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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 29)

Justin Haskins: AOC’s new scheme would destroy US economy, create gigantic government and raise your taxes

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6091073928001_6091080141001-vs Justin Haskins: AOC’s new scheme would destroy US economy, create gigantic government and raise your taxes Justin Haskins fox-news/us/economy fox-news/topic/green-new-deal fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc f8748209-396d-555d-9aa8-118d5d92fa08 article

Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has moved from the loony left to “The Twilight Zone” with her latest nutty plan to achieve her impossible dream of turning America into a socialist utopia.

In reality, the congresswoman’s plan would bring about a national nightmare – not just for all of us alive today, but for future generations – because it would destroy the U.S. economy. Building it back up would take a very long time.

Ocasio-Cortez labels her absurd plan A Just Society. If you regret not being born early enough to enjoy the fun times of the Great Depression, or want to live in a “workers’ paradise” like North Korea, Venezuela or Cuba, you’ll love Comrade AOC’s plan.


Incredibly, this cockeyed plan has been praised by one of the leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination – Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

“It’s going to take big, structural change to tackle poverty and inequality in the U.S., and @AOC‘s ‘A Just Society’ is just the type of bold, comprehensive thinking we’ll need to get it done,” Warren recently tweeted.

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Like her Green New Deal and other wacko plans, Ocasio-Cortez’s latest attempt to fundamentally transform the United States into a bastion of Marxism would end up erasing the tremendous economic growth Americans have experienced not just under the Trump administration, but throughout American history.

Ocasio-Cortez says her legislation, which is composed of several different bills, would “combat one of the greatest threats to our country, our democracy, and our freedom: economic inequality.”

There aren’t enough rich people to pay for AOC’s grandiose plans, even if government confiscated all their money and left them penniless and homeless.

That’s right, folks, you can forget about terrorism, trade wars, America’s $22 trillion debt, skyrocketing health insurance costs and every other significant problem facing the country. Apparently, the real threat to Americans’ health and welfare is that Amazon head Jeff Bezos has too many billions of dollars in investments and Bill Gates – the world’s most generous philanthropist – owns too many houses.

The Just Society plan would solve America’s alleged wealth gap “problem” by – surprise – dramatically expanding the power of the federal government and its welfare programs and running up tens of trillions of dollars in new debt in the process.

There aren’t enough rich people to pay for AOC’s grandiose plans, even if government confiscated all their money and left them penniless and homeless. Like a credit card bill that keeps growing, at some point Ocasio-Cortez’s trillions of dollars in massive new spending would have to be paid for – meaning gigantic tax increases for all of us, our children, grandchildren and beyond.

The most important part of the Just Society proposal is that it would substantially expand the meaning of “poverty” so that potentially tens of millions of additional Americans would be considered legally impoverished and made newly eligible for numerous welfare programs. These include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly referred to as food stamps.

You know the old saying that there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Comrade AOC would hand out free breakfasts, lunches and dinners, among many other free benefits. Perhaps the Tooth Fairy, little elves living in trees, or space aliens landing in Area 51 would foot the bill.

Ocasio-Cortez’s Recognizing Poverty Act would direct “the Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with the Bureau of Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics, to adjust the federal poverty line to account for geographic cost variation, costs related to health insurance, work expenses for the family, child care needs, and new necessities, like internet access.”

As Matt Weidinger of the American Enterprise Institute notes, a 2018 report found that if the standard used in Ocasio-Cortez’s legislation were applied to the residents of New York City, roughly 40 percent of all households would be considered impoverished, compared to only 14 percent under the current standards.

Altering the poverty line in accordance with Comrade AOC’s legislation would also push tens of millions of people onto the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid, among other programs.

In some cases, people would effectively have no choice but to be forced onto the government dole. For example, many of the families now receiving health insurance subsidies to purchase insurance plans in ObamaCare exchanges would suddenly become eligible for Medicaid and would no longer be able to have access to those subsidies. This would require them to choose between enrolling in Medicaid or paying the much higher, non-subsidy ObamaCare price for private insurance.

There are already more than 72 million people enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The Just Society plan would increase those numbers dramatically.

But that’s just the beginning. The Just Society proposal would also prevent government agents from denying convicted criminals access to federal welfare, health, disability, education, and other government social and welfare benefits on the basis of their conviction – regardless of how serious the offense was.

The same would be true for immigrants who are residing in the United States illegally. Under Ocasio-Cortez’s plan, immigration status cannot prevent welfare eligibility, giving millions of people now here in violation of federal law access to taxpayer-funded public benefits.

This one provision alone could destroy the American economy, because it would likely encourage millions of people from around the world to come to the United States to receive free services we have no way of paying for.

And, of course, Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t believe in immigration restrictions. Imagine tripling, quadrupling or further increasing the U.S. population with people from around the world looking for “free stuff.” How could the rest of us support them all?


Does forcing Americans to pay for food stamps and health care for non-Americans and college education for violent offenders sound “just” and “fair” to you?

The Just Society would also enact strict housing price controls on landlords, lowering the incentives for developers to construct new housing projects.

The U.S. economy is better now than at any time in recent memory. Unemployment is low for virtually every demographic, the stock market continues to remain at near-historic highs, and there are more than 7 million job openings.


I guess all that is considered “unjust” by Comrade AOC. Under her grand plan we’d all be equally impoverished, equally overtaxed, equally dependent on government assistance, and equally suffering in a socialist hell.

The Just Society is anything but. It should be rejected by every American with even an elementary school-level knowledge of how our economy works.


Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6091073928001_6091080141001-vs Justin Haskins: AOC’s new scheme would destroy US economy, create gigantic government and raise your taxes Justin Haskins fox-news/us/economy fox-news/topic/green-new-deal fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc f8748209-396d-555d-9aa8-118d5d92fa08 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6091073928001_6091080141001-vs Justin Haskins: AOC’s new scheme would destroy US economy, create gigantic government and raise your taxes Justin Haskins fox-news/us/economy fox-news/topic/green-new-deal fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc f8748209-396d-555d-9aa8-118d5d92fa08 article

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‘No forgiveness for this one’: Outrage builds over police shooting of Fort Worth woman in her home

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close 'No forgiveness for this one': Outrage builds over police shooting of Fort Worth woman in her home

The officer who shot the 28-year-old woman was identified by police only as a white male who has been on the force for about 18 months. USA TODAY

Community activists and the family of a black woman fatally shot by police in her Fort Worth home after playing video games with her nephew are expressing outrage and demanding justice.

The shooting early Saturday of Atatiana Jefferson comes less than two weeks after Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was convicted of fatally shooting Botham Jean, a black man killed in 2018 as he ate ice cream in his apartment.

Police released almost two minutes of body camera video of the Fort Worth shooting that shows officers, armed with guns and flashlights, circling the home. The video ends with an office shouting “Put your hands up, show me your hands” before the sound of one gunshot rings out.

Jefferson, 28, was shot through a window. The officer who shot her was identified by police only as a white male who has been on the force for about 18 months. Police also released a photo of a gun found in the home.

Lawyer S. Lee Merritt, who represents the families of Jean and of Jefferson, said Jefferson had been playing video games with a nephew before Saturday’s shooting. He said police had provided no connection between the gun found inside the home and the shooting.

“The murder of this innocent woman represents a breaking point,” Merritt said. “Atatiana Jefferson should be enjoying her family today. A clear message has been sent – we are no longer safe in our own homes.”

Police officer kills woman inside her Texas home after welfare call

‘I want the best for you’: Botham Jean’s brother hugs Amber Guyger

Police said officers had responded to a call from a neighbor who noticed the home’s door was open at about 2:30 a.m. Officers arrived at the home, found the door open, searched the perimeter and observed a person standing inside near a window, police said in a statement.

“Perceiving a threat, the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot, striking the person inside the residence,” the statement said.

Jefferson died at the scene, the statement said. The officer was placed on administrative leave. Police said body camera video from outside the house was released in an effort to provide full transparency, but that privacy rights restricted release of video from inside the home.

The department “shares the deep concern of the public” the statement said, promising a thorough investigation.

“Before law enforcement goes about their pattern of villainizing this beautiful peaceful woman, turning her into a suspect, a silhouette, or threat, let me tell you about 28 y/o #AtatianaJefferson ‘Tay’,” Merritt said in a Facebook post.

Merritt said Jefferson was a pre-med graduate of Xavier University who worked in pharmaceutical sales. And she was very close to her family, he said.

“She was the auntie that stayed up on Friday night playing video games with her 8 year old nephew,” Merritt said. “Her mom had recently gotten very sick, so she was home taking care of the house and loving her life. There was no reason for her to be murdered. None. We must have justice.”

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price released this statement promising prayers, love and support for the family – and a thorough investigation. Community activists also expressed support for the family.

Brotherhood Movement member Malikk Ed referred to the Guyger trial, where the judge hugged Guyger after she was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

“We will not stand down on this one,” Ed told nbcdfw.com. “There’s no Kumbaya for this one. There’s no forgiveness for this one. There’s no judge-hugging-officer for this one.”

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/10/13/fort-worth-shooting-police-release-video-family-demands-justice/3968377002/

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Amid Show of Support, Trump Meets With Giuliani Over Lunch

WASHINGTON — President Trump had lunch on Saturday with Rudolph W. Giuliani amid revelations that prosecutors were investigating Mr. Giuliani for possible lobbying violations, and speculation that his position as the president’s personal lawyer was in jeopardy.

The lunch, at Mr. Trump’s golf course in Sterling, Va., was among several shows of the president’s support for Mr. Giuliani on Saturday. They seemed meant to tamp down questions about Mr. Giuliani’s status with a client famous for distancing himself from advisers when they encounter legal problems of their own.

Mr. Trump, during a Saturday night appearance on Fox News, called Mr. Giuliani “a great gentleman” and said he is still his lawyer. “I know nothing about him being under investigation. I can’t imagine it,” he told the host Jeanine Pirro.

Before the lunch, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Trump spoke on the phone, according to two people familiar with the discussions. Also beforehand, Mr. Trump praised Mr. Giuliani on Twitter as a “legendary ‘crime buster’ and greatest Mayor in the history of NYC.”

Mr. Giuliani “may seem a little rough around the edges sometimes, but he is also a great guy and wonderful lawyer,” the president’s tweet continued.

And Mr. Trump dismissed the investigation into Mr. Giuliani as a “a one sided Witch Hunt” carried out by the “Deep State.”

The president echoed language he had used to minimize the special counsel’s investigation into whether he or his campaign worked with Russians who interfered in the 2016 election to try to help him win the presidency.

Mr. Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor and New York mayor, was retained last year to help defend the president in the special counsel’s investigation.

But his efforts to undermine the investigation’s origins and its conclusions helped lead Mr. Trump into an impeachment inquiry. The inquiry focuses on whether Mr. Trump, with assistance from Mr. Giuliani, abused the presidency to pressure Ukraine to pursue investigations for his political benefit, including into whether Ukrainians played a role in spurring the inquiry of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are now investigating whether Mr. Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine may have run afoul of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, The New York Times reported on Friday.

Mr. Giuliani has defended his work in Ukraine and said it did not require him to register under FARA.

Mr. Trump was not enamored with the negative publicity around Mr. Giuliani, people close to the president said, but he remains loyal because of his lawyer’s willingness to aggressively defend him during the special counsel’s inquiry.

It is not clear what was discussed at the lunch.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_162594609_dbbb74c6-c935-4cf1-b213-9f719b21b78c-articleLarge Amid Show of Support, Trump Meets With Giuliani Over Lunch Ukrainian-Americans Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III Giuliani, Rudolph W Biden, Joseph R Jr

The presidential motorcade leaving the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., on Saturday.CreditCheriss May for The New York Times

The lunch is unlikely to end speculation over whether the president will ultimately consider Mr. Giuliani a liability. Another of Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers, Michael D. Cohen, met privately with the president in Florida in March 2018, a month before the F.B.I. searched his home, hotel room and office. Mr. Trump publicly embraced Mr. Cohen, until it became clear he might speak against the president.

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Asked over text message about the significance of the lunch, Mr. Giuliani directed a reporter to Mr. Trump’s show of support on Twitter.

He said his relationship with Mr. Trump was “the same as ever,” but declined to answer additional questions, explaining he was watching the New York Yankees’ playoff baseball game against the Houston Astros.

The two people familiar with the discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani said they believed it would be difficult to prove that Mr. Giuliani violated FARA.

The law requires American citizens to disclose to the Justice Department any contacts with the government or media in the United States at the direction or request of foreign politicians or government officials, regardless of whether they paid for the representation.

Mr. Giuliani has acknowledged that he and two of his associates, who were arrested on campaign finance charges on Wednesday, worked with Ukrainian prosecutors to collect potentially damaging information about targets of Mr. Trump and his allies, including a former American ambassador to Ukraine and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his younger son, Hunter Biden.

Mr. Giuliani shared that material this year with American government officials and a Trump-friendly columnist in an effort to undermine the ambassador and other Trump targets.

But Mr. Giuliani said that he had undertaken that work on behalf of Mr. Trump, not the Ukrainian prosecutors. He said he had in fact turned down an offer to represent one of the prosecutors because it would have posed a conflict with his work for the president.

What concerns some of Mr. Trump’s advisers more than a possible FARA prosecution related to his Ukraine work is that Mr. Giuliani, who has been representing the president pro bono, is facing a contentious and potentially costly divorce from his third wife, Judith Nathan, and that he may have taken on clients overseas who could be problematic for him with prosecutors.

While Mr. Trump has been reluctant to separate from Mr. Giuliani, some of his advisers hope he will. They remain concerned about Mr. Giuliani’s public commentary about the president and the Ukraine issue.

Kenneth P. Vogel reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York. Annie Karni contributed reporting from Washington.

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Esper Says U.S. Tried To ‘Dissuade’ Turkey From Invading Northern Syria

Westlake Legal Group 5da34d2a2100002a0dacd75f Esper Says U.S. Tried To ‘Dissuade’ Turkey From Invading Northern Syria

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday claimed Turkey would have invaded northern Syria and attacked U.S.-allied Kurdish forces regardless of whether Americans troops had stayed in the region.

During an appearance on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” Esper said the U.S. tried to persuade Turkey not to move forward with the military incursion against the Kurds. He claimed Trump ordered U.S. forces to withdraw because Turkey refused to stand down.

But host Margaret Brennan pushed back on that theory, questioning whether Turkey, a NATO ally, would have actually attacked U.S. troops if they’d stayed.

“You said you’re doing this for U.S. force protection,” Brennan said. “Those armies are advancing after the U.S. had already pulled back, after the U.S. Air Force that had controlled the airspace stopped doing so.”

She continued: “Do you actually believe they would advance if U.S. forces were there … and with the commander-in-chief saying, ‘Don’t do this?’”

Esper, appointed by Trump to lead the Pentagon in June, said he does.

“It became very clear to me that the Turks were fully committed to conducting this incursion,” he said. “The Turks were committed to doing this. This should not be a surprise.”

Brennan continued to grill Esper, asking whether he believes Turkey would fire on U.S. forces.

“Well, I don’t know whether they would or they wouldn’t,” Esper said. “Despite our protestations, despite the fact that we urged the Turks not to do this, they decided to do it. And we told them we would not support them militarily in this action.”

In a subsequent interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Esper claimed the U.S. tried “everything we can to dissuade them from doing this.”

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — U.S. troops’ main ally in the fight against the self-described Islamic State in Syria, also known as ISIS — and lawmakers from both parties have accused President Donald Trump of abandoning the Kurds and leaving them to be slaughtered by Turkish forces.

Turkey has long tried to get the U.S. to stop supporting the Syrian Kurds, who they view as terrorist insurgents. Foreign policy experts, including Brett McGurk, a former U.S. envoy to the global anti-ISIS coalition who resigned last year in protest of Trump, have warned that Trump’s decision not to defend the Kurds is highly immoral and threatens national security.

The Trump administration claims it did not abandon the Kurds, even though the U.S. is withdrawing its forces from the region. Over 130,000 people have been displaced since Thursday and hundreds of ISIS fighters have escaped as Turkish-led forces targeted Syrian border towns held by Kurdish militia.

Turkish-backed Arab fighters have also killed several Kurdish captives as well as Hervin Khalaf, the head of a Kurdish political party. A militant group posted a gruesome video of her execution online.

“Another fleeing pig has been liquidated by the hands of the National Army,” a militant can be heard saying in the video.

A Turkish newspaper described the attack as a “successful operation,” stating Khalaf had been “neutralized.”

Trump, during an interview Saturday with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro, said he would take action against Turkey if they did something “really out of line.” He tweeted Sunday that the “Treasury is ready to go” on imposing sanctions against the country if needed.

Asked during a Sunday interview on ABC’s “This Week” what the Trump administration is waiting for regarding sanctions, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wouldn’t say specifically.

“Given that we’ve already seen 100,000 people reported displaced, these ISIS prisoners out ― set free ― execution of some of America’s Kurdish allies, what’s the hold up?” host Jon Karl asked. “Why don’t you just impose these sanctions?”

Mnuchin responded that the situation is “complicated” and “developing.”

“We are in daily communications with Turkey,” he said. “We are ready to go on a moment’s notice to put on sanctions.”

″But what are you waiting for?” Karl pressed. “This is a rapidly deteriorating situation.”

Mnuchin repeated that they can impose sanctions whenever they want, adding that the U.S. has “warned” the Turks.

“They know what we will do if they don’t stop these activities,” he said.

Though Trump administration officials have tried to cede accountability, claiming the U.S. told Turkey not to attack the Kurds, Trump has repeatedly stated that he’s OK with the opposing forces fighting. The commander of the Kurdish forces reportedly told a top U.S. diplomat last week that the U.S. was leaving his people to be “slaughtered” and that they may need to ask Russia for help.

“The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years,” the president tweeted. “Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them!”

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Mattis says ISIS ‘will resurge’ in Syria following Trump’s move to withdraw US troops

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5985399807001_5985394683001-vs Mattis says ISIS 'will resurge' in Syria following Trump's move to withdraw US troops fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/defense/secretary-of-defense fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox-news/politics/defense fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article Andrew O'Reilly 8d970506-bc27-554e-b83c-dbb233efb172

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis criticized President Trump’s decision to remove American troops from Syria, saying in his first public comments on the matter that the Islamic State now “will resurge” in the region.

“I think Secretary of State Pompeo, the intelligence services, the foreign countries that are working with us have it about right that ISIS is not defeated,” Mattis said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “We have got to keep the pressure on ISIS so they don’t recover.”

Mattis’ comments come after Trump announced that he was pulling troops from Syria, greenlighting an invasion by Turkey of the war-torn region and stirring up strong bipartisan criticism from lawmakers in Washington that he was endangering regional stability and risking the lives of Syrian Kurdish allies who brought down the Islamic State group in Syria.


“You can pull your troops out, as President Obama learned the hard way, out of Iraq, but the ‘enemy gets the vote’ as we say in the military,” Mattis said. “And in this case, if we don’t keep the pressure on then ISIS will resurge. It’s, it’s absolutely a given that they will come back.”

Mattis was also critical of Trump’s decision to abandon support of Kurdish fighters in the region, arguing that it will make it difficult for Washington to make allies in the future. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces was the main U.S. ally in the fight and lost 11,000 fighters in the nearly five-year battle against ISIS.

“Reinstilling trust will be difficult for Americans at this point,” he said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that Turkey won’t stop until the Syrian Kurdish forces withdraw at least 20 miles from the border.

The Turkish military aims to clear Syrian border towns of Kurdish fighters’ presence, saying they are a national security threat. Since Wednesday, Turkish troops and Syrian opposition fighters backed by Ankara have been advancing under the cover of airstrikes and artillery shelling.

Mattis’ comments differ strongly from those of the man who took his former job.


Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday defended the president’s call to remove U.S. troops from Syria – saying the move will be done “as safely and quickly as possible” – but admitted that the situation was growing more worrisome by the minute.

Esper said he spoke to Trump on Saturday night amid growing signs that the Turkish invasion, which began Wednesday, was growing more dangerous.

“In the last 24 hours, we learned that they (the Turks) likely intend to expand their attack further south than originally planned — and to the west,” Esper said.

The U.S. also has come to believe that the Kurds are attempting to “cut a deal” with the Syrian Army and Russia to counter the invading Turks, he said. As a result, Trump “directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria,” Esper said.

Trump, in a tweet Sunday, said: “Very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change. Those that mistakenly got us into the Middle East Wars are still pushing to fight. They have no idea what a bad decision they have made. Why are they not asking for a Declaration of War?”

Esper said he was aware of reports of hundreds of ISIS prisoners escaping as a result of the Turkish invasion and of atrocities being committed against Syrian Kurds by members of a Turkish-supported Syrian Arab militia.


“It gets worse by the hour,” Esper said. “These are all the exact things” that U.S. officials warned Erdogan would likely happen by ignoring U.S. urgings not to invade northern Syria.

Esper said there was “no way” U.S. forces could have stopped the Turks, who assembled a force of about 15,000 troops on the Syrian border, supported by air power.

“We did not sign up to fight Turkey, a longstanding NATO ally, on behalf of the (Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces). This is a terrible situation,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5985399807001_5985394683001-vs Mattis says ISIS 'will resurge' in Syria following Trump's move to withdraw US troops fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/defense/secretary-of-defense fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox-news/politics/defense fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article Andrew O'Reilly 8d970506-bc27-554e-b83c-dbb233efb172   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5985399807001_5985394683001-vs Mattis says ISIS 'will resurge' in Syria following Trump's move to withdraw US troops fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/defense/secretary-of-defense fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox-news/politics/defense fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article Andrew O'Reilly 8d970506-bc27-554e-b83c-dbb233efb172

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Political activist pushes back against Iranian leaders by taking off her hijab

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094502643001_6094500371001-vs Political activist pushes back against Iranian leaders by taking off her hijab fox-news/shows/fox-news-sunday/transcript fox news fnc/transcript fnc e94f3598-43a3-5f00-ae2a-242c9e6ee5f1 article

This is a rush transcript from “Fox News Sunday,” October 13, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I’m Chris Wallace.

There are now reports Turkish-backed forces are executing Kurdish fighters and civilians while President Trump declares he is an island of one for pulling back U.S. troops in northern Syria.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: The Kurds are tending to leave, and that’s good. Let them have their borders, but I don’t think our soldiers should be there for the next 50 years regarding a border.

WALLACE: The president’s move opens the way for Turkish forces to launch an assault against the Kurds, the key American ally in the fight against ISIS.

MARK ESPER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We have not abandoned them. Nobody green lighted this operation by Turkey, just the opposite. We pushed back very hard at all levels.

WALLACE: We’ll discuss the fallout with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper live in his first Sunday show appearance.

And we’ll discuss the bipartisan push to punish Turkey for its actions with Senator Chris Van Hollen.

Then — Democrats launch a new impeachment offensive after the White House refuses to cooperate.

TRUMP: They know they can’t win the 2020 election, so they are pursuing the insane impeachment witch hunt.

WALLACE: We’ll ask our Sunday panel about the latest developments and where are prospects for impeachment stand now.

And our “Power Player of the Week,” an exiled journalist fighting for women’s rights back in her homeland.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had two options, to stay in Iran and keep silent or leave Iran and be loud.

WALLACE: All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”.


WALLACE: And hello again from FOX News in Washington.

There are now reports Turkish-backed militias are committing atrocities against the Kurds as part of the Turkish invasion of northern Syria. Eyewitnesses backed up by videos say militias are executing Kurdish fighters and civilians, and there is also evidence the Turks are hitting prisons holding thousands of ISIS fighters, allowing some to escape.

In a moment, we’ll talk with the secretary of defense, Mark Esper. But first, let’s get the latest from Steve Harrigan, who is live inside Syria – – Steve.

STEVE HARRIGAN, CORRESPONDENT: Chris, reports of those possible atrocities are spreading like wildfire here across Syria and when you cross over the border, you can really just sense people’s fear. I heard a Kurdish official tell a journalist, you’re never going to find a driver to take you around at that price, not with all the bombs falling from the sky. Not with what they’re doing to people.

Some disturbing video emerging of what may be — FOX has been unable to verify its authenticity — a Turkish-backed Arab militia fighter executing a Kurdish fighter along the side of the road. As the fighter shoots the Kurd, he shouts, feel me, feel me. There are also reports, denied by the Turkish-backed era militia, that they have assassinated a female Kurdish political party leader. Once again, the Turks denying that.

As far as the bigger picture here goes, we are in day five of this military offensive. No sign of a slowdown. Turkey’s President Erdogan pushing ahead with military action from the sky and from shelling. You can see plumes of smoke rise up from those towns as far as the action goes on the ground, they’ve taken control of a major city in Syria, they’ve taken control of major highways too.

So, the Kurdish fighters are in real danger of being cut off from each other, this despite worldwide criticism of Turkey’s operation. There’s a real concern among a number of world leaders that this operation could lead to the resurgence of the Islamic State in this area. Kurdish officials say they can’t fight the Turkish army and guard ISIS prisoners at the same time. They say more than 700 ISIS supporters escaped from a camp just this weekend.

As far as the U.S. position goes, they have threatened sanctions, but not enforced any financial sanctions as of yet. The Kurds, some leaders say they are deeply disappointed in the U.S., they feel like an ally has stabbed them in the back. Others still hope for a U.S. no-fly zone.

Chris, back to you.

WALLACE: Steve Harrigan reporting live from Syria — Steve, thank you.

Joining us now, the secretary of defense, Mark Esper, for his first Sunday show appearance. Mr. Secretary, welcome to Fox News Sunday.

MARK ESPER, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Chris, thank you for having me on today.

WALLACE: I have to assume you’re just as distressed as I am, by hearing Steve Harrigan’s reports, stories, that Turkish-backed militias are executing civilians and Kurdish fighters, reports that the Turks are hitting prisons and that hundreds of either ISIS fighters or their supporters are escaping.

How much of that can you confirm?

ESPER: It’s terrible. I’ve heard the same reports. It gets worse by the hour, Chris. These are all the exact things that we have communicated to President Erdogan and his ministers. I spoke to my counterpart a few days ago. I sent him a memo on Friday night, a formal response, warned them that if they do this incursion, which we oppose, we will see everything from the release of ISIS prisoners to humanitarian catastrophe.

It will damage U.S. relations with Turkey, their staying in NATO. All of this is playing out exactly as we predicted, and we, again, urge President Erdogan to stop and go back to the status quo ante.

WALLACE: So what is the U.S., what is the Pentagon, as the primary — the military force there, what are you going to do about it? What are you going to do to stop this?

ESPER: Well, this is part of the terrible situation that Turkey has put us in. And again, despite our protestations, we now know — we believe that the Turks now intend to go further south than originally expected and to go both west and east, which would increase their zone from beyond a 30- kilometer depth and nearly 440 kilometers wide.

At the same time, we’ve learned in the last 24 hours that it looks like the SDF is cutting a deal with the Syrians and Russians.

WALLACE: Yes, we should say SDF does, or the —

ESPER: Syrian Forces (ph).

WALLACE: — Syrian Democracy Forces.

ESPER: Defense Forces, that’s right. They’re cutting a deal. And now, what we’re facing is U.S. forces in a — trapped between a Syrian-Russian army moving north to take on the Turkish army that is moving south.

It puts us in a terrible position. And the protection and safety of our service members comes first to me. I spoke with the National Security team yesterday. We all talked on the phone. I talked to the president, and he is concerned. And so, last night, he directed that we begin a deliberate withdraw of U.S. forces from the northern part of Syria.

WALLACE: Now, how many people are we talking about? How quickly are they going to move out?

ESPER: We’re talking less than a thousand. I can’t give you a timeline, because it changes hourly. We want to make sure that we do so in a very safe, deliberate manner, that we de-conflict things as we go with our — with those folks on the ground in the immediate area.

WALLACE: But I’m not quite sure I understand. So the Turks and their militias are committing atrocities against the Kurds, who are our allies. The Kurds are asking us for help, but we’re going to pull out and allow the Kurds to go to the Russians and the Syrians?

That doesn’t seem to make much sense.

ESPER: Well, look, the United States, first of all, doesn’t have the forces on hand to stop and invasion of Turkey that is 15,000 strong, if you will, proceeded by airstrikes and artillery and mechanized forces.

You got to keep in mind, too, that, look, we didn’t sign up to fight Turkey, a longstanding NATO ally, on behalf of the SDF. Again, this is a terrible situation. That’s why in the little over two months that I’ve been on the job, this has probably been the number one issue that I’ve dealt with, week after week, with our Turkish counterparts.

We’ve done everything we can to dissuade them from doing this. We will — we thought we were making very good progress on the so-called “Safety Zone” in Northern Syria, a way to keep the forces separated and to ensure we can keep both these good partners at odds ends.

But as you know, Chris, this conflict has its roots that goes back 200 years, and in fact, in the — in the last few years, since we began this relationship with the — with the Kurds to take on ISIS, the Turks protested it from the beginning. This is now their third incursion into Syria in the last few years to do this.

WALLACE: But you emphasized on Friday that we stand by our Kurdish allies who fought with us, died — 11,000 of them died in the fight against ISIS. Here you are, sir, on Friday.


ESPER: We have not abandoned the Kurds. Now, let me be clear about that. We have not abandoned them. Nobody greenlighted this operation by Turkey, just the opposite. We push back very hard at all levels for the Turks not to commence this operation.


WALLACE: But Secretary Esper, the U.S. had 50 special operations forces along the border, acting as a tripwire, if you will, to keep the Turks from coming across the border. We were their protection for the Kurds. After President Trump talked to President Erdogan last Sunday, President Trump decided to pull those troops out, and the Turks invaded.

Isn’t that the definition of abandoning the Kurds?

ESPER: Yes, I think you got the sequencing in the reverse order. The first thing that we understood, I’ve understood from my counterpart, Secretary Pompeo from his, and certainly from President Erdogan, is they were fully committed to doing this, regardless of what we did.

We thought it was prudent. It was my recommendation. I know the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff agreed as well. We should not put U.S. forces in between a Turkish advance. We’re talking less than 50, more like two dozen. There is no way they could stop 15,000 Turks from proceeding south.

WALLACE: But you had talked to the — your counterpart, the Turkish defense minister, several days before the presidential phone call. And you had said to him, make — let’s make the safety zone work, where the Turks and U.S. work together to keep this border and keep the Turks on one side of the border and the Kurds on the other side of the border.

Then the president has his phone call with President Erdogan, and you say, well, there’s nothing we can do. One, did Erdogan say I’m going to come in anyway? Yes or no?

ESPER: The — it was clear to me that President Erdogan was committed to coming in. He informed us that he was coming in. He didn’t ask permission. He — it was clear to me that he was coming in.

WALLACE: But do you think that with 50 U.S. troops on the border, acting as a tripwire, and with U.S. — complete air superiority over the border, do you really believe that President Erdogan and the Turks were going to just come through the border, perhaps create a conflict with the United States, if we had stood firm?

ESPER: Well, I think it’s how you define standing firm. First of all, as I said, 50 service members are not going to stop a Turkish advance. And I’m not one to —

WALLACE: But wait (ph) —

ESPER: Well, let me finish — to classify them as a trip wire and sacrifice them, if you will.

WALLACE: Well, you only sacrifice them if Turkey goes ahead, sir. If Turkey says, you know, we’re not going to take on the U.S., we’re not going to take on U.S. fighters overhead, maybe we would’ve stopped them.

ESPER: I don’t believe so. I think they were fully committed. That was what I took from my conversations with my counterpart, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff took from his, Secretary Pompeo form his.

Look, the fact is also, Chris, we are not going to go to war, another war in the Middle East, against Turkey, which is a longstanding NATO ally that has fought alongside us from Korea all the way through Afghanistan.

That’s not what we signed up for.

WALLACE: Well, do they seem like much of an ally now, Turkey?

ESPER: No, I think Turkey, the arch of their behavior over the past several years has been terrible. I mean, they are spinning out of the western orbit, if you will. We see them purchasing Russian arms, culling up to President Putin. We see them doing all these things that, frankly, concern us that — with regard to the direction they are heading.

WALLACE: But you say they — it concerns us. The reaction is that the president is going to pull all of our troops out of that region, and although he has talked about sanctions and authorized Secretary Mnuchin to impose sanctions, there’s been no action.

ESPER: Well, we’ll what happens. You know, like I said, this — all these developments have happened in the last 24 — actually, more like the last 14 hours, if you will. The National Security team will be talking today about it.

We still have been holding out hope that we can get to Erdogan and tell him to stop what he’s doing, return to the border and let’s work on the safety zone, the mechanism. Those talks are still, by the way, underway right now. We want to get to that point and settle this situation now and stabilize it, so we can get back on the right path.

WALLACE: And meanwhile, what do you say to the head of the SDF, our allies, the people who fought and died to help us beat ISIS. Mazlum Kobane Abdi, the head of the Kurdish Army, said, today, “You are leaving us to be slaughtered.”

What do you say to him, sir?

ESPER: I would say what we’ve been saying, because we stay in contact with him. We are doing everything we can to get the Turks to stop this egregious behavior, get them to go back across the line and stop. And that’s our message to them at this point in time.

WALLACE: President Trump says that he is just keeping a campaign promise. Here he is.


TRUMP: We want to bring our troops back home, and I got elected on that. If you go back and look at our speeches, I would say we want to bring our troops back home from these endless wars.


WALLACE: But while we are in the process of pulling troops at least back in Syria, maybe not out of Syria, though the president has talked about that, you just announced on Friday the president is going to send another 1,800 troops into Saudi Arabia.

So are we trying to get out of the Middle East? Are we trying to get out of endless wars or not?

ESPER: Well, we do have the aspiration to relocate our forces to move back in certain regions of the world, so that we can reposition them to deal with the real strategic challenges we face. That is, number one, China and, number two, Russia.

In this case, with Iran, we know that their malign behavior over the last 40 years continues to create instability throughout the entire Middle East, to include Northern Syria. So in that regard, we want to make sure that we have sufficient forces on the ground, first to help defend our partners, Saudi Arabia and the UAE and, secondly, to deter further Iranian provocative behavior that could lead to a conflict.

We are not looking to a conflict in the Middle East and not with Iran. But as I said to them, they should not mistake our restraint for weakness. If they do and do something that would strike our interests of our allies, we will respond.

WALLACE: I got two minutes left. I’m going to ask you two questions about, I’m sure, a subject you’re dying to talk about, which is impeachment. House Democrats have subpoenaed you, personally, that you, as the secretary of defense, turn over all documents related to decisions being made about authorization and then the decision to withhold military aide to Ukraine.

Will you comply by the deadline to for the House subpoena, which is this Tuesday, two days from today?

ESPER: Well, you know, we will do everything we can to respond to their inquiry, Chris. My general counsel, a week or two ago, sent out a note, as we often do in these situations, to the key members in the Pentagon to say, retain your documents and institute other controls.

So, again, we will respond as we can.

WALLACE: You say we will respond as we can. You’re not making a firm commitment that you will meet the deadline of Tuesday?

ESPER: Well, I don’t know — I don’t know the status of what that document preparation is. I don’t know what restrictions we may have internally with regard to releasing them. The White House has a say on the release of documents as well.

There are a number of things that play into this.

WALLACE: Finally, last May, the president’s phone call with Zelensky was in July, but last May, two months before, the undersecretary of defense certified to Congress that Ukraine had made major efforts in fighting corruption and certified to Congress that the Pentagon was, in fact, going to release all military aide that had been approved by Congress to the Ukrainians.

Did President Trump ever explain to you why he had decided to go against the Pentagon’s decision and to hold up the aide?

ESPER: Chris, I have nothing to share with you on this. As you know, I came into office in late July, and since that time, as we looked at this issue periodically, the DOD’s focus has been on three things.

What is the importance, the value of the aide to Ukraine to deter Russian behavior, defend themselves? Number two, are they making progress on corruption which is of keen interest to the Congress? And then number three, how are we getting other NATO allies, European partners to also help assist the Ukrainians?

The key point is this: we got most of the money out on time, as required, and at no point in time was U.S. national security harmed.

WALLACE: Secretary Esper, thank you. Thanks for coming in. Please come back, sir.

ESPER: Thank you, Chris.

WALLACE: Up next, the fallout from President Trump’s decision to pull out U.S. troops in a bipartisan measure that would be a major rebuke of the president’s policies in Syria.


WALLACE: President Trump is facing a fierce backlash from both Republicans and Democrats over his decision to pull U.S. troops from the Syrian border, allowing Turkey to attack our Kurdish allies there. This week, when Congress returns from recess, lawmakers plan to take up a bipartisan bill that would slap tough sanctions on Turkey.

Joining me now, Democratic senator, Chris Van Hollen, who has written that bill, along with Republican Lindsey Graham. Senator, you just heard Secretary Esper talking about the fact that the president has ordered him to pull U.S. troops, all of the U.S. troops, out of Northern Syria, basically to leave the Kurds on their own, and that we understand that they have made a deal — cut a deal, the Kurds have, with Assad’s forces in Syria and the Russians, and they’re going to go them for protection against the Turks. Your reaction?

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, D-MD: Well, Chris, what we’re seeing on the ground right now is absolutely sickening. It’s absolutely shameful that President Trump allowed Turkey to begin killing the Syrian Kurds who are our allies in the fight against ISIS. And that’s why you have this big, bipartisan uproar. You have ISIS right now being the big winner, because the Syrian Kurds were our most effective partner in going after ISIS. Now, they’re going to have a comeback. That’s what Secretary Mattis, former secretary of defense, just said. You just heard the current secretary of defense essentially say the Trump administration is doing nothing. They’re asking Turkey, oh please, please stop what you’re doing. That is nothing, so that’s why you’re going to see a strong bipartisan response from the Congress. First of all, we want to insist that President Trump actually step up and do something. He said he was going to destroy the Turkish economy if Erdogan did this kind of thing, and yet, he’s doing absolutely nothing. If fact, this administration sided with Russia and opposed a resolution at the United Nations Security Council, a statement condemning Turkey’s actions. So Congress is going to first call upon the president to do the right thing, but we since we can’t count on that, we will have this bipartisan legislation that will impose very stiff sanctions on Turkey until they stop their aggression and withdraw their forces.

WALLACE: Now, Treasury secretary, Mnuchin, on Friday, said that President Trump had authorized him, not that he had imposed, but authorized him at some point to impose tough sanctions on — against Turkey. Here is the secretary of this treasury.


STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: These are very powerful sanctions. We hope we don’t have to use them, but we can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to.


WALLACE: So I guess the question is, when are they going to do that?

VAN HOLLEN: For God sakes, what are they waiting for, right? People are being killed right now. Our Syrian Kurdish allies are being killed right now. It looks like many of the ISIS detainees, there are about 10,000 fighters, are now possibly going to be able to escape. There are reports this morning that ISIS sympathizers have already escaped, thousands of them. And here, you have Secretary Mnuchin saying, oh, well, we’ll think about it. Maybe we’ll do something. President Trump tweeting that he’s going to destroy their economy. They look ridiculous right now. So that’s why it’s important that the Congress move forward on this front. I don’t know what this administration’s waiting for. All they’re doing is talking while people are being killed.

WALLACE: So let’s talk about you and Lindsay Graham. A pretty staunch Democrat and a very staunch Republican are writing, putting together your own set of sanctions. But as we say, while this is going on, and I understand, you’re — the Congress comes back from recess tomorrow, the Kurds are being slaughtered. As you say, ISIS supporters and fighters are leaving. Have you gotten a commitment form Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, one, that he is going to take this up and, two, schedule it for a quick vote? Because the longer you wait, the longer the Turks are there to do their worst in Northern Syria.

VAN HOLLEN: Well, you’re right, Chris. We believe momentum is building for the Congress to act, since this president has shown a total unwillingness to do something in the face of this slaughter. You’re already seeing bipartisan movement in the Senate, the bill you discussed. You’re also seeing bipartisan legislation in the House coming together. So the key is to act quickly. As you say, time is of the essence. But you know, when Congress wants to act quickly, it can. So the Senate could take this bill up, pass it, send it to the House and then send it to the president’s deck. The president who said he wanted to “destroy the Turkish economy if they did this kind of thing.” And so, we need to move very quickly, because –

WALLACE: But have you gotten any commitment from Mitch McConnell that they are going to move quickly?

VAN HOLLEN: To my knowledge, Mitch McConnell has not yet committed to that, which is why it’s very important that members of the Senate, on a bipartisan basis, call upon him to do that. I do understand that, in the House, you have a strong bipartisan group also pushing for sanctions, because everyday that it goes on, ISIS s the winner. I mean, these are the guys who pose the biggest terrorist threat to the United States in the world. They’re celebrating what’s happening here. And so, I do believe Congress will muster the bipartisan will to do something quickly.

WALLACE: I want to ask you two quick questions, in the time we have left, about the other big story in Washington, which is impeachment. You have now, since the Zelensky phone call rough transcript was released, you have now called for — supported the House impeachment inquiry. From what you have seen so far, do you believe that there is sufficient evidence that the president should be removed from office?

VAN HOLLEN: Well Chris, what we’ve seen from this president, in that transcript and other actions, is a president who was abusing his power, using the power of the office of the presidency to try to get a foreign government, the Ukraine, to interfere on his behalf in an American election. And the evidence is also mounting that he withheld vital U.S. military assistance to Ukraine that they need to stop Russian aggression. In my view, that is an impeachable offense, but — but, the hearings will have to collect the evidence and the president and the White House will have an opportunity to put forward any exculpatory evidence they want. So, I won’t reach any final conclusion until all the evidence is in, but the evidence that is in is very damming of the president’s actions.

WALLACE: And finally –

VAN HOLLEN: So, and the fact that they refuse — the fact, Chris, that they refused to present the information, you asked the Secretary about documents about the Ukraine arms sales, the fact that they refused to present more information suggests that they don’t have any exculpatory evidence.

WALLACE: And very briefly, even if all 47 Democrats were in the Senate to vote to remove the president, you would still need 20 Republicans to get to the super majority of 67. At this point, and again, briefly, do you see any chance that 20 Republicans are going to jump ship, Senate Republicans, jump ship on the president and vote to remove him?

VAN HOLLEN: Chris, I’m not going to prejudge anything, because there’s still a lot of evidence to come in. The evidence about this Administration withholding very important military assistance to Ukraine, while the president tried, through is lawyer Giuliani and others to try to get Ukraine to interfere on President Trump’s behalf in an election, as that evidence comes in I hope people will take a very close look at it and ask themselves, what would they have been doing and saying if President Obama had done something like that.

WALLACE: Senator Van Hollen, thank you. Thanks for your time today.

VAN HOLLEN: Thank you.

WALLACE: Always good to talk with you, sir.

VAN HOLLEN: You too.

WALLACE: Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the split between President Trump and congressional Republicans over the Turkish offensive against the Kurds.

Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about the president’s decision to pull back the troops in Syria? Just go to Facebook or Twitter, @FoxNewsSunday, and we may use your question on the air.


WALLACE: Coming up, as Turkey invades Syria, President Trump defends his decision to pull U.S. troops from the border.


TRUMP: We don’t have any soldiers there because we left. We won, we left. Take a victory, United States.


WALLACE: We’ll ask our Sunday panel what it all means for stability in the region.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: We had a big victory. We left the area. I don’t think the American people want to see us go back in with our military, go back into that area again.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: I know that every military person has told him, don’t do this. And this is the pre-9/11 mentality that paved the way for 9/11.


WALLACE: President Trump’s staunch supporter, Senator Lindsey Graham, breaking with the president over his decision to pull back U.S. troops in northern Syria, allowing a Turkish offensive against our Kurdish allies.

And it’s time now for our Sunday group. Jason Riley of “The Wall Street Journal,” Charles Lane from “The Washington Post,” former DNC chair Donna Brazile, and Guy Benson of Fox News Radio.

Jason, I am not often or easily shocked here at the anchor chair on Sunday mornings, but I have to say that the conjunction of reports that the — that the Turkish-backed militia are committing atrocities and slaughtering, executing Kurdish civilians and soldiers, the fact that ISIS fighters are escaping, that the president has decided to pull all U.S. forces out of northern Syria and allow the Kurds to make common cause with the Assad regime and Russians, I find that shocking.

JASON RILEY, CONTRIBUTOR: I think a lot of people find it shocking.

Chris, the defense secretary said that our biggest strategic interests were China and Russia. Two big, important, powerful countries that are currently watching a couple ten pact dictators in Turkey and Syria thumb their nose at the United States, call the shots in terms of what Turkey is going to do, tell us what they are going to do, as the defense secretary said. I — I find that — that shocking as well.

And the big concern here, of course, is we’re abandoning allies in the Kurds. These are the people — they were the ground came. We had the air support. We supported the intelligence, but they took the casualties, thousands of casualties. And they are now going to turn, out of self- preservation, to Russia and Syria if we are not going to back them.

And the other problem here, Chris, is that, you know, ISIS is dispersed right now, but they are not defeated. And they will reconstitute if they have a safe place to do that. That is another problem with us leaving Syria.

WALLACE: The other question I have, Guy, on this is that the defense secretary, Mark Esper, says Turkey was going to do this anyway. They were going to come across the border and invade. We had troops, not a lot, but we had some troops on the border. We had U.S. fighters patrolling the area. They say they thought that Erdogan, the Turkish president, meant business.

Do you really think he was going to take on the U.S., defy the U.S. and move in?

GUY BENSON, TOWNHALL.COM: No, there is this sense that we got from the secretary that the U.S. was just impotent in this situation. Well, Turkey was going to do what they were going to do and we had nothing that we really had at our fingertips to stop them. No options. And I just find that hard to believe. I think many Americans find it hard to believe. It — we don’t have to say let’s go to war with Turkey without saying behind the scenes, if you do this, the first boot on the ground, there’s going to be a massive consequence. There will be military consequences. There will be economic consequences. I don’t know if that was said, but it sounds like it was not. And I just keep coming back to this quote. It was a tweet from the president just a few days ago on the situation. Quote, anything that I and my great and unmatched wisdom consider to be off limits, talking about what Turkey might do, I will totally destroy and obliterate the economy of Turkey.

I think many conservatives were rightly, deeply critical of President Obama on a red line in Syria. This wasn’t a specific red line, but he said, if they go out-of-bounds, they’re in huge trouble.

The question that I have this morning is, what’s the definition of out-of- bounds, if not what we’re seeing right now?

WALLACE: There is another side to this story, and it — the president and many of his supporters are advancing it, and that is — we ask you for questions for the panel and we got this on the issue of the president pulling back U.S. troops and allowing Turkey to invade. We got this on FaceBook from Karen Margrave. The Middle East has been fighting each other since biblical times, mostly over religion and oil. How will sacrificing American lives change anything?

Donna, how do you answer Karen, particularly in the context of President Trump and the decisions he has made with regard to Turkey and the Kurds?

DONNA BRAZILE, CONTRIBUTOR: I agree that we’ve been in endless wars in the Middle East for a long time, and we will likely be in the Middle East for much longer.

But this is a disaster of the president’s own making. There are serious consequences of withdrawing from Syria. We know that. We know that this could lead to the reemergence of ISIS, or resurgence of ISIS. We know that it will likely lead to more conflict in the region.

The president made a huge mistake and I think to this coming week that both the House and the Senate needs to come together and decide what if any actions they will take to prevent Turkey from doing more damage to our interests in the region.

WALLACE: There is a larger policy question here, and that is what the role of the U.S. military should be.

Here is President Trump on that this week.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: We’re like a police force over there. We’re policing. We’re not fighting, we’re policing. We’re not a police force. We’re the greatest military force ever assembled.


WALLACE: But we have deployed U.S. troops around the world for more than half a century, in a sense, not to fight wars. Thirty-five thousand U.S. troops right now in Germany, 26,000 right now in South Korea, 55,000 in Japan.

Chuck, what President Trump calls a police force has been a decision that if the U.S. puts troops on borders as tripwires, if you will, that sometimes — oftentimes, in some — these cases, for decades, it prevents wars.

CHARLES LANE, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: We have, in the greater Middle East, about 60,000 troops. There’re in places of lot of Americans probably don’t even realize they are, like Oman and Qatar. And — and, as you say, they’re there for sort of a general securities function.

What we’re learning out of this situation is that many people who before his election regarded Donald Trump as some sort of dealmaker or pragmatist kind of got it wrong. He is deeply ideological about this point, that we are overcommitted overseas, people take advantage of us and advantage of our troop presence and don’t pay for it and all we get out of it is money and lives lost. And that’s a big part of the America first ideology that he deeply believes. And what he’s learning is, that that simple grid, when you try to impose it over a complicated situation like this, it doesn’t always work because he simultaneously promised we’ll wipe out ISIS and we’ll end the endless wars. And we’re learning today that you can’t really have both of those things.

WALLACE: Well, and — and — we — I — we’ve got to wrap this up quickly because I want to move on to the next segment, but almost hate to talk about the political impact of this when you’re talking about people’s lives and atrocities and ISIS getting out, Jason, but the president believes that — you know, he made this campaign promise to his supporters, I want to get out of these wars, and I think he believes there are an awful lot of voters out there who are not going to be upset, but are going to be happy to see U.S. forces not fighting in other people’s land.

RILEY: They are. He did make the promise, and we all understand the sentiment, but U.S. foreign policy has to respond to the world as it is, not as we want it to be. And these conflicts, many of which he inherited, of course, will not get better in the absence if we just stick to our own business, stick to our own knitting. That is not how the world works. We know if there’s a vacuum, bad guys will fill it, particularly in this part of the world. And if there’s more mayhem over there, if there’s more bedlam, if we see beheadings and executions, that is not going to help Donald Trump politically here at home.

WALLACE: All right, panel, we have to take a break here, but when we come back, the latest on the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, and is the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, now in trouble?



TRUMP: You’re running a country. I just don’t think that you can have all of these people testifying about every conversation you’ve had.


WALLACE: The president announcing this week an end to any cooperation with the House impeachment inquiry, but in the last few days, Mr. Trump is being urged to cut ties with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, amid reports the mayor is now under investigation for his work in Ukraine.

Let’s get the latest from Kevin Corke at the White House.


KEVIN CORKE, CORRESPONDENT: Chris, asked this weekend whether or not he was still the president’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani told Fox News, yes. But there were new questions about just how long that might be the case.


TRUMP: I stand behind Rudy Giuliani, absolutely.

CORKE (voice over): In six words, President Trump put to rest any speculation that he’s turning his back on his private attorney, Rudy Giuliani. And while no one knows for certain, “The New York Times” reports the former New York City mayor is now squarely at the center of an impeachment probe thanks to his ties to two foreign nationals, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, arrested and charged with campaign finance violations stemming from what prosecutors alleged was a pressure campaign to investigate Democrats.

GEOFFREY BERMAN, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT: The defendants broke the law to gain political influence while avoiding disclosure of who is actually making the donations and where the money was coming from.

CORKE: Meanwhile, former Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who was recalled abruptly back in May, gave a closed-door deposition to three congressional committees investigating whether there are grounds to impeach the president. In her prepared remarks, Yovanovitch accused the State Department of bringing her back to Washington because of disinformation spread by people, including the president’s attorney.

This just ahead of a week when even more officials are expected to testify, including U.S. ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, and Fiona Hill, who was, until recently, President Trump’s top eight on Russia and Europe.


CORKE: Sources tell “The Washington Post” that Sondland is expected to tell congressional lawmakers that the content of a text denying a quid pro quo with Ukraine came directly after a phone call from President Trump himself, although he is also expected to tell them, Chris, he’s not sure if that’s true or not.

WALLACE: Kevin Corke reporting from the White House.

Kevin, thanks.

And we’re back now with the panel.

Well, perhaps the biggest development, and there were a lot this week, with the arrest of those two associates, and there you see them, of Rudy Giuliani, on campaign finance charges.

Now, “The New York Times” reports federal prosecutors are investigating whether Giuliani failed to disclose he was lobbying for — in the U.S. on behalf of foreign officials.

Here was President Trump being asked about Giuliani on Friday.


QUESTION: Is Rudy Giuliani still your personal attorney?

TRUMP: Well, I don’t know, I haven’t spoken to Rudy. I spoke to him yesterday briefly. He’s a very good attorney and he has been my attorney, yes, sure.


WALLACE: Yes, sure.

So, Guy, the president did call in last night and say, yes, Giuliani is still his attorney and he is a, quote, fine — a great gentleman, that was the quote. But it doesn’t seem that there’s ringing vote of confidence.

Do you see a potential break in the Trump-Giuliani alliance?

BENSON: Well, I just watched that clip again and the first time I saw it my ears perked up because the tense of verbs sometimes matters when someone is signaling or telegraphing where they might be going. So instead of saying Rudy is my attorney, he said, Rudy has been my attorney. I said, uh-oh, that could not be good for Rudy.

And, look, I’ll tell you this, speaking to every single right-leaning person and Republican over the last few weeks, frankly, almost unanimously they’re all saying, Rudy’s a liability for the president. He’s all over TV constantly. He’s contradicting himself. He sometimes seems a little bit sort of crazed in — in some of his responses. And now with this whole thing with the friends of Rudy getting arrested, this is a series of headlines that is not helpful to his client, who happens to be the president of the United States.

WALLACE: Yes, Chuck, I want to pick up on that because, you know, there has been criticism — were drama critics of Giuliani’s performance, but with the arrest of these two people and with new reports — and you got it from the ambassador to Ukraine, Yovanovitch, who was called back, that it seems that the president and — and Giuliani were running their own off-the-books foreign policy, their — their own operation in Ukraine outside and apart from the administration.

How big a liability, potentially, is that to the president?

LANE: Well, when the president says he stands absolutely behind Rudy Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani probably ought to think about all the other people the president has said he stands behind, you know, including the Kurds today, and actually that is quite often in our history been the prelude to dumping him.

There is a problem. I think Giuliani is a liability, both substantively and for all the optics reasons that Guy talked about. And now he is himself under a criminal investigation. It’s kind of awkward to have your personal attorney in that position.

But let’s not forget, these two guys go back a long way. If — if Donald Trump could be said to have a close, best friend, it might be Rudy Giuliani, going all the way back to New York. And so Rudy knows a lot, and maybe too much, to be cut loose just like that. So I would be surprised if in the very short term, before it absolutely becomes necessary, the president has to cut him loose, but definitely a lot of people want him to.

WALLACE: And let me turn to another part of the developments this week, Jason.

The president is pushing the argument about executive powers. As far, it seems, as any president ever has. In the various court cases he says he has immunity from investigation, immunity from prosecution while he’s president. And now, this week, he announced a complete halt in — to any cooperation with Congress and his lawyer, the White House counsel, said this is unconstitutional and it’s simply an attempt to overturn an election.

Do you think — I mean, on the one hand, if you say, I don’t have to cooperate with the court’s and I don’t have to cooperate with Congress, do you think he can make that stick?

RILEY: I think some of the argument laid out in that document by the attorney are —

WALLACE: The White House counsel.

RILEY: Counsel, make more — hold more weight than others or potentially hold more weight than others with the court.

We know the Constitution gives the Congress wide berth to define high crimes and misdemeanors. It can be whatever essentially they wanted it to. But there are sort of traditions that have been followed when it comes to impeachment inquiries, whether it was a Democratic Congress going after Nixon, or a Republican Congress going after Bill Clinton, and that was that you have an entire House vote on the formal inquiry to begin. And it gives a sort of bipartisan sheen to the proceedings and the current speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has ducked doing that. She’s avoided doing that, I think, partly to protect some of her members that come from Trump district, and partly because she knows she’ll get barely any, if any, Republicans to support this, which will expose it as the partisan exercise that it is.

But I think the White House is smart to litigate this to death because the longer they do, and the closer we get to November of next year, the more voters will say, why do we need to impeach? Let’s just go to the polls and decide if this amounts to something Donald Trump should lose his job over.

WALLACE: And then there are the president’s attacks on some of his critics and rivals in which he is using — increasingly using language, some of which we cannot put on the air here.

Take a look at — and we are going to put this on the air — take a look at this exchange from this week.


JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We all laughed when he said he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and get away with it. It’s no joke. He’s shooting holes in the Constitution, and we cannot let him get away with it.

TRUMP: He was only a good vice president because he understood how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass.


WALLACE: So, you know, some of the chattering class in the beltway is going to get their knickers in a twist about this, but you’ve got to know, and it played well with that crowd, that a lot of the president’s supporters like the bluntness of those attacks. And that was one of the ones we could put on TV.

BRAZILE: And, you know, the president is going to continue to rally his base to his defense and avoid looking at what is really at stake. The House is gathering evidence. That evidence will be presented in articles of impeachment. The Senate will be able to look at this evidence and they will proceed to be the jury.

I think the president should figure out what is his best strategy. Is — is obstructing Congress, stonewalling the Congress, when the House has sole discretion. The Constitution gives the power to the House, the people’s House, to make this decision. The president can go around name-calling all he wants, but Nancy Pelosi is focused on abiding by the Constitution and making sure that her committees come up with the evidence that will be presented to the American people and the Senate will act as jurors.

WALLACE: I’ve got less than a minute, Guy.

The president, one of the things he didn’t like this week, he attacked Fox News about, is our latest poll, which I have to say, another thing I was shocked about, 51 percent now support not just impeachment, but removal. Now, the president — and there are other polls that say different things. Do you think, though, that public opinion is moving against the president at this point?

BENSON: Yes, it has been so far, but there’s a long way to go in this process. And I think the fact that, to your point, that the Democrats and Speaker Pelosi has not called for a full vote, that’s an issue. And all of this operating in secrecy, are they going to try to impeach a president in secret? I think that’s going to rub a lot of voters the wrong way if they continue down that path.


Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday. We’ll have plenty of time to discuss this.

Up next, our “Power Player of the Week,” the political activist mobilizing women to fight back against Iran’s leaders.


WALLACE: When we interviewed Iran’s president, Rouhani, at the U.N. two weeks ago, we focused on the foreign policy differences between his country and the U.S. But there are also serious questions about what goes on inside Iran.

Here is our “Power Player of the Week.”


MASIH ALINEJAD, IRANIAN JOURNALIST AND ACTIVIST: We are banned from singing. We are banned from dancing. We are banned from showing our hair.

WALLACE (voice over): Masih Alinejad is talking about laws in Iran that bar women from so-called “indecent behavior.”

ALINEJAD: When you go to Iran and stand up for your own dignity —

WALLACE: Now living in Brooklyn, she spent the last ten years mobilizing women in her home country to fight for their freedom.

ALINEJAD: When I fight against compulsory (ph) hijab (ph), I’m not fighting against a small piece of cloth, I’m fighting against one of the main pillar of a religious dictatorship.

WALLACE: Hijab is part of the Islamic dress code. Women must cover their head in public or risk imprisonment.

Five years ago, Masih started a website called My Stealthy Freedom, urging women to share pictures of their defiance.

ALINEJAD: I got bombarded by photos and videos from women inside Iran holding headscarves, waving it in public and saying, this is our true self.

WALLACE (on camera): And what happens to women in Iran who take off the hijab, who wave the scarf, who sing or dance in public? What kind of risk are they taking?

ALINEJAD: Being a woman means that you risk your life every day.

WALLACE (voice over): But she didn’t stop there.

In 2017, she launched White Wednesday, urging men and women to wear that color in protest. The videos people sent became much bolder.

Masih says 29 people were arrested in one day last year. These two sisters were each sentenced to 15 years in prison.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We are Nasrin Sotoudoh (ph). We are Sepidoh Gholian (ph). We are the voice of women who are in prison for saying no to forced hijab.

ALINEJAD: They know the risk. They know the danger. But they are like the women of suffragettes. They want freedom and they are ready to pay the price.

WALLACE: Which brings us to Masih’s story. She grew up in a traditional family in northern Iran, but she always wondered why she couldn’t enjoy the same freedom as her brother.

ALINEJAD: I started my own revolution from my family’s kitchen.

WALLACE: By 2009, she was a journalist, but Iranian officials didn’t like her constant questioning.

ALINEJAD: I had two options, to stay in Iran and keep silent, or leave Iran and be loud.

WALLACE: The revolutionary court has certainly heard her. This summer they banned any interaction with Masih.

ALINEJAD: They call me hostile government (ph). They call me a whore. They call me a prostitute. They call me what — the agent of CIA, MI-6. They even called me the agent of President Trump.

WALLACE: That isn’t the worst of it. Authorities interrogated her mother and arrested her brother and her father stopped talking to her.

ALINEJAD: I don’t want to actually show them that they can break us.

WALLACE (on camera): Making this break with your family, with tradition, it comes at a cost.

ALINEJAD: You know, it’s not easy. I haven’t seen my family for ten years. It’s not easy.

WALLACE (voice over): But there is no chance Masih or supporters back in Iran will stop fighting.

ALINEJAD: That is why I have to be strong. Otherwise, you know, they’re going to win the battle, and I’m not going to let them win.


WALLACE: Masih met with Secretary of State Pompeo a few months ago. She urged him, if U.S. officials negotiate with Iran about nuclear weapons and terrorism, they shouldn’t forget human rights, especially the rights of women in their own country.

And that’s it for today. Have a great week and we’ll see you next “Fox News Sunday.”

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Joe Giudice’s shocking transformation revealed after he’s released from ICE custody

Joe Giudice is nearly unrecognizable in a new photo shared by his daughter after the reality star was released from ICE custody.

Joe’s daughter, Gia, 18, shared a snapshot of herself FaceTiming with her dad after his lawyer confirmed the 47-year-old was en route for his native Italy while appealing a deportation order against him.

“One of the happiest moments of my life,” she captioned the picture shared on Saturday. “Love you so much daddy, so happy you free! See you so soon.”


Westlake Legal Group gia-giudice-instagram-story-1 Joe Giudice's shocking transformation revealed after he's released from ICE custody Sasha Savitsky fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/shows/the-real-housewives fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/genres/diet-fitness fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 261aa8bf-a4fd-57ca-a5ae-b2901ff82d4f

Gia Giudice shared a photo her dad, Joe, on Instagram Story. (Gia Giudice/Instagram)

In the photo, the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star appears to have lost a significant amount of weight.

Westlake Legal Group gia-giudice-instagram-story-2 Joe Giudice's shocking transformation revealed after he's released from ICE custody Sasha Savitsky fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/shows/the-real-housewives fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/genres/diet-fitness fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 261aa8bf-a4fd-57ca-a5ae-b2901ff82d4f

Joe Giudice appears to have lost a significant amount of weight. (Gia Giudice/Instagram Story)

Joe’s sister-in-law also shared a picture of him on Saturday with his brother Pete.

“A day we’ve all been patiently waiting for. Pete and Joe reunited at last. Smiles bigger and brighter than the sky. Our hearts are so full,” she captioned the photo.

Joe’s family attorney, James J. Leonard Jr., told Fox News in a statement on Friday: “Our system of justice has failed this family. These draconian immigration laws are destroying families, and the time for serious immigration reform is here. It’s absolutely gut-wrenching what is happening. Our country is so much better than this.”


Joe shares four daughters — Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 14, and Audriana, 10 — with his wife, “Real Housewives” veteran Teresa Giudice.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-608527c11e5e4440ae92013e3f8c278c Joe Giudice's shocking transformation revealed after he's released from ICE custody Sasha Savitsky fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/shows/the-real-housewives fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/genres/diet-fitness fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 261aa8bf-a4fd-57ca-a5ae-b2901ff82d4f

FILE – This March 4, 2014 file photo shows Teresa, left, and Joe Giudice, from “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” leaving federal court in Newark, N.J. (AP)

Leonard told People magazine that the 47-year-old spoke to his wife and eldest daughter “from the plane and he is extremely happy to be released, more than words can describe.”

He continued: “We are still fighting and it is his desire to return home to the United States to be reunited with his family.”


On Friday, Teresa shared a photo on Instagram of the Statue of Liberty crying, captioning the picture with praying emojis.

Joe and Teresa Giudice pleaded guilty in 2014 to three counts of bankruptcy fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Joe also pleaded guilty to one count of failing to file a tax return.


Teresa was sentenced in October 2014 to 15 months in prison and was released in December 2015. Joe has been held by immigration officials since he completed his 41-month prison term this past March. A judge ruled in October 2018 that he would be deported to his native Italy upon completion of his prison sentence.

Joe has said he came to the U.S. as an infant and wasn’t aware he wasn’t an American citizen.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group joe-giudice-ap Joe Giudice's shocking transformation revealed after he's released from ICE custody Sasha Savitsky fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/shows/the-real-housewives fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/genres/diet-fitness fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 261aa8bf-a4fd-57ca-a5ae-b2901ff82d4f   Westlake Legal Group joe-giudice-ap Joe Giudice's shocking transformation revealed after he's released from ICE custody Sasha Savitsky fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/shows/the-real-housewives fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/genres/diet-fitness fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 261aa8bf-a4fd-57ca-a5ae-b2901ff82d4f

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New Jersey girl, 10, dies after being ‘ejected’ from festival ride, police say

A 10-year-old girl in New Jersey has died after falling off a ride at a festival, officials said.

The child was at the Deerfield Township Harvest Festival in Cumberland County after 6 p.m. on Saturday night when she was “ejected from an amusement ride,” according to New Jersey State Police.


Authorities said the child fell off a ride titled “Extreme,” and “as a result, she sustained serious injuries.”

The 10-year-old was airlifted to Cooper University Health Care in Camden, where she was pronounced dead at 7:20 p.m.


Before news reports emerged of the girl’s death, festival organizers wrote on Facebook that a parade scheduled for Sunday had been canceled, but said “all other festivities will continue.”

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Pullback Leaves Green Berets Feeling ‘Ashamed,’ and Kurdish Allies Describing ‘Betrayal’

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-kurds1-facebookJumbo Pullback Leaves Green Berets Feeling ‘Ashamed,’ and Kurdish Allies Describing ‘Betrayal’ Votel, Joseph L Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Syria Kurds Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Defense Department

WASHINGTON — American commandos were working alongside Kurdish forces at an outpost in eastern Syria last year when they were attacked by columns of Syrian government tanks and hundreds of troops, including Russian mercenaries. In the next hours, the Americans threw the Pentagon’s arsenal at them, including B-52 strategic bombers. The attack was stopped.

That operation, in the middle of the American-led campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, showed the extent to which the United States military was willing to protect the Syrian Kurds, its main ally on the ground.

But now, with the White House revoking protection for these Kurdish fighters, some of the Special Forces officers who battled alongside the Kurds say they feel deep remorse at orders to abandon their allies.

“They trusted us and we broke that trust,” one Army officer who has worked alongside the Kurds in northern Syria said last week in a telephone interview. “It’s a stain on the American conscience.”

“I’m ashamed,” said another officer who had also served in northern Syria. Both officers spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals from their chains of command.

And the response from the Kurds themselves was just as stark. “The worst thing in military logic and comrades in the trench is betrayal,” said Shervan Darwish, an official allied with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

The next flurry of orders from Washington, some fear, could pull American troops out of Syria altogether. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said on Sunday that roughly 1,000 American troops in northeastern Syria would conduct a “deliberate withdrawal,” at least farther south — and possibly out of the country entirely in the coming days and weeks.

The defense secretary’s statement came after comments on Friday pushing back on complaints that the United States was betraying allies in Syria — “We have not abandoned the Kurds” — even as he acknowledged that his Turkish counterpart had ignored his plea to stop the offensive.

Army Special Forces soldiers — mostly members of the Fifth Special Forces Group — moved last week to consolidate their positions in the confines of their outposts miles away from the Syrian border, a quiet withdrawal that all but confirmed the United States’ capitulation to the Turkish military’s offensive to clear Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.

But as the Americans pulled back, the Kurds moved north to try to reinforce their comrades fighting the offensive. The American soldiers could only watch from their sandbag-lined walls. Orders from Washington were simple: Hands off. Let the Kurds fight for themselves.

The orders contradicted the American military’s strategy in Syria over the past four years, especially when it came to the Kurdish fighters, known as the Y.P.G., who were integral to routing the Islamic State from northeastern Syria. The Kurds had fought in Manbij, Raqqa and deep into the Euphrates River Valley, hunting the last Islamic State’s fighters in the group’s now defunct physical caliphate. But the Syrian Democratic Forces, or S.D.F., as the Kurdish and their allied Arab fighters on the ground are called, are being left behind.

American Special Forces and other troops had built close ties with their Kurdish allies, living on the same dusty compounds, sharing meals and common dangers. They fought side by side, and helped evacuate Kurdish dead and wounded from the battlefield.

“When they mourn, we mourn with them,” Gen. Joseph L. Votel, a former head of the military’s Central Command, said on Thursday at the Middle East Institute.

The Kurdish forces and American military have survived previous strains, including President Trump’s sudden decision in December to withdraw all American troops from northern Syria, a decision that was later walked back somewhat.

This time may be different, and irreversible. “It would seem at this particular point, we’ve made it very, very hard for them to have a partnership relationship with us because of this recent policy decision,” General Votel said.

As part of security measures the United States brokered to tamp down tensions with Turkish troops, Kurdish forces agreed to pull back from the border, destroy fortifications and return some heavy weapons — steps meant to show that they posed no threat to Turkish territory, but that later made them more vulnerable when Turkey launched its offensive.

Special Forces officers described another recent operation with Kurds that underscored the tenacity of the group. The Americans and the Kurdish troops were searching for a low-level Islamic State leader in northern Syria. It was a difficult mission and unlikely they would find the commander.

From his operations center, one American officer watched the Kurds work alongside the Americans on the ground in an almost indistinguishable symmetry. They captured the Islamic State fighter.

“The S.D.F.’s elite counterterrorism units are hardened veterans of the war against ISIS whom the U.S. has seen in action and trust completely,” said Nicholas A. Heras, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, who visited the S.D.F. in July to advise them on the Islamic State, or ISIS.

During the battle against ISIS, coordination between the United States military and the Syrian Democratic Forces has extended from the highest levels to rank-and-file fighters, according to multiple interviews with S.D.F. fighters and commanders in Syria over the course of the campaign.

S.D.F. commanders worked side by side with American military officers in a joint command center in a defunct cement factory near the northern Syrian town of Kobani, where they discussed strategy and planned future operations.

The battle of Kobani that began in 2014 gave birth to the United States’ ties to the Kurds in northeastern Syria. ISIS fighters, armed with heavy American-made artillery captured from retreating Iraqi army units, surrounded Kobani, a Kurdish city, and entered parts of it.

Despite the Obama administration’s initial reluctance to offer help, the United States carried out airstrikes against advancing ISIS militants, and its military aircraft dropped ammunition, small arms and medical supplies to replenish the Kurdish combatants.

That aid helped turn the tide, the Kurds defeated ISIS, and American commanders realized they had discovered a valuable ally in the fight against the terrorist group.

Thousands of S.D.F. fighters received training from the United States in battlefield tactics, reconnaissance and first aid. Reconnaissance teams learned to identify Islamic State locations and transmit them to the command center for the American-led military coalition to plan airstrikes.

Visitors to front-line S.D.F. positions often saw Syrian officers with iPads and laptops they used to communicate information to their American colleagues.

“For the last two years, the coordination was pretty deep,” said Mutlu Civiroglu, a Washington-based Kurdish affairs analyst who has spent time in northeastern Syria. “The mutual trust was very high, the mutual confidence, because this collaboration brought enormous results.”

“They completed each other,” he said of the S.D.F. and United States-led coalition. “The coalition didn’t have boots on the ground and fighters didn’t have air support, so they needed each other.”

That coordination was critical in many of the big battles against the Islamic State.

To open the battle in one town, S.D.F. fighters were deposited by coalition aircraft behind the Islamic State’s lines. At the start of another battle, United States Special Operations forces helped the S.D.F. plot and execute an attack across the Euphrates River.

Even after the Islamic State had lost most of its territory, the United States trained counterterrorism units to do tactical raids on ISIS hide-outs and provided them with intelligence needed to plan them.

Even in territory far from the front lines with the Islamic State, S.D.F. vehicles often drove before and after American convoys through Syrian towns and S.D.F. fighters provided perimeter security at facilities where United States personnel were based.

The torturous part of America’s on-again, off-again alliance with the Kurds — one in which the United States has routinely armed the Kurds to fight various regimes it viewed as adversaries — emerged in 1974, as the Kurds were rebelling against Iraq. Iran and the United States were allies, and the shah of Iran and Henry A. Kissinger encouraged the Kurdish rebellion against the Iraqi government. C.I.A. agents were sent to the Iraq-Iran border to help the Kurds.

The Kurdish leader Mustapha Barzani did not trust the shah of Iran but believed Kissinger when he said that the Kurds would receive help from the Americans.

But a year later, the shah of Iran made a deal with Saddam Hussein on the sidelines of an OPEC meeting: In return for some territorial adjustments along the Iran-Iraq border, the shah agreed to stop support for the Kurds.

Kissinger signed off on the plan, the Iraqi military slaughtered thousands of Kurds and the United States stood by. When questioned, Kissinger delivered his now famous explanation: “Covert action,” he said, “should not be confused with missionary work.”

In the fight against ISIS in Syria, Kurdish fighters followed their hard-fought triumph in Kobani by liberating other Kurdish towns. Then the Americans asked their newfound Kurdish allies to go into Arab areas, team up with local militias and reclaim those areas from the Islamic State.

The American military implored the S.D.F. to fight in the Arab areas, and so they advanced, seizing Raqqa and Deir Ezzour, winning but suffering large numbers of casualties.

The American-Kurdish military alliance against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq “began with us helping them,” said Peter W. Galbraith, the former American diplomat who has for years also been a senior adviser to the Kurds in both Syria and Iraq. “But by the end, it was them helping us. They are the ones who recovered the territory that ISIS had taken.”

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Esper defends U.S. withdrawal from northern Syria as Trump decries ‘Endless Wars,’ touts sanctions on Turkey

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094498192001_6094500292001-vs Esper defends U.S. withdrawal from northern Syria as Trump decries 'Endless Wars,' touts sanctions on Turkey Ronn Blitzer fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox news fnc/politics fnc e9899d01-b078-5335-a514-52ddd090ccb2 article

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper defended President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria as Turkey continues to attack the Kurds, while Trump himself denounced getting involved in “endless wars” and talked up sanctions against Turkey.

Turkey has moved further into Syria, attacking the Kurds and leaving civilians dead in the process, while the U.S. is leaving Kurdish allies to fight for themselves.


“It gets worse by the house,” Esper said on “Fox News Sunday,” saying that the U.S. is urging Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to cease the aggression. Esper said the U.S. finds itself in a tough situation, as both sides are allies.

“We didn’t sign up to fight Turkey, a longstanding NATO ally, on behalf of the SDF,” Esper said, referring to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

Esper said that roughly 1,000 troops will be withdrawing from the north of the country. A U.S. official told Fox News that forces will not be leaving the country altogether, but will be moving southward.

Esper also stated that the fighting “has its roots in conflict that goes back 200 years,” a sentiment that was echoed by Trump himself Sunday morning.

“The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years,” Trump tweeted. “Turkey considers the PKK the worst terrorists of all. Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them! We are monitoring the situation closely. Endless Wars!”

While the U.S. is not getting involved militarily, Esper said the administration is “doing everything we can to get the Turks to stop this egregious behavior.”

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., expressed skepticism over Trump’s intention to punish Turkey.

“I don’t know what this administration’s waiting for,” Van Hollen told “Fox News Sunday,” calling Turkey’s actions “absolutely sickening.” The Democrat said he is currently working with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on bipartisan legislation that would impose sanctions on Turkey.

Van Hollen said that while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has not committed to supporting the bill, he believes that “momentum is building for the Congress to act.”

Trump then tweeted that he, too, is working with Graham and other lawmakers from both parties to impose sanctions.


“Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought,” Trump said. “There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!”

Last week, Trump vowed to “totally destroy and obliterate” the Turkish economy if they did anything “off limits.”

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094498192001_6094500292001-vs Esper defends U.S. withdrawal from northern Syria as Trump decries 'Endless Wars,' touts sanctions on Turkey Ronn Blitzer fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox news fnc/politics fnc e9899d01-b078-5335-a514-52ddd090ccb2 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094498192001_6094500292001-vs Esper defends U.S. withdrawal from northern Syria as Trump decries 'Endless Wars,' touts sanctions on Turkey Ronn Blitzer fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox news fnc/politics fnc e9899d01-b078-5335-a514-52ddd090ccb2 article

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