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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 259)

Bolton Says He Is Willing to Testify in Impeachment Trial

Westlake Legal Group 06dc-impeach-sub-facebookJumbo Bolton Says He Is Willing to Testify in Impeachment Trial Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate McConnell, Mitch House of Representatives Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, said on Monday that he was willing to testify at President Trump’s impeachment trial if he was subpoenaed.

“I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify,” Mr. Bolton said in a statement on his website.

The development is a dramatic turn in the impeachment proceeding, which has been stalled over Democrats’ insistence on hearing from critical witnesses Mr. Trump blocked from testifying in the House inquiry into his pressure campaign on Ukraine. Mr. Bolton is a potential bombshell of a witness, with crucial knowledge of the president’s actions and conversations regarding Ukraine that could fill out key blanks in the narrative of the impeachment case.

His willingness to tell the Senate what he knows ratchets up pressure on Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who has refused to commit to calling witnesses at the impeachment trial, to change his stance. It is unclear how the White House will respond to Mr. Bolton’s declaration, but his statement strongly suggested that he would testify regardless of whether Mr. Trump sought to prevent him.

A spokesman for Mr. McConnell declined to comment Monday afternoon shortly after the announcement.

“It now falls to the Senate to fulfill its constitutional obligation to try impeachments, and it does not appear possible that a final judicial resolution of the still-unanswered constitutional questions can be obtained before the Senate acts,” Mr. Bolton wrote. “Accordingly, since my testimony is once again at issue, I have had to resolve the serious competing issues as best I could, based on careful consideration and study.”

If he did appear under oath in the Senate, Mr. Bolton would be the closest adviser to the president to testify about what Mr. Trump said behind closed doors as he pressured the Ukranians to investigate his political rivals as he was withholding nearly $400 million in military aid from the country.

The Democratic-led House impeached Mr. Trump last month on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, charging him with a corrupt scheme to solicit help from Ukraine in the 2020 election, and concealing his actions from Congress.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly sought to block his most senior aides, as well as former advisers who have left the White House, from speaking to Congress, and has gone to court to stop several of them from cooperating.

Mr. Bolton declined to say on Monday precisely what he would be willing to tell Congress. But former White House officials and people close to Mr. Bolton have indicated that his testimony would likely be damning to Mr. Trump and put additional pressure on moderate Republicans to consider convicting him.

That could fundamentally change the dynamics around the impeachment trial in the Senate, where a two-thirds vote — 67 senators — is needed to remove Mr. Trump. Democrats, the minority party, control 45 seats.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far declined to send the Senate the charges against Mr. Trump, which would trigger the start of the trial, saying that she wants assurances that Mr. McConnell will run a fair process.

Although Mr. Bolton never spoke with House investigators, his aides provided them with a portrait of how he viewed Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. The aides said that Mr. Bolton was deeply concerned about how Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, pressured the Ukranians to investigate Democrats. Other officials testified under oath that Mr. Bolton told White House colleagues that Mr. Giuliani was a “hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.”

Late last year, the chances of Mr. Bolton testifying looked bleak. In October, the House subpoenaed Mr. Bolton’s deputy, Charles Kupperman, but the White House tried to block him from testifying. Mr. Kupperman’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, who also represents Mr. Bolton, filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to decide on what Mr. Kupperman should do. The House withdrew the subpoena, as leading Democrats argued it was not worth awaiting the outcome of a lengthy — potentially yearslong — legal proceeding before moving to impeach Mr. Trump.

The judge ruled late last month that the issue was moot, leaving the question of whether the president’s closest advisers had to testify unresolved.

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Instagram-obsessed tourists reportedly overwhelming village that inspired ‘Frozen’

They just can’t “let it go.”

Tourists to the tiny Austrian village of Hallstatt are reportedly overwhelming the community with their sheer numbers. The charming hamlet believed to have inspired the fairy-tale city featured in Disney’s wildly popular “Frozen” franchise, and has been described as “the most Instagrammable town in the world” — but the local mayor is still baffled regarding how to best address the growing influx of visitors.

Hallstatt is home to a population of about 800 people, and yet the lakeside village welcomes as many as 10,000 tourists per day, The Guardian reports. Placed on the mainstream map after being featured on a South Korean travel show in 2006, Hallstatt truly shot to stardom when linked to the fictional town of Arendelle after “Frozen” premiered in 2013, according to The Sun.

Westlake Legal Group d39c1402-iStock-1181522312 Instagram-obsessed tourists reportedly overwhelming village that inspired 'Frozen' Janine Puhak fox-news/travel/general/extreme-travel fox-news/travel fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/travel fnc feca7dbc-2c61-507a-8d5b-0ff822d469a5 article

They just can’t “let it go.” Tourists to the tiny Austrian village of Hallstatt, pictured, are reportedly overwhelming the community with their sheer numbers. (iStock)


Lately, the UNESCO World Heritage site is said to have been swarmed with selfie-snappers, wedding party photo shoots and even piloted drones. For context, the small Alpine town in the Salzkammergut Mountains has been receiving six times more tourists per capita than Venice, Italy.

Now, Hallstatt mayor Alexander Scheutz is searching for answers regarding how to best welcome sightseers in and around the community.

“Hallstatt is an important piece of cultural history, not a museum. We want to reduce numbers by at least a third but we have no way of actually stopping them,” Scheutz said, per The Sun.


Though Hallstatt’s booming tourism certainly comes with benefits like ample funding for schools and year-round customers for once-seasonal businesses, consequential issues include litter, irritating drone activity and a more expensive local economy.

“Locals feel as though they are living in a theme park,” The Guardian claims. “In November, a fire destroyed a large chunk of the waterfront, yet still the tourists came.”


Westlake Legal Group Frozen-II Instagram-obsessed tourists reportedly overwhelming village that inspired 'Frozen' Janine Puhak fox-news/travel/general/extreme-travel fox-news/travel fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/travel fnc feca7dbc-2c61-507a-8d5b-0ff822d469a5 article

This image released by Disney shows Elsa, voiced by Idina Menzel, from left, Anna, voiced by Kristen Bell, Kristoff, voiced by Jonathan Groff and Sven in a scene from the animated film, “Frozen 2.” (Disney via AP) (AP)

Though Scheutz is reportedly exploring plans to reduce the number of tourists buses to Hallstatt, the ultimate fate of “the most Instagrammable town in the world” remains to be determined.

Since its premiere on Nov. 22, Disney’s “Frozen 2” has made over $1.32 billion to become the highest-grossing animated movie of all time, Fox Business reports. The flick surpassed the original “Frozen,” which netted $1.27 billion, and “Incredibles 2,” which drew $1.24 billion worldwide.

Westlake Legal Group iStock-1181522312 Instagram-obsessed tourists reportedly overwhelming village that inspired 'Frozen' Janine Puhak fox-news/travel/general/extreme-travel fox-news/travel fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/travel fnc feca7dbc-2c61-507a-8d5b-0ff822d469a5 article   Westlake Legal Group iStock-1181522312 Instagram-obsessed tourists reportedly overwhelming village that inspired 'Frozen' Janine Puhak fox-news/travel/general/extreme-travel fox-news/travel fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/travel fnc feca7dbc-2c61-507a-8d5b-0ff822d469a5 article

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Awash in Disinformation Before Vote, Taiwan Points Finger at China

Westlake Legal Group 00taiwanmeddling-1-facebookJumbo Awash in Disinformation Before Vote, Taiwan Points Finger at China Voting and Voters Tsai Ing-wen Taiwan Social Media Rumors and Misinformation Propaganda Politics and Government Han Kuo-yu elections Democratic Progressive Party (Taiwan) Computers and the Internet Chinese Nationalist Party (Taiwan) China

TAIPEI, Taiwan — At first glance, the bespectacled YouTuber railing against Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, just seems like a concerned citizen making an appeal to his fellow Taiwanese.

He speaks Taiwanese-accented Mandarin, with the occasional phrase in Taiwanese dialect. His captions are written with the traditional Chinese characters used in Taiwan, not the simplified ones used in China. With outrage in his voice, he accuses Ms. Tsai of selling out “our beloved land of Taiwan” to Japan and the United States.

The man, Zhang Xida, does not say in his videos whom he works for. But other websites and videos make it clear: He is a host for China National Radio, the Beijing-run broadcaster.

As Taiwan gears up for a major election this week, officials and researchers worry that China is experimenting with social media manipulation to sway the vote. Doing so would be easy, they fear, in the island’s rowdy democracy, where the news cycle is fast and voters are already awash in false or highly partisan information.

China has been upfront about its dislike for President Tsai, who opposes closer ties with Beijing. The Communist Party claims Taiwan as part of China’s territory, and it has long deployed propaganda and intimidation to try to influence elections here.

Polls suggest, however, that Beijing’s heavy-handed ways might be backfiring and driving voters to embrace Ms. Tsai. Thousands of Taiwan citizens marched last month against “red media,” or local news organizations supposedly influenced by the Chinese government.

That is why Beijing may be turning to subtler, digital-age methods to inflame and divide.

Recently, there have been Facebook posts saying falsely that Joshua Wong, a Hong Kong democracy activist who has fans in Taiwan, had attacked an old man. There were posts about nonexistent protests outside Taiwan’s presidential house, and hoax messages warning that ballots for the opposition Kuomintang, or Chinese Nationalist Party, would be automatically invalidated.

So many rumors and falsehoods circulate on Taiwanese social media that it can be hard to tell whether they originate in Taiwan or in China, and whether they are the work of private provocateurs or of state agents.

Taiwan’s National Security Bureau in May issued a downbeat assessment of Chinese-backed disinformation on the island, urging a “‘whole of government’ and ‘whole of society’ response.”

“False information is the last step in an information war,” the bureau’s report said. “If you find false information, that means you have already been thoroughly infiltrated.”

Taiwanese society has woken up to the threat. The government has strengthened laws against spreading harmful rumors. Companies including Facebook, Google and the messaging service Line have agreed to police their platforms more stringently. Government departments and civil society groups now race to debunk hoaxes as quickly as they appear.

The election will put these efforts — and the resilience of Taiwan’s democracy — to the test.

“The ultimate goal, just like what Russia tried to do in the United States, is to crush people’s confidence in the democratic system,” said Tzeng Yi-suo of the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, a think tank funded by the government of Taiwan.

Fears of Chinese meddling became acute in recent months after a man named Wang Liqiang sought asylum in Australia claiming he had worked for Chinese intelligence to fund pro-Beijing candidates in Taiwan, buy off media groups and conduct social media attacks.

Mr. Wang’s account remains largely unverified. But there are other signs that Beijing is working to upgrade its techniques of information warfare.

Twitter, which is blocked in mainland China, recently took down a vast network of accounts that it described as Chinese state-backed trolls trying to discredit Hong Kong’s protesters.

A 2018 paper in a journal linked to the United Front Work Department, a Communist Party organ that organizes overseas political networking, argued that Beijing had failed to shape Taiwanese public discourse in favor of unification with China.

In November, the United Front Work Department held a conference in Beijing on internet influence activities, according to an official social media account. The department’s head, You Quan, said the United Front would help people such as social media influencers, live-streamers and professional e-sports players to “play an active role in guiding public opinion.”

“We understand that the people who are sowing discord are also building a community, that they are also learning from each other’s playbooks,” said Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s digital minister. “There are new innovations happening literally every day.”

In Taiwan, Chinese internet trolls were once easily spotted because they posted using the simplified Chinese characters found only on the mainland.

That happens less these days, though there are still linguistic slip-ups.

In one of the YouTube videos from Mr. Zhang, the China National Radio employee, a character in the description is incorrectly translated into traditional Chinese from simplified Chinese. Mr. Zhang did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Puma Shen, an assistant professor at National Taipei University who studies Chinese influence efforts, does not believe that disinformation from China is always guided by some central authority as it spreads around the internet.

“It’s not an order from Beijing,” Mr. Shen said. Much of the activity seems to be scattered groups of troublemakers, paid or not, who feed off one another’s trolling. “People are enthusiastic about doing this kind of stuff there in China,” he said.

In December, Taiwan’s justice ministry warned about a fake government notice saying Taiwan was deporting protesters who had fled Hong Kong. The hoax first appeared on the Chinese social platform Weibo, the ministry said, before spreading to a Chinese nationalist Facebook group.

Sometimes, Chinese trolls amplify rumors already floating around in Taiwan, Mr. Shen said. He is also on the lookout for Taiwanese social media accounts that may be bought or supported by Chinese operatives.

Ahead of midterm elections in 2018, his team had been monitoring several YouTube channels that discussed Taiwanese politics. The day after voting ended, the channels disappeared.

After Yu Hsin-Hsien was elected to the City Council that year in Taoyuan, a city near Taipei, mysterious strangers began inquiring about buying his Facebook page, which had around 280,000 followers. Mr. Yu, 30, immediately suspected China.

His suspicions grew after he demanded an extravagantly high price and the buyers accepted. Mr. Yu, who represents Ms. Tsai’s party, the Democratic Progressive Party, did not sell.

“Someone approaches a just-elected legislator and offers to buy his oldest weapon,” Mr. Yu said. “What’s his motive? To serve the public? It can’t be.”

Recently, internet users in Taiwan noticed a group of influencers, many of them pretty young women, posting messages on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #DeclareMyDeterminationToVote. The posts did not mention candidates or parties, but the people included selfies with a fist at their chest, a gesture often used by Han Kuo-yu, the Kuomintang’s presidential candidate.

Many of the posts later vanished. Mr. Han’s campaign denied involvement. But some have speculated that China’s United Front might be to blame. The United Front Work Department did not respond to a fax requesting comment.

One line of attack against Ms. Tsai has added to the atmosphere of mistrust and high conspiracy ahead of this week’s vote.

Politicians and media outlets have questioned whether Ms. Tsai’s doctoral dissertation is authentic, even though her alma mater, the London School of Economics, has confirmed that it is.

Dennis Peng hosts a daily YouTube show dedicated to proving otherwise. His channel has 173,000 subscribers. Theories about Ms. Tsai’s dissertation have circulated in China, too, with the help of the Chinese news media.

Mr. Peng, a former television anchor, once supported Ms. Tsai. He was proud that Taiwan elected a female president. Now he says he is not being paid by anyone, including China, to crusade against her.

He is not worried about being smeared as fake news.

“Let news and fake news compete against each other,” Mr. Peng said. “I trust that most people aren’t so stupid. Everybody eventually figures it out.”

Steven Lee Myers contributed reporting. Wang Yiwei contributed research from Beijing.

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Judge Judy endorses Mike Bloomberg on ‘The View’: ‘Greatest country’ needs ‘greatest president’

Judge Judy Sheindlin declared her support for former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s presidential candidacy Monday on ABC’s “The View.”

Judge Judy, who has not publicly endorsed a presidential candidate in the past, explained why she’s going to bat for Bloomberg.

“I’ve never seen Americans so angry with each other as a family and it became sort of frightening when you couldn’t go to a social gathering and have a difference of opinion… if you view America as the greatest family on the planet, I felt as if it was time for America, which is the greatest country in the world, to have the greatest president,” she said. “When I looked at the field of 2020 candidates… there was no other voice, for me, other than the voice of someone who has experience in governance second only to the president of the United States.”


The TV judge’s appearance came on the first episode of 2020 for the ABC News daytime gabfest. She said that New York City has the “most diverse” population of anyplace in America and Bloomberg’s experience can help the nation.

Westlake Legal Group bloomberg-judy Judge Judy endorses Mike Bloomberg on 'The View': ‘Greatest country’ needs ‘greatest president’ Tyler McCarthy fox-news/media fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e60f66d5-5e33-5065-a714-08ff22b0e6de Brian Flood article

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg pick up a 2020 presidential endorsement from Judge Judy.

“There was a good feeling [under Bloomberg], it was a feeling that things were run effectively and efficiently during his 12 years as mayor,” Judge Judy said. “I felt that way when he was the mayor and he’s a brilliant, self-made guy.”

Judge Judy defended Bloomberg as “not another” rich guy, because she feels he is the only candidate who “has experience governing and managing.”

“If he’s successful and happened to have made money being successful, that folks, is the American dream,” she said.

The fiery judge never clashed with the typically confrontational hosts, who wrapped up the segment by inviting her to co-host down the road. Judge Judy previously launched a new campaign ad giving her glowing endorsement to Bloomberg, which “The View” played for its audience.


The judge, 77, known for her daytime TV show “Judge Judy,” appeared in a 30-second video shared by Bloomberg’s official campaign in which she explained why she was supporting him in the crowded Democratic field against incumbent candidate Donald Trump.

“I like to say you can judge someone’s character by what they’ve done,” she begins. “Mike Bloomberg has done amazing things and will be a truly great president. No one comes close to Mike Bloomberg’s executive achievement, government experience and impactful philanthropy. His steady leadership will unite our country and bring us through these very challenging times.”

Her endorsement is not exactly a surprise as she previously released an op-ed in USA Today in which she declared that Bloomberg is the only hope for the presidency. It raised eyebrows at the time as the former New York City Mayor had not yet announced his candidacy.


“The only way we can begin to come together again, I said, is if Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, becomes our next president,” the judge wrote at the time. “I realize I am taking a personal and a career risk in making such a statement. I have carefully stayed away from politics for 50 years, except to vote. But times have changed in our country, and I believe the moment has come for me to step out from behind the curtain.”

Westlake Legal Group bloomberg-judy Judge Judy endorses Mike Bloomberg on 'The View': ‘Greatest country’ needs ‘greatest president’ Tyler McCarthy fox-news/media fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e60f66d5-5e33-5065-a714-08ff22b0e6de Brian Flood article   Westlake Legal Group bloomberg-judy Judge Judy endorses Mike Bloomberg on 'The View': ‘Greatest country’ needs ‘greatest president’ Tyler McCarthy fox-news/media fox news fnc/entertainment fnc e60f66d5-5e33-5065-a714-08ff22b0e6de Brian Flood article

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John Bolton Says He’d Testify In Trump’s Impeachment Trial If Subpoenaed

Westlake Legal Group 5e1368d22400009f245a5115 John Bolton Says He’d Testify In Trump’s Impeachment Trial If Subpoenaed

Former national security adviser John Bolton said Monday that he is willing to testify before the Senate in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial if he is subpoenaed.

“I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify,” Bolton said in a statement.

Bolton’s agreement to testify if subpoenaed, however, doesn’t necessarily mean the Senate will actually hear from him.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are currently trying to work out an agreement on what the rules will be for an impeachment trial.

The Democratic position is that calling witnesses is essential to a fair process, and Schumer has specifically requested the testimony of four people who did not testify before the House ― including Bolton. But McConnell hasn’t agreed to subpoenaing witnesses or additional documents that shed light on the Ukraine scandal and what role Trump specifically played in pressuring the country to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his family. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has so far refused to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, meaning McConnell has not been able to start the trial. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates. 

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First Brit in space says aliens exist: ‘There’s no two ways about it’

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087230850001_6087228353001-vs First Brit in space says aliens exist: 'There’s no two ways about it' fox-news/topic/aliens fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 40b8dd25-3bdc-53fc-8e45-4c68a7913e28

Renowned for being the first British person in space, Dr. Helen Sharman is making headlines for another claim. She believes aliens exist.

“Aliens exist, there’s no two ways about it,” Sharman said in an interview with The Observer magazine. “There are so many billions of stars out there in the universe that there must be all sorts of different forms of life.”

Sharman said she was not sure if they would be composed of carbon and nitrogen, but suggested they may be on Earth already. “It’s possible they’re here right now, and we simply can’t see them,” she added.


The 56-year-old Sharman went into space in May 1991 as part of Project Juno, a joint Soviet Union–British mission where she visited the Mir space station for eight days.

NASA has repeatedly denied it has discovered the presence of life outside of Earth, including most recently in October, when a former employee published an explosive op-ed suggesting the agency found life nearly 50 years ago.

Gilbert Levin, who worked on the Viking missions to the Red Planet during the 1970s, published an op-ed that made it clear that he believes data from the Labeled Release (LR) in 1976 was supportive of finding life.


“On July 30, 1976, the LR returned its initial results from Mars,” Levin wrote in the op-ed, entitled “I’m Convinced We Found Evidence of Life on Mars in the 1970s.”

Fox News has reached out to Sharman and NASA with a request for comment for this story.


Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087230850001_6087228353001-vs First Brit in space says aliens exist: 'There’s no two ways about it' fox-news/topic/aliens fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 40b8dd25-3bdc-53fc-8e45-4c68a7913e28   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087230850001_6087228353001-vs First Brit in space says aliens exist: 'There’s no two ways about it' fox-news/topic/aliens fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 40b8dd25-3bdc-53fc-8e45-4c68a7913e28

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Kennedy family member launches House bid against party-switching Rep. Van Drew

Amy Kennedy, the wife of former Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy, announced Monday that she will run as a Democrat against Rep. Jeff Van Drew in November after the congressman from New Jersey switched parties amid the impeachment battle against President Trump.

Kennedy, a former public school teacher and years-long resident of Brigantine, N.J., announced her candidacy for the House seat representing New Jersey’s 2nd district in an online video on Monday highlighting environmental issues and the economy.


Kennedy currently serves as the education director of the Kennedy Forum, which was founded in 2013 by her husband and focuses on helping officials improve mental health care policy. Patrick Kennedy served eight terms as a congressman representing Rhode Island and is the son of late Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, and nephew of late President John F. Kennedy.

In the video, Kennedy also took a direct swipe at Van Drew, who announced his party switch last month after the House voted to approve two articles of impeachment—abuse of power and obstruction of Congress—against the president. Van Drew opposed those articles.

“Too many of our leaders have lost their moral compass,” Kennedy said in the video. “Trump and Van Drew are symptoms of a bigger sickness affecting our country and our politics. Doing what’s right shouldn’t be complicated. Treat one another with respect, show some compassion, look out for others.”


Van Drew’s switch opened a competitive Democratic primary in New Jersey, in a district that typically leans Republican. Van Drew’s seat had been held by Republican Rep. Frank LoBiondo for 12 terms before Van Drew won in 2018 as a Democrat.

Kennedy faces several rivals in the Democratic primary, including Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Harrison, who has already garnered support from Democratic lawmakers; Atlantic County Freeholder Ashley Bennett; and former FBI agent Robert Turkavage, who ran and lost in the 2018 GOP primary, but switched parties to run as a Democrat this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group Amy-Kennedy-Amy-Kennedy-for-Congress Kennedy family member launches House bid against party-switching Rep. Van Drew fox-news/politics/2020-house-races fox news fnc/politics fnc Brooke Singman article 94c4605a-2127-5d17-91ca-09ded0729af2   Westlake Legal Group Amy-Kennedy-Amy-Kennedy-for-Congress Kennedy family member launches House bid against party-switching Rep. Van Drew fox-news/politics/2020-house-races fox news fnc/politics fnc Brooke Singman article 94c4605a-2127-5d17-91ca-09ded0729af2

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What Is Trump’s Iran Strategy? Few Seem to Know

Westlake Legal Group 06int-iran1-facebookJumbo What Is Trump’s Iran Strategy? Few Seem to Know United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Iran

When the United States announced on Friday that it had killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, something about its explanation left many analysts puzzled.

The strike was intended to deter further Iranian attacks, administration officials said. But they also said it was also expected to provoke severe enough attacks by Iran that the Pentagon was deploying an additional several thousand troops to the region.

The apparent contradiction left many experts wondering about the strike’s intended goal, and the strategy behind it.

The next day did little to settle the matter. The strike had been intended to prevent an imminent Iranian attack, officials said publicly. Or to change the behavior of Iran’s surviving leaders. Or to cow those leaders, whose behavior would never change.

Others said privately that President Trump had ordered it in response to television reports of an Iranian-backed siege on the American Embassy compound in Baghdad.

Mr. Suleimani’s killing has left a swirl of confusion among analysts, former policymakers and academics. The United States had initiated a sudden, drastic escalation against a regional power, risking fierce retaliation, or even war.


“There’s not a single person that I’ve spoken to who can tell you what Trump is up to with Iran,” said Ellie Geranmayeh, an analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

It’s not that experts or foreign officials suspect a secret agenda, but that the administration’s action fit no clear pattern or long-term strategy, she said. “It just doesn’t add up.”

The killing, many say, deepens the uncertainty that has surrounded Mr. Trump’s ambitions toward Iran since he withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear accord and began a series of provocations that he terms maximum pressure.

The risk, experts say, is that if they cannot figure out the administration’s goals and priorities for Iran, its red lines and points of possible compromise, then foreign governments won’t be able to either.

“Absolutely not,” Ms. Geranmayeh said when asked whether European or Middle Eastern officials, whom she speaks with regularly, understood Mr. Trump’s strategy. “Not even the closest U.S. allies, like in London.”

This imposes a layer of confusion on the conflict, just as it enters a dangerous and volatile new chapter, inviting mixed messages and misread intentions.

“If it’s that hard for us to understand, imagine the Iranians,” said Dalia Dassa Kaye, who directs a Middle East policy center at RAND Corporation, a nonpartisan research group.

Mixed signals, she said, make any effort to shape an adversary’s behavior “incredibly ineffective.” Uncertainty about Mr. Trump’s intentions also increases risks that the conflict could spiral out of control.

Without a clear understanding of what actions will lead the United States to ramp up or ramp down hostilities, she said, Iranian leaders are operating in the dark — and waiting to stumble past some unseen red line.

“That’s what makes this a dangerous situation,” she said.

Part of the uncertainty is specific to Mr. Trump. His impulsive style and resistance to accepting difficult trade-offs have made his goals on Iran difficult to parse.

He has cycled between ambitions of withdrawing from the Middle East, positioning himself as a once-in-a-generation peacemaker and, more recently, promising to oppose Iran more forcefully than any recent president has.

He has also been pulled between his advisers, with some urging cautious adherence to the status quo and others arguing for overtly topping Iran’s government.

Mr. Trump’s reputation for distortions and untruths have also made it difficult to separate bluster from agenda-setting.

He took the United States out of the nuclear agreement and imposed sanctions against Iran — which some see as setting off a crisis that continue today — on claims that it was “on the cusp” of acquiring nuclear weapons “in just a short period of time.”

But international inspectors and United States military leaders said that Iran was complying with requirements to freeze its nuclear development.

Without a clear explanation for Mr. Trump’s behavior, anyone whose job requires forecasting the next American action — from foreign head of state to think tank analyst — was left guessing.

Deepening the challenge, the administration followed up with a set of demands that included some nuclear restrictions but focused mostly on Iran’s regional influence and proxy forces, ordering Tehran to sever ties to nearly all of them in a sweeping surrender.

Was this the real agenda? If so, what were the plans for winning each demand, and the metrics for measuring whether those plans were working? How would the administration balance competing priorities?

American action on the ground deepened confusion.

United States diplomacy has emphasized calls for peace but has conspicuously declined to offer what diplomats call “offramps” — easy, low-stakes opportunities for both sides to begin de-escalating, which are considered essential first steps.

“There’s been no talk of, say, ‘If you do this, then we’ll bring back waivers,’” Ms. Kaye said, referring to American waivers allowing other countries to buy Iranian oil. “‘If you do X, then you’ll get Y.’ There’s been nothing tangible like that.”

Throughout months of proxy conflict, American military responses have ranged from muted or nonexistent — as in the case of an attack on Saudi oil facilities that was believed to be the work of Iran — to extreme escalations like killing Mr. Suleimani.

Even if each action might be defensible on its own, experts and foreign officials have strained to match them with a consistent set of motives and objectives.

Suspicions have deepened that there may be no long-term strategy at all, even among those sympathetic to Mr. Trump’s policies.

R. Nicholas Burns, a senior State Department official under President George W. Bush, wrote on Twitter that the United States might have had a “legitimate right” to kill General Suleimani.

But, he asked, “has Trump considered next 15 moves on chessboard? How to protect our people? Line up allies to support us? Contain Iran but avoid wider war? My guess is he hasn’t.”

Ms. Geranmayeh stressed that the conflict between the United States and Iran also threatens to draw in a host of Middle Eastern and European countries.

To navigate tensions and avoid worsening them, allies and adversaries alike must astutely judge American intentions and anticipate American actions.

All of them, she said, seemed at a loss.

“Most experts and officials that I’ve spoken to from the Middle East, including close allies — Saudi Arabia, Israel — they also can’t tell you with confidence what Trump wants on Iran,” she said.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had already been ramping down tensions with Iran, Ms. Geranmayeh said, “because they have no idea how Trump will behave from one week to the next” and fear getting caught in the middle.

Similar confusion in Tehran, she added, could become “the biggest problem.”

“If Trump is not managing a consistent and clear message to the Iranians about what he wants,” she said, “then this opens up a lot of space for a lot of miscalculation.”

The most important question, Ms. Kaye said, is what steps by Iran might cause Mr. Trump to pull back. “There’s not an understanding about what is the end game, what is the U.S. trying to achieve, when will the Trump administration be happy, and enough is enough,” she said.

And while judging what will provoke American escalations against Iran is not straightforward, she said, those escalations have come steadily enough as to seem almost inevitable.

“Action on the ground has been continuously punitive,” she said.

Brett McGurk, who until last year was the administration’s special envoy to the coalition against the Islamic State, warned his former bosses, in an article for Foreign Affairs, that their maximalist demands had left “no plausible on-ramp for Iran to enter negotiations, since nobody, including the Iranians, knows what Iran is supposed to negotiate about.”

Ms. Kaye said Iran might conclude that it should tread with extreme caution. Or it might reason that the United States poses a threat that is both existential and unyielding, compelling Tehran to gamble on taking extreme measures.

“What I’m concerned about is that mixed signals, plus the perception of existential threat,” Ms. Kaye said, “might lead to dramatic steps that we might not have thought possible.”

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Julián Castro Endorses Elizabeth Warren for President

Westlake Legal Group 06castro-sub-facebookJumbo Julián Castro Endorses Elizabeth Warren for President Warren, Elizabeth Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Endorsements Democratic Party Castro, Julian

Julián Castro, the former housing secretary whose progressive presidential candidacy did not make significant inroads with Democratic voters but earned plaudits from the party’s left wing, has endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, offering a possible lift for her candidacy less than one month before the Iowa caucuses.

Mr. Castro announced his endorsement on Monday morning, just days after he ended his own bid for the White House. In a statement, Mr. Castro cast Ms. Warren as the logical extension of his campaign’s social-justice-driven message, which seeks to correct inequities through targeted policy proposals. He will campaign with Ms. Warren this week, joining her Tuesday night at a rally at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.

“There’s one candidate I see who is unafraid to fight like hell to make sure that America’s promise will be there for everyone,” Mr. Castro said in a video announcement released on Twitter. Ms. Warren, he said, “will make sure that no matter where you live in America — or where your family came from in the world, you have a path to opportunity, too.”

The endorsement is not a shock to close observers of the Democratic primary race — Mr. Castro and Ms. Warren made no secret of their shared affection for each other — but it formalizes a partnership that could help Ms. Warren reignite excitement at a critical moment.

Ms. Warren has fallen from her polling peak in early October, when she was hailed as the race’s ascendant front-runner and the standard-bearer for the party’s progressive wing. National polls now show Ms. Warren firmly in third, behind former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has been aided by grass-roots progressive groups and by some high-profile endorsements of his own, including from popular House members like Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

It is unclear whether Mr. Castro’s name carries similar political weight. His presidential candidacy struggled to break through in a significant way, but he led the field on a number of progressive issues, including reparations, border decriminalization and housing inequality. He impressed liberal activist groups like the Working Families Party and the Center for Popular Democracy, even though they formally backed Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders.

Ms. Warren thanked Mr. Castro for his support on Monday, calling him “a powerful voice for bold, progressive change.”

During the waning months of his campaign, Mr. Castro was a vocal critic of the primary calendar, pointing to how voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, who hold their nominating contests first, are overwhelmingly white. Ms. Warren has, at times, sidestepped that issue, saying once in South Carolina that she was just “a player in the game on this one.”

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Tears From Ayatollah as Iran Mourns Dead General: Live Updates

Here’s what you need to know:



Crowds Gather at Suleimani’s Funeral

Throngs of people chanting “Death to America” crowded the streets of Tehran on Monday as Iran mourned Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, whose funeral was held in the capital.

He thinks he killed one of us. He hasn’t gone — look how many more Suleimani we have.

Westlake Legal Group 06Iran-briefing1-promo-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600-v3 Tears From Ayatollah as Iran Mourns Dead General: Live Updates United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Esmail Ghaani Defense and Military Forces

Throngs of people chanting “Death to America” crowded the streets of Tehran on Monday as Iran mourned Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, whose funeral was held in the capital.CreditCredit…Office of Iran’s Supreme Leader, via Reuters

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept and offered prayers over the coffin of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani at the funeral in Tehran on Monday, as throngs of people filled the city’s streets to mourn.

General Suleimani was killed by the United States on Friday in Baghdad in a drone strike. American officials said the general had ordered assaults on Americans in Iraq and Syria and was planning a wave of imminent attacks.

Ayatollah Khamenei had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the second most powerful man in Iran.

The military commander was hailed as a martyr, and his successor swore revenge during the funeral ceremony, while chants of “Death to America” rang out from the crowds in the capital.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166747320_5c2b277e-7978-4b1e-8564-2e231030f246-articleLarge Tears From Ayatollah as Iran Mourns Dead General: Live Updates United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Esmail Ghaani Defense and Military Forces

State-run news outlets reported that millions had gathered in Tehran.Credit…Arash Khamooshi for The New York Times

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. “Certainly actions will be taken,” he added.

General Suleimani’s killing has prompted fears of escalating retaliatory actions between Iran and the United States, and of a broader regional conflict. After the attack, Iran said it would no longer abide by a 2015 agreement to suspend uranium production.

Zeinab Suleimani, General Suleimani’s daughter, said in a eulogy that the United States and Israel faced a “dark day.”

“You crazy Trump, the symbol of ignorance, the slave of Zionists, don’t think that the killing of my father will finish everything,” she said.

The general’s funeral was attended by a broad swath of Iranians, including reformers who oppose the government of President Hassan Rouhani but who perceived the killing as an attack on all of Iran.

“I felt like he was our safety umbrella spread above Iran,” said Amir Ali, 22, a university student, of General Suleimani. “I felt safe knowing he was out there.”

The Iraqi government has begun to consider new parameters for the American military in Iraq after lawmakers voted 170-0 on Sunday in favor of expelling United States troops from their country.

The troops will be limited to “training and advising” Iraqi forces, but will not be allowed to move off their bases or to fly in Iraqi airspace while plans are being made for their departure, said Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf, the military spokesman for Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

The vote on Sunday was not final and many lawmakers did not attend the session. But Mr. Mahdi drafted the language and submitted the bill to Parliament, leaving little doubt about his support for the expulsion.

The drone strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani on Friday also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Forces, a coalition of Iranian-backed militias in Iraq.

The attack was viewed by many in Iraq as a violation of the nation’s sovereignty, and the Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that it had summoned the American ambassador. Iran reacted to Sunday’s vote with congratulatory messages.

But the Iraqi Parliament was divided over the demands from angry citizens to expel American troops. Nearly half of its members, primarily Kurds and Sunnis, did not attend Sunday’s session and did not vote. In his speech to lawmakers, Mr. Mahdi laid out two possibilities: to either quickly end the presence of foreign forces in Iraq, or to set a timeline for their expulsion.

The measure approved by Parliament did not include a timeline, and only instructed the government to end the presence of foreign forces in Iraq. Officials said no decision had been made about whether any American troops would be able to stay, or under what conditions.

By Monday, there was still no timetable for the troops’ departure and no specifics about whether all American forces would be asked to leave or only some. And while Mr. Mahdi’s rhetoric was tough in his speech to the Iraqi Parliament on Sunday, by late in the evening, after speaking with President Emmanuel Macron of France by phone, his language was more modulated.

In a post on Twitter describing their phone call, Mr. Mahdi suggested that he was leaving the door open to something less than a complete departure.

He said he had agreed with Mr. Macron to “continue to discuss this delicate issue.”

He added that they talked about “the withdrawal of the foreign forces from Iraq in a way that would not damage the battle against ISIS and would preserve the sovereignty of Iraq and keep its relationships with the countries of the international coalition” that is fighting the Islamic State in Iraq.

Those goals would be difficult to achieve without some continued presence by the United States, because other countries’ troops are unlikely to stay in the absence of American military support.

President Trump and other American officials have said that Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was in the midst of planning attacks on United States forces when he was killed. But the general may have also been working as a go-between in quiet efforts to reduce the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Hostility and competition for influence had grown for years between the two regional rivals, but in recent months, Iran and Saudi Arabia had taken steps toward indirect talks to diffuse the situation.

In an address to the Iraqi Parliament on Sunday, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi of Iraq said that he was supposed to meet with General Suleimani on the morning he was killed.

“It was expected that he was carrying a message for me from the Iranian side responding to the Saudi message that we had sent to the Iranian side to reach agreements and breakthroughs important for the situation in Iraq and the region,” Mr. Mahdi said.

The content of the messages was not immediately clear, but Mr. Mahdi’s comments suggested that the drone strike ordered by Mr. Trump may have interrupted a diplomatic back channel aimed at averting conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

President Trump on Sunday doubled down on his threats to attack Iranian cultural sites and warned of a “major retaliation” if the Iranian government planned tit-for-tat attacks in the aftermath of the killing of a senior military commander.

Mr. Trump defended the drone strike that killed General Suleimani.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr. Trump said in a tweet that the United States had selected 52 Iranian sites, some “at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture” to attack in the event of Iranian retaliation.

That prompted the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to say that “targeting cultural sites is a war crime.”

But on Sunday evening, aboard Air Force One on his way back from his holiday trip to Florida, Mr. Trump did not back down.

“They’re allowed to kill our people,” he said to reporters. “They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way.”

Two top Senate Democrats urged President Trump early Monday to declassify the document that the administration sent to Congress formally giving notice of the airstrike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani. It is unusual for an administration to classify the entirety of such a notification, and Democrats upbraided the document as insufficient. The notification to Congress is required by law.

In a joint statement, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader; and Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said it was “critical that national security matters of such import be shared with the American people in a timely manner.”

“An entirely classified notification is simply not appropriate in a democratic society, and there appears to be no legitimate justification for classifying this notification,” they said.

The House is expected to vote later this week on a resolution invoking the War Powers Act that would curtail the president’s ability to authorize a strike against Iran without Congress’s approval. The Senate could vote on similar legislation as soon as mid-January.

The Iranian government said it would no longer abide by a commitment it made under a 2015 nuclear deal that limited its enrichment of uranium.

The decision to lift all restrictions on the production of nuclear fuel spelled the effective end of the nuclear deal, experts said, though Iran left open the possibility that it would return to the limits if sanctions were lifted.

“It’s finished. If there’s no limitation on production, then there is no deal,” said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a nonprofit in Washington.

The announcement came after the Iranian Supreme National Security Council held an emergency meeting on Sunday after General Suleimani’s assassination.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will end its final limitations in the nuclear deal, meaning the limitation in the number of centrifuges,” the government said in a statement. “Therefore Iran’s nuclear program will have no limitations in production including enrichment capacity and percentage and number of enriched uranium and research and expansion.”

The announcement followed several steps by Iran to move away from the terms of the agreement, nearly two years after Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from the deal. Since that renunciation, the Trump administration has imposed severe sanctions aimed at crippling Iran’s economy.

The nuclear agreement ended some economic sanctions on Iran in return for its verifiable pledge to use nuclear power peacefully.

Iran’s statement on Sunday did not include details about its enrichment ambitions. And the country did not say that it was expelling the inspectors who monitor its nuclear program.

President Trump seemed to respond to the announcement on Monday with an all-caps post on Twitter:

The European parties to the deal, including Britain, France and Germany, as well as China and Russia, also signatories to the deal, had struggled to preserve the agreement as tensions between the United States and Iran worsened.

Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a daily news briefing that there was still hope for the nuclear deal. He noted that Tehran had said it would continue to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors Iranian activities under the agreement, and that it could return to the pact under the right conditions.

“We believe that although Iran has been compelled to reduce adherence owing to external factors, it has also demonstrated restraint,” Mr. Geng said.

In a joint statement on Sunday night, Britain, France and Germany called on Iran to refrain from violence and to return to “full compliance with its commitments” under the 2015 nuclear agreement, which Tehran has seemed to all but have abandoned.

The statement followed Iran’s announcement that day that it would no longer abide by the limits to uranium enrichment set out in the deal, a move that seemed to finally kill off the agreement after months during which Tehran had carefully breached less significant limits.

President Trump withdrew the United States from the nuclear deal in 2018.

The European statement seemed somewhat forlorn, since its efforts to preserve the deal have been weak, hamstrung in part by a desire to maintain good relations with Washington. The statement did not support the drone strike on the Iranian general but did acknowledge American concerns, saying that, “we have condemned the recent attacks’’ on coalition forces in Iraq and “are gravely concerned by the negative role played by Iran in the region.’’

The statement called for “de-escalation” of tensions from all parties and reaffirmed the Europeans’ determination “to continuing the fight against Islamic State, which remains a priority.’’ And it called on Iraq “to continue to supply the necessary support to the coalition’’ — in other words, to not expel American and NATO troops.

The secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, called an emergency meeting of the alliance’s advisers on Monday afternoon.

Josep Borrell Fontelles, the European Union foreign policy chief, posted on Twitter that while the bloc regretted Iran’s announcement on the deal, it would wait for independent verification from the international nuclear monitoring group to determine what actions would be taken.

Peter Stano, his spokesman, said during a news briefing in Brussels said that de-escalation was the goal.

“It’s in our interest as Europeans to maintain this agreement,” Mr. Stano said.

On Monday, Heiko Maas, the German foreign minister, said that the Europeans would talk to Iran and planned to come up with a coordinated response.

“This could be the first step toward the end of this agreement, which would be a great loss,” Mr. Maas told a German radio station. “And so we will weigh things up very, very responsibly.”

Russian officials have been sharply critical of the targeted killing in Iraq but have not otherwise intimated how the Kremlin might respond, or whether Moscow, which has longstanding ties with Tehran, might play a mediating role.

President Vladimir V. Putin invited Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to visit Moscow on Saturday to discuss the strike, among other issues, the Kremlin announced.

Oil prices surged and stock markets in Asia fell on Monday morning, as the impact of General Suleimani’s death ricocheted around the world.

The price of Brent oil, the international benchmark, jumped above $70 in futures trading as markets digested a steady flow of news over the weekend. It fell back below that level, to $69.92 a barrel, when markets opened in Europe, though the price was still about 5 percent higher than before the killing last week.

The sudden escalation in tensions in a region that supplies much of the world’s petroleum has roiled oil markets. The West Texas Intermediate, the American oil benchmark, rose 1.9 percent to $64.22 a barrel in futures trading.

Analysts at Capital Economics have warned that the price of oil could spike to $150 a barrel if the bellicose rhetoric between the two countries turned into action.

“The price of oil would soar in the event of full-blown military conflict in the Middle East,” said Alexander Kozul-Wright, a commodities economist at Capital Economics.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, fresh from winning a mandate to take Britain out of the European Union, faces a particularly vexing challenge in dealing with the escalation between the United States and Iran.

In the first foreign policy crisis of the post-Brexit era, London is caught between its traditional alliance with Washington — one that Mr. Johnson wants to deepen further with a trade agreement — and the new relationship with Europe.

In his first statement on President Trump’s decision to strike the general, Mr. Johnson took pains to emphasize the threat posed by the Iranian military leader and said, “We will not lament his death.” But Mr. Johnson also called on all sides to avoid aggravating the situation, echoing the language used by the French and German governments.

Mr. Johnson suggested he wanted to play a mediating role and noted that he had spoken to Mr. Trump, as well as to President Emmanuel Macron of France and to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. The European governments have been more circumspect in their reactions to the American strike, with the Germans criticizing Mr. Trump’s threat to impose sanctions on Iraq if Baghdad were to expel American troops from bases in the country.

Mr. Johnson was said to be upset that Mr. Trump had not notified him of the strike in advance, but he can ill afford a falling out with the president, given Britain’s need to initiate trade talks with Washington.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines on Monday held an emergency meeting with defense officials to discuss a potential evacuation plan for the thousands of Filipino workers stationed in Iran and Iraq. The Philippines has a huge population of expatriate laborers who live and work in the region.

“President Duterte ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to be prepared to deploy military assets to repatriate overseas Filipinos in the Middle East, particularly from Iran and Iraq, at any moment’s notice,” said Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, a close ally of Mr. Duterte who was at the meeting, according to The Associated Press.

On Monday, New Zealand became the latest country to advise its citizens to leave Iraq, but officials denied reports that it had decided to withdraw troops stationed there as part of a training mission. The training mission was said to have been postponed as tensions in the region soared.

“New Zealanders currently in Iraq despite our advice who have concerns for their safety are strongly advised to depart as soon as possible,” the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.

Reporting was contributed by Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Russell Goldman, Alexandra Stevenson, Farnaz Fassihi, Christopher Buckley, Megan Specia, Steven Erlanger, Melissa Eddy, Mark Landler, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Eric Schmitt, Vivian Yee, David D. Kirkpatrick, Catie Edmondson, Andrew Kramer and Edward Wong.

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