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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Fred Fleitz"

Fred Fleitz: At Mount Rushmore, Trump right to highlight danger leftist radicals pose to America

Westlake Legal Group AP20186092227694 Fred Fleitz: At Mount Rushmore, Trump right to highlight danger leftist radicals pose to America Fred Fleitz fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/south-dakota fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/crime fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 6d9dff4c-dc27-5267-803d-5ad7a98e3754

President Trump celebrated America’s independence and our nation’s 244th birthday Friday night with stirring speech at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota calling attention to serious threats America faces here at home from radical lawbreakers.

Praising the four presidents whose 60-foot-high heads are carved into a mountain in the Black Hills – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt – Trump attacked extremists who have denounced such great Americans and sought to tear down their statues and monuments.

“The radical ideology attacking our country advances under the banner of social justice. But in truth, it would demolish both justice and society,” the president said. “It would transform justice into an instrument of division and vengeance and turn our free society into a place of repression, domination and exclusion. They want to silence us, but we will not be silenced.”

TRUMP, IN FIERY MOUNT RUSHMORE ADDRESS, DECRIES RISE OF ‘FAR-LEFT FASCISM,’ CALLS ON AMERICANS TO RISE UP

This celebration at the memorial known as the Shrine to Democracy could not have come at a better time.

Our democratic values are being challenged by increasingly intolerant radicals. These leftists misrepresent our history and seek to impose socialism and censorship on those who disagree. As we have seen over the last two months, the radical left is prepared to do this through mob rule and violence.

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Despite the insistence by the left and the mainstream media that our nation is hopelessly unjust, the United States is an ever-improving great experiment. The vast majority of Americans know this. So does the rest of the world, which is why the United States is by far the leading destination for immigrants.

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, who was born in South Africa, expressed this in an interview this year about his phenomenal success: “America is the land of opportunity – there is no other country where I could have done this.”

But the American experiment is fragile.

On the final day of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin, was asked: “What do we have, a republic or a monarchy?” He replied: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Although most Americans reject the radical leftist attacks on our country and history, the views of the extremists will take root unless we forcefully refute them.

This celebration at the memorial known as the Shrine to Democracy could not have come at a better time.

This means not just rejecting the recent lawlessness led by radical leftist groups like Black Lives Matters (BLM) and Antifa, but actively speaking out to defend our history of freedom. This must include keeping the left’s America-hating, socialist narrative out of our schools.

We live in a dangerous world with enemies who would like to end the American experiment and our status as the world’s superpower.

Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. It will try to do so again this year, along with other nations, especially China.

America’s adversaries are encouraging BLM and Antifa to undermine our country. China is openly using BLM to bash the U.S. government and discredit liberal democracies to deflect criticism of Chinese human rights violations.

America faces growing international security threats, including the coronavirus pandemic.

Russia and China are expanding and improving their nuclear arsenals while America struggles to keep up.

North Korea has not ended its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Iran continues to develop its missile program and likely has robust clandestine nuclear weapons.

The threat from radical Islamist terrorism continues and these terrorist groups likely are planning more potent attacks.

China is and likely will remain the most serious security threat to the United States and the world. China’s ruling Communist Party is not interested in peaceful co-existence or free and fair trade.

Beijing is using diplomatic, military, economic, cyber, and espionage pressure and tools to supplant the United States as the global superpower and install a Chinese-led, anti-democratic world order.

China has taken advantage of diverted American attention due to the coronavirus pandemic and violent protests to intensify its efforts to claim the South China Sea as part of its territory and crush what was left of Hong Kong’s democracy.

Fortunately, we have a president who recognizes foreign threats and is taking steps to defend our security and freedom. President Trump has built up and modernized our military, greatly improving readiness.

The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review is a strategy this administration has acted on to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal after years of neglect.

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The Trump administration destroyed the ISIS state in Syria and Iraq and used military strikes to punish Syria for using chemical weapons against its people.

President Trump ended President Barack Obama’s appeasement of Iran by exiting the flawed 2015 nuclear deal.

Trump also has called China out on its exploitative trade practices and intellectual property theft, using tariffs to press for free and fair trade. The U.S. and China agreed to a “Phase One” trade deal in January that addressed some of these concerns. Trump officials plan to open talks on a broader “Phase Two” deal if Trump wins reelection.

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The winner of the 2020 presidential election should continue and build upon these policies.

As we celebrate the birth of our nation this weekend, we honor an exceptional nation that is a global beacon of freedom, liberty and opportunity. But the success of the American experiment will not continue unless we aggressively defend our democratic ideals, history of freedom and our national security.

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Westlake Legal Group AP20186092227694 Fred Fleitz: At Mount Rushmore, Trump right to highlight danger leftist radicals pose to America Fred Fleitz fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/south-dakota fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/crime fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 6d9dff4c-dc27-5267-803d-5ad7a98e3754  Westlake Legal Group AP20186092227694 Fred Fleitz: At Mount Rushmore, Trump right to highlight danger leftist radicals pose to America Fred Fleitz fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/south-dakota fox-news/us/us-protests fox-news/us/crime fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 6d9dff4c-dc27-5267-803d-5ad7a98e3754

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Fred Fleitz: Obamagate – How Obama administration apparently weaponized intel agencies for political attacks

Westlake Legal Group fred-fleitz-obamagate-how-obama-administration-apparently-weaponized-intel-agencies-for-political-attacks Fred Fleitz: Obamagate – How Obama administration apparently weaponized intel agencies for political attacks Fred Fleitz fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/opinion fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/opinion fnc db113f45-0e5b-51a1-92cc-761b76d119c4 article
Westlake Legal Group TrumpObama051120 Fred Fleitz: Obamagate – How Obama administration apparently weaponized intel agencies for political attacks Fred Fleitz fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/opinion fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/opinion fnc db113f45-0e5b-51a1-92cc-761b76d119c4 article

There is strong evidence that President Barack Obama’s administration improperly weaponized U.S. intelligence agencies in multiple and shocking ways against Donald Trump and other political enemies.

It appears the Obama administration did this in a number of ways, including: fraudulently obtaining Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants to spy on American citizens; promoting the Democratic National Committee-funded dossier assembled by former British spy Christopher Steele that was filled with lies about Trump; politicizing intelligence analysis; leaking intelligence; and spying on political opponents and journalists.

In the period when he was a presidential candidate and president-elect, Trump and his aides seemed to have been the major targets of this misuse of American intelligence for political purposes. But they were not the only targets.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY SCOLDS MEDIA FOR LACK OF ‘JOURNALISTIC CURIOSITY’ IN FLYNN CASE

It is imperative to uncover the extent of the Obama administration’s abuse of U.S. intelligence for political purposes. This must include a full list of every American unmasked from intelligence reports – Trump aides, members of Congress, and ordinary Americans – and who made these requests.

It would be irresponsible for the intelligence community and Congress to turn a blind eye to this abuse simply because it happened years ago. Wrongdoing by the Obama administration in this scandal – which President Trump has dubbed “Obamagate” – must be exposed to ensure such actions never take place again.

This week’s revelation that an astounding 39 Obama administration officials – including then-Vice President Joe Biden – made 53 requests to unmask incoming Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s name from National Security Agency phone intercepts between Election Day on Nov. 8, 2016 and Jan. 12, 2017 was a bombshell.

The stunning revelation regarding Obama administration spying on Flynn by secretly recording his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. at the time appears to confirm allegations by President Trump and his supporters of a broad effort by the Obama administration to weaponize intelligence to undermine the Trump presidency shortly before it began.

Flynn was simply carrying out his duties by making contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition period after Trump was elected president. It is perfectly routine for incoming members of a new presidential administration dealing with foreign affairs to contact foreign officials to introduce themselves before taking office.

Making this worse, the 53 unmasking requests by Obama administration officials are probably the tip of the iceberg of the Obama administration’s abuse of National Security Agency intelligence to target Trump aides.

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif. confirmed this in a Fox Business interview this week on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” when he said the Flynn unmasking scandal is “even worse than this” because “a whole lot” of other Trump associates were unmasked.

With this in mind, it is frustrating to see former Obama officials, the mainstream media and some former intelligence officials brush off the Flynn unmasking requests by claiming such requests are “normal and routine” and that all relevant rules and laws were complied with.

As a former CIA officer who helped process requests to unmask the names of U.S. citizens from National Security Agency reports, I know that unmasking requests are not normal and routine. And I believe these requests raise serious civil rights and legal issues that have not yet been addressed.

From my 25 years working in U.S. government national security jobs, I know how sensitive and rare unmasking requests are.

Names of U.S. citizens mentioned in U.S. intelligence reports – often National Security Agency communications intercepts – are redacted because under U.S. law, America’s foreign intelligence services are normally not permitted to spy on U.S. citizens.

Although senior U.S. officials are permitted to ask for the identity of a redacted name in an intelligence report (an unmasking request), such requests are unusual and the requestor must have a “need to know” the identity of the U.S. person to understand the foreign intelligence information or assess its importance.

When the request is approved, the unmasked identity is released only to the person who requested it – not to everyone who might have seen the original version of the report.

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For example, during my time at the State Department from 2001-2006, Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage made about 100 demasking requests. Then-Under Secretary of State John Bolton only made 10 in four years.

Ironically, Senate Democrats made Bolton’s unmasking requests an issue during his 2005 nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations by falsely claiming these requests were improper and made to intimidate people and gain political advantage.

Then-Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said at the time that unmasking requests were “rarely requested” and made “infrequently” by “non-career political appointees such as Mr. Bolton.”

An April 14, 2005, New York Times article said this about unmasking requests in connection with the Bolton confirmation hearings: “The identities of American officials whose communications are intercepted are usually closely protected by law, and not included even in classified intelligence reports. Access to the names may be authorized by the N.S.A. only in response to special requests, and these are not common, particularly from policy makers.”

The above statements about the rarity of unmasking requests are consistent with what I witnessed during my government career. In addition, the National Security Agency tightened the rules in 2005 on unmasking because of the controversy over such requests caused by the Bolton hearing.

The Obama administration, however, appeared to weaken the unmasking rules.

It is imperative to uncover the extent of the Obama administration’s abuse of U.S. intelligence for political purposes

The Obama administration expanded access to National Security Agency information in February 2016 and on January 12, 2017. Both changes appeared to allow larger numbers of government officials to have access to unmasked names of Americans in intelligence reporting.

Even more troubling was a major rollback by the Obama administration in rules protecting members of Congress from unmasking requests.

I know from my five years on House Intelligence Committee staff of longstanding sensitivity by lawmakers that U.S. intelligence agencies could be used by the executive branch to spy on a president’s political enemies. For this reason, until 2013 there were strict limits to keep members of Congress out of intelligence reporting and to prevent unmasking their names.

Under a policy in effect in the 1990s, unmasking requests of the names of members of Congress were extremely limited and generally had to be reported to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

According to the Wall Street Journal, these rules were tightened further with “a 2011 NSA directive [that] required direct communications between foreign intelligence targets and members of Congress to be destroyed, but [gave] the NSA director the authority to waive this requirement if he determines the communications contain ‘significant foreign intelligence.””

However, in 2013 the Obama administration significantly weakened rules on unmasking the names of members of Congress from intelligence reports. The requestor’s reason could now merely be “to fully understand the intelligence.”

Rules on notifying Congress also were weakened. National Security Agency officials henceforth would notify Congress when members were unmasked from intelligence reports “as appropriate” and would determine “whether and to what extent congressional notification would take place.”

The Obama administration appeared to take advantage of these rules changes in 2015 when it obtained private conversations from National Security Agency reports of U.S. lawmakers who opposed the Iran nuclear deal in meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The rule changes on unmasking the names of members of Congress have a direct bearing on the Obama administration’s unmasking of Trump aides.

Since there no longer was a prohibition on using U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on members of Congress, Obama officials probably reasoned there was nothing to prevent them from spying on members of a presidential campaign or an incoming presidential administration. This helps explain the hundreds of unmasking requests regarding Trump aides in 2016 and early 2017.

So what should happen now?

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In addition to an investigation of spying on American citizens by the Obama administration, all Obama administration rule changes making it easier to unmask the names of members of Congress and ordinary Americans from intelligence reports need to be reversed immediately.

There also should be a requirement in the law restricting when U.S. officials can unmask the names of members of a presidential campaign or incoming administration from intelligence reports or otherwise spy on them. These rules should include a requirement for congressional notification if such spying is deemed necessary in the future.

Finally, I want to know why career intelligence officials cooperated with unmasking Trump campaign and transition officials at the request of the Obama administration.

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Since the prohibition on spying on American citizens and keeping the names of U.S citizens out of intelligence reports are cardinal rules of the U.S. intelligence community, how could career intelligence officers agree to process hundreds of these requests? Why did none of them file complaints with their inspector general or the congressional intelligence oversight committees?

The hundreds of unmasking requests of Trump campaign and transition officials made by the Obama administration were in no way routine and necessary. I believe carrying out these unmasking requests was a huge ethical lapse by dozens – maybe hundreds – of U.S. intelligence community employees that must be addressed by the White House and the leaders of our intelligence agencies.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY FRED FLEITZ

Westlake Legal Group TrumpObama051120 Fred Fleitz: Obamagate – How Obama administration apparently weaponized intel agencies for political attacks Fred Fleitz fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/opinion fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/opinion fnc db113f45-0e5b-51a1-92cc-761b76d119c4 article  Westlake Legal Group TrumpObama051120 Fred Fleitz: Obamagate – How Obama administration apparently weaponized intel agencies for political attacks Fred Fleitz fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/opinion fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/opinion fnc db113f45-0e5b-51a1-92cc-761b76d119c4 article

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Fred Fleitz: List of Flynn ‘unmaskers’ – here’s what happened and what it means

Westlake Legal Group fred-fleitz-list-of-flynn-unmaskers-heres-what-happened-and-what-it-means Fred Fleitz: List of Flynn 'unmaskers' – here's what happened and what it means Fred Fleitz fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/james-comey fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/opinion fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/opinion fnc article ae7cdff7-2dbe-5308-ad9f-93206ebb5624
Westlake Legal Group image Fred Fleitz: List of Flynn 'unmaskers' – here's what happened and what it means Fred Fleitz fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/james-comey fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/opinion fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/opinion fnc article ae7cdff7-2dbe-5308-ad9f-93206ebb5624

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The list released Wednesday by acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell of top Obama officials who asked to “unmask” former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s name from NSA reporting is the latest bombshell in the story of how the Obama administration weaponized intelligence to undermine and destroy the incoming Trump administration.

But it also suggests this conspiracy began earlier and was much broader than previously believed.

By releasing this list, Grenell did a great service to his country to protect the principle of the peaceful transfer of power. But the intelligence community needs to release much more information to get to the bottom of this conspiracy. This should include information on the content of the NSA reports and which officials made unmasking requests of them.

ANDREW MCCARTHY: JUDGE VS. FLYNN – BIZARRE ORDER INVITES AMICUS BRIEFS ON CASE’S DISMISSAL  

Intelligence officials also need to provide a broader list of all unmasking requests made by senior Obama officials during this time period because it is likely that other Trump campaign and transition officials also were targeted.

Names of U.S. citizens mentioned in U.S. intelligence reports, often NSA communications intercepts, are blacked out (minimized) because, under U.S. law, America’s foreign intelligence services are normally not permitted to spy on U.S. citizens. Although senior U.S. officials are permitted to ask for the identity of a blacked-out name in an intelligence report (an unmasking request), such requests are unusual and the requestor must have a “need to know” the identity of the U.S. person to understand the foreign intelligence information or assess its importance.

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When the request is approved, the unmasked identity is released only to the person who requested it, not to everyone who might have seen the original version of the report.

For example, during my time at the State Department from 2001-2006, Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage made about 100 demasking requests. Then-Under Secretary of State John Bolton only made 10.

The list released today is of 39 top Obama officials who made 53 requests to unmask Lt. Gen. Flynn’s name from intelligence reports between election day (Nov. 8, 2016) and Jan. 31, 2017.  While many of the requesters were Obama political appointees who resigned by Jan. 20, 2017, some were career officers at CIA, the Pentagon and other agencies.

The most stunning thing about this list is that the vast majority of these requests were dated between Dec. 14 and 16, which was before Flynn’s Dec. 29 phone call to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. An NSA intercept of this phone call was the basis of the Jan. 24, 2017, FBI interview with Flynn when two FBI agents used this intercept to entrap Flynn into lying about the call.

FBI Director James Comey broke protocol by not informing White House lawyers that he planned to send FBI agents to meet with Flynn. The FBI agents discouraged Flynn from having a lawyer present and didn’t read him anything like the Miranda warning.

Flynn was targeted for unmasking at least two weeks before the Dec. 29 phone call. …  This may indicate Flynn and other Trump transition officials were being targeted for unmasking as part of a fishing expedition to find dirt on them to undermine Trump’s presidency. 

Flynn did not make any phone calls during this period to Kisylak until Dec. 22, 2016. He did meet with Kislyak on Dec. 1 at Trump Tower in New York. This may mean the unmasked mid-December intelligence that mentioned Flynn could have been a phone conversation by Kislyak with someone else. It also could have involved some matter involving Flynn, possibly with another country.

This means Flynn was targeted for unmasking at least two weeks before the Dec. 29 phone call and the vast majority of these unmasking requests did not include intercepted conversations of Flynn having allegedly inappropriate conversations with Kislyak. This may indicate Flynn and other Trump transition officials were being targeted for unmasking as part of a fishing expedition to find dirt on them to undermine Trump’s presidency.

In addition, there were only seven unmasking requests by seven officials after the Dec. 29 Flynn-Kislyak phone call – by Vice President Biden, then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Obama Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and other career officials. Since the information in this intercept leaked to the press, these seven officials are suspects for this criminal act.

Other significant observations: U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power made the most unmasking requests for Flynn’s name – seven. Clapper made three. No one else made more than two.  Power, who reportedly made an astounding 260 demasking requests during her time as U.N. ambassador, testified in 2017 that most of these requests were made in her name but she did not request this information. I believe Power and assume someone at the NSC, who was not authorized access to demasking information, made these requests in her name. The intelligence community needs to disclose who this person was.

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Also interesting is the cluster of requests to demask Flynn’s name by Biden and others between Jan. 7 and Jan. 12, 2017, and the timing of these requests.

On Jan. 5, Biden, Comey, Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates met with Obama. In the meeting, Obama appeared to direct these officials to withhold Russia-related intelligence from the incoming Trump administration.

The next day, President-elect Trump received a misleading and incomplete briefing on the fraudulent Steele Dossier and Russian meddling in the 2016 election by Clapper, Comey, Brennan, and NSA Director Mike Rogers.

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Over the next few days, there were seven high-level requests for Flynn’s name to be unmasked from NSA reporting. My guess is that this was not a coincidence and that a single intelligence official or NSC staff member suggested that these senior officials ask to see this information as part of a larger effort to target Flynn. The intelligence report in question probably concerned Flynn’s Dec. 29 phone call with Kislyak and would be used to entrap Flynn by the FBI on Jan. 24.

The lists of requesters to unmask Flynn’s name from intelligence reports after the 2016 election is not a smoking gun, but it does strongly suggest some coordinated effort by senior Obama officials to get target Flynn and undermine the incoming Trump administration.

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Westlake Legal Group image Fred Fleitz: List of Flynn 'unmaskers' – here's what happened and what it means Fred Fleitz fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/james-comey fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/opinion fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/opinion fnc article ae7cdff7-2dbe-5308-ad9f-93206ebb5624  Westlake Legal Group image Fred Fleitz: List of Flynn 'unmaskers' – here's what happened and what it means Fred Fleitz fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/james-comey fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/opinion fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/opinion fnc article ae7cdff7-2dbe-5308-ad9f-93206ebb5624

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Fred Fleitz: After coronavirus pandemic ends, investigations must review responses by China, US and others

Westlake Legal Group image Fred Fleitz: After coronavirus pandemic ends, investigations must review responses by China, US and others Fred Fleitz fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox-news/health/infectious-disease fox-news/health fox news fnc/opinion fnc f2cdcb0d-f9ff-505e-ad39-69589218aa33 article

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While work to find treatments and a vaccine to protect us from the coronavirus accelerates around the world – and as we sadly see a growing number of hospitalizations and deaths caused by the virus – it’s not too early to plan how to review the American and international responses to the pandemic once it has ended.

A review of what went wrong and what went right in dealing with the coronavirus as it first emerged in China and then spread around the world is necessary both to assess accountability and to prevent future worldwide disease outbreaks. Improving the global response to the next outbreak is quite literally a matter of life and death.

The mainstream media publish and broadcast stories every day claiming President Trump and his administration could have handled this crisis better. Naturally, like other governments around the world, the Trump administration made some initial mistakes in dealing with this unprecedented crisis.

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However, polls show President Trump and his administration getting greater approval than disapproval from the American people for the handling of the coronavirus crisis.

A Fox News poll released Thursday found that 51 percent of voters approve of Trump’s response to the coronavirus and 46 percent disapprove, while the overall federal government response gets 55 percent approval and 41 percent disapproval.

FOX NEWS POLL: RECESSION FEARS MOUNT AS CORONAVIRUS JOLTS US ECONOMY

Decisive steps the president has taken – especially his order canceling flights to the United States from China (a move that was much criticized at the time) and his creation of a Coronavirus Task Force that is coordinating the government response and providing daily briefings – have proven to be effective actions.

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But like nations around the world, the U.S. has suffered economic pain from shuttered businesses as millions of people spend virtually all their time in their homes, along with the very serious health impacts of the pandemic.

Once the coronavirus that began in China spread like wildfire across that nation and then crossed its borders, almost no part of our planet has been spared from the virus.

Importantly, much of the media and Democratic politicians eager to blame President Trump for all the world’s problems don’t want to talk about the Chinese government’s cover-up of the emergence of the coronavirus in that country late last year and early this year.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also shares responsibility with China for hiding details of the coronavirus in its early stages. This cost the world vital time that could have prevented this virus from becoming a deadly pandemic.

There must be post-pandemic investigations of how the U.S. government and governments around the world have dealt with the coronavirus crisis. These investigations need to be done right to fairly determine accountability and not create new problems. To the greatest extent possible, politics should play no role in these probes.

The standard media and Democratic response to threats to American freedom and security is to call for another commission like the one that studied the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Many demanded this in response to Russian meddling in our 2016 presidential election. There are now calls for a 9/11-like coronavirus commission after the virus crisis ends.

This would be a mistake for many reasons. The most important is that Congress should not be contracting out its constitutional oversight responsibility to unelected, blue-ribbon panels. Such panels in this political environment will never be independent and would be just as political as a congressional investigation.

A coronavirus commission could also try to use the coronavirus crisis to force bad ideas on the country that go beyond its mandate. The 9/11 Commission did this when it proposed the creation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The office was launched but morphed into a huge and wasteful intelligence bureaucracy.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attempted to insert language into legislation dealing with the response to the coronavirus that would have created a new panel with subpoena power to oversee the entire Trump administration pandemic response.

Republicans rejected this proposal, believing it would politicize and undermine administration efforts to fight the pandemic. However, after the pandemic has ended House and Senate panels with full subpoena power are needed to look back at the global response to the coronavirus.

China and the World Health Organization have come under increasing criticism by many Americans for downplaying the danger of coronavirus for several weeks early this year, allowing the virus to become a pandemic.

A thoughtful investigation of the role of China and the WHO by an international commission – not a United Nations  commission – will be crucial to ensuring more responsible decisions by China and the WHO in the future on global health threats.

Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, recently discussed the Chinese government’s culpability for the coronavirus outbreak in a Fox News interview.

“Now we have a global pandemic that originated out of Wuhan [China] – they allowed millions of people to come to Wuhan to celebrate their Spring Festival,” McCaul said. “Five million of them … traveling domestically and abroad – they went into laboratories and shut them down – destroyed laboratory samples and they detained eight of the doctors trying to speak the truth about what really happened in Wuhan.”

McCall also wrote about this in a Fox News op-ed.

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WHO’s mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak was also very serious. In mid-January, the WHO repeated false claims by the Chinese government that there was no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus.

In late January, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised China for its “transparency” in dealing with the virus.

On Feb. 3, in response to President Trump’s ban on flights from China to the United States, Ghebreyesus said there was no need for measures that “unnecessarily interfere with international and trade” to prevent the spread of the virus.

An international commission should establish the facts on how China and the WHO mishandled the virus outbreak and recommend steps these parties must take to prevent the recurrence of another pandemic.

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Efforts to punish China over the coronavirus outbreak or to press Beijing for reparations would be ineffective and counterproductive and should be avoided. President Trump knows this and has reaffirmed America’s friendship with China despite this crisis. However, there should be consequences if China refuses to cooperate with the commission and its recommendations.

Aside from squarely establishing that the coronavirus originated in Wuhan, the commission should direct Beijing to close unsanitary “wet markets” that likely allowed the virus to jump from an animal host to humans. The commission also should demand that all nations fully comply with WHO protocols requiring early reporting by every nation to the WHO of outbreaks of dangerous pathogens and fully and promptly cooperate with WHO investigators.

As for the WHO, its members should immediately remove Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as director-general and replace him with an international health expert who will be more responsible and objective.

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In addition to Ghebreyesus’ negligent early statements about the coronavirus outbreak, he is too close to Beijing. Replacing Ghebreyesus is crucial to holding WHO accountable for its errors in handling this crisis and restoring its reputation.

Responsible investigations of the coronavirus pandemic by the U.S. Congress and an international commission after the crisis has passed will help the world heal and prevent future pandemic crises. Let’s hope the end of this crisis is in sight so we can start these investigations and a full, post-virus recovery.

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Westlake Legal Group image Fred Fleitz: After coronavirus pandemic ends, investigations must review responses by China, US and others Fred Fleitz fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox-news/health/infectious-disease fox-news/health fox news fnc/opinion fnc f2cdcb0d-f9ff-505e-ad39-69589218aa33 article  Westlake Legal Group image Fred Fleitz: After coronavirus pandemic ends, investigations must review responses by China, US and others Fred Fleitz fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox-news/health/infectious-disease fox-news/health fox news fnc/opinion fnc f2cdcb0d-f9ff-505e-ad39-69589218aa33 article

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Fred Fleitz: Trump should stop sharing sensitive intelligence with leaker Adam Schiff

Westlake Legal Group trump_schiff Fred Fleitz: Trump should stop sharing sensitive intelligence with leaker Adam Schiff Fred Fleitz fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 826baeb0-1c86-50c8-a271-5430f82edf30

Leaks have emerged of classified comments that an American intelligence official made to the House Intelligence Committee about efforts by Russia to “help” President Trump win the 2020 presidential election. It’s the latest in a string of alleged illegal leaks of classified information from Democratic committee members, including Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

It is long overdue for the Trump administration to stop these leaks by cutting off Schiff’s access to sensitive intelligence.

According to House Republican intelligence committee members and Trump officials, there is no evidence for the intelligence official’s claim that Russia wants Trump to win the election and this assessment may have been an exaggeration or misinterpreted. It is also alarming that this briefing was provided to Congress before it was briefed to the White House. But the most troubling issue here is that this was a sensitive classified assessment — even if it was wrong — that House Intelligence Committee Democratic members immediately leaked for political advantage.

TREY GOWDY URGES TOP INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS TO STOP BRIEFING ‘LEAKER’ ADAM SCHIFF

Schiff strenuously denies accusations by Trump and congressional Republicans that he or other House Intelligence Committee Democrats have ever leaked classified information. But these claims are hard to take seriously given efforts since 2017 by Schiff and other Democratic intelligence committee members to weaponize intelligence to hurt Trump politically, including frequent committee leaks to the press.

Leaks attributed to the committee include those in 2017 and 2018 promoting the false Democratic narrative that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign. There were also frequent leaks in 2019 from testimony to the committee’s closed impeachment hearings. Those leaks were aimed at hurting the president. The Wall Street Journal, in an Oct. 22, 2019 editorial, faulted the hearings for “Mr. Schiff’s unprecedented process of secret testimony, followed by selective leaks to the friendly media to put everything in the most anti-Trump light, in order to sway public opinion.”

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House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., accused Schiff of “leaking to set a false narrative, with the media drooling, hungry, to say anything negative about the president.”

House Intelligence Committee Republican members and staff told me in 2018 that the constant leaks of classified information by Democratic members became such a problem that it became impossible for the then-Republican majority to do intelligence oversight in a bipartisan manner with the Democratic minority.

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The recent leaks from the intelligence briefing on Russian meddling in the 2020 presidential election is an indication that this situation became worse when Schiff took over as House Intelligence Committee chairman in January 2019.

I predicted this problem long ago when I said that Schiff’s leaking was so severe, the Trump administration should take extraordinary steps to prevent it, including withholding of sensitive intelligence from Schiff’s committee.

It is time to end the fiction that Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee is engaged in serious oversight of U.S. intelligence. Unless House Speaker Nancy Pelosi removes Schiff as chairman and cracks down on leaks by the committee’s Democratic members, the Trump administration should take drastic action to prevent the committee from further damaging U.S. national security through its constant leaks. These steps should include:

  • Ending the sharing of sensitive classified information to the House intelligence committee.  
  • Avoiding and severely restricting briefings to the committee. The administration should also severely restrict cooperating with committee tasking to intelligence agencies, such as requests for reports.   
  • Any intelligence or briefing provided to the House Intelligence Committee should be carefully scrubbed by the director of national intelligence and the national security adviser to remove classified material that Schiff and other committee members might leak. Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., would still have access to this information.  
  • House Intelligence Committee members travel extensively to visit CIA stations worldwide, often flying at great expense in small Air Force jets. During my five years as a member of the House Intelligence Committee staff, I often questioned the need for these trips. Some appeared to be taxpayer-funded shopping trips to exotic locales. Since the committee is no longer engaged in serious intelligence oversight, the Trump administration should immediately cease its support for House Intelligence Committee foreign travel.

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Congressional Democrats and the media will condemn the Trump administration for taking these actions by complaining that it is refusing to cooperate with congressional oversight of intelligence. This accusation would be false since the administration would continue to cooperate on intelligence matters with the Senate Intelligence Committee, Pelosi, McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

By implementing these steps, President Trump would send a powerful message to congressional Democrats that his administration will not cooperate with intelligence committee members who are only interested in weaponizing intelligence for political purposes. Billions of taxpayer dollars are spent every year to collect intelligence to protect our freedom and security. It is time to stop Adam Schiff from playing political games with sensitive national security information.

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Fred Fleitz: Pensacola shooting – Trump is honest about radical Islam threat, Obama tried to ignore it

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6122256326001_6122253821001-vs Fred Fleitz: Pensacola shooting – Trump is honest about radical Islam threat, Obama tried to ignore it Fred Fleitz fox-news/us/terror/al-qaeda fox-news/us/terror fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc e95f612a-0149-5faf-8620-e438d0ce431e article

To solve a problem you first have to acknowledge it exists, accepting reality even when it isn’t politically correct. Attorney General William Barr did this Monday when he said the December triple-murder by Saudi Air Force 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani was “an act of terrorism.”

This was a dramatic contrast to President Barack Obama’s policy of closing his eyes to reality and absurdly pretending that another mass murder 2009 – by U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan – wasn’t a case of radical Islamist terrorism, when it obviously was.

Barr’s statement was just the latest example of reality-based policies embraced by President Trump, illustrating the president’s determination to see the world as it is, rather than as some would like it to be.

FRED FLEITZ: PENSACOLA NAVAL AIR STATION MURDERS SHOW WHY WE MUST KEEP RADICAL ISLAMIST TERRORISTS OUT OF US

Barr said Monday that an investigation found that Alshamrani was “motivated by jihadist ideology” when the Saudi Air Force officer shot and killed three U.S. sailors and severely wounded eight other Americans Dec. 6 at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.

Alshamrani was shot dead by a sheriff’s deputy responding to his attack, preventing the Saudi from killing and wounding more Americans.

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Alshamrani, who was undergoing pilot training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, had a history of airing virulently anti-American, anti-Israel and radical Islamist views on social media. He also showed mass shooting videos at a dinner party the night before the attack. His Islamist motivation for his act of terrorism was crystal clear.

On November 5, 2009, Maj. Hasan – an Army psychiatrist – shot and killed 13 people and injured 30 more at Fort Hood, Texas. Hasan, an American-born Muslim, yelled “Allahu Akbar!”(“God is great” in Arabic) as he fired his gun. His attack ended when he was shot and severely wounded, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

Hasan was convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in 2013 and sentenced to death. Incredibly, he was never charged with terrorism. His sentencing is now being appealed.

Prosecutors established that Hasan carefully planned this attack and had been in contact via email with Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Islamic cleric who lived in Yemen at the time, where he was senior leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Several of the 9/11 terrorists attended services at a Virginia mosque near Washington when Awlaki was its iman.  After the shooting, Awlaki called Hasan “a hero” on his website. Awlaki was killed in 2011 by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen.

One would think the U.S. government would have quickly determined the obvious fact that the Fort Hood shooting was an act of terrorism – radical Islamist terrorism, to be precise. Unbelievably, this didn’t happen.

The Obama administration instead referred to the shooting as “workplace violence,” supposedly because Hasan was not part of a terrorist organization and this attack was not proved to have been directed by a terrorist organization.

But the real reason Obama did not want to call the Fort Hood mass murder terrorism was that he refused to acknowledge radical Islam is a global threat that inspires its followers to commit acts of terrorism by spreading its violent ideology through the Internet.

U.S. government employees were actually barred from using terms like “radical Islam,” “jihad” and “sharia” during the Obama years. Instead of radical Islamism, the Obama administration used the vague term “violent extremism.”

President Obama stubbornly refused to use the term “radical Islam” through the end of his presidency, because he thought it somehow insulted Muslims or emboldened Islamist terrorists.

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Instead, Obama sharply criticized Donald Trump during the presidential campaign in 2016, claiming Trump’s condemnation of radical Islam was un-American, dangerous and driving Muslims who might be prone to radicalization into the arms of ISIS.

Fortunately, President Trump and his administration have rejected Obama’s foolish positions on this issue and clearly named the enemy: radical Islam.

It is ridiculous to say that President Trump’s acknowledgment of reality is somehow a condemnation of all Muslims. The president has close relations with leaders of Saudi Araba and other Muslim nations, and recognizes that the overwhelming majority of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims are law-abiding citizens and have no connection with terrorism. It is a lie to call the president a religious bigot.

But facing the fact that a tiny percentage of Muslims embrace radical Islamist terrorism is not an act of prejudice – it is simply an act of seeing the world as it is, not in some idealistic vision based on fantasy.

Radical Islamists killed more than 91 people and injured over 370 on U.S. soil during Barack Obama’s presidency.  This includes the June 2016 Orlando nightclub attack that killed 49 people and the 2015 San Bernardino attack that killed 14 people.

Despite this carnage, President Obama never acknowledged radical Islam was a threat. He never admitted that radical Islamist terrorism represents a global ideology at war with modern society.

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Candidate Trump promised during the 2016 presidential campaign that he would reverse Obama’s dangerously naïve views of radical Islam, including with immigration policies to stop importing radical Islamists.

Attorney General Barr’s acknowledgment that the Pensacola shooting was an act of radical Islamist terrorism is another confirmation that President Trump is keeping this important promise. The American people are safer as a result.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6122256326001_6122253821001-vs Fred Fleitz: Pensacola shooting – Trump is honest about radical Islam threat, Obama tried to ignore it Fred Fleitz fox-news/us/terror/al-qaeda fox-news/us/terror fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc e95f612a-0149-5faf-8620-e438d0ce431e article  Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6122256326001_6122253821001-vs Fred Fleitz: Pensacola shooting – Trump is honest about radical Islam threat, Obama tried to ignore it Fred Fleitz fox-news/us/terror/al-qaeda fox-news/us/terror fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc e95f612a-0149-5faf-8620-e438d0ce431e article

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Intelligence Insiders: ‘Establishment’ Officials In DNI Still Withholding Documents From Attorney General

Westlake Legal Group Dan-Coats-620x349 Intelligence Insiders: ‘Establishment’ Officials In DNI Still Withholding Documents From Attorney General william barr Uncategorized President Trump pete hoekstra Paul Sperry Joseph Maguire Front Page Stories Fred Fleitz Featured Story Dan Coats

 

On May 23rd, President Trump granted Barr the authority to declassify any documents he and his team required to conduct their investigation into the origins of the Trump/Russia probe. The President also ordered the intelligence community to comply with all of Barr’s requests. According to Real Clear Investigation’s Paul Sperry, inside sources say that “establishment” officials inside the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) have continued to withhold documents which Barr has requested.

Both the Director, Dan Coats, and his deputy, Sue Gordon, left the agency on August 15th. Gordon was said to be a close ally of former-CIA Director Brennan’s.

Although Coats and Gordon have departed, agency officials have continued to “drag their feet.”

Sperry writes that the specific documents being withheld include:

1. Evidence that President Obama’s CIA, FBI, and Justice Department illegally eavesdropped on the Trump campaign.

2. President Obama and CIA chief John Brennan: key briefing still under wraps.

3. An August 2016 briefing CIA Director John Brennan hand-delivered in a sealed envelope to Obama, containing information from what Brennan claimed was “a critical informant close to Putin.” The informant is believed to have actually been a Russian source recycled from the largely debunked dossier compiled by ex-British agent Christopher Steele for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

An email exchange from December 2016 between Brennan and FBI Director James Comey, in which Brennan is said to have argued for using the dossier in early drafts of the task force’s much-hyped January 2017 intelligence assessment. That spread the narrative that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the alleged Clinton campaign hacking to steal the election for Trump.

Copies of all FBI, CIA and State Department records related to Joseph Mifsud, the mysterious Maltese professor whose statements regarding Papadopoulos allegedly triggered the original Russia-collusion probe.

4. Transcripts of 53 closed-door interviews of FBI and Justice Department officials and other witnesses conducted by the House Intelligence Committee. The files were sent to the agency last November.

The DNI was created after 9/11 and is now the “gatekeeper” for much of the government’s classified information.

A source “close to the situation” told Sperry that, “There’s been a huge impasse in getting key documents to Congress and declassified during the Russia investigation. Several House members, especially Devin Nunes [of House Intelligence] and Mark Meadows [of House Oversight)] were upset that Coats refused to cooperate in releasing this explosive material to Congress…It was clear Coats was not acting on the president’s behalf and had been co-opted by the intelligence bureaucracy.”

Trump has reacted by shaking up the senior leadership of the agency. He has said he would like to eliminate the agency altogether, however, because it was established by legislation, he cannot do so. But he can certainly downsize it.

Navy Vice Adm. Joseph Maguire is currently the acting DNI. President Trump is expected to nominate a permanent Director after the Labor Day holiday.

National security consultant Christopher C. Hull told Sperry that “a new director might help break the logjam in declassifying documents for Barr’s investigation.” He added that, “it’s now toweringly obvious that some portion of U.S. intelligence worked to undermine Trump.”

Trump is said to have eight names on his shortlist. The top two on this list are Pete Hoekstra and Fred Fleitz. Hoekstra, currently the US ambassador to the Netherlands, is a former Congressman.

Fred Fleitz is a “20-year veteran of the CIA who also worked for Hoekstra on the House intelligence panel as staff director and, most recently, for Trump in the White House as an adviser on national security.”

The Director of National Intelligence is a cabinet level position and therefore, the nominee must be approved by the Senate.

The post Intelligence Insiders: ‘Establishment’ Officials In DNI Still Withholding Documents From Attorney General appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Dan-Coats-300x169 Intelligence Insiders: ‘Establishment’ Officials In DNI Still Withholding Documents From Attorney General william barr Uncategorized President Trump pete hoekstra Paul Sperry Joseph Maguire Front Page Stories Fred Fleitz Featured Story Dan Coats  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Fred Fleitz: Don’t ignore Reps. Omar and Tlaib and their hateful anti-Semitic, anti-Israel rhetoric

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6061457628001_6061464582001-vs Fred Fleitz: Don't ignore Reps. Omar and Tlaib and their hateful anti-Semitic, anti-Israel rhetoric Fred Fleitz fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/religion/judaism fox-news/us/democratic-party fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 5c1443f4-a798-547a-b965-c1c38780ccc9

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has once again acted on her virulent anti-Semitic and anti-Israel views by introducing a repugnant resolution in the House comparing Israel to Nazi Germany and supporting the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to wage economic warfare on the Jewish state.

While falsely labeling President Trump’s legitimate criticisms of her radical positions and bigoted statements as “racist,” Omar continues to demonize Israel and seek to turn it into a pariah state cut off from economic, cultural and academic ties with the rest of the world.

Omar said in her resolution: “Americans of conscience have a proud history of participating in boycotts to advocate for human rights abroad including … boycotting Nazi Germany from March 1933 to October 1941 in response to the dehumanization of the Jewish people in the lead-up to the Holocaust.”

OMAR INTRODUCES RESOLUTION DEFENDING BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL, LIKENS IT TO BOYCOTTS OF NAZI GERMANY, SOVIET UNION

Omar’s resolution was co-sponsored by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.

Omar and Tlaib – along with Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts – call themselves “the squad” and have drawn criticism from mainstream Democratic politicians as well as President Trump for their extremist positions.

Even Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York – a staunch Democrat and no friend of President Trump – has called BDS anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.

“We must continue to stand firm against the profoundly biased campaign to delegitimize the state of Israel” through BDS, Schumer said in March. “When there is such a double standard, when the world treats everybody one way and the Jew or the Jewish state another way, there’s only one word for it: anti-Semitism.”

Michael Goodwin had an excellent take on this in a New York Post op-ed, writing: “Indeed, Omar, whom I regard as an unrepentant anti-Semite, further cemented her reputation by introducing legislation Thursday making it legal to organize boycotts against Israel. Predictably, she drew comparisons of the Jewish state to Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa. Don’t expect more than a peep out of dissenting Dems. They’re afraid of her and of the shocking anti-Israel sentiment on the left.”

Omar submitted her resolution in response to five pro-Israel bills under consideration by the House and Senate that condemn the murderous Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, improve Israel’s security, and oppose the BDS movement.

While the anti-BDS resolutions are expected to pass both houses, Omar’s resolution is expected to go nowhere.  Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., rejected Omar’s resolution out of hand, telling the Jerusalem Post: “I can’t imagine that any committee is going to mark up or take seriously any pro-BDS resolution.”

I wrote an article in March praising the fabulous speech by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in which she condemned the BDS movement. Pelosi noted correctly that BDS does not recognize the right of Jewish people to national self-determination or accept a two-state solution to create a Palestinian homeland living side by side in peace with the Jewish state of Israel.

Pelosi also praised Israel as “an ally for peace and security in the region,” and said “if you care about American security, you must care about Israel’s security.”

Sadly, Pelosi’s party appears to be moving in another direction. None of the Democratic presidential candidates spoke to the AIPAC conference because of pressure from far-left groups like MoveOn.org.

In fact, Pelosi was forced to water down a House resolution condemning anti-Semitism in response to statements by Omar because of opposition from House progressives. Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., angrily condemned the watered-down resolution in a House floor speech as “spineless” and “disgusting.”

Even though it will never pass, Omar’s resolution should not be ignored. Not only does this indicate that she and Tlaib are not backing down from their anti-Semitic and anti-Israel views – I fear it represents the future of the Democratic Party, which is slowly being taken over by far-left, anti-Semitic, socialist radicals.

For decades, support for Israel was a bipartisan position held by Democrats and Republicans. Unfortunately, the ranks of Democratic supporters of Israel are shrinking.

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Democratic leaders must start vocally opposing Omar and Tlaib and their hateful anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric.

Israel is a democracy and strong ally of the United States that deserves the support of all Americans. And anti-Semitism is an ancient and toxic prejudice that has no place in the United States.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6061457628001_6061464582001-vs Fred Fleitz: Don't ignore Reps. Omar and Tlaib and their hateful anti-Semitic, anti-Israel rhetoric Fred Fleitz fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/religion/judaism fox-news/us/democratic-party fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 5c1443f4-a798-547a-b965-c1c38780ccc9  Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6061457628001_6061464582001-vs Fred Fleitz: Don't ignore Reps. Omar and Tlaib and their hateful anti-Semitic, anti-Israel rhetoric Fred Fleitz fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/religion/judaism fox-news/us/democratic-party fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 5c1443f4-a798-547a-b965-c1c38780ccc9

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Fred Fleitz: Iran’s seizure of two oil tankers was a stupid move – It could boost European support for Trump

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6061785538001_6061789128001-vs Fred Fleitz: Iran’s seizure of two oil tankers was a stupid move – It could boost European support for Trump Fred Fleitz fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/tech/topics/pentagon fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 4b025d3d-7d0a-52da-943e-3ec5a1627627

It has been clear over the past few weeks that Europe’s long-running patience with Iran’s bad behavior is running out. The Islamic Republic’s seizure of two British-operated oil tankers Friday in the Strait of Hormuz was a stupid move that could end that European patience once and for all.

That’s bad news for Iran, but good news for President Trump and his tough Iran policy, and for the U.S.

European leaders have strongly opposed Trump’s Iran policy and his decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration.

IRAN’S REVOLUTIONARY GUARD SEIZES TWO UK-OPERATED TANKERS IN STRAIT OF HORMUZ

The deal, which was supposed to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons, was fatally flawed and would have only delayed Iran’s entry into the nuclear club for a few years. And it did nothing to stop Iran’s support for terrorism and other hostile activity in the Middle East.

Recent Iranian provocations – including mine attacks on ships in the Persian Gulf, shooting down a U.S drone, and an earlier attempt to seize a British ship this month – have been making it harder and harder for Europe to continue to stand with Iran.

European leaders have also been scrambling over the last two weeks to save the Iran nuclear deal, following Tehran’s recent announcements that it has begun violating the deal’s limits on uranium enrichment.

Iran has said the violations are designed to force European states to stop complying with crippling U.S economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic or get them to compensate Iran for the sanctions.

So with tensions between Iran and Europe at such a high level that European officials were already preparing to throw in the towel, Iran drove tensions up even further by seizing the two British-operated oil tankers Friday.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “These seizures are unacceptable. It is essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region.”

Iran’s new provocation also will drive European and other states closer to President Trump’s Iran policy. Hold-outs to U.S. Iran sanctions could soon drop their opposition. There also could be new European sanctions.

President Trump responded calmly, noting the new Iranian provocation confirmed his warnings about Iran. Trump said: “This only goes to show what I’m saying about Iran. Trouble. Nothing but trouble. It goes to show you I was right about Iran.”

Obviously, the seizure of the British-operated tankers raises tensions in the Persian Gulf region. But it also will do enormous damage to Iran’s interests by driving European leaders toward President Trump.

A major reason  Trump hates the 2015 nuclear deal is that despite the huge concessions the Obama administration offered Iran in the agreement – including over $150 billion in sanctions relief – Iran’s behavior significantly worsened after the deal was announced.

Iran’s harmful actions included sending troops to Syria to fight in support of dictator Bashar Assad in a civil war, stepping up support for terrorism, and increasing military spending. Iran also ramped up its ballistic missile program and has been credibly accused of violating the nuclear deal.

Ignoring intense pressure from the U.S. foreign policy establishment and European leaders, President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and imposed tough sanctions that are denying Tehran revenue it was spending on its military, missile program, nuclear program and terrorism.

Trump is open to U.S.-Iran talks, but only for a better, comprehensive agreement that deals with the full range of threats posed by Iran. The president also rejected Iran’s demand that he drop U.S. sanctions as a condition of starting talks.

With Iran unlikely to agree to talks with the United States, U.S. officials have been struggling to assemble a “coalition of navies” to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf.

Although European states have been reluctant to contribute to this initiative for fear of being drawn into a military confrontation with Iran, the seizure of the British-operated oil tankers may help U.S. officials win European participation.

Iran’s new provocation also will drive European and other states closer to President Trump’s Iran policy. Hold-outs to U.S. Iran sanctions could soon drop their opposition. There also could be new European sanctions.

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Most importantly, President Trump’s restraint in avoiding using military force against Iran – coupled with dangerous Iranian provocations like the seizure of the two oil tankers Friday – may mean that if President Trump decides to attack Iran in the future, he may do so with Europe’s support.

This would be an amazing reversal of fortune for Trump’s Iran policy – a policy that was universally condemned by the foreign policy establishment and Europe just a year ago. Such a reversal is happening because Iran’s responses to President Trump’s policy have been not only stupid, but abysmal failures.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6061785538001_6061789128001-vs Fred Fleitz: Iran’s seizure of two oil tankers was a stupid move – It could boost European support for Trump Fred Fleitz fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/tech/topics/pentagon fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 4b025d3d-7d0a-52da-943e-3ec5a1627627  Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6061785538001_6061789128001-vs Fred Fleitz: Iran’s seizure of two oil tankers was a stupid move – It could boost European support for Trump Fred Fleitz fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/tech/topics/pentagon fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 4b025d3d-7d0a-52da-943e-3ec5a1627627

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Fred Fleitz: Trump knows his Iran strategy is working – Now the ball is in Tehran’s court

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6051783532001_6051782192001-vs Fred Fleitz: Trump knows his Iran strategy is working – Now the ball is in Tehran's court Fred Fleitz fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 9376bf64-41f8-5bb5-adb0-37f37e4440ef

Iranian leaders believed that mining oil tankers in the Gulf of Hormuz and shooting down a U.S. drone would force President Trump to drop his tough “maximum pressure” policy against Iran by reversing the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal (the JCPOA) and dropping increased U.S. sanctions. This was a reasonable assumption after eight years of President Barack Obama’s incompetent foreign policies including his “leading from behind” Middle East strategy and his “strategic patience” approach to North Korea.

Iran’s leaders were wrong. President Trump is not about to back away from his Iran strategy which has been highly successful in denying Tehran revenue to spend on its nuclear and missile programs, terrorism, and meddling in regional disputes. Instead, President Trump, Monday doubled down on his Iran policy by approving new sanctions.

The president also knows he made the right call in withdrawing from the deeply flawed nuclear deal which lets Iran continue nuclear weapons-related activities like uranium enrichment and does not cover Iran’s missile programs and other threats it poses to the region.

IRAN SAYS LATEST US SANCTIONS ENDS ‘CHANNEL OF DIPLOMACY FOREVER’

In addition, Israel produced clear evidence last year of Iranian cheating and lying on its JCPOA commitments when it revealed the “Iran nuclear archive” – a treasure-trove of documents stolen by Israeli intelligence on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

At the same time, while President Trump promised during the presidential campaign and as president to end wars and not start new ones, he has made clear on numerous occasions, including in Syria and Afghanistan, that he is prepared to use military force when necessary to defend U.S. interests and those of our allies.

Iran dodged a bullet last week when Trump decided to call off airstrikes minutes before they were launched. Contrary to claims by his critics, this was not a sign of indecisiveness by the president – it reflected his decision that airstrikes that could kill 100-200 people were a disproportional and unjustified response to Iran’s shoot-down of an unarmed U.S. drone. Iranian leaders should conclude from this incident that the next time the president orders a military strike, they will not be so lucky.

The increased tensions with Iran are a result of Iran’s leaders attempting to use violence and terrorism to force President Trump to drop his maximum pressure policy. Obviously giving into these threats would be a sign of American weakness and amount giving into blackmail. The United States also should not remain in an agreement because the other party threatens to attack us if we withdraw.

Iranian leaders reacted angrily to the new sanctions imposed by President Trump Monday, calling them “outrageous and idiotic” and claimed they permanently closed the path to diplomacy.

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Such rants will have no effect on President Trump because he knows his approach to Iran is working – he has no need to offer Tehran concessions. Trump remains open to talks with Iran to find a diplomatic solution that addresses the full range of threats posed by Iran. If Iran wants to negotiate an end to U.S. sanctions, it will need to agree to significant concessions. The ball is in Iran’s court.

The U.S. presidency is often described as the most difficult job on earth because of the enormous responsibility as the leader of the free world and the requirement of having to make difficult decisions with no easy answers that sometimes may result in the loss of human lives. President Trump has demonstrated with his careful and prudent handling of the threat from Iran how he has excelled at meeting the heavy demands of being America’s commander in chief.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6051783532001_6051782192001-vs Fred Fleitz: Trump knows his Iran strategy is working – Now the ball is in Tehran's court Fred Fleitz fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 9376bf64-41f8-5bb5-adb0-37f37e4440ef  Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6051783532001_6051782192001-vs Fred Fleitz: Trump knows his Iran strategy is working – Now the ball is in Tehran's court Fred Fleitz fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 9376bf64-41f8-5bb5-adb0-37f37e4440ef

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