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Pelosi Visits Jordan to Discuss Syria Crisis Amid Shaky Cease-Fire

Westlake Legal Group 20prexy-facebookJumbo Pelosi Visits Jordan to Discuss Syria Crisis Amid Shaky Cease-Fire United States International Relations Turkey Syria Pelosi, Nancy Middle East Jordan Defense and Military Forces Abdullah II, King of Jordan

ISTANBUL — Speaker Nancy Pelosi has traveled to Jordan to met with the Jordanian king for “vital” discussions about the Turkish incursion into Syria and other regional challenges, amid uncertainty about whether an American-brokered cease-fire with Turkey in northern Syria was holding.

The visit by senior United States officials came as sporadic clashes continued on Sunday morning along the Turkish-Syrian border, where, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry, a Turkish soldier was killed by Kurdish fighters in the Syrian border town of Tel Abyad.

Confusion and continued shelling have marred the cease-fire deal announced by Vice President Mike Pence last week, with both Turkey and Kurdish leaders accusing each other of violating the truce.

Ms. Pelosi, a California Democrat, led a nine-member bipartisan congressional delegation to Jordan that included Representatives Adam Schiff, Democrat of California; Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York; and Mac Thornberry, Republican of Texas. The group met with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Saturday evening.

“Our bipartisan delegation is visiting Jordan at a critical time for the security and stability of the region,” Ms. Pelosi’s office said in a statement. “With the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey’s incursion, our delegation has engaged in vital discussions about the impact to regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia.”

The delegation also discussed issues like “counterterrorism, security cooperation, Middle East peace, economic development and other shared challenges,” the statement said.

A planned visit by Ms. Pelosi to American troops in Afghanistan this year was abruptly scrapped by President Trump in a striking moment of one-upmanship during bitter negotiations over the partial government shutdown that forced thousands of federal employees to work without pay.

As Mr. Trump signaled that he would go ahead with his State of the Union speech in January amid the shutdown, Ms. Pelosi suggested he should cancel or delay it, citing security concerns amid the prolonged shutdown.

Jordan is considered a key ally in the Middle East, and the United States gives the country more than a billion dollars in aid every year. The United States also maintains a military base in southern Syria, close to the Jordanian border.

Mr. Trump’s order for the American retreat from its military positions at the other end of Syria — along the Turkish border with northern Syria — set in motion the latest flash point of the eight-year-old Syrian war.

That withdrawal gave the implicit blessing of the White House to Turkish troops to enter northern Syria 10 days ago, where they since claimed the capture of about 1,800 square miles of Syrian territory, diminished American influence in the region and opened the door for Russia to fill the vacuum.

Turkey wants to force out a Kurdish-led militia that had used the chaos of the Syrian conflict to create an autonomous region outside the influence of the Syrian central government. The Kurdish-led militia, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, had operated under the protection of the United States, since its fighters had partnered with the American military in 2014 to push the Islamic State out of the region.

But Turkey considers the militia a threat to its national security since it is an offshoot of a guerrilla movement that has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. The Turkish government wants its Syrian Arab proxies to establish a new autonomous zone in northern Syria in order to dilute Kurdish influence along its southern border.

On Thursday, Mr. Pence announced a deal with Turkey that gave American assent to Turkey’s plan, in exchange for a five-day cease-fire that would allow Kurdish fighters to retreat safely from the region.

But the cease-fire has yet to fully take hold. Sporadic shelling continued on Saturday night and smoke could be seen billowing near a strategic town, observers on the border said.

The commander of the Kurdish-led forces, Mazloum Abdi, said in interviews with international news media on Saturday that Turkish troops had refused to let his fighters retreat. In response, the Turkish ministry said there were “absolutely no impediments to withdrawal.”

Turkish forces allowed a convoy of medical staff members and aid workers to enter the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain on Saturday and evacuate injured people back to Kurdish-held territory, members of the convoy said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Pelosi Visits Jordan to Discuss Syria Crisis Amid Shaky Cease-Fire

Westlake Legal Group 20prexy-facebookJumbo Pelosi Visits Jordan to Discuss Syria Crisis Amid Shaky Cease-Fire United States International Relations Turkey Syria Pelosi, Nancy Middle East Jordan Defense and Military Forces Abdullah II, King of Jordan

ISTANBUL — Speaker Nancy Pelosi has traveled to Jordan to met with the Jordanian king for “vital” discussions about the Turkish incursion into Syria and other regional challenges, amid uncertainty about whether an American-brokered cease-fire with Turkey in northern Syria was holding.

The visit by senior United States officials came as sporadic clashes continued on Sunday morning along the Turkish-Syrian border, where, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry, a Turkish soldier was killed by Kurdish fighters in the Syrian border town of Tel Abyad.

Confusion and continued shelling have marred the cease-fire deal announced by Vice President Mike Pence last week, with both Turkey and Kurdish leaders accusing each other of violating the truce.

Ms. Pelosi, a California Democrat, led a nine-member bipartisan congressional delegation to Jordan that included Representatives Adam Schiff, Democrat of California; Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York; and Mac Thornberry, Republican of Texas. The group met with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Saturday evening.

“Our bipartisan delegation is visiting Jordan at a critical time for the security and stability of the region,” Ms. Pelosi’s office said in a statement. “With the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey’s incursion, our delegation has engaged in vital discussions about the impact to regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia.”

The delegation also discussed issues like “counterterrorism, security cooperation, Middle East peace, economic development and other shared challenges,” the statement said.

A planned visit by Ms. Pelosi to American troops in Afghanistan this year was abruptly scrapped by President Trump in a striking moment of one-upmanship during bitter negotiations over the partial government shutdown that forced thousands of federal employees to work without pay.

As Mr. Trump signaled that he would go ahead with his State of the Union speech in January amid the shutdown, Ms. Pelosi suggested he should cancel or delay it, citing security concerns amid the prolonged shutdown.

Jordan is considered a key ally in the Middle East, and the United States gives the country more than a billion dollars in aid every year. The United States also maintains a military base in southern Syria, close to the Jordanian border. Though the Jordanian government is involved in discussions about the future of southern Syria, it has relatively little influence over the conflict in northern Syria.

Mr. Trump’s order for the American retreat from its military positions at the other end of Syria — along the Turkish border with northern Syria — set in motion the latest flash point of the eight-year-old Syrian war.

That withdrawal gave the implicit blessing of the White House to Turkish troops to enter northern Syria 10 days ago, where they since claimed the capture of about 1,800 square miles of Syrian territory, diminished American influence in the region and opened the door for Russia to fill the vacuum.

Turkey wants to force out a Kurdish-led militia that had used the chaos of the Syrian conflict to create an autonomous region outside the influence of the Syrian central government. The Kurdish-led militia, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, had operated under the protection of the United States, since its fighters had partnered with the American military in 2014 to push the Islamic State out of the region.

But Turkey considers the militia a threat to its national security since it is an offshoot of a guerrilla movement that has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. The Turkish government wants its Syrian Arab proxies to establish a new autonomous zone in northern Syria in order to dilute Kurdish influence along its southern border.

On Thursday, Mr. Pence announced a deal with Turkey that gave American assent to Turkey’s plan, in exchange for a five-day cease-fire that would allow Kurdish fighters to retreat safely from the region.

But the cease-fire has yet to fully take hold. Sporadic shelling continued on Saturday night and smoke could be seen billowing near a strategic town, observers on the border said.

The commander of the Kurdish-led forces, Mazloum Abdi, said in interviews with international news media on Saturday that Turkish troops had refused to let his fighters retreat. In response, the Turkish ministry said there were “absolutely no impediments to withdrawal.”

Turkish forces allowed a convoy of medical staff members and aid workers to enter the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain on Saturday and evacuate injured people back to Kurdish-held territory, members of the convoy said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Schiff: Preventing Sondland from testifying is strong evidence of obstruction

Westlake Legal Group as1-1 Schiff: Preventing Sondland from testifying is strong evidence of obstruction volker Ukraine Trump The Blog text taylor sondland schiff Ron Johnson pelosi obstruction messages Jordan

Ed is exactly right about Trump’s strategy in holding Sondland back, I think. He’s going to boycott the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry on grounds of procedural unfairness — namely, there hasn’t been a formal House vote to open the inquiry, which would have given Republican members more power over the proceedings, and there’s been way too much secrecy already in how Schiff is questioning witnesses. For cripes sake, he’s reportedly considering how to interview the whistleblower while obscuring his/her identity so that Republicans on the Intel Committee won’t find out who it is and leak the information. The White House believes, or at least wants the public to believe, that the only winning move in this wargame is not to play. The system is rigged! They won’t help Schiff run his “kangaroo court.”

But it’s noteworthy that Byron York’s Republican sources in the House are nonetheless “baffled” by Trump’s decision.

The problem right now with Trump’s approach of signaling scorn for the Democrats’ sham process is that the public doesn’t agree that it’s a sham and even seems to be growing more convinced of its necessity if you believe WaPo’s data this morning. Every poll I’ve seen over the last two weeks has found at least plurality support for House Dems opening an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s conduct towards Ukraine. Trump is hoping, I guess, that a new round of “witch hunt” attacks on the process will bring some wayward Republican voters back over onto his side. (The most alarming number in the WaPo poll was support for the inquiry rising to 29 percent even among *Republicans.*) But blocking Sondland could have the opposite effect by convincing fencesitters that Trump really does have something to hide and has now resorted to outright obstruction of the investigation in a desperate attempt to protect himself. Schiff even utters the O-word at the end of the clip below.

Sondland is no minor witness, remember. Potentially he’s the key to the whole mystery of whether Trump really did intend a quid pro quo with Ukraine involving military aid and the Bidens. Read this post for background. Sondland reportedly told Ron Johnson flat out in August that a quid pro quo was in the works, and Johnson would be a difficult witness for Republicans to discredit for obvious partisan reasons. Sondland also reportedly worked on a Trump-pleasing draft statement for Ukraine that would have committed the government to investigating “corruption,” including the Biden/Burisma matter, although the statement was never actually issued. And Sondland was the guy responsible for that strange text exchange with Bill Taylor in September in which Taylor complained about what looked to him to be a quid pro quo. Sondland went quiet for several hours after that text and reportedly spoke to Trump directly in the interim before texting back to Taylor that of course our president would never attempt to trade military aid for something of value to him like a Biden probe.

There are a lot of questions for him. The impeachment case may rest on him. If Trump won’t let him testify, how can Democrats not proceed with obstruction?

Maybe Trump’s strategy, as Ed speculated, is simply to drag this out. Yes, House Democrats would probably win a court fight to compel Sondland’s testimony but they want to wrap up impeachment ASAP, not sit around paralyzed for months while the courts mull it over. The longer it takes, the closer we get to the election, the easier it is for Republicans in Congress to say that it’s too late to impeach and we should just let voters decide the matter in November. Realizing that, Democrats may decide not to even bother with forcing Sondland to testify and proceed instead to impeach Trump for obstruction. What happens then, I assume, is that Senate Republicans acquit on grounds that Trump has some sort of insuperable executive privilege that lets him withhold evidence from Congress whenever he likes. They’re gonna acquit him no matter what; it’s a matter of finding the reason. The question is how the public reacts to all of that. With more Americans already in favor of conducting an impeachment inquiry than opposed, which side “wins” the PR war if Trump starts blocking people from testifying, gets impeached, and then is acquitted half-heartedly on grounds that he has a moral right to obstruct unfair investigations?

If today’s WaPo poll means anything, it means Democrats are increasingly unlikely to suffer a major backlash from impeachment. The higher support for investigating Trump and Ukraine goes, the more eager voters will be potentially to side with the Dem narrative that Trump’s refusal to cooperate is obstruction of a legitimate probe, not a righteous refusal to participate in a sham Star Chamber proceeding.

The question today is whether Pelosi wants to play hardball over Sondland or not. Democrats could impeach him for refusing to testify, I assume, but that would risk making the impeachment process seem more petty than it already is and Sondland certainly wouldn’t be convicted by the Senate anyway. He’s willing to testify, after all. It’s Trump who’s holding him back. What Dems could do instead is move to hold him in contempt and then request an expedited disposition in court if/when Sondland challenges them. If the courts comply and rule in their favor, that’s a big win for them. If the courts decide to take their time with the matter, Pelosi might just drop the court battle and move to impeach Trump for obstruction instead.

Here’s Schiff speaking after Sondland failed to show, followed by Jim Jordan.

The post Schiff: Preventing Sondland from testifying is strong evidence of obstruction appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group as1-1-300x159 Schiff: Preventing Sondland from testifying is strong evidence of obstruction volker Ukraine Trump The Blog text taylor sondland schiff Ron Johnson pelosi obstruction messages Jordan   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com