Former Obama Official Floats Impeaching Trump Again If He’s Acquitted

Neal Katyal

Neal Katyal, an acting solicitor general under Barack Obama, argued Thursday that if the Senate acquits President Donald Trump after the House of Representatives impeaches the president, the next Congress could simply convict Trump again on the same charges.

“If the Senate doesn’t vote to convict Trump, or tries to monkey [with] his trial, he could, of course, be retried in the new Senate should he win reelection,” the liberal attorney argued on Twitter. “Double jeopardy protections do not apply.”

The next congressional election coincides with the 2020 presidential election, so in Katyal’s hypothetical, the Senate would remove Trump despite a previous acquittal and the president returning to office with the mandate of reelection.

In a follow-up tweet, Katyal said his recently released book, Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump, goes into more detail about a possible retrial. According to the book’s description, Katyal argues that “if President Trump is not held accountable for repeatedly asking foreign powers to interfere in the 2020 presidential election,” it “could very well mark the end of our democracy.”

Katyal’s tweets came the same day that he argued in a Washington Post op-ed that House Judiciary Democrats were getting too caught up with procedure and evidence and that Trump should be impeached based only on the transcript of his July phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

“[We] didn’t need these witness accounts, and we didn’t need the day-long contemplation of constitutional law that we got on Tuesday,” he wrote. “Because Trump’s solicitations of bribes are right there in the document released by the White House. The transcript is the smoking gun.”

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U.S. Mulls Withdrawal From Open Skies Treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin

The Trump administration may withdraw the United States from a treaty with Russia that Moscow uses to conduct surveillance operations across the United States—and has repeatedly violated by denying the United States access to Russian airspace.

The Open Skies Treaty, which went into effect in 2002, permits reciprocal unarmed reconnaissance flights by the participants, which include the United States, Russia, and more than 30 European partners. In recent years, the treaty has caused consternation among the highest levels of the U.S. national security community due to Moscow’s repeated and increasingly severe violations, including deploying advanced technology that can be used to conduct espionage operations.

Senior administration officials told the Washington Free Beacon that the president is considering pulling out of the treaty due to Moscow’s continued noncompliance.

The treaty was the subject of a fiery exchange this week between Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Tex.) and Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Christopher Ford, in which Cruz highlighted a broad consensus among past and present national security officials that Russia exploits the treaty to undermine U.S. national security.

“We are allowing Russia to fly over the United States to engage in reconnaissance on our major cities, our defense infrastructure, New York City, Washington, D.C., we’re making ourselves more vulnerable,” Cruz said during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting this week. “And we’re gaining, as I understand it, little to nothing because everything we would gain from the over flights we gain from our satellite technology, and Russia is not complying with the treaty. How is it possibly in our interest to benefit the Russian military by exposing our defenses while not gaining serious actionable intelligence on the other side?”

In October, Cruz and Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) introduced a resolution calling on the United States to withdraw from the treaty. The resolution hints that the treaty enables significant bad behavior from Russia that has not become public for classification reasons, and calls on the administration to declassify some of that information.

After the hearing concluded this week, the Trump administration told the Free Beacon that while it has not yet withdrawn from the treaty, the current situation will require corrective action by U.S. allies and Russia to prevent further erosion of American national security interests.

“The United States has not withdrawn from the Open Skies Treaty. We continue to implement and are in full compliance with our obligations under the treaty, unlike Russia, which continues to violate its terms, including by recently denying treaty-compliant over flight missions,” a senior administration official told the Free Beacon, speaking only on background about the developing diplomatic situation. “The United States supports effective international agreements that are fair and that ensure rights are protected and obligations are undertaken reciprocally.”

“To this end we are undergoing a policy review of the Open Skies Treaty and value perspectives on the treaty’s merits from our European allies and partners,” the official disclosed. “The allies understand that more needs to be done to hold Russia accountable for its noncompliance under the treaty and that the United States is actively considering all options available under the treaty to achieve our national security objectives.”

Cruz and Cotton, in comments to the Free Beacon about the state of play, affirmed their calls for the Trump administration to nix U.S. participation in the treaty.

“Even if Russia were not in open violation of the Open Skies Treaty, which it is, the U.S. should not be a part of an agreement that strengthens Russia’s espionage capabilities,” Cruz said. “I am continuing to urge the administration to withdraw from this accord.”

Cotton said the treaty wasted American taxpayer dollars while jeopardizing security.

“Russia has breached the Open Skies Treaty for years by imposing limits on U.S. flights while suffering no such restrictions themselves,” Cotton said. “The president ought to end this charade by withdrawing from the treaty and diverting the hundreds of millions of dollars it wastes to valuable military projects.”

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Valerie Plame Praises Lack of Details in Green New Deal

Valerie Plame

New Mexico Democratic congressional candidate Valerie Plame on Wednesday praised the Green New Deal for its lack of details.

“What I love about the Green New Deal is that it is an aspirational document. It doesn’t lay out all the details, and how we get there of course will be contentious, but what I love is the idea it’s an inspiration and that’s what leadership is about,” Plame told liberal podcast host Ana Kasparian during an appearance on “The Young Turks” podcast.

“That’s what President John Kennedy did when he said, ‘You know we’re going to go to the moon. There’s going to be a man on the moon in a decade.’ You set that out there and you move toward that,” she added.

Kasparian later asked Plame about Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) turning the Green New Deal into actual legislation.

“Have you read that legislation? Is it something you are supportive of?” Kasparian asked.

“I’m not that familiar to be able to say what parts of it I agree with, but in general the Green New Deal is something that I think makes absolute sense not only for New Mexico, but for the nation as a whole. We have to get off our reliance on fossil fuels,” Plame said.

Sanders rolled out his $16.3 trillion version of the Green New Deal in August. His plan, which would cost 20 times as much as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, calls for the United States to have 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 and entirely decarbonize by 2050.

Plame is not the only Democrat who has compared the Green New Deal to a major historical event. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), who first introduced the Green New Deal resolution in early 2019, compared the fight against climate change to winning World War II. She also compared people who oppose the Green New Deal to white opponents of the civil rights movement.

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Diplomat: Peru and U.S. Close to Signing Deal to Counter Chinese Influence in Region

Chinese President Xi Jinping

By Maria Cervantes

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru and Washington are in the final stages of talks on a deal to promote American investments in the South American country as part of a U.S. initiative to counter Chinese influence in the region, a Peruvian diplomat told Reuters.

The United States launched its “Growth in the Americas” initiative in 2018 to bolster private-sector investments in energy and infrastructure in Latin America after China invited countries in the region to join its global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

So far, the United States has signed memorandums of understanding within the Growth in the Americas framework with Argentina, Chile, Jamaica and Panama. Chile, Jamaica, Panama and Peru have also signed MOUs with China to join the BRI.

“The Trump administration is interested in balancing Chinese influence in the region a bit,” Cecilia Galarreta, the director of North American affairs in Peru’s foreign ministry, told Reuters on the sidelines of an event on Thursday.

Galarreta said the draft MOU with Washington to join the Growth in the Americas initiative was now being evaluated in the energy and mines ministry and the finance ministry.

China replaced the United States as Peru’s top trade partner years ago and Chinese companies are increasingly investing in infrastructure projects in the Andean country.

“We’ve had meetings with delegations from the United States that have strongly insisted on the importance of the greater presence of North American companies investing here, especially in infrastructure,” Deputy Foreign Minister Jaime Pomareda told Reuters on the sidelines of the same event.

The U.S. embassy in Lima did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Maria Cervantes in Lima; Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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‘I’m Sorry, Excuse Me’: Biden Off by 40 Years, Mistakes 1976 for 2014

Former vice president Joe Biden on Thursday could not remember during which century the Obama administration took place, and also called a voter a “damn liar.”

Speaking in New Hampton, Iowa, at a stop on his “No Malarkey” tour, Biden worked to recall the year the Obama administration signed an executive order, ending up with the year 1976.

“There’s the Dreamers program, there’s also a program that said we’re not going to separate families, we’re going to allow families to stay together while they go through the process, and the Court said you can’t … We did that in 1976,” he said.

“And, I mean—I’m sorry, excuse me,” he added. “Backing up here—2014.”

Things got heated at another point in the event when a voter asked Biden about his son Hunter’s experience and qualifications to serve on the board of the Ukrainian gas giant Burisma.

“You, on the other hand, sent your son over there to get a job and work for a gas company that he had no experience—with gas or nothing—in order to get access to,” the man told Biden. “So you are selling access to the president.”

Biden raised his voice and approached the man, calling him a “damn liar.” He even challenged him to a push-up contest.

“The reason I’m running is because I’ve been around a long time and I know more than most people know,” Biden said, addressing the issue of his age. “And I can get things done, that’s why I’m running, and if you want to check my shape, let’s do push-ups man, let’s run, let’s do whatever you want to do. Let’s take an IQ test.”

The man also criticized President Donald Trump, and took a shot at Biden by likening his behavior to Trump’s.

“It looks like you don’t have any more backbone than Trump does,” the man said.

Hunter Biden’s place on the Burisma board has drawn scrutiny, with Trump even asking about it on a phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. That phone call is now at the center of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry, in which many congressional Democrats have alleged that Trump abused his power and violated his oath of office. Trump has denied these allegations.

This is not the first time Biden has punched back at a question by challenging someone to an IQ comparison. He did the same thing in 1988 when he ran for president and was asked about his performance in law school.

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WaPo Gives Buttigieg Three Pinocchios for Black Poverty Rate Claim

A Washington Post fact check gave Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg three Pinocchios on Thursday for cherry-picking data to suggest he “cut the black poverty rate by more than half” in South Bend, Ind., during his tenure as mayor.

The Post found that Buttigieg, who made the statement during a campaign stop in Allendale, S.C., used a selective estimate of poverty rates to support his claim. Using another data set preferred by experts, he determined the black poverty rate in South Bend only fell by 6 percent during Buttigieg’s time as mayor.

Both Buttigieg and the Post used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to determine the poverty rate in South Bend. The ACS data are organized in two sets: one-year estimates and five-year combined estimates, the latter of which are considered more accurate by experts because they draw from a larger sample.

Buttigieg used the one-year estimates to support his claim. While one interpretation of these data show the poverty rate fell by 54 percent, the Post noted Buttigieg picked out the most favorable years to support his claim. Specifically, Buttigieg, who has served as mayor since 2012, compared an “unexplained spike in the black poverty rate” in 2011 with the 2017 rate, omitting the more recent 2018 rate, when the black poverty rate rose.

The five-year estimates, by contrast, show South Bend’s black poverty rate fell from a 42 percent average between 2007 and 2011 to a 39 percent average between 2013 and 2017—a 6 percent drop overall.

A Buttigieg campaign spokesperson defended the black poverty rate claim by referring the Post to a Census Bureau explainer on one-year estimates, but the fact check noted Buttigieg still “cherry-picked the most flattering [estimates] instead of the most scientifically reliable,” and awarded the candidate three Pinocchios.

According to the Post, three Pinocchios indicate “significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.”

Buttigieg has recently worked to appeal to black voters, a demographic he struggles with in polling. According to a University of North Florida poll, only 1 percent of black voters in South Carolina support the South Bend mayor. Earlier this year, Buttigieg faced calls for his resignation after a police officer killed a black South Bend resident.

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U.S. Confirms Interception of Iranian Weapons, Missiles Destined for Yemen

Senior U.S. military commanders confirmed on Thursday that an American warship intercepted in November a shipment of Iranian-made weapons and missile components destined for Yemen, where Tehran has been arming terrorist rebel forces.

Reports emerged this week of a U.S. interception that occurred late last month, and were confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon by Pentagon officials familiar with the situation.

The weapons shipment represents a further escalation by Iran as it seeks to arm anti-American terrorist factions across the Middle East. The weapons and missile parts seized by U.S. military personnel are among the most sophisticated officials have seen. The smuggling operation directly violates a United Nations Security Council resolution.

U.S. military personnel are currently investigating how Tehran is smuggling arms into Yemen and other regional hotspots.

“On Nov. 25, a U.S. warship conducted a flag verification boarding in the Arabian sea in accordance with international law of what was subsequently determined to be a stateless vessel, and discovered a cache of weapons and advanced missile components,” Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a defense department spokesperson, told the Free Beacon. “An initial investigation indicates that these advanced missile components are of Iranian origin. A more thorough investigation is underway.”

The topic of Iranian smuggling operations was raised this week at a bilateral meeting in Portugal between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The first subject that I will raise is Iran, the second subject is Iran, and so is the third, and many more,” Netanyahu said on Wednesday before heading into a closed-door meeting with Pompeo.

“Iran is increasing its aggression as we speak even today in the region,” the Israeli leader said. “They’re trying to have staging grounds against us and the region from Iran itself, from Iraq, from Syria, from Lebanon, Gaza, and Yemen, and we are actively engaged in countering that aggression. And I think that the Israeli-American cooperation is key to that effort that I think serves the purposes of the many, many countries in the region. That will be the first subject that I will raise, including the ability to strengthen even further our mutual defenses.”

Iran has also been caught sending ballistic missiles and other short-range armaments into Iraq in a bid to expand its regional military influence. Tehran’s continued expansion across the region has prompted the Trump administration to consider sending another 14,000 American troops into the Middle East to combat the threat.

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Pelosi Fumes: I Don’t Hate the President

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) exploded at the end of her press conference Thursday when asked if she hated President Donald Trump.

Reporter James Rosen asked Pelosi if she hated Trump as she was walking away from the podium. Pelosi stopped and pointed at him, clearly upset.

“I don’t hate anybody,” Pelosi said. “I was raised in a Catholic house. We don’t hate anybody in the world.”

“I did not accuse you. I asked a question,” Rosen said. “Representative [Doug] Collins yesterday suggested that the Democrats are doing this [impeachment] simply because they don’t like the guy. I think it is an important point.”

Pelosi, still visibly frustrated by the question, walked back to the podium and addressed the room.

“I think the president is a coward when it comes to helping our kids who are afraid of gun violence. I think that he is cruel when he doesn’t deal with helping our Dreamers,” Pelosi said. “I think he is in denial about the climate crisis. However, that’s about the election. This is about the—take it up in the election. This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to the president’s violation of his oath of office.”

Pelosi said she resented Rosen’s use of the word “hate” and told him “don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.”

Trump tweeted after the exchange that Pelosi had a “nervous fit” and he didn’t believe she prays for him. He also encouraged her to help the homeless people in her San Francisco district and added a call to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

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France: Iran Ballistic Activities Do Not Conform With U.N. Resolution

FILE PHOTO: An Iranian flag flutters in front of the IAEA headquarters in Vienna

VIENNA (Reuters) – France said on Thursday that Iran’s ballistic missile activities did not conform with a U.N. Security Council resolution enshrining a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015 and called on the country to respect all of its obligations under that resolution.

“We have repeatedly expressed our strong concerns on the subject of Iran’s ballistic activities which do not conform with its obligations under U.N. Security resolution 2231 and constitute a threat to international security,” Foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll told reporters in a daily online briefing.

France, Britain and Germany have sent a letter to the U.N. Security Council accusing Tehran of having nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, a move which Iran’s foreign minister said on Thursday showed their “miserable incompetence” in fulfilling their commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal.

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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Rashida Tlaib Headlined Anti-Semitic Hate Fest

Representative Rashida Tlaib

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) was the keynote speaker at a conference hosted by a Muslim organization that traffics in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and that counts among its supporters many who seek Israel’s destruction.

Tlaib headlined the American Muslims for Palestine’s (AMP) 2020 election conference late last month in Chicago. The freshman lawmaker, known for her routine criticism of Israel and its supporters, shared the stage with a who’s who of leading anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists, including Bernie Sanders surrogate Linda Sarsour.

AMP is at the forefront of the anti-Israel movement in the United States. A report from the Anti-Defamation League, a watchdog group that combats anti-Semitism, said the group promotes “extreme anti-Israel views” and provides “a platform for anti-Semitism.” 

Tlaib’s participation in the conference is the latest in a series of appearances and remarks that have caused consternation among pro-Israel activists. Tlaib is a supporter of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, a position that led Israel to deny her entry to the country earlier this year. During her first term in Congress she accused her Jewish colleagues of dual loyalty to Israel—an anti-Semitic trope—and shared on Twitter cartoons drawn by an anti-Semite who won a prize in Iran’s notorious Holocaust denial contest.

In her keynote remarks, Tlaib compared the U.S. border with Mexico to the Gaza Strip, Palestinian territory that borders Israel and is controlled by the Hamas terror group. The lawmaker also accused Israel of running an “occupation” of Palestinian lands, saying the movement to carve out key portions of Israel for a Palestinian state is akin to fighting racism in America.

“Do you know what I saw at the [U.S.-Mexico] border? I saw Gaza,” Tlaib said. “When you think about the border, you have got to understand how interconnected the oppression in Palestine is with the oppression taking place at the border.”

Tlaib further claimed that police violence against African Americans in the United States is on par with the situation in Palestinian territories.

“Every time I see … the police going after, killing innocent people, innocent, treating African-American brothers and sisters like they’re disposable, I think of Palestine and what happens to our brothers and sisters in the occupation.”

The conference was not Tlaib’s first involvement with AMP. She met in April with several members of the group, drawing criticism from the pro-Israel community. “AMP has its organizational roots in the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), an anti-Semitic group that served as the main propaganda arm for Hamas in the United States until it was dissolved in 2004,” according to the ADL. “Since its creation in 2005, AMP continues to work closely with some former IAP leaders who currently hold positions as AMP board members.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading human rights organization, said that Tlaib’s appearance at AMP’s confab comes as no surprise given the group’s work to demonize Jews and Israel.

“No one should be surprised” that Tlaib “would appear at AMP conference where new strategies to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state and her Zionist supporters are developed and fine-tuned for campus campaigns aimed at bullying Jewish students and other supporters of Israel into silence,” Cooper told the Washington Free Beacon.

Talib, Cooper said, “will be listed on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s 2019 top 10 anti-Semitic/anti-Israel for deploying the dual loyalty canard. Instead of using her historic election to become peacemaker, Tlaib is a verbal flamethrower against Israel and American Jewry. Perfect fit for AMP’s goals.”

The three-day AMP conference featured multiple panel discussions advocating for Israel’s destruction and classifying Zionism and support for the Jewish state as a “disease.”

“Zionism has come in like a disease to destroy the purity of Al-Quds. Our job is to revive that glorious history and spirituality, and therefore Al-Quds must remain the apex of our agenda,” a copy of the full agenda obtained by the Washington Free Beacon states.

Other sessions instructed participants in ways to support BDS, which seeks to wage economic warfare on Israel.

“Zionism is no longer blindly accepted as a legitimate enterprise, and even some Congresspersons have embraced BDS as a legitimate tactic to counter it, and have questioned or opposed U.S. aid to Israel,” the program states.

Several speakers at the conference have disseminated anti-Israel agitprop.

Sarsour, one of the most prominent speakers at the confab, faced backlash for her comments at the conference accusing Israel and its supporters of being racial supremacists.

“How can you be against white supremacy in the United States of America and the idea of living in a supremacist state based on race and class, but then you support a state like Israel that is built on supremacy, that is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everybody else,” she said during her speech.

Former CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill, who was fired from the network for advocating Israel’s destruction, was a featured speaker during one of the pro-BDS panels. He has in the past promoted a conspiracy theory that Israel intentionally poisons Palestinian drinking water.

“How can you romanticize nonviolence when you have a state that is at all moments waging war against you, against your bodies, poisoning your water, limiting your access to water, locking up your children, killing you,” Hill said in 2018.

Another featured speaker, Zahra Billoo, has a lengthy history of anti-Israel advocacy, going so far as to liken Jews to Nazis.

“Israel ‘defending’ itself from Palestinians is analogous to Nazi Germany defending itself from Jewish uprising,” she tweeted in 2014.

In another 2014 tweet, she compared the Jewish state to a “rapist.”

Panelist Nihad Awad, CEO of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who spoke during a session on how Muslims can sway the 2020 election, has been tied to a network of groups supporting the Hamas terror organization.

In 1993, Awad participated in a secret meeting that was wiretapped by the FBI. During that gathering, participants reportedly discussed ways to support Hamas.

Other speakers, such as Josh Ruebner, have accused Jewish members of Congress of having dual loyalty to Israel.

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