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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "United States Politics and Government"

Potential Clash Over Secrets Looms Between Justice Dept. and C.I.A.

Westlake Legal Group 24dc-declassify-facebookJumbo Potential Clash Over Secrets Looms Between Justice Dept. and C.I.A. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2016 Classified Information and State Secrets central intelligence agency Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s order allowing Attorney General William P. Barr to declassify any intelligence that sparked the opening of the Russia investigation sets up a potential confrontation with the C.I.A., effectively stripping the agency of its most critical power: choosing which secrets it shares and which ones remain hidden.

On Friday, Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, said the agencies under his purview would give the Justice Department “all of the appropriate information” for its review. But Mr. Coats, a seasoned politician, also included a not-so-subtle warning that his agency’s secrets must be protected.

“I am confident that the attorney general will work with the I.C. in accordance with the long-established standards to protect highly-sensitive classified information that, if publicly released, would put our national security at risk,” Mr. Coats said, referring to the intelligence community.

Mr. Trump granted Mr. Barr’s request for sweeping new authorities to conduct his review of how the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia were investigated. The president ordered the C.I.A. and the other intelligence agencies to cooperate, granting Mr. Barr the authority to unilaterally declassify their documents and thus significant leverage over the intelligence community.

Mr. Trump defended his decision earlier on Friday, telling reporters as he left for a trip to Japan that the declassification would be sweeping. “What are we doing, we are exposing everything,” he said. “We are being transparent.” He expressed no qualms about national security implications.

As Mr. Coats’ comments suggested, intelligence officials believe the danger of the move by Mr. Trump, was that it could endanger the agency’s ability to keep the identities of its sources secret.

The most prominent of those source among them may well be a person close to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia who provided information to the C.I.A. about his involvement in Moscow’s 2016 election interference.

The concern about the source, who is believed to be still alive, is one of several issues raised by Mr. Trump’s decision to use the intelligence to pursue his political enemies. It has also prompted fears from former national security officials and Democratic lawmakers that other sources or methods of intelligence gathering — among the government’s most closely held secrets — could be made public, not because of leaks to the news media that the administration denounces, but because the president has determined it suits his political purposes.

Intelligence officials have feared before that their findings were being twisted to political agendas — notably concerns during the run-up to the Iraq war that information about Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction was being cherry-picked to justify combat. But Mr. Trump’s decision is different.

It allows Mr. Barr, who has used the charged term “spying” to describe efforts to investigate the Trump campaign, sole discretion to declassify the intelligence behind the F.B.I.’s decision to begin investigating whether any Trump aides or associates were working with the Russians. It also raises the specter that officials ranging from the F.B.I. to the C.I.A. to the National Security Agency, which was monitoring Russian officials, will be questioned about their sources and their intent.

The order could be tremendously damaging to the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies, drying up sources and inhibiting their ability to gather intelligence, said Representative Adam Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

“The president now seems intent on declassifying intelligence to weaponize it,” Mr. Schiff said in an interview.

Mr. Trump has long held that he was a target of the “deep state,’’ at various points accusing former President Barack Obama without evidence of tapping his phones, the F.B.I. of secretly trying to undermine his candidacy and past intelligence chiefs of bending their findings to prove Russian involvement in his election victory.

He has repeatedly appeared to side with Mr. Putin’s contention that there is no evidence of a Russian campaign to sabotage the 2016 election, even though the Mueller report left no question that the Russian leadership was behind both the theft and publication of emails and other data from Democrats and a social media campaign that ultimately worked to boost Mr. Trump’s candidacy, as well as efforts to tamper with election registration systems.

But it is the human source that particularly worries some former and current intelligence officials. Long nurtured by the C.I.A., the source rose to a position that enabled the informant to provide key information in 2016 about the Russian leadership’s role in the interference campaign.

John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director under Mr. Obama, would bring reports from the source directly to the White House, keeping them out of the president’s daily intelligence briefing for fear that the briefing document was too widely disseminated. Instead, he would place them in an envelope for Mr. Obama and a tiny circle of aides to read.

The source provided evidence for one of the last major intelligence conclusions that Mr. Obama made public before leaving office: that Mr. Putin himself was behind the Russia hack.

John Sipher, a former C.I.A. official who led Russia operations for the agency, expressed concern that giving the president names of sources or agency officials who oversaw those informants could put those secrets at risk because they would inevitably be more widely disseminated.

“If the president of the United States asks for a name, it would be hard not to provide a name,” Mr. Sipher said. “It wouldn’t do him any good unless he sent it around to people to look into it, and that is where the security problem is, obviously.”

Mr. Schiff pledged that his committee would pay close attention to all of Mr. Barr’s actions in the inquiry. “We are going to expose any abuse, any politicization of intelligence,” he said.

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Distorted Videos of Nancy Pelosi Spread on Facebook and Twitter, Helped by Trump

Westlake Legal Group 24xp-pelosivid-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Distorted Videos of Nancy Pelosi Spread on Facebook and Twitter, Helped by Trump Video Recordings, Downloads and Streaming United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Pelosi, Nancy impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Artificial Intelligence

Manipulated videos of Speaker Nancy Pelosi that made it seem as if she were stumbling and slurring her words continued to spread across social media on Friday, fueled by President Trump’s feud with the Democratic leader.

One of the videos, which showed Ms. Pelosi speaking at a conference this week, appeared to be slowed down to make her speech sound continually garbled.

The video has been viewed millions of times on Facebook and was amplified by the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who shared the video Thursday night on Twitter. “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi?” Mr. Giuliani said in a tweet that has since been deleted. “Her speech pattern is bizarre.”

Mr. Trump himself tweeted a separate video of Ms. Pelosi on Thursday night, an edited clip from Fox Business that spliced together moments from a 20-minute news conference and emphasized points where she had stumbled on her words. “PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE,” the president tweeted.

By Friday, the social media giants, already under pressure to fight online disinformation, were forced to respond.

Addressing the distorted video slurring Ms. Pelosi’s speech, YouTube said the video violated its standards and had been removed. Facebook said that a third-party fact checker had rated the video “false,” but posts remained on the site and the company said it was trying to limit how widely the video was shared. That video continued to be shared and viewed on Twitter, but the company declined to comment.

The edited videos surfaced online amid a particularly intense and public feud between Mr. Trump and Ms. Pelosi. Each questioned the other’s temperament and mental fitness in an exchange of personal insults on Thursday, as Ms. Pelosi works to stave off impeachment proceedings that she believes could harm her party and as Mr. Trump continues to defy Democratic efforts to subpoena documents and summon witnesses in the wake of the release of the special counsel’s report last month.

But the videos also raised broader concerns about the roles of digital manipulation and disinformation in politics, particularly in the lead-up to the 2020 election.

Tech giants have been grappling with how to combat disinformation, after Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election became a template for spreading false information online. And recent episodes have underscored how videos and other information can make their way from the corners of the internet to the mantel of national politics.

Mr. Trump has previously used doctored, if obviously cartoonish, videos for political purposes, including ones targeting former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Democratic candidate for president, and CNN, the cable news network. In another case, his administration relied on a misleadingly edited video from a contributor to the conspiracy site Infowars to help justify removing the credentials of CNN’s chief White House correspondent.

In another instance, Democratic tech experts mimicked Russian tactics to help Senator Doug Jones of Alabama edge out his Republican opponent, Roy S. Moore, including creating a Facebook page where they posed as conservatives to divide Republicans and endorse a write-in candidate to draw votes away from Mr. Moore.

The origin of the footage that slurred Ms. Pelosi’s speech was not clear. In a video posted by C-SPAN, she can be seen speaking at normal speed at a conference for the Center for American Progress.

Siwei Lyu, a professor of computer science at the State University of New York at Albany, said the video boosted low frequencies in the audio, while preserving Ms. Pelosi’s words and appearance, making it especially effective at creating a false impression.

“It’s very subtle,” he said. “I think that is actually one of the most dangerous parts of disinformation and fake media.”

The edited version was shared widely on Facebook and elsewhere, prompting many to question whether Ms. Pelosi had been drinking or had been otherwise under the influence.

An aide to Ms. Pelosi described the attacks as sexist and said the speaker does not drink. Her supporters also raised concerns about the timing of the president’s own tweet sharing the spliced Fox Business video, which came as the video slowing down her speech was making the rounds online.

On Friday, Mr. Giuliani said that he did not know the video was altered when he shared it on Twitter. “I didn’t know it was doctored,” he said. “I had no reason to believe it at the time. It looked like enough of an extension of the way she communicates anyway.”

“It did seem a little exaggerated and I think I tweeted, ‘What’s wrong?’” he added. “But to overreact is a little hypocritical given she is the one who was making very, very direct comments about the competence of the president of the United States of America, which I don’t think any good American should do.”

Mr. Giuliani said that he took the tweet down after someone texted him calling the video into question. He said he had not seen the original footage.

“Where do you go to check that it’s inaccurate?” he said. “How could I have figured out that it was inaccurate?”

Dr. Lyu, who has studied deepfakes, a kind of ultrarealistic fake video made with artificial intelligence software, said that many false videos can be detected if people slow down, watch again and think critically.

“There is no way back; the Pandora’s box is opened,” he said. But he added: “We are all part of the ecosystem, consuming and also generating information, so we must do our part of the job to make the ecosystem healthy.”

The back-and-forth between Mr. Trump and Ms. Pelosi ensued on Thursday as she suggested that he was too unstable to govern. The president’s theatrical scrapping of Wednesday’s infrastructure meeting at the White House raised questions about his temperament and behavior, she said.

Mr. Trump had “another temper tantrum,” she told reporters at her weekly news conference at the Capitol. “Again, I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.”

The president gave her a derogatory nickname, calling her “Crazy Nancy.”

“She’s a mess. She’s lost it,” the president said during an event to announce $16 billion in aid to farmers, in part to compensate for his tariffs policy on China. That event transformed into a monologue and a question-and-answer session with reporters, which included a revival of an old self-assessment that Mr. Trump is an “extremely stable genius.”

Ms. Pelosi quickly shot back on Twitter, saying, “When the ‘extremely stable genius’ starts acting more presidential, I’ll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues.”

In his own tweets on Friday, Mr. Giuliani said he would not apologize for sharing the video.

“Nancy Pelosi wants an apology for a caricature exaggerating her already halting speech pattern,” he wrote, before recalling her comment that Mr. Trump needed an intervention. “First she should withdraw her charge which hurts our entire nation.”

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

One Republican’s Objection Delays Disaster Relief Bill Once Again

Westlake Legal Group 24dc-disaster-facebookJumbo One Republican’s Objection Delays Disaster Relief Bill Once Again United States Politics and Government House of Representatives Disasters and Emergencies

WASHINGTON — A Republican House member on Friday blocked final passage of a long-delayed disaster relief package, ensuring that communities and farmers ravaged by natural disasters would have to wait for the measure to reach President Trump’s desk.

Representative Chip Roy, a freshman from Texas and former chief of staff to Senator Ted Cruz, used the power of a single lawmaker to object to a procedural vote that would have allowed the Senate-approved $19.1 billion package to pass through the House without the full chamber present.

“This is a very swampy thing to do, have a vote on a Friday heading into Memorial Day weekend,” Mr. Roy said before heading to the House floor. “We could have done our jobs yesterday, when we had 435 members of Congress.”

Under congressional rules, passage would have to be unanimous, since most lawmakers left Washington on Thursday for a weeklong recess. When Representative Donna E. Shalala, a freshman Democrat from Florida, asked for unanimous consent on the package, Mr. Roy objected. In a brief speech, he said he was concerned not only about the process but also about the decision to leave out the White House’s request for about $4.5 billion for the southwestern border. He said the overall size of the aid package was fiscally irresponsible.

The House adjourned, four minutes after it convened, until Tuesday when it will hold another procedural session. Ms. Shalala called the decision “tragic” as she left the House floor, accusing Mr. Roy of “holding hostage thousands of people” who needed the aid.

The disaster relief vote may have to wait until the full chamber returns in the first week of June, although House leaders could try again next week. Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the “last-minute sabotage” an “act of staggering political cynicism.” Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, said the House could take action again as early as next week.

The objection marks another setback for the monthslong effort to reach a consensus on the package, whose delay has left farmers, military bases and communities struggling to recover from hurricanes, wildfires and floods over the last two years.

“After President Trump and Senate Republicans delayed disaster relief for more than four months, it is deeply disappointing that House Republicans are now making disaster victims wait even longer to get the help they need,” said Representative Nita M. Lowey of New York, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The measure, which top Senate and House lawmakers agreed to on Thursday, does have Mr. Trump’s approval, despite not including funds for the southwestern border that the White House had pressed for.

Mr. Roy, speaking to reporters on Friday, said he was not sure if he would return on Tuesday to again block the procedural maneuver, but said he was confident that other members shared his concerns and would be willing to return to Washington and block it.

“The word ‘inevitable’ is what the swamp does to mortgage our children’s future,” Mr. Roy said, when asked about delaying the inevitable approval of the bill.

The House Democratic campaign arm, which has its sights on a number of Texas seats, including Mr. Roy’s which he won by three percentage points in 2018, jumped on the objection.

“Every day Congressman Roy spends in Washington, he turns more into a creature of the swamp, making it clear why this is a top tier Democratic pickup opportunity,” said Avery Jaffe, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

After Senate lawmakers announced a commitment from Mr. Trump that he would support the agreement and the Senate prepared to vote on legislation, Mr. Roy began voicing his concerns about the imminent House vote in conversations with members of Republican leadership and White House officials, including Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff and a former member of the hard-line Freedom Caucus, according to two people with knowledge of the conversations.

Mr. Roy’s flight back to his district was delayed on Thursday, and he decided to postpone his return in order to block the procedural maneuver. He informed Representatives Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader, and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the Republican whip, of his decision, and was not explicitly dissuaded, according to one person with direct knowledge of the phone call, who asked for anonymity to characterize private conversations.

It was a gesture that had roots in his congressional upbringing: Mr. Roy was chief of staff in 2013 when Mr. Cruz, Republican of Texas, delivered a 21-hour-and-19-minute verbal assault on congressional proceedings and helped force a 16-day partial government shutdown. (Mr. Cruz voted for the disaster aid package on Thursday.)

He received some public support from other fiscal hawks in Congress, including Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, who congratulated Mr. Roy for his gesture “to fight the good fight.” But with communities desperate for the assurance of additional aid, other Republican lawmakers expressed reservations, with Representative Jody B. Hice, Republican of Georgia, observing that “procedural concerns lodged are valid, but the facts remain the same — our farmers need aid today.”

Representative Austin Scott, Republican of Georgia, went even further, saying that Mr. Roy’s insistence that other Republicans shared his concerns was an effort “to justify his cheap political stunt.”

“Nobody else showed up to do it,” said Mr. Scott, who voted for the House’s version of disaster relief earlier this month and has worked extensively with a neighboring Democrat, Representative Sanford D. Bishop Jr. of Georgia, to secure aid for farmers in his state. “It was unnecessary and whatever personal glory he got out of it, in the end the bill will be signed into law the first week of June.”

“Don’t judge the other 434 members of the House by what Chip Roy just did,” he added. “He probably slowed things down maybe eight days.”

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

Distorted Pelosi Videos Spread on Facebook and Twitter, Helped by Trump

Westlake Legal Group 24xp-pelosivid-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Distorted Pelosi Videos Spread on Facebook and Twitter, Helped by Trump Video Recordings, Downloads and Streaming United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Pelosi, Nancy impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Artificial Intelligence

Manipulated videos of Speaker Nancy Pelosi that made it seem as if she were repeatedly stumbling and slurring her words spread across social media on Thursday, as tensions escalated between President Trump and the Democratic leader.

One of the videos, which showed Ms. Pelosi speaking at a conference this week, was slowed down to make her speech appear continually garbled. The video has been viewed millions of times on Facebook and was amplified by the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who shared the video Thursday night on Twitter. “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi?” Mr. Giuliani said in a tweet that has since been deleted. “Her speech pattern is bizarre.”

Mr. Trump tweeted a separate video of Ms. Pelosi, from Fox Business, which spliced together moments from a 20-minute news conference to emphasize points where she had stumbled on her words. “PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE,” the president tweeted.

The edited videos surfaced online amid a particularly intense and public feud between the two leaders. Each questioned the other’s temperament and mental fitness in an exchange of personal insults on Thursday, as Ms. Pelosi works to stave off impeachment proceedings that she believes could harm her party and as Mr. Trump continues to defy Democratic efforts to subpoena documents and summon witnesses in the wake of the release of the special counsel’s report last month.

But the videos also raised broader concerns about the roles of digital manipulation, misleading videos and misinformation in politics going forward, particularly in the lead-up to the 2020 election.

Mr. Trump has previously used doctored, if obviously cartoonish, videos for political purposes, including ones targeting former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Democratic candidate for president, and CNN, the cable news network. In another case, his administration relied on a misleadingly edited video from a contributor to the conspiracy site Infowars to help justify removing the credentials of CNN’s chief White House correspondent, showing how such videos can make their way from the corners of the internet to the mantel of presidential politics.

The origin of the footage that slowed down Ms. Pelosi’s speech was not clear. In a video posted by C-SPAN, she can be seen speaking at normal speed at a conference for the Center for American Progress.

But the edited version was shared widely on Facebook and elsewhere, prompting many to question whether Ms. Pelosi had been drinking or had been otherwise under the influence.

An aide to Ms. Pelosi described the attacks as sexist and said the speaker does not drink. Her supporters also raised concerns about the timing of the president’s own tweet sharing the spliced Fox Business video, which came as the video slowing down her speech was making the rounds online.

On Friday, Facebook said that a third-party fact checker had rated the slowed-down video as “false” and that the company was working to reduce the video’s distribution on its site.

A representative for YouTube said the video violated the site’s policies and had been removed.

On Friday, Mr. Giuliani said that he did not know the video was altered when he shared it on Twitter.

“I didn’t know it was doctored,” he said. “I had no reason to believe it at the time. It looked like enough of an extension of the way she communicates anyway.”

“It did seem a little exaggerated and I think I tweeted, ‘What’s wrong?’” he added. “But to overreact is a little hypocritical given she is the one who was making very, very direct comments about the competence of the president of the United States of America, which I don’t think any good American should do.”

Mr. Giuliani said that he took the tweet down after someone texted him calling the video into question. He said he had not seen the original footage.

“Where do you go to check that it’s inaccurate?” he said. “How could I have figured out that it was inaccurate?”

The back-and-forth between Mr. Trump and Ms. Pelosi ensued on Thursday as she suggested that he was too unstable to govern. The president’s theatrical scrapping of Wednesday’s infrastructure meeting at the White House raised questions about his temperament and behavior, she said.

Mr. Trump had “another temper tantrum,” she told reporters at her weekly news conference at the Capitol. “Again, I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.”

The president gave her a derogatory nickname, calling her “Crazy Nancy.”

“She’s a mess. She’s lost it,” the president said during an event to announce $16 billion in aid to farmers, in part to compensate for his tariffs policy on China. That event transformed into a monologue and a question-and-answer session with reporters, which included a revival of an old self-assessment that Mr. Trump is an “extremely stable genius.”

Ms. Pelosi quickly shot back on Twitter, saying, “When the ‘extremely stable genius’ starts acting more presidential, I’ll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues.”

In his own tweets on Friday morning, Mr. Giuliani said he would not apologize for sharing the video.

“Nancy Pelosi wants an apology for a caricature exaggerating her already halting speech pattern,” he wrote, before recalling her comment that Mr. Trump needed an intervention. “First she should withdraw her charge which hurts our entire nation.”

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

Manipulated Pelosi Videos Spread on Social Media, With Help From Trump

Westlake Legal Group 24xp-pelosivid-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Manipulated Pelosi Videos Spread on Social Media, With Help From Trump Video Recordings, Downloads and Streaming United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Pelosi, Nancy impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Artificial Intelligence

Manipulated videos of Speaker Nancy Pelosi that made it seem as if she were repeatedly stumbling and slurring her words spread across social media on Thursday, as tensions escalated between President Trump and the Democratic leader.

One of the videos, which showed Ms. Pelosi speaking at a conference this week, was slowed down to make her speech appear continually garbled. The video has been viewed millions of times on Facebook and was amplified by the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who shared the video Thursday night on Twitter. “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi?” Mr. Giuliani said in a tweet that has since been deleted. “Her speech pattern is bizarre.”

Mr. Trump tweeted a separate video of Ms. Pelosi, from Fox Business, which spliced together moments from a 20-minute news conference to emphasize points where she had stumbled on her words. “PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE,” the president tweeted.

The edited videos surfaced online amid a particularly intense and public feud between the two leaders. Each questioned the other’s temperament and mental fitness in an exchange of personal insults on Thursday, as Ms. Pelosi works to stave off impeachment proceedings that she believes could harm her party and as Mr. Trump continues to defy Democratic efforts to subpoena documents and summon witnesses in the wake of the release of the special counsel’s report last month.

But the videos also raised broader concerns about the roles of digital manipulation, misleading videos and misinformation in politics going forward, particularly in the lead-up to the 2020 election.

Mr. Trump has previously used doctored, if obviously cartoonish, videos for political purposes, including ones targeting former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Democratic candidate for president, and CNN, the cable news network. In another case, his administration relied on a misleadingly edited video from a contributor to the conspiracy site Infowars to help justify removing the credentials of CNN’s chief White House correspondent, showing how such videos can make their way from the corners of the internet to the mantel of presidential politics.

The origin of the footage that slowed down Ms. Pelosi’s speech was not clear. In a video posted by C-SPAN, she can be seen speaking at normal speed at a conference for the Center for American Progress.

But the edited version was shared widely on Facebook and elsewhere, prompting many to question whether Ms. Pelosi had been drinking or had been otherwise under the influence.

An aide to Ms. Pelosi described the attacks as sexist and said the speaker does not drink. Her supporters also raised concerns about the timing of the president’s own tweet sharing the spliced Fox Business video, which came as the video slowing down her speech was making the rounds online.

On Friday, Facebook said that a third-party fact checker had rated the slowed-down video as “false” and that the company was working to reduce the video’s distribution on its site.

A representative for YouTube said the video violated the site’s policies and had been removed.

On Friday, Mr. Giuliani said that he did not know the video was altered when he shared it on Twitter.

“I didn’t know it was doctored,” he said. “I had no reason to believe it at the time. It looked like enough of an extension of the way she communicates anyway.”

“It did seem a little exaggerated and I think I tweeted, ‘What’s wrong?’” he added. “But to overreact is a little hypocritical given she is the one who was making very, very direct comments about the competence of the president of the United States of America, which I don’t think any good American should do.”

Mr. Giuliani said that he took the tweet down after someone texted him calling the video into question. He said he had not seen the original footage.

“Where do you go to check that it’s inaccurate?” he said. “How could I have figured out that it was inaccurate?”

The back-and-forth between Mr. Trump and Ms. Pelosi ensued on Thursday as she suggested that he was too unstable to govern. The president’s theatrical scrapping of Wednesday’s infrastructure meeting at the White House raised questions about his temperament and behavior, she said.

Mr. Trump had “another temper tantrum,” she told reporters at her weekly news conference at the Capitol. “Again, I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.”

The president gave her a derogatory nickname, calling her “Crazy Nancy.”

“She’s a mess. She’s lost it,” the president said during an event to announce $16 billion in aid to farmers, in part to compensate for his tariffs policy on China. That event transformed into a monologue and a question-and-answer session with reporters, which included a revival of an old self-assessment that Mr. Trump is an “extremely stable genius.”

Ms. Pelosi quickly shot back on Twitter, saying, “When the ‘extremely stable genius’ starts acting more presidential, I’ll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues.”

In his own tweets on Friday morning, Mr. Giuliani said he would not apologize for sharing the video.

“Nancy Pelosi wants an apology for a caricature exaggerating her already halting speech pattern,” he wrote, before recalling her comment that Mr. Trump needed an intervention. “First she should withdraw her charge which hurts our entire nation.”

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

Barr’s Newfound Power Could Prompt Clash Between Justice Dept. and C.I.A.

Westlake Legal Group 24dc-declassify-facebookJumbo Barr’s Newfound Power Could Prompt Clash Between Justice Dept. and C.I.A. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2016 Classified Information and State Secrets central intelligence agency Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s order allowing Attorney General William P. Barr to declassify any intelligence that sparked the opening of the Russia investigation sets up a potential confrontation with the C.I.A., including over the possible implications for a person close to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia who provided information to the C.I.A. about his involvement in Moscow’s 2016 election interference.

The concern about the source, who is believed to be still alive, is one of several issues raised by Mr. Trump’s decision to use the intelligence to pursue his political enemies. It has also prompted fears from former national security officials and Democratic lawmakers that other sources or methods of intelligence gathering — among the government’s most closely held secrets — could be made public, not because of leaks to the news media that the administration denounces, but because the president has determined it suits his political purposes.

Mr. Trump granted Mr. Barr’s request for sweeping new authorities to conduct his review of how the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia were investigated. The president ordered the C.I.A. and the other intelligence agencies to cooperate, granting Mr. Barr the authority to unilaterally declassify their documents and thus significant leverage over the intelligence community.

Intelligence officials have feared before that their findings were being twisted to political agendas — notably concerns during the run-up to the Iraq war that information about Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction was being cherry-picked to justify combat. But Mr. Trump’s decision is different.

It allows Mr. Barr, who has used the charged term “spying” to describe efforts to investigate the Trump campaign, sole discretion to declassify the intelligence behind the F.B.I.’s decision to begin investigating whether any Trump aides or associates were working with the Russians. It also raises the specter that officials ranging from the F.B.I. to the C.I.A. to the National Security Agency, which was monitoring Russian officials, will be questioned about their sources and their intent.

The order could be tremendously damaging to the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies, drying up sources and inhibiting their ability to gather intelligence, said Representative Adam Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

“The president now seems intent on declassifying intelligence to weaponize it,” Mr. Schiff said in an interview.

Mr. Trump has long held that he was a target of the “deep state,’’ at various points accusing former President Barack Obama without evidence of tapping his phones, the F.B.I. of secretly trying to undermine his candidacy and past intelligence chiefs of bending their findings to prove Russian involvement in his election victory.

He has repeatedly appeared to side with Mr. Putin’s contention that there is no evidence of a Russian campaign to sabotage the 2016 election, even though the Mueller report left no question that the Russian leadership was behind both the theft and publication of emails and other data from Democrats and a social media campaign that ultimately worked to boost Mr. Trump’s candidacy, as well as efforts to tamper with election registration systems.

But it is the human source that particularly worries some former and current intelligence officials. Long nurtured by the C.I.A., the source rose to a position that enabled the informant to provide key information in 2016 about the Russian leadership’s role in the interference campaign.

John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director under Mr. Obama, would bring reports from the source directly to the White House, keeping them out of the president’s daily intelligence briefing for fear that the briefing document was too widely disseminated. Instead, he would place them in an envelope for Mr. Obama and a tiny circle of aides to read.

The source provided evidence for one of the last major intelligence conclusions that Mr. Obama made public before leaving office: that Mr. Putin himself was behind the Russia hack.

John Sipher, a former C.I.A. official who led Russia operations for the agency, expressed concern that giving the president names of sources or agency officials who oversaw those informants could put those secrets at risk because they would inevitably be more widely disseminated.

“If the president of the United States asks for a name, it would be hard not to provide a name,” Mr. Sipher said. “It wouldn’t do him any good unless he sent it around to people to look into it, and that is where the security problem is, obviously.”

Mr. Schiff pledged that his committee would pay close attention to all of Mr. Barr’s actions in the inquiry. “We are going to expose any abuse, any politicization of intelligence,” he said.

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Barr’s Newfound Power Could Prompt Clash Between Justice Dept. and C.I.A.

Westlake Legal Group 24dc-declassify-facebookJumbo Barr’s Newfound Power Could Prompt Clash Between Justice Dept. and C.I.A. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2016 Classified Information and State Secrets central intelligence agency Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s order allowing Attorney General William P. Barr to declassify any intelligence that sparked the opening of the Russia investigation sets up a potential confrontation with the C.I.A., including over the possible implications for a person close to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia who provided information to the C.I.A. about his involvement in Moscow’s 2016 election interference.

The concern about the source, who is believed to be still alive, is one of several issues raised by Mr. Trump’s decision to use the intelligence to pursue his political enemies. It has also prompted fears from former national security officials and Democratic lawmakers that other sources or methods of intelligence gathering — among the government’s most closely held secrets — could be made public, not because of leaks to the news media that the administration denounces, but because the president has determined it suits his political purposes.

Mr. Trump granted Mr. Barr’s request for sweeping new authorities to conduct his review of how the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia were investigated. The president ordered the C.I.A. and the other intelligence agencies to cooperate, granting Mr. Barr the authority to unilaterally declassify their documents and thus significant leverage over the intelligence community.

Intelligence officials have feared before that their findings were being twisted to political agendas — notably concerns during the run-up to the Iraq war that information about Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction was being cherry-picked to justify combat. But Mr. Trump’s decision is different.

It allows Mr. Barr, who has used the charged term “spying” to describe efforts to investigate the Trump campaign, sole discretion to declassify the intelligence behind the F.B.I.’s decision to begin investigating whether any Trump aides or associates were working with the Russians. It also raises the specter that officials ranging from the F.B.I. to the C.I.A. to the National Security Agency, which was monitoring Russian officials, will be questioned about their sources and their intent.

The order could be tremendously damaging to the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies, drying up sources and inhibiting their ability to gather intelligence, said Representative Adam Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

“The president now seems intent on declassifying intelligence to weaponize it,” Mr. Schiff said in an interview.

Mr. Trump has long held that he was a target of the “deep state,’’ at various points accusing former President Barack Obama without evidence of tapping his phones, the F.B.I. of secretly trying to undermine his candidacy and past intelligence chiefs of bending their findings to prove Russian involvement in his election victory.

He has repeatedly appeared to side with Mr. Putin’s contention that there is no evidence of a Russian campaign to sabotage the 2016 election, even though the Mueller report left no question that the Russian leadership was behind both the theft and publication of emails and other data from Democrats and a social media campaign that ultimately worked to boost Mr. Trump’s candidacy, as well as efforts to tamper with election registration systems.

But it is the human source that particularly worries some former and current intelligence officials. Long nurtured by the C.I.A., the source rose to a position that enabled the informant to provide key information in 2016 about the Russian leadership’s role in the interference campaign.

John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director under Mr. Obama, would bring reports from the source directly to the White House, keeping them out of the president’s daily intelligence briefing for fear that the briefing document was too widely disseminated. Instead, he would place them in an envelope for Mr. Obama and a tiny circle of aides to read.

The source provided evidence for one of the last major intelligence conclusions that Mr. Obama made public before leaving office: that Mr. Putin himself was behind the Russia hack.

John Sipher, a former C.I.A. official who led Russia operations for the agency, expressed concern that giving the president names of sources or agency officials who oversaw those informants could put those secrets at risk because they would inevitably be more widely disseminated.

“If the president of the United States asks for a name, it would be hard not to provide a name,” Mr. Sipher said. “It wouldn’t do him any good unless he sent it around to people to look into it, and that is where the security problem is, obviously.”

Mr. Schiff pledged that his committee would pay close attention to all of Mr. Barr’s actions in the inquiry. “We are going to expose any abuse, any politicization of intelligence,” he said.

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

Pain of Tariffs Tests Farmers’ Faith in Trump: ‘How Long Is Short-Term?’

OSSEO, Wis. — From the start, President Trump’s combative trade strategy toward China has carried the promise that short-term pain inflicted on farmers would be worth the longer-term gains for American producers, from agriculture to technology.

As the trade war intensifies, faith in that proposition among the president’s most stalwart rural fans is being tested more than ever.

“How long is short-term?” Shane Goplin, a sixth-generation farmer growing soybeans and corn in west-central Wisconsin, wondered as he maneuvered his 16-row John Deere planter.

China was the largest buyer of American soybeans until tit-for-tat tariffs all but halted the flow. And this month, souring prospects for a trade deal again sent prices tumbling. Mr. Trump responded on Thursday by announcing a $16 billion package to help those hurt by the dispute.

The strategy may help shore up farmers’ support for Mr. Trump before the 2020 election, but it leaves them with a perplexing question: What does success ultimately look like?

Despite the strain on Mr. Goplin’s family bank account and peace of mind, he backs the president’s tactics. “I get why he’s doing it,” he said over the tractor’s whir and beeps. “America has been bullied.” And if the trade war persisted through the election next year, he added, “I would be O.K. with that.”

Federal help is “very important,” Mr. Goplin said. The administration’s previous $12 billion package of emergency aid meant the difference between profit and loss on his soybeans.

Judging whether an agreement will prove worth the cost, though, is trickier to calculate. Several farmers said that if Mr. Trump declared he had struck a good deal with China, they would take his word for it.

“I don’t think he’ll flinch until he gets what he wants,” said Lorenda Overman, a crop and pig farmer in eastern North Carolina. “He doesn’t mind playing hardball.”

Other growers suggested that a bump in soybean prices or a drop in the country’s trade deficit with China would signal a victory.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_155000169_a6605244-2d76-461d-991a-11925a9e52d7-articleLarge Pain of Tariffs Tests Farmers’ Faith in Trump: ‘How Long Is Short-Term?’ Wisconsin United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Soybeans Prices (Fares, Fees and Rates) International Trade and World Market Dairy Products Corn Agriculture and Farming

Mr. Goplin planting corn, which requires 16 to 18 hours of work in a day. American farmers are producing more grain and food than the world market can absorb.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

Like other farmers throughout the Midwest and South, Mr. Goplin worries, as the standoff with China continues, that soybean producers like Brazil and Argentina could permanently displace American suppliers.

That is a risk, he said — like the extreme weather, tight credit and volatile prices that have whipsawed farmers’ fortunes over the past decade. And with declining profits, heavier-than-normal debt loads and rising farm bankruptcies in the Midwest, Mr. Goplin, 45, understands that for some growers, it is already too late.

He had finished planting 500 acres of soybeans this month, a few days after the president announced on Twitter that he was imposing additional tariffs on China. Now, under a postcard-perfect cerulean sky, Mr. Goplin was spending 16 to 18 hours a day getting corn into 2,000 acres of soil. After he completed a patch, he folded the retractable 20-foot-long planting tubes as if they were butterfly wings and got ready to drive to the next field.

For him, one measure of success would be a sharp reduction in the nation’s soybean surplus — known as the crop carry-over. Last month, the Department of Agriculture forecast that the soybean carry-over would reach 895 million bushels in September, more than twice what it was in 2018.

In that sense, American farmers are victims of their own success, producing more grain and food than the world market can absorb. At the same time, farmers in other countries, sometimes aided by government subsidies or import quotas, are scrambling for a share of the market, further pushing down prices.

Mr. Goplin talked about the tangle of trade and oversupply with his friend Joe Bragger, a sixth-generation dairy farmer in nearby Buffalo County.

Mr. Goplin planted rye in the fall on part of his land, a move to combat erosion and promote the soil’s health.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times The trade war is the latest challenge for American farmers, along with extreme weather, tight credit and volatile prices.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

They sat at Mr. Bragger’s kitchen table drinking bottles of Moon Man beer as Mr. Bragger’s wife, Noel, prepared burgers and potato salad. A teacher, she also cares for the farm’s 32,000 pullets.

Mr. Bragger, 53, a large man with an infectious laugh, has a voice that squeaks like a backyard swing set when he gets excited. He had just returned from Altoona, Wis., where he listened to Vice President Mike Pence speak at what Mr. Bragger called a “pep rally.”

“We’ve been in it for — how long, Shane? — two years now, squabbling and tweeting,” Mr. Bragger said of this administration’s brawling over trade. “I can tolerate a few more. ”

Mr. Goplin laughed. “Last Sunday’s tweet, it cost …” He paused, recalling that the day after Mr. Trump warned on Twitter that he was putting additional tariffs on Chinese goods, the price of a bushel of soybeans dropped more than 10 cents.

“How much did it cost you?” Mr. Bragger asked.

Mr. Goplin replied: “$40,000. It was a $40,000 tweet.”

Mr. Pence used his trip to Wisconsin to make a pitch for the administration’s trade deal with Mexico and Canada, a pact awaiting congressional approval that the vice president said would help farmers.

To Mr. Bragger, who with his family owns 330 cows and 1,300 acres where he plants corn, soybeans and hay crops for his livestock, this latest North America trade deal is a “distraction.” For a dairy farmer, he said, the difference between the previous trade treaty with Canada and the Trump administration’s new one could be produced by a single large Wisconsin farm.

That doesn’t mean he is against the new treaty. He just thinks it is insignificant compared with the real problem, oversupply.

Yet the comparison with the Canadian deal raises a question: Could the prolonged dispute with China produce a similar outcome, a relatively trivial gain — only in this case, one that carries devastating costs for some soybean farmers?

“At the end of the day, fixing some of these other trade deals for the rest of our country, I’m O.K. with it,” Mr. Bragger said. “I’m not going to say don’t finish it,” he said of the China conflict. “The whole world is watching. I’ll support the trade war to the end.”

Mr. Bragger and Mr. Goplin acknowledged that other farmers were in worse shape. Mr. Goplin, for example, locked in higher prices on much of this year’s corn and soy crops.

With the federal emergency assistance offered to soybean farmers, Mr. Goplin was able to top his break-even point last year. And he locked in higher prices on much of this year’s corn and soy crops.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

“If I didn’t market anything right, and didn’t have any protection on the majority of my farm, I’d be scared to death,” Mr. Goplin said.

Many farmers are. In North Carolina, Ms. Overman, 57, said she could not handle another bad year. Last season, she lost $450,000 when most of her wheat and soybeans were wiped out by a hurricane, the second in three years.

Her son and son-in-law have both come home to farm. “But neither of them wants to plant one grain because they see no future in it,” she said. “They would be seventh generation, but they’re tired of going to the bank and getting a loan and not being able to pay it back.”

Each bushel of soybeans costs her about $10.35 to grow, she said. The sale price last week, when her family finished planting 1,500 acres of early beans, was $8.03. This month, after exhausting their credit, Ms. Overman and her husband had to borrow on their life insurance to pay the bills.

“I’m feeling more like this short-term pain is already long-term pain,” she said.

Ms. Overman thinks the president will get a good deal with China, but she worries that it will not be in time for her farm. “The way to make it worth it,” she said, “is to sign a deal, and then backtrack to try to compensate for losses.”

Mr. Goplin, too, said he believed that Mr. Trump would do all he could to help. “It makes me feel really good to hear Trump say farmers are important to this country,” he said. “That’s what makes me want to stick with the president.”

For now, he is grateful that he has only to walk across the road to sell half of his corn crop to his neighbor, a dairy farmer who uses the chopped cobs to feed the cows. As for his soybeans, he will sell them to the local co-op and has no idea where they end up in the global supply chain.

“The happiest day of the year for me is when I get the crop loan paid off,” Mr. Goplin said. “That means I can live to farm another day. If I can farm another year, I won.”

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

Pain of Tariffs Tests Farmers’ Faith in Trump: ‘How Long Is Short-Term?’

OSSEO, Wis. — From the start, President Trump’s combative trade strategy toward China has carried the promise that short-term pain inflicted on farmers would be worth the longer-term gains for American producers, from agriculture to technology.

As the trade war intensifies, faith in that proposition among the president’s most stalwart rural fans is being tested more than ever.

“How long is short-term?” Shane Goplin, a sixth-generation farmer growing soybeans and corn in west-central Wisconsin, wondered as he maneuvered his 16-row John Deere planter.

China was the largest buyer of American soybeans until tit-for-tat tariffs all but halted the flow. And this month, souring prospects for a trade deal again sent prices tumbling. Mr. Trump responded on Thursday by announcing a $16 billion package to help those hurt by the dispute.

The strategy may help shore up farmers’ support for Mr. Trump before the 2020 election, but it leaves them with a perplexing question: What does success ultimately look like?

Despite the strain on Mr. Goplin’s family bank account and peace of mind, he backs the president’s tactics. “I get why he’s doing it,” he said over the tractor’s whir and beeps. “America has been bullied.” And if the trade war persisted through the election next year, he added, “I would be O.K. with that.”

Federal help is “very important,” Mr. Goplin said. The administration’s previous $12 billion package of emergency aid meant the difference between profit and loss on his soybeans.

Judging whether an agreement will prove worth the cost, though, is trickier to calculate. Several farmers said that if Mr. Trump declared he had struck a good deal with China, they would take his word for it.

“I don’t think he’ll flinch until he gets what he wants,” said Lorenda Overman, a crop and pig farmer in eastern North Carolina. “He doesn’t mind playing hardball.”

Other growers suggested that a bump in soybean prices or a drop in the country’s trade deficit with China would signal a victory.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_155000169_a6605244-2d76-461d-991a-11925a9e52d7-articleLarge Pain of Tariffs Tests Farmers’ Faith in Trump: ‘How Long Is Short-Term?’ Wisconsin United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Soybeans Prices (Fares, Fees and Rates) International Trade and World Market Dairy Products Corn Agriculture and Farming

Mr. Goplin planting corn, which requires 16 to 18 hours of work in a day. American farmers are producing more grain and food than the world market can absorb.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

Like other farmers throughout the Midwest and South, Mr. Goplin worries, as the standoff with China continues, that soybean producers like Brazil and Argentina could permanently displace American suppliers.

That is a risk, he said — like the extreme weather, tight credit and volatile prices that have whipsawed farmers’ fortunes over the past decade. And with declining profits, heavier-than-normal debt loads and rising farm bankruptcies in the Midwest, Mr. Goplin, 45, understands that for some growers, it is already too late.

He had finished planting 500 acres of soybeans this month, a few days after the president announced on Twitter that he was imposing additional tariffs on China. Now, under a postcard-perfect cerulean sky, Mr. Goplin was spending 16 to 18 hours a day getting corn into 2,000 acres of soil. After he completed a patch, he folded the retractable 20-foot-long planting tubes as if they were butterfly wings and got ready to drive to the next field.

For him, one measure of success would be a sharp reduction in the nation’s soybean surplus — known as the crop carry-over. Last month, the Department of Agriculture forecast that the soybean carry-over would reach 895 million bushels in September, more than twice what it was in 2018.

In that sense, American farmers are victims of their own success, producing more grain and food than the world market can absorb. At the same time, farmers in other countries, sometimes aided by government subsidies or import quotas, are scrambling for a share of the market, further pushing down prices.

Mr. Goplin talked about the tangle of trade and oversupply with his friend Joe Bragger, a sixth-generation dairy farmer in nearby Buffalo County.

Mr. Goplin planted rye in the fall on part of his land, a move to combat erosion and promote the soil’s health.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times The trade war is the latest challenge for American farmers, along with extreme weather, tight credit and volatile prices.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

They sat at Mr. Bragger’s kitchen table drinking bottles of Moon Man beer as Mr. Bragger’s wife, Noel, prepared burgers and potato salad. A teacher, she also cares for the farm’s 32,000 pullets.

Mr. Bragger, 53, a large man with an infectious laugh, has a voice that squeaks like a backyard swing set when he gets excited. He had just returned from Altoona, Wis., where he listened to Vice President Mike Pence speak at what Mr. Bragger called a “pep rally.”

“We’ve been in it for — how long, Shane? — two years now, squabbling and tweeting,” Mr. Bragger said of this administration’s brawling over trade. “I can tolerate a few more. ”

Mr. Goplin laughed. “Last Sunday’s tweet, it cost …” He paused, recalling that the day after Mr. Trump warned on Twitter that he was putting additional tariffs on Chinese goods, the price of a bushel of soybeans dropped more than 10 cents.

“How much did it cost you?” Mr. Bragger asked.

Mr. Goplin replied: “$40,000. It was a $40,000 tweet.”

Mr. Pence used his trip to Wisconsin to make a pitch for the administration’s trade deal with Mexico and Canada, a pact awaiting congressional approval that the vice president said would help farmers.

To Mr. Bragger, who with his family owns 330 cows and 1,300 acres where he plants corn, soybeans and hay crops for his livestock, this latest North America trade deal is a “distraction.” For a dairy farmer, he said, the difference between the previous trade treaty with Canada and the Trump administration’s new one could be produced by a single large Wisconsin farm.

That doesn’t mean he is against the new treaty. He just thinks it is insignificant compared with the real problem, oversupply.

Yet the comparison with the Canadian deal raises a question: Could the prolonged dispute with China produce a similar outcome, a relatively trivial gain — only in this case, one that carries devastating costs for some soybean farmers?

“At the end of the day, fixing some of these other trade deals for the rest of our country, I’m O.K. with it,” Mr. Bragger said. “I’m not going to say don’t finish it,” he said of the China conflict. “The whole world is watching. I’ll support the trade war to the end.”

Mr. Bragger and Mr. Goplin acknowledged that other farmers were in worse shape. Mr. Goplin, for example, locked in higher prices on much of this year’s corn and soy crops.

With the federal emergency assistance offered to soybean farmers, Mr. Goplin was able to top his break-even point last year. And he locked in higher prices on much of this year’s corn and soy crops.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

“If I didn’t market anything right, and didn’t have any protection on the majority of my farm, I’d be scared to death,” Mr. Goplin said.

Many farmers are. In North Carolina, Ms. Overman, 57, said she could not handle another bad year. Last season, she lost $450,000 when most of her wheat and soybeans were wiped out by a hurricane, the second in three years.

Her son and son-in-law have both come home to farm. “But neither of them wants to plant one grain because they see no future in it,” she said. “They would be seventh generation, but they’re tired of going to the bank and getting a loan and not being able to pay it back.”

Each bushel of soybeans costs her about $10.35 to grow, she said. The sale price last week, when her family finished planting 1,500 acres of early beans, was $8.03. This month, after exhausting their credit, Ms. Overman and her husband had to borrow on their life insurance to pay the bills.

“I’m feeling more like this short-term pain is already long-term pain,” she said.

Ms. Overman thinks the president will get a good deal with China, but she worries that it will not be in time for her farm. “The way to make it worth it,” she said, “is to sign a deal, and then backtrack to try to compensate for losses.”

Mr. Goplin, too, said he believed that Mr. Trump would do all he could to help. “It makes me feel really good to hear Trump say farmers are important to this country,” he said. “That’s what makes me want to stick with the president.”

For now, he is grateful that he has only to walk across the road to sell half of his corn crop to his neighbor, a dairy farmer who uses the chopped cobs to feed the cows. As for his soybeans, he will sell them to the local co-op and has no idea where they end up in the global supply chain.

“The happiest day of the year for me is when I get the crop loan paid off,” Mr. Goplin said. “That means I can live to farm another day. If I can farm another year, I won.”

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

‘How Long Is Short-Term?’ Pain of Tariffs Tests Farmers’ Faith in Trump

OSSEO, Wis. — From the start, President Trump’s combative trade strategy toward China has carried the promise that short-term pain inflicted on farmers would be worth the longer-term gains for American producers, from agriculture to technology.

As the trade war intensifies, faith in that proposition among the president’s most stalwart rural fans is being tested more than ever.

“How long is short-term?” Shane Goplin, a sixth-generation farmer growing soybeans and corn in west-central Wisconsin, wondered as he maneuvered his 16-row John Deere planter.

China was the largest buyer of American soybeans until tit-for-tat tariffs all but halted the flow. And this month, souring prospects for a trade deal again sent prices tumbling. Mr. Trump responded on Thursday by announcing a $16 billion package to help those hurt by the dispute.

The strategy may help shore up farmers’ support for Mr. Trump before the 2020 election, but it leaves them with a perplexing question: What does success ultimately look like?

Despite the strain on Mr. Goplin’s family bank account and peace of mind, he backs the president’s tactics. “I get why he’s doing it,” he said over the tractor’s whir and beeps. “America has been bullied.” And if the trade war persisted through the election next year, he added, “I would be O.K. with that.”

Federal help is “very important,” Mr. Goplin said. The administration’s previous $12 billion package of emergency aid meant the difference between profit and loss on his soybeans.

Judging whether an agreement will prove worth the cost, though, is trickier to calculate. Several farmers said that if Mr. Trump declared he had struck a good deal with China, they would take his word for it.

“I don’t think he’ll flinch until he gets what he wants,” said Lorenda Overman, a crop and pig farmer in eastern North Carolina. “He doesn’t mind playing hardball.”

Other growers suggested that a bump in soybean prices or a drop in the country’s trade deficit with China would signal a victory.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_155000169_a6605244-2d76-461d-991a-11925a9e52d7-articleLarge ‘How Long Is Short-Term?’ Pain of Tariffs Tests Farmers’ Faith in Trump Wisconsin United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Soybeans Prices (Fares, Fees and Rates) International Trade and World Market Dairy Products Corn Agriculture and Farming

Mr. Goplin planting corn, which requires 16 to 18 hours of work in a day. American farmers are producing more grain and food than the world market can absorb.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

Like other farmers throughout the Midwest and South, Mr. Goplin worries, as the standoff with China continues, that soybean producers like Brazil and Argentina could permanently displace American suppliers.

That is a risk, he said — like the extreme weather, tight credit and volatile prices that have whipsawed farmers’ fortunes over the past decade. And with declining profits, heavier-than-normal debt loads and rising farm bankruptcies in the Midwest, Mr. Goplin, 45, understands that for some growers, it is already too late.

He had finished planting 500 acres of soybeans this month, a few days after the president announced on Twitter that he was imposing additional tariffs on China. Now, under a postcard-perfect cerulean sky, Mr. Goplin was spending 16 to 18 hours a day getting corn into 2,000 acres of soil. After he completed a patch, he folded the retractable 20-foot-long planting tubes as if they were butterfly wings and got ready to drive to the next field.

For him, one measure of success would be a sharp reduction in the nation’s soybean surplus — known as the crop carry-over. Last month, the Department of Agriculture forecast that the soybean carry-over would reach 895 million bushels in September, more than twice what it was in 2018.

In that sense, American farmers are victims of their own success, producing more grain and food than the world market can absorb. At the same time, farmers in other countries, sometimes aided by government subsidies or import quotas, are scrambling for a share of the market, further pushing down prices.

Mr. Goplin talked about the tangle of trade and oversupply with his friend Joe Bragger, a sixth-generation dairy farmer in nearby Buffalo County.

Mr. Goplin planted rye in the fall on part of his land, a move to combat erosion and promote the soil’s health.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times The trade war is the latest challenge for American farmers, along with extreme weather, tight credit and volatile prices.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

They sat at Mr. Bragger’s kitchen table drinking bottles of Moon Man beer as Mr. Bragger’s wife, Noel, prepared burgers and potato salad. A teacher, she also cares for the farm’s 32,000 pullets.

Mr. Bragger, 53, a large man with an infectious laugh, has a voice that squeaks like a backyard swing set when he gets excited. He had just returned from Altoona, Wis., where he listened to Vice President Mike Pence speak at what Mr. Bragger called a “pep rally.”

“We’ve been in it for — how long, Shane? — two years now, squabbling and tweeting,” Mr. Bragger said of this administration’s brawling over trade. “I can tolerate a few more. ”

Mr. Goplin laughed. “Last Sunday’s tweet, it cost …” He paused, recalling that the day after Mr. Trump warned on Twitter that he was putting additional tariffs on Chinese goods, the price of a bushel of soybeans dropped more than 10 cents.

“How much did it cost you?” Mr. Bragger asked.

Mr. Goplin replied: “$40,000. It was a $40,000 tweet.”

Mr. Pence used his trip to Wisconsin to make a pitch for the administration’s trade deal with Mexico and Canada, a pact awaiting congressional approval that the vice president said would help farmers.

To Mr. Bragger, who with his family owns 330 cows and 1,300 acres where he plants corn, soybeans and hay crops for his livestock, this latest North America trade deal is a “distraction.” For a dairy farmer, he said, the difference between the previous trade treaty with Canada and the Trump administration’s new one could be produced by a single large Wisconsin farm.

That doesn’t mean he is against the new treaty. He just thinks it is insignificant compared with the real problem, oversupply.

Yet the comparison with the Canadian deal raises a question: Could the prolonged dispute with China produce a similar outcome, a relatively trivial gain — only in this case, one that carries devastating costs for some soybean farmers?

“At the end of the day, fixing some of these other trade deals for the rest of our country, I’m O.K. with it,” Mr. Bragger said. “I’m not going to say don’t finish it,” he said of the China conflict. “The whole world is watching. I’ll support the trade war to the end.”

Mr. Bragger and Mr. Goplin acknowledged that other farmers were in worse shape. Mr. Goplin, for example, locked in higher prices on much of this year’s corn and soy crops.

With the federal emergency assistance offered to soybean farmers, Mr. Goplin was able to top his break-even point last year. And he locked in higher prices on much of this year’s corn and soy crops.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

“If I didn’t market anything right, and didn’t have any protection on the majority of my farm, I’d be scared to death,” Mr. Goplin said.

Many farmers are. In North Carolina, Ms. Overman, 57, said she could not handle another bad year. Last season, she lost $450,000 when most of her wheat and soybeans were wiped out by a hurricane, the second in three years.

Her son and son-in-law have both come home to farm. “But neither of them wants to plant one grain because they see no future in it,” she said. “They would be seventh generation, but they’re tired of going to the bank and getting a loan and not being able to pay it back.”

Each bushel of soybeans costs her about $10.35 to grow, she said. The sale price last week, when her family finished planting 1,500 acres of early beans, was $8.03. This month, after exhausting their credit, Ms. Overman and her husband had to borrow on their life insurance to pay the bills.

“I’m feeling more like this short-term pain is already long-term pain,” she said.

Ms. Overman thinks the president will get a good deal with China, but she worries that it will not be in time for her farm. “The way to make it worth it,” she said, “is to sign a deal, and then backtrack to try to compensate for losses.”

Mr. Goplin, too, said he believed that Mr. Trump would do all he could to help. “It makes me feel really good to hear Trump say farmers are important to this country,” he said. “That’s what makes me want to stick with the president.”

For now, he is grateful that he has only to walk across the road to sell half of his corn crop to his neighbor, a dairy farmer who uses the chopped cobs to feed the cows. As for his soybeans, he will sell them to the local co-op and has no idea where they end up in the global supply chain.

“The happiest day of the year for me is when I get the crop loan paid off,” Mr. Goplin said. “That means I can live to farm another day. If I can farm another year, I won.”

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