|Saved Stories – 1. Trump|
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|Trump’s Estrangement From the GOP One Republican at a Time – NBCNews.com|
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Snaps new revenue stream; Uber to file London appeal
|Nuclear Anxiety Hasn’t Stopped This Fund From Investing $500 Million in South Korea – Bloomberg|
|Salman Rushdie on becoming an American novelist in the age of Trump – Los Angeles Times|
|Trump Bends Ethics, Finance Norms Without Breaking Laws – TheStreet.com|
|The Daily 202: Foreign intelligence agencies might be using your anti-virus software against you – Washington Post|
|A Presidents Words Matter, Part II: Impeachment Standards and the Case of the Demagogue|
I argued here recently that the president might find himself accountable in an impeachment inquiry for actively deceiving the public by denying Russian interference in the 2016 election. There is clear precedent: Richard Nixons lies to the public about Watergate were the subject of one article of impeachment approved by the House. In Donald Trumps case, he has falsely stated that the concerns about Russia are a hoax when he knows from intelligence briefings that the opposite is true. He took the deception a step further by helping to draft Donald Jr.s false statement about his Trump Tower meeting with Kremlin-linked Russian representatives offering to support the Trump campaign. As in Nixons case, Trump would likely answer for these falsehoods in an impeachment proceeding that would include other counts against him. But he would answer for them all the same.
Since my Sept. 27 essay, a number of readers have asked me whether it could possibly be true, or healthy for a democratic process, that a presidents wordshis speech actsmight fall within the zone of impeachable offenses. It is useful and important to engage with these concerns.
In doing so, I would take my previous argument a step beyond the case of a president who lies about a matter like the Russia investigation, a criminal matter with grave national security implications. A president who is a demagogue, whose demagoguery defines his style of political leadership, is subject for that reason to impeachment.
Wordsand the Case of the Demagogue
The objection to impeachment based on a presidents speech goes generally as follows: The talk of politicians isfor all sorts of reasonsloose, imprecise and not infrequently hyperbolic. At worst, the rhetorical excess to which many are prone can rise to the level of incontestable falsehoods, but there is always disagreement about whether specific claims are false. To police irresponsible or false political speech, and in particular to subject the wayward presidential speaker to the risk of impeachment, would invite dangerously destabilized politics. So, it is one thing to hold a president accountable for words associated with a criminal act, such as the obstruction of justice, but it is out of bounds to so lower the barrier to impeachment that the lying president faces losing his office.
To answer these concerns, the first order of business is to dispose of the notion that words may never form the basis of impeachable conduct. In Federalist No. 65, Hamilton defines an impeachable offense as one that inflicts political injury on a democratic society; it is not hard to imagine a chief executive who, by his or her speech, achieves this level of harm. An openly racist president would fall into this category. So would one who lied about the reasons for taking the country to war.
We need not rely on hypotheticals. The Nixon case is precedent on this question. The House Judiciary Committee approved an article of impeachment citing Nixons publicly stated falsehoods about the Watergate break-in and his actions to investigate it, as violations of his constitutional oath to take care to faithfully execute the laws and his office. There is, then, no basis for the claim that words alone cannot justify the institution of impeachment proceedings.
Then there is the demagogue, who is also a liar but whose falsehoods are not solely or even always self-protective; they are the basic material out of which he builds his politics. Demagogues deceive in order to succeed, to advance their own interests, in the service of which they display contempt for any limits, such as legal restrictions or ethical norms, that would get in their way. The Framers were deeply concerned about the demagogue. The first of the Federalist Papers sounds the alarm about the perverted ambition of the political schemer who hopes to aggrandize themselves by the confusions of their country. This concern with demagoguery also shows up in the last of the papers, No. 85, linked to its threat to the constitutional orderto the despotism that may be expected from the victorious demagogue.
James Madison also worried about the elevation of unworthy leaders who would have very great powers and against whom the polity should be effectually guarded. He was eventually consoled that the infirmities of popular election would be corrected by the particular mode of conducting it and that the country would be protected from ambitious or designing characters, such as the demagogue. While the trust was a high one, and in some degree perhaps a dangerous one, Madison reasoned, the Constitution provided the remedy of impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors at all times, in addition to the requirement of an election every four years.
The challenge is to identify with reasonable precision when a leader has departed from the accepted, rough-and-tumble rhetorical practicefrom the standard license afforded politicians speeches and utterancesand has become a demagogue. Too often the label of demagogue is attached to any politician tagged as a populist in one sense or another. A skilled populist orator, stirring an audience to resent entrenched, wealthy interests, is always in danger of being denounced in these terms. The criticism is facile, failing to distinguish between a powerful advocate for a coherent populist program and a demagogue who mouths populist slogans. As Jan-Werner Mueller points out in his fine book on populism, there was no populism in ancient Athens; demagoguery perhaps, but no populism. The two are not the same.
The late historian Allen P. Sindler, evaluating the legacy of Huey Long, offered a useful distinction between the statesmanthe sort of worthy president Madison had in mindand the demagogue: The statesman socializes the [popular] complaint, and to some degree he intellectualizes the complaint to a higher plane of awareness, and calls for a revision of some part of the social, economic, or political framework as the necessary solution. In other words, he is engaged in constructively communicating with the electorate; he is inviting the use of reason and engaged argument, promoting collective deliberation and informed choice. By contrast, the demagogue personifies the complaint, intensifies the ongoing irrational elements or merely relieves tension by expressing feeling. In so doing, he attempts to seduce his followers into an emotional attachment to him, to his person.
The Sindler definition gets at the key element in the conduct of the demagogue, which is the manipulation of language to attract and maintain popular support in service of the demagogues unbounded self-interest. The leadership function has become pathologically personalized; personal ends and ambitions are of primary importance to the demagogue. His self-interested ends justify the use of virtually any meansor at least any he could hope to get away with.
Among the consequences is the demagogues resistance to institutional and legal limits on that power. In Michael Signers words, the demagogue may, as he sees fit, threaten an outrightbreak with established rules of conduct, institutions, and even the law. When an adversary demanded that he heed the state Constitution, Huey Long infamously responded: Im the Constitution around here now. To violate or circumvent the law, the demagogue believes that he requires only the proclaimed validation of the people who stand behind him. As James Fennimore Cooper wrote in his 1838 essay The Demagogue, it is in affecting a deep devotion to the interests of the people that the demagogue claims justification to put those interests before the Constitution and the laws.
The demagogues aims lead relentlessly toward the maintenance of high-pitched rhetoric and its ready escalation. He is, after all, a leader charged with giving effect to the popular will that he personifies and defending against the barriers wrongly erected against it. If constitutional laws and legal limits must give way, so too must the objections and opposition of adversaries. The demagogue specializes in lashing out. As Arthur Schlesinger Jr. noted of Long, vilification was his particular weapon. Joseph McCarthy, another classic American demagogue, specialized in personal attacks guided by a belief that, as his leading biographer has written, he was required to bludgeon anyone who disagreed with either his methods or his conclusions.
Of course, many politicians may slip into demagogic speech on specific issues or during election campaigns. The fully fledged demagogue is, however, that kind of politician and leader: Demagoguery constitutes his style of political leadership, a style irreconcilable with the oath to execute his office in trust for others. This is the source of massive political injuriesdone immediately to the Society itself identified in Federalist No. 65. Theorists who have taken up the subject of the demagogue agree on the seriousness of the damage. So a progressive student of demagoguery, Michael Signer, can agree with the prominent conservative scholar Harvey Mansfield that the demagogue is an enemy of democracy.
The Senates censure of Joseph McCarthy illustrates the costs of demagoguery and is an example of an institutional response. McCarthy was, of course, a chronic liar: He famously and routinely ignored facts and fabricated others. He was ravenous for publicity and ruthless in its pursuit. He showed scant concern for constitutional or legal limits, and he observed no limits in his attacks on his adversaries and disdain for opposing points of view.
Responding to McCarthy in 1953, former President Harry Truman defined McCarthyism as the rise of the demagogue who thrived on the corruption of truth and the abandonment of the due process of law. And in calling for McCarthys censure, an early and eloquent opponent, Sen. Ralph Flanders of Vermont, urged the Senate to defend itself from demagogy [sic]. When the Senate did censure McCarthy, it included among the charges his demagoguery, in particular the abuse packed with falsehoods that the senator showered on Senate investigating committees and their members. This, the censure resolution stated, had contributed to his obstruction of the constitutional processes of the Senate. The injury to these processes was accomplished by words. His offense, Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote years later, was that he was a vicious demagogue.
If Congress saw in a president what Truman and the Senate denounced in McCarthy, would it not be able to consider removal from office by impeachment? McCarthy inflicted extensive damage on the political process with his falsehoods: whipping up animosities and divisions that undermined considered public debate and deliberation; trampling on individual constitutional rights; disrupting the functioning of the legislative branch; and seeking to intrude into matters within the jurisdiction of the executive. The Senate acted to isolate and disarm him, and for that purpose censure was sufficient, even if expulsion was an option.
The censure of McCarthy ended his career and his national political influence. While the demagogic executive is not within the grasp of Senate disciplinary rules, he or she is subject to impeachment, and it is not clear why Congress would be unable to meet head-on through the impeachment process the same danger of demagoguery posed to the democratic process; a danger that lawmakers would not tolerate in their own institution.
Resistance to this conclusion may stem, in part, from a tendency to legalize the impeachment process. Perhaps some take comfort in holding the definition of an impeachable offense as close as possible to the elements of a legal violation. Charles Blacks guidance shows how a blinkered legalism can impose unwarranted limits on an otherwise balanced, careful judgment about the scope of Congress impeachment power. On the one hand, Black was certainand rightthat impeachable offenses were not necessarily violations of law. On the other, he was adamant that lawyers must lead the congressional deliberation because impeachment is a matter of law, foursquare and all the way. If it takes Congress takes this view of the grounds for impeachment, it might mistakenly conclude that the closer presidential misconduct is to discrete open-and-shut legal violations, the more suitable it would be for redress through impeachment.
It is possible that President Nixons encouragement, commission and cover-up of actual crimes pushed perceptions of the impeachment process toward this legalized model. Nixons case was straightforward. The Framers intended a process more complicated and subtle, one fully open to evidence of corruption or unfitness that was political nature. Commentators, Black included, have generally recognized this. Black three-pronged test for impeachable offenses covered those which were (1) which are extremely serious, (2) which in some way corrupt or subvert the political and governmental process, and ( 3 ) which are plainly wrong in themselves to a person of honor, or to a good citizen, regardless of words on the statute books. Extremely serious misconduct tending to corrupt or subvert the political or governmental process certainly more than sufficient to cover the case of the demagogue. This may not be the easy case, but a great deal rests on confronting it.
Another concern about the impeachment of the demagogue merits note: Its possible misuse to settle disagreements over policy or express frustrations with executive performance. The charge of demagoguery would then take the place of, and operate much like, the offense of maladministration that the Framers omitted from the impeachment clause. A number of writers have built something like this into their definition. In other words, they have superimposed on the clause a consideration of the deleterious policy effects of demagogic leadership. Sindler, for example, sees in the personalized attachment of follower to demagogue the obstruction of any group awareness of either the real sources of their discontents or the real areas of solution. This could suggest that the ouster of the demagogue could be a battle over what should be accepted to be a real policy problem or solution.
We need not go there. The offense of the demagogue is not any professed policy goal or political program, but the pursuit of political glory through rhetoric built on lies, vilification, and disregard for the laws and norms of democratic self-governance. The demagogue may accomplish his or her particular harms largely, even primarily, with speech, and this speechthe practice of demagoguerymarks out the territory of this kind of political leader. But those anxious about any speech-centered justification for the impeachment of the demagogue might also keep in mind that the politics of demagoguery is a politics hostile to limits on the fulfillment of ambition, self-glorification and the pursuit of power. Contempt for limits is the breeding ground for their violation. For the demagogue, the assault on limits need not stop with words, and he history of demagoguery offers ample examples, such as the case of Huey Long, where it did not.
Fear of Lowering the Bar for Impeachment
Doubt about words alone creating the basis for an impeachment action usually goes hand in hand with conviction that the bar to impeachment should be kept very high. The bar-lowering consideration rests on the democratic implications of an elected president losing office other than by defeat at the polls. But, as noted, there is also anxiety about the shock to the system–the destabilizing effects–of turning an executive out of office in this way.
This argument fails to give due weight to the destabilizing impact of the demagogue. To put it another way, the concern with governmental stability resides on both sides of the equation. The presidency today confers extraordinary powers on the declared winner. Yet, a victor emerges from a selection process that is, at best, quirky and can only with poetic license be described as democratic. Once there were barriers to entry into competition for the office and, as a result, Americans might at least have hoped for some effective screening and vetting of candidates. Now, those barriers are gone and the risks of a catastrophic presidency have skyrocketed. This lower barrier to getting into office should justify an adjustment of the barrier to impeachment when a demagogue slips in.
Considerations at the Present Time
It is not my purpose here to make the case for the impeachment of the current president; it is to advance the more general proposition that a presidents rhetorical practice is relevant in any assessment of his fitness for office. Words matter, and the ardent demagogue is a type of political leader whose language marks him out as unworthy to hold the office and a danger if allowed to retain it. To accept this proposition does not mean minimizing the exceptional character of impeachment. But there are also risks in misplaced anxiety about this constitutional process. It can lead to fatal hesitation in addressing the dangers of an unfit executiveunfit, because he or she is a demagogue.
Has Donald Trump opened himself up to this charge of impeachable demagoguery? In time, we will know. But the man who declared upon being nominated that I am your voice and I alone can fix the nations problems was delivering a message more than moderately structured for demagogic content. It was a foreshadowing.
Trumps speech in office, much of it delivered in 140 characters to millions, is extremely and consistently loose with truth, often outrightly false, and contemptuous of institutions, including courts of law. His assaults on the media for fake news include the flat-out denial of reporting, including reporting he knows to be true, such as emerging chronicle of the 2016 Russian intervention w. He fired James Comey as FBI director for the stated reason that Comey was investigating that interventionan investigation with implications for his, his familys and his campaigns legal interests. Then, he threatened Comey with the disclosure of tapes of their conversations; tapes that he later acknowledged did not exist.
It goes on:
Trumps speech, like that of the classic demagogue, is not merely replete with falsehoods and disdain for limits. Of Trump it may be said, as McCarthys biographer said of him, that he [has] delighted in revenge and when attacked [will] return a blow twice as hard, and in argument, he has refused to concede a single point and clung tenaciously to his position. Trump shares Longs passion for vilification. And like his demagogic forebears, Trump relishes belittling opponents with mockery and demeaning nicknames: his Crooked Hillary, Lyin Ted, and Little Marco match up well with McCarthys Senator Halfbright (Fulbright) and Ad-lie Stevenson. And
it is not just in the brawling of a political campaign that Trump resorts to this slash-and-attack mode. He levels these verbal assaults in his steady tweeting on official matters, as he did recently when he bashed the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, for lacking guts enough to run for re-election. And he did the same in savaging his attorney general and his secretary of state for being weak. Demagogues have no taste for limits on their speech, and they do not worry that the absence of those limits will poison public debate and deliberation, or undermine the operation of government. The defense of their own personal position, the protection of their brand, reigns supreme, and they must do what they can to overwhelm their opposition. For in the end, it is, as the saying goes, all about them. The true demagogue cannot take the oath of office, which requires the subordination of personal interests to supra-personal constitutional imperatives, and mean it.We cant shrug this off, writes columnist Ruth Marcus, of Trumps failure[s] of empathy, narcissistic demand for praise, uses of the impulsive, bellicose taunt and challenge to constitutional norms. But there is a tendency to mix up these personality characteristics and leadership traits with other serious weaknesses, such as the presidents policies or weak grasp of facts and inattention to detail. A demagogue could have all the strengths that Trump lacks and remain a demagogue who inflicts the same severe damage on the democracy. When Marcus rightly concludes that this is not the way a president acts, one might answer that it is the way a demagogue behaves.
It may be that, as in the case of his misrepresentations about the Russia inquiry hoax, the accounting for his words in an impeachment process will occur only in the context of a proceeding centered on other concrete offenseson deeds, and perhaps legal or law-type misdeeds. This was how the House dealt with Richard Nixons lies to the public in the Watergate episode.
But it would be a mistake to see demagoguery as a lesser offense, introduced only to flavor other types of misconduct. If the demagogue is a serious threat to democracy, then he or she should be treated as such. We are required to attend closely to, and take seriously, a presidents words. As Harvey Mansfield has written, [A]ny democracyneeds to identify and denounce demagogues and tyrants, for they are still its enemies.
|Putin Trump – Google News: Totalitarianism 2.0 – Slate Magazine|
Putin Trump – Google News
|Totalitarianism 2.0 – Slate Magazine|
|North Korean hackers stole US-South Korea war plans, official says – WDTV|
|The Early Edition: October 11, 2017|
Before the start of business, Just Securityprovides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.
Suspected North Korean hackers stole classified military documents when they broke into South Koreas defense data center in September 2016, a South Korean lawmaker Rhee Cheol-hee said in an interview published yesterday, the information included a U.S.-South Korea blueprint for a possible war with North Korea and details about a decapitation strike targeting leader Kim Jong-un and top Pyongyang officials. Kwanwoo Jun and Nancy A. Youssef report at the Wall Street Journal.
Rhee received information about the suspected hacking incident from defense ministry officials, South Koreas defense ministry has not responded to his comments and the Pentagon has similarly declined to comment on the specific reports. Zachary Cohen reports at CNN.
The U.S. and South Korea began joint military exercises over the Korean peninsula last night amid heightened tensions, the drills consisting of strategic bombers, fighter jets and an air-to-ground missile drill off South Koreas coast. The BBC reports.
The U.S. military conducted drills with Japanese fighter jets after the exercise with South Korea, the U.S. military said in a statement, marking the first time that the U.S. has conducted drills with both the Japanese and South Korean military at night. Christine Kim and Eric Beech report at Reuters.
Trump met with his top national security advisers yesterday to discuss a range of options to deal with the North Korea threat, the White House said in a statement, the president receiving briefings from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford during the meeting. Jesse Byrnes reports at the Hill.
Trump may visit the demilitarized zone (D.M.Z.) between the two Koreas during a forthcoming trip to South Korea, South Koreas Yonhap news agency reported yesterday. Justin McCurry reports at the Guardian.
The Trump administration has made progress in its attempts to contain North Korea and, despite the presidents bluster and the general pessimism about the administrations strategy, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the U.S.s efforts to economically and diplomatically isolate the regime. Adam Taylor provides an analysis of the administrations policies and the reaction of the international community to the U.S. pressure campaign at the Washington Post.
The U.S. ambassador to Turkey John R. Bass should have resigned or been recalled after making the unilateral decision to suspend visas for Turkish citizens, Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday. The State Department responded that the decision was cleared at the highest levels of the U.S. government and emphasized that Ambassador Bass has the full backing of the State Department and the White House. Carlotta Gall reports at the New York Times.
Turkey does not see Bass as the representative of the United States in Turkey, Erdoğan added; the dispute about the suspension of visas following Turkeys arrest of an employee in the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul last week providing the latest incident in the deteriorating U.S.-Turkey relationship. The AFPreports.
Bass expressed hope that the dispute could be resolved quickly and noted that close security cooperation between the U.S. and Turkey has helped to reduce attacks by Islamic State militants in Turkey. The AP reports.
The U.S.-Turkey diplomatic dispute has not impacted military operations, Pentagon spokesperson Col. Robert Manning told reporters yesterday, stating that Turkey remains a close N.A.T.O. ally. Reuters reports.
A Wall Street Journal reporter was sentenced to prison in Turkey for engaging in terrorist propaganda in support of the Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.), demonstrating the Turkish governments aggressive policies to repress critical reporting under the state of emergency imposed since last years failed coup against Erdoğan. Thomas Grove reports at the Wall Street Journal.
The conviction of the reporter confirms to the world that Erdoğan has turned Turkey into an authoritarian state, the Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.
Erdoğans tactic of arresting U.S. citizens is an attempt to bully America and the Trump administration must make it clear that Turkey cannot carry on its actions without risking a rupture of relations. The Washington Post editorial board writes.
The 2015 Iran nuclear deal is vitally important for regional security, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said in a phone call to Trump yesterday, urging the president to recertify Irans compliance with the agreement. The BBC reports.
Trump misleadingly blamed Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) for the Iran deal. Linda Qiu explains the passage of a bipartisan bill in the spring of 2015 to provide the appropriate context at the New York Times.
The future of the deal would be uncertain should Trump decertify Irans compliance before the Oct. 15 deadline and put the issue of sanctions on Iran into Congresss hands likely leading to a partisan battle and complicating the issue for the other countries party to the agreement. Julian Borger and Patrick Wintour explain at the Guardian.
The Trump administration, Congress and European allies could save the deal and address its shortcomings even if Trump decides to decertify Irans compliance with the agreement by drawing on the relationship with international partners, using existing sanctions authorities and measures to counter Irans actions in the region, developing a common strategy with European allies, and Congress using its powers to counter the constant cycle of deal crisis. Ilana Goldenberg and Elizabeth Rosenberg write at Foreign Policy.
Irans interest in the Middle Easts affairs are not malevolent, its actions ensure stability in the face of Western-backed Arab interference. Irans Foreign Minister Javad Zarif writes at the Atlantic, also defending the nuclear deal.
The House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) issued subpoenas on Oct.4 to employees at the Fusion GPS research firm, which worked with former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele to compile a salacious dossier about the Trump campaigns alleged connections to Russia. Evan Perez, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb report at CNN.
Nunes issued the subpoenas without consulting Democrats on the Committee, three sources told NBC News, according to the Committees rules Nunes did not need approval from minority Democrats to sign-off on the subpoenas. Ken Dilanian and Alex Moe report at NBC News.
The Trump campaigns former foreign policy adviser Carter Page will not testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, Page informed the committee yesterday, a source familiar with the matter stating that Page would rely on the Fifth Amendment. Ali Watkins reports at POLITICO.
The House Intelligence, Senate Intelligence and Senate Judiciary committees are competing in their efforts to pursue the allegations made in the Steele dossier, with the members of the congressional panels taking various positions on the dossier. Mark Hosenball and Jonathan Landay report at Reuters.
Special counsel Robert Mueller cannot and will not save us, Muellers elusive qualities stand in stark opposition to the presidents bombastic style, but the reality is that his investigation may take years to complete, Trumps actions may not amount to legal wrongdoing and the questions about the presidents moral authority would remain. Quinta Jurecic writes at the Washington Post.
CYBERSECURITY, PRIVACY AND TECHNOLOGY
The Israeli intelligence service hacked the Russia-based Kaspersky Lab cybersecurity firm and informed the U.S. about Russian intrusion through Kaspersky software, including classified documents that were stolen from a National Security Agency (N.S.A.) employee. Nicole Perlroth and Scott Shane reveal the Israeli operation at the New York Times.
The Kaspersky Lab does not possess any knowledge of Israels hack, the firm said in a statement responding to the reports. Ellen Nakashima reports at the Washington Post.
The Syrian Army and Syrian Kurds are competing for control of oil-producing areas, Syrias Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said today, warning that Syria would not allow its sovereignty to be violated under any conditions. Reuters reports.
Raqqas Civil Council is leading discussions to determine the best way to enable civilians trapped by Islamic State militants to exit the Syrian city ahead of the impending defeat of the militants, U.S. Centcom have said in a statement.
An overview of the parties to the Syrian war and the various alliances is provided by Samer Abboud at Al Jazeera.
U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out four airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on October 9. Separately, partner forces conducted seven strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]
The Islamic States fight to take over Iraqi territory has displaced 5.4 million civilians, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq said yesterday, expressing deep concern for the civilians who have fled the fighting. The BBC reports.
Although the Islamic State group has lost significant territory in Iraq, it has not been fully defeated. John Beck explains where the militants still hold territory and influence at Al Jazeera.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved plans for 3,736 units in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank yesterday, with activists stating that the Israeli government has been spurred by the Trump administrations accommodating stance. Ruth Eglash and Loveday Morris report at the Washington Post.
The Egyptian military expanded the buffer zone along the Gaza Strip border, bulldozing at least 140 homes and more than 200 acres in an attempt to prevent Palestinian Hamas militants from using underground tunnels to evade Israel and Egypts blockade of the Strip. Sam Madgy reports at the AP.
The Obama administrations policies pushed Israel and Arab nations closer together as they realized they shared similar concerns about Obamas approach to the Arab Spring uprising, the Iran nuclear deal and Irans expansionism in the region. Haisam Hassanein and Wesam Hassanein write at the Wall Street Journal.
The Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militant group aspire to attack the U.S. homeland, senior U.S. officials have said. Elise Labott and Laura Koran report at CNN.
The Lebanese army has become an integral part of Hezbollah, Israels defense minister Avigdor Lieberman said yesterday, claiming that the militant group controls the Lebanese army. The APreports.
The SUPREME COURT
The Supreme Court dismissed a travel ban case from Maryland yesterday but took no action on a separate case from Hawaii that concerns the travel ban and the refugee ban, the AP reports.
The Supreme Court yesterday declined to review the conviction of a war criminal held in
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN POLICY
Trump does not plan to fill many positions across federal agencies because they are totally unnecessary, the president told Forbes yesterday, suggesting that the many vacancies in the State Department, including ambassadorships, will remain unfilled. Olivia Beavers reports at the Hill.
The Trump administrations lack of clear foreign policy plans may be a bigger issue than the presidents heightened rhetoric, David Ignatius writes at the Washington Post.
Russia may order the U.S. to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia to 300 people or below, Russias R.I.A. news agency quoted a Russias foreign ministry official as saying today. Reuters reports.
A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea yesterday, with the Chinese defense ministry saying today that the U.S. maneuvering operation was a provocation. Idrees Ali reports at Reuters.
The collision involving the U.S.S. John S. McCain and a civilian tanker on Aug. 21 was preventable, the U.S. Navy said yesterday, adding that its investigation is still ongoing. Jake Maxwell Watts reports at the Wall Street Journal.
Yemens warring leaders are not interested in finding solutions, as they will lose their power and control in a settlement, the U.N. special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said yesterday, urging the Security Council to use all of its political and economic power to exert pressure on all parties to commit to a pact of peace. Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.
The Trump administration intends to relax domestic rules on U.S. military drone sales to allies as part of an overhaul of U.S. arms export protocols. Matt Spetalnick and Mike Stone report at Reuters.
Trump was joking when he challenged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to an IQ test, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said yesterday, the presidents latest comments having reinforced impressions that Trump and Tillerson have a tense relationship. Louis Nelson reports at POLITICO.
The allegations that Cuba used a sonic weapon to attack U.S. diplomats in Havana are not backed up by evidence and it is unfortunate that Trump has used the unspecified threat and amplified reports to undermine relations with Cuba. Lisa Diedrich and Benjamin Tausig write at the New York Times.
|Republican donors, seeking a win on something, take aim at Senate GOP leaders – USA TODAY|
|Trump the Entertainer – Common Dreams|
|The Morning Hype: Putin Comes Down On Bitcoin, Trump Gets Interviewed By Forbes, And NYC Traffic Is Expensive – TheStreet.com|
|Crimea Isn’t the End of Russia’s Black Sea Ambitions – Bloomberg|
|Jimmy Fallon Blasts Off On Trump’s Space Program In ‘Pros And Cons’|
There’s no need to visit this particular “moon.”
|Is It Time to Regulate Silicon Valley? – The Ringer (blog)|
|How Donald Trumps Iran policy has emboldened North Korea|
Pyongyang will see a failure of the nuclear deal as proof the US cannot be trusted
|Scarborough: Destruction of GOP will be part of Trump’s legacy – The Hill|
|Ken Starr praises Mueller’s Trump-Russia probe – The Hill (blog)|