Trump Isn’t The One Dividing Us by Race : Heather MacDonald

Trump Isnʼt the One Dividing Us by Race

WSJ 8/19/19, 5(22 PM https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-isnt-the-one-dividing-us-by-race-11566158729?mod=hp_opin_pos_2 Page 1 of 3

Long before the El Paso massacre, President Trump’s political opponents accused him of sowing “division” with his “racist language.” Mr. Trump “exploits race,” “uses race for his gain,” is engaged in a “racially divisive reprise” of his 2016 campaign, stokes “racial resentments,” and puts “race at the fore,” the New York Times has reported over the past several months. Yet Mr. Trump rarely uses racial categories in his speech or his tweets. It is the media and Democratic leaders who routinely characterize individuals and groups by race and issue race-based denunciations of large parts of the American polity. Some examples: “As race dominates the political conversation, 10 white Democratic candidates will take the stage” (the Washington Post); Mr. Trump’s rally audiences are “overwhelmingly white” (multiple sources); your son’s “whiteness is what protects him from not [sic] being shot” by the police ( Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ); white candidates need to be conscious of “white privilege” (South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg ); “white supremacy manifests itself” in the criminal-justice, immigration and health-care systems ( Sen. Cory Booker ); “ Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri” ( Sen. Elizabeth Warren ); whiteness is “the very core” of Mr. Trump’s power.

He hardly mentions it, while his adversaries are obsessed with ‘whiteness’ and ‘white privilege.’ “predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness” (Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic). Liberal opinion deems such rhetoric fair comment, even obvious truth, not “racially divisive.” America’s universities deserve credit for this double standard. Identity politics dominate higher education: Administrators, students and faculty obsessively categorize themselves and each other by race. “White privilege,” often coupled with “toxic masculinity,” is the focus of freshmen orientations and an ever-growing array of courses. Any institutional action that affects a “person of color” is “about race.” If a black professor doesn’t get tenure, he’s a victim of discrimination; a white professor is presumed to be unqualified. That interpretive framework explains asymmetries in how the political and media elites analyze the Trump phenomenon. Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, recently denounced Mr. Trump’s “almost daily attacks on black and brown people.” But “almost” and “black and brown” are superfluous. Mr. Trump’s attacks on his fellow 2016 candidates —and on more-recent adversaries as homogeneous as Robert Mueller, Rep. Adam Schiff, Joe Biden and Ms. Warren—were as nasty as anything he’s directed at Rep. Elijah Cummings or Rep. Ilhan Omar. But according to the academic template, to criticize a “person of color” is inevitably “about race.” Mr. Buttigieg ran afoul of this rule after firing South Bend’s black police chief for secretly taping officers’ phone calls. The idea that the mayor fired the chief because he was black is absurd, yet Mr. Buttigieg inevitably faced charges of racial insensitivity. Likewise, advocates and the media deemed Mr. Trump’s nonracial denunciation of Baltimore’s leadership racist. Never mind that the victims of the city’s almost daily drive-by shootings are black. Race shields minority politicians from criticism. Ms. Warren recently provided an unwitting summary of academic identity politics. Mr. Trump’s “central message” to the American people, she declared, is: “If there’s anything wrong in your life, blame them—and ‘them’ means people who aren’t the same color as you.” She has in mind a white “you,” but change the race and you encapsulate the reigning assumption on college campuses—that white people are the source of nonwhite people’s problems, and any behavioral or cultural explanations for economic disparities are taboo. The academy’s reflexive labeling of nonconforming views as “hate speech” has also infiltrated popular rhetoric against Mr. Trump. The president’s views on border control and national sovereignty are at odds with the apparent belief among Democratic elites that people living outside the country are entitled to enter at will and without consequences for illegal entry. To the academic and democratic left, however, a commitment to Trump border enforcement can only arise from “hate.” Such a pre-emptive interpretation is a means of foreclosing debate and stigmatizing dissent from liberal orthodoxy. Identity politics, now a driving force in the Democratic Party, celebrates the racial and ethnic identities of designated victim groups while consigning whites—especially heterosexual white men—to scapegoat status. But its advocates should be careful what they wish for. If “whiteness” is a legitimate topic of academic and political discourse, some individuals are going to embrace “white identity” proudly. To note the inevitability of white identity politics in no way condones the grotesque violence of men like the El Paso killer. But the dominant culture is creating a group of social pariahs, a very small percentage of whom— already unmoored from traditional sources of meaning and stability, such as family—are taking their revenge through stomach-churning mayhem. Overcoming racial divisiveness will be difficult. But the primary responsibility rests with its main propagators: the academic left and its imitators in politics and mass media.

Ms. Mac Donald is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of “The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture.” Copyright © 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved This copy is for your personal,

An astonishing 20 month accomplishment record-Thank you President Trump

The Washington Examiner Magazine, Digital Edition.
Sunday, October 14, 2018

Trump’s list: 289 accomplishments in just 20 months, ‘relentless’ promise-keeping
by Paul Bedard
| October 12, 2018 08:43 AM

The Trump administration’s often overlooked list of achievements has surpassed those of former President Ronald Reagan at this time and more than doubled since the last tally of accomplishments after his first year in office, giving President Trump a solid platform to run for re-election on.

As Trump nears the two-year mark of his historic election and conducts political rallies around the country, during which he talks up his wins in hopes it will energize Republican voters, the administration has counted up 289 accomplishments in 18 categories, capped by the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

They include 173 major wins, such as adding more than 4 million jobs, and another 116 smaller victories, some with outsize importance, such as the 83 percent one-year increase in arrests of MS-13 gang members.
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“Trump’s successes in reducing the cost of taxes and regulations, rebuilding our military, avoiding wars of choice and changing the courts rival those of all previous Republican presidents,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

“Trump has an advantage over Ronald Reagan: He has a Reagan Republican House and Senate while Reagan had a [Democratic Speaker] Tip O’Neill House and a pre-Reagan Republican Senate. Reagan and [former GOP Speaker] Newt Gingrich were the ice breakers that allowed Trump’s victories to grow in number and significance,” he added.

Unlike the Year One list which included many proposals and orders still to be acted on, the new collection includes dozens of actions already in place, signed legislation, and enforced executive orders.

For example, while the Year One list bragged about the administration’s efforts to rewrite the much-maligned NAFTA trade deal with Canada and Mexico, the Year Two list said: “Negotiated an historic U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement to replace NAFTA.”
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In December, Secrets reported on the first list of White House accomplishments.

And shockingly the NAFTA achievement is presented as a sidebar to the larger achievement that reads, “President Trump is negotiating and renegotiating better trade deals, achieving free, fair, and reciprocal trade for the United States.” Under that umbrella are eight trade deals cut with Japan, South Korea, Europe and China.

“President Trump is a truly unique leader in American history. He’s a kid from Queens who became an international business leader and made billions by getting things when no one said he could,” said Trump’s 2016 campaign pollster John McLaughlin.

“They told him he couldn’t be president and beat the establishment and he did. For two years the establishment is telling him he can’t do things in Washington and he’s succeeding in spite of them. He never retreats. He doesn’t back up. He’s relentless. He just wins,” he added.

Comparing the two years shows that the latest has an expanded group of economic achievements while the pro-life category was folded into the health care section.

Along the way, there have been some disappointments, such as failing to replace Obamacare, fund a big infrastructure plan, and build the border wall.

But the White House believes that despite a lack of media coverage of his accomplishments, supporters know about them and will head to the voting polls to help the GOP maintain control of the House and keep the president on what CNN dubbed a “winning streak.”

In the Washington Post Friday, former Bush speechwriter and columnist Marc Thiessen agreed and said that Trump has proven to be successful at keeping his campaign promises. He wrote, “The fact is, in his first two years, Trump has compiled a remarkable record of presidential promise-keeping.”

The list:
Economic Growth

4.2 percent growth in the second quarter of 2018.
For the first time in more than a decade, growth is projected to exceed 3 percent over the calendar year.

Jobs

4 million new jobs have been created since the election, and more than 3.5 million since Trump took office.
More Americans are employed now than ever before in our history.
Jobless claims at lowest level in nearly five decades.
The economy has achieved the longest positive job-growth streak on record.
Job openings are at an all-time high and outnumber job seekers for the first time on record.
Unemployment claims at 50 year low
African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American unemployment rates have all recently reached record lows.
African-American unemployment hit a record low of 5.9 percent in May 2018.
Hispanic unemployment at 4.5 percent.
Asian-American unemployment at record low of 2 percent.
Women’s unemployment recently at lowest rate in nearly 65 years.
Female unemployment dropped to 3.6 percent in May 2018, the lowest since October 1953.
Youth unemployment recently reached its lowest level in more than 50 years.
July 2018’s youth unemployment rate of 9.2 percent was the lowest since July 1966.
Veterans’ unemployment recently hit its lowest level in nearly two decades.
July 2018’s veterans’ unemployment rate of 3.0 percent matched the lowest rate since May 2001.
Unemployment rate for Americans without a high school diploma recently reached a record low.
Rate for disabled Americans recently hit a record low.
Blue-collar jobs recently grew at the fastest rate in more than three decades.
Poll found that 85 percent of blue-collar workers believe their lives are headed “in the right direction.”
68 percent reported receiving a pay increase in the past year.
Last year, job satisfaction among American workers hit its highest level since 2005.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans rate now as a good time to find a quality job.
Optimism about the availability of good jobs has grown by 25 percent.
Added more than 400,000 manufacturing jobs since the election.
Manufacturing employment is growing at its fastest pace in more than two decades.
100,000 new jobs supporting the production & transport of oil & natural gas.

American Income

Median household income rose to $61,372 in 2017, a post-recession high.
Wages up in August by their fastest rate since June 2009.
Paychecks rose by 3.3 percent between 2016 and 2017, the most in a decade.
Council of Economic Advisers found that real wage compensation has grown by 1.4 percent over the past year.
Some 3.9 million Americans off food stamps since the election.
Median income for Hispanic-Americans rose by 3.7 percent and surpassed $50,000 for the first time ever in history.
Home-ownership among Hispanics is at the highest rate in nearly a decade.
Poverty rates for African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans have reached their lowest levels ever recorded.

American Optimism

Small business optimism has hit historic highs.
NFIB’s small business optimism index broke a 35 year-old record in August.
SurveyMonkey/CNBC’s small business confidence survey for Q3 of 2018 matched its all-time high.
Manufacturers are more confident than ever.
95 percent of U.S. manufacturers are optimistic about the future, the highest ever.
Consumer confidence is at an 18-year high.
12 percent of Americans rate the economy as the most significant problem facing our country, the lowest level on record.
Confidence in the economy is near a two-decade high, with 51 percent rating the economy as good or excellent.

American Business

Investment is flooding back into the United States due to the tax cuts.
Over $450 billion dollars has already poured back into the U.S., including more than $300 billion in the first quarter of 2018.
Retail sales have surged. Commerce Department figures from August show that retail sales increased 0.5 percent in July 2018, an increase of 6.4 percent from July 2017.
ISM’s index of manufacturing scored its highest reading in 14 years.
Worker productivity is the highest it has been in more than three years.
Steel and aluminum producers are re-opening.
Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and NASDAQ have all notched record highs.
Dow hit record highs 70 times in 2017 alone, the most ever recorded in one year.

Deregulation

Achieved massive deregulation at a rapid pace, completing 22 deregulatory actions to every one regulatory action during his first year in office.
Signed legislation to roll back costly and harmful provisions of Dodd-Frank, providing relief to credit unions, and community and regional banks.
Federal agencies achieved more than $8 billion in lifetime net regulatory cost savings.
Rolled back Obama’s burdensome Waters of the U.S. rule.
Used the Congressional Review Act to repeal regulations more times than in history.

Tax Cuts

Biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history by signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs act into law
Provided more than $5.5 trillion in gross tax cuts, nearly 60 percent of which will go to families.
Increased the exemption for the death tax to help save Family Farms & Small Business.
Nearly doubled the standard deduction for individuals and families.
Enabled vast majority of American families will be able to file their taxes on a single page by claiming the standard deduction.
Doubled the child tax credit to help lessen the financial burden of raising a family.
Lowered America’s corporate tax rate from the highest in the developed world to allow American businesses to compete and win.
Small businesses can now deduct 20 percent of their business income.
Cut dozens of special interest tax breaks and closed loopholes for the wealthy.
9 in 10 American workers are expected see an increase in their paychecks thanks to the tax cuts, according to the Treasury Department.
More than 6 million of American workers have received wage increases, bonuses, and increased benefits thanks to tax cuts.
Over 100 utility companies have lowered electric, gas, or water rates thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Ernst & Young found 89 percent of companies planned to increase worker compensation thanks to the Trump tax cuts.
Established opportunity zones to spur investment in left behind communities.

Worker Development

Established a National Council for the American Worker to develop a national strategy for training and retraining America’s workers for high-demand industries.
Employers have signed Trump’s “Pledge to America’s Workers,” committing to train or retrain more than 4.2 million workers and students.
Signed the first Perkins CTE reauthorization since 2006, authorizing more than $1 billion for states each year to fund vocational and career education programs.
Executive order expanding apprenticeship opportunities for students and workers.

Domestic Infrastructure

Proposed infrastructure plan would utilize $200 billion in Federal funds to spur at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investment across the country.
Executive order expediting environmental reviews and approvals for high priority infrastructure projects.
Federal agencies have signed the One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) streamlining the federal permitting process for infrastructure projects.
Rural prosperity task force and signed an executive order to help expand broadband access in rural areas.

Health Care

Signed an executive order to help minimize the financial burden felt by American households Signed legislation to improve the National Suicide Hotline.
Signed the most comprehensive childhood cancer legislation ever into law, which will advance childhood cancer research and improve treatments.
Signed Right-to-Try legislation, expanding health care options for terminally ill patients.
Enacted changes to the Medicare 340B program, saving seniors an estimated $320 million on drugs in 2018 alone.
FDA set a new record for generic drug approvals in 2017, saving consumers nearly $9 billion.
Released a blueprint to drive down drug prices for American patients, leading multiple major drug companies to announce they will freeze or reverse price increases.
Expanded short-term, limited-duration health plans.
Let more employers to form Association Health Plans, enabling more small businesses to join together and affordably provide health insurance to their employees.
Cut Obamacare’s burdensome individual mandate penalty.
Signed legislation repealing Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, also known as the “death panels.”
USDA invested more than $1 billion in rural health care in 2017, improving access to health care for 2.5 million people in rural communities across 41 states
Proposed Title X rule to help ensure taxpayers do not fund the abortion industry in violation of the law.
Reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy to keep foreign aid from supporting the global abortion industry.
HHS formed a new division over protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom.
Overturned Obama administration’s midnight regulation prohibiting states from defunding certain abortion facilities.
Signed executive order to help ensure that religious organizations are not forced to choose between violating their religious beliefs by complying with Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate or shutting their doors.

Combating Opioids

Chaired meeting the 73rd General Session of the United Nations discussing the worldwide drug problem with international leaders.
Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand, introducing new measures to keep dangerous drugs out of our communities.
$6 billion in new funding to fight the opioid epidemic.
DEA conducted a surge in April 2018 that arrested 28 medical professions and revoked 147 registrations for prescribing too many opioids.
Brought the “Prescribed to Death” memorial to President’s Park near the White House, helping raise awareness about the human toll of the opioid crisis.
Helped reduce high-dose opioid prescriptions by 16 percent in 2017.
Opioid Summit on the administration-wide efforts to combat the opioid crisis.
Launched a national public awareness campaign about the dangers of opioid addiction.
Created a Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis which recommended a number of pathways to tackle the opioid crisis.
Led two National Prescription Drug Take Back Days in 2017 and 2018, collecting a record number of expired and unneeded prescription drugs each time.
$485 million targeted grants in FY 2017 to help areas hit hardest by the opioid crisis.
Signed INTERDICT Act, strengthening efforts to detect and intercept synthetic opioids before they reach our communities.
DOJ secured its first-ever indictments against Chinese fentanyl manufacturers.
Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team, aimed at disrupting online illicit opioid sales.
Declared the opioid crisis a Nationwide Public Health Emergency in October 2017.

Law and Order

More U.S. Circuit Court judges confirmed in the first year in office than ever.
Confirmed more than two dozen U. S. Circuit Court judges.
Followed through on the promise to nominate judges to the Supreme Court who will adhere to the Constitution
Nominated and confirmed Justice Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Signed an executive order directing the Attorney General to develop a strategy to more effectively prosecute people who commit crimes against law enforcement officers.
Launched an evaluation of grant programs to make sure they prioritize the protection and safety of law enforcement officers.
Established a task force to reduce crime and restore public safety in communities across Signed an executive order to focus more federal resources on dismantling transnational criminal organizations such as drug cartels.
Signed an executive order to focus more federal resources on dismantling transnational criminal organizations such as drug cartels.
Violent crime decreased in 2017 according to FBI statistics.
$137 million in grants through the COPS Hiring Program to preserve jobs, increase community policing capacities, and support crime prevention efforts.
Enhanced and updated the Project Safe Neighborhoods to help reduce violent crime.
Signed legislation making it easier to target websites that enable sex trafficking and strengthened penalties for people who promote or facilitate prostitution.
Created an interagency task force working around the clock to prosecute traffickers, protect victims, and prevent human trafficking.
Conducted Operation Cross Country XI to combat human trafficking, rescuing 84 children and arresting 120 human traffickers.
Encouraged federal prosecutors to use the death penalty when possible in the fight against the trafficking of deadly drugs.
New rule effectively banning bump stock sales in the United States.

Border Security and Immigration

Secured $1.6 billion for border wall construction in the March 2018 omnibus bill.
Construction of a 14-mile section of border wall began near San Diego.
Worked to protect American communities from the threat posed by the vile MS-13 gang.
ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations division arrested 796 MS-13 members and associates in FY 2017, an 83 percent increase from the prior year.
Justice worked with partners in Central America to secure criminal charges against more than 4,000 MS-13 members.
Border Patrol agents arrested 228 illegal aliens affiliated with MS-13 in FY 2017.
Fighting to stop the scourge of illegal drugs at our border.
ICE HSI seized more than 980,000 pounds of narcotics in FY 2017, including 2,370 pounds of fentanyl and 6,967 pounds of heroin.
ICE HSI dedicated nearly 630,000 investigative hours towards halting the illegal import of fentanyl.
ICE HSI made 11,691 narcotics-related arrests in FY 2017.
Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand introduced new measures to keep dangerous drugs out the United States.
Signed the INTERDICT Act into law, enhancing efforts to detect and intercept synthetic opioids.
DOJ secured its first-ever indictments against Chinese fentanyl manufacturers.
DOJ launched their Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team, aimed at disrupting online illicit opioid sales.
Released an immigration framework that includes the resources required to secure our borders and close legal loopholes, and repeatedly called on Congress to fix our broken immigration laws.
Authorized the deployment of the National Guard to help secure the border.
Enhanced vetting of individuals entering the U.S. from countries that don’t meet security standards, helping to ensure individuals who pose a threat to our country are identified before they enter.
These procedures were upheld in a June 2018 Supreme Court hearing.
ICE removed over 226,000 illegal aliens from the United States in 2017.
ICE rescued or identified over 500 human trafficking victims and over 900 child exploitation victims in 2017 alone.
In 2017, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested more than 127,000 aliens with criminal convictions or charges, responsible for
Over 76,000 with dangerous drug offenses.
More than 48,000 with assault offenses.
More than 11,000 with weapons offenses.
More than 5,000 with sexual assault offenses.
More than 2,000 with kidnapping offenses.
Over 1,800 with homicide offenses.
Created the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office in order to support the victims and families affected by illegal alien crime.
More than doubled the number of counties participating in the 287(g) program, which allows jails to detain criminal aliens until they are transferred to ICE custody.

Trade

Negotiating and renegotiating better trade deals, achieving free, fair, and reciprocal trade for the United States.
Agreed to work with the European Union towards zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsides.
Deal with the European Union to increase U.S. energy exports to Europe.
Litigated multiple WTO disputes targeting unfair trade practices and upholding our right to enact fair trade laws.
Finalized a revised trade agreement with South Korea, which includes provisions to increase American automobile exports.
Negotiated an historic U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement to replace NAFTA.
Agreement to begin trade negotiations for a U.S.-Japan trade agreement.
Secured $250 billion in new trade and investment deals in China and $12 billion in Vietnam.
Established a Trade and Investment Working Group with the United Kingdom, laying the groundwork for post-Brexit trade.
Enacted steel and aluminum tariffs to protect our vital steel and aluminum producers and strengthen our national security.
Conducted 82 anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations in 2017 alone.
Confronting China’s unfair trade practices after years of Washington looking the other way.
25 percent tariff on $50 billion of goods imported from China and later imposed an additional 10% tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods.
Conducted an investigation into Chinese forced technology transfers, unfair licensing practices, and intellectual property theft.
Imposed safeguard tariffs to protect domestic washing machines and solar products manufacturers hurt by China’s trade policies
Withdrew from the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Secured access to new markets for America’s farmers.
Recent deal with Mexico included new improvements enabling food and agriculture to trade more fairly.
Recent agreement with the E.U. will reduce barriers and increase trade of American soybeans to Europe.
Won a WTO dispute regarding Indonesia’s unfair restriction of U.S. agricultural exports.
Defended American Tuna fisherman and packagers before the WTO
Opened up Argentina to American pork experts for the first time in a quarter-century
American beef exports have returned to china for the first time in more than a decade
OK’d up to $12 billion in aid for farmers affected by unfair trade retaliation.

Energy

Presidential Memorandum to clear roadblocks to construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Presidential Memorandum declaring that the Dakota Access Pipeline serves the national interest and initiating the process to complete construction.
Opened up the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to energy exploration.
Coal exports up over 60 percent in 2017.
Rolled back the “stream protection rule” to prevent it from harming America’s coal industry.
Cancelled Obama’s anti-coal Clean Power Plan and proposed the Affordable Clean Energy Rule as a replacement.
Withdrew from the job-killing Paris climate agreement, which would have cost the U.S. nearly $3 trillion and led to 6.5 million fewer industrial sector jobs by 2040.
U.S. oil production has achieved its highest level in American history
United States is now the largest crude oil producer in the world.
U.S. has become a net natural gas exporter for the first time in six decades.
Action to expedite the identification and extraction of critical minerals that are vital to the nation’s security and economic prosperity.
Took action to reform National Ambient Air Quality Standards, benefitting American manufacturers.
Rescinded Obama’s hydraulic fracturing rule, which was expected to cost the industry $32 million per year.
Proposed an expansion of offshore drilling as part of an all-of-the above energy strategy
Held a lease sale for offshore oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico in August 2018.
Got EU to increase its imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States.
Issued permits for the New Burgos Pipeline that will cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

Foreign Policy

Moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Withdrew from Iran deal and immediately began the process of re-imposing sanctions that had been lifted or waived.
Treasury has issued sanctions targeting Iranian activities and entities, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force
Since enacting sanctions, Iran’s crude exports have fallen off, the value of Iran’s currency has plummeted, and international companies have pulled out of the country.
All nuclear-related sanctions will be back in full force by early November 2018.
Historic summit with North Korean President Kim Jong-Un, bringing beginnings of peace and denuclearization to the Korean Peninsula.
The two leaders have exchanged letters and high-level officials from both sides have met resulting in tremendous progress.
North Korea has halted nuclear and missile tests.
Negotiated the return of the remains of missing-in-action soldiers from the Korean War.
Imposed strong sanctions on Venezuelan dictator Nicholas Maduro and his inner circle.
Executive order preventing those in the U.S. from carrying out certain transactions with the Venezuelan regime, including prohibiting the purchase of the regime’s debt.
Responded to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.
Rolled out sanctions targeting individuals and entities tied to Syria’s chemical weapons program.
Directed strikes in April 2017 against a Syrian airfield used in a chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians.
Joined allies in launching airstrikes in April 2018 against targets associated with Syria’s chemical weapons use.
New Cuba policy that enhanced compliance with U.S. law and held the Cuban regime accountable for political oppression and human rights abuses.
Treasury and State are working to channel economic activity away from the Cuban regime, particularly the military.
Changed the rules of engagement, empowering commanders to take the fight to ISIS.
ISIS has lost virtually all of its territory, more than half of which has been lost under Trump.
ISIS’ self-proclaimed capital city, Raqqah, was liberated in October 2017.
All Iraqi territory had been liberated from ISIS.
More than a dozen American hostages have been freed from captivity all of the world.
Action to combat Russia’s malign activities, including their efforts to undermine the sanctity of United States elections.
Expelled dozens of Russian intelligence officers from the United States and ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle, WA.
Banned the use of Kaspersky Labs software on government computers, due to the company’s ties to Russian intelligence.
Imposed sanctions against five Russian entities and three individuals for enabling Russia’s military and intelligence units to increase Russia’s offensive cyber capabilities.
Sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs, and 12 companies they own or control, who profit from Russia’s destabilizing activities.
Sanctioned 100 targets in response to Russia’s occupation of Crimea and aggression in Eastern Ukraine.
Enhanced support for Ukraine’s Armed Forces to help Ukraine better defend itself.
Helped win U.S. bid for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Helped win U.S.-Mexico-Canada’s united bid for 2026 World Cup.

Defense

Executive order keeping the detention facilities at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay open.
$700 billion in military funding for FY 2018 and $716 billion for FY 2019.
Largest military pay raise in nearly a decade.
Ordered a Nuclear Posture Review to ensure America’s nuclear forces are up to date and serve as a credible deterrent.
Released America’s first fully articulated cyber strategy in 15 years.
New strategy on national biodefense, which better prepares the nation to defend against biological threats.
Administration has announced that it will use whatever means necessary to protect American citizens and servicemen from unjust prosecution by the International Criminal Court.
Released an America first National Security Strategy.
Put in motion the launch of a Space Force as a new branch of the military and relaunched the National Space Council.
Encouraged North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies to increase defense spending to their agree-upon levels.
In 2017 alone, there was an increase of more than 4.8 percent in defense spending amongst NATO allies.
Every member state has increased defense spending.
Eight NATO allies will reach the 2 percent benchmark by the end of 2018 and 15 allies are on trade to do so by 2024.
NATO allies spent over $42 billion dollars more on defense since 2016.
Executive order to help military spouses find employment as their families deploy domestically and abroad.

Veterans affairs

Signed the VA Accountability Act and expanded VA telehealth services, walk-in-clinics, and same-day urgent primary and mental health care.
Delivered more appeals decisions – 81,000 – to veterans in a single year than ever before.
Strengthened protections for individuals who come forward and identify programs occurring within the VA.
Signed legislation that provided $86.5 billion in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the largest dollar amount in history for the VA.
VA MISSION Act, enacting sweeping reform to the VA system that:
Consolidated and strengthened VA community care programs.
Funding for the Veterans Choice program.
Expanded eligibility for the Family Caregivers Program.
Gave veterans more access to walk-in care.
Strengthened the VA’s ability to recruit and retain quality healthcare professionals.
Enabled the VA to modernize its assets and infrastructure.
Signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act in 2017, which authorized $2.1 billion in addition funds for the Veterans Choice Program.
Worked to shift veterans’ electronic medical records to the same system used by the Department of Defense, a decades old priority.
Issued an executive order requiring the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs to submit a joint plan to provide veterans access to access to mental health treatment as they transition to civilian life.
Increased transparency and accountability at the VA by launching an online “Access and Quality Tool,” providing veterans with access to wait time and quality of care data.
Signed legislation to modernize the claims and appeal process at the VA.
Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, providing enhanced educational benefits to veterans, service members, and their family members.
Lifted a 15-year limit on veterans’ access to their educational benefits.
Created a White House VA Hotline to help veterans and principally staffed it with veterans and direct family members of veterans.
VA employees are being held accountable for poor performance, with more than 4,000 VA employees removed, demoted, and suspended so far.
Signed the Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act, increasing the number of VA employees that can assist justice-involved veterans.

It’s just not nice to tell the truth….”

CITY JOURNAL

 

 

Nothing scandalizes a leftist like the truth. Point out that women and

men are different, that black Americans commit a disproportionate amount

of violent crime, that most terrorist acts are committed by Muslims, and

the Left leaps to its collective feet in openmouthed shock, like

Margaret Dumont after a Groucho Marx wisecrack. This is racism! This is

sexism! This is some sort of phobia! I’m shocked, shocked to find facts

being spoken in polite company!

 

No one is really shocked, of course. This is simply a form of bullying.

The Left has co-opted our good manners and our good will in order to

silence our opposition to their bad policies. The idea is to make it

seem impolite and immoral to mention the obvious.

 

The bullying is highly effective and very dangerous. In England, in the

city of Rotherham, at least 1,400 non-Muslim girls, some as young as 11,

were brutally raped by Muslim immigrants over a period of years in the

2000s. Police and other officials worked to keep the facts hidden

because, according to multiple reports, they were afraid of being called

racist. Think about that: police officers did not want to seem racist,

so they stood by and let their city’s children be raped. The same thing

goes on in other cities in England and throughout Europe. And in fact,

some who have spoken out have had their careers curtailed by

manufactured scandal. The message is clear: it’s just not nice to tell

the truth. It’s just not done. Don’t do it.

 

Here in the states, the First Amendment has so far allowed old-fashioned

American loudmouths to fight the system whenever they could find ways

around our monolithic corporate media. But the Empire of Lies is quick

to strike back. Google/YouTube now stands charged by multiple accusers

of singling out conservative voices for censorship, “fact-checking,” and

demonetization. Hidden-camera videos released by Project Veritas this

week show Twitter employees conspiring to “shadow ban” conservatives on

their system. On campus, intelligent conservative speakers of good will

like Ben Shapiro, Charles Murray, and Christina Hoff-Sommers have faced

violent protests meant to shut them up.

 

No person of importance on the right seeks to silence anyone on the

left. The Left, on the other hand, is broadly committed to ostracizing,

blacklisting, and even criminalizing right-wing speech.

 

Enter President Donald Trump. He is a rude and crude person. He speaks

like a Queens real estate guy on a construction site. And because he

does not have good manners, he thoughtlessly breaks the rules with which

the Left has sought to muzzle those who disagree with them. In this

regard, I frequently compare Trump to Randle Patrick McMurphy, the

loudmouthed, ill-mannered roustabout from Ken Kesey’s brilliant novel

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. McMurphy comes into an insane asylum

controlled by a pleasant, smiling nightmare of a head nurse named

Ratched. Nurse Ratched, while pretending to be the soul of motherly

care, is actually a castrating, silencing tyrant. Her rules of good

manners, supposedly fashioned for the benefit of all, are really a

system of mental slavery. All of McMurphy’s salient character flaws

suddenly become heroic in the context of her oppression. Only his

belligerent ignorance of what constitutes good behavior can overturn the

velvet strangulation of her rule.

 

For Nurse Ratched, read Hillary Clinton, CNN, the New York Times, Yale

University, Twitter, and Google/YouTube—all the tender ministers of

polite silence and enforced dishonesty. If Donald Trump’s boorishness

crashes like a bull through the crystal madhouse of their leftism—well,

good. It’s about time.

 

I don’t know exactly what Trump said in a closed-door meeting with

senators at the White House this week. Unnamed sources say that he

referred to some African countries and Haiti as “shitholes.” Maybe so;

sounds like him. In any case, when it comes to a chance to attack Trump,

our journalists don’t waste time with fact-gathering or source-

identifying. Like Madonna, they just strike a pose. Various media

knuckleheads have reacted to the alleged comment by calling Trump

“racist,” “Nazi,” “Evil,” and a “terrorist sympathizer.”

 

(Personally, my first thought on hearing about the remark was: “What

squirrely little tattle-tale of a weasel went running to the press with

that?” But never mind. That’s just me.)

 

Let’s state the obvious. Some countries are shitholes. To claim that

this is racist is racist. They are not shitholes because of the color of

the populace but because of bad ideas, corrupt governance, false

religion, and broken culture. Further, most of the problems in these

countries are generated at the top. Plenty of rank-and-file immigrants

from such ruined venues ultimately make good Americans—witness those who

came from 1840s potato-famine Ireland, a shithole if ever there was one!

It takes caution and skill to separate the good from the bad.

 

For these very reasons, absurd immigration procedures like chain

migration, lotteries, and unvetted entries are deeply destructive. They

can lead to the sort of poor choices that create a Rotherham. Trump’s

suggestions—to vet immigrants for pro-American ideas and skills that

will help our country—are smart and reasonable and would clearly make

the system better if implemented.

 

So, when it comes to the Great Shithole Controversy of 2018, my feeling

is: I do not care, not even a little. I’m sorry that it takes someone

like Trump to break the spell of silence the Left is forever weaving

around us. I wish a man like Ronald Reagan would come along and

accomplish the same thing with more wit and grace. But that was another

culture. History deals the cards it deals; we just play them. Trump is

what we’ve got.

 

For all the bad language, for all the loose talk, I would rather hear a

man speak as a man without fear of the Nurse Ratcheds in the press and

the academy than have him neutered and gagged by a system of good

manners that has been misused as a form of oppression. Better

impoliteness than silence. Better crudeness than lies.

 

We have seen the effect of uncontrolled immigration on Europe. It is

very, very bad. The fact is: some countries are shitholes. I don’t want

this to become one of them.

 

Andrew Klavan is a novelist and City Journal contributing editor. His

podcast is featured Monday through Thursday at the DailyWire.com.

 

Photo by Pool/Getty Image

 

The dangerous world of Donald Trump

 

 
 

 

 

 My column on the Trump National Security Strategy

   
   
   
 

 

From: Cliff May <cliff@Defenddemocracy.org>

Subject: FYI: My column on the Trump National Security Strategy

Date: December 27, 2017 at 10:25:17 AM EST

The dangerous world of Donald Trump

The president and his national security team address a “wide range” of national security threats

 

By Clifford D. May

 

12/27/17

A National Security Strategy is less a plan of action than an attempt to prioritize. Who, in the president’s judgment, most threatens America? What means do we have and what capabilities must we develop to defend the homeland and protect our freedoms? 

President Obama issued his last NSS in 2015. It struck me then as an odd document and, in retrospect, it seems odder still. Regarding the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, it offered such boilerplate as: “Our commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is rooted in the profound risks posed by North Korean weapons development and proliferation.” In the end, of course, Mr. Obama did nothing as the threat metastasized. North Korea may now have as many as 60 nuclear weapons.

The 2015 NSS also asserted: “We have made clear Iran must meet its international obligations and demonstrate its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.” Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei no doubt found that amusing.

Though well into his second term, Mr. Obama couldn’t resist the temptation to criticize his predecessor: “We must always resist the over-reach that comes when we make decisions based upon fear. Moreover, we must recognize that a smart national security strategy does not rely solely on military power.” There also were such platitudes as: “A strong consensus endures across our political spectrum that the question is not whether America will lead, but how we will lead into the future.” 

Last week, President Trump delivered his National Security Strategy,” an attempt to “rethink the policies of the past two decades—policies based on the assumption that engagement with rivals and their inclusion in international institutions and global commerce would turn them into benign actors and trustworthy partners. For the most part, this premise turned out to be false.”

It begins to address “an extraordinarily dangerous world, filled with a wide range of threats that have intensified in recent years.” The phrase used to capsulize the new approach is “principled realism,” which is to be guided “by outcomes, not ideology.”

In my judgment, it’s a coherent, clear-eyed, and comprehensive document, one that falls well within the conservative tradition, recognizing the importance of maintaining an American-led liberal capitalist world order. 

Yes, America’s national interest comes first but that does not preclude a global perspective as some feared based on the use of “America First,” a phrase harkening back to the isolationists of the late 1930s. The Trump NSS declares: “A strong America is in the vital interests of not only the American people, but also those around the world who want to partner with the United States in pursuit of shared interests, values, and aspirations.”

America’s sovereignty is not to be surrendered – not to the U.N. or other transnational organizations dominated by despotic regimes. “America’s values” – not “universal values,” because, truthfully, there’s no such thing – should be regarded as forces that “make the world more free, secure, and prosperous.”

Comforting as it might be to think we live in a global village, in reality we are surrounded by an encroaching global jungle where only the fittest survive. Our goal, therefore, must be to strengthen America, economically and militarily; to “overmatch” any adversary or combination of adversaries, “to ensure that America’s sons and daughters will never be in a fair fight.”

Military power and diplomacy are not in conflict but rather mutually reinforcing: “Overmatch strengthens our diplomacy and permits us to shape the international environment to protect our interests.”

Adversaries are not friends whose legitimate grievances we’ve failed to address. They need to be persuaded that “they cannot accomplish objectives through the use of force or other forms of aggression.” That requires substantial financial investments which, in turn, requires increased “economic prosperity” which should be seen “as a pillar of national security.”

A dynamic economy also provides us with more effective economic weapons. That, too, gives diplomats a better hand to play and, sometimes, may allow us to prevail without resorting to kinetic means.

President Trump’s NSS identifies North Korean and Iran as “rogue regimes.” The former “seeks the capability to kill millions of Americans with nuclear weapons.” The latter “supports terrorist groups and openly calls for our destruction.” 

Russia and China are “revisionist powers” that intend “to shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests.” And then there is the “long war” we have to fight against transnational jihadi groups and the criminal syndicates with whom they’ve been making common cause.

A National Security Strategy, no matter how well thought-out, is only a blueprint. Policies and “priority actions” need to be implemented to be useful. “Peace through strength” doesn’t come cheap. 

Almost a year into Mr. Trump’s first term, the military remains under-resourced and too many key national security positions remain unfilled. Others are occupied by bureaucrats who have no intention of furthering this White House’s agenda. Perhaps most astonishingly, there remain many holdovers from the previous administration who are undermining policies they disfavor.

All that and more should be dealt with early in the New Year. For now, it’s sufficient to get the new administration’s priorities and broad policy principles down on paper, to better understand the world according to President Trump and his national security advisors – a seasoned, pragmatic team led this year by H.R. McMaster, Nadia Schadlow and Dina Powell.

Unlike President Obama who believed the arc of history bends toward justice, the current occupant of the White House believes history’s arc will be bent toward tyranny by America’s enemies – unless we grab it firmly and bend it ourselves.

Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a columnist for the Washington Times.

 

 

The Washington Times: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/dec/26/trump-national-security-team-address-a-wide-range-/

 

 

 

 

   

 

   

Zoomed out of item.

Trump’s Tax Cuts

 

There are zero excuses to stand against the Trump tax cuts

 
 
Republicans unveil final version of tax bill
TheHill.com
 

Love Donald Trump or hate him, what is undeniable one year into his presidency is the new economic optimism of workers, investors, small business owners and major CEOs. An economy that was growing at 1.6 percent when he entered office and never achieved a 3 percent growth rate in the previous decade is now already up to near 3.5 percent growth.

And that’s without the Trump tax cut. I’m on record at CNN for predicting 3.5 percent and possibly 4 percent growth next year, which we haven’t seen in at least 15 years. Barack Obama kept predicting 4 percent growth year after year and he never came close. Maybe a change in strategy on regulation, taxes, energy policy and other strategic shifts makes sense after a decade of malaise.

 

There’s no sense in arguing about what the impact of the Trump tax cuts will be. It’s going to be signed into law by the end of the week, and now we will see a great experiment in economic policy carried out. Republicans have bet the farm, as Ronald Reagan and John Kennedy did, that a big tax cut oriented towards incentivizing investment, work and business startups through lower tax rates.There’s an old saying: When you tax something, you get less of it. When you tax something less, you get more of it. ‎Why is it so hard to believe that taxing investment and labor less will mean more of it? Why is it so hard to conceive that by lowering America’s highest in the world business tax rate, firms will want to relocate to the United States? Trump has said from the start that this tax bill is about “making America more competitive” in a global economy.

One thing is for sure. China, Europe, Canada, Russia and Mexico don’t want the Trump tax cuts to pass. These nations are firmly on the side of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on this one. Ireland, which has recruited dozens of major firms from America to places like Dublin with its 12.5 percent business tax rate, is terrified that Trump will succeed in lowering the American corporate tax rate to 21 percent. This is a tax bill that puts American business and American workers first. It’s about time we stop foreigners from eating our lunch and stealing our jobs.

Still the left’s refrain is this is a tax giveaway for big bad corporations and rich business owners. Actually, nearly everyone of the 26 million small business owners in America gets a tax cut, too. Many of them will plow billions of dollars back into the economy as firms like Apple and FedEx already have pledged to do. The anti-business rhetoric of the left during the debate is dispiriting in the extreme. Somehow being pro-business is seen as unpatriotic.

Trump is unapologetically pro-American business. It’s one of the reasons the stock market has nonstop rallied since last November and wealth has risen by at least $5.5 trillion since election day. Someone needs to remind the Democrats that being anti-business is no way to be pro-worker. As my old boss Dick Armey, the former House majority leader used to say, “Liberals love jobs, but they hate employers.” Trump loves jobs, and loves employers.

As for the middle class, they will benefit primarily through more prosperity from this corporate tax cut. But they also benefit from their taxes being cut, too. The big benefits to the middle class include doubling the standard deduction to more than $24,000 from about $12,000 today. This means your first $24,000 of income is tax free. Tax rates at every income level will get cut by about 10 percent. Moreover, the child credit will double from $1,000 per child to $2,000. For a family with three kids that’s an extra $3,000 right off the top on taxes.

So where did this lie come from that the middle class will pay more taxes under the Trump tax plan? The president announced last week that he has instructed the Treasury Department to change the withholding tables by Feb. 1 so that the tax cut appears in people’s paychecks right away. Then they will see the Trump tax cut in bigger paychecks will realize that the left has been less than truthful.

I asked a cab driver a few weeks ago what he thought of the Trump tax cut and he replied, “Show me the money!” That’s exactly what Trump is going to do starting early next year. ‎Something tells me that will make millions of people very happy.

Stephen Moore is the distinguished visiting fellow for the Project for Economic Growth at The Heritage Foundation and a senior economic analyst at CNN. He served as an economic advisor to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. You can follow him on Twitter @StephenMoore.

Generals in the Middle East Praise Trump and Mattis’s Leadership in

 
Trump Mattis

Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As the U.S.-led coalition has gained major ground in both Iraq and Syria in its fight against ISIS, the generals in the theatre are somewhat surprised at how fast their forces have pushed the terror group out. They say it is due in part to the new administration and the leaders they have chosen.

“The leadership team that is in place right now has certainly enabled us to succeed,” Brig. Gen. Andrew Croft, the ranking U.S. Air Force officer in Iraq, told Fox News. “I couldn’t ask for a better leadership team to work for, to enable the military to do what it does best.”

Marine Col. Seth Folsom agreed, saying he thought it was going to take until next spring to make the gains that they have made in less than a year. He attributes it to the “clear mandate” they have received.

“We really had one mandate and that was enable the Iraqi Security Forces to defeat ISIS militarily here in Anbar. I feel that we have achieved that mission,” Folsom said. “I never felt constrained. In a lot of ways, I felt quite liberated because we had a clear mandate and there was no questioning that.”

Even members of the Iraqi military say the different approach from the Trump administration is a major factor in why they are defeating ISIS so quickly.

“I was not optimistic when Trump first came to the office,” Iraq’s Ministry of Defense spokesman Yahya Rasool told Fox News. “But after a while, I started to see a new approach, the way the U.S. was dealing with arming and training. I saw how the coalition forces were all moving faster to help the Iraq side more than before. There seemed to be a lot of support; under Obama we did not get this.”

The success in the short amount of time is in line with what President Donald Trump promised: Giving Secretary of Defense James Mattis greater control of operations and not allowing micromanaging from the White House.

The Price of Fighting with Trump: Byron York

 

Politics

Byron York: The Price of Fighting with Trump

AP

By Byron York, The Washington Examiner

People who get into fights with Donald Trump often end up diminished by it.

Just ask Marco Rubio, who in February 2016 broke some sort of ground when he introduced the “small hands” attack into presidential politics. “And you know what they say about guys with small hands,” Rubio told crowds during the days he decided to transform himself from GOP contender into anti-Trump insult comic. A few weeks later, Rubio expressed regret about the “small hands” routine. “My kids were embarrassed by it, and if I had it to do again, I wouldn’t,” Rubio said.

Just ask Jeb Bush, who allowed himself to be drawn into brawls with Trump — brawls which there was no chance Bush, no match for Trump’s insults, would win.
Week Twenty-Three of the Trump White House in Review
Watch Full Screen

Just ask Ted Cruz, who made an informal peace with Trump for much of the campaign, then fought Trump in the final primaries, and finally released a campaign’s worth of anger and bile at Trump just hours before the Indiana primary vote that knocked Cruz out of the race. Now, as a senator, Cruz has to work with, and support the policies of, the man who so got under his skin.

Of course, Rubio, Bush, and Cruz — and Carson, Christie, Fiorina, Paul, Kasich, Jindal, and others — had an excuse; they were running against Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. But others have tangled with Trump and found themselves diminished, too.

Just ask some of the more strident NeverTrumpers who have allowed Trump to live rent-free in their heads. Today, some are serious people doing non-serious things — I bought a pair of socks at Nordstrom! — because of a reflexive opposition to Trump.

Just ask CNN, which, in addition to its news reporting, has taken on what appears to be a network-wide air of snarkiness in its Trump coverage. That oppositional tone has raised the stakes for CNN when its journalists make mistakes, as they have recently. Yes, CNN’s ratings have gone up, but its reputation has taken a hit. “Trump is indeed destroying CNN…by tempting them to destroy themselves,” tweeted writer and former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro recently.

And now ask Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the TV hosts who once sang Trump’s praises and were openly friendly with the presidential candidate but now bash and insult him daily. (“They’ve said he has dementia,” RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel noted recently. “They’ve said he’s stupid. They’ve called him a goon. They’ve called him a thug. They’ve said he’s mentally ill.”)

Scarborough and Brzezinski are engaged in a back-and-forth with Trump over…what? A facelift? Hand size? Who said what to whom? The argument, which appears to have started Thursday with Brzezinski’s needling of Trump’s hand size (“They’re teensy!”) took a turn when Scarborough and Brzezinski wrote in a Washington Post op-ed (“Donald Trump is not well”) that, “This year, top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked. We ignored their desperate pleas.” TrumpWorld sources are telling some (decidedly not-in-the-tank) reporters a very different version of events, which suggests Scarborough and Brzezinski will be pulled into a he-said-they-said fight that is far different from the one they wanted.

 
 
 
 

“We are under siege.”

Mr. Trump is in Washington

 

Thursday afternoon, US President Donald Trump reacted to former FBI director James Comey’s Senate testimony by telling an audience of his supporters, “We are under siege.”

He was right.

Trump and his presidency are besieged by an army of investigators whose apparent goal is to delegitimize, with the goal of destroying, his presidency.

This was the lesson of Comey’s testimony on Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Comey came before the committee to share his assessment of the connection between his firing last month and the FBI’s ongoing investigation of ties Trump, his advisers and associates maintained with Russian agents during the 2016 elections and the transition period that preceded his inauguration on January 20.

Despite the fact that the investigation was launched well before the November election, no evidence has surfaced of criminal wrongdoing by Trump or his associates.

So what purpose does the investigation serve? Among the important things Comey shared on Thursday was the answer to that question.

The first important piece of information Comey shared was that Trump is not and never has been under investigation.

Second, Comey told us he views Trump as a uniquely unacceptable president. Whereas Comey kept no notes of his meetings with former president Barack Obama; and whereas he wrote no summaries of his meetings with former president George W. Bush, Comey said that he wrote summaries of all of his communications with Trump.

Comey explained the disparity by noting, repeatedly, that he views Trump as singularly untruthful.

This is notable because, as Comey made clear Thursday, in everything related to the two men’s dealings since November, it has been Comey, not Trump, who has been deliberately misleading.

In his termination letter to Comey last month, Trump wrote that Comey had informed him three times that he was not under investigation.

And yet, in his March testimony before the Senate, Comey refused to admit that Trump was not a subject of investigation. To the contrary, Comey’s statement on the issue was deliberately vague and therefore misleading.

Even more damning, Comey admitted Thursday that he used a friend as a conduit to leak selected, and as it turns out, misleading, portions of his memo summarizing a meeting he held with Trump in February to The New York Times.

The article that the Times published on the basis of that memo alleged that during that conversation, Trump pressured Comey to close his criminal investigation of Trump’s former national security adviser Lt.- Gen. Michael Flynn.

During his testimony Thursday, Comey admitted under questioning that Trump did no such thing; Trump merely expressed his hope that Flynn would be cleared of criminal suspicion.

In other words, it was Comey, not Trump, who lied about the contents of their meeting.

Finally, and most crucially, Comey explained that he deliberately misled the public about Trump’s statements to him through his selective leak to the Times in order to achieve a political goal.

“I asked” my friend to communicate the contents of the memo with a reporter “because I thought that might prompt the appointment of the special counsel,” Comey said.

Indeed, the media storm set off by the Times’s story compelled Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein to appoint Comey’s close personal friend, former FBI director Robert Mueller, to serve as a special counsel.

Mueller’s mandate is expansive. Not only is he empowered to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,” he is also empowered to investigate “matters that arise or may arise directly from the investigation and other matters within the scope of [the federal statute governing special counsels].”

In other words, Mueller is empowered to investigate anything he wants. He can charge people for illegal ties with Russia. And he can charge people who did nothing wrong with obstructing his investigation if he doesn’t like the way they answer his questions on Russia.

And, Mueller can keep the investigation open forever, keeping the pall of criminality over Trump’s presidency until the day he leaves office even if Mueller never indicts anyone.

So what can Trump do? As former House speaker Newt Gingrich and others argued following Comey’s testimony, Trump can and should fire Mueller.

Since Comey’s manipulative and misleading leak fomented Mueller’s appointment, and since Mueller is Comey’s close friend, Mueller cannot credibly be considered an impartial investigator.

Finally, since Trump is not under investigation, and given that both the House and the Senate are carrying out separate investigations into the same alleged collusion between Trump’s associates and the Russian government, there is no rationale for a third investigation by a special counsel.

Beyond firing Mueller, Trump should move immediately to appoint a special counsel to investigate allegations of criminal wrongdoing by Obama administration officials.

Whereas Republican lawmakers are cooperating with Democratic lawmakers in the congressional probes against Trump and his campaign officials, Democratic lawmakers refuse to cooperate with their Republican counterparts in investigating any aspect of suspected illegal behavior by Obama administration officials.

Consider the case of former attorney-general Loretta Lynch.

Comey served up Lynch on Thursday when he told the Senate that she had instructed him not to refer to the criminal probe of then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s transfer of State Department documents, including classified documents to her private Internet server, as an investigation. Instead, in line with the language used by the Clinton campaign to diminish the significance of the probe, Lynch instructed Comey to refer to the investigation as “a matter.”

Comey’s statement alone provided the basis for a criminal probe of collusion between the Obama Justice Department and the Clinton campaign.

Then there is the issue of alleged abuse of NSA intercepts by senior Obama administration officials to spy on US citizens.

Given the Democrats’ stonewalling of their Republican colleagues, it would be eminently sensible for Trump to appoint a special counsel with the power to investigate all aspects of alleged unlawful spying on US citizens allegedly conducted by the Obama administration.

Finally, and most importantly, the time has come for Trump to recognize that he is no longer running for office and to begin to use the powers of the presidency presidentially.

The most urgent aspect of this is for Trump to fill the thousands of federal positions that are now being filled by Obama’s political appointees.

Once Trump hires professionals not loyal to Obama to fill mid-level and senior positions, the deluge of classified material daily making its way to the media will dry up. People who support, or at a minimum do not oppose, Trump’s presidency will have no impetus to abuse their positions to damage his presidency.

Staffing the federal government with people who do not hate Trump will also enable him to implement his presidential agenda far more effectively than he has to date. And that’s the thing of it: In areas that Trump has managed to advance his agenda – for instance, during his trip last month to the Middle East and Europe – he has been tremendously successful.

So too his legislative agenda is working its way through Congress. Although it is taking longer than he had hoped, it, too, is likely to pass. Lastly, Trump should recognize that governing and running for office are two different things.

When Trump went on the offensive against his Republican rivals in the primaries and against Clinton in the general election, he was punching up. He was empowered by those attacks, while his more established rivals were diminished when they responded.

The moment he swore the oath of office, Trump’s position changed. Now when he attacks his opponents, he diminishes himself and empowers them. When he says that Comey is a liar, he expands Comey’s importance.

It is time for Trump to delegate the dirty work of attacking his opponents to his attorneys, advisers and supporters. He must devote his public appearances entirely to advancing his own presidential agenda.

By firing Mueller, appointing a special counsel to investigate the Obama administration, removing Obama’s political appointees from government and replacing them with his own hires, and concentrating on implementing his agenda, Trump will end the siege on his presidency. He will defeat the self-proclaimed “resistance” whose purpose is to defeat him politically through administrative and bureaucratic abuses.

Whether Trump’s presidency will eventually be successful will still be an unanswered question. But, at the very least, it will finally get off the ground.

Trump’s personal attorney, Mark Kasowitz, responded to the Comey letter.

BREAKING: Trump Responds to Comey

 

BREAKING: Trump Responds to Comey

 

BREAKING! Trump’s personal attorney, Mark Kasowitz, responded to the Comey letter. Here’s the body of his response:

Contrary to numerous false press accounts leading up to today’s hearing, Mr. Comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told the President privately:  The President was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference.  He also admitted that there is no evidence that a single vote changed as a result of any Russian interference.

Mr  Comey’s testimony also makes clear that the President never sought to impede the investigation into attempted Russian interference in the 2016 election, and in fact, according to Mr. Comey, the President told Mr. Comey “it would be good to find out” in that investigation if there were “some ‘satellite’ associates of his who did something wrong.”   And he did not exclude anyone from that statement.   

Consistent with that statement, the President never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggesting that that Mr. Comey“let Flynn go.” As he publicly stated the next day, he did say to Mr. Comey, “General Flynn is a good guy, he has been through a lot” and also “asked how is General Flynn is doing.” Admiral Rogers testified that the President never “directed [him] to do anything . . . illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate” and never “pressured [him] to do so.”  Director Coates said the same thing. The President likewise never pressured Mr. Comey.   

The President also never told Mr. Comey, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty” in form or substance.   Of course, the Office of the President is entitled to expect loyalty from those who are serving in an administration, and, from before this President took office to this day, it is overwhelmingly clear that there have been and continue to be those in government who are actively attempting to undermine this administration with selective and illegal leaks of classified information and privileged communications. Mr. Comey has now admitted that he is one of these leakers.

Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President.  The leaks of this privileged information began no later than March 2017 when friends of Mr. Comey have stated he disclosed to them the conversations he had with the President during their January 27, 2017 dinner and February 14, 2017 White House meeting.  

Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he leaked to friends his purported memos of these privileged conversations, one of which he testified was classified.  He also testified that immediately after he was terminated he authorized his friends to leak the contents of these memos to the press in order to “prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”  

Although Mr. Comey testified he only leaked the memos in response to a tweet, the public record reveals that the New York Times was quoting from these memos the day before the referenced tweet, which belies Mr. Comey’s excuse for this unauthorized disclosure of privileged information and appears to entirely retaliatory.  We will leave it the appropriate authorities to determine whether this leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated. 

In sum, it is now established that there the President was not being investigated for colluding with the or attempting to obstruct that investigation.  As the Committee pointed out today, these important facts for the country to know are virtually the only facts that have not leaked during the long course of these events.