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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 138)

The Most Powerful Arab Ruler Isn’t M.B.S. It’s M.B.Z.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the 29-year-old commander of the almost negligible air force of the United Arab Emirates, had come to Washington shopping for weapons.

In 1991, in the months after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the young prince wanted to buy so much military hardware to protect his own oil-rich monarchy — from Hellfire missiles to Apache helicopters to F-16 jets — that Congress worried he might destabilize the region.

But the Pentagon, trying to cultivate accommodating allies in the Gulf, had identified Prince Mohammed as a promising partner. The favorite son of the semi-literate Bedouin who founded the United Arab Emirates, Prince Mohammed was a serious-minded, British-trained helicopter pilot who had persuaded his father to transfer $4 billion into the United States treasury to help pay for the 1991 war in Iraq.

Richard A. Clarke, then an assistant secretary of state, reassured lawmakers that the young prince would never become “an aggressor.”

“The U.A.E. is not now and never will be a threat to stability or peace in the region,” Mr. Clarke said in congressional testimony. “That is very hard to imagine. Indeed, the U.A.E. is a force for peace.”

Thirty years later, Prince Mohammed, now 58, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, is arguably the most powerful leader in the Arab world. He is also among the most influential foreign voices in Washington, urging the United States to adopt his increasingly bellicose approach to the region.

[Here are five takeaways from our report on Prince Mohammed.]

Prince Mohammed is almost unknown to the American public and his tiny country has fewer citizens than Rhode Island. But he may be the richest man in the world. He controls sovereign wealth funds worth $1.3 trillion, more than any other country.

His influence operation in Washington is legendary (Mr. Clarke got rich on his payroll). His military is the Arab world’s most potent, equipped through its work with the United States to conduct high-tech surveillance and combat operations far beyond its borders.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_155639433_75312a24-fb71-4dc1-941a-39b313e6ea13-articleLarge The Most Powerful Arab Ruler Isn’t M.B.S. It’s M.B.Z. Yemen United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces United Nations Trump, Donald J Saudi Arabia Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Royal Families Rhodes, Benjamin J qatar Putin, Vladimir V Prince, Erik D Pompeo, Mike Obama, Barack Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt) Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Middle East Institute Middle East and North Africa Unrest (2010- ) Mattis, James N Libya Lee, Kai-Fu Kushner, Jared Khashoggi, Jamal Hifter, Khalifa Gulf of Aden General Dynamics Corp Falcon Edge Capital Egypt Dubai (United Arab Emirates) Dmitriev, Kirill A (1975- ) Clarke, Richard A Cairo (Egypt) Bush, George W Bolton, John R Blair, Tony Allen, John R Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)

Desert Falcons from the United Arab Emirates Air Force flying in formation with United States F-35A Lightning IIs last month.CreditU.S. Air Force, via Associated Press

For decades, the prince has been a key American ally, following Washington’s lead, but now he is going his own way. His special forces are active in Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Egypt’s North Sinai. He has worked to thwart democratic transitions in the Middle East, helped install a reliable autocrat in Egypt and boosted a protégé to power in Saudi Arabia.

At times, the prince has contradicted American policy and destabilized neighbors. Rights groups have criticized him for jailing dissidents at home, for his role in creating a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and for backing the Saudi prince whose agents killed the dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Yet under the Trump administration, his influence in Washington appears greater than ever. He has a rapport with Mr. Trump, who has frequently adopted the prince’s views on Qatar, Libya and Saudi Arabia, even over the advice of cabinet officials or senior national security staff.

Western diplomats who know the prince — known as M.B.Z. — say he is obsessed with two enemies, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. Mr. Trump has sought to move strongly against both and last week took steps to bypass congressional opposition to keep selling weapons to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“M.B.Z. has an extraordinary way of telling Americans his own interests but making it come across as good advice about the region,” said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser under President Barack Obama, whose sympathy for the Arab Spring and negotiations with Iran brought blistering criticism from the Emirati prince. When it comes to influence in Washington, Mr. Rhodes added, “M.B.Z. is in a class by himself.”

Prince Mohammed worked assiduously before the presidential election to crack Mr. Trump’s inner circle, and secured a secret meeting during the transition period with the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The prince also tried to broker talks between the Trump administration and Russia, a gambit that later entangled him in the special counsel’s investigation into foreign election interference.

President Trump welcoming Prince Mohammed at the White House in 2017.CreditAl Drago/The New York Times

Today, at least five people working for Prince Mohammed have been caught up in criminal investigations growing out of that inquiry. A regular visitor to the United States for three decades, Prince Mohammed has now stayed away for two years, in part because he fears prosecutors might seek to question him or his aides, according to two people familiar with his thinking. (His brother, the foreign minister, has visited.)

The United Arab Emirates’ Embassy in Washington declined to comment. The prince’s many American defenders say it is only prudent of him to try to shape United States policy, as many governments do, and that he sees his interventions as an attempt to compensate for an American pullback.

But Prince Mohammed’s critics say that his rise is a study in unintended consequences. The obscure young prince whom Washington adopted as a pliant ally is now fanning his volatile region’s flames.

By arming the United Arab Emirates with such advanced surveillance technology, commandos and weaponry, argued Tamara Cofman Wittes, a former State Department official and fellow at the Brookings Institution. “We have created a little Frankenstein.”

Prince Mohammed has overseen a construction boom in the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi.CreditHamad I Mohammed/Reuters

Most Arab royals are paunchy, long-winded and prone to keep visitors waiting. Not Prince Mohammed.

He graduated at the age of 18 from the British officers’ training program at Sandhurst. He stays slim and fit, trades tips with visitors about workout machines, and never arrives late for a meeting.

American officials invariably describe him as concise, inquisitive, even humble. He pours his own coffee, and to illustrate his love for America, sometimes tells visitors that he has taken his grandchildren to Disney World incognito.

He makes time for low-ranking American officials and greets senior dignitaries at the airport. With a shy, lopsided smile, he will offer a tour of his country, then climb into a helicopter to fly his guest over the skyscrapers and lagoons of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“There was always a ‘wow’ factor with M.B.Z.,” recalled Marcelle Wahba, a former American ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.

In the capital, Abu Dhabi, he has overseen a construction craze that has hidden the former coastline behind man-made islands. One is intended to become a financial district akin to Wall Street. Another includes a campus of New York University, a franchise of the Louvre and a planned extension of the Guggenheim.

When he meets Americans, Prince Mohammed emphasizes the things that make the United Arab Emirates more liberal than their neighbors. Women have more opportunities: A third of the cabinet ministers are female.

Unlike Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates allow Christian churches and Hindu or Sikh temples, partly to accommodate a vast foreign work force. (The country is estimated to have nine million residents, but fewer than a million citizens; the rest are foreign workers.)

To underscore the point, the prince last year created a Ministry of Tolerance and declared this the “Year of Tolerance.” He has hosted the Special Olympics and Pope Francis.

Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi in February.CreditAli Haider/EPA, via Shutterstock

“I think he has done admirable work not just in diversifying the economy but in diversifying the system of thought of the population as well,” said Gen. John R. Allen, former commander of United States and N.A.T.O. forces in Afghanistan, now president of the Brookings Institution. (In between, General Allen was an adviser to the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Defense.)

The United Arab Emirates are a tiny federation of city-states, yet Abu Dhabi alone accounts for 6 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, making it a tempting target to a larger neighbor like Iran. In 1971, when the U.A.E. gained independence from Britain, the shah of Iran seized three disputed Persian Gulf islands.

The Muslim Brotherhood, a 90-year-old Islamist movement founded in Egypt, has become mainstream in many Arab countries. On that subject, Prince Mohammed says his dread is more personal.

His father assigned a prominent Brotherhood member, Ezzedine Ibrahim, as Prince Mohammed’s tutor, and he attempted an indoctrination that backfired, the prince often says.

“I am an Arab, I am a Muslim and I pray. And in the 1970s and early 1980s I was one of them,” Prince Mohammed told visiting American diplomats in 2007, as they reported in a classified cable released by WikiLeaks. “I believe these guys have an agenda.”

He worries about the appeal of Islamist politics to his population. As many as 80 percent of the soldiers in his forces would answer the call of “some holy man in Mecca,” he once told American diplomats, according to a cable released by WikiLeaks.

For that reason, diplomats say, Prince Mohammed has long argued that the Arab world is not ready for democracy. Islamists would win any elections.

“In any Muslim country, you will see the same result,” he said in a 2007 meeting with American officials. “The Middle East is not California.”

The United Arab Emirates began allowing American forces to operate from bases inside the country during the Persian Gulf war of 1991. Since then, the prince’s commandos and air forces have been deployed with the Americans in Kosovo, Somalia, Afghanistan and Libya, as well as against the Islamic State.

A demonstration by members of the U.A.E. during the opening of the International Defence Exhibition & Conference in Abu Dhabi in February.CreditChristopher Pike/Reuters

He has recruited American commanders to run his military and former spies to set up his intelligence services. He also acquired more weaponry in the four years before 2010 than the other five Gulf monarchies combined, including 80 F-16 fighters, 30 Apache combat helicopters, and 62 French Mirage jets.

Some American officers describe the United Arab Emirates as “Little Sparta.”

With advice from former top military commanders including former Secretary of Defense James Mattis and General Allen, Prince Mohammed has even developed an Emirati defense industry, producing an amphibious armored vehicle known as The Beast and others that he is already supplying to clients in Libya and Egypt.

The United Arab Emirates are also preparing a low-altitude propeller-driven bomber for counterinsurgency combat — an idea Mr. Mattis had long recommended for the United States, a former officer close to him said.

Prince Mohammed has often told American officials that he saw Israel as an ally against Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. Israel trusted him enough to sell him upgrades for his F-16s, as well as advanced mobile phone spyware.

To many in Washington, Prince Mohammed had become America’s best friend in the region, a dutiful partner who could be counted on for tasks from countering Iranian influence in Lebanon to funding construction in Iraq.

“It was well known that if you needed something done in the Middle East,” recalled Richard G. Olson, a former United States ambassador to Abu Dhabi, “the Emiratis would do it.”

President Barack Obama welcoming Prince Mohammed at the White House in 2015.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Prince Mohammed seemed to find a kindred spirit when President Barack Obama took office in 2009, White House aides said. Both were detached, analytic and intrigued by big questions. For a time, Mr. Obama sought out phone conversations with Prince Mohammed more than with any other foreign leader, several senior White House officials recalled.

But the Arab Spring came between them. Uprisings swept the region. The Muslim Brotherhood was winning elections. And Mr. Obama appeared to endorse the demands for democracy — though in Syria, where the uprising threatened a foe of the Emiratis, he balked at military action.

Westlake Legal Group 0601-for-webMBZ2map-300 The Most Powerful Arab Ruler Isn’t M.B.S. It’s M.B.Z. Yemen United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces United Nations Trump, Donald J Saudi Arabia Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Royal Families Rhodes, Benjamin J qatar Putin, Vladimir V Prince, Erik D Pompeo, Mike Obama, Barack Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt) Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Middle East Institute Middle East and North Africa Unrest (2010- ) Mattis, James N Libya Lee, Kai-Fu Kushner, Jared Khashoggi, Jamal Hifter, Khalifa Gulf of Aden General Dynamics Corp Falcon Edge Capital Egypt Dubai (United Arab Emirates) Dmitriev, Kirill A (1975- ) Clarke, Richard A Cairo (Egypt) Bush, George W Bolton, John R Blair, Tony Allen, John R Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)

UNITED ARAB

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By The New York Times

Then it emerged that the Obama administration was in secret nuclear talks with Iran.

“They felt not only ignored — they felt betrayed by the Obama administration, and I think Prince Mohammed felt it particularly and personally,” said Stephen Hadley, a national security adviser under President George W. Bush who has stayed close to the prince.

After the uprisings, Prince Mohammed saw the United Arab Emirates as the only one of the 22 Arab states still on its feet, with a stable government, functional economy, able military and “moderate ideology,” said Abdulkhalleq Abdulla, an Emirati political scientist with access to the country’s senior officials.

“The U.A.E. is part of this very dangerous region that is getting more dangerous by the day — full of chaos and wars and extremists,” he said. “So the motivation is this: If we don’t go after the bad guys, they will come after us.”

Tahrir Square in Cairo in 2012. Mr. Obama’s sympathy for the Arab Spring drew blistering criticism from the Emirati prince.CreditMoises Saman for The New York Times

At home, Prince Mohammed hired a company linked to Erik Prince, the founder of the private security company formerly known as Blackwater, to create a force of Colombian, South African and other mercenaries. He crushed any hint of dissent, arresting five activists for organizing a petition for democratic reforms (signed by only 132 people) and rounding up dozens suspected of sympathizing with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The United Arab Emirates revved up its influence machine in Washington, too. They were among the biggest spenders among foreign governments on Washington advocates and consultants, paying as much $21 million in 2017, according to a tally by the Center for Responsive Politics. They earned good will with million-dollar donations after natural disasters, and they sought to frame public debate by giving millions more to major think tanks.

The Middle East Institute recently received $20 million. Its chairman is Mr. Clarke, the former official who pushed through the U.A.E. defense contracts. After leaving government in 2003, he had also founded a consultancy with the United Arab Emirates as a primary client. He did not respond to requests for comment.

Emirati Ambassador Yousef Otaiba hammered his many contacts in the White House and on Capitol Hill, arguing that Mr. Obama was ceding the region to extremists and Iran. The prince himself made the case at the highest levels. He “gave me an earful,” former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recalled in a memoir.

In the Middle East, Prince Mohammed did more than talk. In Egypt, he backed a military takeover in 2013 that removed an elected president who was a Muslim Brotherhood leader. In the Horn of Africa, he dispatched a force to Somalia first to combat piracy and then to fight extremists. He went on to establish commercial ports or naval bases around the Gulf of Aden.

In Libya, Prince Mohammed defied American pleas and a United Nations embargo by arming the forces of the militia leader and would-be strongman Khalifa Hifter. Emirati pilots carried out airstrikes in Tripoli and eventually established an air base in eastern Libya.

In the past, the prince looked for a “green light” from Washington, said Ms. Wahba, the former American ambassador. Now he may send a heads-up, she said, but “he is not asking permission anymore.”

Saudi Arabia, the giant next door, had quarreled with the United Arab Emirates over borders and, as the regional heavyweight, also constrained U.A.E. foreign policy. By the end of 2014, the position of crown prince — next in line for the throne — had passed to a known foe of the Emirati prince.

The Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, right, with Prince Mohammed in Abu Dhabi last year.CreditBandar Al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

So he plunged into the internal Saudi succession battle and waged an all-out lobbying campaign in Washington on behalf of a little-known alternative: the 29-year-old Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a favorite son of the aged Saudi king.

“M.B.Z.’s message was, if you trust me and you like me, you will like this guy because he is cut from the same cloth,” recalled Mr. Rhodes, the Obama adviser.

By March 2015, the two princes had invaded Yemen together to roll back a takeover by a faction aligned with Iran. Then in 2017, as the Saudi prince consolidated his power, they cut off all trade and diplomatic ties with Qatar to pressure it into abandoning support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Both the Yemen and Qatar conflicts are routinely described as Saudi-led, but the Emirati prince first sought to sell them to Washington, Mr. Rhodes and other former officials recalled.

By late 2015, American diplomats say, Prince Mohammed was also suggesting that the United Arab Emirates and a new Saudi leadership could be crucial in bringing the Palestinians around to some new peace agreement — the so-called “outside-in” approach to a deal.

But for that, Prince Mohammed awaited a new administration.

The Russian businessman Kirill Dmitriev acts as a liaison between President Vladimir V. Putin and the Persian Gulf monarchs, according to the special counsel’s report.CreditFayez Nureldine/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

It was meant to be a personal farewell.

Despite their sharp differences, Prince Mohammed had remained cordial with Mr. Obama, and the president thought they shared a mutual respect, according to four senior White House officials. So when the prince requested a final meeting, as friends, Mr. Obama agreed to a lunch at the White House in December 2016.

But Prince Mohammed backed out without much explanation. He flew instead to New York for his first face-to-face meeting with Jared Kushner and other advisers to the president-elect, Donald J. Trump.

To arrange the meetings, Prince Mohammed had turned to a financier, Richard Gerson, founder of Falcon Edge Capital. He had worked with the prince for years, and he was also a friend of Mr. Kushner.

“I am always here as your trusted family back channel any time you want to discreetly pass something,” Mr. Gerson wrote to the prince after the election in a private text message, one of several provided to The Times by a third party and corroborated independently. He signed off another message as “your loyal soldier.”

The trip was supposed to be secret, but intelligence agencies detected the prince’s arrival. Mr. Obama’s advisers were stunned. But Prince Mohammed was already working to reverse the administration’s policies, talking to Mr. Trump’s advisers about the dangers of Iran and about Palestinian peace talks, according to two people familiar with the meetings.

“They were deeply impressed with you and already are convinced that you are their true friend and closest ally,” Mr. Gerson wrote to the prince after the meetings.

Prince Mohammed was positioning himself as an intermediary to Russia, too.

One of Prince Mohammed’s younger brothers had introduced Mr. Gerson to a Russian businessman who acts as a liaison between President Vladimir V. Putin and the Persian Gulf monarchs, according to the special counsel’s report. The Russian businessman, Kirill Dmitriev, conferred with Mr. Gerson about a “reconciliation plan” for the United States and Russia, and shortly before the inauguration Mr. Gerson gave a two-page summary of the plan to Mr. Kushner.

Mr. Gerson declined to comment for this article.

The next month, in January, Prince Mohammed invited Mr. Dmitriev to an Emirati retreat in the Seychelles to meet with someone else they thought represented the Trump team: Mr. Prince, the Blackwater founder who had recruited mercenaries for the United Arab Emirates.

Prince Mohammed hired an American security company linked to Erik Prince to create a security force of mercenaries.CreditZach Gibson for The New York Times

Why Prince Mohammed would seek to connect Russia with Mr. Trump’s circle remains a matter of debate, but he has worked for years to try to entice Mr. Putin away from Iran, according to American diplomats and leaked emails from the Emirati ambassador in Washington.

But prosecutors are also investigating the activities of other operatives and go-betweens working for the prince who tried to insinuate themselves around Mr. Trump.

Investigators are still examining the campaign contacts of an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation who has worked for Prince Mohammed and of a Lebanese-American businessman who acted as his emissary. Other prosecutors are investigating whether another top Republican donor whose security company worked for the prince should legally have registered as his agent.

The special counsel’s office has also questioned Rashid al-Malik, an Emirati real-estate developer based in Los Angeles who is close to Prince Mohammed and to his brother — the head of Emirati intelligence. Mr. al-Malik is also close to Mr. Trump’s friend Tom Barrack, and investigators are asking whether Mr. al-Malik was part of an illegal influence scheme, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Another investigation, prompted by a whistle-blower, is examining the possibility that the United Arab Emirates used cyberespionage techniques from former American operatives to spy on American citizens.

Yet the prince’s courtship of the Trump administration has not been damaged. In the two and a half years since his first meeting with Mr. Kushner, Prince Mohammed has received almost everything he sought from the White House.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt and Prince Mohammed in Cairo last year.CreditEgyptian Presidency, via Reuters

Each winter, Prince Mohammed invites financiers and former officials to Abu Dhabi for a salon that demonstrates his global influence.

The guest list last December included former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; former French President Nicolas Sarkozy; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Mr. Hadley, the Bush-era national security adviser; the American investors Mohamed A. El-Erian, David M. Rubenstein and Thomas S. Kaplan; and the Chinese computer scientist and investor Kai-Fu Lee.

Undeterred, the prince also included Mr. Dmitriev, the Russian businessman linked to Mr. Putin.

Prince Mohammed’s post-Arab Spring interventions have hardly stabilized the region. An aide he sent to Cairo to help turn around the moribund economy has returned in frustration.

Egypt’s military-backed government still depends on billions of dollars a year in assistance from the United Arab Emirates and its Gulf allies, and despite Emirati help and Israeli airstrikes, Cairo has not yet quelled a militant backlash centered in the North Sinai.

The isolation of Qatar has failed to change its policies. In Libya, Khalifa Hifter is mired in a bloody stalemate.

Prince Mohammed’s push in the Horn of Africa has set off a competition for access and influence among rivals like Turkey and Qatar. In Somalia, after allegations of bribery by the fragile central government, Emirati forces have shifted to the semiautonomous regions of Puntland and Somaliland.

Djibouti, alleging neglect, last year replaced its Emirati port managers with a Chinese rival.

“He thinks he is Machiavelli but he acts more like Mussolini,” said Bruce Riedel, a scholar at the Brookings Institution and a former official in the Central Intelligence Agency.

In Saudi Arabia, the Emirati prince has been embarrassed by the conclusion of American intelligence agencies that his Saudi protégé had ordered the brutal murder of Mr. Khashoggi, a Virginia-based Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist. Their joint, four-year-old intervention in Yemen is turning into a quagmire, with horrific civilian casualties.

A tribute to the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last year.CreditEmrah Gurel/Associated Press

“The U.A.E. is a stain on the world conscience — the U.A.E. as it is currently governed is violating every norm of the civilized world,” said Representative Ro Khanna, Democrat of California.

Yet the prince’s standing remains strong inside the Trump administration. The “outside-in” proposals for Israeli-Palestinian peace passed over by the Obama administration are at the core of Mr. Kushner’s emerging plans.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly backed the positions of the Emirati prince: by endorsing his Saudi protégé after the Khashoggi killing, by applauding the isolation of Qatar even as the secretary of state and secretary of defense publicly opposed it, by canceling the nuclear deal with Iran, by seeking to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, and by vetoing legislation to cut off American military support for Saudi and Emirati forces in Yemen.

Last month, Mr. Trump publicly endorsed the Emiratis’ favored militia leader in Libya one day after a phone call with Prince Mohammed — even through Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had previously urged the same leader to retreat.

Mr. Mattis, the former secretary of defense, last month delivered a lecture in Abu Dhabi sponsored by Prince Mohammed. When he joined the Trump administration, Mr. Mattis disclosed that he had received $242,000 in annual fees as well as valuable stock options as a board member at the defense contractor General Dynamics, which does extensive business with Abu Dhabi. He had also worked as an unpaid adviser to Prince Mohammed.

“It’s the Year of Tolerance. How many countries in the world right now are having a year of tolerance?” Mr. Mattis asked. “I don’t know of any,” he said. “You are an example.”

Jim Mattis, the former United States secretary of defense, in Abu Dhabi in May.CreditEissa Al Hammadi/Saudi Press Agency, via Associated Press

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Trump Calls on Britain to ‘Walk Away’ if E.U. Does Not Concede to Its Demands

Westlake Legal Group merlin_141209811_1d4f62db-cfc2-45d2-8260-e4753fc36c74-facebookJumbo Trump Calls on Britain to ‘Walk Away’ if E.U. Does Not Concede to Its Demands United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Sunday Times (British Newspaper) May, Theresa M Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain Farage, Nigel (1964- )

WASHINGTON — Just before his state visit to Britain was to begin, President Trump subverted diplomatic norms by rattling an already precarious political situation there: He suggested that the next prime minister of Britain “walk away” from trying to reach a deal to withdraw from the European Union and that the far-right populist Nigel Farage be sent in to negotiate.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, of London, Mr. Trump also said he had told the current prime minister, Theresa May, who announced last month that she would step down after repeatedly failing to get her Brexit plan through Parliament, to sue the bloc for greater leverage in talks. Mrs. May left her government in a weaker position, he said, for not threatening to walk away “in the form of litigation or in the form of a request.”

The president and Melania Trump, the first lady, are set to arrive in London on Monday for a full state visit, which Mrs. May had been trying to arrange for years. Coincidentally, it will be her last week as the leader of the Conservative Party. With the government five months away from an exit deadline, uncertainly looms over her potential successor. The British economy has also taken several hits, which businesses have blamed on Brexit.

Across the Atlantic, Mr. Trump’s comments only reinforced the degree of instability.

In the interview, the president posed the idea that Mr. Farage, the leader of the newly founded Brexit Party who has been a battering ram to traditional conservative politics in Britain and a rival and irritant to Mrs. May, should take over the negotiations.

Mr. Trump, who once suggested that Mr. Farage become ambassador to the United States, praised him as a “very smart person” who could help guide Britain after its decision to leave the European Union. Mr. Farage has backed such a departure for decades.

“I like Nigel a lot. He has a lot to offer,” Mr. Trump said. “He is a very smart person. They won’t bring him in. Think how well they would do if they did. They just haven’t figured that out yet.”

Eyeing the cast of possible replacements for Mrs. May, Mr. Trump said Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and foreign secretary, would make an “excellent” prime minister. And confronting the possibility that the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could win an election in the next year, the president said he would have “to know” Mr. Corbyn before sharing state secrets.

Queen Elizabeth II will host the Trumps in an arrival ceremony at Buckingham Palace, with a state dinner to follow, White House officials said. Mr. Trump will then hold a bilateral meeting with Mrs. May on Tuesday.

On a phone call with reporters before the visit, White House officials stressed that, despite Mrs. May’s impending departure, there were “many things for them to still talk about” on the bilateral agenda, including trade and security.

But not even the British royals, who will be among the first to receive Mr. Trump in England, were off-limits from Mr. Trump’s running commentary. In a separate interview, the president told The Sun that he had been unaware that the Duchess of Sussex, formerly known as Meghan Markle, had made “nasty” comments about him during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“I didn’t know that,” Mr. Trump said. “What can I say? I didn’t know that she was nasty.”

The president added that he hoped she would make a “very good” princess.

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

Trump Calls on Britain to ‘Walk Away’ if E.U. Does Not Concede to Its Demands

Westlake Legal Group merlin_141209811_1d4f62db-cfc2-45d2-8260-e4753fc36c74-facebookJumbo Trump Calls on Britain to ‘Walk Away’ if E.U. Does Not Concede to Its Demands United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Sunday Times (British Newspaper) May, Theresa M Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain Farage, Nigel (1964- )

WASHINGTON — Just before his state visit to Britain was to begin, President Trump subverted diplomatic norms by rattling an already precarious political situation there: He suggested that the next prime minister of Britain “walk away” from trying to reach a deal to withdraw from the European Union and that the far-right populist Nigel Farage be sent in to negotiate.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, of London, Mr. Trump also said he had told the current prime minister, Theresa May, who announced last month that she would step down after repeatedly failing to get her Brexit plan through Parliament, to sue the bloc for greater leverage in talks. Mrs. May left her government in a weaker position, he said, for not threatening to walk away “in the form of litigation or in the form of a request.”

The president and Melania Trump, the first lady, are set to arrive in London on Monday for a full state visit, which Mrs. May had been trying to arrange for years. Coincidentally, it will be her last week as the leader of the Conservative Party. With the government five months away from an exit deadline, uncertainly looms over her potential successor. The British economy has also taken several hits, which businesses have blamed on Brexit.

Across the Atlantic, Mr. Trump’s comments only reinforced the degree of instability.

In the interview, the president posed the idea that Mr. Farage, the leader of the newly founded Brexit Party who has been a battering ram to traditional conservative politics in Britain and a rival and irritant to Mrs. May, should take over the negotiations.

Mr. Trump, who once suggested that Mr. Farage become ambassador to the United States, praised him as a “very smart person” who could help guide Britain after its decision to leave the European Union. Mr. Farage has backed such a departure for decades.

“I like Nigel a lot. He has a lot to offer,” Mr. Trump said. “He is a very smart person. They won’t bring him in. Think how well they would do if they did. They just haven’t figured that out yet.”

Eyeing the cast of possible replacements for Mrs. May, Mr. Trump said Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and foreign secretary, would make an “excellent” prime minister. And confronting the possibility that the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could win an election in the next year, the president said he would have “to know” Mr. Corbyn before sharing state secrets.

Queen Elizabeth II will host the Trumps in an arrival ceremony at Buckingham Palace, with a state dinner to follow, White House officials said. Mr. Trump will then hold a bilateral meeting with Mrs. May on Tuesday.

On a phone call with reporters before the visit, White House officials stressed that, despite Mrs. May’s impending departure, there were “many things for them to still talk about” on the bilateral agenda, including trade and security.

But not even the British royals, who will be among the first to receive Mr. Trump in England, were off-limits from Mr. Trump’s running commentary. In a separate interview, the president told The Sun that he had been unaware that the Duchess of Sussex, formerly known as Meghan Markle, had made “nasty” comments about him during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“I didn’t know that,” Mr. Trump said. “What can I say? I didn’t know that she was nasty.”

The president added that he hoped she would make a “very good” princess.

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Emmet T. Flood to Step Down as White House Lawyer

Westlake Legal Group 01dc-FLOOD-facebookJumbo Emmet T. Flood to Step Down as White House Lawyer United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III Flood, Emmet T Executive Privilege, Doctrine of Appointments and Executive Changes

WASHINGTON — Emmet T. Flood, the White House lawyer who oversaw the administration’s response to the special counsel investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, will step down from the job this month, President Trump said on Saturday.

The departure of Mr. Flood, who first rose to prominence when he defended President Bill Clinton during his impeachment in the 1990s, was always expected. Though Mr. Trump had considered Mr. Flood for other positions in the administration — including as White House counsel — Mr. Flood had always made it clear he wanted his purview limited to the Mueller investigation.

“He has done an outstanding job – NO COLLUSION – NO OBSTRUCTION! Case Closed!” Mr. Trump said on Twitter from his golf club in Sterling, Va. “Emmet is my friend, and I thank him for the GREAT JOB he has done.” The president added that Mr. Flood would leave his post on June 14.

After turning down overtures to work at the White House, Mr. Flood joined the administration last spring, rounding out a seemingly ever-changing cast of lawyers who tried and failed to assure the president that the investigation would end quickly. Mr. Flood oversaw a more emboldened strategy as the president grew more comfortable with publicly maligning the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

Often working behind the scenes as more flamboyant legal personalities around the president took to the airwaves, Mr. Flood was one of the first people to view the final Mueller report, which he quickly assailed in a letter to William P. Barr, the attorney general.

In the letter, Mr. Flood said the special counsel’s decision not to exonerate Mr. Trump of obstruction of justice could “be understood only as political statements” from federal prosecutors who were “rightly expected never to be political in the performance of their duties.”

The letter also foreshadowed the fight the White House and congressional investigators are waging over documents and subpoenas of the president’s aides. Mr. Flood indicated that while the president waived executive privilege over information presented in the report and encouraged his aides to cooperate with the special counsel, that did not preclude him from instructing his aides not to appear before congressional committees.

“It is one thing for a president to encourage complete cooperation and transparency in a criminal investigation conducted largely within the executive branch,” Mr. Flood wrote. “It is something else entirely to allow his advisers to appear before Congress, a coordinate branch of government, and answer questions relating to their communications with the president and with each other.”

Mr. Flood’s approach to the legal fight seemed to quickly earn the president’s trust. He initially replaced Ty Cobb, who oversaw interactions between the Trump administration and the special counsel’s office. Mr. Cobb eventually ran afoul of others on Mr. Trump’s legal team, which accused him of being too cooperative with investigators as he tried to bring the investigation to a swift close.

The arrival of Mr. Flood, who previously worked at the firm Williams & Connolly and last worked in the White House Counsel’s Office under George W. Bush, signaled a more emboldened front as the investigation dragged on. As Mr. Mueller’s office weighed the possibility of issuing a subpoena against Mr. Trump, Mr. Flood was among several lawyers who quietly worked to curtail access to the president. In the end, Mr. Trump never sat for an interview with Mr. Mueller.

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Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan Faces a Cross Roads After Coalition Talks in Israel Crumble

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WASHINGTON — President Trump plans to throw his full weight behind Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign to save his job as prime minister of Israel. But to do that, analysts and former diplomats said, the president will have to sacrifice any last hopes of proposing a peace plan that is acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians.

Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, met Mr. Netanyahu in Jerusalem to discuss the status of the plan on Thursday, hours after the prime minister failed to form a governing coalition. Mr. Kushner emerged with a longer timetable and a narrower diplomatic mission, these people said.

Rather than make concessions to the Palestinians, Mr. Kushner will be under pressure to tilt the plan ever further in Israel’s favor. Far from being a bold effort to break decades of enmity between the two sides, it could end up becoming a vehicle to resurrect Mr. Netanyahu’s political fortunes and to protect Mr. Trump’s.

The plan, which Mr. Kushner has drafted under a veil of secrecy for more than two years, was already looking like a doomed effort. Though its details remain unknown, Mr. Kushner has suggested it will not call for the creation of a Palestinian state, jettisoning decades of American policy toward the conflict. The Palestinians have vowed to reject it out of hand, branding it a blueprint for Israeli domination.

Certainly, a wounded Mr. Netanyahu lost no time in exploiting his friendship with Mr. Trump. He brandished a copy of a map of Israel that Mr. Trump had signed and sent to him with Mr. Kushner. In the margins, the president had drawn an arrow pointing to the long-disputed Golan Heights, which he had recognized as Israeli territory, and had scrawled “Nice.”

The White House is expected to hold off on the political component of its plan — which deals with thorny issues like borders, security and the status of Jerusalem — until after the Israeli elections, scheduled for Sept. 17. A senior administration official said only that the plan would be presented when the “timing is right.”

But that timing has grown increasingly problematic. Any new Israeli coalition probably would not be formed until at least October, which would delay the announcement of a Trump plan until November, uncomfortably close to the first primaries of the 2020 election in the United States.

Mr. Trump, eager not to alienate evangelical voters or influential pro-Israel donors like the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, is unlikely to present a plan that would put Israel or Mr. Netanyahu in an awkward position. For both leaders, therefore, the political calculus will argue for a plan that makes as few demands of Israel as possible.

“To get Netanyahu re-elected, Trump is clearly now willing to take instructions from him,” said Martin S. Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel. “I believe Netanyahu will return the favor by arguing forcefully to American Jews and evangelical voters that they should vote for Trump because he’s the best friend Israel has ever had.”

Mr. Trump has already gone further in his support of Mr. Netanyahu than any president has for any Israeli leader. Before recognizing Israeli authority over the Golan Heights, he moved the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And in a remarkable intrusion into Israeli electoral politics, Mr. Trump on Monday tweeted his support of Mr. Netanyahu’s efforts to form a coalition.

“Hoping things will work out with Israel’s coalition formation and Bibi and I can continue to make the alliance between America and Israel stronger than ever,” Mr. Trump said, using the prime minister’s nickname. “A lot more to do!”

Two days later, the White House announced an unprecedented three-way meeting in Jerusalem of its national security adviser, John R. Bolton, with his Israeli and Russian counterparts, Meir Ben-Shabbat and Nikolay Patrushev. The meeting, to discuss security issues in the Middle East, is a feather in the cap for Mr. Netanyahu, underlining his ability to convene the world’s major powers.

Mr. Indyk said a staunchly pro-Israel peace plan — one that snuffed out the goal of a two-state solution, for example — would constitute Mr. Trump’s third major gesture to Mr. Netanyahu, after the embassy and the Golan Heights.

This week, after Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition negotiations collapsed, Mr. Trump made no effort to disguise his disappointment.

“It looked like a total win for Netanyahu, who’s a great guy,” the president said. “That is too bad. Because they don’t need this. I mean they’ve got enough turmoil over there. It’s a tough place.”

Mr. Kushner’s visit to Jerusalem coincided with the Israeli Parliament’s vote to dissolve itself and call for new elections — arguably one of the darkest days in Mr. Netanyahu’s career. But rather than wave him off, the prime minister welcomed Mr. Kushner, posing for pictures and showing off the letter from Mr. Trump.

The next gift for Mr. Netanyahu could come on June 25, when Mr. Kushner convenes an economic conference in Bahrain. The Palestinians have announced they will boycott the meeting; the Israelis are going. That will allow Mr. Netanyahu to showcase another of his long-term strategic goals — closer ties between Israel and Sunni Muslim leaders in the Persian Gulf, with whom he shares a deep hostility toward Iran.

By holding the meeting, which he calls a “workshop,” Mr. Kushner split the economic component of his plan from the more fraught political solution. The idea was to give the Palestinians and other Arab leaders an incentive — in the form of billions of dollars of investment — to support a peace accord.

Mr. Kushner made some headway on this front. He won a pledge by Qatar, a major financial supporter of the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, to attend the workshop, even though it was pushed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are engaged in a bitter feud with the Qataris.

During his tour of the region, Mr. Kushner worked to build Arab support for his plan. His meetings with King Mohammed VI of Morocco and King Abdullah II of Jordan were “very positive and productive,” according to an administration official, though King Abdullah pointedly declared that any plan must provide for a Palestinian state.

The refusal of the Palestinians to attend the Bahrain meeting was a reminder of Mr. Kushner’s uphill struggle to engage with them, ever since they broke off communications with the White House after Mr. Trump moved the embassy.

In the wake of Mr. Netanyahu’s setback, the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, cracked that the “deal of the century,” as people have taken to calling the Trump plan, had become the “deal of the next century.”

Given that the plan was almost certain to be summarily rejected by the Palestinians if Mr. Kushner had presented it in the coming weeks, some former diplomats said the Israeli elections amounted to a reprieve for him and his partner, Jason D. Greenblatt, the president’s special envoy.

“What happened in Israel over the last 48 hours gives them a more public rationale for why they’re delaying, so it’s actually good news for them tactically,” said David Makovsky, who negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians during the Obama administration. “The Israeli election has given them an out.”

The trouble is, the political atmosphere for a peace initiative is not likely to get any less forbidding in the fall. Mr. Kushner, who helped manage his father-in-law’s campaign in 2016, will be as aware as anyone of the domestic political cost of a plan that puts pressure on Israel.

“You’ll see the political folks in the administration weighing in on how it affects the election dynamics,” said Ghaith al-Omari, a former Palestinian negotiator who is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “We’ll get into a totally different set of considerations by November and December.”

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Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan Faces a Crossroads After Coalition Talks in Israel Crumble

Westlake Legal Group merlin_155667144_0693792a-ce6f-45df-8805-87c4d71a9b9d-facebookJumbo Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan Faces a Crossroads After Coalition Talks in Israel Crumble United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Israel elections

WASHINGTON — President Trump plans to throw his full weight behind Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign to save his job as prime minister of Israel. But to do that, analysts and former diplomats said, the president will have to sacrifice any last hopes of proposing a peace plan that is acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians.

Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, met Mr. Netanyahu in Jerusalem to discuss the status of the plan on Thursday, hours after the prime minister failed to form a governing coalition. Mr. Kushner emerged with a longer timetable and a narrower diplomatic mission, these people said.

Rather than make concessions to the Palestinians, Mr. Kushner will be under pressure to tilt the plan ever further in Israel’s favor. Far from being a bold effort to break decades of enmity between the two sides, it could end up becoming a vehicle to resurrect Mr. Netanyahu’s political fortunes and to protect Mr. Trump’s.

The plan, which Mr. Kushner has drafted under a veil of secrecy for more than two years, was already looking like a doomed effort. Though its details remain unknown, Mr. Kushner has suggested it will not call for the creation of a Palestinian state, jettisoning decades of American policy toward the conflict. The Palestinians have vowed to reject it out of hand, branding it a blueprint for Israeli domination.

Certainly, a wounded Mr. Netanyahu lost no time in exploiting his friendship with Mr. Trump. He brandished a copy of a map of Israel that Mr. Trump had signed and sent to him with Mr. Kushner. In the margins, the president had drawn an arrow pointing to the long-disputed Golan Heights, which he had recognized as Israeli territory, and had scrawled “Nice.”

The White House is expected to hold off on the political component of its plan — which deals with thorny issues like borders, security and the status of Jerusalem — until after the Israeli elections, scheduled for Sept. 17. A senior administration official said only that the plan would be presented when the “timing is right.”

But that timing has grown increasingly problematic. Any new Israeli coalition probably would not be formed until at least October, which would delay the announcement of a Trump plan until November, uncomfortably close to the first primaries of the 2020 election in the United States.

Mr. Trump, eager not to alienate evangelical voters or influential pro-Israel donors like the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, is unlikely to present a plan that would put Israel or Mr. Netanyahu in an awkward position. For both leaders, therefore, the political calculus will argue for a plan that makes as few demands of Israel as possible.

“To get Netanyahu re-elected, Trump is clearly now willing to take instructions from him,” said Martin S. Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel. “I believe Netanyahu will return the favor by arguing forcefully to American Jews and evangelical voters that they should vote for Trump because he’s the best friend Israel has ever had.”

Mr. Trump has already gone further in his support of Mr. Netanyahu than any president has for any Israeli leader. Before recognizing Israeli authority over the Golan Heights, he moved the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And in a remarkable intrusion into Israeli electoral politics, Mr. Trump on Monday tweeted his support of Mr. Netanyahu’s efforts to form a coalition.

“Hoping things will work out with Israel’s coalition formation and Bibi and I can continue to make the alliance between America and Israel stronger than ever,” Mr. Trump said, using the prime minister’s nickname. “A lot more to do!”

Two days later, the White House announced an unprecedented three-way meeting in Jerusalem of its national security adviser, John R. Bolton, with his Israeli and Russian counterparts, Meir Ben-Shabbat and Nikolay Patrushev. The meeting, to discuss security issues in the Middle East, is a feather in the cap for Mr. Netanyahu, underlining his ability to convene the world’s major powers.

Mr. Indyk said a staunchly pro-Israel peace plan — one that snuffed out the goal of a two-state solution, for example — would constitute Mr. Trump’s third major gesture to Mr. Netanyahu, after the embassy and the Golan Heights.

This week, after Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition negotiations collapsed, Mr. Trump made no effort to disguise his disappointment.

“It looked like a total win for Netanyahu, who’s a great guy,” the president said. “That is too bad. Because they don’t need this. I mean they’ve got enough turmoil over there. It’s a tough place.”

Mr. Kushner’s visit to Jerusalem coincided with the Israeli Parliament’s vote to dissolve itself and call for new elections — arguably one of the darkest days in Mr. Netanyahu’s career. But rather than wave him off, the prime minister welcomed Mr. Kushner, posing for pictures and showing off the letter from Mr. Trump.

The next gift for Mr. Netanyahu could come on June 25, when Mr. Kushner convenes an economic conference in Bahrain. The Palestinians have announced they will boycott the meeting; the Israelis are going. That will allow Mr. Netanyahu to showcase another of his long-term strategic goals — closer ties between Israel and Sunni Muslim leaders in the Persian Gulf, with whom he shares a deep hostility toward Iran.

By holding the meeting, which he calls a “workshop,” Mr. Kushner split the economic component of his plan from the more fraught political solution. The idea was to give the Palestinians and other Arab leaders an incentive — in the form of billions of dollars of investment — to support a peace accord.

Mr. Kushner made some headway on this front. He won a pledge by Qatar, a major financial supporter of the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, to attend the workshop, even though it was pushed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are engaged in a bitter feud with the Qataris.

During his tour of the region, Mr. Kushner worked to build Arab support for his plan. His meetings with King Mohammed VI of Morocco and King Abdullah II of Jordan were “very positive and productive,” according to an administration official, though King Abdullah pointedly declared that any plan must provide for a Palestinian state.

The refusal of the Palestinians to attend the Bahrain meeting was a reminder of Mr. Kushner’s uphill struggle to engage with them, ever since they broke off communications with the White House after Mr. Trump moved the embassy.

In the wake of Mr. Netanyahu’s setback, the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, cracked that the “deal of the century,” as people have taken to calling the Trump plan, had become the “deal of the next century.”

Given that the plan was almost certain to be summarily rejected by the Palestinians if Mr. Kushner had presented it in the coming weeks, some former diplomats said the Israeli elections amounted to a reprieve for him and his partner, Jason D. Greenblatt, the president’s special envoy.

“What happened in Israel over the last 48 hours gives them a more public rationale for why they’re delaying, so it’s actually good news for them tactically,” said David Makovsky, who negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians during the Obama administration. “The Israeli election has given them an out.”

The trouble is, the political atmosphere for a peace initiative is not likely to get any less forbidding in the fall. Mr. Kushner, who helped manage his father-in-law’s campaign in 2016, will be as aware as anyone of the domestic political cost of a plan that puts pressure on Israel.

“You’ll see the political folks in the administration weighing in on how it affects the election dynamics,” said Ghaith al-Omari, a former Palestinian negotiator who is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “We’ll get into a totally different set of considerations by November and December.”

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Congress Weighs Whether to Allow Guantánamo Prisoners to Travel to the U.S. for Medical Care

Westlake Legal Group merlin_153971274_eff1dc7d-aae0-46ee-a983-4494d193075f-facebookJumbo Congress Weighs Whether to Allow Guantánamo Prisoners to Travel to the U.S. for Medical Care United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Terrorism Senate Committee on Armed Services Obama, Barack Mohammed, Khalid Shaikh House Committee on Armed Services Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (Cuba) Detainees Al Qaeda

This article was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

WASHINGTON — With the military putting a new focus on the health care needs of aging detainees at the Guantánamo Bay prison, Congress is considering again whether to allow the Pentagon to move wartime prisoners temporarily to the United States for emergency or complicated medical care not available at the base in Cuba.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved a provision in a larger military authorization bill that would allow temporary medical transfers to the United States. The panel in the Republican-controlled Senate has pushed the provision for seven years, only to see it stripped from final legislation over still-strong objections from both parties to bringing foreign terrorist suspects to American territory for treatment.

The political dynamic has shifted since last year, with Democrats having taken control of the House. Representative Adam Smith of Washington, the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has consistently advocated closing of the prison and relocating some detainees to the United States. A committee spokeswoman said Mr. Smith had not decided about the provision, but advocates of the proposal are hopeful that he will include it in the House version of the military authorization bill.

Even if the provision were to be included in the final bill, it is not clear that it would win approval by President Trump. The White House declined to comment. Congress has for a decade prohibited the transfer of Guantánamo detainees to the United States for any reason.

But the military’s effort to highlight the challenges it faces in caring for an aging population of detainees — with no immediate prospect of the prison being closed — has given the issue new urgency.

The politics are playing out as the military seeks Congress’s assistance in planning for the possibility that the last 40 prisoners held at Guantánamo from the war on terror could be there for the rest of their lives. The Pentagon has asked Congress for $88.5 million to build a wheelchair-accessible detention facility with hospice care capacity specifically for the 15 prisoners who were initially held in C.I.A. custody.

The Pentagon’s request for the new prison describes the $88.5 million expenditure as for the benefit of the guards, not the detainees. If no new prison is built, it said, future inmates “bound to wheelchair and/or hospital bed” would “require guards or medical personnel to carry detainees from cell to cell placing the security and safety of U.S. personnel at risk.”

But just like the proposal to allow emergency medical travel to the United States, the idea of a new prison for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, and other so-called high-value detainees, has struck a partisan divide. In May, the House Appropriations Committee voted along party lines not to fund the new prison. Republicans wanted to fund it, the Democrats did not.

“Our military has a serious backlog on facility needs with at least 30 percent of our military infrastructure rated in fair or poor condition,” said Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida, the chairwoman of the appropriations subcommittee on military construction. “Prioritizing a costly new facility for terrorists is not more important than our pressing military needs.”

Representative John Carter of Texas was among the Republicans supporting funding for the new prison.

“Like my colleagues, I do not want to provide luxurious accommodations for detainees,” he said. “But it is imperative that we provide our soldiers there the safest possible work environment. At this time we do not have that. The detainees and detention facility are an unfortunate reality. But reality it is and we need to face it.”

The Obama administration had tried and failed to close the Guantánamo Bay prison. After Mr. Trump took office and signed an executive order in January 2018 that kept it open, the Pentagon began planning for 25 more years of detention, including end-of-life care.

Across the years, only two Guantánamo prisoners have been transferred to the United States. One was Yaser Esam Hamdi, who was born in the United States and challenged his military detention to the Supreme Court, and who was sent to Saudi Arabia, where he grew up, in 2004. The other was Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, 45, of Tanzania, who was sent to New York in 2009, tried and convicted over his role in Al Qaeda’s bombings of two United States Embassies in East Africa in 1998. He is serving a life sentence at a federal prison in eastern Kentucky.

No Guantánamo detainee has been brought to the United States for medical care since the prison opened in January 2002.

But the government has recognized the limitations of Guantánamo — which routinely sends American troops home for complex health care — since the Bush administration. In 2007, the State Department secretly sought to negotiate standby agreements with four Latin American countries — Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Mexico — to let the Pentagon take sick Guantánamo prisoners to hospitals there. It failed.

Currently, the military takes specialists, including surgical teams with sophisticated equipment, to address urgent and specialized needs at the base’s small community hospital.

The problems with that approach became clear in October 2017 when, according to emails released through the courts, a visiting surgeon tried to fuse the spine at the neck of a detainee, Abd al Hadi al Iraqi. A doctor at the hospital declared the operation a failure and said the best course of action would be to transport Mr. Hadi to a naval hospital in Portsmouth, Va., “or any medical center that has the support systems in place to perform these complex procedures.”

The doctor notified the prison commander at the time, Rear Adm. Edward Cashman, that the prospect of doing such a complicated operation at the Guantánamo base hospital “scares the hell out of me.” Guantánamo medical personnel, at the admiral’s request, then figured out what it would take to medevac Mr. Hadi from the base.

Admiral Cashman never sought permission to move Mr. Hadi, said Col. Amanda Azubuike of the Army, a spokeswoman for the United States Southern Command, which oversees the prison. She called the discussion of airlifting Mr. Hadi “part of medical mission analysis/brainstorming.”

Mr. Hadi ultimately underwent five spine operations at Guantánamo, all by visiting surgical teams. He has experienced chronic pain and back spasms in the aftermath, and prison officials have set up a hospital bed at the court complex where he is to face trial on charges he commanded Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004.

Raha Wala, the senior director of governmental affairs at Human Rights First, an advocacy group, said the health care transfer provision would be consistent with the Defense Department’s “obligations under the Geneva Conventions to provide adequate medical care” to its war prisoners.

So far, he noted, it has never gotten further than conference committees because “Congress has not been particularly interested in having a fight about Gitmo.”

This year should be different, Mr. Wala said, because Mr. Smith, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has consistently sponsored amendments to lift transfer restrictions.

“As the detainees are aging, we are going to increasingly see acute medical emergencies that are going to require, frankly, treatment that isn’t available at Guantánamo,” Mr. Wala said. ”Having the ability to be able to transfer someone out for urgent medical treatment is quite important. A detainee’s life could be at risk if the authority isn’t granted.”

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As Trade War Spreads to Mexico, Companies Lose a Safe Harbor

When trade tensions with China flared last year, many companies sought refuge in a country with a long, stable relationship with the United States: Mexico.

Now, that alternative for production and materials may also be in jeopardy with President Trump’s threat to impose escalating tariffs on imports from Mexico, aimed at forcing action on illegal immigration.

In the short term, the tariffs would mean lower profits for American importers and higher prices for American consumers on everything from avocados to Volkswagens. In the long run, they could force companies to reconsider the continent-spanning supply chains that have made North America one of the world’s most interconnected economies. That disruption, experts warn, could be far more damaging to the United States economy than the cost of tariffs themselves.

The United States imported more than $345 billion in goods from Mexico last year, and shipped $265 billion the other way. But if anything, those numbers understate the interdependence. American refiners process crude oil from Mexico, then sell it back as gasoline. Automakers ship parts back and forth repeatedly during manufacturing. About 30 percent of the content of Mexican exports originated in the United States, according to a recent study.

“Our ties to Mexico are in many ways much more immediate than China and in some ways much more powerful,” said Pete Guarraia, who leads supply chain consulting for Bain. “I don’t think there’s much you could do to mitigate the effects because the changes required would be so substantial.”

Mr. Trump has frequently criticized Mexico and the American companies that relocate production there. But his trade policies have largely focused on China, a target of successive rounds of tariffs on billions of dollars in imports.

American companies have responded by moving production and supply chains out of China, in some cases to Mexico, which so far this year has displaced China as the United States’ top trading partner. The attraction of doing so only increased when the United States, Mexico and Canada reached a deal last fall to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Now, those plans have been thrown into turmoil.

“Mexico was the place that people were looking to move to,” said Joseph Fitzgerald, a partner in Deloitte’s supply-chain practice. “Now it’s, ‘Gosh, we just got through one wave of supply chain strategy and structural change and now we need to start a new round.’”

Mr. Trump said in a Twitter post on Thursday evening that he would impose a 5 percent tariff on Mexican imports on June 10, and ratchet it up to 25 percent by October if the immigration issues were not resolved. If the tariffs materialize, consumers could feel them almost immediately, most likely starting with the price of fresh fruits and vegetables — a competitive market with slim margins where distributors would have little choice but to pass on costs.

“As a consumer, that was my first thought,” said Emily Blanchard, an economist at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. “Those are my avocados and strawberries. What are you doing?”

For other products, the reverberations could be more gradual. Companies may initially absorb some of the costs to avoid losing business, particularly on higher-margin items, or ones where they face competition from domestic producers. But economic research shows that consumers eventually bear the brunt of tariffs. The impact could be greater in the case of trade with Mexico because so many imports from there contain parts or materials from American factories.

“We’re taxing ourselves on our own goods,” said Katheryn Russ, an economist at the University of California, Davis.

Economists said the direct effects of a tariff of 5 percent or even 10 percent would probably be small, especially with a strong economy and low inflation. The larger threat, they said, was the disruption they could cause for automakers and others who have come to rely on supply chains that seamlessly cross international boundaries. Those supply chains will not fray overnight, said Brian Dunch, a trade expert at PricewaterhouseCoopers. But over time, they could break down, particularly if companies decide they cannot trust trade rules to be consistent from one year to the next.

“It’s the cumulative effect of all this uncertainty,” Mr. Dunch said. “You’ll see supply chains Balkanize.”

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Workers on the assembly line of the Volkswagen factory in Puebla. Many parts and components used in Mexican plants come from the United States, and vice versa.CreditPedro Pardo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

No industry better symbolizes the integrated North American economy than the automakers. And no industry stands to lose more if that integration breaks down.

General Motors has three Mexican plants that make some of its most important models, including the highly profitable Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks and the new Chevrolet Blazer sport-utility vehicle. G.M. and Fiat Chrysler rely on Mexico for about a quarter of their North American production, and Ford for 10 percent. Some foreign automakers are even more reliant on Mexico. Volkswagen, for example, makes Golfs and Jettas there for the United States market, and almost half of the cars Nissan makes in North America are built in Mexico.

Tariffs could also disrupt production in some auto plants north of the border because manufacturers operate complex cross-border supply chains. Many parts and components used in Mexican plants come from the United States, and vice versa.

“It’s safe to say that in terms of auto manufacturing, the U.S. and Mexico are not trading with each other so much as they are building the same products together,” said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Tariffs, “would significantly raise the cost of building cars in the U.S. and burden supply chains that have been built up over decades,” she said. “The industry doesn’t have piles of cash laying around to build up new production capacity in the United States.” NEAL E. BOUDETTE

An oil refinery in Tula de Allende, Hidalgo, Mexico. The United States purchases more than 700,000 barrels of crude a day from Mexico. CreditJanet Jarman for The New York Times

Tariffs could also mean higher prices at the pump.

Imports of Mexican oil have been in decline in recent years, but the United States still purchases more than 700,000 barrels of crude a day from Mexico, 8 percent of total imports. A 5 percent tariff would add $3 a barrel — a cost that experts said were likely to be passed on to consumers in prices for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

“It’s the American driver who is going to suffer the consequences,” said Bruce S. Appelbaum, chairman of Mosaic Resources, a Houston consulting firm serving oil and gas investors.

Tariffs would pose a particular challenge for American refineries on the Gulf Coast that have been tooled to process heavy crude from Mexico, Venezuela and Canada. Adding to the challenge: Venezuelan oil imports have been shut off by Trump administration sanctions.

Mexico buys more than a million barrels of American petroleum products a day, providing as much as $20 billion in revenue to American-based energy companies annually. Those sales could be threatened if Mexico retaliates with its own tariffs, although doing so would be costly: Mexico benefits from the low cost of American energy products.

The natural gas trade will also be affected. About 20 pipelines send up to 5 billion cubic feet of American gas a day to Mexico, with more flowing in liquefied form by tanker. A shortfall in gas sales to Mexico would depress gas prices, but it could also mean a slowdown in pipeline construction and the loss of construction jobs.

“This is a symbiotic relationship he is throwing a monkey wrench at,” Steven Pruett, chief executive of Elevation Resources, a West Texas oil company, said of Mr. Trump. “It’s very disruptive to business and planning.” CLIFFORD KRAUSS

A farmer harvesting avocados in the Mexican state of Michoacan. If tariffs materialize, American consumers are likely to feel them first in the price of fresh fruits and vegetables.CreditRonaldo Schemidt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The United States imported nearly $28 billion in food and drink from Mexico last year, including more than two-fifths of its total imports of fruits and vegetables. Tariffs on those goods are likely to show up in higher prices in produce sections and grocery shelves within weeks.

American farmers, meanwhile, face the risk of retaliatory tariffs from Mexico — again. It was just two weeks ago that Mexico and Canada agreed to lift tariffs on American agricultural products that they had imposed in response to the administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Now American farmers are facing the prospect of a renewed trade war.

“It’s very disappointing because we just got the tariffs removed,” said Michael Nepveux, an economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, “so it’s very concerning to see things heading in the direction that they’re heading.”

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico has so far demurred on pushing the confrontation further. But the possibility of retaliation remains, and any Mexican tariffs could be damaging.

Agricultural and food exports to Mexico totaled $19 billion in 2018, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Of the top five exports — which include corn, soybeans, beef and dairy products — pork and pork products were most affected by the previous round of Mexico’s retaliatory efforts. During the first quarter of this year, for example, pork exports across the southern border dropped by $109 million, compared with the same three-month period in 2018.

“This is hitting agriculture once again at a very vulnerable time,” said Todd Hultman, a lead analyst at DTN, an agriculture news and data service. China, for example, the largest buyer of American soybeans, has virtually halted purchases amid heightening tensions. PATRICIA COHEN

A medical device plant in Tijuana. Mexico has increasingly become a source of pacemakers, artificial respirators and intravenous bags.CreditJohn Francis Peters for The New York Times

Mr. Trump’s tariff announcement sent a jolt through medical device makers, which in recent years have built facilities in places like Tijuana that produce items like pacemakers, artificial respirators and intravenous bags. Last year, the United States imported medical equipment from Mexico worth nearly $8 billion, according to government trade statistics.

Blair Childs, a senior vice president for public affairs at Premier, a company that buys supplies for hospitals and other health care providers, said many medical items were kept off the list of products that were subject to the first set of tariffs on imports from China. But now the list of Chinese products is expanding, meaning medical products from both China and Mexico could be hit with new levies.

“We’ve been scrambling to try and figure out what might this mean,” Mr. Childs said. “We’re completely focused on trying to avoid price increases.” PETER EAVIS

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

Trump Administration Strips India of Special Trade Status

Westlake Legal Group merlin_153219969_cd89c38d-3cfb-4110-b24a-4e65fe92ce02-facebookJumbo Trump Administration Strips India of Special Trade Status United States International Relations Trump, Donald J International Trade and World Market India Customs (Tariff)

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced on Friday that it was stripping India of a special status that exempts billions of dollars of its products from American tariffs, part of a deepening clash over India’s protections for its market.

The White House said that it would terminate India’s preferential market access to the United States as of June 5. The notice claimed that India had not given the United States “equitable and reasonable access to its markets.”

The administration said that it would also apply to India tariffs on solar panels and washers that President Trump announced last year, suspending an exemption it had granted to certain developing countries.

The measure will hit some Indian exporters of products like textiles, jewelry, auto parts and agricultural products, and aggravate tensions between the United States and a country the Trump administration has described as an ally to counter China.

After Mr. Trump’s election, he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India emphasized their close relations. And in 2018, the administration rolled out a foreign policy for a “free and open Indo-Pacific” that relied on a group of countries called “the Quad”: the United States, India, Japan and Australia.

But relations have steadily worsened since then. Mr. Trump has been far more focused on trade fights on other fronts, including negotiations with China, Europe and Japan, and an effort to ratify a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. But trade tensions with India have been quietly simmering, after the country rebuffed American efforts to open Indian markets to United States dairy products, medical devices and other goods.

American technology companies have complained about measures India uses to protect its internet industry. And Mr. Trump has criticized India in particular for charging high tariffs on American motorcycles.

“India is a very, very high-tariff nation, and they charge tremendous, tremendous numbers,” Mr. Trump said in March.

The program India is being expelled from, called the Generalized System of Preferences, was devised to allow developing countries to alleviate poverty through trade. About $5 billion of the $83.2 billion of goods that India sent the United States last year qualified for the tariff exemptions.

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

Trump Administration Strips India of Special Trade Status

Westlake Legal Group merlin_153219969_cd89c38d-3cfb-4110-b24a-4e65fe92ce02-facebookJumbo Trump Administration Strips India of Special Trade Status United States International Relations Trump, Donald J International Trade and World Market India Customs (Tariff)

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced on Friday that it was stripping India of a special status that exempts billions of dollars of its products from American tariffs, part of a deepening clash over India’s protections for its market.

The White House said that it would terminate India’s preferential market access to the United States as of June 5. The notice claimed that India had not given the United States “equitable and reasonable access to its markets.”

The administration said that it would also apply to India tariffs on solar panels and washers that President Trump announced last year, suspending an exemption it had granted to certain developing countries.

The measure will hit some Indian exporters of products like textiles, jewelry, auto parts and agricultural products, and aggravate tensions between the United States and a country the Trump administration has described as an ally to counter China.

After Mr. Trump’s election, he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India emphasized their close relations. And in 2018, the administration rolled out a foreign policy for a “free and open Indo-Pacific” that relied on a group of countries called “the Quad”: the United States, India, Japan and Australia.

But relations have steadily worsened since then. Mr. Trump has been far more focused on trade fights on other fronts, including negotiations with China, Europe and Japan, and an effort to ratify a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. But trade tensions with India have been quietly simmering, after the country rebuffed American efforts to open Indian markets to United States dairy products, medical devices and other goods.

American technology companies have complained about measures India uses to protect its internet industry. And Mr. Trump has criticized India in particular for charging high tariffs on American motorcycles.

“India is a very, very high-tariff nation, and they charge tremendous, tremendous numbers,” Mr. Trump said in March.

The program India is being expelled from, called the Generalized System of Preferences, was devised to allow developing countries to alleviate poverty through trade. About $5 billion of the $83.2 billion of goods that India sent the United States last year qualified for the tariff exemptions.

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