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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 160)

Tech Giants Shift Profits to Avoid Taxes. There’s a Plan to Stop Them.

Westlake Legal Group 09DC-TAX-promo-facebookJumbo Tech Giants Shift Profits to Avoid Taxes. There’s a Plan to Stop Them. Trump, Donald J Tax Shelters Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development International Trade and World Market Corporate Taxes Amazon.com Inc

Digital tax dodgers, take heed: International leaders have advanced a plan to prevent large multinational companies like Apple, Facebook and Amazon from avoiding taxes by shifting profits between countries.

It’s an effort to de-escalate a global battle over how to tax the digital economy.

The framework proposal, released Wednesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, would allow countries to tax large multinationals even if they did not operate inside their borders. If international negotiators can now reach agreement on its key details, the plan will pave the way for new taxes not just on tech companies but on automakers and any other large multinational firms that operate online.

Political and corporate leaders have clashed in recent years over how — and where — to tax companies that operate across national borders, particularly those that sell goods and services online.

Traditionally, companies have paid taxes in the countries where their economic activity is generated. But in the digital economy, firms can “move” the source of their profits, like patents and other intellectual property, to countries where tax rates are extremely low. That allows them to pay lower rates than companies that operate only in a single country like the United States.

Many countries, particularly those in Europe, have moved to curb that practice by approving new taxes on large multinational companies that sell to their citizens but pay little or no tax to their countries. France approved a new digital tax this year that would hit large American tech companies like Google. The Trump administration responded by threatening tariffs on imported French goods, like wine, before the countries agreed to pause their plans in hopes of finding a multilateral agreement through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Wednesday’s release brought an 18-page framework plan that officials hope will form the basis of an international agreement on digital taxation as early as next year. That framework would fundamentally alter how and where companies that operated across national borders were taxed, though it leaves the details of those tax rates to future negotiators. It suggests new rules on where companies should pay taxes — largely based on where their sales occur — and on which profits are subject to taxation.

“In a digital age, the allocation of taxing rights can no longer be exclusively circumscribed by reference to physical presence,” the framework states. “The current rules dating back to the 1920s are no longer sufficient to ensure a fair allocation of taxing rights in an increasingly globalized world.”

The framework applies only to multinationals with annual revenues of about $825 million or higher. It excludes manufacturing suppliers and resource extraction companies, like oil companies.

As it stands, the framework appears to be a victory for large, consumption-heavy countries like the United States, China and much of Western Europe, and a loss for so-called tax havens, like Ireland. Advancing the negotiating process is a win for large multinationals, even though a final deal could put them on the hook to pay more in taxes, because the alternative appears to be a series of country-by-country digital taxes that could be expensive to comply with.

“Amazon welcomes the publication of these proposals by the O.E.C.D., which are an important step forward,” a spokeswoman said Wednesday in an email. “Reaching broad international agreement on changes to fundamental international tax principles is critical to limit the risk of double taxation and distortive unilateral measures and to provide an environment that fosters growth in global trade, which is vital for the millions of customers and sellers that Amazon supports around the globe.”

A Treasury Department spokesman said on Wednesday that the United States “is studying the O.E.C.D. Secretariat’s proposal and is actively engaged in the process aimed at forging a consensus on international tax issues,” before reiterating the administration’s opposition “to unilateral digital services taxes.”

The framework will be taken up for discussion by finance ministers from large countries, who are due to meet in Washington next week.

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

Biden Calls for Trump Impeachment for First Time

Westlake Legal Group biden-impeach-facebookJumbo Biden Calls for Trump Impeachment for First Time Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Rochester (NH) impeachment Biden, Joseph R Jr

ROCHESTER, N.H. — Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday called for President Trump’s impeachment for the first time, blistering Mr. Trump as a threat to American democracy and accusing him of “shooting holes in the Constitution.”

Escalating his language in an effort to rebut Mr. Trump’s unfounded claims about his actions with Ukraine, Mr. Biden set aside months of restraint to demand Congress move against the president.

“To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached,” the former vice president told supporters here, accusing Mr. Trump of having “betrayed this nation.”

Mr. Biden linked Mr. Trump’s false claims to the so-called Big Lie idea promulgated by the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. “You say it long enough, often enough, people may believe it,” he said, invoking Goebbels by name.

While Mr. Biden stopped short of calling for Mr. Trump’s removal from office, his new aggressiveness marked an acknowledgment that he must do more to both confront a president who is attacking him daily and to halt his slide in the polls in the Democratic primary.

Mr. Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry in the House because of his request to the Ukrainian government that it look into what Mr. Biden did with the country when his son, Hunter Biden, was working for a gas company there. Mr. Biden again denied that he did anything improper as vice president. And he accused Mr. Trump, who has accused Mr. Biden of corruption and whose campaign is airing ads repeating the same claim, of acting entirely out of a desire to damage his candidacy.

“We’re not going to let Donald Trump pick the Democratic nominee for president, period,” said Mr. Biden, who has fallen behind Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in a series of national and early nominating state polls. “He’s picked a fight with the wrong guy.”

The president apparently watched the speech, or was told of it, because even before it was over he noted on Twitter that Mr. Biden had called for his impeachment and claimed the Bidens had “ripped off at least two countries for millions of dollars.”

“Joe’s Failing Campaign gave him no other choice!” wrote Mr. Trump.

There is no evidence that Hunter Biden made millions of dollars from his overseas work or that his father intervened inappropriately with Ukraine or China, the other country Mr. Trump was alluding to in his tweet. The president has also urged China to look into the Bidens.

Mr. Biden again denied that he did anything improper as vice president. He noted that his 2016 call to fire Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, was a part of United States government policy under President Barack Obama. It also reflected the wishes of a group of Republican senators at the time, who sought Mr. Shokin’s ouster because he was seen as unwilling to target corruption, Mr. Biden said.

A longtime senator before he became vice president, Mr. Biden is deferential to congressional prerogatives and has resisted calling for impeachment, even as Ms. Warren and many of his other Democratic rivals have been outspoken in demanding it. But as Mr. Trump and his allies wage political warfare against Mr. Biden, he has recently sought to mount a counteroffensive.

He began his rebuttal in a speech last week in Reno, Nev., but on Wednesday he went even further. Speaking from a teleprompter and dressed formally in suit and tie, he used his first trip back to New Hampshire since the impeachment investigation got underway to both taunt and condemn Mr. Trump in remarkably stark language.

“He’s afraid about just how badly I will beat him next November,” said Mr. Biden, attempting to frame the general election as a contest between him and the president, and appealing to Democratic voters here and elsewhere who are consumed with finding a nominee who can oust Mr. Trump.

But he also used his speech, which lasted just under 30 minutes, to warn of the damage he claimed Mr. Trump was doing to the country.

“We all laughed when he said could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and get away with it,” said Mr. Biden. “It’s no joke. He’s shooting holes in the Constitution, and we cannot let him get away with it.”

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

Fed Officials Voice Concern About Slowdown’s Effect on Hiring

Westlake Legal Group 09dc-fed-facebookJumbo Fed Officials Voice Concern About Slowdown’s Effect on Hiring United States Economy Trump, Donald J Recession and Depression Powell, Jerome H International Trade and World Market Interest Rates Federal Reserve System Federal Open Market Committee

WASHINGTON — Several Federal Reserve policymakers, at their most recent meeting, voiced concern that weaker business activity and investment could lead to slower hiring and consumer spending, according to minutes of the meeting published on Wednesday.

The Fed cut interest rates for a second time this year at that meeting, in mid-September, after a reduction in July that was its first since the Great Recession. The moves are meant to insulate the economy from major fallout as trade tensions stoke uncertainty and a global slowdown bleeds into American factories.

Policymakers at the September meeting expected the economy to continue growing steadily with the help of their rate cuts, the minutes showed. But they were increasingly worried about risks to that outlook from President Trump’s trade war, the threat of a chaotic British exit from the European Union, and protests in Hong Kong.

“Participants generally had become more concerned about risks associated with trade tensions and adverse developments in the geopolitical and global economic spheres,” according to the minutes. “Several participants mentioned that uncertainties in the business outlook and sustained weak investment could eventually lead to slower hiring, which, in turn, could damp the growth of income and consumption.”

The Federal Reserve has two main tasks: promoting maximum employment and maintaining stable inflation, which it defines as 2 percent annual price gains. To achieve those goals, policymakers adjust interest rates to try to keep the economy growing at a steady and sustainable pace.

The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee has become increasingly divided over how to achieve those objectives. That is because the economy’s prospects have been clouded by the trade war and other uncertainties even as consumer spending and job growth have held up.

Some policymakers favor lowering borrowing costs now to insulate the economy against potential shocks, arguing that changes in monetary policy affect the economy with a big lag. But others want to wait for a more pronounced weakening in the economic data, or worry that lowering rates could fuel financial bubbles.

Three people voted against the decision to cut rates in September, the most dissents since Jerome H. Powell became chair last year. Esther George, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and Eric Rosengren, president of the Boston Fed, did not want to lower rates, while James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Fed, backed a bigger rate cut.

Little has changed since the central bank’s September meeting, and while key officials including Mr. Powell and Richard Clarida, the Fed’s vice chair, have avoided signaling whether or when they will seek to lower borrowing costs again, many investors expect another rate cut when policymakers meet at the end of this month.

Speaking in Denver on Tuesday, Mr. Powell said that “policy is never on a preset course and will change as appropriate in response to incoming information.” He noted that while the job market was strong and inflation was rising toward the Fed’s 2 percent target, “there are risks to this favorable outlook, principally from global developments.”

Despite their positive assessment of the current economy, Fed policymakers were attuned to risks other than the trade war when they met last month, the minutes showed.

Several noted that some statistical models suggested that the likelihood of a coming recession “had increased notably in recent months.” But a couple of officials stressed that such models were difficult to interpret.

Some were concerned that a prolonged inversion of the yield curve — a common recession signal in which interest rates on longer-dated bonds fall below those on short-term debt — could “be a matter of concern.” And “several” were concerned about financial stability, citing a buildup of corporate debt, stock buybacks financed with low-cost debt, and rapid lending in the commercial real estate market.

Despite the mounting risks, “a few” Fed officials felt that markets were expecting too many Fed interest rate cuts going forward, “and that it might become necessary for the committee to seek a better alignment.”

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

Joe Biden Calls for Trump’s Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group biden-impeach-facebookJumbo Joe Biden Calls for Trump’s Impeachment Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Rochester (NH) impeachment Biden, Joseph R Jr

ROCHESTER, N.H. — Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday called for President Trump’s impeachment for the first time, blistering Mr. Trump as a threat to American democracy and accusing him of “shooting holes in the Constitution.”

Escalating his language in an effort to rebut Mr. Trump’s unfounded claims about his actions with Ukraine, Mr. Biden set aside months of restraint to demand Congress sanction the president.

“To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached,” the former vice president told supporters here.

Mr. Biden linked Mr. Trump’s false claims to an idea promulgated by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. “You say it long enough, often enough, people may believe it,” he said, invoking Goebbels by name.

While Mr. Biden stopped short of calling for Mr. Trump’s removal from office, his new aggressiveness marked an acknowledgment that he must do more to both confront the president and to halt his slide in the polls in the Democratic primary.

Mr. Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry in the House because of his request to the Ukrainian government that it investigate what Mr. Biden did with the country when his son, Hunter, was working for a gas company there. Mr. Biden again denied that he did anything improper as vice president. And he accused Mr. Trump, who has baselessly accused Mr. Biden of corruption and whose campaign is airing ads repeating the same claim, of attempting to damage his candidacy.

“We’re not going to let Donald Trump pick the Democratic nominee for president, period,” said Mr. Biden, who has fallen behind Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in a series of national and early nominating state polls. “He’s picked a fight with the wrong guy.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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

Trump Calls Turkey’s Syrian Offensive a ‘Bad Idea’

Westlake Legal Group merlin_162427434_6b81aae3-41d9-41c2-aa05-075aabae67e0-facebookJumbo Trump Calls Turkey’s Syrian Offensive a ‘Bad Idea’ United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syria Graham, Lindsey Cheney, Liz

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday called a Turkish military operation along the border with Syria “a bad idea” but reiterated his opposition to “endless, senseless wars,” even as leading Republicans expressed outrage and said the Turkish offensive could inflict lasting damage on Washington’s relationship with its NATO ally.

“The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea,” Mr. Trump said in a statement released by the White House.

Noting that American soldiers had been moved from the area in advance, Mr. Trump limited his criticism of Turkey and made no mention of punitive action against it.

That was a contrast with the response from Capitol Hill, where Republicans were sharply critical of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for following through with a plan he disclosed to Mr. Trump in a Sunday phone call.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican of South Carolina and a close ally of Mr. Trump’s who often speaks and golfs with the president, wrote on Twitter that a Turkish entry into Syria would be “a disaster in the making.”

“Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump administration,” he added. “This move ensures the re-emergence of ISIS.”

Mr. Graham added that he would urge the president to “change course,” and renewed a vow to punish Turkey in Congress with severe economic sanctions.

A Kurdish-led militia has fought alongside the United States in the campaign against the Islamic State, or ISIS, over the past five years. But Mr. Erdogan sees Syria’s Kurdish fighters as an enemy, and wants to create a “buffer zone” along his country’s southern border with Syria, which has been devastated by a civil war of more than eight years.

Mr. Trump asserted in his statement that “Turkey has committed to protecting civilians, protecting religious minorities, including Christians, and ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place.” He said he was holding the country responsible for preventing the release of ISIS fighters who are being held captive in the area and for ensuring “that ISIS does not reconstitute in any way, shape, or form.”

But echoing Mr. Graham, another leading Republican voice on foreign policy, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, wrote on Twitter that news of the Turkish action was “sickening.” She accused Mr. Trump of “leaving America’s allies to be slaughtered and enabling the return of ISIS.”

The Pentagon said the United States was providing no assistance to the Syrian-led militia and was drawing up contingency plans to withdraw all 1,000 American troops from northeast Syria if Turkey pushed deeper into Syrian territory.

As of noon on Wednesday, the United States military assessed that the Turkish operation was limited in scope, and that Turkish troops had not actually crossed the Syrian border. But one official said that Turkish artillery and mortar fire into Syria was intended to weaken any resistance before Turkish ground troops advanced.

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

Turkey Launches Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Turkey launched airstrikes and fired artillery across its border into northeastern Syria on Wednesday to open a military operation aimed at flushing out an American-backed militia, Turkish and Syrian officials said.

Turkish television stations broadcast video of fighter jets taking off, Howitzers firing and smoke rising from Syrian towns, while images posted on social media showed Syrians fleeing in trucks piled high with their possessions and children. Two civilians were killed and others were wounded, a militia spokesman and a local journalist said.

Turkey’s long-planned move to root out United States-allied Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria has accelerated rapidly since President Trump gave the operation a green light in a call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on Sunday.

The operation could open a dangerous new front in Syria’s eight-year-old war, pitting two United States allies against each other and raising the specter of sectarian bloodletting. Even before it began, it had set off fierce debates in Washington over Mr. Trump’s Syria policy.

On Wednesday, after the operation had begun, Mr. Trump clarified his position.

“The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea,” he said in a statement.

“Turkey,” he added, “has committed to protecting civilians, protecting religious minorities, including Christians, and ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place — and we will hold them to this commitment.”

Where Turkish forces struck Kurdish-held areas

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-600 Turkey Launches Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

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Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-335 Turkey Launches Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

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Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-300 Turkey Launches Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

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Source: Airstrike locations via Reuters; Control areas via Conflict Monitor by IHS Markit | The New York Times

The United States withdrew from 50 to 100 troops from the border area in advance of the operation, and American military officials said that the United States was not providing assistance to either side.

Mr. Erdogan said the operation aimed to “prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border,” but provided no other information about whether Turkish ground troops had entered Syria or how far they would go.

A spokesman for the United States-backed militia, the Syrian Democratic Forces, said that Turkish warplanes had begun carrying out airstrikes.

Civilians were fleeing the border towns of Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad, which were being pounded by airstrikes and shelling.

“There is a huge panic among people of the region,” the spokesman, Mustafa Bali, wrote on Twitter.

“There is a state of fear and terror among the people here and the women and children are leaving the town,” said Akrem Saleh, a local journalist reached by phone in Ras al Ain. Many of the men were staying at home because they feared that Syrian rebels backed by the Turks would loot them if they found them empty.

Mr. Saleh and Mr. Bali, the militia spokesman, said that two civilians had been killed in a nearby village by a Turkish strike.

The bombings reverberated in the town of Akcakale, Turkey, just yards across the border from Tel Abyad. Schools were closed and children played in the streets, waving flags and cheering a convoy of armored personnel carriers heading to the border.

Loudspeakers blared Ottoman martial music interspersed with stern announcements urging people not to gather in large groups and to stay away from houses facing the border.

“All day they were announcing,” said Fehima Kirboga, 46, as she sat with a relative on the sidewalk in the cool of the evening. “We are very anxious but where can we go?”

Mr. Erdogan had been threatening to send troops into northeastern Syria to uproot the militia, which the United States has partnered with for years to fight the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Turkey considers the militia a terrorist organization linked to a Kurdish guerrilla movement.

In an op-ed in The Washington Post, a government spokesman, Fahrettin Altun, wrote that Turkish forces, with their Syrian rebel allies, “will cross the Turkish-Syrian border shortly.”

“Turkey has no ambition in northeastern Syria except to neutralize a longstanding threat against Turkish citizens and to liberate the local population from the yoke of armed thugs,” he wrote.

The Syrian Democratic Forces said the area was “on the edge of possible humanitarian catastrophe” because of the looming Turkish incursion.

“This attack will spill the blood of thousands of innocent civilians because our border areas are overcrowded,” the group said in a statement.

The Kurdish-led administration that governs the area issued a call for “general mobilization” to fight the Turks.

“We call upon our people, of all ethnic groups, to move toward areas close to the border with Turkey to carry out acts of resistance during this sensitive historical time,” it said.

The United States military, which had been working with the Syrian Democratic Forces in the region to fight remnants of the Islamic State, has cut off all support to the militia, two American military officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential military assessments.

One official said that United States warplanes and surveillance aircraft remained in the area to defend the remaining American ground forces in northeast Syria, but said they would not contest any Turkish warplanes attacking Kurdish positions.

Mr. Trump reiterated his opposition to United States military presence in the Middle East, writing on Twitter that “USA should never have been in Middle East.”

He said that Turkey should take control of captured Islamic State fighters from Europe whose countries had refused to take them back and who are were imprisoned in northeast Syria.

“Turkey is now responsible for ensuring all ISIS fighters being held captive remain in prison and that ISIS does not reconstitute in any way, shape, or form,” he said in his statement.

Tens of thousands of Islamic State fighters and their families are in prisons and camps overseen by the Syrian Democratic Forces, whose leaders say there have been no discussions with the United States about handing over the facilities.

Turkey made efforts to win diplomatic support for its operation, informing the United States, Russia, Britain, NATO and the secretary general of the United Nations, the Turkish Defense Ministry said.

The NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg urged Turkey, a NATO member, “to act with restraint” and to ensure that “the gains we have made in the fight against ISIS are not jeopardized.”

Amélie de Montchalin, the French junior minister for European affairs, said that France, Germany and Britain were drafting a joint statement that would be “extremely clear about the fact that we very strongly, very firmly condemn” the Turkish offensive.

A number of countries, including Russia and Iran, both allies of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, called for talks to calm the situation instead of military action.

The United Nations Security Council was to discuss the issue on Thursday after requests by European members. Mr. Stoltenberg said he planned to meet with Mr. Erdogan on Friday.

A military coalition led by the United States partnered with a Kurdish militia beginning in 2015 to fight Islamic State extremists who had seized a territory the size of Britain that spanned the Syrian-Iraqi border. That militia grew into the Syrian Democratic Forces and eventually took control of the areas liberated from the Islamic State, pushing it from its last foothold in Syria earlier this year.

But the partnership angered Turkey, which considers the militia a part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., a Kurdish guerrilla movement that has been fighting the Turkish state for decades.

In recent days, Turkey has been preparing an incursion, with forces bused to the border and howitzers positioned behind dirt embankments, pointed at Syrian territory.

After a phone call with Mr. Erdogan on Sunday, the White House announced that Turkey would be sending forces into Syria and said the United States would move American troops out of their way.

On Monday, United States soldiers withdrew from observation posts near the Syrian border towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain, in the area where Turkey is expected to enter.

The commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces, Mazlum Kobani, told The New York Times on Tuesday that his forces would resist any attempt by Turkey to establish a foothold in Syria.

Mr. Kobani and a range of current and former United States officials have warned that a new fight with Turkey could pull his forces out of areas where the Islamic State remains a threat, opening a void that could benefit President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his Russian and Iranian backers, or the jihadists. American officials said Tuesday that the militia was already beginning to leave some of their counterterrorism missions against ISIS.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly sought to withdraw the roughly 1,000 American troops posted in northeastern Syria as part of his longstanding promise to extricate the United States from what he deems “endless wars.”

But he has faced fierce pushback from others in Washington, including from Republican lawmakers.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump sought to clarify his position, writing on Twitter that the United States had “in no way abandoned the Kurds,” but that it also had good trade relations with Turkey.

He threatened that “any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey” would be “devastating” to its economy and currency, but without explaining what sort of action would cross the line.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, addressed Turkey on his own Twitter account on Tuesday, warning the country not to go ahead with the operation.

“To the Turkish Government: You do NOT have a green light to enter into northern Syria,” Mr. Graham wrote. “There is massive bipartisan opposition in Congress, which you should see as a red line you should not cross.”

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

Turkey Begins Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Turkey launched a planned military operation in northeastern Syria on Wednesday aimed at flushing out a Syrian militia backed by the United States, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Erdogan said the operation aimed to “prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border,” but provided no other information about whether Turkish ground troops had entered Syria or how far in they would go.

A spokesman for the United States-backed militia, the Syrian Democratic Forces, said that Turkish warplanes had begun carrying out airstrikes.

Civilians were reported to be fleeing the border towns of Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad, which were being pounded by airstrikes and shelling, Reuters reported. “There is a huge panic among people of the region,” the spokesman, Mustafa Bali, wrote.

Where Turkish forces struck Kurdish-held areas

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-600 Turkey Begins Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Ras al-Ain

KURDISH

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Turkey’s proposed

buffer zone

Government

Control

Turkish army AND

syrian opposition

KURDISH

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Other

opposition

Government

Control

Deir al-Zour

Albu Kamal

Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-335 Turkey Begins Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Ras al-Ain

Turkey’s proposed

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Westlake Legal Group syria-zoom-map-300 Turkey Begins Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Kurds Kobani, Mazlum Kobani (Syria) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Graham, Lindsey Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Defense and Military Forces Assad, Bashar al-

Ras al-Ain

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Source: Airstrike locations via Reuters; Control areas via Conflict Monitor by IHS Markit | The New York Times

Turkey’s long-planned move to root out United States-allied Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria accelerated rapidly after President Trump seemingly gave a green light in a call with Mr. Erdogan on Sunday. The operation has sparked fierce debates in Washington and could open a dangerous new front in Syria’s eight-year-old war.

Earlier Wednesday, the Syrian Democractic Forces had mobilized and warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe” as Turkey massed troops near the countries’ border for an incursion it said would begin “shortly.”

New violence between Turkey and the United States-backed Syrian Democratic Forces pits two United States allies against each other in ethnically tinged battles, leaving Washington in an awkward position.

Mr. Erdogan has been threatening to send troops into northeastern Syria to uproot the militia, which the United States has partnered with for years to fight the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Turkey considers the militia a terrorist organization linked to a Kurdish guerrilla movement.

In an op-ed in The Washington Post on Wednesday, Fahrettin Altun, Turkey’s communications director, wrote that Turkish forces, with their Syrian rebel allies, “will cross the Turkish-Syrian border shortly.”

“Turkey has no ambition in northeastern Syria except to neutralize a longstanding threat against Turkish citizens and to liberate the local population from the yoke of armed thugs,” he wrote.

For its part, the Syrian Democratic Forces said the area was “on the edge of possible humanitarian catastrophe” because of the looming Turkish incursion.

“This attack will spill the blood of thousands of innocent civilians because our border areas are overcrowded,” the group said in a statement.

The Kurdish-led administration that governs the area issued a call for “general mobilization” to fight the Turks.

“We call upon our people, of all ethnic groups, to move toward areas close to the border with Turkey to carry out acts of resistance during this sensitive historical time,” it said.

Early Wednesday, Mr. Trump reiterated his opposition to United States military presence in the Middle East, writing on Twitter that “USA should never have been in Middle East.”

He said that Turkey should take control of captured Islamic State fighters from Europe whose countries had refused to take them back and who are were imprisoned in northeast Syria.

“The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!” Mr. Trump wrote.

Tens of thousands of Islamic State fighters and their families are in prisons and camps overseen by the Syrian Democratic Forces, whose leaders say there have been no discussions with the United States about handing over the facilities.

A military coalition led by the United States partnered with a Kurdish militia in northeastern Syria beginning in 2015 to fight Islamic State extremists who had seized a territory the size of Britain that spanned the Syrian-Iraqi border.

That militia grew into the Syrian Democratic Forces and eventually took control of the areas liberated from the Islamic State, pushing it from its last foothold in Syria earlier this year.

But the partnership angered Turkey, which considers the militia a part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., a Kurdish guerrilla movement that has been fighting the Turkish state for decades.

In recent days, Turkey has been preparing an incursion, with forces bused to the border and howitzers positioned behind dirt embankments, pointed at Syrian territory.

After a phone call with Mr. Erdogan on Sunday, the White House announced that Turkey would be sending forces into Syria and said the United States would not help or hinder their advance.

On Monday, United States soldiers withdrew from observation posts near the Syrian border towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain, in the area where Turkey is expected to enter.

The commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces, Mazlum Kobani, told The New York Times on Tuesday that his forces would resist any attempt by Turkey to establish a foothold in Syria.

His forces have been key to the United States effort to defeat the Islamic State in Syria, battles that left them holding more than a quarter of Syrian territory.

Mr. Kobani and a range of current and former United States officials have warned that a new fight with Turkey could pull his forces out of areas where the Islamic State remains a threat, opening a void that could benefit President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his Russian and Iranian backers, or the jihadists.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly sought to withdraw the roughly 1,000 American troops posted in northeastern Syria as part of his longstanding promise to extricate the United States from what he deems “endless wars.”

But he has faced fierce pushback from others in Washington, including from Republican lawmakers.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump sought to clarify his position, writing on Twitter that the United States had “in no way abandoned the Kurds,” but that it also had good trade relations with Turkey.

He threatened that “any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey” would be “devastating” to its economy and currency, but without explaining what sort of action would cross the line.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, addressed Turkey on his own Twitter account on Tuesday, warning the country not to go ahead with the operation.

“To the Turkish Government: You do NOT have a green light to enter into northern Syria,” Mr. Graham wrote. “There is massive bipartisan opposition in Congress, which you should see as a red line you should not cross.”

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In Trump, Turkey’s Erdogan Keeps Finding a Sympathetic Ear

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_162369690_a81ed3e0-463c-4034-a0ca-bc8b6ed05a53-articleLarge In Trump, Turkey’s Erdogan Keeps Finding a Sympathetic Ear United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Erdogan, Recep Tayyip

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey was invited to visit the White House in mid-November.CreditAndrej Cukic/EPA, via Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — Three times over the past year, President Trump has spoken with Turkey’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and told Mr. Erdogan what he wanted to hear.

Last December, Mr. Trump stunned his own national security team by abruptly deciding to pull American troops out of Syria, clearing the way for Mr. Erdogan’s long-sought incursion into the country.

On Sunday, Mr. Trump spoke again to his Turkish counterpart, and then issued a similar declaration. And in between the calls, in June, Mr. Trump came away from a meeting with Mr. Erdogan echoing Turkish talking points blaming President Barack Obama for the country’s purchase of a Russian missile system.

The relationship between the two prideful and blustery men has had its rocky patches — and its threats. Mr. Trump, facing backlash from Republicans on Monday, warned on Twitter that he would “totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey” if Mr. Erdogan were to cross unspecified “limits” in Syria.

But American and Turkish officials alike describe an unusual partnership in which Mr. Erdogan has repeatedly guided Mr. Trump toward positions that pit him against his own national security advisers and Republicans allies. Analysts call it an oddity of their relationship that two naturally combative leaders, both prone to explosive public insults, seem to understand each other and believe they can sort things out by phone.

Mr. Erdogan will soon have the president’s ear again: Mr. Trump announced in a tweet on Tuesday that the Turkish leader would visit the White House on Nov. 13. He also continued on Tuesday to defend his decision, tweeting that “in no way have we abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters.” Mr. Erdogan is one of several foreign strongmen who draw condemnation from human rights groups but with whom Mr. Trump appears to keen to do business. Both are man-of-the-people nationalists who have battled resistance from their respective security establishments.

While Mr. Trump rails against a bureaucratic “Deep State” seeking to overthrow him through investigations and impeachment, in 2016, Mr. Erdogan survived an actual military coup that turned bloody. The term “Deep State,” in fact, was first coined to describe the generals who long ruled Turkey from behind the scenes.

“They share a similar worldview, they dislike elites,” said Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, the director of the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ office in the Turkish capital, Ankara. “Trump would probably like to govern the way Erdogan does.”

On Sunday, Mr. Erdogan even seemed to play a version of the Deep State card with his counterpart. According to the readout of Sunday’s telephone call released by Turkey’s presidential palace, Mr. Erdogan “shared with President Trump his frustration over the U.S. military and security bureaucracy’s failure to implement” an agreement between the two countries governing security in northern Syria.

Mr. Trump responded by telling Mr. Erdogan, much as he had in December, that he would be removing American troops from the area where the Turkish leader hoped to do battle with the Kurdish-led militia that has been critical American allies against the Islamic State. Turkey considers the militia a threat to its own borders and security.

Mr. Trump knows Turkey from his earlier life in real estate — he sold his brand name to the Trump Towers Istanbul in 2010 — but like presidents before him, he has struggled to devise a consistent policy toward the country.

Instead, he has focused on his personal relationship with Mr. Erdogan in conversations that people familiar with them describe as typically “fawning.” Mr. Trump usually begins by praising Mr. Erdogan, who is himself notorious for haranguing American presidents with grievances, according to those people.

“We have a great friendship as countries,” Mr. Trump said in an appearance with Mr. Erdogan that September. “I think we’re, right now, as close as we have ever been. And a lot of that has to do with the personal relationship.” The following July, he was spotted fist-bumping the Turkish leader at a NATO summit in Brussels.

That chumminess has unsettled both appointed and elected officials suspicious of Mr. Erdogan’s repressive policies, Islamist sympathies and deepening relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Nearly everyone agrees, however, that simply shunning the head of a NATO-member nation at the pivot point between East and West is not practical.

The Trump-Erdogan friendship has already survived at least one major test, when relations flared over Mr. Erdogan’s continued detention of an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, who was jailed for nearly two years in a widespread crackdown after a failed coup in Turkey. When Mr. Brunson was not freed as he expected, Mr. Trump announced in a hostile tweet that he was doubling tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum and watching the Turkish lira slide.

After Mr. Brunson was freed last October, Mr. Trump expressed public gratitude to Mr. Erdogan for “making this possible.”

To some former United States officials who have worked closely with Mr. Erdogan’s government, the relationship between Mr. Trump and Mr. Erdogan is an unsolved puzzle.

“It’s not really clear to me what Trump, or the United States, gets out of this,” said Phil Gordon, who served at the State Department and on the National Security Council under Mr. Obama.

“It’s consistent with other seemingly inexplicable Trump actions that are more in line with Russian interests than with ours,” added Mr. Gordon, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Even before their collective anger over Mr. Trump’s Sunday announcement about Syria, Senate Republicans had been frustrated with the president’s resistance to placing sanctions on Turkey for its purchase of the advanced Russian S-400 missile system. Congressional leaders call it a clear violation of a 2017 law requiring economic penalties on countries that purchase Russian arms.

With pressure mounting in Washington on Mr. Trump to enact sanctions, he sat down in June with Mr. Erdogan at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, where the Turkish leader argued that he had been forced to buy Russian arms because Mr. Obama had unreasonably blocked Turkish efforts to purchase the American-made Patriot missile.

Former Obama administration officials say the story is far more complicated, and that Mr. Erdogan had other options. But they said the Turkish leader had skilfully handed Mr. Trump, who revels in criticism of his predecessor, an ideal talking point as he deferred questions about whether he would impose sanctions.

“It’s a very tough situation that they’re in. And it’s a very tough situation that we’ve been placed in — the United States,” Mr. Trump said in mid-July, adding that “it’s not really fair.”

Mr. Trump did cancel the planned sale of more than 100 F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, whose operation in proximity to the Russian system NATO opposes on security grounds. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the law “requires” sanctions.

“Trump is trying really hard to avoid slapping sanctions on Turkey, and that’s partly because he’s trying to not rupture his relationship with Erdogan,” said Soner Cagaptay, the director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

A Pentagon spokesman on Tuesday challenged published reports that Mr. Trump’s decision to order American troops to move out of the area where Turkey plans an offensive surprised senior officials and said Mr. Trump had consulted Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the days before talking to Mr. Erdogan.

But Pentagon officials said they had discussed Mr. Erdogan’s threats to invade northern Syria, and there was no prior hint about Mr. Trump ordering American troops to step aside and leave their Syrian Kurdish allies vulnerable to attack. In fact, the officials said, both Mr. Esper and General Milley warned their Turkish counterparts last week that any such cross-border operation would seriously damage United States-Turkey relations.

One senior Trump administration official on Monday said that it was troubling to some officials that Mr. Erdogan was not concerned about angering Mr. Trump, and that he appeared to feel he had autonomy to move into Syria.

In all the furor over Mr. Trump’s announcement, there has been a studied silence from Mr. Erdogan.

Likewise, Mr. Trump’s recent tweets — even those threatening Turkey’s economy with destruction — have avoided calling out Mr. Erdogan by name.

Michael Crowley reported from Washington, and Carlotta Gall from Istanbul. Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York, and Eric Schmitt from Washington.

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In Trump, Turkey’s Erdogan Keeps Finding a Sympathetic Ear

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_162369690_a81ed3e0-463c-4034-a0ca-bc8b6ed05a53-articleLarge In Trump, Turkey’s Erdogan Keeps Finding a Sympathetic Ear United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Erdogan, Recep Tayyip

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey was invited to visit the White House in mid-November.CreditAndrej Cukic/EPA, via Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — Three times over the past year, President Trump has spoken with Turkey’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and told Mr. Erdogan what he wanted to hear.

Last December, Mr. Trump stunned his own national security team by abruptly deciding to pull American troops out of Syria, clearing the way for Mr. Erdogan’s long-sought incursion into the country.

On Sunday, Mr. Trump spoke again to his Turkish counterpart, and then issued a similar declaration. And in between the calls, in June, Mr. Trump came away from a meeting with Mr. Erdogan echoing Turkish talking points blaming President Barack Obama for the country’s purchase of a Russian missile system.

The relationship between the two prideful and blustery men has had its rocky patches — and its threats. Mr. Trump, facing backlash from Republicans on Monday, warned on Twitter that he would “totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey” if Mr. Erdogan were to cross unspecified “limits” in Syria.

But American and Turkish officials alike describe an unusual partnership in which Mr. Erdogan has repeatedly guided Mr. Trump toward positions that pit him against his own national security advisers and Republicans allies. Analysts call it an oddity of their relationship that two naturally combative leaders, both prone to explosive public insults, seem to understand each other and believe they can sort things out by phone.

Mr. Erdogan will soon have the president’s ear again: Mr. Trump announced in a tweet on Tuesday that the Turkish leader would visit the White House on Nov. 13. He also continued on Tuesday to defend his decision, tweeting that “in no way have we abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters.” Mr. Erdogan is one of several foreign strongmen who draw condemnation from human rights groups but with whom Mr. Trump appears to keen to do business. Both are man-of-the-people nationalists who have battled resistance from their respective security establishments.

While Mr. Trump rails against a bureaucratic “Deep State” seeking to overthrow him through investigations and impeachment, in 2016, Mr. Erdogan survived an actual military coup that turned bloody. The term “Deep State,” in fact, was first coined to describe the generals who long ruled Turkey from behind the scenes.

“They share a similar worldview, they dislike elites,” said Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, the director of the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ office in the Turkish capital, Ankara. “Trump would probably like to govern the way Erdogan does.”

On Sunday, Mr. Erdogan even seemed to play a version of the Deep State card with his counterpart. According to the readout of Sunday’s telephone call released by Turkey’s presidential palace, Mr. Erdogan “shared with President Trump his frustration over the U.S. military and security bureaucracy’s failure to implement” an agreement between the two countries governing security in northern Syria.

Mr. Trump responded by telling Mr. Erdogan, much as he had in December, that he would be removing American troops from the area where the Turkish leader hoped to do battle with the Kurdish-led militia that has been critical American allies against the Islamic State. Turkey considers the militia a threat to its own borders and security.

Mr. Trump knows Turkey from his earlier life in real estate — he sold his brand name to the Trump Towers Istanbul in 2010 — but like presidents before him, he has struggled to devise a consistent policy toward the country.

Instead, he has focused on his personal relationship with Mr. Erdogan in conversations that people familiar with them describe as typically “fawning.” Mr. Trump usually begins by praising Mr. Erdogan, who is himself notorious for haranguing American presidents with grievances, according to those people.

“We have a great friendship as countries,” Mr. Trump said in an appearance with Mr. Erdogan that September. “I think we’re, right now, as close as we have ever been. And a lot of that has to do with the personal relationship.” The following July, he was spotted fist-bumping the Turkish leader at a NATO summit in Brussels.

That chumminess has unsettled both appointed and elected officials suspicious of Mr. Erdogan’s repressive policies, Islamist sympathies and deepening relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Nearly everyone agrees, however, that simply shunning the head of a NATO-member nation at the pivot point between East and West is not practical.

The Trump-Erdogan friendship has already survived at least one major test, when relations flared over Mr. Erdogan’s continued detention of an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, who was jailed for nearly two years in a widespread crackdown after a failed coup in Turkey. When Mr. Brunson was not freed as he expected, Mr. Trump announced in a hostile tweet that he was doubling tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum and watching the Turkish lira slide.

After Mr. Brunson was freed last October, Mr. Trump expressed public gratitude to Mr. Erdogan for “making this possible.”

To some former United States officials who have worked closely with Mr. Erdogan’s government, the relationship between Mr. Trump and Mr. Erdogan is an unsolved puzzle.

“It’s not really clear to me what Trump, or the United States, gets out of this,” said Phil Gordon, who served at the State Department and on the National Security Council under Mr. Obama.

“It’s consistent with other seemingly inexplicable Trump actions that are more in line with Russian interests than with ours,” added Mr. Gordon, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Even before their collective anger over Mr. Trump’s Sunday announcement about Syria, Senate Republicans had been frustrated with the president’s resistance to placing sanctions on Turkey for its purchase of the advanced Russian S-400 missile system. Congressional leaders call it a clear violation of a 2017 law requiring economic penalties on countries that purchase Russian arms.

With pressure mounting in Washington on Mr. Trump to enact sanctions, he sat down in June with Mr. Erdogan at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, where the Turkish leader argued that he had been forced to buy Russian arms because Mr. Obama had unreasonably blocked Turkish efforts to purchase the American-made Patriot missile.

Former Obama administration officials say the story is far more complicated, and that Mr. Erdogan had other options. But they said the Turkish leader had skilfully handed Mr. Trump, who revels in criticism of his predecessor, an ideal talking point as he deferred questions about whether he would impose sanctions.

“It’s a very tough situation that they’re in. And it’s a very tough situation that we’ve been placed in — the United States,” Mr. Trump said in mid-July, adding that “it’s not really fair.”

Mr. Trump did cancel the planned sale of more than 100 F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, whose operation in proximity to the Russian system NATO opposes on security grounds. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the law “requires” sanctions.

“Trump is trying really hard to avoid slapping sanctions on Turkey, and that’s partly because he’s trying to not rupture his relationship with Erdogan,” said Soner Cagaptay, the director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

A Pentagon spokesman on Tuesday challenged published reports that Mr. Trump’s decision to order American troops to move out of the area where Turkey plans an offensive surprised senior officials and said Mr. Trump had consulted Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the days before talking to Mr. Erdogan.

But Pentagon officials said they had discussed Mr. Erdogan’s threats to invade northern Syria, and there was no prior hint about Mr. Trump ordering American troops to step aside and leave their Syrian Kurdish allies vulnerable to attack. In fact, the officials said, both Mr. Esper and General Milley warned their Turkish counterparts last week that any such cross-border operation would seriously damage United States-Turkey relations.

One senior Trump administration official on Monday said that it was troubling to some officials that Mr. Erdogan was not concerned about angering Mr. Trump, and that he appeared to feel he had autonomy to move into Syria.

In all the furor over Mr. Trump’s announcement, there has been a studied silence from Mr. Erdogan.

Likewise, Mr. Trump’s recent tweets — even those threatening Turkey’s economy with destruction — have avoided calling out Mr. Erdogan by name.

Michael Crowley reported from Washington, and Carlotta Gall from Istanbul. Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York, and Eric Schmitt from Washington.

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Who Is Gordon Sondland, and What Was His Mission to Ukraine?

Westlake Legal Group 04sondland1-facebookJumbo Who Is Gordon Sondland, and What Was His Mission to Ukraine? Zelensky, Volodymyr United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates

BRUSSELS — Gordon D. Sondland, the blunt-spoken hotelier who is President Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, was boasting on Ukrainian television that Mr. Trump had honored him with a “special assignment” — “overseeing” relations between the two countries “at the highest levels.”

Mr. Sondland had arrived in Kiev on July 25, the day of the now-infamous telephone call between President Trump and the new president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. He had spoken to Mr. Trump minutes before the call, he said, and met with Mr. Zelensky for an hour the next morning, before his television interview.

At the time, his television remarks might have been the kind of diplomatic bluster one would expect of Mr. Sondland, a big, loquacious man who has been a prominent Republican donor and fund-raiser for years and loves to remind people of the good relationship he has developed with Mr. Trump.

But in the glare of the impeachment inquiry swirling in Washington, Mr. Sondland’s mission is now being scrutinized in an entirely different light, to assess whether it was to give a lift to American relations with Ukraine, or actually to serve as Mr. Trump’s personal fixer.

“We can make sure that all the reforms and all of the initiatives that we are undertaking with Ukraine stay on track and happen quickly,” Mr. Sondland said in the television interview.

[The Trump administration blocked Mr. Sondland from sitting for a deposition on Tuesday with House investigators.]

What Mr. Sondland did not say, and what has become clear in the messages released on Thursday by House Democrats, is that one of the main initiatives was getting Mr. Zelensky to agree publicly to a statement committing Ukraine to pursue investigations sought by Mr. Trump into his political rivals, especially former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his son, Hunter, and into supposed meddling from Ukraine in the 2016 election.

In return, Mr. Zelensky would get the White House meeting he craved and, implicitly, Washington would release military aid held up on Mr. Trump’s request.

Asked in the interview about progress in Ukraine-America relations, including questions like membership of NATO and energy security, Mr. Sondland urged patience.

“It’s not a question of saying no,’’ Mr. Sondland said of the Zelensky government. ‘‘It’s a question of saying when. There are certain things that they have to do. There are preconditions to anything.”

Mr. Sondland also spoke to Ukraine’s state-run news agency after the call and said: “The conversation was very successful. They found a common language immediately.” He said the two leaders discussed Ukraine’s war, energy security and “the rule of law.”

Mr. Sondland, 62, arrived in Brussels as ambassador to the European Union in June of last year, having raised a lot of money for Mr. Trump after building a lucrative hotel chain in the Pacific Northwest.

He sees his job as pressing Mr. Trump’s agenda, which is tightly focused on trade and the impediments that led to a $151 billion trade deficit in goods with the European Union, a figure Mr. Sondland often cites.

Mr. Sondland has said that his grandparents were from Ukraine. His parents were both refugees from the Nazis, and he was the first in his family to be born in the United States.

In September 2018, Mr. Sondland posted a video to introduce himself and his family to Europeans, featuring shots of him making coffee, relaxing at home, showing off his collection of art, climbing into a jet that he likes to pilot, and walking his dogs on the beach with his wife, Katherine Durant, a businesswoman, and introducing his son Max and daughter Lucy.

Ms. Sondland backed out of hosting a fund-raiser for Mr. Trump in 2016, citing Mr. Trump’s disparaging comments toward immigrants and the family of a slain Muslim-American soldier. But in the end Mr. Sondland donated $1 million through his companies to the inaugural committee for Mr. Trump.

That relationship seems to have led to his apparent responsibility in Ukraine after the previous ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, a career diplomat, displeased the White House and was removed several months before the end of her term.

Mr. Sondland’s “special assignment” from Mr. Trump was never formally announced, but it was instrumental in the negotiations with Mr. Zelensky’s team and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, who was pressing for these essentially political investigations.

Officials in Mr. Sondland’s embassy say that the Ukrainian effort was not a part of their own work with the European Union, and that they were not aware of the extent of Mr. Sondland’s activities in Ukraine.

In his interview with Ukrainian television, Mr. Sondland said the American-Ukrainian relationship was in the hands of “what are called the three amigos’’ — himself, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Kurt D. Volker, the special representative for Ukraine negotiations.

Mr. Sondland arrived in Kiev the day of the phone call, on July 25, and has said that he spoke to Mr. Trump minutes before the call took place, and then met with Mr. Zelensky for an hour the next morning along with Mr. Volker, who quit his role after the whistle-blower’s complaint about the call was made public.

The whistle-blower has described the two men as having “reportedly provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to ‘navigate’ the demands that the president had made of Mr. Zelensky.”

In a message to a Zelensky adviser on July 25, ahead of the call, Mr. Volker said he was assured by the White House that if Mr. Zelensky could convince Mr. Trump that he “will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington.”

That message made no reference to Mr. Biden or his son, just to Mr. Trump’s conviction that 2016 election meddling came from Ukraine, not Russia. Nor did it mention the frozen military aid.

Mr. Sondland has declined to comment, referring all questions to the White House. But he seems from the messages to have been instrumental in trying to get Mr. Trump what he wanted in a fashion that would get Mr. Zelensky the White House meeting he wanted, as well as the unfreezing of the military aid.

From the messages released, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, William B. Taylor Jr., a career diplomat who had previously been ambassador to Ukraine from May 2006 to May 2009, was extremely uncomfortable with the implicit quid pro quo insisted upon by the White House.

Ukrainian “faith” in Washington was already shaken by the withholding of aid, Mr. Taylor said in a message to Mr. Sondland, and if in the end Ukraine made the statement Mr. Trump wanted and was denied the military assistance anyway, Mr. Taylor messaged, “the Russians love it. (And I quit.)”

Mr. Sondland’s predecessor, Anthony L. Gardner, appointed by President Barack Obama, said that such a special assignment to Ukraine was “extremely unusual,’’ since it has little to do directly with the European Union.

But Mr. Sondland told reporters last month that he saw Ukraine as among a handful of “low-hanging fruit” areas of policy where the European Union could work together with Washington.

The July visit was the third Mr. Sondland made to Ukraine. He was in Odessa in February and in Kiev again in May, when he attended Mr. Zelensky’s inauguration, which Vice President Mike Pence was ordered not to attend by Mr. Trump.

Instead, the delegation was led by Mr. Perry and included Mr. Volker, Mr. Sondland and Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin. They then briefed Mr. Trump in the White House about Mr. Zelensky and his eagerness to combat corruption, but Mr. Trump was not convinced.

Mr. Sondland continued building a relationship with Mr. Zelensky, hosting him at a June dinner at the United States mission to the European Union in Brussels after a July 4 party that featured Jay Leno, who is a friend of Mr. Sondland.

The party and the dinner were also attended by Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser; Mr. Perry; the Polish prime minister; and Ulrich Brechbuhl, a State Department counselor who is mentioned in the whistle-blower memo as having listened in to the July 25 telephone call.

On Aug. 9, according to the texts released, Mr. Sondland thought he was finally making progress on getting a date for the Zelensky visit to the White House. But he was unsure, messaging Mr. Volker: “I think POTUS really wants the deliverable,” meaning a public Zelensky statement about his commitment to investigate the Bidens and 2016.

Even though the Ukrainians seemed to agree, Mr. Trump still would not set a date for a meeting.

Mr. Perry, Mr. Sondland and Mr. Pence also met with Mr. Zelensky in Warsaw on Aug. 31, when Mr. Trump canceled his own visit, citing a hurricane. That meeting appeared routine, according to Mr. Perry’s readout.

“The Vice President reiterated the U.S.’ support of Ukraine’s security and rightful claim to Crimea,’’ the statement read. ‘‘President Zelensky articulated his administration’s commitment to defeating corruption and pledged to launch much anticipated reforms.”

On Sept. 1, Mr. Taylor texted Mr. Sondland: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Mr. Sondland responded by ending the text exchange and reverting to a telephone call.

But by Sept. 9, matters remained unclear. Mr. Taylor, the acting ambassador, messaged: “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

Mr. Sondland responded: “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.’’

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