Jack Phillips


President Donald Trump has responded to a video that appeared to show Justin Trudeau and other world leaders mocking him at the NATO summit in London. At the same time, Trump said he would cancel the final scheduled NATO press conference.

“He’s two-faced,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday, a day after the hot-mic video surfaced. “I find him to be a very nice guy but the truth is I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying 2 percent [on Canada’s defense budget] and I guess he’s not very happy about it.”

Trump added, “He’s not paying 2 percent and he should be paying 2 percent. It’s Canada, they have money and they should be paying 2 percent. So I called him out on that and I’m sure he wasn’t happy about it but that’s the way it is.”

He made the remark while speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the 2019 NATO summit in London.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks after announcing the government plans to build up to 18 new coast guard ships, in Vancouver, on May 22, 2019. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

“Look, I’m representing the U.S. and he should be paying more than he’s paying. And he understands it. So I can imagine he’s not that happy. But that’s the way it is,” President Trump remarked.

“I canceled the news conference. I’ve done so many,” Trump also told reporters.

Late on Tuesday, a video surfaced, allegedly showing French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and Trudeau discussing Trump’s press conference with NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg.

The leaders apparently didn’t realize they were being recorded. Johnson asked Macron, “Is that why you were late?” and Trudeau replied with “He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top.” It’s not exactly clear who he was referring to, but it has been widely speculated it was Trump.

“You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor,” Trudeau also apparently says in the clip. It’s also not clear which team he was referring to.

President Donald Trump (R) and France’s President Emmanuel Macron talk during a meeting at Winfield House, London on Dec. 3, 2019. (Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images)

“Where are you at? What is your number?” Trump also asked Trudeau during their sidelines meeting at the NATO summit, NPR reported. Trump pressed on: “Where are you now in terms of your number?”

Trump and past American presidents have called on NATO members to spend 2 percent or more on defense. NPR noted that just seven of the 29 NATO members have reached that target, and the United States is by far the largest contributor. Canada, meanwhile, has pledged only 1.4 percent of its spending, the CTV reported.

And during a press conference with Trudeau on Tuesday, Trump told reporters that Canada is “slightly delinquent” on the spending. “They’ll be OK. I have confidence,” Trump added.

“Just slightly delinquent. But, no, some are major delinquent. Some are way below 1 percent and that’s unacceptable. And then if something happens, we’re supposed to protect them and it’s not really fair,” Trump continued.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Trump Responds to Trudeau’s Hot Mic Comments at NATO Summit, Wants More Spending

If House Judiciary Republicans get their way, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) would be the first witness called as the impeachment inquiry moves forward.

That’s according to Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), who told “Fox News Sunday” that he would like to see Schiff—the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and main architect of the inquiry into President Donald Trump—testify when the Judiciary Committee effectively takes over in the coming weeks.

“The first and foremost person who needs to testify is Adam Schiff,” Collins said while adding that Schiff had “compared himself to a special counsel.” Then-special prosecutor Ken Starr, who was involved in the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, had testified during the House impeachment of Clinton in the late 1990s.

“[Schiff] has put himself into that position … If he chooses not to [testify], I really question his veracity and what he’s putting in his report,” Collins added.

“It’s easy to hide behind a report… but it’s going to be another thing to actually get up and have to answer questions about what his staff knew how he knew, what he knew about the whistleblower report,” Collins said.

The inquiry was set off by reports that an anonymous intelligence staffer filed a complaint that Trump allegedly misused his power by withholding aid to Ukraine in favor of politically advantageous investigations, which Trump and officials in Kyiv have denied. Recently, U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker told Schiff’s committee that he doesn’t believe there was any quid pro quo involved.

(L-R) Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) stands next to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) as he speaks to reporters following a closed-door hearing with the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Nov. 4, 2019. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

When questioned whether he was aware Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden in exchange for a White House meeting or U.S. military aid, Reeker replied, “I do not recall that specifically, no,” according to transcripts (pdf) released last week by the House Intelligence Committee.

Hunter Biden sat on the board of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings while his father was the vice president. In an interview with ABC News last month, he said that his tenure on the board was a political error but defended his work in Ukraine and China.

Reeker was later asked by Daniel Goldman, the House Democrats’ lawyer, about whether he knew of any Trump administration official withholding aid. “I did not come to that understanding. I heard that. I saw that in the press, the suggestions of it,” Reeker responded.

Schiff is slated to release his report on Monday and provide members 24 hours to look at it before a vote sends it to the Judiciary Committee, headed by Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who would then be tasked with drafting articles of impeachment.

Fox host Chris Wallace asked Collins in the interview he saw “anything wrong with the president conditioning support of Ukraine to that country investigating some of the president’s political rivals?” However, Collins suggested that Wallace had asked him a loaded question.

“The premise of your question is based on witnesses who agree with your premise,” Collins responded.

“I do not believe it, so I’m not going to answer a hypothetical which is designed to simply say that the president did something improper,” Collins remarked, adding that “he did nothing improper.”

Collins noted in the interview that Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, previously said Trump didn’t condition the aid on anything.

“President Trump has always been concerned about foreign aid,” he told Fox.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Top Judiciary Republican on Impeachment: ‘My First and Foremost Witness Is Adam Schiff’

Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) said there is strong bipartisan support in the House for improving on the quarter-century old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Democrats have been negotiating the terms of President Donald Trump’s replacement for the deal, United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), for the past several months, and Arrington is optimistic that the measure will pass. In recent days, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) resisted calls to bring the deal to the House floor for a vote, saying the measure doesn’t have strong enough worker and environmental protections.

“We have unanimous, overwhelming bipartisan support,” Arrington, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, told The Hill on Wednesday.

“I talked to my colleagues—Democrat colleagues and friends—from Texas and beyond and they’re all for it,” he remarked before adding, “I think it’s going to happen.”

He said that Republicans and Democrats have been able to make concessions on how to address the environment and worker protections.

“They know it’s improved on the labor and environmental standards, which they were pretty sensitive to that going in,” he said in reference to Democrats. “They wanted to make sure those would be enforced. I think we have the belt and suspenders in place to ensure that that would happen.”

Responsibility for passing the bill, he added to the Hill, is now in the hands of Pelosi.

On Monday, the House speaker stated that “hard-working Americans need more from the USMCA than just the same broken NAFTA with better language but no real enforcement. The original draft of the new NAFTA agreement, while promising in some regard, still left American workers exposed to losing their jobs to Mexico, included unacceptable provisions to lock in high prescription drug prices, and fell short of key environmental standards.”

While Pelosi has waffled on when the bill would be passed, President Donald Trump slammed her and the Democrats, accusing them of prioritizing impeachment over the U.S. economy. Over the past several weeks, Pelosi said that the bill wouldn’t be passed by the end of 2019 but has also said it is “within range.”

Trucks wait in a long queue for border customs control to cross into U.S. at the World Trade Bridge in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico on April 2, 2019. (Daniel Becerril/Reuters)

“Everybody knows it’s a great deal. She knows it’s a great deal; she said it. She keeps saying she wants to get it done, but we’re talking about many, many months sitting on her desk, no votes. And she doesn’t have to help with the Democrats because they’re going to vote for it—most of them. And, I guess, all of the Republicans are going to vote for it. But the system is—the way the system works, she has to put it up for a vote. And she hasn’t wanted to do it,” Trump told reporters on Monday.

This week, Mexico stepped up pressure on Congress to approve USMCA, according to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who said he would send another letter to Pelosi.

“I’m sure that Mrs Pelosi and the lawmakers of the Democratic Party are going to help us,” Lopez Obrador told a news conference on Monday, Reuters reported.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Gateway Pundit: USMCA Deal Has ‘Overwhelming Bipartisan Support,’ Lawmaker Says

Mexico is slated to send a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) this week to urge the U.S. Congress to approve a new trade deal.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Nov. 25 that the letter will be sent soon related to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Reuters reported. He made the statement during a regular government news conference alongside other Mexican officials.

On Nov. 21, amid the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Pelosi said the USMCA trade deal probably won’t be approved by the end of 2019.

“I’m not even sure, if we came to an agreement today, that it would be enough time to finish, but it just depends on how much agreement we come to,” Pelosi told reporters in Washington.

She said that workers’ rights, as well as enforcement and environmental concerns, have prevented lawmakers from acting on the bill.

Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador looks on during his daily news conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Nov. 6, 2019. (Luis Cortes/Reuters)

“I’m eager to get this done. … We live in a world of instant gratification. ‘You’ve got an agreement? When’s the bill coming?’” Pelosi told reporters. “No, there’s a lot of writing and conversations with Canada, with Mexico, on the basis of what we might come to agreement on, in terms of a change in the actual treaty and in the actual agreement. So, it will take time to write and then to bring to the floor.”

Days earlier, Pelosi had said a breakthrough on the deal “is imminent.”

In 2018, the United States, Mexico, and Canada agreed to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with USMCA, a newer version that would encourage more investment in U.S. factory jobs. The deal needs congressional approval.

Canada previously said that it’s waiting to move in unison with the United States on the deal.

Mexican Economy Minister Graciela Márquez Colín has said previously that she’s optimistic the deal would get done in the coming weeks, Reuters reported on Nov. 20. Mexico has already approved the USMCA.

President Donald Trump makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Nov. 20, 2019. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

“Representative Pelosi has the commitment on our part to convince the outstanding representatives and union leaders in the United States,” Marquez said last week, according to the news agency. “We have spoken with union leaders and we have made our commitment known.”

Trump has claimed that Pelosi is trying to use USMCA as a bargaining chip to other lawmakers amid Democrats’ impeachment efforts.

“Nancy Pelosi will go down as the least productive Speaker of the House in history,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Nov. 20. “She is dominated by AOC Plus 3 and the Radical Left. Mexico and Canada, after waiting for 6 months to be approved, are ready to flee—and who can blame them? Too bad!” he wrote, referring specifically to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) by her initials.

“And I’ve been told—and who knows if this is so, but I think it’s so; I have pretty good authority on it—that’s she’s using USMCA, because she doesn’t have the … impeachment votes,” the president told to reporters. “So she’s using USMCA to get the impeachment vote.”

Pelosi has denied using the impeachment inquiry to slow the passage of the USMCA.

Impeachment and the deal “have nothing to do with each other,” she told reporters on Oct. 31.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Mexican President to Urge Pelosi to Move Forward With USMCA

Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) criticized his own party for the impeachment investigation underway in the House, during a Fox News interview on Nov. 17.

Van Drew, one of two Democrats who voted against the impeachment proceedings in October, said the endeavor is a waste of time.

“I just think we keep going down this road, keep spending more time. Many of us came to Congress because we really wanted to accomplish goals, really work on issues such as health care, work on issues dealing with prescription drugs, election security, the debt, the deficit—the list goes on,” Van Drew said.

New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District, which Van Drew represents, went to Trump during the 2016 election.

In the interview, he said people should understand how important impeachment is, adding that no president in history has been convicted in the Senate after being impeached by the House.

“We’re going to have an election next year. Let’s have the election, let’s fight through the election, let’s do what Republicans and Democrats and whomever else does. But this [inquiry] is going to get us nowhere. We’ve spent millions of dollars, in my opinion, tons of money, tons of time, tons of hurt, fracturing the nation apart. I haven’t seen this to be a good thing,” he said.

House Democrats allege that Trump abused his power by pushing Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son before he would authorize about $400 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine. Trump has denied the charges.

Ambassador Gordon Sondland (C) arrives at the Capitol in Washington on Oct. 17, 2019. (Olivier Doulier /AFP/Getty Images)

His comments come as the House Intelligence Committee prepares for a second week of public hearings as part of its inquiry, including with the man who is arguably the most important witness. Gordon Sondland, Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, is the only person interviewed to date who had conversations directly with the president.

On Nov. 19, the committee will hear from Tim Morrison, former top national security adviser to the president, along with Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence; Alexander Vindman, the director for European affairs at the National Security Council; and Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine.

Tim Morrison, former top national security adviser to President Donald Trump, arrives for a closed-door meeting to testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill on Oct. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

On Nov. 17, Trump blasted Williams, suggesting in a tweet that she “meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!”

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Democrat Calls Out Party for ‘Fracturing the Nation’ With Investigation

President Donald Trump said the U.S. military killed the person who likely would have replaced ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as head of the terrorist organization.

“Just confirmed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s number one replacement has been terminated by American troops,” Trump said on Twitter. “Most likely would have taken the top spot.”

Trump didn’t specify who he was referring to, but the United States on Monday confirmed the killing of Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir, a spokesman for ISIS and also a high-ranking figure in the organization, Reuters reported.

A U.S. official told The Wall Street Journal that al-Muhajir “would have been one of the potential successors” to al-Baghdadi, adding that “it could be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks” before ISIS confirms a new leader.

Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces chief Mazloum Abdi said the spokesman was “targeted” in a raid.

“Al-Muhajir, the right-hand of Baghdadi and the spokesman for [ISIS], was targeted in the village of Ain al-Baydah near Jarablus, in a coordinated operation between SDF intelligence and the U.S. army,” Abdi wrote, according to Al Jazeera.

A spokesperson with the Kurdish forces said that “two U.S.-led operations have effectively disabled top ISIS leadership who were hiding” in northern Syria, adding that many more are “hiding in the same area,” according to the report.

On Sunday, Trump confirmed the death of al-Baghdadi, saying that U.S. military forces tracked him down in northern Syria’s Idlib province before he was cornered in a tunnel. He then detonated his suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children.

DNA testing was immediately carried out to confirm his identity, Trump said.

The president later posted a photo on Twitter of a U.S. military dog that was involved in the raid.

“They blasted their way in, and then all hell broke loose. It’s incredible nobody was killed. Or hurt. We had nobody even hurt,” Trump said. “And that’s why the dog was so great.”

The killing of the top leadership will be devastating to ISIS, said Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

President Donald Trump is joined by Vice President Mike Pence (2nd L), National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien (L), Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (3rd R), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Mark A. Milley (2nd R) and Brig. Gen. Marcus Evans, Deputy Director for Special Operations on the Joint Staff in the Situation Room of the White House, monitoring developments in the U.S. Special Operations forces raid that took out ISIS terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, on Oct. 26, 2019. (Shealah Craighead/The White House via Getty Images)

“This is a devastating blow. This is not just their leader, it’s their founder. [Al-Baghdadi] was an inspirational leader in many ways. He formed ISIS in 2014, he led to establishing the physical caliphate throughout the region, so this is a major blow to them,” Esper told CNN on Sunday.

He said Trump approved the raid last week, adding that the main objective was capturing him or killing him.

“The president approved a raid on the target, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and if we didn’t capture him, of course, we were going to kill him,” Esper said.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Likely al-Baghdadi Successor ‘Terminated by American Troops,’ Says Trump

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