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The Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Is Right: “Everybody’s talking about it all over the world, they’re saying we’re paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you’re paying billions of dollars to Russia.” — Germany Is Dependent Upon Russia For Natural Gas — Buy American LNG And Eliminate Some of The U.S. Trade Deficit With The European Union, Germany and China! — U.S. LNG Competes With Russian Natural Gas — World Economic Boom Fueled By Natural Gas and LNG — Free and Fair Trade Is A Winner — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Increases The Pressure on China To Eliminate Trade Deficits and Unfair Trade Practices or Face Higher Tariffs On Many Chinese Exports To United States — Videos

Posted on July 11, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Autos, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, British Pound, Budgetary Policy, Business, Canada, China, Climate Change, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Cruise Missiles, Currencies, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, Euro, European History, European Union, Federal Government, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, France, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Germany, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Impeachment, Independence, Investments, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy, Language, Law, Life, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Media, Medicare, Middle East, MIssiles, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Netherlands, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, President Trump, Prime Minister, Progressives, Qatar, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Rifles, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Social Security, South America, Spying, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Transportation, Trucks, U.S. Dollar, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, Vessels, Videos, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

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

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Story 1: President Trump Is Right: “Everybody’s talking about it all over the world, they’re saying we’re paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you’re paying billions of dollars to Russia.” — Germany Is Dependent Upon Russia For Natural Gas — Buy American LNG And Eliminate Some U.S. Trade Deficit With European Union and China! — Compete With Russian Natural Gas — World Economic Boom Fueled By Natural Gas and LNG — Free and Fair Trade Is A Winner — Videos

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President Trump SLAMS Germany, Russia during Bilateral Breakfast with NATO Sec. Stoltenberg

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‘Germany is a captive of Russia’: Trump dresses down NATO’s secretary general and threatens Berlin over its lagging defense spending and energy partnership with Putin’s government

  • Donald Trump unleashed his fury on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday morning after the leader asked him about Vladimir Putin
  • ‘Germany is totally controlled by Russia,’ Trump charged. ‘I think its a very bad thing for NATO’
  • Merkel told press that her country is ‘independent’ after Trump’s tongue-lashing 
  • President Trump has berated America’s European allies for failing to meet their defense spending obligations to NATO
  • The complaints come full circle this week at the NATO leaders’ summit 
  • On Tuesday, European Council President Donald Tusk hit back at Trump, telling him, ‘America does not have and will not have a better ally than Europe’
  • Tusk said: ‘America appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many’  
  • President Trump tweeted minutes later: NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!’
  • He told reporters as he prepared to board Marine One that America has plenty of allies and put new pressure on NATO nations to increase their defense spending 

Donald Trump unleashed his fury on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday for defending Germany‘s energy partnership with Russia and threatened Berlin with U.S. action over the deal that he said is wholly inappropriate.

Trump fumed that ‘Germany is a captive of Russia’ and said the U.S. would ‘have to do something’ in light of the pipeline deal that’s funneling billions of dollars to Moscow.

‘Germany is totally controlled by Russia,’ he charged. ‘I think its a very bad thing for NATO, and I don’t think it should have happened.’

Stoltenberg reminded him that the U.S. and Europe are ‘stronger together than apart’ and that has been proven by two World Wars and the alliance’s dealings with Russia.

The confrontation stunned the leaders’ senior advisers, including Trump’s secretaries of defense and state. A press aide demanded the media leave the room as Trump pushed Stoltenberg to explain how the U.S. is supposed to protect Germany when it’s opening its front door to Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump unleashed his fury on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday for defending Germany’s energy partnership with Russia after Stoltenberg reminded him that the U.S. and Europe are ‘stronger together than apart

Stoltenberg inadvertently whipped the U.S. president into a frenzy at an internationally-broadcast breakfast by asking Trump about his upcoming meeting with Putin. Trump responded with a tirade on Germany and its weaknesses and griped, again, about lagging contributions from members of the NATO alliance.

Trump gave Stoltenberg an earful with media present, telling the visibly startled NATO chief, ‘We’re protecting Germany. We’re protecting France. We’re protecting everybody, and yet, we’re paying a lot of money to protect.’

Trump said that past presidents did not confront America’s allies because they did not want to meddle in their affairs or they were blind to the problem.

‘I think that these countries have to step it up — not over a 10-year-period — they have to step it up immediately,’ Trump demanded. ‘Germany is a rich country. They talk about they’re gonna increase it a tiny bit by 2030. Well, they could increase it immediately tomorrow and have no problem.’

The United States’ more than 4 percent GDP contribution to the security group compared to its European allies is ‘very unfair’ to the American taxpayer, he said in a familiar complaint.

‘I don’t think it’s fair to the United States, so we’re going to have to do something, because we’re not gonna put up with it. We can’t put up with it, and it’s inappropriate,’ Trump on Wednesday proclaimed. ‘So we have to talk about the billions and billions of dollars that’s being paid to the country that we’re supposed to be protecting you against.’

A new NATO report actually puts the U.S. contribution at 3.5 percent of the nation’s GDP in 2018. Still, it’s significantly more than the next closest country. Germany’s spending on defense as a percentage of GDP was on par with a handful of other NATO nations at 1.24 percent, putting it at the mid-to-lower end of the pack.

A new NATO report actually puts the U.S. contribution at 3.5 percent of the nation's GDP in 2018. Still, it's significantly more than the next closest country - and nearly three times as much as Germany

A new NATO report actually puts the U.S. contribution at 3.5 percent of the nation’s GDP in 2018. Still, it’s significantly more than the next closest country – and nearly three times as much as Germany

TERSE TALKS: Trump fumed that 'Germany is a captive of Russia' and said the U.S. would 'have to do something' about a gas deal that's funneling billions into Moscow's economy

U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of Defence James Mattis, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the breakfast with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

Trump began his Wednesday morning rant by telling Stoltenberg that it’s ‘very sad’ when Germany, France and ‘numerous of the countries go out and then make a pipeline deal with Russia’ and then expect the U.S. to foot the bill for their security.

‘So we’re supposed to protect you against Russia but they’re paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that’s very inappropriate,’ Trump said. ‘And the former chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that’s supplying the gas.’

Trump informed Stoltenberg that ‘Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas’ when the deal is fully realized.

‘So you tell me is that appropriate?’ he said. ‘I mean I’ve been complaining about this from the time I got in. It should never have never been allowed to have happened.’

Now, he said, ‘Germany is totally controlled by Russia…And you tell me if that’s appropriate, because I think it’s not. And I think it’s a very bad thing for NATO, and I don’t think it should have happened, and I think we have to talk to Germany about it.’

Merkel told press in German as she arrived at NATO that her country makes ‘independent decisions,’ according to a translation of her remarks on NATO’s blue arrival carpet by AFP.

‘I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being occupied by the Soviet Union,’ said Merkel, who was born and raised in East Germany, in her native tougue.

She touched on her nation’s communist history, saying. ‘I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions.’

The White House said after the president’s remarks went wide that he would hold private talks in the afternoon on the sidelines of the summit with Merkel and then meet separately with France’s president.

Trump told Stoltenberg that the alliance must confront Germany over its gas deal with Russia. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seen her on Wednesday during her Cabinet meeting in Berlin. She'll see Trump later today at NATO

Trump said last week at a rally that he told Merkel in an undated conversation that he couldn't commit to protecting Germany from Putin's army

In bringing up the gas deal on Wednesday, Trump returned to an issue he had raised before his trip in an attempt to put Germany on the defensive while simultaneously pushing back on the narrative that it is the U.S. that is cozying up to Moscow.

For much of the past year, it has been Trump who has been under attack for resisting sanctions imposed on Russia for its election interference. His frequent praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his repeated attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe have also been the subject of national and international scrutiny.

But in Brussels, it was Trump who hammered Merkel for taking part in a deal that would give Germany direct access to Russian energy supplies and cut out Eastern European nations fearful of Moscow’s leverage

In March, Germany reached a deal to allow Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom to run its Nord Stream 2 pipeline through its waters. The $11 billion deal immediately outraged Eastern European allies.

Russia has used its oil and gas to pressure and punish its neighbors. In a shock move, the parties announced the deal a day after Germany joined UK in protesting the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Great Britain.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the Alliance's headquarters ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels

She will continue talking to Trump after everyone else has gone home as she is hosting the U.S. President in Britain for a two-day visit

The pipeline will send Russian oil and gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea. Poland and other Eastern European countries fear the pipeline could leave them vulnerable to Russian pressure.

In May, a State Department official weighed in against the project. Deputy Assistant Secretary Sandra Oudkirk said the pipeline could allow Russia to exert ‘malign influence’ in Europe. But the pipeline company said the project wouldn’t be used to blackmail other countries.

Stoltenberg unequivocally said at a news conference that followed his meeting with Trump that the pipeline deal is ‘a national decision’ and ‘it’s not for NATO to decide.’

‘It’s not for NATO to solve this issue,’ he asserted.

Trump bashed Germany over the pipeline issue at a campaign rally last Thursday in Montana, where he also raised the ally’s defense spending.

‘They go out and make a gas deal, oil and gas, from Russia, where they pay billions and billions of dollars to Russia. They want to protect against Russia, and yet they pay billions of dollars to Russia,’ Trump said then.

He said at the rally that he told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he could not ensure her nation’s security as a result.

U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before a bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO Summit in Brussels on Wednesday

Trump informed Stoltenberg that 'Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas' when the deal is fully realized

Former Secretary of State John Kerry blasted Trump for his display.

‘I’ve never seen a president say anything as strange or counterproductive as President Trump’s harangue against NATO and Germany,’ Kerry said in a statement. ‘It was disgraceful, destructive, and flies in the face of the actual interests of the United States of America,’ the former top diplomat said.

 Then Kerry, a 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, said of Trump: ‘He is steadily destroying our reputation in the world. He is undermining our interests. He diminishes alliances we built to safeguard an economic and strategic force that has allowed millions of people to live in freedom.

House Speaker Paul Ryan invoked a bygone rule usually cited when members of one party refrain from attacking a president of the other.

‘I subscribe to the view that we should not be criticizing our president while he’s overseas,’ Ryan said.

‘NATO is indispensable. It is as important today as it ever has been,’ Ryan said in defense of the organization Trump went after.

Germany’s defense minister told CNBC after Trump’s assault on her country on Wednesday that two weeks ago she had occasion to visit the United States and was reassured by her conversations with American lawmakers of the strength of the trans-Atlantic alliance.

‘The president is as the president is. We know him and we can cope with that,’ Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen told CNBC from outside of NATO’s headquarters. ‘This rhetoric also leads us to remember that a lot is at stake.’

Von der Leyen said that generations that came of age after WWII have taken peace for granted. ‘Now, we have to fight for democracy. We have to secure our international order, our peace architecture,’ she said.

It was Trump who had arrived in Brussels on the defense on Tuesday after the EU Council’s head berated him at an off-site event that was attached to the NATO summit.

Trump had signaled in early morning tweets on Tuesday that foreign leaders could expect a reckoning when he sees them this week over the ‘unfair’ burden on the U.S. taxpayer to carry the cost of Europe’s protection.

He was met with an immediate brush-back from European Council chief Donald Tusk, who said at a signing of a joint declaration between the Brussels-based security alliance and the body of EU nations that Trump should be more careful with his taunts.

‘America does not have and will not have a better ally than Europe. Today Europeans spend on defense many times more than Russia and as much as China,’ he said in remarks that were addressed to Trump.  ‘And I think you can have no doubt, Mr. President, that this is an investment in common American and European defense and security.’

Then, in the toughest challenge yet to the U.S. president, Tusk said: ‘America: appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many.’

U.S. President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday that European leaders can expect a reckoning when he sees them this week in Brussels at the NATO summit and faced an immediate brush-back from European Council President Donald Tusk

U.S. President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday that European leaders can expect a reckoning when he sees them this week in Brussels at the NATO summit and faced an immediate brush-back from European Council President Donald Tusk

Trump signaled in early morning tweets that foreign leaders can expect a reckoning when he sees them this week in Brussels at the NATO summit over the 'unfair' burden on the U.S. taxpayer to pay for Europe's protection. He's seen here in May of 2017 at a working dinner at last year's NATO gathering

Trump fired back minutes later as he left the White House en route to NATO.

‘We do have a lot of allies. But we cannot be taken advantage of. We’re being taken advantage of by the European Union,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘We lost $151 billion last year on trade, and on top of that we spend at least 70 per cent for NATO, and frankly it helps them a lot more than it helps us. So we’ll see what happens.

Trump had invited the challenge in the lead-up to the alliance’s summertime summit by pillorying NATO member nations in almost-day tirades.

Just prior to Tusk’s comments on Tuesday, Trump complained that the United States is bearing the brunt of the 29-nation security alliance’s costs and said that it’s not fair to Americans, especially when the U.S. is getting hosed in economic markets.

‘The U.S. is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them. Not fair to the U.S. taxpayer,’ he griped. ‘On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade with the European Union. Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!’

After Tusk’s slap at him — which the EU Council leader also tweeted at Trump — the president doubled down on his position, saying, ‘NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!’

Trump woke up early on Tuesday chagrined about the United States' trade relationship with allies that are part of the Brussels-based security and their lacking contributions to NATO's defense fund

Tusk fired back at Trump from NATO's new headquarter city of Brussels: 'America: appreciate your allies. After all you don’t have that many'

Tusk had acknowledged in his remarks that European countries need to step up their contributions.

‘Everyone expects an ally that is well-prepared and equipped,’ he said.

The EU Council chief assessed that ‘money is important’ yet said that ‘genuine solidarity is even more important.’

‘Speaking about solidarity, I want to dispel the American president’s argument which says that the U.S. alone protects Europe against our enemies, and threat the U.S. is almost alone in this struggle,’ he said in a repudiation of Trump’s statements.

Tusk argued that Europe ‘was first to respond on a large scale’ when terrorists attacked the U.S. on 9/11. He further noted that European soldiers have been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers in Afghanistan.

But Trump refused to climb down from his position as he spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning local time from the White House’s South Lawn.

‘NATO has not treated us fairly, but I think we’ll work something out. We pay far too much and they pay far too little,’ he said. ‘But we will work it out and all countries will be happy.’

He acknowledged that the relationship between the U.S. and many of its traditional allies had soured in the nearly 18 months since he took office. He said a meeting next week with the Russian president may be the ‘easiest’ leg of his four-nation visit to Europe.

Trump refused to climb down from his position as he spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning local time from the White House's South Lawn. 'NATO has not treated us fairly...We pay far too much and they pay far too little'

Trump had invited the challenge in the lead-up to the alliance's summertime summit by pillorying NATO member nations in almost-day tirades

With Trump in the air, it was his NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison who was left to do the talking for him at a news conference where Trump’s flattery of Putin and his disagreements with Merkel and Tusk came up.

Hutchison told reporters that Trump backs Article 5 of NATO’s charter, which specifies that an attack on one is an attack on all.

‘He is committed to Article 5 protection just as it is in he NATO charter,’ she told press who arrived at the NATO summit in advance of the U.S. president.

She also stressed that ‘the importance of unity in NATO is what makes us different’ from other alliances that the U.S. and Europe are a part of.

‘I will say that in all of the disagreements that have happened between President Trump and the United States’ position and the EU,’ Hutchsion said, ‘our allies in NATO have remained steadfastly focused on the NATO issues, and we are in agreement, we are in unity on our security issues, and we are an alliance that has performed better, increasing our capabilities.’

Hutchison said that while Trump is hard on Germany, he believes he is ‘pulling them toward us, not away from us.’

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (second from left) arrives for a NATO summit in Brussels with her entourage

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu arrive at the Alliance's headquarters ahead of the NATO summit

At a news conference just before Hutchison’s, Stoltenberg had thanked Trump for the push as he informally kicking off the 2018 summit.

‘It is clearly having an impact,’ he said. ‘We estimate that European allies and Canada will add an extra $266 billion USD to defense between now and 2024. This is significant.’

Stoltenberg said that eight countries are on track to hit their contribution targets this year compared to three in 2014.

At the presser he said he was confident that leaders would be able to put their differences over trade aside as they have done in the past, because NATO has a good story to tell.

When it comes to defense spending, he said, it is true that the burden sharing has not been fairly distributed. That is why Canada and European nations that are part of the alliance are stepping up their donations.

‘I would not be surprised if we had robust discussions at the summit, including on defense spending,’ he said. ‘Different views are common between friends and allies.’

Just how robust they would get, even he did not seem to have imagined. The NATO secretary general was pummeled in his Wednesday morning breakfast by a fired-up Trump.

Trump indicated Tuesday that he was chagrined about the United States’ trade relationship with allies that are part of the Brussels-based security organization NATO and intended to make their contributions to its defense fund the focal point of his conversations in Belgium.

The president directly linked the the trade discrepancies that inspired his heavy metal tariffs in tweets that contradicted his NATO ambassador's assessment a day prior that the policies should be evaluated separately from one another. He's pictured here talking to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in June at the G7 summit

Just 16 countries are on track to meet the agreed upon spending obligation of 2 percent GDP, the United States has said, in accordance with a 2014 pact. That’s roughly half of NATO’s 29 members.

In tweets on Monday, President Trump berated the rest for relying on America for protection while at the same time running massive trade deficits with the U.S.

The president directly linked the trade discrepancies that inspired his heavy tariffs on metal imports to Western security in tweets that contradicted his NATO ambassador’s assessment a day prior that the policies should be evaluated separately from one another.

‘NATO benefits Europe far more than it does the U.S. By some accounts, the U.S. is paying for 90% of NATO, with many countries nowhere close to their 2% commitments,’ Trump said. ‘On top of this the European Union has a Trade Surplus of $151 Million with the U.S., with big Trade Barriers on U.S. goods. NO!’

The president put trade on the table in talks that begin Wednesday in Brussels with the tweets that he continued to send even after he had departed the U.S. for Belgium.

His trip to Brussels was proving to be a repeat of the testy confrontation he had with leaders from allied nations in June at the G7 summit in Charlevoix.

He butted heads with them on trade in Canada, also, complaining in conversations that NATO is ‘much too costly for the U.S’ and almost as bad as the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In Belgium, he was due to come face-to-face with Canada’s Justin Trudeau for the first time since senior aides to Trump accused the prime minister of trying to sabotage the American president’s Singapore summit.

He was also assured to have an uncomfortable encounter with Germany’s long-running chancellor, Merkel.

He put on the table in talks that begin Wednesday in Brussels with the tweets that kicked off a day that was supposed to be focused on his Supreme Court appointment on Monday

TRUMP’S AGENDA IN BRUSSELS

President Trump arrives in Brussels on Tuesday evening local time July 10.

He begins his Wednesday with a bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. His secretaries of defense and state and his national security adviser will also participate in the conversation.

Trump will next meet with the United States’ Brussels missions’ staff and families, as is customary for a U.S. president when visiting foreign countries.

Later on Wednesday he will attend an opening ceremony at the NATO headquarters. There, he will meet privately with unknown heads of government.

He will attend a working dinner that evening with fellow leaders.

Wednesday morning leaders will participate in meeting with the presidents of Georgia and Ukraine.

An Afghan strategy session follows.

Trump departs Belgium on Wednesday afternoon for London, where he has a working visit with Prime Minister Theresa May and an audience with the queen before a weekend in Scotland.

He caps his trip to Europe with a stop in Helsinki, Finland, for a summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

He will also likely to be pressed on a decision to conclude his trip to Europe with a tacked-on stop in Finland to negotiate with NATO nemesis and Russian head of state Putin.

The president who has groused since he was a candidate about NATO burden sharing was expected to put pressure of his own on member nations in Brussels to meet the soft goal of 2 percent GDP for defense spending. The guideline was agreed to by the group years before he took office.

‘The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable. While these countries have been increasing their contributions since I took office, they must do much more. Germany is at 1%, the U.S. is at 4%,’ Trump harped in a message on Monday.

He has singled out Germany as a violator incessantly. His defense secretary recently put a microscope on spending by the contribution-abiding U.K. in a new twist of the knife, as well.

Trump hammered Germany at a Thursday evening rally, in Montana, where he claimed that he told Merkel that he believes Europe is benefited more by the security alliance because of its proximity to Russia than the U.S.

He repeated the charge in tweets on Monday in which he again brought up the EU’s trade deficit with the United States.

A day prior, Hutchison, had insisted on Fox News that trade and security were not related and should not be a subject of NATO talks.

‘One thing I will say is that in all of the disagreements that we have seen at the G7 and with allies with whom we are now having trade talks and negotiations and tariffs, that has not come up in the NATO context,’ she stated. ‘Our diplomats are professional and they are staying on our NATO issues, where we are 100 percent allied.’

An outside view of the NATO building is seen at the NATO's new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The security organization has its annual summit in Belgium this week

An outside view of the NATO building is seen at the NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The security organization has its annual summit in Belgium this week

She said prior to the summit that Russia’s ‘malign activities’ and a ‘rising China’ would be the foremost topics.

The president on Friday slapped $34 billion in tariffs on China that were aimed at reducing a trade deficit with the country that the U.S. has also accused of rampant and intentional intellectual property violations. He said Tuesday that he intends to hit Beijing with $200 billion more in penalties.

He is also said to have told France’s Macron that the EU is worse than China on trade in some ways when they met in Canada last month.

The rift over trade and the president’s planned talks with Putin set the stage for more tension in Belgium.

Hucthison pointed out on Sunday that Trump’s way of doing business had been effective, though, pointing to increased contributions to NATO since he took office.

‘NATO really is making progress and they are doing it really at President Trump’s insistence, and I think that it’s very clear, and he’s been very direct about the Europeans needing to do more for their own security,’ she said. ‘Every ally is now increasing defense spending.’

Trump’s liaison to NATO said, ‘We’ve had the largest increase in defense spending since the Cold War. And in the year and a half since President Trump has been in office, it has doubled since 2014.

‘So, I think he is making an impact and I think that the Europeans, including Chancellor Merkel just recently who has said we are going to do more,’ she said. ‘We need to do more, it’s the right thing to do and she is encouraging her Bundestag, her parliament, to increase the defense budget so that we will be more fit for purpose in NATO for the fights that we want to deter.’

A day prior, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hucthison, had insisted on Fox News that trade and security were not related and should not be a subject of NATO talks

Merkel said last month in a speech to parliament that she anticipates ‘very difficult’ talks in Brussels in a reference to the increasingly complicated relationship between Germany and the United States in the era of Donald Trump.

‘It is no secret that the transatlantic alliance is under strain at the moment but we are convinced that the alliance remains central to our common security,’ the European leader stated.

Trump hit back at her on Thursday evening, saying in remarks at a campaign event for a U.S. Senate candidate that Europe is killing America on trade and paying Russia billions for oil and gas all while complaining that it needs protection from Putin and his military.

‘We’re paying anywhere from 70- to 90-percent to protect Europe. And that’s fine. Of course, they kill us on trade. They kill us on other things,’ he proclaimed. ‘So they want to protect against Russia, yet they pay billions of dollars to Russia and we’re the schmucks paying for the whole thing.’

The president said he told Merkel in an undated conversation that he couldn’t commit to protecting Germany from Putin’s army.

‘Putin is fine. He’s fine. We’re all people,’ he said. ‘Will I be prepared? I’ve been preparing for this stuff all my life.’

Hutchison said Sunday that she does not agree with the president’s assessment of Putin. She said Trump is right, however, to engage with the former KGB spy who has personally been accused by the U.S. of directing a scheme to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.

‘We should be talking to Vladimir Putin and many of our allied nations do as well,’ she said. ‘But it is to try to bring them in the tent instead of just constantly seeing them do these things that are attempting to disrupt us, but will not.’

She claimed on Tuesday at a news conference that Trump was saying at his rally that he was ‘not certain’ that Germany could pay out more money to NATO, not that he was unclear about the United States’ continued ability to protect the ally from Russia. Trump promptly contradicted her Wednesday when he indicated that’s exactly what he meant during his breakfast with Stoltenberg.

Germany’s defense minister, von der Leyen, said Wednesday on CNBC that Trump is right that Germany needs to increase its defense contribution — and said that it has.

The German official said her country also backs Trump’s summit next week with Putin.

‘It is good that he talking to President Putin,’ she said. ‘We have a lot of issues with Russia without question, but it’s good to be in a dialogue.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5941337/Germany-captive-Russia-Trump-dresses-NATOs-secretary-general-Brussels.html

The LNG supply chain

What is LNG ?

LNG, which stands for Liquefied Natural Gas, is natural gas that has been converted to a liquid state by cooling to below -163°C. In this form, it occupies 600 times less space than before cooling, while retaining the same calorific value. This makes transport much easier.

Setting up a LNG chain requires investment in several types of facility:

– Exploration, to detect deposits of natural gas (which are generally discovered during oil exploration operations) and extraction/production

– Storage then liquefaction, to convert the natural gas from “gaseous” to “liquid” form in which it can be transported by tanker

– Transportation by special vessels called LNG tankers

– Storage then regasification, to restore the natural gas to its gaseous form, in which it can be transmitted through pipelines for consumption by end customers.

The differents steps of a LNG supply chain

 

The history of LNG

Natural gas liquefaction was developed in the 19th century by the British chemist and physicist Michael Faraday, who experimented with liquefying several gases, including natural gas. The first liquefaction plant was built in the United States in 1917. The first commercial operation began in 1941, again in the US. In January 1959, a former World War II cargo ship was converted into a tanker, the Methane Pioneer, to carry LNG between Lake Charles (Louisiana, USA) and Canvey Island (UK). Long-distance LNG transportation had become a reality. The 7 deliveries made in the following 14 months suffered only minor technical problems. Following this success, the British Gas Council decided to set up a commercial route between Venezuela and Canvey Island. In 1964, the UK became the first LNG importer, and Algeria the first exporter. Subsequently, several countries became interested in this new supply technique, including France, which built its first LNG terminal at Le Havre in 1965 (dismantled in 1989). The terminals of Fos-Tonkin (1972), Montoir-de-Bretagne (1980), Fos-Cavaou (2010) and Dunkerque (2016) are all part of the strategy to diversify national and European natural gas supplies.

sharelngimports

Share of LNG among the total of natural gas imports in France in 2014

Worldwide, there are currently 26 liquefaction terminals in 16 countries, and 95 regasification terminals in 33 countries. Furthermore, there are plans for several both liquefaction and regasification terminals: if some of these projects  will never be built, other are under construction.

 

The LNG supply chain

A LNG supply chain is made up of 4 interdependent segments: exploration/production, liquefaction, transportation and regasification. Each of these segments has its own specific industrial processes and involves specific rules and participants.

1. Exploration – production

At the heart of this essential activity, specialists analyse geological structure to identify areas that may contain hydrocarbons. They carry out special tests, such as seismic analysis, to confirm their initial assessments. Drilling is undertaken when there is a high probability of discovering gas (or oil). If the well is viable (after a series of tests, measurements and additional drilling), it can go into production.

2. Liquefaction

The natural gas extracted from the deposit is filtered and purified, so as not to damage equipment during the conversion from gas to liquid, and in order to meet the specifications of the importing regions. This means that the liquefaction process produces a natural gas with a methane content close to 100%. Liquefaction plants often consist of several installations arranged in parallel, called “liquefaction trains”. The liquefaction process reduces the volume of gas by a factor of around 600, in other words 1 cubic metre of LNG at -163°C has the same energy content as 600 cubic metres of “gaseous” gas at ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure. The density of LNG is around 45% that of water.

3. LNG transportation

LNG tankers are double-hulled ships specially designed to prevent hull leaks and ruptures in the event of accident. The LNG is stored in tanks (generally 4 to 5 per tanker) at a temperature of -163°C and at atmospheric pressure. There are currently 3 types of LNG carrier, each corresponding to a different tank design: membrane tanks, spherical tanks and IHI Prismatic tanks. In 2009, carriers with membrane tanks accounted for more than 60% of world LNG transportation capacity, and more than 85% of orders. This is so far the only technology which allows the construction of large capacity carriers such as the Q-flex (210,000 cu. m.) and Q-max (260,000 cu. m.) vessels.

Chaine-GNL-31

 

Interior of a membrane type tank in an LNG carrier (Source: GTT)

 

4. Storage and regasification

Once received and offloaded, the liquefied natural gas is returned to cryogenic storage tanks – usually varying in capacity from 100,000 to 160,000 cubic meters, depending on the site – where it is kept at a temperature of -163°C prior to regasification. Regasification consists of gradually warming the gas back up to a temperature of over 0°C. It is done under high pressures of 60 to 100 bar, usually in a series of seawater percolation heat exchangers, the most energy efficient technique when water of the right quality is available. An alternative method is to burn some of the gas to provide heat. On its way out of the terminal, the gas undergoes any treatment processes needed to bring its characteristics in line with regulatory and end-user requirements. Its heating value, for example, may be tweaked by altering nitrogen, butane or propane content or blending it with other gases.

 

Exporting and importing countries

image1

The LNG importing countries can be divided into 2 markets: the Atlantic Basin and the Pacific Basin. The Pacific Basin comprises countries along the Pacific and in South Asia (including India). The Atlantic Basin covers Europe, North and West Africa and the Atlantic coast of the American continent.

The Pacific Basin market emerged in the 1990s, at a time when demand in some Asian countries increased significantly (mainly Japan and South Korea). LNG represented an alternative to oil, and the goal was to maintain security of supply even at relatively high cost. The Atlantic Basin market emerged later in the 1990s, for reasons of security of supply and also in anticipation of a fall in some countries’ domestic reserves.

We can note that there are less and less exporting countries. Thus, in 2015 there were 17 exporting countries whereas there were 19 in 2014.

LNG exports (Source: IGU “2016 World LNG Report”)

 

In contrast to the declining number of exporters, the number of importers is growing. In 2015, there were 34 LNG importing countries. Although it tends to import lower LNG quatities, Japan remains the world’s biggest LNG importer, followed by South Korea. The reason is that those countries – just like a great part of Asia-Pacific region –  are extremely dependent on LNG for their gas consumption.

LNG imports (Source: IGU “2016 World LNG Report”)

 

https://www.gasinfocus.com/en/focus/the-lng-supply-chain/

 

Trump and Merkel clash at fraught NATO summit

Damon WAKE

,

AFP

US President Donald Trump traded barbs with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a tense NATO summit Wednesday after he accused Berlin of being “captive” to Russia and demanded it immediately step up defence spending.

The two-day meet in Brussels is shaping up as the alliance’s most difficult in years, with Europe and the US engaged in a bitter trade spat and Trump demanding that NATO allies “reimburse” Washington for defending the continent.

Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, shot back that she knew what it meant to be under Kremlin domination and Germany had the right to make its own policy choices.

European alliance members were braced for criticism from Trump on defence spending, but his blistering attack on Germany at a breakfast meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg took the summit by surprise.

“Germany is a captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump said, taking particular aim at the proposed Nord Stream II gas pipeline, which he has previously criticised.

“Everybody’s talking about it all over the world, they’re saying we’re paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you’re paying billions of dollars to Russia.”

Video: Trump Attends NATO Summit Amid Tense Relations With Allies

For more news videos visit Yahoo View.  

Merkel ramped up the febrile atmosphere of the summit with a sharp reply on arriving at NATO HQ.

“I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being controlled by the Soviet Union,” she said.

“I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions.”

The pair later met for a one-on-one meeting and while Trump insisted they had a “very very good relationship”, their frosty body language suggested otherwise.

Merkel said she welcomed the chance to have an “exchange of views” with Trump.

– ‘Step it up’ –

Trump has long complained that European NATO members do not pay enough for their own defence, singling out Germany for particular criticism.

NATO allies agreed at a summit in Wales in 2014 to move towards spending two percent of GDP on defence by 2024. But Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, spends just 1.24 percent, compared with 3.5 percent for the US.

“These countries have to step it up — not over a 10 year period, they have to step it up immediately,” Trump said.

“We’re protecting Germany, France and everybody… this has been going on for decades,” Trump said. “We can’t put up with it and it’s inappropriate.”

Stoltenberg acknowledged that Trump had expressed himself in “very direct language” but insisted that away from the fiery rhetoric the allies all agree on fundamental issues: the need to boost NATO’s resilience, fight terror and share the cost of defence more equally.

NATO officials and diplomats will try to promote an image of unity at the summit in the face of growing unease about the threat from Russia, but with the row between Merkel and Trump it may prove difficult to paper over the cracks.

The mercurial tycoon said before leaving Washington that his meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday “may be the easiest” part of his European tour, which also includes a trip to Britain, where the government is in crisis over Brexit.

– ‘Appreciate your allies’ –

Trump ramped up his rhetoric ahead of the talks, explicitly linking NATO with the transatlantic trade row by saying the EU shut out US business while expecting America to defend it.

EU President Donald Tusk stepped up to the fight with his own salvo against Trump on Tuesday, telling him to “appreciate your allies” and reminding him Washington that Europe had come to its aid following the 9/11 attacks.

European diplomats fear a repeat of last month’s divisive G7 in Canada, when Trump clashed with his Western allies before meeting North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un at a summit and praising him as “very talented”.

There have been fears that Trump, keen to be seen to make a breakthrough with the Kremlin strongman, might make concessions in his meeting with Putin that would weaken Western unity over issues such as Ukraine and Syria.

US ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison urged allies to look beyond Trump’s rhetoric and focus on the summit declaration for the alliance’s future work — which the US is expected to back.

And she said she expected Trump to recommit to one of the founding articles of NATO — Article 5 — which holds that an attack on one member is an attack on them all.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-slams-captive-germany-nato-summit-081237901.html

NATO Funding and Burdensharing
May 19, 2017 (IN10704)
|
Related Author
Paul Belkin
|
Paul Belkin, Analyst in European Affairs (pbelkin@crs.loc.gov, 7-0220)
President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with NATO heads of state and government in Brussels on May 25, 2017.
This will be the President’s first collective meeting with his counterparts from NATO’s other 27 member states.
President Trump is expected to continue to strongly urge NATO members to increase defense spending and enhance
military capabilities.

For numerous reasons—not least the United States’ status as the world’s preeminent military power—U.S. defense
spending levels long have been significantly higher than those of any other NATO ally. Since NATO’s founding,
successive U.S. Administrations have characterized a steadfast U.S. commitment to NATO as essential to advancing a
key U.S. security interest: peace and stability in Europe. Nevertheless, the relative imbalance in defense spending and
military capabilities within NATO has long fueled concerns about burdensharing and European allies’ reliance on U.S.
defense guarantees.

NATO members contribute to the alliance financially in various ways. The most fundamental way is by funding, in
members’ individual national defense budgets, the deployment of their respective armed forces to support NATO
missions.

NATO member states also fund NATO’s annual budget of about $2.5 billion. National contributions fund the day-to-day
operations of NATO headquarters, as well as some collective NATO military assets and infrastructure. The U.S. share
of these so-called common-funded budgets is currently about 22%, followed by Germany (15%), France (11%), and the
United Kingdom (UK; 10%).

Defense Spending Targets
As signatories of NATO’s founding North Atlantic Treaty, member states commit to “maintain and develop their
individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack” (Article 3) and, in the case of an armed attack against one or
more allies, to take “such action as [they] deem necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the
security of the North Atlantic area” (Article 5). However, decisions about individual national contributions to specific
NATO missions are essentially voluntary.

In 2006, NATO members agreed informally to aim to allocate at least 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) to their
national defense budgets annually and to devote at least 20% of national defense expenditure to research and
development and procurement. These targets were formalized at NATO’s 2014 Wales Summit, when the allies pledged
to “halt any decline in defence expenditure” and to “aim to move towards the 2% guideline within a decade.” The 2%
and 20% spending targets are intended to guide national defense spending by individual NATO members; they do not
refer to contributions made directly to NATO.

Most analysts agree that the 2% spending figure “does not represent any type of critical threshold or ‘tipping point’ in
terms of defence capabilities.” The target is considered politically and symbolically important, however. NATO does
not impose sanctions on countries that fail to meet the target.

In 2016, 5 allies met or exceeded the 2% target (Estonia, Greece, Poland, the UK, and the United States); 10 allies met
or exceeded the 20% target (France, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Turkey, the UK, and the
United States); and 3 allies met both targets (Poland, the UK, and the United States).

NATO figures for 2015 indicate that if every ally were to have met the 2% benchmark, the aggregate sum of NATO
members’ national defense budgets would have increased by about $100 billion (from $891 billion to $989 billion).
Although most analysts agree that such an increase could benefit the alliance significantly, many stress that how
additional resources are invested is equally, if not more, important. Critics note, for example, that an ally spending less
than 2% of GDP on defense could have more modern, effective military capabilities than an ally that meets the 2%
target but allocates most of that funding to personnel costs and relatively little to procurement and modernization.
Defense Spending Trends and Future Prospects
NATO and U.S. officials say they are encouraged that many allies have bolstered their defense budgets in recent years,
largely in response to Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. According to NATO, in 2016, 23 allies increased defense
spending compared to 2015, in real terms. NATO officials expect at least three more allies (Latvia, Lithuania, and
Romania) to meet the 2% guideline in 2017 or 2018. Other allied governments, including France and Germany, have
reiterated their commitment to meeting the 2% target by 2024.
Nevertheless, ongoing fiscal challenges facing many European governments and broad public skepticism of military
action could impede some allies’ plans to increase defense spending. To help stretch existing defense resources, NATO
and U.S. leaders have called for more progress on allied defense cooperation initiatives, including the joint acquisition
of shared capabilities.

U.S. Policy and Considerations for Congress
U.S. calls for increased allied defense spending are not new, but the Trump Administration has approached the issue
more stridently than its predecessors. Defense Secretary James Mattis’s suggestion in February 2017 that the United
States could moderate its commitment to NATO if spending increases are not forthcoming caused particular concern
within the alliance, given that past U.S. Administrations had never linked spending levels to the U.S. commitment to
NATO to this degree.

Trump Administration officials have acknowledged the upward trend in allied defense spending but also have indicated
that they will continue to seek more specific commitments to achieve NATO targets.
U.S. concerns about defense spending and burdensharing raise several broader policy questions related to the nature and
scope of U.S. commitments to NATO and the appropriate U.S. military presence in Europe that could be of interest to
Congress, including the following:
How does NATO membership advance U.S. national security interests? Some analysts argue that a robust U.S.
commitment to NATO and force presence in Europe continues to advance key U.S. national security interests,
especially given recent Russian aggression in Europe. Others contend that the U.S. commitment to European security
could be scaled back to ensure greater European contributions.

Is the 2% defense spending target the best means to enhance allied military capabilities? Some analysts argue that
NATO should focus more on ensuring more effective defense spending than on increasing aggregate defense spending,
including through pooling and sharing of defense resources. Others counter that effective defense cooperation requires
minimum defense spending levels.

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/IN10704.pdf

NATO

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Organisation du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord
NATO OTAN landscape logo.svg

Logo
Flag of NATO.svg

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (orthographic projection).svg

Member states of NATO
Abbreviation NATO, OTAN
Formation 4 April 1949; 69 years ago
Type Military alliance
Headquarters BrusselsBelgium
Membership
Official language
English
French[1]
Jens Stoltenberg
Air Chief MarshalStuart PeachRoyal Air Force
General Curtis ScaparrottiUnited States Army
Général Denis MercierFrench Air Force
Expenses (2017) US$946 billion[2]
Website NATO.int

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO /ˈnt/FrenchOrganisation du Traité de l’Atlantique NordOTAN), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The alliance is based on the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.[3][4] NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO Headquarters are located in HarenBrusselsBelgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near MonsBelgium.

NATO was little more than a political association until the Korean War galvanized the organization’s member states, and an integrated military structure was built up under the direction of two US Supreme Commanders. The course of the Cold War led to a rivalry with nations of the Warsaw Pact which formed in 1955. Doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defense against a prospective Soviet invasion—doubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of France from NATO’s military structure in 1966 for 30 years. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany in 1989, the organization conducted its first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and later Yugoslavia in 1999 during the breakup of Yugoslavia.[5] Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Warsaw Pact countries, several of which joined the alliance in 1999 and 2004.

Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, requiring member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack, was invoked for the first and only time after the September 11 attacks,[6] after which troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF. The organization has operated a range of additional roles since then, including sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations[7] and in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which merely invokes consultation among NATO members, has been invoked five times following incidents in the Iraq WarSyrian Civil War, and annexation of Crimea.

Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 29. The most recent member state to be added to NATO is Montenegro on 5 June 2017. NATO currently recognizes Bosnia and HerzegovinaGeorgiaMacedonia and Ukraine as aspiring members.[8] An additional 21 countries participate in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total.[9] Members’ defense spending is supposed to amount to at least 2% of GDP by 2024.[10]

History

Beginnings

Eleven men in suits stand around a large desk at which another man is signing a document.

The North Atlantic Treaty was signed by US President Harry S. Truman in Washington, on 4 April 1949 and was ratified by the United States in August 1949.

The Treaty of Brussels was a mutual defence treaty against the Soviet threat at the start of the Cold War. It was signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom. It was the precursor to NATO. The Soviet threat became immediate with the Berlin Blockade in 1948, leading to the creation of a multinational defence organization, the Western Union Defence Organisation, in September 1948.[11] However, the parties were too weak militarily to counter the Soviet Armed Forces. In addition, the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d’état by the Communists had overthrown a democratic government and British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevinreiterated that the best way to prevent another Czechoslovakia was to evolve a joint Western military strategy. He got a receptive hearing in the United States, especially considering American anxiety over Italy (and the Italian Communist Party).[12]

In 1948, European leaders met with US defence, military and diplomatic officials at the Pentagon, under US Secretary of State George C. Marshall‘s orders, exploring a framework for a new and unprecedented association.[13] Talks for a new military alliance resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed by US President Harry S. Truman in Washington on 4 April 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states plus the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.[14] The first NATO Secretary GeneralLord Ismay, stated in 1949 that the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”.[15] Popular support for the Treaty was not unanimous, and some Icelanders participated in a pro-neutrality, anti-membership riot in March 1949. The creation of NATO can be seen as the primary institutional consequence of a school of thought called Atlanticism which stressed the importance of trans-Atlantic cooperation.[16]

The members agreed that an armed attack against any one of them in Europe or North America would be considered an attack against them all. Consequently, they agreed that, if an armed attack occurred, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence, would assist the member being attacked, taking such action as it deemed necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. The treaty does not require members to respond with military action against an aggressor. Although obliged to respond, they maintain the freedom to choose the method by which they do so. This differs from Article IV of the Treaty of Brussels, which clearly states that the response will be military in nature. It is nonetheless assumed that NATO members will aid the attacked member militarily. The treaty was later clarified to include both the member’s territory and their “vessels, forces or aircraft” above the Tropic of Cancer, including some overseas departments of France.[17]

The creation of NATO brought about some standardization of allied military terminology, procedures, and technology, which in many cases meant European countries adopting US practices. The roughly 1300 Standardization Agreements (STANAG) codified many of the common practices that NATO has achieved. Hence, the 7.62×51mm NATO rifle cartridge was introduced in the 1950s as a standard firearm cartridge among many NATO countries.[18] Fabrique Nationale de Herstal‘s FAL, which used the 7.62mm NATO cartridge, was adopted by 75 countries, including many outside of NATO.[19] Also, aircraft marshalling signals were standardized, so that any NATO aircraft could land at any NATO base. Other standards such as the NATO phonetic alphabet have made their way beyond NATO into civilian use.[20]

Cold War

The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 was crucial for NATO as it raised the apparent threat of all Communist countries working together and forced the alliance to develop concrete military plans.[21] Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) was formed to direct forces in Europe, and began work under Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower in January 1951.[22] In September 1950, the NATO Military Committee called for an ambitious buildup of conventional forces to meet the Soviets, subsequently reaffirming this position at the February 1952 meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Lisbon. The Lisbon conference, seeking to provide the forces necessary for NATO’s Long-Term Defence Plan, called for an expansion to ninety-six divisions. However this requirement was dropped the following year to roughly thirty-five divisions with heavier use to be made of nuclear weapons. At this time, NATO could call on about fifteen ready divisions in Central Europe, and another ten in Italy and Scandinavia.[23][24] Also at Lisbon, the post of Secretary General of NATO as the organization’s chief civilian was created, and Lord Ismay was eventually appointed to the post.[25]

Two soldiers crouch under a tree while a tank sits on a road in front of them.

The German Bundeswehr provided the largest element of the allied land forces guarding the frontier in Central Europe.

In September 1952, the first major NATO maritime exercises began; Exercise Mainbrace brought together 200 ships and over 50,000 personnel to practice the defence of Denmark and Norway.[26] Other major exercises that followed included Exercise Grand Slam and Exercise Longstep, naval and amphibious exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, Italic Weld, a combined air-naval-ground exercise in northern Italy, Grand Repulse, involving the British Army on the Rhine (BAOR), the Netherlands Corps and Allied Air Forces Central Europe (AAFCE), Monte Carlo, a simulated atomic air-ground exercise involving the Central Army Group, and Weldfast, a combined amphibious landing exercise in the Mediterranean Sea involving American, British, Greek, Italian and Turkish naval forces.[27]

Greece and Turkey also joined the alliance in 1952, forcing a series of controversial negotiations, in which the United States and Britain were the primary disputants, over how to bring the two countries into the military command structure.[22] While this overt military preparation was going on, covert stay-behind arrangements initially made by the Western European Union to continue resistance after a successful Soviet invasion, including Operation Gladio, were transferred to NATO control. Ultimately unofficial bonds began to grow between NATO’s armed forces, such as the NATO Tiger Association and competitions such as the Canadian Army Trophy for tank gunnery.[28][29]

A 1952 US postage stampcommemorating the third anniversary of NATO. Stamps honoring the organization were issued by many member countries.

In 1954, the Soviet Union suggested that it should join NATO to preserve peace in Europe.[30] The NATO countries, fearing that the Soviet Union’s motive was to weaken the alliance, ultimately rejected this proposal.

On 17 December 1954, the North Atlantic Council approved MC 48, a key document in the evolution of NATO nuclear thought. MC 48 emphasized that NATO would have to use atomic weapons from the outset of a war with the Soviet Union whether or not the Soviets chose to use them first. This gave SACEUR the same prerogatives for automatic use of nuclear weapons as existed for the commander-in-chief of the US Strategic Air Command.

The incorporation of West Germany into the organization on 9 May 1955 was described as “a decisive turning point in the history of our continent” by Halvard LangeForeign Affairs Minister of Norway at the time.[31] A major reason for Germany’s entry into the alliance was that without German manpower, it would have been impossible to field enough conventional forces to resist a Soviet invasion.[32] One of its immediate results was the creation of the Warsaw Pact, which was signed on 14 May 1955 by the Soviet Union, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, and East Germany, as a formal response to this event, thereby delineating the two opposing sides of the Cold War.

Three major exercises were held concurrently in the northern autumn of 1957. Operation Counter PunchOperation Strikeback, and Operation Deep Water were the most ambitious military undertaking for the alliance to date, involving more than 250,000 men, 300 ships, and 1,500 aircraft operating from Norway to Turkey.[33]

French withdrawal

A map of France with red and blue markings indicating air force bases as of 1966.

Map of the NATO air bases in France before Charles de Gaulle‘s 1966 withdrawal from NATO military integrated command

NATO’s unity was breached early in its history with a crisis occurring during Charles de Gaulle‘s presidency of France.[34] De Gaulle protested against the United States’ strong role in the organization and what he perceived as a special relationship between it and the United Kingdom. In a memorandum sent to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on 17 September 1958, he argued for the creation of a tripartite directorate that would put France on an equal footing with the US and the UK.[35]

Considering the response to be unsatisfactory, de Gaulle began constructing an independent defence force for his country. He wanted to give France, in the event of an East German incursion into West Germany, the option of coming to a separate peace with the Eastern bloc instead of being drawn into a larger NATO–Warsaw Pact war.[36] In February 1959, France withdrew its Mediterranean Fleet from NATO command,[37] and later banned the stationing of foreign nuclear weapons on French soil. This caused the United States to transfer two hundred military aircraft out of France and return control of the air force bases that it had operated in France since 1950 to the French by 1967.

Though France showed solidarity with the rest of NATO during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, de Gaulle continued his pursuit of an independent defence by removing France’s Atlantic and Channel fleets from NATO command.[38] In 1966, all French armed forces were removed from NATO’s integrated military command, and all non-French NATO troops were asked to leave France. US Secretary of State Dean Rusk was later quoted as asking de Gaulle whether his order included “the bodies of American soldiers in France’s cemeteries?”[39] This withdrawal forced the relocation of SHAPE from Rocquencourt, near Paris, to Casteau, north of Mons, Belgium, by 16 October 1967.[40] France remained a member of the alliance, and committed to the defence of Europe from possible Warsaw Pact attack with its own forces stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany throughout the Cold War. A series of secret accords between US and French officials, the Lemnitzer–Ailleret Agreements, detailed how French forces would dovetail back into NATO’s command structure should East-West hostilities break out.[41]

When de Gaulle announced his decision to withdraw from the integrated NATO command, President Lyndon Johnson suggested that when de Gaulle “comes rushing down like a locomotive on the track, why the Germans and ourselves, we just stand aside and let him go on by, then we are back together again.”[42] The vision came true. France announced their return to full participation at the 2009 Strasbourg–Kehl summit.[43]

Détente and escalation

Two older men in suits sit next to each other, while a third stands behind leaning in to listen to the right man talk. US President Richard Nixon talked with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in 1973.

Détente led to many high level meetings between leaders from both NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

Wim van Eekelen, Minister of Defence of the Netherlands, greeting US soldiers arriving as they are deployed to NATO bases (1987).

During most of the Cold War, NATO’s watch against the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact did not actually lead to direct military action. On 1 July 1968, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature: NATO argued that its nuclear sharing arrangements did not breach the treaty as US forces controlled the weapons until a decision was made to go to war, at which point the treaty would no longer be controlling. Few states knew of the NATO nuclear sharing arrangements at that time, and they were not challenged. In May 1978, NATO countries officially defined two complementary aims of the Alliance, to maintain security and pursue détente. This was supposed to mean matching defences at the level rendered necessary by the Warsaw Pact’s offensive capabilities without spurring a further arms race.[44]

A map of Europe showing several countries on the left in blue, while ones on the right are in red. Other unaffiliated countries are in white.

During the Cold War, most of Europe was divided between two alliances. Members of NATO are shown in blue, with members of the Warsaw Pact in red, unaffiliated countries are in grey. Yugoslavia, although communist, had left the Soviet sphere in 1948, while Albania was only a Warsaw Pact member until 1968.

On 12 December 1979, in light of a build-up of Warsaw Pact nuclear capabilities in Europe, ministers approved the deployment of US GLCM cruise missiles and Pershing II theatre nuclear weapons in Europe. The new warheads were also meant to strengthen the western negotiating position regarding nuclear disarmament. This policy was called the Dual Track policy.[45] Similarly, in 1983–84, responding to the stationing of Warsaw Pact SS-20 medium-range missiles in Europe, NATO deployed modern Pershing II missiles tasked to hit military targets such as tank formations in the event of war.[46] This action led to peace movement protests throughout Western Europe, and support for the deployment wavered as many doubted whether the push for deployment could be sustained.

The membership of the organization at this time remained largely static. In 1974, as a consequence of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Greece withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure but, with Turkish cooperation, were readmitted in 1980[citation needed]. The Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina did not result in NATO involvement because article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty specifies that collective self-defence is only applicable to attacks on member state territories north of the Tropic of Cancer.[47] On 30 May 1982, NATO gained a new member when the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance; Spain’s membership was confirmed by referendum in 1986. At the peak of the Cold War, 16 member nations maintained an approximate strength of 5,252,800 active military, including as many as 435,000 forward deployed US forces, under a command structure that reached a peak of 78 headquarters, organized into four echelons.[48]

After the Cold War

The Revolutions of 1989 and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO and caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO’s purpose, nature, tasks, and their focus on the continent of Europe. This shift started with the 1990 signing in Paris of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe between NATO and the Soviet Union, which mandated specific military reductions across the continent that continued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.[49] At that time, European countries accounted for 34 percent of NATO’s military spending; by 2012, this had fallen to 21 percent.[50] NATO also began a gradual expansion to include newly autonomous Central and Eastern European nations, and extended its activities into political and humanitarian situations that had not formerly been NATO concerns.

Two men in suits sit signing documents at a large table in front of their country's flags. Two others stand outside watching them.

Reforms made under Mikhail Gorbachev led to the end of the Warsaw Pact.

The first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with German reunification on 3 October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. This had been agreed in the Two Plus Four Treaty earlier in the year. To secure Soviet approval of a united Germany remaining in NATO, it was agreed that foreign troops and nuclear weapons would not be stationed in the east, and there are diverging views on whether negotiators gave commitments regarding further NATO expansion east.[51] Jack Matlock, American ambassador to the Soviet Union during its final years, said that the West gave a “clear commitment” not to expand, and declassified documents indicate that Soviet negotiators were given the impression that NATO membership was off the table for countries such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, or Poland.[52] Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the West German foreign minister at that time, said in a conversation with Eduard Shevardnadze that “[f]or us, however, one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.”[52] In 1996, Gorbachev wrote in his Memoirs, that “during the negotiations on the unification of Germany they gave assurances that NATO would not extend its zone of operation to the east,”[53] and repeated this view in an interview in 2008.[54] According to Robert Zoellick, a State Department official involved in the Two Plus Four negotiating process, this appears to be a misperception, and no formal commitment regarding enlargement was made.[55]

As part of post-Cold War restructuring, NATO’s military structure was cut back and reorganized, with new forces such as the Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps established. The changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union on the military balance in Europe were recognized in the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, which was signed in 1999. The policies of French President Nicolas Sarkozy resulted in a major reform of France’s military position, culminating with the return to full membership on 4 April 2009, which also included France rejoining the NATO Military Command Structure, while maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent.[41][56]

Enlargement and reform

A pale yellow building with square columns with three flags hanging in front and soldiers and dignitaries saluting them.

The NATO flag being raised in a ceremony marking Croatia‘s joining of the alliance in 2009.

Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional cooperation between NATO and its neighbors were set up, like the Partnership for Peace, the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. In 1998, the NATO–Russia Permanent Joint Council was established. On 8 July 1997, three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, were invited to join NATO, which each did in 1999. Membership went on expanding with the accession of seven more Central and Eastern European countries to NATO: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. They were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague summit, and joined NATO on 29 March 2004, shortly before the 2004 Istanbul summit. At that time, the decision was criticised in the US by many military, political and academic leaders as a “a policy error of historic proportions.”[57] According to George F. Kennan, an American diplomat and an advocate of the containment policy, this decision “may be expected to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”[58]

New NATO structures were also formed while old ones were abolished. In 1997, NATO reached agreement on a significant downsizing of its command structure from 65 headquarters to just 20.[59] The NATO Response Force (NRF) was launched at the 2002 Prague summit on 21 November, the first summit in a former Comecon country. On 19 June 2003, a further restructuring of the NATO military commands began as the Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic were abolished and a new command, Allied Command Transformation (ACT), was established in Norfolk, United States, and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) became the Headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO). ACT is responsible for driving transformation (future capabilities) in NATO, whilst ACO is responsible for current operations.[60] In March 2004, NATO’s Baltic Air Policing began, which supported the sovereignty of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia by providing jet fighters to react to any unwanted aerial intrusions. Eight multinational jet fighters are based in Lithuania, the number of which was increased from four in 2014.[61] Also at the 2004 Istanbul summit, NATO launched the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with four Persian Gulf nations.[62]

Two older Caucasian men in black suits and red ties sit facing each other in a room with green, white, and gold trimmed walls.

Meetings between the government of Viktor Yushchenko and NATO leaders led to the Intensified Dialogue programme.

The 2006 Riga summit was held in Riga, Latvia, and highlighted the issue of energy security. It was the first NATO summit to be held in a country that had been part of the Soviet Union. At the April 2008 summit in Bucharest, Romania, NATO agreed to the accession of Croatia and Albania and both countries joined NATO in April 2009. Ukraine and Georgia were also told that they could eventually become members.[63] The issue of Georgian and Ukrainian membership in NATO prompted harsh criticism from Russia, as did NATO plans for a missile defence system. Studies for this system began in 2002, with negotiations centered on anti-ballistic missiles being stationed in Poland and the Czech Republic. Though NATO leaders gave assurances that the system was not targeting Russia, both presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev criticized it as a threat.[64]

In 2009, US President Barack Obama proposed using the ship-based Aegis Combat System, though this plan still includes stations being built in Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Romania, and Poland.[65] NATO will also maintain the “status quo” in its nuclear deterrent in Europe by upgrading the targeting capabilities of the “tactical” B61 nuclear bombs stationed there and deploying them on the stealthier Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.[66][67] Following the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia, NATO committed to forming a new “spearhead” force of 5,000 troops at bases in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria.[68][69]

The Russian intervention in Crimea in 2014 lead to strong condemnation by NATO nations, and Poland invoked Article 4 meetings.[70] At the subsequent 2014 Wales summit, the leaders of NATO’s member states reaffirmed their pledge to spend the equivalent of at least 2% of their gross domestic products on defence by 2024.[71] In 2015, five of its 28 members met that goal.[72][73][74] On 15 June 2016, NATO officially recognized cyberwarfare as an operational domain of war, just like land, sea and aerial warfare. This means that any cyber attack on NATO members can trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.[75] Montenegro became the 29th and newest member of NATO on 5 June 2017, amid strong objections from Russia.[76][77]

Military operations

Early operations

No military operations were conducted by NATO during the Cold War. Following the end of the Cold War, the first operations, Anchor Guard in 1990 and Ace Guard in 1991, were prompted by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Airborne early warning aircraft were sent to provide coverage of southeastern Turkey, and later a quick-reaction force was deployed to the area.[78]

Bosnia and Herzegovina intervention

A fighter jet with AV marked on its tail takes off from a mountain runway.

NATO planes engaged in aerial bombardments during Operation Deliberate Force after the Srebrenica massacre.

The Bosnian War began in 1992, as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia. The deteriorating situation led to United Nations Security Council Resolution 816 on 9 October 1992, ordering a no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina, which NATO began enforcing on 12 April 1993 with Operation Deny Flight. From June 1993 until October 1996, Operation Sharp Guard added maritime enforcement of the arms embargo and economic sanctionsagainst the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 28 February 1994, NATO took its first wartime action by shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft violating the no-fly zone.[79]

On 10 and 11 April 1994, during the Bosnian War, the United Nations Protection Force called in air strikes to protect the Goražde safe area, resulting in the bombing of a Bosnian Serb military command outpost near Goražde by two US F-16 jets acting under NATO direction.[80] This resulted in the taking of 150 U.N. personnel hostage on 14 April.[81][82] On 16 April a British Sea Harrier was shot down over Goražde by Serb forces.[83] A two-week NATO bombing campaign, Operation Deliberate Force, began in August 1995 against the Army of the Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica massacre.[84]

NATO air strikes that year helped bring the Yugoslav wars to an end, resulting in the Dayton Agreement in November 1995.[84] As part of this agreement, NATO deployed a UN-mandated peacekeeping force, under Operation Joint Endeavor, named IFOR. Almost 60,000 NATO troops were joined by forces from non-NATO nations in this peacekeeping mission. This transitioned into the smaller SFOR, which started with 32,000 troops initially and ran from December 1996 until December 2004, when operations were then passed onto European Union Force Althea.[85] Following the lead of its member nations, NATO began to award a service medal, the NATO Medal, for these operations.[86]

Kosovo intervention

Three trucks of soldiers idle on a country road in front of trees and red roofed houses. The rear truck has KFOR painted on is back.

German KFOR soldiers patrol southern Kosovo in 1999

In an effort to stop Slobodan Milošević‘s Serbian-led crackdown on KLA separatists and Albanian civilians in Kosovo, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1199 on 23 September 1998 to demand a ceasefire. Negotiations under US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke broke down on 23 March 1999, and he handed the matter to NATO,[87] which started a 78-day bombing campaign on 24 March 1999.[88] Operation Allied Force targeted the military capabilities of what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the crisis, NATO also deployed one of its international reaction forces, the ACE Mobile Force (Land), to Albania as the Albania Force (AFOR), to deliver humanitarian aid to refugees from Kosovo.[89]

Though the campaign was criticized for high civilian casualties, including bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Milošević finally accepted the terms of an international peace plan on 3 June 1999, ending the Kosovo War. On 11 June, Milošević further accepted UN resolution 1244, under the mandate of which NATO then helped establish the KFOR peacekeeping force. Nearly one million refugees had fled Kosovo, and part of KFOR’s mandate was to protect the humanitarian missions, in addition to deterring violence.[89][90] In August–September 2001, the alliance also mounted Operation Essential Harvest, a mission disarming ethnic Albanian militias in the Republic of Macedonia.[91] As of 1 December 2013, 4,882 KFOR soldiers, representing 31 countries, continue to operate in the area.[92]

The US, the UK, and most other NATO countries opposed efforts to require the UN Security Council to approve NATO military strikes, such as the action against Serbia in 1999, while France and some others claimed that the alliance needed UN approval.[93] The US/UK side claimed that this would undermine the authority of the alliance, and they noted that Russia and China would have exercised their Security Council vetoes to block the strike on Yugoslavia, and could do the same in future conflicts where NATO intervention was required, thus nullifying the entire potency and purpose of the organization. Recognizing the post-Cold War military environment, NATO adopted the Alliance Strategic Concept during its Washington summit in April 1999 that emphasized conflict prevention and crisis management.[94]

War in Afghanistan

A monumental green copper statue of a woman with a torch stands on an island in front of a mainland where a massive plume of gray smoke billows amongst skyscrapers.

The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke its collective defence article for the first time.

The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter for the first time in the organization’s history. The Article says that an attack on any member shall be considered to be an attack on all. The invocation was confirmed on 4 October 2001 when NATO determined that the attacks were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty.[95] The eight official actions taken by NATO in response to the attacks included Operation Eagle Assist and Operation Active Endeavour, a naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea which is designed to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction, as well as enhancing the security of shipping in general which began on 4 October 2001.[96]

The alliance showed unity: On 16 April 2003, NATO agreed to take command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which includes troops from 42 countries. The decision came at the request of Germany and the Netherlands, the two nations leading ISAF at the time of the agreement, and all nineteen NATO ambassadors approved it unanimously. The handover of control to NATO took place on 11 August, and marked the first time in NATO’s history that it took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area.[97]

A general hands a NATO flag from a soldier on the left to one on the right.

ISAF General David M. Rodriguezat an Italian change of command in Herat.

ISAF was initially charged with securing Kabul and surrounding areas from the Talibanal Qaeda and factional warlords, so as to allow for the establishment of the Afghan Transitional Administration headed by Hamid Karzai. In October 2003, the UN Security Council authorized the expansion of the ISAF mission throughout Afghanistan,[98] and ISAF subsequently expanded the mission in four main stages over the whole of the country.[99]

On 31 July 2006, the ISAF additionally took over military operations in the south of Afghanistan from a US-led anti-terrorism coalition.[100] Due to the intensity of the fighting in the south, in 2011 France allowed a squadron of Mirage 2000 fighter/attack aircraft to be moved into the area, to Kandahar, in order to reinforce the alliance’s efforts.[101] During its 2012 Chicago Summit, NATO endorsed a plan to end the Afghanistan war and to remove the NATO-led ISAF Forces by the end of December 2014.[102] ISAF was disestablished in December 2014 and replaced by the follow-on training Resolute Support Mission

Iraq training mission

In August 2004, during the Iraq War, NATO formed the NATO Training Mission – Iraq, a training mission to assist the Iraqi security forces in conjunction with the US led MNF-I.[103] The NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) was established at the request of the Iraqi Interim Government under the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546. The aim of NTM-I was to assist in the development of Iraqi security forces training structures and institutions so that Iraq can build an effective and sustainable capability that addresses the needs of the nation. NTM-I was not a combat mission but is a distinct mission, under the political control of NATO’s North Atlantic Council. Its operational emphasis was on training and mentoring. The activities of the mission were coordinated with Iraqi authorities and the US-led Deputy Commanding General Advising and Training, who was also dual-hatted as the Commander of NTM-I. The mission officially concluded on 17 December 2011.[104]

Turkey invoked the first Article 4 meetings in 2003 at the start of the Iraq War. Turkey also invoked this article twice in 2012 during the Syrian Civil War, after the downing of an unarmed Turkish F-4 reconnaissance jet, and after a mortar was fired at Turkey from Syria,[105]and again in 2015 after threats by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to its territorial integrity.[106]

Gulf of Aden anti-piracy

A tall plume of black smoke rises from the blue ocean waters next to a large gray battleship and a small black inflatable boat.

USS Farragut destroying a Somali pirate skiff in March 2010

Beginning on 17 August 2009, NATO deployed warships in an operation to protect maritime traffic in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean from Somali pirates, and help strengthen the navies and coast guards of regional states. The operation was approved by the North Atlantic Council and involves warships primarily from the United States though vessels from many other nations are also included. Operation Ocean Shield focuses on protecting the ships of Operation Allied Provider which are distributing aid as part of the World Food Programme mission in SomaliaRussiaChina and South Korea have sent warships to participate in the activities as well.[107][108] The operation seeks to dissuade and interrupt pirate attacks, protect vessels, and abetting to increase the general level of security in the region.[109]

Libya intervention

During the Libyan Civil War, violence between protestors and the Libyan government under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi escalated, and on 17 March 2011 led to the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which called for a ceasefire, and authorized military action to protect civilians. A coalition that included several NATO members began enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya shortly afterwards, beginning with Opération Harmattan by the French Air Force on March 19.

On 20 March 2011, NATO states agreed on enforcing an arms embargo against Libya with Operation Unified Protector using ships from NATO Standing Maritime Group 1 and Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1,[110] and additional ships and submarines from NATO members.[111] They would “monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries“.[110]

Pieces of a destroyed tank, notably the gun turret, lie on a sandy landscape.

Libyan Army Palmaria howitzersdestroyed by the French Air Force near Benghazi in March 2011

On 24 March, NATO agreed to take control of the no-fly zone from the initial coalition, while command of targeting ground units remained with the coalition’s forces.[112][113] NATO began officially enforcing the UN resolution on 27 March 2011 with assistance from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.[114] By June, reports of divisions within the alliance surfaced as only eight of the 28 member nations were participating in combat operations,[115] resulting in a confrontation between US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and countries such as Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Germany to contribute more, the latter believing the organization has overstepped its mandate in the conflict.[116][117][118] In his final policy speech in Brussels on 10 June, Gates further criticized allied countries in suggesting their actions could cause the demise of NATO.[119] The German foreign ministry pointed to “a considerable [German] contribution to NATO and NATO-led operations” and to the fact that this engagement was highly valued by President Obama.[120]

While the mission was extended into September, Norway that day announced it would begin scaling down contributions and complete withdrawal by 1 August.[121] Earlier that week it was reported Danish air fighters were running out of bombs.[122][123] The following week, the head of the Royal Navy said the country’s operations in the conflict were not sustainable.[124] By the end of the mission in October 2011, after the death of Colonel Gaddafi, NATO planes had flown about 9,500 strike sorties against pro-Gaddafi targets.[125][126] A report from the organization Human Rights Watch in May 2012 identified at least 72 civilians killed in the campaign.[127] Following a coup d’état attempt in October 2013, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan requested technical advice and trainers from NATO to assist with ongoing security issues.[128]

Participating countries

Map of NATO affiliations in Europe Map of NATO partnerships globally
A map of Europe with countries in blue, cyan, orange, and yellow based on their NATO affiliation. A world map with countries in blue, cyan, orange, yellow, purple, and green, based on their NATO affiliation.

Members

Twelve men in black suits stand talking in small groups under a backdrop with the words Lisbonne and Lisboa.

NATO organizes regular summits for leaders of their members states and partnerships.

NATO has twenty-nine members, mainly in Europe and North America. Some of these countries also have territory on multiple continents, which can be covered only as far south as the Tropic of Cancer in the Atlantic Ocean, which defines NATO’s “area of responsibility” under Article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty. During the original treaty negotiations, the United States insisted that colonies such as the Belgian Congo be excluded from the treaty.[129][130]French Algeria was however covered until their independence on 3 July 1962.[131] Twelve of these twenty-nine are original members who joined in 1949, while the other seventeen joined in one of seven enlargement rounds.

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s, France pursued a military strategy of independence from NATO under a policy dubbed “Gaullo-Mitterrandism”.[citation needed] Nicolas Sarkozy negotiated the return of France to the integrated military command and the Defence Planning Committee in 2009, the latter being disbanded the following year. France remains the only NATO member outside the Nuclear Planning Group and unlike the United States and the United Kingdom, will not commit its nuclear-armed submarines to the alliance.[41][56] Few members spend more than two percent of their gross domestic product on defence,[132] with the United States accounting for three quarters of NATO defense spending.[133]

Enlargement

A map of Europe with countries labeled in shades of blue, green, and yellow based on when they joined NATO.

NATO has added 13 new members since the German reunification and the end of the Cold War.

New membership in the alliance has been largely from Central and Eastern Europe, including former members of the Warsaw Pact. Accession to the alliance is governed with individual Membership Action Plans, and requires approval by each current member. NATO currently has two candidate countries that are in the process of joining the alliance: Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Macedonia. In NATO official statements, the Republic of Macedonia is always referred to as the “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, with a footnote stating that “Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name”. Though Macedonia completed its requirements for membership at the same time as Croatia and Albania, who joined NATO in 2009, its accession was blocked by Greece pending a resolution of the Macedonia naming dispute.[134] In order to support each other in the process, new and potential members in the region formed the Adriatic Charter in 2003.[135] Georgia was also named as an aspiring member, and was promised “future membership” during the 2008 summit in Bucharest,[136]though in 2014, US President Barack Obama said the country was not “currently on a path” to membership.[137]

Russia continues to oppose further expansion, seeing it as inconsistent with understandings between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and European and American negotiators that allowed for a peaceful German reunification.[52]NATO’s expansion efforts are often seen by Moscow leaders as a continuation of a Cold War attempt to surround and isolate Russia,[138] though they have also been criticised in the West.[139] A June 2016 Levada poll found that 68% of Russians think that deploying NATO troops in the Baltic states and Poland – former Eastern bloc countries bordering Russia – is a threat to Russia.[140] Ukraine‘s relationship with NATO and Europe has been politically divisive, and contributed to “Euromaidan” protests that saw the ousting of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. In March 2014, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk reiterated the government’s stance that Ukraine is not seeking NATO membership.[141] Ukraine’s president subsequently signed a bill dropping his nation’s nonaligned status in order to pursue NATO membership, but signaled that it would hold a referendum before seeking to join.[142]Ukraine is one of eight countries in Eastern Europe with an Individual Partnership Action Plan. IPAPs began in 2002, and are open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO.[143]

A 2006 study in the journal Security Studies argued that NATO enlargement contributed to democratic consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe.[144]

Partnerships

Hundreds of soldiers in military uniforms stand behind a line on a tarmac with 14 flags held by individuals at the front.

Partnership for Peace conducts multinational military exercises like Cooperative Archer, which took place in Tblisi in July 2007 with 500 servicemen from four NATO members, eight PfP members, and Jordan, a Mediterranean Dialogue participant.[145]

The Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme was established in 1994 and is based on individual bilateral relations between each partner country and NATO: each country may choose the extent of its participation.[146] Members include all current and former members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.[147] The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) was first established on 29 May 1997, and is a forum for regular coordination, consultation and dialogue between all fifty participants.[148] The PfP programme is considered the operational wing of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.[146] Other third countries also have been contacted for participation in some activities of the PfP framework such as Afghanistan.[149]

The European Union (EU) signed a comprehensive package of arrangements with NATO under the Berlin Plus agreement on 16 December 2002. With this agreement, the EU was given the possibility to use NATO assets in case it wanted to act independently in an international crisis, on the condition that NATO itself did not want to act—the so-called “right of first refusal“.[150] For example, Article 42(7) of the 1982 Treaty of Lisbon specifies that “If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power”. The treaty applies globally to specified territories whereas NATO is restricted under its Article 6 to operations north of the Tropic of Cancer. It provides a “double framework” for the EU countries that are also linked with the PfP programme.

Additionally, NATO cooperates and discusses its activities with numerous other non-NATO members. The Mediterranean Dialogue was established in 1994 to coordinate in a similar way with Israel and countries in North Africa. The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative was announced in 2004 as a dialog forum for the Middle East along the same lines as the Mediterranean Dialogue. The four participants are also linked through the Gulf Cooperation Council.[151]

Political dialogue with Japan began in 1990, and since then, the Alliance has gradually increased its contact with countries that do not form part of any of these cooperation initiatives.[152] In 1998, NATO established a set of general guidelines that do not allow for a formal institutionalisation of relations, but reflect the Allies’ desire to increase cooperation. Following extensive debate, the term “Contact Countries” was agreed by the Allies in 2000. By 2012, the Alliance had broadened this group, which meets to discuss issues such as counter-piracy and technology exchange, under the names “partners across the globe” or “global partners”.[153][154] Australia and New Zealand, both contact countries, are also members of the AUSCANNZUKUS strategic alliance, and similar regional or bilateral agreements between contact countries and NATO members also aid cooperation. Colombia is the NATO’s latest partner and Colombia has access to the full range of cooperative activities NATO offers to partners; Colombia became the first and only Latin American country to cooperate with NATO.[155]

Structures

Two gray haired older men talk with a soldier wearing camouflage and a green beret who is facing away.

Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg (right) and his predecessor, Anders Fogh Rasmussen(left), talk with members of the Norwegian army’s Telemark Battalionin Oslo.

The main headquarters of NATO is located on Boulevard Léopold III/Leopold III-laan, B-1110 Brussels, which is in Haren, part of the City of Brussels municipality.[156] A new €750 million headquarters building began construction in 2010, was completed in summer 2016,[157] and was dedicated on 25 May 2017. The 250,000 square metres (2,700,000 sq ft) complex was designed by Jo Palma and home to a staff of 3800.[158] Problems in the original building stemmed from its hurried construction in 1967, when NATO was forced to move its headquarters from Porte Dauphine in Paris, France following the French withdrawal.[159][40]

The staff at the Headquarters is composed of national delegations of member countries and includes civilian and military liaison offices and officers or diplomatic missions and diplomats of partner countries, as well as the International Staff and International Military Staff filled from serving members of the armed forces of member states.[160] Non-governmental citizens’ groups have also grown up in support of NATO, broadly under the banner of the Atlantic Council/Atlantic Treaty Association movement.

The cost of the new headquarters building escalated to about €1.1 billion[161] or $1.23 billion.[162]

NATO Council

Like any alliance, NATO is ultimately governed by its 29 member states. However, the North Atlantic Treaty and other agreements outline how decisions are to be made within NATO. Each of the 29 members sends a delegation or mission to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.[163] The senior permanent member of each delegation is known as the Permanent Representative and is generally a senior civil servant or an experienced ambassador (and holding that diplomatic rank). Several countries have diplomatic missions to NATO through embassies in Belgium.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry during the NATO Summit in Newport, 5 September 2014

NATO foreign ministers and Montenegro’s Prime Minister Milo Đukanović have signed a protocol on Montenegro’s accession to NATO on 19 May 2016

Together, the Permanent Members form the North Atlantic Council (NAC), a body which meets together at least once a week and has effective governance authority and powers of decision in NATO. From time to time the Council also meets at higher level meetings involving foreign ministersdefence ministers or heads of state or government (HOSG) and it is at these meetings that major decisions regarding NATO’s policies are generally taken. However, it is worth noting that the Council has the same authority and powers of decision-making, and its decisions have the same status and validity, at whatever level it meets. France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States are together referred to as the Quint, which is an informal discussion group within NATO. NATO summits also form a further venue for decisions on complex issues, such as enlargement.[164]

The meetings of the North Atlantic Council are chaired by the Secretary General of NATO and, when decisions have to be made, action is agreed upon on the basis of unanimity and common accord. There is no voting or decision by majority. Each nation represented at the Council table or on any of its subordinate committees retains complete sovereignty and responsibility for its own decisions.

List of Secretaries General[165]
# Name Country Duration
1 Lord Ismay United Kingdom 4 April 1952 – 16 May 1957
2 Paul-Henri Spaak Belgium 16 May 1957 – 21 April 1961
3 Dirk Stikker Netherlands 21 April 1961 – 1 August 1964
4 Manlio Brosio Italy 1 August 1964 – 1 October 1971
5 Joseph Luns Netherlands 1 October 1971 – 25 June 1984
6 Lord Carrington United Kingdom 25 June 1984 – 1 July 1988
7 Manfred Wörner Germany 1 July 1988 – 13 August 1994
Sergio Balanzino Italy 13 August 1994 – 17 October 1994
8 Willy Claes Belgium 17 October 1994 – 20 October 1995
Sergio Balanzino Italy 20 October 1995 – 5 December 1995
9 Javier Solana Spain 5 December 1995 – 6 October 1999
10 Lord Robertson United Kingdom 14 October 1999 – 17 December 2003
Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo Italy 17 December 2003 – 1 January 2004
11 Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Netherlands 1 January 2004 – 1 August 2009
12 Anders Fogh Rasmussen Denmark 1 August 2009 – 30 September 2014
13 Jens Stoltenberg Norway 1 October 2014 – present
List of Deputy Secretaries General[166]
# Name Country Duration
1 Jonkheer van Vredenburch Netherlands 1952–1956
2 Baron Adolph Bentinck Netherlands 1956–1958
3 Alberico Casardi Italy 1958–1962
4 Guido Colonna di Paliano Italy 1962–1964
5 James A. Roberts Canada 1964–1968
6 Osman Olcay Turkey 1969–1971
7 Paolo Pansa Cedronio Italy 1971–1978
8 Rinaldo Petrignani Italy 1978–1981
9 Eric da Rin Italy 1981–1985
10 Marcello Guidi Italy 1985–1989
11 Amedeo de Franchis Italy 1989–1994
12 Sergio Balanzino Italy 1994–2001
13 Alessandro Minuto Rizzo Italy 2001–2007
14 Claudio Bisogniero Italy 2007–2012
15 Alexander Vershbow United States 2012–2016
16 Rose Gottemoeller United States 2016–present
 Acting Secretary General

NATO Parliamentary Assembly

A large baroque yellow and gold room with a stage on the left and long tables filled with men and women in suits on the right.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly, an intergovernmental organization of NATO and associate countries’ elected representatives, meets in London prior to the start of the 2014 Newport summit.

The body that sets broad strategic goals for NATO is the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO-PA) which meets at the Annual Session, and one other time during the year, and is the organ that directly interacts with the parliamentary structures of the national governments of the member states which appoint Permanent Members, or ambassadors to NATO. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is made up of legislators from the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance as well as thirteen associate members. Karl A. Lamers, German Deputy Chairman of the Defence Committee of the Bundestag and a member of the Christian Democratic Union, became president of the assembly in 2010.[167] It is however officially a different structure from NATO, and has as aim to join together deputies of NATO countries in order to discuss security policies on the NATO Council.

The Assembly is the political integration body of NATO that generates political policy agenda setting for the NATO Council via reports of its five committees:

  • Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security
  • Defence and Security Committee
  • Economics and Security Committee
  • Political Committee
  • Science and Technology Committee

These reports provide impetus and direction as agreed upon by the national governments of the member states through their own national political processes and influencers to the NATO administrative and executive organizational entities.

Military structures

Location of the commands attatched to NATO‘s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), also referred to as Allied Command Operations (ACO)

An older man with a gray beard, red beret, and olive green military suit.

Petr Pavel (right), of the Czech Republic, was Chairman of the NATO Military Committee from 2015 to 2018

Three soldiers in camouflage stand in salute while a fourth raises a blue and white flag on a red and white striped flagpole.

NATO flag raising at opening of Exercise Steadfast Jazz at Drawsko Pomorskie in Poland in November 2013.

NATO’s military operations are directed by the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee with the Deputy Chairman, and split into two Strategic Commands commanded by a senior US officer and (currently) a senior French officer[168] assisted by a staff drawn from across NATO. The Strategic Commanders are responsible to the Military Committee for the overall direction and conduct of all Alliance military matters within their areas of command.[60]

Each country’s delegation includes a Military Representative, a senior officer from each country’s armed forces, supported by the International Military Staff. Together the Military Representatives form the Military Committee, a body responsible for recommending to NATO’s political authorities those measures considered necessary for the common defence of the NATO area. Its principal role is to provide direction and advice on military policy and strategy. It provides guidance on military matters to the NATO Strategic Commanders, whose representatives attend its meetings, and is responsible for the overall conduct of the military affairs of the Alliance under the authority of the Council.[169] The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee is Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach of the United States, since 2018, and the Deputy Chairman is Steven Shepro of the United States, since 2016.[170]

Like the Council, from time to time the Military Committee also meets at a higher level, namely at the level of Chiefs of Defence, the most senior military officer in each nation’s armed forces. Until 2008 the Military Committee excluded France, due to that country’s 1966 decision to remove itself from the NATO Military Command Structure, which it rejoined in 1995. Until France rejoined NATO, it was not represented on the Defence Planning Committee, and this led to conflicts between it and NATO members.[171] Such was the case in the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.[172] The operational work of the Committee is supported by the International Military Staff.

The structure of NATO evolved throughout the Cold War and its aftermath. An integrated military structure for NATO was first established in 1950 as it became clear that NATO would need to enhance its defences for the longer term against a potential Soviet attack. In April 1951, Allied Command Europeand its headquarters (SHAPE) were established; later, four subordinate headquarters were added in Northern and Central Europe, the Southern Region, and the Mediterranean.[173]

From the 1950s to 2003, the Strategic Commanders were the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT). The current arrangement is to separate responsibility between Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for transformation and training of NATO forces, and Allied Command Operations (ACO), responsible for NATO operations worldwide.[174] Starting in late 2003 NATO has restructured how it commands and deploys its troops by creating several NATO Rapid Deployable Corps, including EurocorpsI. German/Dutch CorpsMultinational Corps Northeast, and NATO Rapid Deployable Italian Corps among others, as well as naval High Readiness Forces (HRFs), which all report to Allied Command Operations.[175]

In early 2015, in the wake of the War in Donbass, meetings of NATO ministers decided that Multinational Corps Northeast would be augmented so as to develop greater capabilities, to, if thought necessary, prepare to defend the Baltic States, and that a new Multinational Division Southeast would be established in Romania. Six NATO Force Integration Units would also be established to coordinate preparations for defence of new Eastern members of NATO.[176]

Multinational Division Southeast was activated on 1 December 2015.[177] Headquarters Multinational Division South – East (HQ MND-SE) is a North Atlantic Council (NAC) activated NATO military body under operational command (OPCOM) of Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) which may be employed and deployed in peacetime, crisis and operations by NATO on the authority of the appropriate NATO Military Authorities by means of an exercise or operational tasking issued in accordance with the Command and Control Technical Arrangement (C2 TA) and standard NATO procedures.

During August 2016, it was announced that 650 soldiers of the British Army would be deployed on an enduring basis in Eastern Europe, mainly in Estonia with some also being deployed to Poland. This British deployment forms part of a four-battle group (four-battalion) deployment by various allies, NATO Enhanced Forward Presence, one each spread from Poland (the Poland-deployed battle group mostly led by the US) to Estonia.

See also

References

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

Story 2: President Trump Increases The Pressure on China To Eliminate Trade Deficits and Unfair Trade Practices or Face Higher Tariffs On Many Chinese Exports To United States — Videos

 

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(6 Jul 2018) The United States hiked tariffs on Chinese imports Friday and Beijing said it would be forced to counterattack in a dispute between the world’s two biggest economies that President Donald Trump says he is prepared to escalate. Washington increased tariffs at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time (0401 GMT) on 34 billion US dollars worth of Chinese imports, a first step in what could become an accelerating series of tariffs. China’s Commerce Ministry said it would be “forced to make a necessary counterattack.” It gave no immediate details but Beijing earlier released a target list of American goods for retaliation including soybeans, electric cars, whiskey, pork and pork products. Ohio pig farmer Brian Watkins expressed the worry that the tariffs would rob him of the majority of his profits. Watkins said he’s worried that a prolonged trade dispute could take the US out of the pork equation as the global market becomes reliant on other countries’ production. He said he thought trade would be a big issue on farmers’ minds as they take to the polls in auturmn.

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U.S. Threatens Tariffs on $200 Billion of Chinese Goods, From Tilapia to Handbags

The trade war with China intensified as the Trump administration outlined tariffs on another $200 billion worth of products. China has already retaliated against the first round of tariffs with its own levies on American goods, including soybeans.CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

By Ana Swanson and Jim Tankersley

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration escalated its trade dispute with China on Tuesday, saying it would impose tariffs on roughly $200 billion worth of Chinese fish, petroleum, chemicals, handbags, textiles and other products if Beijing does not change its trade practices.

The threat comes just days after President Trump imposed levies on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, including robotics, airplane parts and ball bearings. Mr. Trump has said he is prepared to tax as much as $450 billion worth of Chinese products.

On Tuesday, his administration detailed the next list of products that would face Mr. Trump’s wrath unless Beijing folds to Washington’s demands. The White House is pushing China to reduce its trade surplus with the United States, halt intellectual property theft and open its markets to American companies.

Neither side appears eager to blink first. China has responded to Mr. Trump’s initial tariffs with its own equal amount of levies on American goods like pork, steel, cars and fiber optic cable and has said that it is prepared to continue retaliating.

The Chinese government said it would take unspecified countermeasures against new tariffs and renewed its threat to take its complaints to the World Trade Organization, which handles trade disputes.

“The American side’s behavior harms China, harms the world and also harms itself,” China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

With no official discussions scheduled to settle the trade dispute, it is unclear how or when the differences get resolved. A senior White House official said on Tuesday evening that the administration welcomed China’s engagement and had been “extremely clear” with China about its concerns over its trade practices, but that China had been “nonresponsive.” The official said that the process of imposing tariffs on the new list of goods would take roughly two months, with a public hearing on the tariffs scheduled for Aug. 20 through Aug 23.

The trade war has already started to raise costs for businesses that depend on international supply chains, from manufacturers to retailers, and consumers that purchase their products. The Trump administration said it intended its first wave of tariffs to target industrial products that the Chinese government subsidizes and to minimize the impact to American households.

But as the list of taxed products grows, the number of consumers and businesses that will feel the pinch also increases.

“It gets harder for them to keep it from the shelves of Walmart and Target and Best Buy,” said Mary E. Lovely, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “It also gets harder for them to continue to hide behind this rationale of hitting China for forced technology transfer.”

The administration’s approach has prompted criticism from lawmakers, particularly those from farm states, who say Mr. Trump is approaching a serious issue in an undisciplined way that could backfire.

Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the Utah Republican and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that he supported the administration’s effort to crack down on Chinese practices, but the decision to use tariffs was not the proper response.

“Tonight’s announcement appears reckless and is not a targeted approach,” Mr. Hatch said. “We cannot turn a blind eye to China’s mercantilist trade practices, but this action falls short of a strategy that will give the administration negotiating leverage with China while maintaining the long-term health and prosperity of the American economy.”

The White House administration disagrees. Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, said in a statement that the announcement was “an appropriate response.”

“Rather than address our legitimate concerns, China has begun to retaliate against U.S. products,” he said. “There is no justification for such action.”

For now, the limited tariffs combined with a booming economy seem to be having little impact beyond targeted industries.

Goldman Sachs economists estimated this week that the initial tariffs on Chinese goods would reduce the size of the United States economy by a minimal amount, and said they did not expect the White House to follow through on Mr. Trump’s latest threatened tariffs.

But Federal Reserve officials and others are worried about potential damage from a prolonged trade war. Minutes from the Fed’s June meetingshow business contacts “indicated that plans for capital spending had been scaled back or postponed as a result of uncertainty over trade policy.”

Goldman economists said in a report earlier this month that, if the broader range of tariffs were actually enacted, it would be more damaging because they would hit Americans more quickly in the wallet than the initial round of tariffs.

Economists have also cautioned that the potential damage to the economy could grow if the trade conflict grows. Eswar Prasad, a professor of international trade at Cornell University, said that it was difficult to see a path to cooling off tensions, especially with the highly charged midterm elections approaching in the United States.

“With China in attack mode as well, additional tariffs risk escalating the trade war to a level from which it is becoming increasingly difficult to envision an exit path,” he said.

U.S. LNG, ethanol sellers buoyed by China trade talks

(Reuters) – China’s interest in reducing its trade surplus with the United States through increased energy imports could advance plans for U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants and ethanol sales, analysts and energy executives involved in developing new LNG facilities said.

Washington and Beijing stepped back from the brink of a full-blown trade war after talks last week, with the United States appearing to set aside for now its demands that China revamp key planks of its industrial policy.

“China represents an enormous economic opportunity for U.S. LNG and ethanol exports as both products will likely see dramatic demand growth in the coming years, during which time the United States is also expected to dominate global export markets,” Katie Bays, energy analyst at Height Securities in Washington, D.C., said in a note on Tuesday.

Bays estimated that substantial LNG sales commitments could bring in between $20 billion and $30 billion annually and ethanol sales could reach $5 billion to $7 billion annually. She noted, however, that the LNG and ethanol markets are not big enough by themselves to meet President Donald Trump’s goal of reducing the Chinese trade deficit by $200 billion per year.

On Tuesday, Cheniere Energy Inc said its board approved financing for an LNG unit, the first new approval in the United States since 2015. The decision adds a third unit capable of producing 0.7-billion cubic feet per day of liquefied natural gas to its Corpus Christi, Texas, plant.

There are more than two dozen proposed U.S. LNG plants waiting for customer commitments to reach a final investment decision, many of them looking to China for deals.

China overtook South Korea in 2017 as the world’s second biggest buyer of LNG behind Japan. The country, which imported 5.6 billion cubic feet per day last year, is looking to buy more low-cost sources of energy, like gas, to reduce its use of coal and cut pollution.

Charlie Cone, LNG proprietary analyst for energy data provider Genscape, said at least 13 percent of total U.S. LNG cargoes currently go to China. “We expect this number to grow as more U.S. firms sign long-term agreements with Chinese buyers as their nation continues to develop its gas infrastructure,” Cone said.

Bays said a hold on the trade war could drive Chinese customers to sign new LNG contracts with Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass or Corpus Christi facilities, Sempra Energy’s Cameron, Freeport LNG, NextDecade Corp’s Rio Grande, or Pembina Pipeline Corp’s Jordan Cove.

“We see it as a positive development,” said William Daughdrill, director of health, safety and environmental matters at Delfin Midstream. The company’s chief executive was in Asia last week pursuing customers, Daughdrill said.

Delfin is proposing a floating LNG facility in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and aiming for a final investment decision as early as this year to go ahead and produce up to 13 million metric tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG for export.

“For us, it’s strictly been about marketing to China,” said Greg Vesey, chief executive of LNG Ltd, which is developing an LNG plant in Louisiana and another in Nova Scotia in Canada. It hopes to reach a final investment decision on the U.S. project by year-end and begin exports in 2022, he said.

“If you look at some forecasts for 2035, there are really only two places that have significant increases in LNG imports. Europe goes up about 100 mtpa and China goes up about 200 mtpa,” Vesey said.

Texas LNG, which is proposing a 4-mtpa export facility in Brownsville, Texas, and has five early-stage agreements with Chinese customers, hopes to make a final decision next year, about six months behind its original goal.

“Sentiment in the LNG markets is heating up again,” said Langtry Meyer, co-founder of the company. He added, however, that Texas LNG was not considering developing an import terminal in China, which would likely be needed to expand U.S. exports.

As for ethanol, Bays at Height Securities said ethanol producers like Archer Daniels Midland Co and Green Plains Inc could benefit from negotiations with China given the political importance of corn producers to Trump, coupled with China’s need to increase ethanol imports dramatically to meet its 2020 renewable fuel objectives.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino in New York; Writing by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Tom Brown and Leslie Adler

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018, Story 1: Obama “Deep Throat” Mole and Agent Provocateur In Trump Campaign — Obama FBI/CIA Confidential Informants (CI) or Confidential Human Sources Spied on Trump Campaign — Who Is FBI/CIA Deep Throat Mole and Agent Provocateur — Stefan Halper? — Trump Knows — Trump Waiting For Ideal Moment To Declassify Documents Congress Subpoenaed — 2018 October Surprise! –Videos — Story 2: President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence Welcome Home Three Americans Held Hostage in North Korea By Kim Jong-un Regime — Videos

Posted on May 14, 2018. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, China, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Elections, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Former President Barack Obama, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Independence, James Comey, Japan, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Mike Pompeo, MIssiles, National Interest, National Security Agency, News, Nixon, North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Presidential Appointments, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Social Networking, South Korea, Spying, Spying on American People, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Transportation, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

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Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

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See the source image

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Story 1: Obama “Deep Throat” Mole and Agent Provocateur In Trump Campaign — Obama FBI/CIA Confidential Informants (CI) or Confidential Human Sources Spied on Trump Campaign — Who Is FBI/CIA Deep Throat Mole and Agent Provocateur — Stefan Halper? — Trump Knows — Trump Waiting For Ideal Moment To Declassify Documents Congress Subpoenaed — 2018 October Surprise! –Videos —

]

Did an FBI spy infiltrate the Trump 2016 campaign?

Dan Bongino – There Were Two Moles in the Trump Tent, 2217

Rep. Peter King on possibility of Trump campaign mole

After CIA-MI6 Operative Stefan Halper Confirmed As Mole FBI Director Comey Used To Destroy Trump

World In Shock After CIA-MI6 Operative Stefan Halper Confirmed As Mole

FBI may have placed a mole inside the Trump campaign: report

Strassel: Did FBI outright spy on the 2016 Trump campaign?

Did an FBI spy infiltrate the Trump 2016 campaign?

Strassel: FBI used human intel to spy on Trump campaign

See the source image

Mark Felk, Aka “Deep Throat” Dead at 95

New: CIA Agent Whistleblower Risks All To Expose The Shadow Government

John Brennan faces scrutiny over anti-Trump dossier

Rosenstein under fire from Trump, Congress

Judicial Watch: FBI advised Comey to consult with Mueller

Mark Levin: Mueller’s purpose is to remove the president

Vice President Pence calls on Mueller to “wrap it up”

Ryan backs Nunes in feud with DOJ

Hannity: Mueller probe suffers two major blows

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

AN OBAMA FBI INFORMANT PLANTED INSIDE THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN

BREAKING FBI Planted Mole In Trump Administration… Spread This Like WILDFIRE

Fact-checking Obama’s denial of Trump wiretap claims

What happens if Obama was involved in illegal surveillance?

Rep. Nunes threatens AG sessions with contempt of Congress

Scalise turns up the heat on Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Deep state is weaponizing staff security clearances against Trump: Sean Bigley

Trump threatens to use presidential powers on DOJ

EVERY TREY GOWDY QUESTION: GRILLS John Brennan on Trump Russia Collusion Leaks Unmasking

Trump Claims Obama wiretapped Trump Tower | ABC News

Washington reacts to Trump’s claims of secret surveillance

What Are FBI Informants? Domestic Terrorism, Entrapment, Program, Payments (2011)

Ex Weatherman Larry Grathwohl – Obama’s mentor Bill Ayers wanted to kill millions like Mao

Larry Grathwohl Final Thoughts on Bill Ayers

Larry Grathwohl (Part 1 of 3) Soros Files

Larry Grathwohl (Part 2 of 3) The Soros Files

Larry Grathwohl (Part 3 of 3) The Soros Files

Freeway Ricky: Top Informants Make $5 Million a Year, Downfall of BMF

Joaquín “Jack” García Undercover FBI Agent Lecture at The Mob Museum

Jack Garcia on Being a Undercover FBI Agent in the Mob

The Secret Life of CIA and FBI Informants

Ex F.B.I Informant talks infiltration of BLACK CULTURE

LIKE IT IS: BLACK SPY TELLS ALL

One of the FBI’s Biggest Secrets: The Informant – A Bizarre Financial Scandal (2000)

FBI Informant Exposes Sting Operation Targeting Innocent Americans in New “(T)ERROR” Documentary

(T)ERROR Official Trailer 1 (2015) – Counterterrorism Documentary HD

(T)ERROR Documentary with Directors Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe

(T)ERROR Documentary.Film 2015

Former FBI Asst. Director Bill Gavin on FBI spying on Trump campaign advisor

Fmr. FBI asst. director on wiretap claims: I warned Trump

Byron York reacts to Clapper denying wiretap of Trump

What we know about Stefan Halper and Joseph Mifsud | Jack Posobiec Periscope

Professor Joseph Mifsud Who Told Trump Campaign About Hillary Clinton “Dirt” From Russia Has Vanished

G7 International forum – Joseph Mifsud

Joseph Mifsud about World Energy Market Trends

All Russiagate Roads Lead To London As Evidence Emerges Of Joseph Mifsud’s Links To UK Intelligence

The Bill Walton Show: Episode 27 – “It’s Time to Get Serious About China” with Stefan Halper and…

Stefan Halper, “Legitimating Authoritarianism in Our Time”

Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me: Why don’t we shag?

Austin Powers International Man Of Mystery: Miss Kensington

Austin Powers International Man Of Mystery: Alotta Fagina

 

May 12, 2018

World In Shock After CIA-MI6 Operative Stefan Halper Confirmed As Mole FBI Director Comey Used To Destroy Trump

By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers

A somberly written new Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) report circulating in the Kremlin today states the entire world is in shock today after confirmation was received that an active CIA-MI6 operative named Stefan Halper was inserted as deep-cover spy (mole) into the US presidential campaign of Donald Trump by former FBI Director James Comey—and whose single role was to destroy Trump before he could achieve an election victory over his rival Hillary Clinton—but in whose failing to accomplish this feat, has exposed the United States as being a “failed statewhose grim future includes it possibly collapsing into civil war.  [Note: Some words and/or phrases appearing in quotes in this report are English language approximations of Russian words/phrases having no exact counterpart.]

 

CIA-MI6 deep cover spy Stefan Halper’s task was to link and dirty up (make to look illicit) the connections between the Trump campaign and operatives associated with Russia

 

According to this report, though the United States has a long history of bitter and contentious presidential elections, the world community could always rely on the American’s conducting free and fair elections without interference from their powerful, and very secret, intelligence agencies—and that thus marked the US as being a reliable partner in the conducting of vital global affairs.

With the rise to US presidential power of New York City multi-billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump, however, this report notes, America’s powerful state intelligence apparatus, for the first time in its history, obliterated the US Constitution and all US laws in order to destroy presidential candidate Trump—and whose “device” to do so was described by the FBI’s Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division Peter Strzok as “The Insurance Policy”—but known today as the “Trump-Russia Dossier”.

 

Once secret texts of FBI Deputy Counter Terror Chief Peter Strzok reveal existence of “The Insurance Policy” to destroy Donald Trump

 

The creation of “The Insurance Policy” to destroy Donald Trump, this report explains, was as comically stupid as it was insidious—and involved British MI6 operative Christopher Steele being illegally paid millions-of-dollars by Hillary Clinton and her Democratic National Committeeto create what is known as the “Trump-Russia Dossier—with Steele being aided in this effort by one of the Russian turncoat spies he had once recruited named Sergei Skripal—but with Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, being “taken out” after MI6 discovered that he had written to President Putin asking to be allowed to come back home to Russia.

 

 

Upon the completion of “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” by MI6 operative Christopher Steele, this report continues, it was given to CIA Director John Brennan—who then recruited the notorious CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper to lure Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos to London—with Halper paying $3,000 to Papadopoulos for a research paper, and that, also, covered the cost of his room, board, and flight to London.

Next to be ensnared by CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper, this report notes, was another Trump campaign volunteer named Carter Page—whom, like Papadopoulos before him, was lured to London by Halper.

 

 

Once he had the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy”, and whatever lies were concocted by CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper, this report explains, CIA Director Brennan couldn’t use them as the CIA is forbidden to interfere in US domestic affairs—but with the workaround being having US Senator John McCain take “The Insurance Policy” from the CIA and give it to FBI Director James Comey—that the FBI had to admit they couldn’t verify any of its spurious claims—but didn’t stop them from shockingly using this information to become the first US intelligence agency to obtain a warrant to spy on the presidential campaign in all of history.

 

 

With the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” having failed to keep Trump from winning the US presidency, this report continues, any rationally thinking state intelligence agency would have buried everything about this sordid plot so far down it would never see the light of day, particularly because of how rapidly it could be exposed—but that, of course, didn’t happen because of the insane hatred everyone in power in the US had because of their now having to deal with President Donald Trump.

So, and in one of the most ill conceived and transparent coup plots ever devised, this report details, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (who oversaw both the FBI and CIAordered FBI Director Comey to “brief” the newly elected President Trump about the existence of the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy—with Clapper, immediately afterwards, leaking” this information to the “fake news” cable television media giant CNN, thus giving them the “hook” to call it “real news—and for which Clapper was handsomely rewarded when CNN hired him for millions-of-dollars.

 

 

However, what DNI ClapperFBI Director Comey and CIA Director Brennan failed to realize when they unleashed the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” against President Trump in retribution for his daring to defeat Hillary Clinton, this report says, was that the most vulnerable flaw in any intelligence operation are the operatives involved in it—most particularly in this case being CIA-MI6 operative Stefan Halper.

In anyone ever attempting to create in writing a description of what a “Deep State” operative would be like, this report explains, they’d be best not to even try and, instead, just describe the life of Stefan Halper—who, upon his graduation from an Ivy League universitytraveled to London to get a Ph.D. at Cambridge, then returned to the United States where he was quickly hired by the President Nixon administrationmarried the daughter of one of the CIA’s most feared high-ranking directorsover the past nearly 50 years has worked in every single branch and department of the US governmentran a CIA covert operation to discredit former President Jimmy Carterbecame an operative for the British intelligence agency MI6—and in his spare time, created a private bank used by the President Ronald Reagan administration to funnel money to both Iran and Central American terrorists (called Contras) trying to illegally overthrow the government of Nicaragua.

 

On 27 January 2017, seven days after President Trump took his oath of office, this report continues, FBI Director Comey had his agents interview George Papadopoulos—which immediately exposed CIA-I6 operative Stefan Halper as being a spy (mole) secretly placed into Trump’scampaign, that even a novice intelligence agent could follow the trail of—and though the “Deep State” is working feverishly to keep this fact hidden from the American public, the truest reporting coming from the US states that “the Obama State department, CIA, and FBI conspired to set “Russian espionage traps” for minor players in the Trump campaign, and the FBI had a mole within the Trump campaign, that giant sucking sound you might hear is nothing short of the US Intelligence community starting to implode”.

With the so-called Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigation of the “Trump-Russia Dossier Insurance Policy” being nothing more than a cover-up of Obama’s Department of Justice and FBI efforts to destroy the Trump Presidency, this report concludes, the real investigation currently ongoing is the one headed by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz—whose exposure of the entire plot to overthrow Trump is about to explode upon the American political landscape—with former FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano even warning his “fake news” colleagues at CNN what’s about to strike by his stating:

Sources with knowledge of the impending DOJ Inspector General Report confirm that it will be a fairly damning indictment of FBI’s seventh floor during the Comey era.

It’s worse than expected,” seems to be the consistent theme.

 

I’ve always won, and I’m going to continue to win. And that’s the way it is.

45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump

http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index2560.htm

About That FBI ‘Source’

Did the bureau engage in outright spying against the 2016 Trump campaign?

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Feb. 24 at National Harbor, Md.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Feb. 24 at National Harbor, Md. PHOTO:JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS

The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it agreed to brief House Intelligence Committee members about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.

Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.

House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”

 

This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.

The bureau already has some explaining to do. Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.

This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting. It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough. Obama political appointees rampantly “unmasked” Trump campaign officials to monitor their conversations, while the FBI played dirty with its surveillance warrant against Carter Page, failing to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that its supporting information came from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now we find it may have also been rolling out human intelligence, John Le Carré style, to infiltrate the Trump campaign.

Which would lead to another big question for the FBI: When? The bureau has been doggedly sticking with its story that a tip in July 2016 about the drunken ramblings of George Papadopoulos launched its counterintelligence probe. Still, the players in this affair—the FBI, former Director Jim Comey, the Steele dossier authors—have been suspiciously vague on the key moments leading up to that launch date. When precisely was the Steele dossier delivered to the FBI? When precisely did the Papadopoulos information come in?

And to the point, when precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment. And that in turn would mean that the FBI had been spurred to act on the basis of something other than a junior campaign aide’s loose lips.

We also know that among the Justice Department’s stated reasons for not complying with the Nunes subpoena was its worry that to do so might damage international relationships. This suggests the “source” may be overseas, have ties to foreign intelligence, or both. That’s notable, given the highly suspicious role foreigners have played in this escapade. It was an Australian diplomat who reported the Papadopoulos conversation. Dossier author Christopher Steele is British, used to work for MI6, and retains ties to that spy agency as well as to a network of former spooks. It was a former British diplomat who tipped off Sen. John McCain to the dossier. How this “top secret” source fits into this puzzle could matter deeply.

Correction
The FBI briefed House Intelligence Committee members about a top-secret intelligence source but did not allow them to see documents. An earlier version of this article misstated this.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/about-that-fbi-source-1525992611

Secret intelligence source who aided Mueller probe is at center of latest clash between Nunes and Justice Dept.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Last Wednesday, senior FBI and national intelligence officials relayed an urgent message to the White House: Information being sought by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes could endanger a top-secret intelligence source.Top White House officials, with the assent of President Trump, agreed to back the decision to withhold the information. They were persuaded that turning over Justice Department documents could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI, according to multiple people familiar with the discussion and the person’s role.The showdown marked a rare moment of alignment between the Justice Department and Trump, who has relentlessly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other top Justice officials for the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.But it is unclear whether Trump was alerted to a key fact — that information developed by the intelligence source had been provided to the Mueller investigation.

The debate over the risk to the source is now at the center of a pitched battle between House Republicans and the Justice Department.

After the White House sided with the department’s decision to refuse the request, Nunes (R-Calif.) publicly vented his frustration, saying Sunday that he may try to hold Sessions in contempt for refusing to comply. He said that his classified-document request and subsequent subpoena to the Justice Department did not refer to an individual.

“They are citing spurious national security concerns to evade congressional oversight while leaking information to The Washington Post ostensibly about classified meetings,” he said in a statement to The Post. “Congress has a right and a duty to get this information and we will succeed in getting this information, regardless of whatever fantastic stories the DOJ and FBI spin to the Post.”

Several administration officials said they fear Trump may reverse course and support Nunes’s argument.

White House officials did not respond to requests for comment.

For the intelligence agencies, Nunes’s request threatened to cross a red line of compromising sources and methods of U.S. intelligence-gathering, according to people familiar with their views. Intelligence officials fear that providing even a redacted version of the information Nunes seeks could expose that person and damage relationships with other countries that serve as U.S. intelligence partners.

The role of the intelligence source in the Mueller investigation may now be seized upon by conservative Republicans who have publicly accused the Justice Department and intelligence agencies of overreach and misuse of their surveillance powers.

Some have alleged that officials within the government have worked against Trump, and they have criticized Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel probe, for refusing to let members of Congress see a “scope memo” outlining the people and issues under investigation by Mueller.

Last month, House allies of Trump drafted articles of impeachment against Rosenstein as a “last resort” if he does not provide Congress with more information.

It’s not clear what documents Nunes requested in his classified April 24 letter to the Justice Department. He told reporters this week that he is investigating the FBI’s abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “and other matters.”

Because Sessions is recused from the Russia investigation and investigations involving the 2016 campaign, he is not involved in the discussions surrounding Nunes’s request, according to a person familiar with the matter.

During a meeting at the White House last Wednesday, senior FBI and intelligence officials told Chief of Staff John F. Kelly that turning over the information could contradict years of policy about protecting intelligence sources, according to three people familiar with the matter. The people who described the meeting include those who support the release of the information and those opposed to it.

Kelly then consulted with Trump, who agreed it was important to protect intelligence sources, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd laid out those concerns to Nunes in a letter the following day, noting that the department made the decision after “consultations” with the White House and intelligence agencies.

“Disclosure of responsive information to such requests can risk severe consequences including potential loss of human lives, damage to relationships with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations, and interference with intelligence activities,” Boyd wrote.

Nunes told reporters Monday that the Justice Department’s stance was “awfully suspicious,” suggesting that the White House did not share the department’s concerns.

“The word that comes to me is obfuscation,” he said.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) said he had not discussed the matter with Nunes but added that he expected congressional subpoenas to be enforced.

“We expect the administration to comply with our document requests,” Ryan said.

The Justice Department has been sparring with lawmakers and congressional committees for months over document requests related to the FBI investigations. In most instances, officials have turned over materials.

At one point, Nunes had threatened to impeach top Justice Department officials when they did not immediately hand over an unredacted document detailing the origin of the investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election. The department later gave Nunes access to a version with modest redactions, and Nunes thanked Rosenstein for his cooperation.

Rosenstein has sought to make clear in recent weeks that while he is willing to compromise, he will go only so far. Last week, in response to the revelation that members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus drafted articles of impeachment, Rosenstein declared that the Justice Department was “not going to be extorted” and would not hand over documents that might harm national security or ongoing investigations.

“If we were to just open our doors to allow Congress to come and rummage through the files, that would be a serious infringement on the separation of powers, and it might resolve a dispute today, but it would have negative repercussions in the long run, and we have a responsibility to defend the institution,” Rosenstein said.

Josh Dawsey, Karoun Demirjian and Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/risk-to-intelligence-source-who-aided-russia-investigation-at-center-of-latest-showdown-between-nunes-and-justice-dept/2018/05/08/d6fb66f8-5223-11e8-abd8-265bd07a9859_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7d4943870599

 

WSJ: The FBI Hid A Mole In The Trump Campaign

On Wednesday we reported on an intense battle playing out between House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), the Department of Justice, and the Mueller investigation concerning a cache of intelligence that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refuses to hand over – a request he equated to “extortion.”

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that Nunes was denied access to the information on the grounds that it “could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI.

After the White House caved to Rosenstein and Nunes was barred from seeing the documents, it also emerged that this same intelligence had already been shared with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 US election.

On Wednesday afternoon, however, news emerged that Nunes and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) would receive a classified Thursday briefing at the DOJ on the documents. This is, to put it lightly, incredibly significant.

Why? Because it appears that the FBI may have had a mole embedded in the Trump campaign.

In a bombshell op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Kimberly Strassel shares a few key insights about recent developments. Perhaps we should start with the ending and let you take it from there. Needless to say Strassel’s claims, if true, would have wide ranging implications for the CIA, FBI, DOJ and former Obama administration officials.

Strassel concludes: 

“I believe I know the name of the informant, but my intelligence sources did not provide it to me and refuse to confirm it. It would therefore be irresponsible to publish it.”

Authored by Kimberley Strassel, op-ed via The Wall Street Journal,

About That FBI ‘Source’

Did the bureau engage in outright spying against the 2016 Trump campaign?

The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it allowed House Intelligence Committee members to view classified documents about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.

Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.

House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”

This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.

The bureau already has some explaining to do. Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.

This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting. It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough. Obama political appointees rampantly “unmasked” Trump campaign officials to monitor their conversations, while the FBI played dirty with its surveillance warrant against Carter Page, failing to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that its supporting information came from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now we find it may have also been rolling out human intelligence, John Le Carré style, to infiltrate the Trump campaign.

Which would lead to another big question for the FBI: When? The bureau has been doggedly sticking with its story that a tip in July 2016 about the drunken ramblings of George Papadopoulos launched its counterintelligence probe. Still, the players in this affair—the FBI, former Director Jim Comey, the Steele dossier authors—have been suspiciously vague on the key moments leading up to that launch date. When precisely was the Steele dossier delivered to the FBI? When precisely did the Papadopoulos information come in?
And to the point, when precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment. And that in turn would mean that the FBI had been spurred to act on the basis of something other than a junior campaign aide’s loose lips.

We also know that among the Justice Department’s stated reasons for not complying with the Nunes subpoena was its worry that to do so might damage international relationships. This suggests the “source” may be overseas, have ties to foreign intelligence, or both. That’s notable, given the highly suspicious role foreigners have played in this escapade. It was an Australian diplomat who reported the Papadopoulos conversation. Dossier author Christopher Steele is British, used to work for MI6, and retains ties to that spy agency as well as to a network of former spooks. It was a former British diplomat who tipped off Sen. John McCain to the dossier. How this “top secret” source fits into this puzzle could matter deeply.

I believe I know the name of the informant, but my intelligence sources did not provide it to me and refuse to confirm it. It would therefore be irresponsible to publish it. But what is clear is that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the FBI’s 2016 behavior, and the country will never get the straight story until President Trump moves to declassify everything possible. It’s time to rip off the Band-Aid.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-05-10/wsj-fbi-hid-mole-trump-campaign

 

AN FBI INFORMANT IN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN?

Rush Limbaugh summarizes Kim Strassel’s Wall Street Journal column of this past Friday, today’s Wall Street Journal editorial (obviously written by Kim), and a related Washington Post story in which the deep state strikes back against House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. It’s a complicated story to unravel. In the transcript posted at his site, Rush links to each of the three sources and summarizes the salient details.

Close reading is required, and Rush zooms in to provide it. There seems to be a serious question whether the FBI had an informant in the Trump campaign.

At last word, Chairman Nunes and Rep. Trey Gowdy had met with Rod Rosenstein, FBI and intelligence authorities. They agreed to keep talking about obtaining the documents in issue (statement embedded in tweet below).

Jeremy Herb

@jeremyherb

Nunes and Gowdy issue statement saying they had a “productive” meeting at DOJ today, and will keep talking next week about latest doc request

What is going on here? Kim Strassel comments today in her tweet below. Support Devin Nunes!

Kimberley Strassel@KimStrassel

Alternate (and reality) read: DOJ/FBI don’t want HPSCI to see what shenanigans they were up to in 2016. And now gunning for Nunes, cuz he won’t give up. Side note: Ryan said in his presser this morning that he’s read HPSCI request and it is “wholly appropriate.” https://twitter.com/Susan_Hennessey/status/994322371443089408 

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/05/an-fbi-informant-in-the-trump-campaign.php

T H E ATTORNEY GENERAL’S GUIDELINES REGARDING
T H E USE OF FBI CONFIDENTIAL HUMAN SOURCES

EXCLUSIVE: A London Meeting Before The Election Aroused George Papadopoulos’s Suspicions

Photo of Chuck Ross

CHUCK ROSS

Two months before the 2016 election, George Papadopoulos received a strange request for a meeting in London, one of several the young Trump adviser would be offered — and he would accept — during the presidential campaign.

The meeting request, which has not been reported until now, came from Stefan Halper, a foreign policy expert and Cambridge professor with connections to the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6.

Halper’s September 2016 outreach to Papadopoulos wasn’t his only contact with Trump campaign members. The 73-year-old professor, a veteran of three Republican administrations, met with two other campaign advisers, The Daily Caller News Foundation learned.

Papadopoulos now questions Halper’s motivation for contacting him, according to a source familiar with Papadopoulos’s thinking. That’s not just because of the randomness of the initial inquiry but because of questions Halper is said to have asked during their face-to-face meetings in London.

According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, Halper asked Papadopoulos: “George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?”

Papadopoulos told Halper he didn’t know anything about emails or Russian hacking, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. The professor did not follow up on the line of inquiry.

Halper first contacted Papadopoulos by email. In a Sept. 2, 2016, message sent to Papadopoulos’s personal email account, he offered the Trump aide $3,000 to write a policy paper on issues related to Turkey, Cyprus, Israel and the Leviathan natural gas field. Halper also offered to pay for Papadopoulos’s flight and a three-night stay in London.

Papadopoulos accepted the proposal, flew to England, and met with Halper and one of his assistants. He delivered the paper electronically Oct. 2 and received payment days later, according to documents TheDCNF reviewed.

Halper’s encounters with Papadopoulos were not the only encounters that the professor had with the Trump campaign.

[Stefan Halper speaks at Wellesley College, Oct. 23, 2013. (YouTube screen capture)]

Halper met campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page at a July 2016 symposium held at Cambridge regarding the upcoming election, Page told TheDCNF. The pair remained in contact for several months.Halper also requested and attended a one-on-one meeting with another senior campaign official, TheDCNF learned. That meeting was held a day or two before Halper reached out to Papadopoulos. Halper offered to help the campaign but did not bring up Papadopoulos, even though he would reach out to the campaign aide a day or two later.

Halper’s intentions are unclear, while a source familiar with the investigations into Russian meddling told TheDCNF Halper’s name popped up on investigators’ radar. There is no indication of any wrongdoing on his part, and it is not clear if he has been in touch with investigators.

Halper’s activities are all the more eye-catching because Papadopoulos and Page are central figures in the Russia investigation. Papadopoulos, 30, pleaded guilty in October 2017 to lying to the FBI about contacts he had during the campaign with Russian nationals and a London-based professor with links to the Russian government.

That professor, Joseph Mifsud, told Papadopoulos in April 2016 he learned the Russians had possession of “thousands” of Clinton-related emails. That conversation would later spark the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the presidential campaign. It is not known whether Papadopoulos told anyone on the Trump campaign about Mifsud’s remarks.

Page is also a prominent figure in the investigation due to allegations made against him in the infamous Steele dossier. Page’s trip to Moscow in early July 2016 is a central piece of the dossier. Christopher Steele, the author of the Democrat-funded report, alleges Page met secretly with two Kremlin insiders as part of the Trump campaign’s collusion effort.

Page attended the Cambridge event Halper set up, four days after that trip to Moscow.

***

London was a veritable stomping ground for Papadopoulos during the campaign.

In addition to meetings there with Halper and Mifsud, the Chicago native had an encounter that would serve as the catalyst for the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling.

In May 2016, a month after his meeting with Mifsud, an Israeli embassy official, who Papadopoulos knew, introduced him to Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Alexander Downer.

During a barroom conversation at Kensington Gardens, Papadopoulos told Downer about the emails Mifsud mentioned to him, The New York Times reported in December 2016.

After WikiLeaks published a trove of stolen DNC emails in July 2016, Australian government officials told the FBI about Downer’s interaction with Papadopoulos. The bureau opened its counterintelligence investigation July 31, 2016.

[Alexander Downer, Australia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. (YouTube screen capture/BBC)]

What remains unclear is why Downer sought the meeting with Papadopoulos. Was it to become acquainted with a member of Trump’s foreign policy advisory team, or was it an opportunity to gather intelligence?The latter scenario — of a spy operation — is what Papadopoulos wonders was at play when Halper contacted him before the election. There are no clear connections between Halper and Downer, though the pair did speak on the same panel at a 2010 Cambridge seminar.

Papadopoulos and Halper met several times during the London trip, including at the Connaught Hotel and the Travellers Club — a classic 19th century club foreign diplomats and politicians frequent. Halper’s research assistant — a Turkish woman named Azra Turk — also met with Papadopoulos. The Connaught Hotel meeting was scheduled for Sept. 13, 2016, and the Travellers Club conclave was two days later.

While discussing the policy paper Papadopoulos was to write, Halper made an out-of-left-field reference to Russians and hacked emails, according to a source with direct knowledge of Papadopoulos’s version of events.

Turk contacted Papadopoulos to thank him for attending after the meeting. Papadopoulos delivered the paper through email Oct. 2.

Neither Halper nor Turk responded to numerous requests for comment. A phone call placed to a number listed for Halper was answered by a man who claimed Halper was not available. A message left with the man was not returned. Halper also did not reply to a detailed list of questions about his interactions with Trump campaign advisers.

Halper’s resume provides mixed clues about why he might have reached out to Papadopoulos.

On one hand, he worked on several geopolitical policy projects as a contractor for the Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s in-house think tank. Federal records show he has been paid $928,800 since 2012 on four separate research projects.

At the time of the Papadopoulos meeting, Halper was working on a project related to China and Russia’s economic relations. There are no public records of Halper releasing reports on Turkey, Cyprus and Israel.

Fitting with Papadopoulos’s theory of Halper’s outreach is the professor’s longstanding connections to both British and American intelligence agency officials. He also worked at the Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, and in three presidential administrations.

Halper is a close associate of Sir Richard Dearlove — the former MI6 chief.

In December 2016, Halper, Dearlove and espionage historian Peter Morland made international news when they announced they were leaving an organization called the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar due to concerns Russian operatives had infiltrated the group.

Months earlier, in early fall 2016, Dearlove reportedly met with dossier author Steele. Steele sought out Dearlove’s advice on how to proceed with information he gathered on Trump’s ties to Russia, The Washington Post reported. Former MI6 Moscow station chief Steele had been told Trump campaign members were colluding with Kremlin operatives to release emails stolen from the DNC.

[Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6. (YouTube screen capture/BBC)]

Steele’s dossier does not mention Papadopoulos, though the former spy was made aware of the Trump campaign aide while he was working on his anti-Trump document. FBI agents asked Steele during an October 2016 meeting in Rome if he was aware of Papadopoulos. Steele did not have information on Papadopoulos, the former spy said.But Papadopoulos does have at least one possible connection to the dossier. During the campaign, Sergei Millian approached him. Millian is a Belarus-born businessman who was allegedly an unwitting source for some of the most salacious claims in the dossier.

Halper also had connections to the CIA — most notably through his late father-in-law, Ray Cline.

Cline once served as director of the CIA’s bureau of intelligence and research. He was also the agency’s top analyst during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Halper got a job as foreign policy director on George H.W. Bush’s unsuccessful 1980 presidential primary bid on Cline’s recommendation.

Halper, who has a residence in Virginia, was also allegedly in charge of a team of former CIA analysts who kept tabs on the Jimmy Carter campaign.

In an ironic twist given the Russia probe’s focus on election meddling, Halper was also linked to a Reagan-era scandal dubbed “Briefing-gate.”

Halper was one of several Reagan White House officials linked to the scandal, which involved campaign briefing materials stolen from Carter’s campaign. Prior to the 1980 election, stolen Carter-campaign briefing papers containing classified information ended up in the hands of Reagan’s campaign officials.

The theft was not revealed until 1983. Halper was not directly implicated in stealing the documents, but he was identified as one of the campaign advisers who handled and disseminated them.

http://dailycaller.com/author/chuck-ross/

Stefan Halper (born 1944) is a foreign policy scholar. He served as a White House official in the NixonFord, and Reagan administrations and is currently the Director of American Studies at the Department of Politics, University of Cambridge.[1] He is also a Life Fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge.

He is the co-author of the bestselling book, America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order published by the Cambridge University Press (2004), and The Silence of the Rational Centre: Why American Foreign Policy is Failing (Basic Books, 2007). In April 2010, his book The Beijing Consensus: Legitimizing Authoritarianism in our Time, was published by Basic Books. Also a “best seller,” it has been published in Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea and France.

Background and education

Halper graduated from Stanford University in 1967 and gained a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford (1971) and the University of Cambridge (2004).[2][1] Halper is the son-in-law of Ray S. Cline.[3]

Career

US government (1971 – 1984)

Halper began his US government career in 1971 in the United States Domestic Policy Council, part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, serving until 1973.[2] He then served in the Office of Management and Budget until 1974, when he moved to the Office of the White House Chief of Staff as Assistant to the Chief of Staff where he had responsibility for a range of domestic and international issues. During this time, Halper worked as an assistant for three Chiefs of Staff, Alexander HaigDonald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney. He held this position until January 20, 1977.[2]

In 1977 Halper became Special Counsel to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and Legislative Assistant to Senator William V. Roth, Jr. (R-Del.).[2] In 1979 he became National Policy Director for George H. W. Bush‘s Presidential campaign and then in 1980 he became Director of Policy Coordination for the Reagan- Bush Presidential campaign.[2] In connection with this position Halper’s name came up in the 1983/4 investigations into the Debategate affair.[3]

After Reagan entered the White House, Halper became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.[2] Upon leaving the Department in 1984, he remained a Senior Advisor to the Department of Defense and a Senior Advisor to the Department of Justice until 2001.[2]

Academic and media career

From 1986 to 2000 Halper wrote a national security and foreign policy-focused weekly newspaper column, syndicated to 30 newspapers.[2]

Halper has worked as a senior foreign policy advisor to various think-tanks and research institutions, including the Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Center for the National Interest, where he is a Distinguished Fellow, and The Institute of World Politicswhere he is a Research Professor. He has served on the Advisory Board of Directors of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and contributed to various magazines, journals, newspapers and media outlets. These include: The National Interest, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, the BBC, CNN, SKY NEWS, ABC, CBS, NBC, C-Span, and a range of radio outlets.

Professor Halper is a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, and the Travellers Club in London. He is a recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award, the Justice Department’s Director’s Award and the Defense Department’s Superior Honor Award.

Business career

From 1984 to 1990 Halper was chairman and majority shareholder of the Palmer National Bank of Washington, D.C., the National Bank of Northern Virginia and the George Washington National Bank.[2]

References

External links

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

 

Joseph Mifsud

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Joseph Mifsud
Born 1960 (age 57–58)
Malta
Nationality Maltese
Academic background
Education University of Malta (BA)
University of Padua (MA)
Queen’s University Belfast (PhD)
Academic work
Discipline Education
Diplomacy
Institutions University of Stirling[1]
Link Campus University[1]

Joseph Mifsud (born 1960)[2] is a Maltese academic, with high level connections to the Russian state.[3]

He is a former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta, a former principal in the London Centre of International Law Practice, a professorial teaching fellow at the University of Stirling[4] in Scotland, and director of the Diplomatic Academy of London,[5] where he held seminars on Brexit.[6]

He was awarded a PhD upon acceptance of his thesis entitled “Managing educational reform: a comparative approach from Malta (and Northern Ireland); a headteachers’ perspective” in 1995 from Queen’s University Belfast.[7]

Investigators say Mifsud enticed George Papadopoulos, an advisor to the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign, with a promise of Russian “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.[1][8]

He is a Member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR),[9] and a former President of the Euro-Mediterranean University of Slovenia (EMUNI).[10] He was a regular at meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual conference held in Sochi, Russia, attended by Vladimir Putin.[8]

On February 27, 2018, Buzzfeed News reported that Mifsud claimed to his former girlfriend that he was friends with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.[11] Mifsud has subsequently gone missing, having been seen last on October 31, 2017.[12]

On March 21, 2018, The BBC revealed that Mifsud introduced Papadopoulos in April 2016 via email to Ivan Timofeev, who works for a think tank close to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the same month, Mifsud was in Moscow on a panel run by the Kremlin-backed Valdai Club with Timofeev and a third man, Dr Stephan Roh, a German multi-millionaire described as a “wheeler-dealer”. Roh could not be reached for comment by the BBC and has since attempted to erase links between the two men on his company website.[13]

See also

References

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

Story 2: President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence Welcome Home Three Americans Held Hostage in North Korea By Kim Jong-un Regime Regime — Videos

Special Report: Americans released by North Korea arrive at Joint Base Andrews

Freed North Korean prisoners arrive at Joint Base Andrews

Trump welcomes US prisoners released by North Korea

President Trump and Vice President Pence Welcome the Secretary of State and Three American Returnees

Cruz: Release of US prisoners is a ‘major victory’

3 US captives held in North Korea on way home with Pompeo

Gutfeld on Trump and the Americans freed from North Korea

Comedian Dennis Miller: I’m happy for Trump

Geraldo Rivera: Trump attained a tremendous triumph

‘We want to thank Kim Jong-un’: Trump praises North Korean leader for freeing three American prisoners ‘early’ as he and Melania give them heroes’ welcome as they land back at U.S. Air Force base

  • Kim Jong-un released Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim – who were greeted as heroes in the U.S.
  • Trump and Melania personally met with them after their plane from Pyongyang arrived at 2:00 a.m.
  • President said: ‘These are great people. Frankly, we didn’t think this was going to happen, but it did’
  • Trump aims to sit down with North Korean dictator in late May or early June and thanked him personally

Donald Trump welcomed three Americans imprisoned in North Korea back to the U.S. in the wee hours of Thursday morning, and said words most observers thought no American president would ever utter: ‘We want to thank Kim Jong Un.’

The president and his wife Melania arrived at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington at 2:00 a.m. to greet Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim, and called them ‘incredible people.’

In extraordinary scenes, Trump and the first lady clapped and cheered as the men walked down the steps with their arms in the air and giving triumphant ‘V’ signs signifying both peace and victory.

Their first steps back on American soil came hours earlier, in Alaska, when the plane carrying them home stopped to refuel.

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On the tarmac in suburban Maryland, Trump said: ‘These are great people. Frankly, we didn’t think this was going to happen, but it did. It was important to get these people out. This is a special night for these three really great people.’

Trump also thanked Kim Jong-un for freeing ‘the folks early.’ calling it ‘a wonderful thing’ and adding he believes the North Korean despot ‘really wants to do something’ and bring the hermit kingdom ‘into the real world.’

He said: ‘We’re starting off on a new footing. I really think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful, and if anybody would’ve said that five years ago, 10 years ago, even a year ago, you would’ve said, ‘That’s not possible.’

‘My proudest achievement will be when we denuclearize that entire [Korean] peninsula,’ he added.

The freed trio were joined by a translator who relayed their sentiment that being home felt ‘like a dream’ and that the men were ‘very, very happy’ to be freed. They later gave President Trump a round of applause.

Kim Dong-chul, speaking about his time in North Korea, said: ‘We were treated in many different ways. For me, I had to do a lot of labor. But when I got sick, I was also treated by them.’

Scroll down for video 

Donald Trump and Melania welcomed three Americans imprisoned in North Korea back to America to cheers and applause

Donald Trump and Melania welcomed three Americans imprisoned in North Korea back to America to cheers and applause

Trump shook hands with former detainee Kim Dong-chul (center) upon his return with Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim (both behind) in extraordinary scenes

Trump shook hands with former detainee Kim Dong-chul (center) upon his return with Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim (both behind) in extraordinary scenes

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, warmly embraced former North Korean detainee Tony Kim upon tthe plane's 2:00 a.m. arrival at a Maryland air base

The prisoners walked onto American soil with their arms in the air giving triumphant 'V' signs signifying peace and victory

Trump called the prisoners 'wonderful people' and thanked Kim Jong-un for letting them come home ahead of the Trump-Kim summit

Trump also thanked the North Korean dictator for freeing 'the folks early,' calling it 'a wonderful thing' and adding that he believes Kim finally wants to bring his country 'into the real world'

President Trump, first lady Melania and Vice President Mike Pence walked with the freed Americans after they landed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland

President Trump, first lady Melania and Vice President Mike Pence walked with the freed Americans after they landed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland

The three men were released Wednesday after up to three years of imprisonment and hard labor when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Pyongyang following a meeting with Kim to formalize final plans for a Trump-Kim summit in late May or early June.

He added that the talks between his administration and the North Korean government have ‘never been taken this far.’

While Trump said North Korea’s Kim Jong Un ‘was excellent to these three incredible people,’ Vice President Mike Pence hinted in an ABC interview they had endured harsh conditions.

Pence said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told him that at a refueling stop in Anchorage, ‘one of the detainees asked to go outside the plane because he hadn’t seen daylight in a very long time.’

Who are the Americans freed by North Korea today?

Kim Dong Chul

Kim Dong Chul is pictured in tears while he was held by North Korea in 2016

Kim Dong Chul is pictured in tears while he was held by North Korea in 2016

A naturalized U.S. citizen born in South Korea, Kim Dong Chul was seized in North Korea on October 2, 2015 and accused of spying.

Though a resident of Virginia – he became an American citizen in 1987 – Kim had lived with his wife in Yanji, China since 2001.

He worked just across the North Korean border in the Rason-Sonbong special economic zone, where he ran a hotel services company. He was also a pastor.

Very little was known about his status until a CNN news crew interviewed him during their visit to Pyongyang in January 2016.

He told reporters during a news conference organized by the dictatorship two months later that he was a spy, explaining that he ‘apologized for trying to steal military secrets in collusion with South Koreans’ and called his own actions ‘unpardonable.’

The North accused him of receiving a USB drive and various papers containing nuclear secrets during a meeting with a defector from the regime.

After a one-day trial in April, he was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor for his supposed espionage.

But previous victims of the regime have explained that they were forced to make similar public declarations of their guilt after being tortured, despite being innocent.

Kim Hak-song

Kim, who is in his mid 50s, was born in Jilin, China, and educated at a university in California

Kim, who is in his mid 50s, was born in Jilin, China, and educated at a university in California

Kim Hak-song, also known as Jin Xue Song, had been working for the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), undertaking agricultural development work with the school’s farm.

He was arrested at a Pyongyang railway station in May 2017 on suspicion of committing ‘hostile acts’ against the government, as he was boarding a train headed for his home in Dandong, China.

Kim, who is in his mid 50s, was born in Jilin, China, and educated at a university in California, CNN reported, citing a man who had studied with him.

He said Kim returned to China after about 10 years of living in the U.S., where he is a citizen.

PUST was founded by evangelical Christians overseas and opened in 2010, and is known to have a number of American faculty members.

Pupils are generally children from among the North’s elite.

It is not known whether Kim was sentenced for his supposed ‘hostile acts.’

Kim Sang-duk

Kim is a former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China, close to the Korean border

Kim is a former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China, close to the Korean border

Korean-American Kim Sang-duk – known as  Tony Kim – was arrested in April 2017 at Pyongyang’s main airport as he tried to leave the country after teaching for several weeks as a guest lecturer, also at PUST.

Kim is a former professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China, close to the Korean border.

Its website lists his speciality as accounting.

He graduated from the University of California Riverside in 1990 with a master’s degree in business administration.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency has reported Kim as being in his late 50s and said he had been involved in relief activities for children in rural parts of North Korea.

It cited a source who described him as a ‘religiously devoted man.’

He was detained with his wife at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang on April 22, 2017 while waiting for a flight.

Police later arrested Kim but did not explain why. His wife was allowed to leave the country.

PUST said the arrest was not related to his work at the university.

In a Facebook post, Kim’s son had said that his family has had no contact with him since his arrest.

Kim will soon become a grandfather.

Trump said he will not disclose whether he will have any personal conversations with Kim as they prepare for their historic summit in the coming weeks.

But he did admit it was possible that ‘one day’ he may visit Pyongyang, should peace talks continue to go well.

The three former detainees were taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for evaluation and medical treatment before being reunited with their families.

Singapore is the likely site for the historic meeting between the U.S. President and North Korea’s dictator. The summit could last up to two days.

When asked if the talks will lead to prolonged peace, the president said: ‘We’ll see how it all works out. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but it can be a great thing for North Korea, South Korea, Japan and the entire world. We hope it all works out.’

President Donald Trump tweeted after the reception to say: 'On behalf of the American people, WELCOME HOME!' A video showing the welcome was attached 

In usual Trumpian fashion, the president also joked with reporters, saying: ‘I think you probably broke the all-time-in-history television rating for 3 o’clock in the morning.’

The highly public display stood in stark contrast to the low-key private reception the State Department had envisioned, and in keeping with a tradition of trying to protect potentially traumatized victims from being thrust into the spotlight so soon after their ordeal.

Department officials took great pains on the prisoners’ release in North Korea, as well as on their flights to Japan and Alaska, to keep them sequestered not only from the two journalists traveling with Pompeo but also from staffers not immediately involved in their cases.

The trio, along with medical personnel, including a psychiatrist, were cloistered in the middle of Pompeo’s plane in a small section of 12 business class-size seats that was cordoned off by curtains on both ends.

Trump shakes hands with North Korea detainees welcomed back to US
 President Donald Trump greets the freed Americans aboard their plane after they landed in Maryland. The image is from a video posted by Trump on Twitter 

State Department officials refused to discuss anything but the most basic details of their conditions, citing privacy concerns in keeping with the minimal amount of information they had released since the men were imprisoned.

The Americans had boarded Pompeo’s plane out of North Korea without assistance and then transferred in Japan to the Boeing C-40 outfitted with medical facilities for the trip back to the US.

Shortly after they touched down on American soil in Alaska – for a refueling stop Wednesday afternoon – the State Department released a statement from the freed men.

‘We would like to express our deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and the people of the United States for bringing us home,’ they said. ‘We thank God, and all our families and friends who prayed for us and for our return. God Bless America, the greatest nation in the world.’

The release of the three men was only sealed about an hour before the secretary of state left the North Korean capital.

They walked on their own from a van and onto the plane, the culmination of Pompeo’s 12-hour visit to the North Korean capital, which included a 90-minute meeting with leader Kim Jong Un.

Returning to his hotel from that meeting, Mr Pompeo had given reporters a fingers-crossed sign when asked if there was good news about the detainees.

Trump thanks North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for freeing hostages

The president and his wife Melania are waiting at Joint Base Andrews near Washington to meet Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim

President Donald Trump stands with Americans just released from North Korea, Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stands nearby, at Joint Base Andrews early this morning

President Donald Trump greets the Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on 

America's commander-in-chief salutes as he was met by members of the U.S. Armed Forces in the wee hours of Thursday morning

President Donald Trump arrives to greet the three Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland

The president and the first lady left the White House at 2:00 a.m. to make the short journey to Andrews

Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence (together at center) arrive to greet the three Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea

President Donald Trump talks to the media next to the Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea, upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland

President Trump arrives at air base to greet American detainees

A North Korean official came to the hotel shortly after to inform Pompeo that Kim had granted amnesties to the three and that they would be released at 7:00 p.m. local time, according to a senior U.S. official present for the exchange.

Carl Risch, the assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, and a doctor went to another hotel to pick up the men and bring them to the airport, the official said.

They finally left custody at 7.45 p.m., and by 8.42 p.m. they were flying home.

As soon as the plane cleared North Korean airspace, Mr Pompeo called Mr Trump to inform him of the releases – with the men all apparently in good health.

Even before Mr Pompeo’s plane had touched down for a stopover at Yokota Air Base in neighboring Japan, the president announced to the world on Twitter that the ‘3 wonderful gentlemen’ were free.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets Kim Jong Un in North Korea

U.S. citizen Kim Hak-song was detained 'on suspicion of acts against the state'

Kim Dong-chul, pictured above had been detained since 2015. He was arrested for spying and had been sentenced to 10 years' hard labor

In a statement released by the State Department, the former detainees expressed their ‘deep appreciation’ to the U.S. government, Trump, Pompeo and the American people ‘for bringing us home.’

The three were the latest in a series of Americans who have been detained by North Korea in recent years for seemingly small offenses and typically freed when senior U.S. officials or statesmen personally visited to bail them out.

The last American to be released before this, college student Otto Warmbier, died in June 2017, days after he was repatriated to the U.S. with severe brain damage.

Tony Kim, also known as Kim Sang-Duk, was a Korean-American professor and aid worker before his arrest

Warmbier was arrested by North Korean authorities in January 2016, accused of stealing a propaganda poster and sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor. His parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit, accusing the government of torturing and killing their son.

‘We are happy for the hostages and their families,’ the Warmbiers said in a statement Wednesday. ‘We miss Otto.’

After the release of the detainees, North Korea’s state-run media explicitly mentioned plans for the summit for the first time. Pyongyang has been exceptionally cautious about its public framing of Kim’s recent diplomatic moves, which are a major shift from the more aggressive focus on missile launches and nuclear development that heated tensions to a boil last year.

The trio’s release draws a line under an issue that had weighed on plans for a historic summit between Mr Kim and Mr Trump that will focus on North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

‘We’re granting amnesty to the three detained Americans,’ the North Korean emissary told Mr Pompeo at Pyongyang’s Koryo Hotel, according to the senior U.S. official.

‘We issued the order to grant immediate amnesty to the detainees.’

‘That’s great,’ the secretary of state replied.

The North Korean official then advised that the releases would follow a ‘very brief ceremony’ – which he described as more like a legal process.

The official closed with a gentle warning for the United States to prevent a repeat: ‘You should make care that they do not make the same mistakes again,’ the official said. ‘This was a hard decision.’

Mr Trump pledged to show the world how happy he was that the three Americans are now free men

Mr Trump has thanks the North Korean leader for releasing the prisoners ahead of their summit

President Donald Trump tweeted late Wednesday that he was 'Looking forward to greeting the Hostages (no longer) at 2:00 A.M.'

President Donald Trump tweeted late Wednesday that he was ‘Looking forward to greeting the Hostages (no longer) at 2:00 A.M.’

President Trump triumphantly announced the release of the trio of Americans in his own style – with a pair of tweets

President Trump triumphantly announced the release of the trio of Americans in his own style – with a pair of tweets

University founded by Christian Korean-American who was once detained in North on suspicion of being a spy

The university where two of the latest three American detainees released by North Korea taught is unique: an institution founded and funded by foreign Christians in an isolated country that decries religion.

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) was set up by James Kim, a wealthy evangelical Korean-American the North once detained on suspicion of being a U.S. spy.

Only North Korean citizens can enrol, and it is known to educate many children of the country’s elite.

Opened in 2010, it now has 560 students and 100 ‘international volunteers,’ according to its website, many of them coming to it through church organisations.

PUST says its mission is ‘to pursue excellence in education, with an international outlook, so that its students are diligent in studies, innovative in research and upright in character, bringing illumination to the Korean people and the world.’

But sources stress that it carries out no Christian proselytising, which is unwelcome by Pyongyang.

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) was set up by James Kim, a wealthy evangelical Korean-American the North once detained on suspicion of being a U.S. spy. Pictured: The snow-covered campus 

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) was set up by James Kim, a wealthy evangelical Korean-American the North once detained on suspicion of being a U.S. spy. Pictured: The snow-covered campus

About half of PUST's 80-odd foreign faculty were Americans who have been unable to return for this academic year as a result, and it has filled the gaps with Chinese replacements. Pictured: People walk around the university's campus

Although religious freedom is enshrined in the North Korean constitution, it does not exist in practice and religious activity is severely restricted to officially recognized groups linked to the government.

Agricultural expert Kim Hak-song and former accounting professor Tony Kim were both lecturers at the institution but were arrested by North Korean authorities as they were leaving the country.

The university previously said their detentions were ‘not connected in any way with the work of PUST,’ and it is understood the duo may have come to the attention of the Pyongyang authorities through previous Christian activities elsewhere.

The two, along with fellow detainee Kim Dong-chul, were granted ‘amnesty’ by Pyongyang following a meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and landed back in the United States on Thursday, to be welcomed by President Donald Trump.

‘Our hopes and prayers have been fulfilled by their release,’ PUST said in a statement. The university expressed ‘sincere hope’ that the detainees would be able to ‘now enjoy some peace and rest with their families and friends, and begin to rebuild normal life.’

The school itself has faced indirect repercussions from their detentions.

Tony Kim was arrested in April last year, Kim Hak-song the following month. Weeks later American student Otto Warmbier, who had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for trying to steal a propaganda poster, was released in a mysterious coma and died shortly afterwards.

The university (pictured) previously said their detentions were 'not connected in any way with the work of PUST,' and it is understood the duo may have come to the attention of the Pyongyang authorities through previous Christian activities elsewhere

That prompted Washington to slap a travel ban on American citizens.

About half of PUST’s 80-odd foreign faculty were Americans who have been unable to return for this academic year as a result, and it has filled the gaps with Chinese replacements.

It has also had problems transferring funds and importing materials due to the sanctions imposed on the North over its nuclear programme by the UN Security Council and others.

‘We do of course hope that this is a step in a positive process that will lead to the U.S. administration ending the travel ban on U.S. citizens,’ a school official told AFP, ‘so that many of our regular faculty and leadership can come back to the PUST campus and we can resume operations in a more normal way.’

On its website, PUST says it is hiring new faculty members: English and Chinese instructors, and professors for subjects ranging from stem cell culture technology to genetic engineering.

It does not mention the detention of its lecturers.

Korean-American writer Suki Kim went to PUST undercover as an English teacher in 2011 and later wrote a book about her experiences.

‘PUST offers a mutually beneficial arrangement for both North Korea and the evangelicals,’ she wrote in an essay published in the Washington Post last year following Tony Kim’s detention.

‘The regime gets free education for its youth and a modern facility… while the evangelicals get a footing in the remote nation,’ she said.

Source: AFP

North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un has been photographed smiling and laughing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just moments before three American detainees boarded a flight home after months in captivity

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5712509/Trump-Melania-meet-three-Americans-imprisoned-North-Korea-land-2am.html#ixzz5FE2k7Baj

 

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Story 1: National Day of Prayer — Faith, Family, Friends, Freedom ~ First — President Trump’s Address — Videos

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President Trump Speaks at White House’s National Day of Prayer Event – May 3, 2018

President Trump Attends the National Day of Prayer

5/3/18: White House Press Briefing

2018 – Proclamation

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER, 2018

– – – – – – –

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

On this National Day of Prayer, we join together to offer gratitude for our many blessings and to acknowledge our need for divine wisdom, guidance, and protection.  Prayer, by which we affirm our dependence on God, has long been fundamental to our pursuit of freedom, peace, unity, and prosperity.  Prayer sustains us and brings us comfort, hope, peace, and strength.  Therefore, we must cherish our spiritual foundation and uphold our legacy of faith.

Prayer has been a source of guidance, strength, and wisdom since the founding of our Republic.  When the Continental Congress gathered in Philadelphia to contemplate freedom from Great Britain, the delegates prayed daily for guidance.  Their efforts produced the Declaration of Independence and its enumeration of the self-evident truths that we all cherish today.  We believe that all men and women are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Prayer sustained us and gave us the strength to endure the sacrifices and suffering of the American Revolution and to temper the triumph of victory with humility and gratitude.  Notably, as one of its first acts, our newly formed Congress appointed chaplains of the House of Representatives and Senate so that all proceedings would begin with prayer.

As a Nation, we have continued to seek God in prayer, including in times of conflict and darkness.  At the height of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called for prayer “for the vision to see our way clearly ‑‑ to see the way that leads to a better life for ourselves and for all our fellow men ‑‑ and to the achievement of His will to peace on earth.”  Decades later, following one of the darkest days in our Nation’s history, President George W. Bush offered this prayer for our heartbroken country, mourning the precious souls who perished in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001:  “We ask Almighty God to watch over our Nation, and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come.  We pray that He will comfort and console those who now walk in sorrow.  We thank Him for each life we now must mourn, and the promise of a life to come.”

America has known peace, prosperity, war, and depression ‑‑ and prayer has sustained us through it all.  May our Nation and our people never forget the love, grace, and goodness of our Maker, and may our praise and gratitude never cease.  On this National Day of Prayer, let us come together, all according to their faiths, to thank God for His many blessings and ask for His continued guidance and strength.

In 1988, the Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, called on the President to issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer, “on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 3 as a National Day of Prayer.  I encourage all Americans to observe this day, reflecting on the blessings our Nation has received and the importance of prayer, with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities in their houses of worship, communities, and places of work, schools, and homes.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.

DONALD J. TRUMP

http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org/2018_proclamation

Story 2: The Great One Mark Levin Tells It Like It Is — Is Anyone In White House and Trump Legal Team Listening? — Videos —

Mark Levin: Legal precedent is on Trump’s side

Judge Napolitano: Trump can’t be indicted while president

Can a sitting president be prosecuted? Might Donald Trump, or any president, face the prospect of jail?

A memorandum of law, written in 1998 but released last week, concludes that the answer is a qualified “yes.” The memorandum was written by Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda, who was then at the University of Illinois, for Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel appointed to investigate President Bill Clinton.

Rotunda’s memorandum is learned, illuminating and impressively detailed. The issue is both tough and unsettled. But there’s a better answer: an unqualified “no.”

The drafters of the Constitution spent a lot of time on the question of how to respond to presidential wrongdoing. Their remedy was impeachment (by the House of Representatives) and then conviction (by the Senate), which could occur for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

But what happens if the president is convicted by the Senate? Here’s the constitutional answer:

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

A reasonable interpretation of this provision is that it sets out a temporal sequence: Impeachment, then conviction and removal from office — and only after that, indictment, trial, judgment and punishment.

Alexander Hamilton seemed to read the provision exactly that way: “The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law.”

That means you can’t indict and try a sitting president. He has to be removed first.

True, this interpretation isn’t inevitable. You could read the text to mean only that the consequence of conviction is removal from office, and that a convicted president can be prosecuted — but to be silent on, and so not to resolve, the question whether a president can be prosecuted for crimes while in office. On that interpretation, nothing in the Constitution rules out a prosecution of the president for (say) obstruction of justice or for perjury.

Rotunda also emphasizes that a president might commit crimes, such as battery, shoplifting and document destruction, that may not be “high” in the constitutional sense, and so not a legitimate basis for impeachment. If he’s immune from prosecution, does the president get a free ride? Since the founders believed no one should be above the law, Rotunda doesn’t think that makes a lot of sense.

Importantly, though, he does not contend that the president can be prosecuted for actions he undertakes in his official capacity. His conclusion that a sitting president can be prosecuted is strictly limited to actions committed before becoming president, and actions that a president does not undertake in his role as president, such as Clinton’s alleged perjury. (True, the line between the official and unofficial acts can be thin.)

The problem with Rotunda’s argument is that presidential immunity from criminal prosecution — while in office — is a pretty reasonable inference from the constitutional design. Whether or not you like the current occupant of the Oval Office, he has an awesome array of responsibilities. Even on a slow day, numerous decisions reach his desk. They might involve potential terrorist attacks, a looming epidemic, immigration or air pollution. Facing a criminal prosecution seems fatally incompatible with the president’s constitutional role.

Aware of this argument, Rotunda notes that the Supreme Court allowed Paula Jones’s sexual harassment suit to go forward against Bill Clinton, notwithstanding Clinton’s argument that to do his job, a sitting president needs to have immunity against such lawsuits. Among other things, the Supreme Court answered that trial judges could find ways to accommodate the president’s schedule. Why isn’t the same thing true for a criminal prosecution?

That’s a fair question, but a criminal proceeding is unique, and the problem isn’t really about scheduling. Realistically speaking, any White House would be pretty well disabled if the president is under a criminal indictment and faces the prospect of trial and imprisonment.

Rotunda is aware of the risk, and leaves open the possibility that imprisonment itself might be delayed, so that the prosecution would not compete with the impeachment mechanism. But that’s hardly sufficient. The question is whether the president’s ability to perform his constitutional functions would be impaired by the prosecution itself. There’s little doubt that it would.

Does this mean that the president is above the law? Not at all. In cases of serious wrongdoing, and breaches of public trust, the Constitution provides a remedy: impeachment.

Story 3: National Security Agency (NSA) Continues Spying On American People — Secret Surveillance Spying Security State (S5) — Turnkey Tyranny — Videos

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NSA collected 500 million U.S. call records in 2017

America’s Most Secret Agency Documentary | National Security Agency NSA History Documentary

NSA ‘spying’ on Americans with little impact on bad guys?

NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post

NSA violating the constitution, public trust by spying on citizens – veteran intel. officer

Why the US Government thinks spying on Americans without a warrant is OK

10 Ways You’re Being Watched by the Government

10 Surprising Ways the Government is Spying on You

Turnkey Tyranny

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden “My Greatest Fear … is turnkey tyranny”

You’re Being Watched”: Edward Snowden Emerges as Source Behind Explosive Revelations of NSA Spying

Is Snowden The Real Deal

NBC Censors Edward Snowden’s 9/11 Comments

Obama: Spying on Americans

How the NSA Spies on Americans (Jim Harper)

America’s Most Secret Agency Documentary | National Security Agency NSA History Documentary

Bill Binney: U.S. press and CIA are interlinked

Bill Binney: ThinThread dismantled weeks after 9/11

Bill Binney: Impossible to protect ourselves against NSA

Bill Binney: Trump was spied on before taking office

Bill Binney: NSA “drum up a new cold war”

Bill Binney: The constitution is being violated

NSA WHISTLEBLOWER BILL BINNEY: WE HAVE HILLARY’S EMAILS

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

William Binney – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)

Spy agency NSA triples collection of U.S. phone records: official report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. National Security Agency collected 534 million records of phone calls and text messages of Americans last year, more than triple gathered in 2016, a U.S. intelligence agency report released on Friday said.

 

FILE PHOTO: The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters is seen in Fort Meade, Maryland, U.S. February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Sait Serkan Gurbuz

The sharp increase from 151 million occurred during the second full year of a new surveillance system established at the spy agency after U.S. lawmakers passed a law in 2015 that sought to limit its ability to collect such records in bulk.

The spike in collection of call records coincided with an increase reported on Friday across other surveillance methods, raising questions from some privacy advocates who are concerned about potential government overreach and intrusion into the lives of U.S. citizens.

The 2017 call records tally remained far less than an estimated billions of records collected per day under the NSA’s old bulk surveillance system, which was exposed by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in 2013.

The records collected by the NSA include the numbers and time of a call or text message, but not their content.

Overall increases in surveillance hauls were both mystifying and alarming coming years after Snowden’s leaks, privacy advocates said.

“The intelligence community’s transparency has yet to extend to explaining dramatic increases in their collection,” said Robyn Greene, policy counsel at the Washington-based Open Technology Institute that focuses on digital issues.

The government “has not altered the manner in which it uses its authority to obtain call detail records,” Timothy Barrett, a spokesman at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which released the annual report, said in a statement.

The NSA has found that a number of factors may influence the amount of records collected, Barrett said. These included the number of court-approved selection terms, which could be a phone number of someone who is potentially the subject of an investigation, or the amount of historical information retained by phone service providers, Barrett said.

“We expect this number to fluctuate from year to year,” he said.

U.S. intelligence officials have said the number of records collected would include multiple calls made to or from the same phone numbers and involved a level of duplication when obtaining the same record of a call from two different companies.

Friday’s report also showed a rise in the number of foreigners living outside the United States who were targeted under a warrantless internet surveillance program, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, that Congress renewed earlier this year.

That figure increased to 129,080 in 2017 from 106,469 in 2016, the report said, and is up from 89,138 targets in 2013, or a cumulative rise over five years of about 45 percent.

U.S. intelligence agencies consider Section 702 a vital tool to protect national security but privacy advocates say the program incidentally collects an unknown number of communications belonging to Americans.

 

 

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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 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

Posted on April 18, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Bribery, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, China, Coal, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Currencies, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Elections, Euro, European History, European Union, Extortion, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, France, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Germany, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Israel, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Middle East, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, Movies, Natural Gas, Networking, News, North Korea, Nuclear, Oil, People, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Privacy, Pro Life, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Rifles, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Social Security, South Korea, Spying, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Technology, Trade Policy, Transportation, U.S. Dollar, Unemployment, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, Videos, Vietnam, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1019, January 18, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1017, January 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1016, January 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1015, January 9, 2018

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

Larry Kudlow: We will take fresh look at the Trans-Pacific Partnership

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Stephen Roach Says If U.S. Grows Tariffs, China Will Retaliate

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Why is China Selling U.S. Treasuries at an Alarming Rate

China’s trillion dollar plan to dominate global trade

China’s Geography Problem

Why Chinese Manufacturing Wins

Gen. Anthony Tata on President Xi’s power grab

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Chinese President Xi Jinping set to remain in power after term limits are removed

China’s Communist Party sets up stage for Xi Jinping to stay indefinitely

How Xi Became China’s Most Powerful Leader in Decades

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A closer look at Xi Jinping, China’s new ’emperor’

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Five Things You Need to Know About Xi Jinping

What does Kim Jong Un’s China visit mean for the U.S.?

Why Xi Jinping May Be The World’s Most Powerful Leader

Trump should increase the sanctions against North Korea: Gordon Chang

China demanded that Kim Jung Un visit Beijing: Gordon Chang

White House Sees Kim Jong Un Visit to China as Positive Step

Kim Jong Un met Xi Jinping, Chinese and North Korean state media report

Ingraham: Trump gets his team, media goes berserk

Gorka: Pompeo will go down fighting to clean the Swamp

CIA Director Pompeo says pressure on North Korea will continue

How the Kim Jong Un invitation to Trump happened

Gorka: Trump stood up and North Korea backed down

Here’s why Trump meeting Kim Jong Un is a huge deal

Kim Jong Un’s surprise announcement

Did Trump bring North Korea to the negotiating table?

Trump wary of North Korea’s offer to talk

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The Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018, Story 1: When Will President Trump Ask Congress For A Declaration of War Against Syria Required By The Constitution of The United States? — Congress Is Abdicating Their Responsibility To Declare War! — The Big Loophole Is The War Powers Resolution of 1973 or War Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) — From Constitutional Representative Republic of Peace and Propensity to Two Party Tyranny American Empire Warfare and Welfare State — No More Presidential Undeclared Wars! — Videos –Story 2: Trump Wants 4,000 National Guard Force Assisting U.S. Border Patrol — Zero Miles of Wall Built — Videos — Story 3: House Speaker Paul Ryan Retiring January 2018 — Videos

Posted on April 12, 2018. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Chemical Explosion, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, James Comey, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, MIssiles, National Interest, National Security Agency, Nerve Gas, News, Nuclear, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Privacy, Progressives, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rifles, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Servers, Social Networking, Syria, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terrorism, Uncategorized, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vietnam, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare Spending, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: When Will President Trump Ask Congress For A Declaration of War Against Syria Required By The Constitution of The United States? — Congress Is Abdicating Their Responsibility To Declare War! — The Big Loophole Is The War Powers Resolution of 1973 or War Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) — From Constitutional Representative Republic of Peace and Propensity to Two Party Tyranny American Empire Warfare and Welfare State — No More Presidential Undeclared Wars! — Videos —

Tucker Carlson Debates Pro Syrian War Commentator Noah Rothman

Tucker Carlson and Glenn Greenwald Discuss Authoritarian Behavior of American Media Clamoring For War

Tucker: How does Syrian regime change help the U.S.?

War In Syria: What You Need To Know!

War In Syria: This Could Be The End

What Was the War Powers Resolution of 1973? | History

Ron Paul on The Unconstitutional War Powers Act and an Agitated James Baker

Mark Levin: Lesson on the 1973 War Powers Resolution

 

America Declares War on Japan – President Roosevelt Speech

Sept. 20, 2001 – Bush Declares War on Terror

Breaking News – Five Destroyers And Cruisers Head To Middle East

Breaking News – Five Destroyers And Cruisers Head To Middle East USS Normandy, USS Bulkeley, USS Forrest Sherman, USS Farragut, USS Arleigh Burke

Donald Trump warns Putin his missiles are coming after Russia vowed to Shoot them down

US-UK readying attack ships and jets off the coast of Syria: Russia armed forces on heightened alert

U.S. Navy destroyer heads towards Syria as Trump mulls options over suspected chemical attack

White House: All options are on the table for Syria response

Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why

Why Russia Is So Involved With The Syrian Civil War

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

5 Most Likely Causes Of World War 3

10 Empires That Came Close To World Domination

DECLINE of EMPIRES: The Signs of Decay

Chalmers Johnson on American Hegemony

The Sorrows of Empire – Chalmers Johnson

The Parallels between Rome and the United States

The Truth About The Fall of Rome: Modern Parallels

Tucker Carlson Goes on Epic Rant Against War in Syria

Tucker Carlson Gets into Heated Debate with Sen Wicker After He Implied Tucker’s Stance on Syria war

John Stossel – War Powers

Which Countries Has The U.S. Invaded?

Is The USA Starting World War 3?

How will John Bolton help President Trump deal with issues like Syria?

Tucker Carlson’s awkward interview with John Bolton

Rand Paul: I’m an ‘Automatic No’ on John Bolton

Constitutional War Power: The Founders’ Framework

The Constitution and the Power to “Declare War”

What Was the War Powers Resolution of 1973? | History

Actually, We Don’t Know If Assad Is Behind This’ – Tucker Carlson Ridicules Clueless Democrat

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The Danger of Neoconservatism – Ron Paul

War Party : Documentary on the Neoconservative War Party

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Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958 predicting Insiders plans to destroy America

Why the United States doesn’t declare war anymore

Why the United States doesn’t declare war anymore

By Sara Jerving Apr 7, 2017

President Trump justified the launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on a Syrian air base Thursday night as being in the “vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.” He did not ask for Congress’ authorization to carry out the strikes.

Ordered in retaliation for a horrific Syrian sarin gas attack on civilians Tuesday, the strikes came on the 100th anniversary of the day the U.S. declared war on Germany and entered World War I. The U.S. has formally declared war 11 timesin its history, but the last time was during World War II.

Trump ordered the Syria strike under the War Powers Resolution, which says a president has to report to Congress within 48 hours if the U.S. armed forces are introduced into a conflict. It’s a law that was enacted in 1973 to restore Congress’ role in authorizing force in response to the lack of a formal war declaration in the Korean and Vietnam wars. Under the law, troops cannot stay for more than 90 days unless Congress approves.

Today, American forces are still operating under the authorization for the use of military force that President George W. Bush requested after the September 11 attacks in order to fight countries or groups connected to the attacks.

Regarding the Syria strikes, the White House said that about two dozen members of Congress were notified and briefed while the strikes were underway, but some want Trump to seek congressional approval. “Assad is a brutal dictator who must be held accountable for his actions,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, Democrat from Virginia. “But President Trump has launched a military strike against Syria without a vote of Congress. The Constitution says war must be declared by Congress.”

“The United States was not attacked. The president needs congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution, and I call on him to come to Congress for a proper debate,” said Sen.