people were arrested last year.  Seven of the nine that were arrested were undocumented in this country.  So we have a population of 1.3 million people here in Nassau County; 17 percent Hispanic makeup.  I’ve been to these communities.  I’ve spoken to these people.  I’ve addressed them at town hall meetings.  And our pop cops have been there.  They’re good hard-working people in the community.

Ninety percent of the crime is done by ten percent of the population.  MS-13 is making up a good percent of that 10 percent in that community.  We need to go out at an intelligence way to attack it.  We need to go out with evidence-based approaches.

What I would like to see here in Nassau County — we have a great partnership with Homeland, we have a great partnership with ICE.  They’ve done nothing but support us.  Our U.S. Attorney’s Office and our District Attorney’s Office has been great in the prosecutions.

We need to get a little bit better on our intelligence sharing and information, and that starts at the border where that information can flow up into the states that we know who, why, when, how.  And again, that gives us a better way to approach it, so we don’t burn the bridges and the relationships with those communities that we spent so much time building, that we — they want to come to us and support us.

And the youth programs in those communities — whether it’s a police youth academy, a PAL program — they’re the kids that are being influenced and turned into the gangs, as you heard before.  They’re the kids that we need to reach now, not later — now — before some of these gang members push them into it.

Most of the murders that have occurred here in Nassau County were done because somebody wanted to get into the gang, and part of the initiation was to kill and take a body.  And these are innocent kids that we are out there, lured into these wooded areas with alcohol and the potential of sex and drugs.

If our intelligence is better, if our evidence-based approach is better, and our community relations stay strong, we can make a difference and turn the tide on that.

And we’re going to look to you for all that help, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, Patrick.  That’s great.  I appreciate it.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Great job.  Really good.  You’ve done a fantastic job.

Robert and Elizabeth, we’re going to save you for a couple of minutes.  We want to hear from a couple of these politicians first.  Right?  (Laughter.)  And then we’re going to get to the real story.  We appreciate it.

Dan, go ahead.

REPRESENTATIVE DONOVAN:  Thank you, Mr. President.  And I’d remind you, we’re public servants; we’re not politicians.  (Laughter.)

But thank you for your leadership here.  This is our second visit.

THE PRESIDENT:  You are.  (Laughter.)

REPRESENTATIVE DONOVAN:  This is our second visit here to Nassau County.  This is the second time that, through your leadership, you came here — because this community is hurting.

Behind you is a sign that says, “Secure our borders, protect our communities.”  That’s one sentence with a comma in it.  If we do one, we achieve the other.  And it’s the one thing that you’ve been trying to do for the 15 months that you’ve led this nation.  We need border security.  We need tougher immigration laws.  We need to help communities like this.

The examples — I was a prosecutor for 20 years, Mr. President.  I was eight years in the Manhattan’s DA’s Office.  I was Deputy Chief of the Narcotics Bureau where we saw vicious gang assaults and murders.  I was 12 years as the Staten Island District Attorney, as you know.  I have never seen the viciousness like you just described in your opening remarks.

We’re here to help.  These brave people — Pat, John, Rod, the folks on the ground — they’re enforcing laws, but we have to make the laws.  And we learn a lot by listening.  That’s why I’m so grateful that you’re holding this roundtable because a lot of what Lee, Pete, and I will do when we go back to D.C. is take the information we learn here and implement them into our laws.

On the way up with you, the Secretary was describing to us how after someone, a criminal, is convicted and they’re illegal — if their home country doesn’t take them back in six months, we have to release them back in the community.  Well, what country would take back these people that our fellow crime fighters have just described?  Nobody would take them back.  We have to change those laws, Mr. President.

Thank you for your leadership.  Thank you for your commitment to protect our nation.  And thank you for your support of our law enforcement officers.

THE PRESIDENT:  Good.  Thank you very much, Dan.  (Applause.)

And just before — thank you, Dan — just before we get to the Secretary, I have to say that many of these countries we give tremendous amounts of aid to — tens of millions of dollars.  And we’re working on a plan to deduct a lot of the aid, because I happen to believe it’s not so hard.  You know, they’ll let you think that they’re trying to stop this.  They’re not trying to stop it.  I think they encourage people from leaving.  They don’t want the people.  They don’t want the people that we’re getting in that country.

So we’re going to work out something where every time somebody comes in from a certain country, we’re going to deduct a rather large amount of money from what we give them in aid — (applause) — if we give them aid at all, which we may not just give them aid at all.  Because despite all of the reports I hear, I don’t believe they’re helping us one bit.  And maybe that’s the way life is, but they’re not helping us a lot based on the fact that we know where these people are coming from.

So we’re looking at our whole aid structure, and it’s going to be changed very radically.  It’s already started.

All right.  Thank you very much, Dan.  Secretary Nielsen.  (Applause.)

SECRETARY NIELSEN:  Yes, sir.  Thank you.  I might just talk loudly, if that works.

So I just want to thank you, as always, for your leadership on behalf of the largest law enforcement agency in the federal government.  We so appreciate your leadership, your support.

I know Tom, and Tom’s folks do — I always tell them that I will always empower them and support them, but you enable me to do that.  So we thank you always for your leadership.

I want to thank the commissioners.  I want to thank the members of Congress here.  And most importantly, my thoughts and prayers continue to go out the families that are here today.  This obviously should never have happened, and we will leave no stone unturned until we combat it.

I do want to say, horrifyingly, to knit together everything that folks have said before: Seven of the thirteen gang members that murdered these lovely girls were unaccompanied alien children that came into the country.  And the problem with that is, is they come in, they’re recruited, as was described by the Commissioner, but they also come in and they pay a debt.  The smugglers require them to serve in the gangs to pay the debt for the smuggling.

So they’re either forced to join the gangs, or they’re tricked into joining the gangs, or they’re recruited to join the gangs.  So there absolutely is a tie between all the loopholes the Deputy Attorney General described and the resurgence of these gangs in our communities.

The other two loopholes I might have just mentioned; one was just mentioned.  The other one is that we still cannot bar known gang members from coming into our country.  We have to change the law.  We know who they are, we know what they do.  We do not, under the law, have the ability to make them inadmissible on the face of being a gang member.  So we have to change that.

So DHS, as the Director knows, we’re leaving no stone unturned, as I said.  We’re securing our borders.  We’re building your wall.  We’re increasing technology.  You’ve deployed the National Guard.  We have 3,000 apprehensions that are attributed in addition to the fact that the National Guard is there.  We’re enforcing the law.

I also would like to join the Director in thanking everyone here that represents law enforcement for putting your lives on the line every day to help our communities.  (Applause.)  You have tremendous thanks from all of us.

The arrests, under your leadership, are up 42 percent.  So the men and women that you have empowered are out there doing their job every day.  We’re cracking down on fraud.  We have a 315 percent increase in adults who are using children to pose as a family to come into this country illegally.  We cannot have that.  So we’re cracking down on fraud.  We’re cracking down on adults who pretend to be children to come in, because they know that’s a loophole.

And we’re certainly cracking down on the false asylum.  If you want to come here for family reunification, that’s not asylum.  If you’re coming here to seek a job, that’s not asylum.  Those are not legitimate reasons under the law of the United States.  We will not grant you asylum.

We are going after the gangs.  Director Homan talked a lot about that.  We’re protecting children.  We need to protect all the children that do come here.  So we’re increasing background checks to make sure that when we do, through HHS, hand over a child to a sponsor or alleged family member, that they are, in fact, either a family member or somebody who is not a convicted criminal, smuggler, or trafficker.

And finally, we’re pressing Congress, and I will continue to do that.  I had many conversations on the Hill this week.  I have made it my duty.  I appreciate the members being here for that reason.  But we will close these loopholes, and we will take our communities back under President Trump.

So thank you all for being here.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Kirstjen.  Thank you.  Great job.  Thank you.  And thank you for the really great job you’re doing.  I really appreciate it.  Not easy.  Not easy.

Lee?

REPRESENTATIVE ZELDIN:  Mr. President, thank you for coming back, again.  This is your second time in less than a year that you’re on Long Island for this purpose.  And the message that gets sent to the victims of MS-13 is certainly being heard and felt by them.  And the message is being heard and felt by the law enforcement officers here on Long Island, who MS-13 has been threatening.  It sends a strong message not only to Long Islanders who care about our community and our public safety, but it also sends a strong message all throughout our entire country.  It’s really important when you run for office that you’re able to keep your promises.  And the effort that you have been showing to ensure the defeat of MS-13 is incredibly important, and it’s recognized.

I was, last week, in Jerusalem, where we were moving an embassy and a promise was being kept.  I was in the Middle East last Christmas, visiting our troops, where ISIS is almost completely wiped off the map in Iraq and Syria.  It’s so important for us to keep our promises.

The message is being sent not to just Long Islanders, but all throughout the entire country.

You have to, when wanting to eliminate a threat, be willing to identify it.  And what we saw with the reaction to — the California sheriff asked you about MS-13, and you responded immediately to that remark and called them “animals.”  And as our Acting ICE Director said, that was a nice way of putting it.  But if you’re not willing to even identify the threat, you have no chance of eliminating it.  Same thing if you want to get rid of the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic — another promise that you’re keeping.

Locally, we have seen many indictments coming down from a great local U.S. attorney’s office.  There is a U.S. attorney here, Rich Donoghue, who I’m a little biased towards.  He’s a former 82nd Airborne Division Paratrooper.  But we’re seeing indictment after indictment come down here in the Eastern District, and it’s a product of all of the people who are here at this table, who work for them, working at every level of government.  And we’re about to hear from Ms. Hart, our new police commissioner in Suffolk.  Everyone working together to ensure that this is accomplished is critical.

This issue should transcend partisan politics.  And unfortunately, it’s not right now in Congress.  Nancy Pelosi recently took nine hours on the House floor to celebrate the humanity and the behavior that encompasses what has torn apart the hearts of our families who are here.  As far as sending messages, it’s also an important message to send to congressional Democrats.  You have shown a willingness to compromise on this issue, an uncomfortable — you have put your neck way out there.  And you’re — in a way, you end up negotiating against yourself when the congressional Democrats just refuse to work with you.  It’s obstructionism.

There are people who are in Congress who have pledged to oppose and obstruct everything and anything, saying they cannot work with you, because if they work with you, they’ll legitimize your Presidency.  You were elected President of the United States.  They were elected to serve in Congress.  They took an oath.  They need to protect our constituents here, and they need to protect their own.  They need to work with you, because you’re putting your neck out there on the line.  They need to do it, as well, even if they’re taking a tough vote from their constituency.  (Applause.)

As far as policy issues, we stand with you for stronger border security and interior enforcement.  We agree that there is a need to end catch and release, to end this use of visa lottery.  Beyond just the worst offenses that we’ve heard a lot about are all the other offenses that aren’t the high-profile incidents that we hear about in the national media.  It’s the drug trafficking that takes place here on Long Island and elsewhere.  It’s the sex trafficking that takes place on Long Island and everywhere all throughout our entire country.

So all these policy issues are really important.  Securing entryways is important not just to keep out people who shouldn’t be entering our country illegally, but also keeping things out of our country that should not be entering our country illegally.

And as you know well — and I appreciate your leadership on the heroin-opioid abuse epidemic — that is something that has been a huge impact on Long Island as well.

Finally, we discussed it once before, when you — also, and I like to report back to my constituents: This isn’t just something that we’re talking about while you’re able to come here to Long Island, but also meetings that have taken place at the White House and other efforts that are underway.

But there is a need to have a tool given to our Justice Department, in my opinion, to be able to end our Homeland Security, to be able to revoke the naturalization of someone who, it turns out that they were engaged in gang violence before they received their naturalization.

Or if it’s six months later or two years later, they engage in gang violence, they should have their naturalization revoked.  I introduced, after our last meeting, the Protecting Our Communities from Gang Violence Act, H.R. 5065.  I look forward to working with you on all of this, and I just really want to thank all of the fine, distinguished people who are here at this table.

And also, to everyone watching at home who is standing with our President, it’s an important message to send: Whether you vote for a President or not, his success is our success as Americans.  (Applause.)  And as Americans, you should be rooting for this man to be successful as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Lee.  Thank you.

And you bring up a name, U.S. Attorney Donoghue.  Where are you, please?  U.S. Attorney.

REPRESENTATIVE ZELDIN:  He’s out of the country.

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, okay.

REPRESENTATIVE ZELDIN:  Otherwise he would be here.

THE PRESIDENT:  I was just trying to figure out why we didn’t introduce him — only because he’s not here.  But he’s doing a great job.

REPRESENTATIVE ZELDIN:  Yes, he is.

THE PRESIDENT:  Good.  Thank you very much.

Geri.

COMMISSIONER HART:  Thank you, Mr. President.  And thank you for this opportunity to speak with you today on this important topic.  I represent the hardworking men and women of the Suffolk County Police Department, and I echo my partner Patty (ph) Ryder’s sentiments to thank you for your leadership on this critical issue.

Just two years ago, in 2016, Suffolk County experienced some of the most devastating and tragic events in our county’s history.  On September 13th, 2016, Nisa Mickens and Kayla Cuevas, two beautiful young girls, were killed in a senseless, violent, and outrageous manner.  These high school students were murdered shortly after one of the girls had argued with an MS-13 member in school.

Days later, the skeletal remains of three young men were discovered in Brentwood, all of whom are believed to have been murdered by MS-13.  Over the next few months, the murders continued, and culminated, in April of 2017, with the quadruple homicide in Central Islip.

These killings shook our communities and sparked a commitment among the Suffolk County Police Department to form a gang eradication strategy to protect our residents and get these MS-13 members off our streets.

As a result, the Suffolk County Police Department has worked extensively with all our law enforcement partners to implement a multi-prong strategy: enhanced and targeted police presence; increased collaborative efforts to gather, collect, and share intelligence; relentless targeting and enforcement of known MS-13 gang members for arrest, prosecution, and removal; federal prosecutions of MS-13 gang members and its leadership, under the RICO Statute; a strong emphasis on community relations; and significant investments in gang prevention and intervention strategies, with a particular focus on unaccompanied alien children.

Since September of 2016, the Department’s multifaceted approach has resulted in 355 arrests of 235 MS-13 gang members.  There has not been an MS-13 murder in Suffolk County since April of 2017.  MS-13 sustains itself by constantly recruiting new members, and particularly minors.  MS-13 members recruit children placed in communities in Suffolk County through the UAC program.

Since 2014, 4,965 UACs have been placed in Suffolk County, making it the largest recipient of UACs in the nation.  While the vast majority of these children live law-abiding lives, many of them are susceptible to gang recruitment.  They are young, alone; adjusting to a new country, culture, and language; and are seeking a sense of belonging.

This is compounded by the fact that the sponsors of these children, in some cases, prove not to be suitable guardians.  The current vetting and screening system of sponsors is in dire need of improvement.  It’s vital that, if the federal government places UACs in our community, it’s only after proper screening of sponsors followed by measures to ensure proper guardian compliance.  Your assistance in this oversight would be crucial.

As I mentioned, the Suffolk County Police Department has enhanced and targeted police presence and patrols in affected areas in order to effectively destabilize this gang.  We will continue to utilize this strategy and assign manpower wherever it’s needed.  We will not let up.  The Department is committed to eradicating MS-13 from our community.

We are grateful for the commitment and support of the President and the federal government on this important matter.  Within the last year, the Suffolk County Police Department received a grant of $500,000, through the Project Safe Neighborhoods, and I thank you for that.

However, we could certainly use additional funding to assist in offsetting additional policing efforts and costs moving forward.  I can’t miss out on that opportunity.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  You’re right.

COMMISSIONER HART:  Mr. President, we appreciate this opportunity to speak with you.  We are committed to having this dialogue further, in order to protect and serve all the residents of Suffolk County.  And I thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much, Geri.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.  And you’re right, and you should get more.

I think what we’ll do is we’ll close it out with Peter later.  But, Robert, I would love to hear from you.  Would love to hear from Elizabeth.  Maybe you go ahead.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

MICKENS:  I’d like to say thank you, Mr. President, for all the hard work that you’ve been doing since you got into office, with help eradicating this gang, help bringing some type of peace to our home — even though it’s still not going to be the same.

For those who don’t know, who haven’t been through this, we have to go through every day.  It’s an ongoing struggle.  It’s not easy for us, especially me, to wake up, look down the hallway, and not see my daughter laying in her bed or me waking her up for school in the morning.  It’s very difficult.

You know, we missed two birthdays of hers.  This would have been they’re graduating year, this year.  And it’s very sad that all these loopholes for all these past couple of years, decades that have been allowing these criminals to come into our country, into our towns, and into our states and do whatever they want, and they feel they could get away with it.

That’s why, Mr. President, I’m glad that you’re at the forefront of this fight and that you’re taking this very seriously.  This is a fight, in my opinion, that should have been happening a long time ago.  I don’t know why it hasn’t.  But thank you for doing what you’re doing right now.  And I do honor what you’re doing, and I believe that you are going to do your best to eradicate this gang and all other gangs.

You know, it’s one thing for children to have a little argument, a little fist fight — walk away the next day.  But to murder another student, your fellow classmate that you see every day, you’re not — in my opinion, you’re not an ordinary human.

You know, whatever they believe to make them do this, to make them gain recognition inside their gang, then come later on to find out that if they do something wrong they will be eliminated also by their own gang members.

These children are not using they head.  I’m not sure if it’s because they’re alone, they’re scared, they’re being pressured.  It’s a lot.  But these children, they really need to stop hurting each other.  Because if these children are our future, we’re not going to have a future.  We really won’t.

And I really do believe that, with the President’s help, and Nassau and Suffolk County Commissioner, and to the other 49 states, we will win this war against MS-13 and other gangs, because our streets should not have to be bloodshed.  Our streets should be filled with children riding bikes, playing kickball, basketball, baseball, whatever they love to do to make them happy.

Us, as parents, should not have to bury our child.  And it’s just hard.  It really is hard.  You know, there’s people every day who question what the President says, and I try to explain to them the best that I can, but they’re not seeing the bigger picture.  It hit home with him because he’s a fellow Long Islander.

And we can’t have children kill children anymore.  You know, we — it’s going to be a division amongst communities, eventually, if this doesn’t stop.  There’s already a division now between protestors and the ones who are sticking behind our President.

As far as the protestors, they’re not seeing the bigger picture because they’re not living the life that we have to go through every day.  If they were to see how we have to live every day, wake up — sometimes I forget and I feel that she is in her room, and I’m ready to go pick on her or do something that a father and daughter would normally do.  They don’t — they’re not living through that.  They’re not living through the pain where, okay, for a while we could be fine; the next thing you know, something that would spark a memory of our loved one, and it could bring us back to times and places that we try not to remember that’s still going to be in our mind until the — you know, until we rest in peace.

And what they have done to us — we have learned to take a tragedy into something positive.  We’re standing here — we’re sitting here, we’re giving speeches, we give comments, we give our concerns, we try to stay active in the community just to reach out to those who may be afraid to speak up or to say something.

And it’s very important for us people in the community to come together with our local law enforcement to help get rid of these members off our streets, out of our schools.  Put them where they belong: in prison.  (Applause.)

And I would like to say, thank you to everybody up here on the panel for all the hard work and the dedication that you’re putting forward to this.

Obviously, this is a very touching subject because there’s immigration involved, but they have to realize America is based off of immigration.  Everybody who came here as an immigrant wanted the American Dream.  The American Dream is still there.  But if you’re going to come here with acts of violence, you can stay in your own country with that, because we don’t need it here anymore.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Robert.  So beautiful.  Thank you, Robert.  Incredible.  That’s incredible.  Thanks.

And the American Dream is coming back bigger and better than ever.  You know that.

And I have to say, the protestors, they’re not so big anymore.  They’re dwindling.  They’re getting it.  Everyone is getting it.  And what you just said is beautiful, and we appreciate it.  Thank you.  Really nice.

Elizabeth, would you like to say something?  (Applause.)  And thank you, Robert.

ALVARADO:  Every day I wake up, I feel like she’s coming home.  But we have to help our children.  We have to educate them.  We have to, you know, look into the schools and make sure that your kids are okay.

My daughter was only 15 years old, and she act like a 30-year-old.  She already knew what she wanted in her life.  And at 5:23, every day of my life, I feel like she’s going to come through that door.  But I know she’s not.

And for her legacy, I will try to do the best I can to educate parents, children, little kids.  If you need to talk to me, and you’re scared, I’m here.  I will always be here, because my daughter wants me to be here.  And I miss her very much.  There’s not one day that goes by that I don’t think about her.

So I just hope that my message comes out, that we all need to be educated on how MS-13 is.  I appreciate everybody’s love and friendship, and meeting the President.  Who would ever thought that I would do that?  But I met remarkable people in my journey, and I hope they stick by me so that we can put a closure to this.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Elizabeth.  Beautiful.  Thank you, Elizabeth.  We will stick by you, too.  We will stick by you.  Thank you very much.

Freddy, do you want to start?  Evelyn, go ahead.

RODRIGUEZ:  I want to thank you for having us here today to discuss what’s been going on here on the Island and throughout the United States.

PARTICIPANT:  Check the mic.

RODRIGUEZ:  Sorry.  I want to thank everyone for being here.  And, Mr. President, thank you again for listening to us and our needs in eradicating these MS-13 individuals.

My daughter Kayla was a beautiful girl.  She had dreams, and they took that away from her.  That’s not right.  And how these kids were murdered, tortured, is unacceptable.  We should not be tolerating this behavior at all whatsoever.

Law enforcement, thank you so much for your hard work and dedication in keeping our kids safe, our communities, and working together as one and helping out each other with information that you guys receive.  And again, thank you, Donald Trump, for supporting our law enforcement to the fullest capacity that they need.

You said the other day that these individuals are animals.  You’re correct.  They are animals in how they kill, how they get these kids and they torture them.  No child should ever, ever have to suffer.  As parents, we have to endure that pain, that numbness every day of our lives.

My daughter, Nisa supposed to be graduating in a couple of weeks.  We’re supposed to be getting, you know, graduation outfits, having a party.  We’re unable to do that.  No parent should ever have to go through this, at all.  We have families here from the four boys from Central Islip: Jose Peña, Jorge (inaudible), Michael, and Jefferson.  Their families are suffering every day, but they thank you for your hard work in trying to make the situation a little bit better.

THE PRESIDENT:  Please stand.  Please.  Please.  (Applause.)

RODRIGUEZ:  People have to realize that these situations originate in school.  It plays out in school, and it comes out into the streets.  We need to focus on what’s happening in the schools.  We have to put in professional educators in there to help the teachers, the school administration how to handle this.  They say they know how to handle it; they really don’t.

Two years, as you’ve heard before, I was fighting with the school district — two years, for my daughter — and they did nothing.  In fact, they lied in my face.

So we can’t tolerate that behavior either, in the schools.  When there’s a problem, they need to notify.  When there’s a threat, they need to notify law enforcement immediately.  They need to get help.  And if they say they have it under control, they’re basically lying in your faces.  They do not have this under control.

These people, these individuals, they know what they’re doing.  They know how to work.  At one point they were called “organized crime.”  They know how to work it.  We need to stop it.

All originates in school, and it plays out in the streets.  And a lot of these kids are innocent.  They don’t know, they don’t have the guidance.  These kids are coming in unaccompanied.  They don’t know who to turn to.  They’re afraid.  They’re coming from a country that they were afraid with their law enforcement — people they couldn’t trust.

Here, we have to make sure that the resources and the programs are there for them.  And the ones that are coming in here unaccompanied, being sponsored, we need to investigate the sponsors to make sure they’re legit.  And that one phone call that they do for a follow up — has to be more than that.  Home visits — making sure that these kids are going in a straight line, they’re not going off of that straight line.  They need to follow rules.

Whether you’re black, white, Hispanic, green, purple, alien out of this space, there is a consequence.  When you do a crime, there’s a consequence.  You’re not going to get off easy.  And especially, especially when you murder a child.  That is unacceptable.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Freddy?  Please.

CUEVAS:  First and foremost, Mr. President and everybody on this panel — there’s too many names I can say at once — I would like to say, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.  This is the third time that you visit Long Island — second time, excuse me — and I appreciate everything and all the efforts that everybody is doing back in D.C. as well.

And also would like to thank Peter King as well, for giving us this privilege to have all the heads of the departments and states to come here and realize the problem that we’re enduring.

My daughter was a beautiful girl.  She was a person that was — had achievements, had goals.  And those were taken from her.  She’s not here no longer because of the situation that these individuals — like you said, I think that you used the correct word, “animals,” that they are — took her away from us and destroyed her dream.

We appreciate everything that’s being done, and we just need to tackle the issue stronger.  And hopefully we can eliminate them and make sure that it doesn’t happen again to any of the families or anybody else within our world.

Thank you once again everyone.  Appreciate it.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you.

Peter.

REPRESENTATIVE KING:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Again, let me thank you for doing this.  And let me also acknowledge our Town Supervisor Joe Saladino, who is here today and doing a great job.  (Applause.)

And, Mr. President, all I can say is, first of all, thank you for doing this.  It’s beyond description the good you’re doing by this.  I think this is one of the most important and significant events ever on Long Island because it addresses an issue which local people have been facing for a long time.  But for the first time, the federal government at your level — the U.S. Attorney has always been trying, and ICE, and others — but no one from your level has ever, ever given the attention you have.

So I want to thank you very much for what you’re doing.  Thank you for your dedication.  Thank you for always being there.  And they can protest all they want.  We’re with you.  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Peter.  (Applause.)

Well, I just want to — I really want to thank all of the families.  And Robert, Elizabeth — so beautiful.  Thank you very much.  I really appreciate that.  That was incredible.  And Freddy, Evelyn, thank you very much.

CUEVAS:  Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  Not much you can say other than we are really working hard on this problem.  This is a horrible problem.  We’re bringing them out, and our people are rougher than them.  That’s the only language they understand.  It would be wonderful if we could talk nicely and softly, but the only language they understand is that toughness.  And, Tom, you’ve displayed it; your people have displayed it.  Everybody up here has displayed it.  Everybody.

But the records are being set, but they still keep coming in.  We need immigration laws.  We need strong laws.  And we’re going to get them.  It’s moving.  It’s harder and harder for the Democrats to fight it.  Look, I’d like to say it’s just people doing it.  They happen to be Democrats.  They’re very well unified in this regard, but they’re starting to break up now.  Finally, they’re starting to break up.

And the other day was actually a great day, when they were coming to the defense of MS-13.  They’re coming to the defense, and that was the end of them because nobody, nobody understood it.  Nobody.  When they started rationalizing, and — maybe it was the way they grew up.  And maybe it was, but we’re stuck with a big problem.

Again, you heard the numbers.  You heard what a number of the folks have said.  We’re taking them out by the thousands, by the thousands.  And they’re being thrown out of the country.  They’re being put in jails.

When they’re put in jails, that costs us a fortune for years, and years, and years as a country.  But when we throw them out, they go back on the streets; they don’t go anywhere.  The countries don’t want them.  In some cases, the countries don’t take them.  But now, with us, they take them.  With the previous administration, they’d say, “No, we don’t want them.”  With us, it’s a much different deal.  They take them, but you don’t know what they do with them.  Do they let them out?  Do they put them in jail?  Are they incarcerated?  They’re murderers, in many cases.  Are they incarcerated?

So we’re very tough, but we’re getting a lot tougher.  But we do need law changes.  We need those laws to change.  Because we can be really smart and we can really know what we’re doing — which we do — these are all incredible professionals, every one up here; incredible professionals.  But when the laws are no good, the laws are horrible, there’s not much you can do beyond what we’re doing.

We’re down on immigration crossing the border — more than 40 percent.  We were actually down 77 percent.  Our economy is doing so well, people are coming across the border.  The economy is — it’s one bad thing about having a great economy, frankly.  But the economy is doing so well that people are crossing the border.  In many cases, they’re crossing for reasons of good, but in many cases they’re crossing for reasons of really, really bad.

But these people are incredible people.  And I want to thank you all for being here, too.  I know what you’ve gone through.  I just want to thank you very much for being here.

We are making tremendous strides.  We will continue.  And in a not-too-distant future, I feel totally confident that this product — this problem will be eradicated.  We’re not going to have this problem.  I essentially grew up on Long Island.  And when I hear Hempstead and Mineola and all of the places that I know so well, that you can’t walk outside — this used to be where you’d leave your doors unlocked, you’d leave your windows open, always.  And you have gang members now that are so rough, people are afraid to go outside.

We have these trucks coming in; they used to call them “paddy wagons.”  I don’t know what they call them anymore.  What do they call them, Tom?  But we have the ICE guys coming in, and I’ll tell you something — the ICE guys are a lot rougher than the MS-13 guys.  They’re rougher, they’re tougher, and they’re meaner.  (Applause.)  And they throw them into — I don’t want to mention the name of a town, but a town that I know very well.  They throw these guys into these wagons, these rolling jails.  And you have people applauding.  It’s almost like a war, where you’re getting rid of somebody that’s occupying your nation.

And for me to go through and be in this position, and see towns that I’ve known all my life — I grew up here; I know every one of the towns — and it’s unthinkable that it’s almost like an occupied territory, where your children are afraid to go out, and in many cases, if they go out, bad things happen.

But when you see the scene — and I saw it, Tom; I saw it — of guys being thrown right into these wagons, being taken away, and the crowd is cheering — cheering.  And in one way it’s beautiful, and another way it’s terrible that we’re having to even conceivably do that, especially in a place that you’ve known so well all your life that was safe.

I just want to thank the law enforcement, because what they go through and the restrictions that are put on them are incredible:  They got to be nice; they can’t be too tough.  They have to be gentle.  They can’t touch, they can’t do anything.  And they do an incredible job.  And people understand it.

And to law enforcement — I have to tell you, because I’ve gotten to know the heart of this country maybe better than anybody, and that’s why I’m here.  The people out there love you and respect you.  You may read a lot of stuff.  I will tell you, you are the most respected people there are.  (Applause.)  And on behalf of everybody, I want to thank you very much for what you do.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

END

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-roundtable-discussion-immigration-bethpage-ny/

Story 2: Governor Abbott Roundtable Meeting in Stopping Mass Shootings in Gun Free Zones Such As Texas Santa Fe High School Shootings With 10 Dead and 14 Wounded –Videos

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

Second day of Santa Fe shooting roundtable covers mental health and gun regulation

Texas official on school shooting: ‘We cannot…say it’s the gun – it’s us as a nation’

Gov. Abbott leads roundtable discussion on school safety

Alerrt active shooter training may have saved lives in Santa Fe

 

Texas Lt. Governor: Need armed teachers, fewer school entrances

Word for Word: Texas Gov. Abbott: “We Need to Do More Than Just Pray” (C-SPAN)

WATCH: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott delivers remarks on Santa Fe school shooting

Police chief discusses school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas

Shooting survivor says shooting was inevitable

Lawyers for Texas shooting suspect speak out

Here are the Texas shooting victims’ stories

New details emerge on how the Texas school shooting was carried out

Pres. Donald Trump remarks on Santa Fe school shooting in speech at the Prison Reform Summit

 

Santa Fe High school shooter studied previous mass shootings and used tactics from them in his own massacre

  • Dimitrios Pagourtzis burst into an art classroom with shotgun, yelling ‘surprise’ 
  • The 17-year-old is in custody and investigators revealed he studied massacres 
  • Among those killed are an art teacher, investigators trying to work out motive
  • Pagourtzis acted alone, spared students he liked so they could tell his story

A teenager who opened fire in a Texas high school killing ten people studied previous mass shootings and used them when carrying out his own massacre, it was reported.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old Santa Fe High School junior, allegedly burst into an art classroom yelling ‘Surprise!’ while brandishing his father’s shotgun and pistol, before opening fire and gunning down students and teachers.

He was taken into custody Friday morning and two other ‘persons of interest’ have also been interviewed by investigators.

Dimitri Pagourtzis, 17, is being held without bond in Galveston County Jail in Texas

Dimitri Pagourtzis, 17, is being held without bond in Galveston County Jail in Texas

Memorials have sprung up around Santa Fe, Texas for those killed in the high school massacre

Two teachers and eight pupils were killed when Pagourtzis allegedly burst into a classroom and yelled ‘surprise’

A source told ABC News Pagourtzis ‘studied previous mass shootings and used aspects of those [attacks] in his own shooting’.

Investigators have also determined that they don’t expect to charge anyone else besides the alleged shooter, sources said.

Substitute teacher Ann Perkins, 64, art teacher Cynthia Tisdale and students Sabika Sheikh, Chris Stone, Kim Vaughan, Angelique Ramirez, Aaron Kyle McLeod, Christian Garcia and Shana Fisher have been confirmed dead.

Pagourtzis also said he spared the students he liked so he could ‘have his story told,’ according to court documents.

Police are now trying to piece together what motive ‘quiet’ Pagourtzis had for carrying out the shooting, the 22nd school shooting in 2018 alone.

A church service was held at Arcadia First Baptist Church near Santa Fe High School on Sunday to honor the lives lost

Angelique Ramirez

Angelique Ramirez (left) and Kim Vaughan (right) were confirmed dead by friends and family on Friday evening

Pagourtzis (circled) was a member of a traditional Greek dance group with a local church

Pagourtzis (circled) was a member of a traditional Greek dance group with a local church

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Pagourtzis wrote about planning the attack in journals on his computer and in his cellphone that police obtained.

‘Not only did he want to commit the shooting but he wanted to commit suicide after the shooting,’ Abbott said, adding that Pagourtzis told authorities he ‘didn’t have the courage’ to take his own life.

How the Santa Fe High School shooting unfolded

7.32am – Law enforcement responded to reports of an active shooter

8.02am – Dimitrios Pagourtzis surrenders to cops

8.05am – President Donald Trump tweets ‘School shooting in Texas. Early reports not looking good. God bless all!’

8.13am –  Santa Fe Independent School District confirms there was an active shooter and the district has initiated a lockdown

8.30am – Santa Fe High School is evacuated

9am – Assistant Principal confirms the shooter had been arrested

9.15am – Suspected explosive devices are found

10am – Law enforcement confirms eight people are dead

10.45am – Death toll updated to between eight and 10

11.18am –  Santa Fe ISD says explosives were found at the high school

Pagourtzis played on the high school’s junior varsity football team and was a member of a traditional Greek dance group with a local Orthodox church.

Acquaintances described him as quiet and unassuming, an avid video game player who routinely wore a black trench coat and black boots to class.

Friends said he had been bullied, including by coaches who told him he ‘smelled bad’.

The other students detained have not been named.

Police were hunting for explosive devices in two homes after finding pipe bombs scattered around the school in the wake of the shooting.

Pagourtzis used his father’s legally owned shotgun and .38-revolver in the massacre, officials said. It’s not clear whether the father knew his son had taken them.

The suspect’s father Antonios Pagourtzis, 63, runs a ship repair and industrial cleaning firm.

He was born in Greece and ‘liked’ NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesh on Facebook.

As well as killing 10, the shooting spree also injured 10 more, including John Barnes, 49, a retired Houston police officer now working as the Santa Fe resource officer who was first to confront the shooter.

The hero cop was shot in the arm and was hospitalized in critical condition after losing significant amounts of blood.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5752409/Santa-Fe-High-school-shooter-studied-previous-mass-shootings-used-tactics-massacre.html#ixzz5GSXCp5IA

 

Mass shootings in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Total U.S. deaths by year in mass shootings: 1982 to 2016.[1]

Map of mass shootings in 2015.

There is no fixed definition of a mass shooting,[2] but a common definition is an act of violence — excluding gang killings, domestic violence, or terrorist acts sponsored by an organization — in which a gunman kills at least four victims. Using this definition, one study found that nearly one-third of the world’s public mass shootings between 1966 and 2012 (90 of 292 incidents) occurred in the United States,[3][4] which has more mass shootings than any other country.[5][6][7][8] Using the same definition, Gun Violence Archive records 152 mass shootings in the United States between 1967 and May 2018, averaging eight fatalities per incident when the perpetrator’s death is included.[9]

The overwhelming majority of perpetrators are male and act alone,[10] and they generally either commit suicide or are restrained or killed by law enforcement officers or civilians.[11]

Definition

There is no fixed definition of a mass shooting in the United States.[2] The Investigative Assistance for Violent Crimes Act of 2012, signed into law by Congress in January 2013, defines a “mass killing” as one resulting in at least 3 victims, excluding the perpetrator.[12][2][13][14] In 2015, the Congressional Research Service defined a mass shooting as “a multiple homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms, within one event, and in one or more locations in close proximity”.[15] A broader definition, as used by the Gun Violence Archive, is that of “4 or more shot or killed, not including the shooter”.[16] This definition, of four people shot regardless of whether or not that results in injury or death, is often used by the press and non-profit organizations.[17][18][19][20][21]

Frequency

Memorial at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign following the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, which resulted in 59 deaths and 851 non-fatal injuries.

Studies indicate that the rate at which public mass shootings occur has tripled since 2011. Between 1982 and 2011, a mass shooting occurred roughly once every 200 days. However, between 2011 and 2014 that rate has accelerated greatly with at least one mass shooting occurring every 64 days in the United States.[22]

In recent years, the number of public mass shootings has increased substantially, although there has been an approximately 50% decrease in firearm homicides in the nation overall since 1993. The decrease in firearm homicides has been attributed to better policing, a better economy and environmental factors such as the removal of lead from gasoline.[23] However, this does not account for an increase in firearm injuries or suicides, nor explain the increase in mass shootings.

Differing sources

A comprehensive report by USA Today tracked all mass killings from 2006 through 2017 in which the perpetrator willfully killed 4 or more people. For mass killings by firearm for instance, it found 271 incidents with a total of 1,358 victims.[24] Mother Jones listed seven mass shootings, defined as indiscriminate rampages in public places resulting in four or more victims killed,[25] in the U.S. for 2015.[26] An analysis by Michael Bloomberg’s gun violence prevention group, Everytown for Gun Safety, identified 110 mass shootings, defined as shootings in which at least four people were murdered with a firearm, between January 2009 and July 2014; at least 57% were related to domestic or family violence.[27][28]

Other media outlets have reported that hundreds of mass shootings take place in the United States in a single calendar year, citing a crowd-funded website known as Shooting Tracker which defines a mass shooting as having four or more people injured or killed.[19] In December 2015, The Washington Post reported that there had been 355 mass shootings in the United States so far that year.[29] In August 2015, The Washington Post reported that the United States was averaging one mass shooting per day.[30] An earlier report had indicated that in 2015 alone, there had been 294 mass shootings that killed or injured 1,464 people.[31] Shooting Tracker and Mass Shooting Tracker, the two sites that the media have been citing, have been criticized for using a broader criteria — counting four victims injured as a mass shooting — thus producing much higher figures.[32][33]

Contributing factors

Several possible factors may work together to create a fertile environment for mass murder in the United States.[34] Most commonly suggested include:

  1. A history of adverse childhood experiences (e.g., abuse of children emotionally, physically, sexually) leading to adult criminality[35]
  2. The desire to seek revenge for a long history of being bullied.[36]
  3. Desire for fame and notoriety.[34][3]
  4. The copycat phenomenon.[3]
  5. Failure of government background checks due to incomplete databases and/or staff shortages.[37][38]
  6. Higher accessibility and ownership of guns.[34][3][39] The US has the highest per-capita gun ownership in the world with 88.8 firearms per 100 people; the second highest is Yemen with 54.8 firearms per 100 people.[34]
  7. The widespread chronic gap between people’s expectations for themselves and their actual achievement,[34] and individualistic culture.[40]
  8. Mental illness[41][42][43] and its treatment (or the lack thereof) with psychiatric drugs[44]. This is controversial. Many of the mass shooters in the U.S. suffered from mental illness, but the estimated number of mental illness cases has not increased as significantly as the number of mass shootings.[3]

Weapons used

Several types of weapons have been used in mass shootings in the United States including rifles, handguns, and shotguns. In contrast to the rest of the world, where the perpetrator typically has only one gun, more than half of US mass shootings are committed with multiple weapons.[3] While pistols are by far the most prevalent weapons in US mass shootings,[45] AR-15 style rifles have been used in a number of the deadliest incidents, and have come to be widely characterized in the mainstream media as the weapon of choice for perpetrators of these crimes.[46][47][48][49][50]

Deadliest mass shootings

The following mass shootings are the deadliest to have occurred in modern U.S. history (1949 to present). Only incidents with ten or more fatalities are included.[51]

dagger Was previously the deadliest mass shooting
Incident Year Deaths Injuries Type of firearm(s) used Ref(s)
1 Las Vegas shooting 2017 59 (inc. the perp.) 851 Semi-automatic rifles [52][53]
2 Orlando nightclub shooting dagger 2016 50 (inc. the perp.) 58 Semi-automatic rifle and pistol [52][53]
3 Virginia Tech shooting dagger 2007 33 (inc. the perp.) 23 Semi-automatic pistols [52]
4 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting 2012 28 (inc. the perp.) 2 Semi-automatic rifle and pistol [52]
5 Sutherland Springs church shooting 2017 27 (inc. the perp.)[nb 1] 20 Semi-automatic rifle [54][53]
6 Luby’s shooting dagger 1991 24 (inc. the perp.) 27 Semi-automatic pistols [52]
7 San Ysidro McDonald’s massacre dagger 1984 23 (inc. the perp.)[nb 2] 19 Multiple types of firearms [52]
8 University of Texas tower shooting dagger 1966 18 (inc. the perp.)[nb 3] 31 Multiple types of firearms [52]
9 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting 2018 17 17 Semi-automatic rifle [55]
10 San Bernardino attack 2015 16 (inc. both perps.) 24 Semi-automatic rifles [52][53]
11 Edmond post office shooting 1986 15 (inc. the perp.) 6 Semi-automatic pistols [52]
Columbine High School massacre 1999 15 (inc. both perps.) 24 Multiple types of firearms [56]
13 Binghamton shootings 2009 14 (inc. the perp.) 4 Semi-automatic pistols [56]
Fort Hood shooting 2009 14 [nb 4] 33 (inc. the perp.) Semi-automatic pistols [56]
15 Camden shootings dagger 1949 13 3 Semi-automatic pistol [56]
Wilkes-Barre shootings 1982 13 1 Semi-automatic rifle [56]
Wah Mee massacre 1983 13 1 Multiple types of firearms [57]
Washington Navy Yard shooting 2013 13 (inc. the perp.) 8 Semi-automatic pistol and shotgun [56]
19 Aurora shooting 2012 12 70 Multiple types of firearms [56][53]
20 Easter Sunday massacre 1975 11 0 Semi-automatic pistols and revolver [58]
Geneva County massacre 2009 11 (inc. the perp.) 6 Multiple types of firearms [56]
22 Palm Sunday massacre 1984 10 0 Handguns [59]
GMAC shootings 1990 10 (inc. the perp.) 6 Semi-automatic rifle [52]
Atlanta shootings 1999 10 (inc. the perp.) 13 Semi-automatic pistols and revolver [52]
Red Lake shootings 2005 10 (inc. the perp.) 5 Semi-automatic pistols and shotgun [56]
Umpqua Community College shooting 2015 10 (inc. the perp.) 8 Semi-automatic pistols and revolver [56]
Santa Fe High School shooting 2018 10 13 Shotgun and revolver [60]

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ The fatality total includes an unborn child.
  2. Jump up^ The fatality total includes an unborn child.
  3. Jump up^ The fatality total includes an unborn child.
  4. Jump up^ The fatality total includes an unborn child.

References

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

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott touts immediate plans to stop school shootings, but avoids talk of a special session

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott hosted his first of three roundtable discussions on gun violence at the Capitol Tuesday.

Gov. Greg Abbott (top center, in front of U.S. flag) held the first of three roundtable discussions on school safety in Austin on May 22, 2018, in the aftermath of the Santa Fe high school shooting.  Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

After a closed door meeting Tuesday on school safety and gun violence, Gov. Greg Abbott proposed a series of initiatives to prevent future school shootings, though he largely avoided talk of a special legislative session to immediately pass new laws.

The roundtable discussion was the first of three scheduled this week to discuss school safety and gun violence following a massacre at Santa Fe High School last week.

Abbott, a Republican, listed off numerous ideas and suggestions that came out of the three-hour meeting, but focused on four specific ideas that he said could be implemented before students come back to school next fall.

They included trying to provide a grant to the Texas School Safety Center to train local school districts and law enforcement agencies on collaboration, creating a statewide threat assessment system, expanding a Lubbock program aimed at preventing at-risk students from committing violent acts and creating a list of recommendations for all schools on how they can immediately make their schools safer, like re-evaluating entrances and exits and placing law enforcement inside schools.

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“They’re going to be some of the simplest but most effective strategies that can be employed to make sure that our schools are safer places when our kids walk into those schools next August,” Abbott told the press after the meeting.

Other ideas that Abbott mentioned were increasing the number of school counselors, creating incentives for students to share information about potential threats and evaluating an expansion of a state program that arms teachers. He also spoke of a vague idea of mandating parent training to prevent shootings and spoke at length about creating an app that would allow students, parents and law enforcement to monitor school security cameras.

The governor focused largely on what could be done without legislative approval. When asked if a special session was needed to combat the issue of school shootings, as several politicians have suggested, he brushed it off.

“That’s a process question,” he said. “Right now we’re focused on substance issues. We need solutions first.”

Attendees of Tuesday’s discussion included leaders from the Texas House and Senate and the heads of the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Department of Public Safety. There were also local law enforcement and school officials, including the district attorney who will lead the prosecution against 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the accused shooter in Friday’s killings.

Most of them expressed optimism after the meeting.

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Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — who raised some eyebrows when he mentioned shortly after the shooting Friday that a possible solution could be to remodel Texas schools to limit the number of entrances and exits — said the meeting exceeded expectations.

“You could feel a unification of voices around the issues he discussed from various school districts and law enforcement,” he told The Texas Tribune.

State Sen. Joan Huffman, a Republican from Houston who leads the State Affairs Committee, and her colleague, Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat and chair of the Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee, both echoed Patrick’s optimism after the meeting and were happy with many of the proposals. But Whitmire said they’ll have to be careful to avoid a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

He said that’s especially true when talking about parental involvement; one idea was mandating parental training. It’s important to understand Houston is different than Round Rock, Whitmire said.

“I know a school district in the Houston area that’s got 20,000 students who’ve got undocumented parents,” he said. “So when we try to incorporate parent involvement and hold parents accountable, you’ve got to face reality that some parents are not welcome to the school.”

Wednesday’s discussion will focus on gun regulations, mental health solutions and underlying causes of gun violence, Abbott said just before Tuesday’s meeting. It will include advocates both for and against further gun restrictions, mental health experts and social media experts, he said.

Thursday will be a day for the victims of mass shootings in Texas, including the school shooting in Santa Fe that killed 10 and one at a church in Sutherland Springs last fall that killed 26. The exact list of attendees for Thursday has not yet been released.

Democrats have largely welcomed a discussion on gun violence but criticized the effectiveness of any changes currently proposed by Republican leadership. State Rep. Chris Turner of Grand Prairie, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Friday that the state should also pass universal background checks and require the reporting of stolen guns.

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And in a news release Tuesday morning, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, said excluding several groups who want stricter gun regulation, including Moms Demand Action and March for Our Lives, will limit the potential for meaningful action. Texas Gun Sense, which advocates for further gun restrictions, is expected to attend Abbott’s discussion Wednesday.

After the meeting Tuesday, Abbott said the results of the roundtable shows that politician’s actions are already more than just talk.

“We came up with very solid solutions, and now it’s just a matter of implementing those solutions,” he said

Read related Tribune coverage:

https://www.texastribune.org/2018/05/22/texas-gov-greg-abbott-discusses-santa-fe-shooting-and-school-safety-be/

 

Story 3: President Trump Delivers Keynote Address at Susan B. Anthony List 11th Annual Campaign for Life Gala — Videos

President Trump delivers address at Campaign for Life Gala

Susan B. Anthony List’s 2018 Mission: Elections for Life

President Trump Delivers Remarks at the Susan B. Anthony List 11th Annual Campaign for Life Gala

 

President Trump Delivers Remarks at the Susan B. Anthony List 11th Annual Campaign for Life Gala

Susan B. Anthony List

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Susan B. Anthony List
SBAList.jpg
Founded February 4, 1993
Re-organized 1997
Founder Rachel MacNair[1][2]
Type 501(c)(4) non-profit
Focus Anti-abortion political advocacy
Location
Area served
United States
Members
c. 365,000
Key people
Marjorie Dannenfelser(President)
Emily Buchanan (Executive Director)
Website http://www.sba-list.org

The Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) is a 501(c)(4) non-profit[3] organization that seeks to reduce and ultimately end abortion in the U.S.[4] by supporting anti-abortion politicians, primarily women,[5] through its SBA List Candidate Fund political action committee.[6][7] In 2011, it reported it had 333,000 members.[8]

Founded in 1993 by sociologist and psychologist Rachel MacNair, the SBA List was a response to the success of the pro-choice group EMILY’s List, which was partly responsible for bringing about the 1992 “Year of the Woman” in which a significant number of women, all pro-choice, were elected to Congress. MacNair wished to help anti-abortion women gain high public office. She recruited Marjorie Dannenfelser and Jane Abraham as the first experienced leaders of SBA List. Dannenfelser is now president of the organization and Abraham is chairwoman of the board. Named for suffragist Susan B. Anthony, SBA List identifies itself with Anthony and several 19th-century women’s rights activists; SBA List argues that Anthony and other early feminists were opposed to abortion. Regarding Anthony’s beliefs, the SBA List has been challenged by scholars and pro-choice activists. Anthony scholar Ann D. Gordon and Anthony biographer Lynn Sherr write that Anthony “spent no time on the politics of abortion”.[9]

Founding

The formation of the SBA List was catalyzed in March 1992 when Rachel MacNair, head of Feminists for Life, watched a 60 Minutes television documentary profiling IBM-heiress Ellen Malcolm and the successful campaign-funding activities of her Democratic pro-choice group EMILY’s List.[10][11] MacNair, a peace activist and anti-abortion Quaker, was motivated to organize the Susan B. Anthony List for the purpose of countering EMILY’s List by providing early campaign funds to anti-abortion women candidates.[1][10] Led by FFL and MacNair, 15 anti-abortion groups formed an umbrella organization, the National Women’s Coalition for Life (NWCL), which adopted a joint anti-abortion statement on April 3, 1992.[12]

Also inspired by EMILY’s List, in 1992, the WISH List was formed to promote pro-choice candidates who were members of the opposing Republican Party.[13] In November 1992 after many of the pro-choice candidates won their races to create what was termed the “Year of the Woman“, MacNair announced the formation of the SBA List, describing its purpose as endorsing and supporting women who held anti-abortion beliefs without regard to party affiliation.[14] MacNair determined to challenge the EMILY’s List and the WISH List notion that the top female politicians were primarily pro-choice.[15][16] She said the SBA List would not support right-wing political candidates. “We want good records on women’s rights – probably not Phyllis Schlafly“.[14] The NWCL sponsored the SBA List with $2,485 to create it as a political action committee (PAC)[17][18][19] on February 4, 1993, listing MacNair as the first secretary; the group operated out of MacNair’s office inside a crisis pregnancy center on East 47th Street in Kansas City, Missouri.[19][20][21] The first SBA List public event was held the same month at the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the National Woman’s Party.[22] Organized by founding board member Susan Gibbs, the “kickoff” event raised “more than $9000”.[23]

Susan B. Anthony and early feminist connection

MacNair named the SBA List after the famous suffragistSusan B. Anthony.[24][25] The leaders of the SBA List say that Anthony was “passionately pro-life”.[26][27] According to the SBA list, Susan B. Anthony “called abortion ‘child murder'”[28] This topic has been subject to a modern-day dispute about Anthony’s views on abortion, with scholars and pro-choice activists “concerned that their heroine is being appropriated”.[29] While Anthony deplored abortion, she never worked against it.[9][30] Anthony scholar Ann D. Gordon and Anthony biographer Lynn Sherr say the quotes SBA List cites are misattributed or taken out of context. Gordon said that Anthony “never voiced an opinion about the sanctity of fetal life … and she never voiced an opinion about using the power of the state to require that pregnancies be brought to term”.[29]

History

Early activities and re-organization[edit]

Founding board member Susan Gibbs, later the communications director for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, said, of the early years for the SBA List, “None of us had political experience. None of us had PAC experience. We just had a passion for being pro-life.”[22] Shortly after its founding, experienced political activists Marjorie Dannenfelser and then Jane Abraham were brought on board — Dannenfelser served as executive director, leading the organization from her home in Arlington, Virginia.[31] In 1994, the SBA List was successful in helping 8 of its 15 selected candidates gain office.[22] In 1996, only two challengers who were financially backed were elected, while five SBA-List-supported incumbents retained their positions; a disappointing election for the group.[10][22]

In 1997, the SBA List was re-organized by Dannenfelser and Abraham into its current form as a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization with a connected PAC, the SBA List Candidate Fund.[6] Abraham became president and Dannenfelser held the position of Chairwoman of the Board.[32] The rules for endorsing and financially supporting candidates were tightened: in addition to the politician having to be female, she must have demonstrated a pro-life record (a simple declaration was not enough), and she must be seen as likely to win her race.[10] In 1998, the SBA List began backing male pro-life candidates as well, endorsing three men in a pilot program.[22] One of the three won election to office: Republican Peter Fitzgerald who received $2,910 from the SBA List to assist him in his $12.3 million win over pro-choice Democrat Carol Moseley Braun in a battle for the U.S. Senate seat in Illinois.[33][34][35] Abraham served as president from 1997 until 2006 when Dannenfelser became president.

In 2000 the SBA List contributed $25,995 to pro-life candidates in contrast to the pro-choice candidates who received $608,273 from the WISH List or $20 million from EMILY’s List.[36][37]

Recent history

Contributions from supporters grew by 50% from 2007 to 2009.[38] As of December 2009, the SBA List had outspent one of its pro-choice counterparts, the National Organization for Women, in every election cycle since 1996.[39]

In April 2003, Representative Marilyn Musgrave (left) received an award from SBA List President Jane Abraham.

Former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave joined the SBA List in March 2009 and works as a project director and spokesperson.[40] Musgrave had previously been given a pro-life award in 2003 by the SBA List. The organization tried to keep abortion coverage out of any health care reform legislation in 2009 and 2010.[41] It had targeted Senator Bob Casey to ensure abortion was not covered in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA),[42][43]and lobbied for the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to H.R. 3962[44] The group criticized Senator Ben Nelson for what it called a “fake compromise” on abortion in the PPACA[45] and condemned the Christmas Eve passage of the Senate bill.[46]

The group had planned to honor Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) at its March gala, but after Stupak’s deal with President Obama, in which Obama would issue an executive order banning federal funding for abortion under the bill,[47]Stupak was stripped of his “Defender of Life Award” three days before the gala because of the SBA List’s doubts, shared by the most prominent pro-life groups, about the effectiveness of the Executive Order.[48][49] Stupak had told Dannenfelser, “They [the Democratic leadership] know I won’t fold. There is no way.”[50] On the day of the vote, Dannenfelser said she promised Stupak that the SBA List was “going to be involved in your defeat”.[50] In a statement, Dannenfelser said, “We were planning to honor Congressman Stupak for his efforts to keep abortion-funding out of health care reform. We will no longer be doing so…Let me be clear: any representative, including Rep. Stupak, who votes for this health care bill can no longer call themselves ‘pro-life.'”[47] No one received the award in his place, and Dannenfelser instead used the occasion to condemn Stupak.[51] The group dropped its plans to help Stupak fend off a primary challenge[51] from Connie Saltonstall, who was running on a pro-choice platform.[52] Stupak later dropped out of the race, announcing his retirement from Congress.[53]

In 2010, the SBA List hosted events featuring prominent pro-life political figures as speakers, including Sarah Palin, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Rep. Michele Bachmann.[54][55]

In August 2010, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, the SBA List held a colloquium at the Yale Club of New York City, billed as “A Conversation on Pro-Life Feminism”.[56][57] The event featured a panel of five scholars in the fields of law, philosophy, history, political science and sociology, who discussed various concepts of feminism and the possibility of broadening the spectrum of pro-life political candidates to include those with more centrist fiscal views.[56][58]

An SBA List project, “Votes Have Consequences”, was headed by former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave and was aimed at defeating vulnerable candidates in 2010 who did not vote pro-life on key issues, such as health care reform.[59] Under this project, the group endorsed Dan Coats of Indiana for Senate against Rep. Brad Ellsworth, who had voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[60] In January 2011, along with Americans for Tax Reform and The Daily Caller, the organization sponsored a debate between candidates for chair of the Republican National Committee.[61]

Peter Roff writing for U.S. News and World Report credited the SBA List for the passage in the House of an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood of federal dollars for fiscal year 2011.[62] Writing for In These Times, social media activist Sady Doyle wrote that in striving against Planned Parenthood, the SBA List registered its priority as ending abortion rather than helping women prevent unwanted pregnancies.[63]

In March 2011, the SBA List teamed with Live Action for a bus tour through 13 congressional districts either thanking or condemning their representatives for their votes to defund Planned Parenthood of tax dollars in the Pence Amendment. In response, Planned Parenthood launched its own tour to follow the SBA List bus.[64] The SBA List also bought $200,000 in radio and television ads backing six Republicans who voted to defund Planned Parenthood in response to a $200,000 ad buy by Planned Parenthood against the Pence Amendment.[65]

In July 2011, the SBA List held a rally in New Hampshire supporting the New Hampshire Executive Council‘s decision to cut off state funding for Planned Parenthood.[66] Spokeswoman Marilyn Musgrave, a former United States congresswoman, said the Council’s decision “really will save unborn lives”.[66] The SBA List has lobbied for passage of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a federal bill which would ban abortions after 20 weeks.[67] Also in 2011, the SBA List founded the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Named after Charlotte Denman Lozier, the Institute has served as the SBA List’s research and education institute ever since.[68]

Strategies

The SBA List employs many strategies in order to attract the public to its mission. Lawyer and Scholar Tali Leinwand explains that the SBA List encourages Republicans not to endorse personhood amendments, and attempts to link the pro-life movement to less controversial causes like opposition to the Affordable Care Act.[69] These strategies, Leinwand argues, attempt to de-stigmatize the pro-life movement.[69]

Elections

The SBA List Candidate Fund primarily endorses pro-life women, and pro-life men running against pro-choice women.[70]

2006 elections

The 2006 midterm elections were very successful for the SBA list. They won 21 of the 38 contests that they endorsed.[71]

2008 presidential election

Sarah Palin on the campaign trail in 2008

The SBA List gained renewed attention during the 2008 presidential election following Sarah Palin‘s nomination for Vice President. They had endorsed her 2006 run for governor of Alaska.[72] In 2008, the SBA List also started a social networking site and blog called “Team Sarah”, which is “dedicated to advancing the values that Sarah Palin represents in the political process”.[73]

Palin headlined the organization’s 2010 “Celebration of Life” breakfast fundraiser, an event which got extensive media coverage and in which she coined the term “mama grizzly“.[74][75][76][77]

According to Politico, Palin’s criteria for endorsing candidates is whether they have the support of the Tea Party movement and whether they have the support of the SBA List.[78]

2009 elections

In September 2009, in a special election to fill an empty House seat in upstate New York, the group endorsed the pro-life third-party Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman over the pro-choice Republican candidate, Dede Scozzafava, on the stated basis that Scozzafava was an “abortion radical who does not represent the views of the growing majority of pro-life American women”.[79][80] The SBA List joined forces with the National Organization for Marriage in support of Hoffman, spending over $100,000[81] printing literature, making phone calls, and flooding the district with volunteers from across the country.[82]

2010 elections

For the 2010 elections, the SBA List planned to spend $6 million[83] (including $3 million solely on U.S. Senate races[84]) and endorsed several dozen candidates.[85] The SBA List spent nearly $1.7 million on independent expenditure campaigns for or against 50 candidates.[86]

The SBA List conducted a 23-city bus tour to the Congressional districts of self-described pro-life Democrats in OhioIndiana and Pennsylvania who voted for the health care reform bill and to rally supporters to vote them out.[87][88][89] The bus tour attracted counterprotests at some stops, such as one in Pennsylvania where a group called Catholics United accused the SBA List of lying about health care reform.[90]

The organization launched a “Life Speaking Out” petition to urge the Republican Party to include opposition to abortion in its Pledge to America.[91][92] The petition was sent with over 20,000 signatures on it.[93][94]

The organization especially focused on the California Senate race where Carly Fiorina challenged incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer.[95] The group spent $200,000 in support of Fiorina’s campaign during the Republican primary and expected to spend another $1 million for the general election campaign against Boxer.[96] The SBA List partnered with the National Organization for Marriage to air Spanish language TV commercials attacking Boxer’s positions on abortion and gay marriage.[97] The two groups bought $200,000 worth of airtime for the commercial to air in the markets of Los AngelesFresno, and San Diego.[98] However, Boxer prevailed over Fiorina in the November 2010 election.[99]

Other notable endorsements included Sharron Angle, who unsuccessfully[100] challenged incumbent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada; the SBA List endorsed Angle despite having previously endorsed Angle’s primary opponent, Sue Lowden.[101][102] In September 2010, the SBA List launched a $150,000 campaign on behalf of New Hampshire Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte for the Republican primary.[103] Ayotte won the primary to become the nominee,[104] and later prevailed in the general election.[105] In October 2010, the SBA List endorsed Joe Miller, Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Alaska.[106] The SBA List endorsed Miller after Sen. Lisa Murkowski decided to stage a write-in campaign after losing the Republican primary to Miller, and they launched a $10,000 radio campaign to air ads attacking Murkowski for turning a “deaf ear” to the will of voters who voted her out in the primary.[107] Murkowski defeated Miller, who conceded after two months of court battles over contested ballots.[108] 36 of the SBA List’s 2010 endorsed candidates were elected.[109]

Driehaus political ad litigation

In the 2010 campaign, the organization purchased billboard advertisements in the district of Rep. Steve Driehaus of Ohio that showed a photo of Driehaus and intoned, “Shame on Steve Driehaus! Driehaus voted FOR taxpayer-funded abortion”[110] The advertisement referred to Driehaus’s vote in favor of the health care overhaul bill.[111][112] The SBA List has taken the position that the legislation in question allows for taxpayer-funded abortion, a claim which was ruled by a judge to be factually incorrect.[113]

In response, Driehaus, who represented Ohio’s heavily pro-life[110] 1st congressional district, filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission (OEC), claiming the advertisements were false and violated Ohio election law.[114] The OEC ruled in Driehaus’ favor in a probable cause hearing on October 14, 2010.[115] In response, the SBA List asked a federal judge to issue an injunction against the OEC on the grounds that the law at issue stifles free speech[114][116] and that its ads were based on the group’s own interpretation of the law.[113] The ACLU of Ohio filed an 18-page amicus brief on the SBA List’s behalf, arguing that the Ohio law in question is “unconstitutionally vague” and has a “chilling” effect on the SBA List’s right to freedom of speech.[117][118] A federal judge rejected the SBA List’s federal lawsuit on abstention grounds and allowed Driehaus’s OEC complaint to move forward.[111][119]

After the OEC complaint was filed, the SBA List began airing a radio ad in Driehaus’s district in which Dannenfelser stated that the group “[would] not be silenced or intimidated” by Driehaus’s legal action.[120] Driehaus persuaded the billboard company to withdraw the SBA List’s advertisement, which was never erected.[112] Driehaus lost the seat to Steve Chabot, the incumbent whom Driehaus had defeated two years earlier, in the November general election. Driehaus sued the SBA List in a second case on December 3, 2010, accusing the organization of defamation that caused him a “loss of livelihood”,[121] arguing the “First Amendment is not and never has been an invitation to concoct falsehoods aimed at depriving a person of his livelihood”.[112] The SBA List countered by stating the organization would “continue to defend the truth and the right to criticize our elected officials”.[112]

The List continued to seek to have the law in question overturned; the ACLU joined in the organization’s fight against the law.[122] On August 1, 2011, judge Timothy Black dismissed the SBA List’s challenge to the Ohio law, holding that the federal court lacked jurisdiction since the billboards were never erected and the OEC never made a final ruling[123] and denied a motion for summary judgment by the List in the defamation case, allowing Driehaus’s defamation claims regarding other SBA List statements to go forward.[124] Black also directed the SBA List to desist from claiming on its website that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) subsidized abortion as the law does not directly mention abortion.[125] SBA List argued that its statements were opinions and were thus protected, but the court rejected this argument given that SBA List itself had claimed that this was a “fact”.[126][127]

On August 19, 2011, the SBA List appealed the decision on the Ohio law to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.[128] In May 2013, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the SBA List could not challenge the law under the First Amendment.[129] On August 9, 2013, the SBA List petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review the law.[130][131] On January 10, 2014, the Supreme Court accepted the case. The Court heard the case on April 22, 2014.[132]

On June 16, 2014, the United States Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in SBA List’s favor, allowing them to proceed in challenging the constitutionality of the law.[133]

On September 11, 2014, Judge Timothy Black of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio struck down the law as unconstitutional.[134] Black said in his ruling, “We do not want the government (i. e., the Ohio Elections Commission) deciding what is political truth — for fear that the government might persecute those who criticize it. Instead, in a democracy, the voters should decide.”[135]

2011 elections

In October 2011, the SBA List announced it would involve itself in the 2011 Virginia state Senate elections, endorsing challengers Bryce Reeves against Edd HouckCaren Merrick against Barbara Favola for an open seat, Patricia Phillips against Mark Herring, and incumbent Sen. Jill Vogel in an effort to give control of the Senate to pro-lifers to stop the state Senate from being a “graveyard for pro-life legislation”.[136] It also announced it was spending $25,000 against Sen. Edd Houck to expose his “extreme record on abortion”.[137]Merrick and Phillips lost, but Vogel won re-election and Reeves defeated Houck by just 222 votes.[138]

2012 presidential election

In June 2011, the SBA List unveiled a pro-life pledge for 2012 Republican presidential candidates in which signers commit to appointing only pro-life judicial nominees and cabinet members, preventing taxpayer funding of abortion, and supporting legislation to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the fetal pain concept.[139] Candidates Rick PerryTim PawlentyMichele BachmannNewt GingrichRick SantorumThaddeus McCotterHerman Cain, and Ron Paul all signed the pledge, but Mitt RomneyJon Huntsman, Jr., and Gary Johnson declined. Romney’s refusal (he said the pledge might have “unintended consequences”) sparked heated criticism from the SBA List, some of the other candidates, and political observers given Romney’s past support for legalized abortion.[139][140][141] Huntsman said he would not sign any pledges from political groups during the campaign[142] and was criticized by the SBA List as well.[142] Cain initially said he agreed with the first three parts, but objected to the wording in the pledge which said he would have to “advance” the fetal pain bill; he said he would sign it but Congress would have to advance it.[143] Cain later signed the pledge in November 2011.[144] Johnson, who is pro-choice, declined.

The SBA List embarked on a Values Voter Bus Tour in Iowa with the Family Research Council and National Organization for Marriage from August 9–12, 2011, ending the day before the critical Iowa Straw Poll.[145] The tour visited 22 cities and was joined by Pawlenty, Bachmann, and Santorum as well as Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert, among other “state and national leaders”.[145][146]

The SBA supported Rick Santorum in the 2012 Republican Party Presidential Nomination by buying $150,000 of advertising for the candidate in Michigan, and organizing a bus tour for the Santorum and his campaign throughout Michigan.[147] After Mitt Romney became the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, the SBA List declared that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was unqualified for Vice President due to her describing herself as “mildly pro-choice”.[148][149]

In August, SBA released an ad featuring pro-life activist Melissa Ohden who says she survived an abortion in 1977. The ad criticized Barack Obama, claiming that while serving in the Illinois Senate, he voted four times to deny medical care to infants born alive during failed abortion procedures.[150][151] In a 2008 analysis, FactCheck drew a mixed conclusion overall, finding both the SBA List and Obama had made misleading and/or inaccurate comments regarding Obama’s voting record on the topic in question while he served in the United States Senate.[150][152]

2013 Virginia gubernatorial election

The SBA List made the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial election a priority for 2013, endorsing Ken Cuccinelli and pledging to spend $1.5 million in the election through its Virginia PAC, Women Speak Out. Cuccinelli was defeated narrowly in the general election by the pro-choice Democrat, Terry McAuliffe.[153][154]

2014 elections

The SBA List is seeking to spend $8 million to $10 million on elections in 2014.[155]

2016 elections

The SBA List spent $18 million in the 2016 elections.[156]

2017 elections

The SBA List endorsed Greg Gianforte in the special election for Montana’s at-large congressional seat in May 2017, and knocked on 31,000 doors to drive voter turnout in the election.[157] SBAL also endorsed Karen Handel in the June 2017 special election for Georgia’s 6th congressional district, spending $90,000 to support Handel.[158]

2018 elections

The SBA List typically endorses Republicans, but in 2018 they endorsed Democrat Dan Lipinski in a primary election against a pro-choice woman named Marie Newman, spending six figures on advertising, direct mail, and a 70-person canvassing team to turn out voters for Lipinski in the primary in March 2018.[159][160] Lipinski is one of the few Democrats left that the group considers an ally, and Dannenfelser called him “a pro-life hero of legendary courage and integrity”.[161][159] According to an SBA List spokeswoman, the group told Lipinski after he voted against the Affordable Care Act due to concerns over taxpayer funding of abortion that they would always be there to fight for him if he ever came under fire,” and said Lipinski “is the model for how we want pro-life Democrats to act in Congress, to choose pro-life principles over party when those two things clash.”[161] Lipinski won the primary by roughly 2,000 votes, and the SBA List, which knocked on 17,000 doors in the district to support Lipinski,[162] was credited with helping to pull him across the finish line.[163][161]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_B._Anthony_List

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018, Story 1: Devin Nunes, Chairman of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,   Warns Attorney General Sessions of Contempt of Congress if  Doesn’t Comply with Subpoena — Cover-up and Stonewalling At Department of Justice To Protect Who? — Embarrassing and Criminal Activity of FBI and DOJ Employees — President Trump Should Order Declassification and Release of All Documents Under Congressional Subpoena — Clean Up Obama’s Mess at DOJ and FBI — American People Demand It —  Videos — Story 2 : First Lady Melania Trump’s Be Best Initiative — Videos — Story 3: Iran and Obama Lied To American People — President Trump’s Goal: Stop Nuclear Proliferation in Far East and Middle East By Diplomacy, Negotiation or Military Means — Videos

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Story 1: Devin Nunes, Chairman of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,   Warns Attorney General Sessions of Contempt of Congress if  Doesn’t Comply with Subpoena — Cover-up and Stonewalling At Department of Justice To Protect Who? — Embarrassing and Criminal Activity of FBI and DOJ Employees — President Trump Should Order Declassification and Release of All Documents Under Congressional Subpoena — Clean Up Obama’s Mess at DOJ and FBI — American People Demand It —  Videos —

Rep. Nunes discusses DOJ stonewalling

Tucker: Democrats want to impeach Trump, but lie about it

Nunes warns of contempt of Congress if Sessions doesn’t comply with subpoena

Rep. Nunes threatens AG sessions with contempt of Congress

Devin Nunes should hold Sessions in contempt of Congress: Rep. DeSantis

Rep. Dave Brat on GOP vs. DOJ

Robert Mueller on the defensive after a bad week in court?

The Ingraham Angle 5/7/18 | Breaking Fox News | May 7, 2018

Time for Mueller to show his cards: Fmr. Prosecutor Andrew McCarthy

Mueller probe is investigating people looking for crimes: Marc Lotter

Nunes: Documents about Flynn show Comey has been lying

Tucker: What’s at stake in the Rosenstein battle

Freedom Caucus members draft Rosenstein impeachment articles

“You’re Out of Order!” Nunes Is the Only Person Who Cares About FISA Abuse and Must Be Congratulated

Tucker Carlson Tonight 5/7/18 | Breaking Fox News | May 7, 2018

Outrageous Redactions to the Russia Report

Michael Flynn departs a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., December 1, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The FBI and DOJ have been burying the investigators’ questionable judgments and information helpful to Flynn.Cute how this works: Kick off the week with some “the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted” bombast from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, by which he rationalizes that his defiance of subpoenas and slow-walking document production to Congress — which is probing investigative irregularities related to the 2016 campaign — is required by DOJ policy and “the rule of law.” Then end the week with the Friday-night bad-news dump: the grudging removal of DOJ and FBI redactions from a House Intelligence Committee report on Russia’s election meddling.

Now that we can see what they wanted to conceal, it is clear, yet again, that the Justice Department and the FBI cannot be trusted to decide what the public gets to learn about their decision-making.

They tell us that their lack of transparency is necessary for the protection of national security, vital intelligence, and investigative operations. But what we find out is that they were concealing their own questionable judgments and conflicting explanations for their actions; their use of foreign-intelligence and criminal-investigative authorities to investigate Michael Flynn, Trump’s top campaign supporter and former national-security adviser; and their explicitly stated belief that Flynn did not lie in the FBI interview for which Special Counsel Robert Mueller has since prosecuted him on false-statements charges.

It is simply ridiculous for President Trump to continue bloviating about this situation on Twitter and in friendly media interviews, and for congressional Republicans to continue pretending that the problem is Justice Department and FBI leadership — as if Trump were not responsible for his own administration’s actions. The president has not only the authority but the duty to ensure that his subordinates honor lawful disclosure requests from Congress.

What happened with these redactions is inexcusable.

BACKGROUND

A little over a week ago, the House committee chaired by Representative Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) published its lengthy report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The report was actually completed weeks earlier but was withheld while the committee battled to disclose information that the Justice Department and FBI insisted on blacking out. As usual, the DOJ claimed that the declassification and release of the information would damage investigations and national security. No, it wouldn’t, countered Chairmen Nunes and other Republicans who knew what had been redacted.

When the Comey memos were finally disclosed, we learned that there was no investigative or national-security reason to have concealed them.

This has become a depressingly familiar dance. Justice and the Bureau previously insisted that the sky would fall if Congress forced the release of an Intelligence Committee report on government abuse of foreign-intelligence surveillance powers. To the contrary, we learned that the FBI and DOJ had used the unverified Steele dossier to obtain surveillance warrants on at least one person tied to the Trump campaign, in contravention of express guidelines that “only documented and verified information may be used to support FBI applications to the [FISA] court” (see Nunes’s March 1 letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions). In addition, we learned that the FISA court was not told that the dossier was a Clinton campaign opposition-research project, and that its author, Christopher Steele, had been terminated as an informant for lying to the FBI about his contacts with the media.

More recently, the FBI severely restricted access to former FBI director James Comey’s memos of his meetings with President Trump. Finally, three congressional committees protested that there was no legal basis for such restriction. When the memos were finally disclosed, we learned that there was no investigative or national-security reason to have concealed them. They did, however, provide greater insight about such matters as how a briefing of then-president-elect Trump on a salacious sliver of the dossier (but not on its sensational allegations of a traitorous conspiracy with the Kremlin) led to an intelligence-community leak about the briefing and the consequent media publication of the dossier — the backbone of the media-Democratic “collusion with Russia” narrative. (See Mollie Hemingway’s analysis at The Federalist.)

That leads us to last Friday’s disclosure of some — but not nearly all — previously redacted sections of the Intelligence Committee’s Russia Report.

COMEY VS. THE COMMITTEE: DID AGENTS BELIEVE FLYNN LIED?

When the House first issued its report on the Russia investigation, a heavily redacted portion (pp. 53–54) related that Trump’s original national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, had pled guilty to a false-statements charge based on misleading statements to FBI agents about his December 2016 conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The report explained that Flynn had been rebuffed by Kislyak when, based on instructions from the Trump transition team, Flynn asked Russia to refrain from voting in favor of a U.N. resolution condemning Israel. Flynn also discussed with the transition team what, if anything, he should communicate to Kislyak about Trump’s position on the sanctions that President Obama had imposed on Russia over its interference in the 2016 election.

None of this was new information. Indeed, the committee noted that it was drawn from public court filings by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in connection with Flynn’s guilty plea. But there was one intriguing disclosure in the redacted report: Flynn pled guilty “even though the [FBI] agents did not detect any deception during Flynn’s interview.” There was no elaboration on this point — no discussion of why Flynn was interrogated by FBI agents in the first place; no insight on deliberations within the FBI and Justice Department about whether Flynn had deceptive intent; no explanation of how he came to be charged months later by Mueller’s prosecutors even though the trained investigators who observed Flynn’s demeanor during the interview did not believe he’d lied.

This news that Flynn’s interrogators had not sensed deception was not altogether new. It had been reported that then–FBI director James Comey had made this revelation in closed-session testimony before the committee on March 2, 2017. (See my column.) Yet, during media interviews to promote his just-released memoir, Comey — who has rebuked the House Intelligence Committee report as an effort to tear down our law-enforcement institutions — repeatedly expressed bafflement that anyone could possibly have construed his testimony to imply that the agents believed Flynn had not lied. Byron York recounts the interviews at the Washington Examiner. In one, Comey told ABC host and Clinton pal George Stephanopoulos:

I don’t know where that’s coming from. . . . That — unless I’m — I said something that people misunderstood, I don’t remember even intending to say that. So, my recollection is I never said that to anybody.

The now-unredacted passages reveal that top Obama DOJ and FBI officials provided the committee with ‘conflicting testimony’ about why the FBI interviewed Flynn as if he were a criminal suspect.

Well, shortly after the redactions were lifted late on Friday, The Federalist’s Sean Davis got busy on Twitter, posting side-by-side comparisons of the original heavily redacted pages and the new, more transparent version. The disclosures are stunning. I know this will amaze you, but it turns out the redactions had absolutely nothing to do with concerns about the need to protect national security or pending investigations. Instead, the now-unredacted passages:

  • Elaborate on why the FBI did not believe Flynn had lied, including quotations from Comey’s testimony.
  • Reveal that for some period of time during 2016, the FBI conducted a counterintelligence (CI) investigation of Flynn.
  • Note that top Obama Justice Department and FBI officials provided the committee with “conflicting testimony” about why the FBI interviewed Flynn as if he were a criminal suspect.
  • Illustrate that the FBI and Justice Department originally insisted on concealment of facts helpful to Flynn that are already public.

 

COUNTERINTELLIGENCE INVESTIGATION OF FLYNN

The now-unredacted passages relate that, for some period of time during 2016, the FBI was conducting a “CI investigation into General Flynn.” It was Comey’s recollection that he had “authorized the closure” of that investigation “by late December 2016.”

As we have discussed in connection with Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser against whom the Obama Justice Department obtained FISA surveillance warrants, a CI investigation on an American citizen proceeds on the suspicion that the citizen is an agent of a foreign power whose clandestine activities violate federal criminal law. That is, it appears possible (if not likely) that the Justice Department was operating on the theory that Flynn — a decorated combat veteran and co-author of a 2016 book that brands Russia as an implacable enemy of the United States — was an agent of the Kremlin.

At some point, moreover, Justice rationalized the investigation into Flynn, at least in part, by relying on the Logan Act. An almost surely unconstitutional 18th-century statute, the Logan Act purports to prohibit Americans from unauthorized freelancing in foreign-policy. It has never been successfully used to prosecute anyone. (Compare then-director Comey’s July 5, 2016, press conference and subsequent testimony, in which he theorized that charging Hillary Clinton for a rarely prosecuted classified-information offense would violate Justice Department policy against selective prosecution.)

The startling fact that there was a CI investigation of Flynn does not, of course, tell us on what evidence suspicions against him were based. As I’ve previously contended (when it was not known that there was a CI investigation, but it was apparent that Flynn had been seen as a criminal suspect), there are profound reasons to question the legitimacy of Flynn’s treatment.

Notwithstanding Friday night’s unveiling of blacked-out passages, the report still contains redacted paragraphs about Flynn. Two of them (on pp. 52–53) sandwich a passage about a business trip Flynn took to Moscow in late 2015 (seven months before he branded Russia a committed enemy in his book). The trip followed a visit to Kislyak by Flynn and his son at the ambassador’s Washington residence.

Though not mentioned in the unredacted passage, it has been reported that Flynn was paid more than $45,000 by Russia’s state-owned propaganda network, RT, for a speech he gave while in Moscow — an event at which he sat next to President Vladimir Putin. On the current state of disclosure, we do not know how, if at all, this incident played into the decision to investigate Flynn. Neither do we know whether the FBI and Justice Department took any action when former President Bill Clinton received $500,000  from a Kremlin-connected bank for a short speech delivered in 2010 on a trip to Russia, during which he met with Putin — even as his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was among the U.S. officials considering and ultimately green-lighting Russia’s effort to acquire rights to one-fifth of America’s uranium stock.

The suggestion that Flynn’s post-election contacts with Russia were improper, let alone unlawful, is absurd. Flynn was the designated national-security adviser for the incoming administration and a key member of the Trump transition team. To have communications with officials of foreign governments was a legitimate and necessary part of his job.

It is worth noting that Flynn had been fired by Obama from his post as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and is despised by Obama intelligence officials for having become an ardent public adversary against Obama’s national-security policy, most prominently as candidate Trump’s most visible supporter. The interest of Obama’s DOJ and FBI in Flynn appears to have intensified after Trump won the election, when Flynn was presumed to be laying groundwork to reverse Obama’s positions — as Trump promised to do throughout the campaign.

While it is only natural that Obama officials would seethe over Flynn’s ascendancy, the suggestion that his post-election contacts with Russia were improper, let alone unlawful, is absurd. Flynn was the designated national-security adviser for the incoming administration and a key member of the Trump transition team. To have communications with officials of foreign governments was a legitimate and necessary part of his job. Plus, Kislyak was a foreign agent subject to FISA surveillance, so the FBI had recordings of his communications with Flynn and knew that Flynn had done nothing improper. (It has been presumed that Flynn’s communications with Kislyak were intercepted because Kislyak, not Flynn, was the subject of a FISA warrant; now, with confirmation that Flynn was the subject of a counterintelligence investigation, we may need to revisit that presumption.)

Whatever prompted the CI investigation of Flynn, the now-unredacted passages of the report recount that it had come to nothing by the end of 2016. The FBI’s former deputy director, Andrew McCabe, told the committee that “we really had not substantiated anything particularly significant against General Flynn.” As noted above, Comey stated that he had approved the closure of the investigation in late December. It seems strange that the file was not closed at that time. Comey indicated that it was “kept open due to the public discrepancy surrounding General Flynn’s communications with Kislyak.” But that “discrepancy” did not arise until mid January, as Trump’s inauguration neared.

It was not much of a discrepancy, which no doubt factored into the interviewing agents’ perception that Flynn did not make intentional misstatements. To the Obama Justice Department, the pressing matter was whether Flynn had promised the Russian ambassador that Trump would undo the sanctions and other penalties Obama had imposed on December 29. The recorded phone call between Flynn and Kislyak proved that Flynn had made no such commitment.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, what do you suppose the FBI wanted redacted from the report? If you guessed “the paragraph describing the Flynn-Kislyak phone call,” you have caught on to how this wretched game is played. Here’s the paragraph that was originally blacked out:

In the call between General Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak, General Flynn “requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. sanctions in a reciprocal manner.” [Endnote (EN) 90] Russia decided not to reciprocate, which eventually led senior U.S. government officials to try to understand why. [There follows a passage of about two lines followed by EN 91, both redacted.] In a subsequent call with General Flynn, Ambassador Kislyak attributed the action to General Flynn’s request. [EN 92]

I’ve left in the endnotes (report, p. 58) because they confirm that the information in this paragraph comes from a document submitted to the court by Special Counsel Mueller when Flynn pled guilty. (See Statement of the Offense, p. 3, paras. e–g.) It is a public document. To be sure, there is a classified sentence in the middle of the paragraph that may well relate to steps senior U.S. officials took to try to understand Putin’s motive for refraining from retaliating against Obama’s sanctions. But what conceivable good reason can there have been for the FBI and Justice Department to redact from the report information that was already publicly disclosed? Why black out public information showing that Flynn merely did what any Obama official, or any other U.S. official, would have done — namely, suggest that Russia would only make things worse by escalating the dispute?

Is it because this action, simply communicating with the Russian ambassador, is the real reason Flynn was prosecuted?

Yes, yes, I know — technically, Flynn was prosecuted for making false statements about the conversation, not for having the conversation. Obama officials had hoped to nail Flynn on a heinous crime — a corrupt deal to drop the sanctions as a quid pro quo for Putin’s election-meddling that purportedly helped Trump win. Instead, all they could show was a trivial misstep: Flynn’s failure to acknowledge that sanctions were mentioned in his conversation with Kislyak — a mention so innocuous that the FBI couldn’t decide whether Flynn’s failure to describe it was a lie or an innocent failure of recollection.

Is this misstatement really why Flynn was pursued? I don’t think so. Obama officials hounded Flynn because, to this day, they remain vindictive toward political opponents who dared to engage in foreign affairs while Obama was still president. Democrats today are cheering former Secretary of State John Kerry’s rallying of foreign governments against President Trump’s determination to undo Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. They make no mention of possible violations of the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from acting on behalf of the U.S. in foreign-policy matters. Apparently, the Logan Act, which has never been successfully used to prosecute anyone, is alive and well only when it comes to General Flynn.

Testifying before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee in May 2017, former acting attorney general Sally Yates — the same Sally Yates fired by Trump for insubordination over her refusal to execute his so-call travel-ban — explained that it was she who alerted Trump White House Counsel Don McGahn about problems with Flynn. She told him that Flynn’s claim that there had been no discussion of sanctions with Kislyak — an assertion later repeated by Vice President Pence, among other Trump officials, in public statements — was wrong.

Yates stressed, however, that “the first thing we did was to explain to Mr. McGahn that the underlying conduct that General Flynn engaged in was problematic in and of itself.

The underlying conduct. Get it? For Obama officials, the real “crime” was that Flynn was talking to Kislyak in the first place — the Logan Act.

As I’ve previously noted, since this prosecution theory doesn’t pass the laugh test, Obama officials conjured up an alternative “blackmail” theory that is even more ludicrous than the Logan Act bunkum. As Yates told the subcommittee (with a straight face, no less) Russia had “leverage” over Trump’s national-security adviser because the Kremlin knew that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Kislyak and, hence, must have lied to Pence — a lie Putin could threaten to reveal unless Flynn did his bidding.

Your average high-school student would readily grasp how silly this is. First, Flynn and Russia also knew that the U.S. intelligence services had a recording of Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak. Blackmail only works if the compromising information is secret. The very fact that Yates knew what was on the recording illustrates that Russia had no unique knowledge it could hope to exploit against Flynn. In fact, the Kremlin knew that so many American officials were aware of Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak that one of them had leaked it to the Washington Post’s David Ignatiustwo weeks before Yates met with McGahn.

Second, Russia would not have concluded that Flynn necessarily misled Pence just because Pence repeated an inaccuracy. Knowing that misinformation about diplomatic contacts is common, the Kremlin would probably have assumed that the fledgling Trump administration was telling a politically useful lie — the media and Democrats were so agitated about Obama’s sanctions that by merely mentioning them, a Trump official risked cries of “Treason!”

The newly unredacted passages in the House report recount that on January 24, “following a call from Deputy Director McCabe to General Flynn, made at the direction of Director Comey,” two agents were dispatched to speak to Flynn. (Though not identified in the House report, news coverage indicates that one of these agents was Peter Strzok, then chief of the Bureau’s counterespionage section.)

Three days into his job as national-security adviser, Flynn had been meeting with many government national-security agents. Strzok’s visit must have seemed routine. Having no notice that he was to be interrogated as a criminal suspect, Flynn spoke with the agents alone, without a lawyer. But why was he being treated as a suspect? The newly unredacted report elaborates:

The Committee received conflicting testimony from Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Yates, Director Comey, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General [Mary] McCord, and Deputy Director McCabe about whether the primary purpose of the interview was investigating potentially misleading statements to the Vice President, which the Vice President echoed publicly[,] about the content of those calls [EN 94, citing Yates]; a possible violation of the Logan Act [EN 95, citing Yates]; or a desire to obtain more information as part of the counterintelligence investigation into General Flynn. [EN 96, citing McCabe, who did not recall that Comey had authorized closing the counterintelligence investigation a month earlier.]

Ask yourself: Was this passage previously blacked out due to proper concerns about national security, or because the relevant officials couldn’t get their stories straight?

 

DID THE INTERVIEWING AGENTS BELIEVE FLYNN LIED TO THEM?

Interestingly, in her Senate testimony, Yates recalled that McGahn’s commonsense response, upon being told that the FBI had interviewed Flynn on January 24, 2017, was to ask how he did – i.e., did the agents think he lied? Yates primly told the senators that she, of course, had declined to answer that question — as if, having gone this far, she was suddenly concerned about political interference in an ongoing criminal investigation.

We learn from the newly unredacted paragraphs in the House report, however, that Yates had a more strategic reason for declining to answer: Her depiction to McGahn of a cunning, compromised national-security adviser who was a threat to the president would not have been much of a story if she had to admit that the FBI believed Flynn had not lied in his interview.

As earlier described, Comey has expressed bewilderment in recent media appearances over the Intelligence Committee’s assertion, based on his testimony, that interviewing agents did not believe Flynn lied. But now that the previously blacked-out passages have been unredacted, the Committee’s thinking is apparent. The report quotes Comey himself:

[T]he agents . . . discerned no physical indications of deception. They didn’t see any change in posture, in tone, in inflection, in eye contact. They saw nothing that indicated to them that he knew he was lying to them. [EN 97, citing then-Director Comey’s closed-session Committee testimony on March 2, 2017.]

To be fair to Comey, we have only this snippet of his testimony. Perhaps there are other sections that would put this passage in a different light. Perhaps he recalls saying something that has not been disclosed and that is more consistent with a conclusion that Flynn lied. That’s why, in addition to unredacting more of the report, there should be broad disclosure of the underlying testimony and interviews that are now classified.

There is no Department of Justice in the Constitution. It is an executive-branch component created by Congress, funded with taxpayer funds appropriated by Congress, and subject to congressional oversight.

At the moment, though, we know two things for sure: 1) Comey unambiguously stated that, at least initially, the agents did not find that Flynn had lied; and 2) as long as Comey was FBI director, Flynn was never charged with lying.

If anything, McCabe’s December 19, 2017, testimony (currently also under lock and key) was even more favorable to Flynn. The report’s newly unredacted passages quote him:

[The] conundrum that we faced on their return from the interview is that although [the agents] didn’t detect deception in the statements that [Flynn] made in the interview . . . the statements were inconsistent with our understanding of the conversation he had actually had with the [Russian] ambassador.

McCabe added, in another just unredacted passage:

The two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn’t think he was lying, [which] was not [a] great beginning of a false statement case.

 

CONCLUSION

There is no Department of Justice in the Constitution. It is an executive-branch component created by Congress, funded with taxpayer funds appropriated by Congress, and subject to congressional oversight to ensure that its operations are conducted in accordance with their statutory purposes. Because of the sensitivity of their law-enforcement and intelligence missions, the Justice Department and its premier agency, the FBI, are shown great deference when lawmakers make requests — or even demands — for information. Contrary to what Justice Department leadership apparently believes, this deference is not an entitlement. It is result of respect earned over time by an institution that — its proud alumni like to believe — has a tradition of dealing honorably and transparently with peer branches of government.

It is a fact of life that the precious commodity of a good reputation takes much less time to lose than to build.

Republican committees can carp all they like about Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. The buck stops with the president.

Story 2 : First Lady Melania Trump’s Be Best Initiative — Videos —

First Lady Melania Trump’s Initiative Launch

First Lady Melania Trump’s Initiative Launch

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Melania Trump On Her Life, Marriage And 2016 | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Melania Trump: I’m not a ‘yes’ person … I have thick skin

 

Melania Trump debuts ‘Be Best’ campaign for kids’ well-being

WASHINGTON (AP) – Melania Trump gave a splashy launch Monday to her public awareness campaign to help children, calling it “Be Best.” In a rare twist on their White House roles, she commanded the Rose Garden lectern while President Donald Trump watched from the audience.

The first lady said the “Be Best” campaign will focus on childhood well-being, social media use and opioid abuse.

“As a mother and as first lady, it concerns me that in today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions and oftentimes turn to forms of destructive or addictive behavior such as bullying, drug addiction or even suicide,” she said.

President Donald Trump kisses first lady Melania Trump following an event where Melania Trump announced her initiatives in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 7, 2018. The first lady gave her multipronged effort to promote the well-being of children a minimalist new motto: "BE BEST." The first lady formally launched her long-awaited initiative after more than a year of reading to children, learning about babies born addicted to drugs and hosting a White House conversation on cyberbullying. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump kisses first lady Melania Trump following an event where Melania Trump announced her initiatives in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 7, 2018. The first lady gave her multipronged effort to promote the well-being of children a minimalist new motto: “BE BEST.” The first lady formally launched her long-awaited initiative after more than a year of reading to children, learning about babies born addicted to drugs and hosting a White House conversation on cyberbullying. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

“I feel strongly that as adults, we can and should ‘be best’ at educating our children about the importance of a healthy and balanced life,” she added.

Trump embraced his wife after she finished her speech and kissed her cheeks five times in a rare public display of affection. They held hands as they walked into the Oval Office after Trump signed a proclamation declaring Monday as “Be Best” day.

“America is truly blessed to have a first lady who is so devoted to our country and to our children,” he said before signing the declaration.

The first lady kicked off the event as the White House pushed back against a published report that referenced rumors Mrs. Trump does not live with the president, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denouncing it as “outrageous” and “ridiculous.”

“The first lady lives here at the White House. We see her regularly,” Sanders told reporters. “I think that’s something that belongs in tabloid gossip, not on the front pages of The Washington Post. And I hope that they’ll do better next time.”

The first lady lived full-time in New York during the administration’s opening months so the couple’s son, Barron, now 12, would not have to change schools midyear. She and Barron moved into the White House last June and since then the first lady has gradually been raising her public profile.

Mrs. Trump joined her husband last month to host the prime minister of Japan for a two-day summit at the Trumps’ Florida estate, and the Trumps hosted the president of France at the White House on a three-day state visit, including a lavish state dinner. Mrs. Trump also represented the administration at the April funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush.

Mrs. Trump’s launch of her platform came as her husband faces questions over $130,000 in hush money paid by one of his attorneys to a porn actress who says she had sex with Trump in 2006. Trump has acknowledged reimbursing his lawyer for the payment to Stormy Daniels, but denies her allegations. Separately, a former Playboy model has revived her allegations of a 10-month affair with Trump in 2006. Trump also denies the allegations from Karen McDougal.

Such reports have kept the first lady’s relationship with her husband under intense scrutiny, and Mrs. Trump has, at times, has been noticeably absent from her husband’s side. But both made a point of displaying affection during the Rose Garden event.

A brief video that played before the first lady appeared recapped some of her public appearances with children. Several Cabinet members attended, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, along with Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen. The first lady’s mother, Amalija Knavs, was also in the audience.

During nearly 16 months as first lady, Mrs. Trump has demonstrated her interest in children. She visited young hospital patients in the U.S. and during overseas trips with the president, often reading to them and encouraging them to do their best.

Her interest in the opioid drug crisis has taken her to care centers and hospitals in West Virginia and Ohio to learn about the epidemic’s effect on babies born to mothers addicted to the powerful painkillers. She convened a White House roundtable on the issue last fall.

The first lady invited representatives of major online and social media companies to the White House in March to discuss internet safety, a meeting that came more than a year after she promised to use her White House platform to discourage cyberbullying. Her choice was ridiculed almost immediately, given her husband’s habit of name-calling on Twitter, but Mrs. Trump said at the meeting that she wouldn’t be discouraged from doing what she thinks is right.

Sanders also pushed back Monday against the notion that the president has worsened online bullying.

“When it comes to kids, this is something that has been problematic, and something that we have seen over the last decade,” Sanders said. “And the first lady sees it to be an important issue, and something that she wants to address.”

Written material distributed in support of the initiative includes a booklet adults can use to talk to children about being online. It is similar to one the Federal Trade Commission released during the Obama administration. A spokeswoman for the first lady said the agency asked Mrs. Trump to include the booklet in her materials. The agency also wrote a blog post thanking the first lady for distributing it.

Modern first ladies typically highlight personal causes.

Nancy Reagan encouraged kids to “Just Say No” to drugs, while Barbara Bush and Laura Bush emphasized literacy and education. Michelle Obama launched her “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity about a year after moving to the White House.

___

Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

First lady Melania Trump speaks on her initiatives during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 7, 2018, in Washington. The first lady gave her multipronged effort to promote the well-being of children a minimalist new motto: "BE BEST." The first lady formally launched her long-awaited initiative after more than a year of reading to children, learning about babies born addicted to drugs and hosting a White House conversation on cyberbullying. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

First lady Melania Trump speaks on her initiatives during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 7, 2018, in Washington. The first lady gave her multipronged effort to promote the well-being of children a minimalist new motto: “BE BEST.” The first lady formally launched her long-awaited initiative after more than a year of reading to children, learning about babies born addicted to drugs and hosting a White House conversation on cyberbullying. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump and First lady Melania Trump embrace during Melania's "Be Best" initiative event in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 7, 2018, in Washington. Sixteen months into the president's term, Melania Trump unveils plans for her initiatives to improve the well-being of children. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Donald Trump and First lady Melania Trump embrace during Melania’s “Be Best” initiative event in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 7, 2018, in Washington. Sixteen months into the president’s term, Melania Trump unveils plans for her initiatives to improve the well-being of children. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-5700877/Melania-Trump-launches-BE-BEST-awareness-campaign-kids.html#ixzz5EsCZB2RB

 

Looking their best! Melania Trump wears heavy $6,000 LEATHER trench to unveil her ‘Be Best’ campaign in the D.C. heat, while Ivanka looks ladylike in a white bell-sleeve top and shades

  • Melania, 48, launched her ‘Be Best’ initiative in the Rose Garden at the White House on Monday afternoon 
  • The first lady wore a tan Ralph Lauren jacket and a white pencil skirt to take the stage at the event attended by her husband, President Donald Trump 
  • Her stepdaughter Ivanka, 36, donned a white bell-sleeve top and a black belt
  • Ivanka’s husband, senior adviser Jared Kushner, Vice President Mike Pence, and Kellyanne Conway were also in attendance 
  • The goal of her public awareness campaign is to encourage parents and other adults to teach children how to be good citizens 

Although temperatures were in the high 70s, the 48-year-old first lady opted to wear a tan Ralph Lauren trench, pairing the heavy leather jacket with a white pencil skirt and matching Christian Louboutin pumps to unveil her long-awaited initiative focusing on the well-being of children.

Melania wore her highlighted brown hair loose around her shoulders, and she had a bright smile on her face as she addressed the audience at the event attended by her husband, President Donald Trump, and his daughter Ivanka.

Melania Trump launched her 'Be Best' initiative in the Rose Garden at the White House on Monday afternoon

The first lady wore a $5,990 Ralph Lauren trench jacket despite the soaring temperatures in Washington, D.C.

 FLOTUS unveiled her BE BEST platform and for the special occasion, Melania opted for one of her favorite American designers, Mr. Ralph Lauren.

Melania has worn Ralph Lauren on numerous occasions, most recently while on holiday in Florida. She favors the classic shapes and sophisticated palette that the brand always identifies with.

Shop Melania’s exact same leather trench jacket via Saks Fifth Avenue for a hefty $5990.

Should the near $6K price tag put you off, we have you covered with our more budget conscious picks that are just as chic as Melania’s.

Melania's stepdaughter Ivanka Trump attended the event wearing a white bell-sleeve top 

Melania’s stepdaughter Ivanka Trump attended the event wearing a white bell-sleeve top

Ivanka, 36, looked elegant in a white bell-sleeve top, which she cinched at the waist with a black belt.

The first daughter’s long blonde hair was styled in loose waves around her shoulders, and she donned dark sunglasses to shield her eyes from the afternoon sun.

As guests made their way to the Rose Garden, Ivanka mingled with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and the senior adviser appeared to be laughing during their chat.

Ivanka’s husband, senior adviser Jared Kushner, Vice President Mike Pence, and Kellyanne Conway were also in attendance.

After more than a year of reading to children, learning about babies born addicted to drugs, and hosting a White House conversation on cyberbullying, Melania took the stage to launch her ‘Be Best’ campaign on Monday afternoon.

The 38-year-old paired the leather trench with a white skirt and matching pump

Melania's Christian Louboutin pumps feature the brand's trademark red sole and retail for $775
Melania's Christian Louboutin pumps feature the brand's trademark red sole and retail for $775

Melania’s Christian Louboutin pumps feature the brand’s trademark red sole and retail for $775

Melania had a bright smile on her face as she addressed the audience on Monday 

Melania had a bright smile on her face as she addressed the audience on Monday

The first lady wore her highlighted brown hair loose around her shoulders

The first lady wore her highlighted brown hair loose around her shoulders

‘As a mother and as first lady, it concerns me that in today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions and often times turn to forms of destructive or addictive behavior such as bullying, drug addiction or even suicide,” she said in prepared remarks.

‘I feel strongly that as adults, we can and should “be best” at educating our children about the importance of a healthy and balanced life.’

The first lady said early on that she would focus on child well-being. The goal of her public awareness campaign is to encourage parents and other adults to teach children how to be good citizens, including being kind, not bullying on social media or anywhere else, staying away from drugs and taking care of themselves.

‘If we truly listen to what our kids have to say, whether it be their concerns or ideas, adults can provide them the support and tools they need to grow up to be happy and productive adults who contribute positively to society and their global communities,’ Melania said.

While the first lady was making the announcement, President Trump looked on from the audience before joining her on stage and giving her a kiss on the cheek.

Ivanka, 36, paired her white top with black pants and a black belt to cinch her waist 

Melania's husband, President Donald Trump, was in the front row when she unveiled her 'Be Best' initiative, which aims to encourage adults to teach children how to be good citizens

Melania’s husband, President Donald Trump, was in the front row when she unveiled her ‘Be Best’ initiative, which aims to encourage adults to teach children how to be good citizens

Trump clapped for his wife when he joined her on stage after her speech 

The president gave Melania a kiss on the cheek while taking the stage 

Melania wore very little jewelry aside from her diamond wedding band 

Melania wore very little jewelry aside from her diamond wedding band

In addition to sharing some words of his own, Trump signed a proclamation for ‘Be Best’ day while participating in the initiative launch.

Melania’s announcement comes as her husband remains under intense legal pressure from a special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The president is also facing questions over $130,000 in hush money paid by one of his attorneys to Stormy Daniels, a porn star who says she had sex with Trump in 2006. Trump denies her accusation.

During nearly 16 months as first lady, Melania demonstrated her interest in children by visiting with young hospital patients in the U.S. and during overseas trips with the president, often reading to them and encouraging them to do their best.

Her interest in the opioid drug crisis, developed during the presidential campaign, has taken her to care centers and hospitals in West Virginia and Ohio to learn about the epidemic’s effect on babies born to mothers addicted to the powerful painkillers. She convened a White House roundtable on the issue last fall.

Melania watched as Trump signed a proclamation for 'Be Best' day while participating in the initiative launch

Melania watched as Trump signed a proclamation for ‘Be Best’ day while participating in the initiative launch

Melania has demonstrated her interest in children over her past 16 months as first lady 

Melania and her husband held hands as they left the Rose Garden together 

Melania and her husband held hands as they left the Rose Garden together

In March, the first lady hosted representatives of the major online and social media companies at the White House to discuss cyberbullying and internet safety.

That meeting came more than a year after she promised to use her White House platform to discourage cyberbullying. Her choice was ridiculed almost immediately, given her husband’s longtime habit of calling people names on Twitter, but Melania said the criticism wouldn’t discourage her from doing what she thinks is right.

She said on Monday that social media is too often used in negative ways and that it is important for children to learn positive online behaviors at a young age.

‘I do believe that children should be both seen and heard, and it is our responsibility as adults to educate and remind them that when they are using their voices — whether verbally or online — they must choose their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion,’ she said.

Modern first ladies typically highlight personal causes, from Nancy Reagan’s campaign to get kids to ‘Just Say No’ to drugs to the emphasis the late Barbara Bush and her daughter-in-law Laura Bush placed on literacy and education.

Ivanka donned oversize black sunglasses throughout the event 

Ivanka donned oversize black sunglasses throughout the event

The 36-year-old  mingled with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos while guests were arriving 

Ivanka appeared to be laughing at something that was said during the chat 

When Ivanka lifted her arm, she revealed a red string tied around her wrist. It bears a resemblance to the type of red string Kabbalah practitioners wear to ward off the 'evil eye'

Michelle Obama launched her signature ‘Let’s Move’ campaign against childhood obesity about a year after moving to the White House.

Melania took a little more time to pull her initiative together. She did not live in the White House for the first five months of the administration to avoid having their son, Barron, now 12, change schools during the year. She has a smaller staff than her predecessors and only hired her policy director in January of this year.

The first lady plans said she will travel as part of the initiative.

Melania has achieved a new high in her personal approval rating – even as her husband battles the Stormy Daniels’ allegations and the Russia probe.

The first lady’s public approval rating hit 57 per cent in a new CNN poll, up ten percentage points from mid-January.

The first daughter cinched her waist with a black belt featuring a large buckle 

Ivanka gave Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross a kiss while greeting him at the launch

Ivanka gave Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross a kiss while greeting him at the launch

Ivanka's husband, senior adviser Jared Kushner (left), also attended the event 

The couple stood side-by-side while waiting for Melania to unveil her initiative 

Ivanka wore her long blonde hair in loose waves that flowed past her shoulders 

At the start of the year, the first lady’s approval rating was 47 per cent, with an unfavorable rating of 37 per cent. By contrast, her husband’s approval rating is at 42 percent in the latest fivethirtyeight average.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are living highly public – and mostly separate – lives.

‘They spend very little to no time together,’ a longtime friend of the president told the Washington Post, as Melania prepares to roll out her own White House initiatives to focus on children.

Although the pair are sometimes photographed smiling in public as when they attend joint events or board government aircraft en route to Mar-a-Lago, they spend considerable time apart.

They have separate bedrooms inside the White House, and Trump awakes at early hours to lob tweets at his rivals.

‘They are not that couple that holds hands just because; she is old-world European and it’s not who she is,’ said Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who previously held a volunteer White House. Her firm got paid $1.62 million for consulting and production related to Trump’s inauguration.

Ivanka's bell-sleeve top was perfect for the weather, which reached 76 degrees on Monday 

The first daughter topped off her outfit with large diamond stud earrings in her ears 

The first daughter topped off her outfit with large diamond stud earrings in her ears

Jared donned a navy suit, a light blue shirt, and a gray tie for his day at the White House 

Jared donned a navy suit, a light blue shirt, and a gray tie for his day at the White House

Jared, 37, was photographed speaking with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

Jared, 37, was photographed speaking with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

Melania’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, knocked down a ‘persistent rumor’ that the first lady doesn’t even live in the White House and stays with her parents near son Barron Trump’s school.

 ‘It’s 1,000 percent false. We laugh at it all the time,’ Grisham said. White House social secretary Rickie Niceta Lloyd called it an ‘urban legend.’

The two have carved out largely separate public lives. While the president makes regular appearances with his cabinet, staff aides, and world leaders, the first lady focuses on her own, less-frequent events.

When the couple travels to Florida for weekends, the only image of them together is frequently of them boarding and de-boarding an aircraft.

President Trump sent his wife birthday wishes during an appearance on Fox News last month where he said: ‘Maybe, I didn’t get her so much. I got her a beautiful card, you know I’m very busy to be running out looking for presents.’

She hasn’t spoken about the Stormy Daniels scandal that has rocked his administration.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is representing Trump, said he was ‘trying to help the family’ with a $130,000 payment to silence porn star. Daniels alleges she had a sexual affair with Trump while Melania was pregnant with Barron.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5701099/Melania-Ivanka-Trump-look-effortlessly-stylish-White-House-launch.html#ixzz5Ewi1WnVN

 

 

Story 3: Iran and Obama Lied To American People — President Trump’s Goal: Stop Nuclear Proliferation in Far East and Middle East By Diplomacy, Negotiation or Military Means — Videos

See the source image

Is the U.S. being pushed into a possible war with Iran?

Emily Landau: “Iran is strongly, strongly motivated to become a nuclear state”

Published on May 6, 2018

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See the source imageImage result for branco cartoons obama iran cash paymentsSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

 

Preventing a nuclear meltdown in the Middle East

Preventing a nuclear meltdown in the Middle East
© Getty Images

U.S. geopolitical and nuclear nonproliferation objectives are on a potential collision course as Saudi Arabia seeks to join the Middle East’s growing nuclear power club by soliciting bids for the construction of two reactors. An agreement between the two countries to allow U.S.-supplied nuclear technology to flow to the kingdom must limit nuclear weapons potential and serve geostrategic objectives.

With the nuclear supplier-recipient relationship lasting up to 100 years, it is important that the United States be a principal nuclear partner with Saudi Arabia. It can provide proven technology, strong regulatory capability, and has a long history of strengthening global nuclear governance and opposing proliferation, providing confidence in the Saudis’ nascent program.

But the pathway to achieving the balance between geopolitical and non-proliferation goals is fraught and the decision-making timeline short, presenting a significant challenge to the Trump administration that conducts the negotiations and the Congress that controls final approval.

If the United States insists that the Saudis renounce the possession of nuclear technologies that have dual civil and weapons uses the negotiations may fail, raising geopolitical and security concerns. If it relies on international norms and guidelines instead, they will need to be firmly enforced and strengthened or risk proliferation concerns.

A major worry about Saudi nuclear ambitions is that it will try to match Iran atom-for-atom by possessing uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons materials. While energy diversity is an underlying rationale for the shift from fossil to nuclear generation, a significant impetus is to respond to the nuclear advances by Iran, its regional competitor. Iran’s nuclear program is currently limited under a multilateral agreement because of its weapons implications, but important restrictions will expire in coming years.

The United States has several nuclear cooperation agreements with nations in the Middle East, including Egypt and Morocco, but the most recent one with the United Arab Emirates is significant. This agreement prohibits enrichment and reprocessing and is dubbed the “gold standard.” This restriction exists in only one other agreement, between Taiwan and the United States. But, post-9/11, it has been proposed as a new threshold for future U.S. nuclear collaboration in the Middle East and beyond.

The Saudis have indicated resistance to this restriction, although they have not stated an intention to enrich uranium and have not publicly expressed an interest in plutonium reprocessing.

A consequence of insistence on the “gold standard” is that it could push the Saudis away from American technology and into the embrace of Russia or China, whose reactors likely will come with fewer strings and a cheaper price. This would open the door to greater geopolitical influence by strategic competitors of the United States undermining its political, nonproliferation and security goals. The choice of South Korea to fill the Saudis’ order, as it did for UAE, could partly serve U.S. interests, but would still require a U.S.-Saudi agreement if controlled American componentry is involved.

An alternative to the “gold standard” requires that the United States focus on ensuring the effectiveness of other constraints. This includes enforcing the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) restrictions on the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technology if it may aid a weapons effort and closing loopholes that non-NSG nations could use to skirt the controls. The Saudis can enhance their nonproliferation credentials by accepting the Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. This would allow in-depth verification that its nuclear activities are peaceful.

Bilaterally, the United States maintains consent rights over the use and disposition of the nuclear fuel it provides. An additional step can be copied from the U.S.-South Korea nuclear pact, which faced similar pressures to provide access to weapons capable technologies. It allowed for a multi-year joint examination of a sensitive technology without pre-authorizing its use. A comparable approach would recognize the Saudis’ rights under the Nonproliferation Treaty but eliminate immediate concerns about weapon-grade materials in the kingdom.

Nuclear geopolitical and nonproliferation imperatives cannot be in conflict in the Middle East — both are critically important. There are serious concerns about the dangers posed by the production of weapon-grade materials in the region, including a potential Iran-Saudi nuclear arms race and the temptation for nuclear terrorism. There are equally real dangers that without a central U.S. role in the Saudi program nuclear and global security will suffer.

The balance between these goals can be found, but it will require creativity, compromise and a commitment to limit the inevitable imperfections.

Kenneth N. Luongo is president and founder of the Partnership for Global Security and the Center for a Secure Nuclear Future. He served from 1994-1997 as senior advisor to the Secretary of Energy for Nonproliferation Policy and simultaneously as the Department of Energy’s director of the Office of Arms Control and Nonproliferation.

http://thehill.com/opinion/international/375585-preventing-a-nuclear-meltdown-in-the-middle-east

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018, Story 1: U.S. Economy Growth Close to 3% With Higher Interest Rates and Federal Reserve Raising Fed Funds Target Rate By 2% Over Next Two Years– Gas and Oil Prices Rapidly Rising Again — Areas of Uncertainty Include Trade Dispute With China and Stopping Nuclear Proliferation in Far East and Middle East (North Korea and Iran) — Diplomacy or War? — Videos — Story 2: Rising Red Tidal Wave of Republican Victories in November 2018 — For High Taxes and Government Spending and Impeach Trump — Vote Democratic — Not A Winning Message — Videos — Story 3: President Trump’s First State Dinner — Videos

Posted on April 28, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, China, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, European History, European Union, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government Spending, Great Britain, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Investments, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Japan, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Middle East, Mike Pompeo, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, National Security Agency, Networking, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Russia, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Social Security, South Korea, Spying on American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Trade Policy, Trump Surveillance/Spying, U.S. Dollar, United Kingdom, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1054, March 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1053, March 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1052, March 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1051, March 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1050, March 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1049, March 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1048, March 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1047, March 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1046, March 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1045, March 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1044, March 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1043, March 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1041, February 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1040, February 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1039, February 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1038, February 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1037, February 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1036, February 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1030, February 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1025, January 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1024, January 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1023, January 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1022, January 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1021, January 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1020, January 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1019, January 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1018, January 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1017, January 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1016, January 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1015, January 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1014, January 8, 2018

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Chief Economist, Michael Carey, presents economic perspectives for the US

PETER SCHIFF – The Federal Reserve is Preparing Itself Against the Dismay of Disaster

Crude Oil Prices Hit 3 Year High

Why are oil prices so high?

Gas Prices On The Rise, Distressing Drivers | NBC Nightly News

Oil hits highest level in more than three years on falling supplies

Expect higher gas prices in 2018

Will the market end on a high note in 2018?

Larry Kudlow on tax law impact, China “trade dispute,” Abe summit

Spending growth the biggest risk to the US economy?

How to Enrich a Country: Free Trade or Protectionism?

Tariffs and Protectionism

Trump vs Friedman – Trade Policy Debate

Milton Friedman explains why Trump is wrong about Trade

Milton Friedman – Free Trade Vs Protectionism

Milton Friedman on Trade Balance and Tariffs

Murray Rothbard on Balance of Trade “Deficit”

Protectionism Smashed (by Murray Rothbard)

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index Increased in April
24 April, 2018

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® increased in April, following a decline in March. The Index now stands at 128.7 (1985=100), up from 127.0 in March. The Present Situation Index increased from 158.1 to 159.6, while the Expectations Index improved from 106.2 last month to 108.1 this month.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was April 12.

“Consumer confidence increased moderately in April after a decline in March,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved somewhat, with consumers rating both business and labor market conditions quite favorably. Consumers’ short-term expectations also improved, with the percent of consumers expecting their incomes to decline over the coming months reaching its lowest level since December 2000 (6.0 percent). Overall, confidence levels remain strong and suggest that the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace in the months ahead.”

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved modestly in April. The percentage saying business conditions are “good” decreased from 37.6 percent to 35.2 percent, however those claiming business conditions are “bad” also decreased, from 13.3 percent to 11.3 percent. Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also mixed. The percentage of consumers claiming jobs are “plentiful” declined from 39.5 percent to 38.1 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” also declined, from 15.7 percent to 15.2 percent.

Consumers were moderately more positive about the short-term outlook in April. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 23.2 percent to 24.5 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen decreased from 10.2 percent to 9.7 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also more positive. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 18.9 percent to 19.5 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs remained at 12.5 percent. Regarding their short-term income prospects, the percentage of consumers expecting an improvement was virtually unchanged at 23.1 percent, while the proportion expecting a decrease declined from 7.2 percent to 6.8 percent.

Source: April 2018 Consumer Confidence Survey®

The Conference Board / Release #6013

The Conference Board publishes the Consumer Confidence Index® at 10 a.m. ET on the last Tuesday of every month. Subscription information and the technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: https://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerdata.cfm.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE BOARD

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. Winner of the Consensus Economics 2016 Forecast Accuracy Award (U.S.), The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org

ABOUT NIELSEN

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services for all devices on which content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen also provides its clients with analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

https://www.conference-board.org/press/pressdetail.cfm?pressid=7414

U.S. consumer confidence, housing data highlight economy’s strength

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. consumer confidence rebounded in April and new home sales increased more than expected in March, pointing to underlying strength in the economy despite signs that growth slowed in the first quarter.

Other data on Tuesday also showed house prices increasing solidly in February. Strong consumer confidence and rising house prices should underpin consumer spending, which appears to have braked sharply at the start of the year.

“Americans appear to think the economy is headed in the right direction and it’s not just all talk because their greater confidence is leading them to buy more new homes,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.

“Everywhere you look confidence seems to be a rising tide that will lift all the boats.”

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index increased to a reading of 128.7 this month from a downwardly revised 127.0 in March. The index was previously reported at 127.7 in March. Confidence raced to more than a 17-year high of 130.0 in February.

Consumers’ short-term expectations also improved in April, with the share of those expecting their incomes to decline over the coming months reaching its lowest level since December 2000. But the survey’s so-called labor market differential, derived from data on respondents’ views on whether jobs are plentiful or hard to get, fell to 22.9 from 23.8 in March.

That measure closely correlates to the unemployment rate in the Labor Department’s employment report. The jobless rate has been stuck at 4.1 percent for six straight months.

The economy added 103,000 jobs in March, the fewest in six month. Though economists shrugged off the modest job gains as payback after February’s outsized increase in hiring, they also acknowledged that employment growth was slowing.

“We have now seen two straight months of weakening in the labor market differential since the high for the cycle to date that was reached in February,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York. “Several other labor market indicators have also cooled off over the past month or so.”

Consumer confidence has remained strong despite stock market volatility, which was in part triggered by fears of a trade war between the United States and China, as well as geopolitical worries. In April, confidence was high among households with an annual income below $25,000 and those in the $75,000-$125,000 bracket.

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data.

Stocks on Wall Street reversed earlier gains as the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note breached 3 percent for the first time in more than four years.

Prices of U.S. Treasuries were mostly trading lower while the dollar .DXY dipped against a basket of currencies.

Adding to the report’s strength, February’s sales pace was revised up to 667,000 units from the previously reported 618,000 units. Data for January was also revised to show sales unchanged instead of declining 4.7 percent.

New home sales, which account for 11 percent of housing market sales, jumped 8.8 percent from a year ago.

While the bullish new home sales report did little to change economists’ expectations that residential investment fell in the first quarter, it supported the view that an anticipated economic growth slowdown during that period would be temporary.

Gross domestic product estimates for the January-March quarter are below a 2 percent annualized rate, largely reflecting weak consumer spending.

First-quarter GDP also tends to be soft because of a seasonal quirk. The economy grew at a 2.9 percent rate in the fourth quarter. The government will publish its snapshot of first-quarter GDP on Friday.

A third report on Tuesday showed the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller composite index of home prices in 20 metropolitan areas increased 6.8 percent in the 12 months to February after rising 6.4 percent in January. House prices are being driven by an acute shortage of properties available for sale.

“Rising prices are a mixed bag for the housing market,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com. “While homeowners benefit from extra equity, potential buyers can get discouraged as the dream of homeownership becomes more elusive.”

Strong house price inflation was also corroborated by a fourth report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) that showed its house price index rising a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent in February after a 0.9 percent increase in January.

Home prices advanced 7.2 percent on a year-on-year basis in February.

Hear Trump’s toast to President Macron

 

‘May our sacred liberty never die’: Trump and Macron conclude their love-in with gushing toasts about ‘unbreakable friendship’ between US and France as First Lady Melania pulls out all the stops for their first ever state dinner

  • President Donald Trump and wife Melania welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte to the White House Tuesday night for their first state dinner
  • The Trumps held hands on the steps of the White House before they each exchanged kisses with the Macrons
  • Melania stole the show in a Chanel haute couture silver gown embroidered with crystals and sequins
  • In a toast before Tuesday’s dinner honoring France, Trump described his wife as ‘America’s absolutely incredible first lady’
  • He went on to raise a glass to President Macron saying: ‘May our friendship grow even deeper’  
  • Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner were among the first to arrive with the first daughter wearing a $12,000 pink Rodarte gown 
  • Other notable guests included Rupert Murdoch and wife Jerry Hall, as well as IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Apple CEO Tim Cook, DOD head James Mattis and Speaker Paul Ryan 

President Donald Trump and wife Melania welcomed the French president and first lady to the White House for their first state dinner as the two leaders toasted to continued warm relations between their countries.

Trump held hands with Melania on the steps of the White House before they each exchanged hugs and kisses with President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte ahead of the glitzy White House state dinner on Tuesday night.

All eyes were on Melania as she stole the show in a Chanel black Chantilly lace haute couture gown that had been hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystal and sequins. The First Lady paired her gown with a pair of gunmetal stilettos.

Brigitte Macron opted for a cream full-length gown with long sleeves and gold details.

In a toast before Tuesday’s dinner honoring France, Trump described his wife as ‘America’s absolutely incredible first lady’ before he raised a glass to President Macron.

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President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania held hands outside the White House on Tuesday awaiting the arrival of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte for the state dinner

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania held hands outside the White House on Tuesday awaiting the arrival of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte for the state dinner

During his state dinner toast, President Trump raised a glass to President Macron saying: 'May our friendship grow even deeper'

During his state dinner toast, President Trump raised a glass to President Macron saying: ‘May our friendship grow even deeper’

Donald and Melania Trump greeted French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte ahead of their first White House state dinner on Tuesday evening 

Donald and Melania Trump greeted French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte ahead of their first White House state dinner on Tuesday evening

He thanked her for her efforts on the dinner and said she had created an evening that everyone will always ‘cherish and remember.’ The dinner for 123 guests marked Mrs Trump’s highest-profile hostess gig to date as first lady.

Trump went on to raise a glass to President Macron saying: ‘May our friendship grow even deeper’.

In his toast, Macron, who spoke in French, thanked Trump for making him the first world leader honored with a state visit.

He added that he and Trump had pledged to work together and listen to one another.

‘Thank you for the quality of our exchanges,’ he said before toasting the ‘unbreakable friendship’ of the US and France.

Among the guests were Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner who were among the first to arrive at the White House shortly after 6pm with the first daughter choosing a $13,686 pink tulle Rodarte gown for the occasion.

In a toast before Tuesday's dinner honoring France, Trump described his wife as 'America's absolutely incredible first lady'

In a toast before Tuesday’s dinner honoring France, Trump described his wife as ‘America’s absolutely incredible first lady’

Trump and Macron toasted during the state dinner to continued warm relations between their countries

Trump and Macron toasted during the state dinner to continued warm relations between their countries

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a state dinner in his honor at the White House

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a state dinner in his honor at the White House

The Trumps held hands as they made their way into the state dinner on Tuesday, which Melania played a central role in planning

The Trumps held hands as they made their way into the state dinner on Tuesday, which Melania played a central role in planning

President Macron, above with his wife Brigette, was honored Tuesday at the first state dinner of the Trump administration

President Macron, above with his wife Brigette, was honored Tuesday at the first state dinner of the Trump administration

Trump and his wife, Melania, exchanged hugs and air kisses with the Macrons before going inside the White House for the festivities

Melania kissed President Emmanuel Macron as she greeted him ahead of the glitzy White House state dinner

Trump kissed France's First Lady Brigitte Macron as he welcome her to the administration’s first state dinner

Trump kissed France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron as he welcome her to the administration’s first state dinner

Macron and his wife Brigitte arrived at the White House as a light rain fell Tuesday evening

Macron and his wife Brigitte arrived at the White House as a light rain fell Tuesday evening

All eyes were on Melania as she stole the show in a Chanel black Chantilly lace haute couture gown that had been hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystal and sequins

All eyes were on Melania as she stole the show in a Chanel black Chantilly lace haute couture gown that had been hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystal and sequins

The Macrons and Trump head inside the White House for the festivities soon after they greeted each other

The Macrons and Trump head inside the White House for the festivities soon after they greeted each other

Trump and Macron give toasts during the White House state dinner

They were followed closely by Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen.

Reporters were left off the invite list but one media mogul made the list: the owner of Fox News Channel Rupert Murdoch. The media mogul held his wife Jerry Hall’s hand as they made their way into the White House.

Other notable guests who made their way into the White House included CEO of Apple Tim Cook and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

Aides had feared that the president would personally dole out invitations to the dinner last week while visiting Mar-a-Lago so they constrained him to adding just four names to the guest list. It’s unclear if Murdoch and Hall were among that group.

The White House released the full guest list of 130 people directly before the dinner. Congressional Democrats and White House reporters were already known to have been left out.

The only Democrat on the list was Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and his wife Donna, as it is custom to invite Louisiana politicians to state dinners with France because of the state’s Cajun-French roots.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his colorful actress wife Louise Linton were also in attendance.

Linton, wearing a champagne and silver gown by Italian designer Roberto Cavalli, told reporters she was looking forward to ‘everything French’ when she stepped into the White House.

First daughter Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner arrived at the White House state dinner on Tuesday night honoring French President Emmanuel Macron. Ivanka wore a $13,686 pink tulle Rodarte gown for the occasion

First daughter Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner arrived at the White House state dinner on Tuesday night honoring French President Emmanuel Macron. Ivanka wore a $13,686 pink tulle Rodarte gown for the occasion

Ivanka, wearing a $13,686 pink tulle Rodarte gown, laughed with her husband as they made their way to the state dinner

Vice President Mike Pence waved to the cameras as he held his wife Karen’s hand in the Booksellers Area of the White House

Reporters were left off the invite list but one media mogul made the list: the owner of Fox News Channel Rupert Murdoch. He is pictured above entering the White House with wife Jerry Hall

Reporters were left off the invite list but one media mogul made the list: the owner of Fox News Channel Rupert Murdoch. He is pictured above entering the White House with wife Jerry Hall

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his colorful actress wife Louise Linton were also in attendance. Linton wore a champagne and silver gown by Italian designer Roberto Cavalli

Guests arrive at the White House for Trump’s first state dinner

The White House showed off the finishing touches of first lady Melania Trump’s decor on Monday night, from the place-setting to the giant flower arrangements greeting guests.

WHAT’S ON THE STATE DINNER MENU?

First course: Goat cheese gateau, tomato jam, buttermilk biscuit crumbles and young variegated lettuces.

Second course: Rack of spring lamb, burnt cipollini soubise and Carolina gold Rice Jambalaya

Dessert: Nectarine tart and crème fraîche ice cream.

Two wines from Oregon will be served and a demi-sec champagne.

Reporters were briefly allowed into the White House and were greeted by gold table settings, gold silverware, gold candlesticks, gold wine glasses, gold chairs – situated elegantly around puffs of green and white flowers – in the candlelit state dining room.

At each of the place settings there was a menu, with the White House seal and the fleur-de-lis, which were also in gold.

Just outside the state dining room, the first lady went with a different theme, using some 1,200 cherry blossoms in giant black vases that would greet guests as they came in.

Earlier on Monday, the White House had released some details about the dinner, including the menu.

Goat cheese gateau, tomato jam, buttermilk biscuit crumbles, young variegated lettuces would be served, along with a rack of spring lamb, burnt cipollini soubise and Carolina gold Rice Jambalaya, with a nectarine tart and crème fraîche ice cream for dessert.

Two wines from Oregon will be served and a demi-sec champagne.

The meal was being prepared by White House Executive Chef Christeta Comerford, who was hired during President George W. Bush’s administration, and stayed through the Obama years.

CEO of Apple Tim Cook

Marillyn A. Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin

CEO of Apple Tim Cook (left), IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde (center) and Marillyn A. Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin (right), arrive at the White House state dinner

The only Democrat on the list was Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and his wife Donna, as it is custom to invite Louisiana politicians to state dinners with France because of the state's Cajun-French roots

The only Democrat on the list was Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and his wife Donna, as it is custom to invite Louisiana politicians to state dinners with France because of the state’s Cajun-French roots

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross arrives with his wife

Chief of Staff John Kelly

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (left) arrives with his wife shortly before Chief of Staff John Kelly and his wife Karen (right)

Chief Executive Officer of LVMH Bernard Arnault and his wife Helene Mercier arrive at the White House

Chief Executive Officer of LVMH Bernard Arnault and his wife Helene Mercier arrive at the White House

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and his wife

Trump's pick for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and his wife (left) arrive in the Booksellers Area of the White House shortly after Trump’s pick for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo (right)

US Defense Secretary James Mattis

US Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

Paul Ryan and his wife

US Defense Secretary James Mattis (left) and US Rep. Kevin McCarthy (right) were among the first to arrive at the White House for the state dinner on Tuesday. Paul Ryan and his wife were also in attendance

The first lady spent last Saturday in bipartisan company, attending the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush alongside the Clintons and Obamas – all Democrats – and former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, with his wife Laura.

During the state dinner, she’ll be showcasing china from the administrations of President Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush.

The first lady’s office said that selected pieces from the Vermeil and American Silver collections, as well as Tiffany & Co. and S. Kirk & Sons, would also be included.

‘Remember, she has a design background,’ the first lady’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham told the Washington Post.

Social secretary Rickie Niceta told the publication that the first lady, a former model, ‘has amazing taste, which makes things very, very easy.’

Reporters were briefly allowed into the White House's state dining room Monday night to take in the first lady's designs for the Trump administration's first state dinner 

Reporters were briefly allowed into the White House’s state dining room Monday night to take in the first lady’s designs for the Trump administration’s first state dinner

Earlier in the day, the first lady tweeted pictures of herself huddling with her social secretary Rickie Niceta (right) as the two women went over last minute details for Tuesday's state dinner with France

Earlier in the day, the first lady tweeted pictures of herself huddling with her social secretary Rickie Niceta (right) as the two women went over last minute details for Tuesday’s state dinner with France

Melania Trump's vision for her first state dinner included golden place settings, puffs of white and light green flowers and dinner by candlelight 

Melania Trump’s vision for her first state dinner included golden place settings, puffs of white and light green flowers and dinner by candlelight

The first lady used china from two administrations - Bill Clinton's and George H.W. Bush's - to create a golden look for the tables, which glowed under the candlelight 

The first lady used china from two administrations – Bill Clinton’s and George H.W. Bush’s – to create a golden look for the tables, which glowed under the candlelight

Touches of gold were used on the menu too, including a golden presidential seal, and a golden fleur-de-lis 

Touches of gold were used on the menu too, including a golden presidential seal, and a golden fleur-de-lis

Mrs. Trump chose Clinton china services to coordinate with the dinner’s cream and gold color scheme, and Bush china with a green color palette to “compliment the spring garden and white flowers that will be featured in the State Dining Room”

Mrs. Trump chose Clinton china services to coordinate with the dinner’s cream and gold color scheme, and Bush china with a green color palette to ‘compliment the spring garden and white flowers that will be featured in the State Dining Room’

The Office of the First Lady has prepared the following details, all carefully selected by First Lady Melania Trump, to complement and pay homage to the long-standing friendship between the United States and France

The Office of the First Lady has prepared the following details, all carefully selected by First Lady Melania Trump, to complement and pay homage to the long-standing friendship between the United States and France

The Trumps, the Macrons and their guests will dine on food that showcases “the best of America’s cuisines and traditions” with some French influence: the main course is a rack of spring lamb and Carolina Gold rice jambalaya cooked with celery, peppers, onions, and herbs from the South Lawn

The Trumps, the Macrons and their guests will dine on food that showcases ‘the best of America’s cuisines and traditions’ with some French influence: the main course is a rack of spring lamb and Carolina Gold rice jambalaya cooked with celery, peppers, onions, and herbs from the South Lawn

Mrs. Trump 'carefully selected' all of the details for the state visit and paid particular attention to how the dining room looked

Mrs. Trump ‘carefully selected’ all of the details for the state visit and paid particular attention to how the dining room looked

Melania Trump chose 1,200 cheery blossoms to line the Cross Hall, which state dinner guests will walk through to get to the state dining room 

Melania Trump chose 1,200 cheery blossoms to line the Cross Hall, which state dinner guests will walk through to get to the state dining room

Mrs. Trump has also been doing some homework, educating herself about the protocol and history of these sorts of White House events. This is to ensure her selections for the Macrons' visit have meaning behind them, down to the china, flowers, color scheme and menu, which, while American, will highlight the influence France has had on American cuisine

Mrs. Trump has also been doing some homework, educating herself about the protocol and history of these sorts of White House events. This is to ensure her selections for the Macrons’ visit have meaning behind them, down to the china, flowers, color scheme and menu, which, while American, will highlight the influence France has had on American cuisine

The giant vases of cherry blossoms are seen Monday night in the Cross Hall as reporters were briefly allowed into the White House to see the set-up for Tuesday night's state dinner with France 

The giant vases of cherry blossoms are seen Monday night in the Cross Hall as reporters were briefly allowed into the White House to see the set-up for Tuesday night’s state dinner with France

The White House's Cross Hall was decorated with giant vases of cherry blossoms, in preparation for tomorrow's state dinner with France 

The White House’s Cross Hall was decorated with giant vases of cherry blossoms, in preparation for tomorrow’s state dinner with France

President Bill Clinton's portrait hangs next to one of Melania Trump's giant vases of cherry blossoms. Despite their political differences, the first lady used the Clinton china as part of her first state dinner's place settings 

President Bill Clinton’s portrait hangs next to one of Melania Trump’s giant vases of cherry blossoms. Despite their political differences, the first lady used the Clinton china as part of her first state dinner’s place settings

During the Obama years, the White House tried to invite several A and B-listers out of Hollywood to each dinner, along with a number of television personalities and White House reporters.

Obama would also try to invite several Republicans in an effort to break bread across the aisle.

The Washington National Opera will provide the evening’s entertainment.

The Trump administration’s first state dinner comes later than the inaugural dinner of the White House’s two immediate predecessors, with President Obama hosting his first state dinner in November 2009.

That dinner made headlines when two reality television stars – Tareq and Michaele Salahi – crashed the cocktail hour, which led to several security probes.

President George W. Bush hosted his first state dinner on September 5, 2001, six days before the 9/11 terror attacks.

France is getting its turn earlier under Trump than it did under either previous American president, with the last two coming in 2007 and 2014.

Melania Trump highlighted the work her office had done in a Monday morning tweet that said: ‘After months of preparations, @POTUS and I are looking forward to hosting our first State Dinner with France! Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make this visit a success.’

She later tweeted several pictures of her ‘checking on the final details,’ which included a look at the cherry blossoms – 1,200 which were used – to decorate the Cross Hall.

On Monday, first lady Melania Trump tweeted out several photos of the preparations she was making for her first state dinner, which will be held Tuesday with the French president and first lady 

On Monday, first lady Melania Trump tweeted out several photos of the preparations she was making for her first state dinner, which will be held Tuesday with the French president and first lady

First lady Melania Trump (center) and social secretary Rickie Niceta (right) go over details for Tuesday's state dinner with France 

First lady Melania Trump (center) and social secretary Rickie Niceta (right) go over details for Tuesday’s state dinner with France

First lady Melania Trump gestures toward the large displays of cherry blossoms that were installed for Tuesday's state dinner with France 

First lady Melania Trump gestures toward the large displays of cherry blossoms that were installed for Tuesday’s state dinner with France

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5653611/Trump-state-dinner-President-Melania-host-French-leader-Macron-White-House.html#ixzz5DeT5i0Ek

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The Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Negotiating Deal With North Korea Communist Dictator Kim Jong Un — Destroy Missiles and Nuclear Weapon or Face The Consequences — Total Trade Embargo with Communist China Starting January 1, 2019 For Enabling North Korea Nuclear Weapons and Missile Programs Proliferation — The Big Squeeze of Kim By Trump and Xi — Videos

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Story 1: President Trump Negotiating Deal With North Korea Communist Dictator Kim Jong Un — Destroy Missiles and Nuclear Weapon or Face The Consequences — Total Trade Embargo with Communist China Starting January 1, 2019 For Enabling North Korea Nuclear Weapons and Missile Programs Proliferation — The Big Squeeze of Kim By Trump and Xi — Videos

 

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velopThe Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018, Breaking and Developing — Story 1: United States, United Kingdom and France Launched A One Time Attack Against Syria and Assad Regime — American Empire Warfare and Welfare State Military Intervention on False Flag Pretext of Chemical Attack — Where is The Evidence? — Bring All The Troops Home and Have A Big Parade — Videos — Story 2: Invincible Ignorance of Former FBI Directory James Comey: Revealed Partisan Bias And Failure To Disclose Clinton Campaign and DNC Bought and Paid For Opposition Research Was Basis of Surveillance of Trump Campaign! — Videos — Story 3: Rule 8: Tell The Truth, or At Least Don’t Lie — Buy and Read Jordan B. Peterson New Book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos — Videos

Posted on April 17, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, Afghanistan, American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Bombs, Books, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Business, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Chemical Explosion, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Egypt, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, First Amendment, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, France, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, Hate Speech, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Iraq, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Israel, James Comey, Jordan, Killing, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Middle East, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Nerve Gas, News, Nuclear, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, Pro Abortion, Pro Life, Progressives, Qatar, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scandals, Security, Senate, Servers, Social Networking, Software, Spying, Spying on American People, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Syria, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Vietnam, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1054, March 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1053, March 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1052, March 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1051, March 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1050, March 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1049, March 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1048, March 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1047, March 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1046, March 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1045, March 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1044, March 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1043, March 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1041, February 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1040, February 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1039, February 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1038, February 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1037, February 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1036, February 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1030, February 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1025, January 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1024, January 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1023, January 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1022, January 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1021, January 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1020, January 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1019, January 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1018, January 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1017, January 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1016, January 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1015, January 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1014, January 8, 2018

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Breaking and Developing — Story 1: United States, United Kingdom and France Launched A One-Time Attack Against Syria and Assad Regime — American Empire Warfare and Welfare State Military Intervention on False Flag Pretext of Chemical Attack — Where is The Evidence? — Bring All The Troops Home and Have A Big Parade — Videos

Edwin Starr – War (w/lyrics + Vietnam War footage)

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, why’all
War, huh, good god
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
Oh, war, I despise
‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears to thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go to fight
And lose their lives
I said, war, huh good god, why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing say it again
War, whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Oh, war it’s an enemy to all mankind
The point of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest
Within the younger generation
Induction then destruction
Who wants to die, ah, war-huh, good god why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it, say it, say it
War, huh
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart breaker
(War) it’s got one friend that’s the undertaker
Oh, war, has shattered many a young mans dreams
Made him disabled, bitter and mean
Life is much to short and precious
To spend fighting wars these days
War can’t give life
It can only take it away
Oh, war, huh good god why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing say it again
whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Peace, love and understanding
Tell me, is there no place for them today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But lord knows there’s got to be a better way
Oh, war, huh good god why’all
What is it good for you tell me
Say it, say it, say it, say it
huh good god why’all
What is it good for
Stand up and shout it nothing
Songwriters: Barret Strong / Norman Whitfield
War lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Why Trump’s “limited strike” on Syria probably won’t work

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100 years of chemical weapons – BBC News

Theresa May defends Syria strikes in parliament

Syria air strikes: Latest updates- BBC News

Jeremy Corbyn: Launching Syria air strikes on humanitarian grounds “legally debatable” – BBC News

Protests in and out of Parliament over UK’s Syria airstrikes | ITV News

Russia’s ambassador to UN condemns airstrikes on Syria – Daily Mail

President Trump Announces Precision Strikes In Syria | NBC News

Mattis: Assad didn’t get the message last year

President Donald Trump Bombs Syria. Again.

Syrian MOAB: The Mother of All Bullsh*t — Here We Go Again, Sparky! Just When You Thought We Learnt

My Response to the Syria Strikes: Unhelpful, but Part of a Larger Situation

Daniel McAdams on What You Need to Know About Syria

Tucker: Why is Washington united behind a war in Syria?

Tucker Carlson Goes on Epic Rant Against War in Syria

Act of War: The Real Reason Syria was Attacked

Trump launches airstrikes on Syria in response to ‘evil and despicable’ chemical attack by ‘monster’ Assad and directly challenges Putin for supporting ‘mass murder of innocents’

  • U.S. President Donald Trump announced ‘precision strikes’ on Syria in a Friday evening address
  • Strikes are in retaliation for a poison gas attack that killed up to 75 people people on April 7
  • Trump said combined operation with France and UK will continue until Assad stops using chemical weapons 
  • Warned Russia and Iran about their association with Assad, saying they’ll ‘be judged by the friends they keep’
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May described the coalition air assault as a ‘limited and targeted’
  • French President Emmanuel Macron said the ‘red line’ set by France in May of 2017 ‘had been crossed’
  • Shortly after the attack, the Syrian presidency posted on Twitter: ‘Honorable souls cannot be humiliated’ 
  • Syrian state-run TV said three civilians have been wounded on the attack on a military base in Homs 

 

American, British and French forces launched airstrikes on two chemical weapons facilities and a military command post in Syria on Friday night in retaliation for a chemical attack that left up 75 civilians dead last week.

Donald Trump addressed the U.S. while British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron both gave speeches justifying the use of force.

Trump delivered a national address just after 9 pm EDT as missiles rained down on three sites in Syria. He said he ordered the precision strikes in direct retaliation to Bashar al-Assad’s ‘evil and despicable’ poison gas attack on the rebel-held town of Douma.

‘This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by the very terrible regime. The evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air.’ Trump said from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. ‘These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster, instead.’

Trump forcefully confronted Iran and Russia for aligning themselves with ‘barbarism and brutality’ and said the United States and its allies in the strike, France and Britain, are prepared ‘to sustain this response’ until Assad discontinues his use of internationally prohibited chemical weapons.

‘What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?’ Trump asked. ‘The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants and murderous dictators.’

Donald Trump is pictured addressing the nation on Friday evening from the Diplomatic Room of the White House, announcing retaliatory airstrikes on Syria

Donald Trump is pictured addressing the nation on Friday evening from the Diplomatic Room of the White House, announcing retaliatory airstrikes on Syria

The Damascus sky lights up with missile fire as the US, Britain and France launch an attack on Syria

The Damascus sky lights up with missile fire as the US, Britain and France launch an attack on Syria

Damascus skies erupt with anti-aircraft fire after Donald Trump announced the strikes on Syria on Friday night ET

Damascus skies erupt with anti-aircraft fire after Donald Trump announced the strikes on Syria on Friday night ET

A cruise missile is pictured being launched from a French military vessel in the Mediterranean sea towards targets in Syria

A cruise missile is pictured being launched from a French military vessel in the Mediterranean sea towards targets in Syria

Part of the calculation this week has also been gaming out how Russia will respond either in the region or around the world

A chemical weapons scientific research center outside Damascus and a chemical weapons storage site and a command post west of Homs were hit in the attack that occurred in early Saturday morning local time.

Shortly after the assault, the Syrian government tweeted, ‘Honorable souls cannot be humiliated.’

State TV said the country’s air defenses shot down 13 missiles in the Kiswah area south of Damascus and claimed three civilians were wounded in the attack on the military base.

The strikes carried out by the United States consisted of more than 100 missiles, the Pentagon indicated, with Secretary of Defense James Mattis describing the number as ‘a little over double the number of weapons’ that were used in last year’s air assault on Syria.

That April 7, 2017 attack on a Syrian airbase after Assad’s confirmed use of chemical weapons on civilians consisted of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Mattis said the latest round of strikes ‘sent a very strong message’ to Assad and his ‘murderous lieutenants’ and that ‘right now this is a one-time shot’ driving home a message that conflicted with the president’s.

‘That will depend on Mr. Assad should he decide to use more chemical weapons in the future,’ Mattis said of future strikes.

In a news conference that followed Trump’s remarks, Mattis confirmed that chlorine gas, and possibly sarin, was used by Assad’s forces to poison Syrians a week ago.

It was not immediately clear whether the planes were taking off from an aircraft carrier or a military base on land in video released by the French presidency

Moscow has claimed all along that the chemical weapons attack did not take place and on Friday that it had ‘irrefutable evidence’ that it had been fabricated.

The U.S. meanwhile joined France and the U.K. in pointing the finger for the attack – and their missiles – directly at Assad’s forces.

Mattis said Friday evening that he was ‘confident’ Assad’s regime conducted a chemical weapons attack.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council, ‘We know who did this. Our allies know who did this. Russia can complain all it wants about fake news, but no one is buying its lies and cover-ups.’

Defense Secretary James Mattis’ statement

Good evening. As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad regime.

On April 7th, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people, showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents.

We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable. As our commander in chief, the president has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to use military force overseas to defend important U.S. national interests.

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

The United States has an important national interest in averting a worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, and specifically deterring the use and proliferation of chemical weapons.

Last year, in response to a chemical weapons attack against civilians and to signal the regime to cease chemical weapons use, we targeted the military base from which the weapons were delivered.

Earlier today, President Trump directed the U.S. military to conduct operations, in consonance with our allies, to destroy the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons research, development and production capabilities.

Tonight, France, the United Kingdom and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure.

Clearly, the Assad regime did not get the message last year. This time, our allies and we have struck harder.

Together, we have sent a clear message to Assad, and his murderous lieutenants, that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable.

The 70 nations in the defeat ISIS coalition remain committed to defeating ISIS in Syria.

The strike tonight separately demonstrates international resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used on anyone, under any circumstance, in contravention of international law.

I want to emphasize that these strikes are directed at the Syrian regime. In conducting these strikes, we have gone to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties. But it is time for all civilized nations to urgently unite in ending the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process.

In accordance with the chemical weapons convention prohibiting the use of such weapons, we urge responsible nations to condemn the Assad regime and join us in our firm resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used again.

General Dunford will provide a military update.

Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime.

In an effort to maintain transparency and accuracy, my assistant for public affairs, Dana White, and Lt. Gen. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, will provide a brief of known details tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

Syria air defenses strike back after air strikes by U.S., British and French forces in Damascus

Syria air defenses strike back after air strikes by U.S., British and French forces in Damascus

A fighter jet lands at Akrotiri military British Royal Air Force Base, Cyprus, on Saturday, April 14

A fighter jet prepares to land at RAF Akrotiri, a military base Britain maintains on Cyprus

An RAF Tornado comes into land at RAF Akrotiri after concluding its mission. Four Royal Air Force Tornado's took off to conduct strikes

An RAF Tornado comes into land at RAF Akrotiri after concluding its mission.Four Royal Air Force Tornado’s took off to conduct strikes

Smoke rises above Damascus after the air strikes. The US, Britain and France waged up to 120 air strikes

Smoke rises above Damascus after the air strikes. The US, Britain and France waged up to 120 air strikes

Smoke rises over the capital Damascus after air strikes struck Syria early Saturday, April 14, local time

Smoke rises over the capital Damascus after air strikes struck Syria early Saturday, April 14, local time

Trump said the purpose of the U.S.-led strike was to ‘establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use’ of such chemical weapons. But he said America does not seek ‘an indefinite presence’ in Syria and looks forward to the day when it can withdraw its troops from Syria.

In a statement, British Prime Minister Theresa May described the coalition air assault as a ‘limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region.’

‘And while this action is specifically about deterring the Syrian regime, it will also send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity,’ she said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the ‘red line’ set by France in May of 2017 ‘had been crossed.’

‘We cannot tolerate the trivialization of chemical weapons, which is an immediate danger for the Syrian people and our collective security,’ Macron said. ‘This is the direction of the diplomatic initiatives put forward by France at the United Nations Security Council.’

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (right) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford (second from right) brief members of the media on Syria at the Pentagon

A photo released on the Twitter page of the Syrian governments central military media shows anti-aircraft fire through a night-vision device on the outskirts of Damascus

Loud explosions rocked Syria’s capital and and lit up the sky with heavy smoke. Hours later crowds of Assad supporters gathered in the center of Damascus in a show of defiance.

Hundreds of residents gathered in Omayyad Square, many waving Syrian, Russian and Iranian flags. Some clapped their hands and danced, others drove in convoys, honking their horns.

‘We are your men, Bashar,’ they shouted.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford said that all three areas the coalition ‘struck and destroyed’ were specific to the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program.

The scientific research center was used for the development and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology, he said. Another target, a storage facility west of Homs, was a primary location for sarin and precursor production equipment. The third target was a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and an important command force.

General Dunford said U.S., British and French entrenched naval and air forces were involved, but for operational security, he would not be more specific than that.

The U.S. and the U.K. emphasized that steps had been taken to minimize civilian casualties.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the Assad regime 'crossed a red line' with the chemical attack in Douma. He is pictured centre with close advisers 

French President Emmanuel Macron said the Assad regime ‘crossed a red line’ with the chemical attack in Douma. He is pictured centre with close advisers

British Prime Minister Theresa May described the coalition air assault as a 'limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region'

‘We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents,’ Trump in his address said.

He also said in the remarks that lasted a little more than eight minutes that he had a message for ‘two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regime’ — Iran and Russia.

‘In 2013 President Putin and his government promised the world they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad’s recent attack and today’s response are the direct result of Russia’s failure to keep that promise,’ he said. ‘Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace.’

He added, ‘Hopefully someday we’ll get along with Russia, and maybe even Iran, but maybe not. I will say this, the United States has a lot to offer with the greatest and most powerful economy in the history of the world.’

Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday strongly condemned the attacks on Syria and said Washington and its allies would bear the responsibility of the raids’ consequences in the region and beyond, Iranian state media reported.

‘Undoubtedly, the United States and its allies, which took military action against Syria despite the absence of any proven evidence… will assume the responsibility for the regional and trans-regional consequences of this adventurism,’ Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

Russian lawmaker and the deputy head of Russia’s foreign affairs committee Vladimir Dzhabarov said Moscow was likely to call for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the air strikes.

‘The situation is being analysed right now. Russia will demand a meeting of the U.N. security council, I am sure.’

Donald Trump said on Friday evening he had ordered 'precision strikes' on Syria in retaliation for the 'evil and despicable' poison gas attack that killed at least 60 people on April 7 (a young victim is pictured)

Donald Trump said on Friday evening he had ordered ‘precision strikes’ on Syria in retaliation for the ‘evil and despicable’ poison gas attack that killed at least 60 people on April 7 (a young victim is pictured)

A child receives oxygen through a respirator following a poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma

A child receives oxygen through a respirator following a poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma

A poison gas attack killed up to 75 people that the U.S. and its allies say was carried out by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad on April 7 in Douma near Damascus

'These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead,' Trump said referring to Assad (pictured)

‘These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead,’ Trump said referring to Assad (pictured)

Trump also warned Russia and Iran about their association with the Syrian government. President Putin is pictured on April 12

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S FRIDAY NIGHT ADDRESS TO THE NATION

My fellow Americans: a short time ago I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now underway. We thank them both.

Tonight I want to speak with you about why we have taken this action. One year ago, Assad launched a savage chemical weapons attack against his own innocent people. The United States responded with 58 missile strikes that destroyed 20 percent of the Syrian air force.

Last Saturday, the Assad regime again deployed chemical weapons to slaughter innocent civilians, this time in the town of Douma near the Syrian capital of Damascus.

This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by the very terrible regime. the evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air.

These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster, instead.

Following the horrors of World War I a century ago, civilized nations joined together to ban chemical warfare. Chemical weapons are uniquely dangerous not only because they inflict gruesome suffering but because even small amounts can unleash widespread devastation.

The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons. Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States. The combined American, British and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power — military, economic, and diplomatic.

We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents. I also have a message tonight for two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regime.

To Iran and to Russia I ask, what kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children? The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants and murderous dictators.

In 2013 President Putin and his government promised the world they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad’s recent attack and today’s response are the direct result of Russia’s failure to keep that promise. Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace.

Hopefully some day we’ll get along with Russia and maybe even Iran, but maybe not. I will say this, the United States has a lot to offer with the greatest and most powerful economy in the history of the world.

In Syria the United States with but a small force being used to eliminate what is left of ISIS is doing what is necessary to protect the American people. Over the last year, nearly 100 percent of the territory once controlled by the so-called ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq has been liberated and eliminated.

The United States has also rebuilt our friendships across the Middle East. We have asked our partners to take greater responsibility for securing their home region, including contributing large amounts of money for the resources, equipment and all of the anti-ISIS effort. Increased engagement from our friends, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and others can ensure that Iran does not profit from the eradication of ISIS.

America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria. Under no circumstances. As other nations step up their contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home and great warriors they are.

Looking around our very troubled world, Americans have no illusions. We cannot purge the world of evil or act everywhere there is tyranny. No amount of American blood or treasure can produce lasting peace and security in the Middle East. It’s a troubled place. We will try to make it better, but it is a troubled place. The United States will be a partner and a friend, but the fate of the region lies in the hands of its own people.

In the last century, we looked straight into the darkest places of the human soul. We saw the anguish that can be unleashed and the evil that can take hold. By the end of World War I, more than 1 million people had been killed or injured by chemical weapons. We never want to see that ghastly specter return.

So today, the nations of Britain, France and the United States of America have marshalled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality. Tonight I ask all Americans to say a prayer for our noble warriors and our allies as they carry out their missions.

We pray that God will bring comfort to those suffering in Syria. We pray that God there guide the whole region toward a future of dignity and of peace. And we pray that God will continue to watch over and bless the United States of America. Thank you, and good night. Thank you

Russia’s Ambassador to the United States warned the White House on Friday that military strikes against its ally ‘will not be left without consequences’.

‘Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible,’ Anatoly Antonov saidl ‘The U.S. – the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons – has no moral right to blame other countries,’ he added.

Alexander Sherin, deputy head of the State Duma’s defense committee, said Trump ‘can be called Adolf Hitler No. 2 of our time – because, you see, he even chose the time that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union,’ according to state news agency RIA-Novosti.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, in a statement on Facebook, said the U.S. struck Syria when the country finally had a chance at peace.

‘One must be really exceptional to strike Syria’s capital when the country finally got a chance for a peaceful future,’ she wrote.

Israeli officials backed the move, with an unnamed spokesman telling Reuters that the three allies were right to enforce the ban on chemical warfare.

‘Last year, President Trump made clear that the use of chemical weapons crosses a red line. Tonight, under American leadership, the United States, France and the United Kingdom enforced that line,’ the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

‘Syria continues to engage in and provide a base for murderous actions, including those of Iran, that put its territory, its forces and its leadership at risk.’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also backed the attack. ‘Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in last week’s attack in eastern Ghouta, Syria,’ Trudeau said.

‘Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people. We will continue to work with our international partners to further investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Those responsible must be brought to justice.’

Syrian government supporters wave Syrian, Iranian and Russian flags as they chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations

Syrian government supporters wave Syrian, Iranian and Russian flags as they chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations

Syrian government supporters chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations in Damascus following the strikes

Syrian government supporters chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations in Damascus following the strikes

Protesters stand outside Trump Tower demonstrating against military strikes in Syria, late on Friday in New York

Protesters stand outside Trump Tower demonstrating against military strikes in Syria, late on Friday in New York

U.S. air strikes had been expected since harrowing footage surfaced of the aftermath of the toxic gas attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma a week ago. Trump had reacted with a tweet warning Assad and his allies that the action would not go unchecked.

‘Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,’ he declared. ‘President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay.’

Trump told reporters that the list of people he’d punish included Russian President Vladimir Putin, if appropriate.

‘Everybody’s gonna pay a price. He will. Everybody will,’ the U.S. president said.

After Russia rejected a U.S.-sponsored resolution authorizing a probe of the gas attack and vowed to shoot down U.S. missiles fired upon Syria, Trump took aim at the Kremlin.

‘Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!’ Trump tweeted.

The White House left open the possibility of direct, military engagement with Russia after the tweet.

Russia’s deputy prime minister, Arkady Dvorkovich, just brushed the rebuke off, however, saying, according to state media, ‘We cannot depend on the mood of someone on the other side of the ocean when he wakes up, on what a specific person takes into his head in the morning.’

The French presidency on Saturday released a video on Twitter showing what it said were Rafale war planes taking off to attack targets in Syria

The French presidency on Saturday released a video on Twitter showing what it said were Rafale war planes taking off to attack targets in Syria

It was not immediately clear whether the planes were taking off from an aircraft carrier or a military base on land in video released by the French presidency

It was not immediately clear whether the planes were taking off from an aircraft carrier or a military base on land in video released by the French presidency

Moscow has claimed all along that the chemical weapons attack did not take place and on Friday that it had ‘irrefutable evidence’ that it had been fabricated.

The U.S. meanwhile joined France and the U.K. in pointing the finger for the attack – and their missiles – directly at Assad’s forces.

Mattis said Friday evening that he was ‘confident’ Assad’s regime conducted a chemical weapons attack.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council, ‘We know who did this. Our allies know who did this. Russia can complain all it wants about fake news, but no one is buying its lies and cover-ups.’

Defense Secretary James Mattis’ statement

Good evening. As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad regime.

On April 7th, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people, showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents.

We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable. As our commander in chief, the president has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to use military force overseas to defend important U.S. national interests.

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

The United States has an important national interest in averting a worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, and specifically deterring the use and proliferation of chemical weapons. 

Last year, in response to a chemical weapons attack against civilians and to signal the regime to cease chemical weapons use, we targeted the military base from which the weapons were delivered.

Earlier today, President Trump directed the U.S. military to conduct operations, in consonance with our allies, to destroy the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons research, development and production capabilities.

Tonight, France, the United Kingdom and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure.

Clearly, the Assad regime did not get the message last year. This time, our allies and we have struck harder.

Together, we have sent a clear message to Assad, and his murderous lieutenants, that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable.

The 70 nations in the defeat ISIS coalition remain committed to defeating ISIS in Syria.

The strike tonight separately demonstrates international resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used on anyone, under any circumstance, in contravention of international law.

I want to emphasize that these strikes are directed at the Syrian regime. In conducting these strikes, we have gone to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties. But it is time for all civilized nations to urgently unite in ending the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process.

In accordance with the chemical weapons convention prohibiting the use of such weapons, we urge responsible nations to condemn the Assad regime and join us in our firm resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used again.

General Dunford will provide a military update.

Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime.

In an effort to maintain transparency and accuracy, my assistant for public affairs, Dana White, and Lt. Gen. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, will provide a brief of known details tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

The Friday night assault earned tepid support from Democrats in Congress who said they are awaiting additional information from the Trump administration about the targets and goals of the strike.

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the upper chamber’s Intelligence Committee, said, ‘While the U.S. and our allies must not turn a blind eye to Assad’s vile and inhumane attacks against his own citizens, military action in Syria must be measured, as part of a coherent strategy to prevent Assad from using chemical weapons without further destabilizing an already-volatile region or inadvertently expanding the conflict.’

Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, said that Assad’s weapons attack was a ‘brutally inhumane war crime that demands a strong, smart and calculated response.

But she argued, ‘One night of airstrikes is not a substitute for a clear, comprehensive Syria strategy.

‘The President must come to Congress and secure an Authorization for Use of Military Force by proposing a comprehensive strategy with clear objectives that keep our military safe and avoid collateral damage to innocent civilians,’ the leading House Democrat insisted in a statement. ‘President Trump must also hold Putin accountable for his enabling of the Assad regime’s atrocities against the Syrian people.’

Vice President Mike Pence briefed Pelosi and other congressional leaders by phone after skipping a reception and rushing back to his hotel in Lima, Peru.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell received calls notifying them of the action before the president’s address, the vice president’s communications director, Jarrod Agen, said. So did Pelosi. Pence was unable to reach Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer until afterward, Pence’s spokesman explained, because the top-ranking Democrat was on a flight.

The vice president was attending a summit in Peru on Friday in Trump’s stead. Trump called off his trip as he mulled how to respond to the attack in Syria.

House Speaker Paul Ryan meanwhile praised Trump’s ‘decisive action in coordination with our allies,’ adding, ‘We are united in our resolve.’

Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman John McCain applauded the airstrikes but said ‘they alone will not achieve U.S. objectives in the Middle East.’

‘I hope these strikes impose meaningful costs on Assad. The message to Assad must be that the cost of using chemical weapons is worse than any perceived benefit, that the United States and our allies have the will and capability to continue imposing those costs, and that Iran and Russia will ultimately be unsuccessful in protecting Assad from our punative response,’ McCain said in a statement.

Schumer said the airstrikes were ‘appropriate’ yet cautioned the Trump administration ‘to be careful about not getting us into a greater and more involved war in Syria.’

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said there ‘is absolutely no question’ the gas attack merits a strong response. However, he said he remains concerned the U.S. will become mired in the ‘horrific and complex civil war that has been raging in Syria.

‘While these joint American, British and French strikes are morally justified against the Assad regime’s gassing of its own people, they take place with no congressional authorization,’ he asserted.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, also said: ‘President Trump’s decision to launch airstrikes against the Syrian government without Congress’s approval is illegal and – absent a broader strategy – it’s reckless.

‘Last week, President Trump was adamant that the U.S. was leaving Syria imminently. This week, he is opening a new military front. Assad must face consequences for his war crimes, but Presidents cannot initiate military action when there isn’t an imminent threat to American lives.’

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said his committee would convene a hearing next week on U.S. policy for the region. ‘The administration needs to begin fully explaining its strategy for the months ahead,’ he said.

‘Military force cannot be the only means of responding to these atrocities. The U.S. must leverage strong diplomacy and serious financial pressure. That’s why, last year, the House led in passing tough new sanctions against Assad and his enablers. The Senate needs to move this legislation to the president’s desk quickly.’

‘I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain’s national interest’: Theresa May’s statement in full

Theresa May's statement in full 

Theresa May’s statement in full

‘This evening I have authorised British armed forces to conduct co-ordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their use.

‘We are acting together with our American and French allies.

‘In Douma, last Saturday a chemical weapons attack killed up to 75 people, including young children, in circumstances of pure horror.

‘The fact of this attack should surprise no-one.

‘The Syrian Regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people in the most cruel and abhorrent way.

‘And a significant body of information including intelligence indicates the Syrian Regime is responsible for this latest attack.

‘This persistent pattern of behaviour must be stopped – not just to protect innocent people in Syria from the horrific deaths and casualties caused by chemical weapons but also because we cannot allow the erosion of the international norm that prevents the use of these weapons.

‘We have sought to use every possible diplomatic channel to achieve this.

‘But our efforts have been repeatedly thwarted. Even this week the Russians vetoed a Resolution at the UN Security Council which would have established an independent investigation into the Douma attack.

‘So there is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Regime.

‘This is not about intervening in a civil war. It is not about regime change.

‘It is about a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region and that does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties.

‘And while this action is specifically about deterring the Syrian Regime, it will also send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity.

‘At this time, my thoughts are with our brave British servicemen and women – and our French and American partners – who are carrying out their duty with the greatest professionalism.

‘The speed with which we are acting is essential in co-operating with our partners to alleviate further humanitarian suffering and to maintain the vital security of our operations.

‘This is the first time as Prime Minister that I have had to take the decision to commit our armed forces in combat – and it is not a decision I have taken lightly.

‘I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain’s national interest.

‘We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised – within Syria, on the streets of the UK, or anywhere else in our world.

‘We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none.

‘History teaches us that the international community must defend the global rules and standards that keep us all safe.

‘That is what our country has always done. And what we will continue to do. ‘

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5614593/Donald-Trump-expected-make-major-announcement-Syria-9pm-ET.html#ixzz5CfdpDAFj

 

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