Escape from Paradise, – Now being made into a movie!


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The book’s sensational reviews!

It took me two and a half evenings to complete your un-put-downable book…it is a unique contribution to the appreciation of a life in Singapore. Thank you for having written it. C. V. Devan Nair, former President of Singapore.

Bought the book from Select this weekend and can’t put it down! It’s a great read! And so nostalgic for me—the good old days! Glen Goei, writer and director of the Miramax film That’s the Way I Like It and who played the title role opposite Anthony Hopkins in the London production of M. Butterfly. Mr. Goei’s latest film is The Blue Mansion – Click for the trailer!

It is a remarkable story and so full of intrigue that it reads at times like fiction.Jonathan Burnham, Editor in Chief & President, Talk Miramax Books.

“It’s quite a story The legendary Alice Mayhew, Vice-President & Editorial Director, Simon & Schuster.

This book out-Dallas, Dallas. No one has written so well of the other side of paradise,Francis T. Seow, former Solicitor General of Singapore

ThunderBall Films is successfully putting together the movie production of Escape from Paradise and has received a new LOI (Letter of Intent) from actress Bai Ling who starred with Richard Gere in the film Red Cross.

This includes a commitment from a CPA firm who does tax credit financing in Ireland, a possible location to film, as part of the package needed for investors – along with the CPA firm’s commitment to apply for and finance the tax credits if ThunderBall does shoot in Ireland and what portion of the budget they would provide.
For inquiries, please contact John Harding at jbharding@gmail.com.

Escape from Paradise – the Promotional Trailer

The best! We use Siteground – it has everything!

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Copyright

Copyright © 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 John Harding

Joe Biden – the Biggest Crook in Washington

This is about how five members of Joe Biden’s family got rich through his connections.

Political figures have long used their families to route power and benefits for their own self-enrichment. Inthe new book, “Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite,” one particular politician — Joe Biden — emerges as the king of the sweetheart deal, with no less than five family members benefiting from his largess, favorable access and powerful position for commercial gain. In Biden’s case, these deals include foreign partners and, in some cases, even U.S. taxpayer dollars.

The Biden family’s apparent self-enrichment involves no less than five family members: Joe’s son Hunter, son-in-law Howard, brothers James and Frank, and sister Valerie.

When this subject came up in 2019, Biden declared, “I never talked with my son or my brother or anyone else — even distant family — about their business interests. Period.”

James Biden

Joe Biden’s younger brother, James Biden, has been an integral part of the family political machine from the earliest days when he served as finance chair of Joe’s 1972 Senate campaign, and the two have remained quite close. After Joe joined the U.S. Senate, he would bring his brother James along on congressional delegation trips to places like Ireland, Rome and Africa.

When Joe became vice president, James was a welcomed guest at the White House, securing invitations to such important functions as a state dinner in 2011 and the visit of Pope Francis in 2015. Sometimes, James’ White House visits dovetailed with his overseas business dealings, and his commercial opportunities flourished during his brother’s tenure as vice president.

Consider the case of HillStone International, a subsidiary of the huge construction management firm, Hill International. The president of HillStone International was Kevin Justice, who grew up in Delaware and was a longtime Biden family friend. On November 4, 2010, according to White House visitors’ logs, Justice visited the White House and met with Biden adviser Michele Smith in the Office of the Vice President.

Less than three weeks later, HillStone announced that James Biden would be joining the firm as an executive vice president. James appeared to have little or no background in housing construction, but that did not seem to matter to HillStone. His bio on the company’s website noted his “40 years of experience dealing with principals in business, political, legal and financial circles across the nation and internationally…” Interesting!

James Biden was joining HillStone just as the firm was starting negotiations to win a massive contract in war-torn Iraq. Six months later, the firm announced a contract to build 100,000 homes. It was part of a $35 billion, 500,000-unit project deal won by TRAC Development, a South Korean company. HillStone also received a $22 million U.S. federal government contract to manage a construction project for the State Department.

David Richter, son of the parent company’s founder, was not shy in explaining HillStone’s success in securing government contracts. It really helps, he told investors at a private meeting, to have “the brother of the vice president as a partner,” according to someone who was there.

The Iraq project was massive, perhaps the single most lucrative project for the firm ever. In 2012, Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business reported that HillStone officials expected the project to “generate $1.5 billion in revenues over the next three years.” That amounted to more than three times the revenue the company produced in 2011.

A group of minority partners, including James Biden, stood to split about $735 million. “There’s plenty of money for everyone if this project goes through,” said one company official.

The deal was all set, but HillStone made a crucial error. In 2013, the firm was forced to back out of the contract because of a series of problems, including a lack of experience by Hill and TRAC Development, its South Korean associate firm. But HillStone continued doing significant contract work in the embattled country, including a six-year contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

James Biden remained with Hill International, which accumulated contracts from the federal government for dozens of projects, including projects in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mozambique, and elsewhere.

Hunter Biden

With the election of his father as vice president, Hunter Biden launched businesses fused to his father’s power that led him to lucrative deals with a rogue’s gallery of governments and oligarchs around the world. Sometimes he would hitch a prominent ride with his father aboard Air Force Two to visit a country where he was courting business. Other times, the deals would be done more discreetly. Always they involved foreign entities that appeared to be seeking something from his father.

There was, for example, Hunter’s involvement with an entity called Burnham Financial Group, where his business partner Devon Archer — who’d been at Yale with Hunter — sat on the board of directors. Burnham became the vehicle for a number of murky deals abroad, involving connected oligarchs in Kazakhstan and state-owned businesses in China.

But one of the most troubling Burnham ventures was here in the United States, in which Burnham became the center of a federal investigation involving a $60 million fraud scheme against one of the poorest Indian tribes in America, the Oglala Sioux.

Devon Archer was arrested in New York in May 2016 and charged with “orchestrating a scheme to defraud investors and a Native American tribal entity of tens of millions of dollars.” Other victims of the fraud included several public and union pension plans. Although Hunter Biden was not charged in the case, his fingerprints were all over Burnham. The “legitimacy” that his name and political status as the vice president’s son lent to the plan was brought up repeatedly in the trial.

The scheme was explicitly designed to target pension funds that had “socially responsible investing” clauses, including pension funds of labor union organizations that had publicly supported Joe Biden’s political campaigns in the past. Indeed, eight of the eleven pension funds that lost their money were either government employee or labor union pension funds. Joe Biden has “a long-standing alliance with labor.” He closely identifies with organized labor. “I make no apologies,” he has said. “I am a union man, period.” And many public unions have endorsed him over the years.

Transcripts from Devon Archer’s trial offer a clearer picture of Hunter Biden’s role at Burnham Asset Management, in particular, the fact that the firm relied on his father’s name and political status as a means of both recruiting pension money into the scheme and alleviating investors’ concerns.

Tim Anderson, a lawyer who did legal work on the issuance of the tribal bonds, recounts seeing Hunter while visiting the Burnham office in New York City to meet with Bevan Cooney, who was later convicted in the case.

The political ties that Biden and Archer had were considered key to the Burnham brand. As stated in an August 2014 email, Jason Galanis, who was convicted in the bond scheme, agreed with an unidentified associate who also thought the company had “value beyond capital” because of their political connections.

In the closing arguments at the trial, one of Devon Archer’s defense attorneys, Matthew Schwartz, explained to the jury that it was impossible to talk about the bond scheme without mentioning Hunter Biden’s name. This “was perfectly sensible,” according to Schwartz, “because Hunter Biden was part of the Burnham team.”

Many have criticized Joe Biden’s son Hunter for the perception that he profited off of his family name. He made headlines when it was discovered that despite his inexperience, he was earning at least $50,000 a month to serve on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas firm while his father was vice president. Joe Biden has complained that the criticism of his son on the issue is unfounded.

Hunter Biden has said that it was “poor judgment” to take the position.

“In retrospect, look, I think that it was poor judgment on my part,” Biden told ABC News. “I know that there was — did nothing wrong at all. However, was it poor judgment to be in the middle of something that is a, it’s a swamp in many ways? Yeah. And so, I take full responsibility for that.”

Despite the “poor judgment,” Hunter said he does not regret his decision to work at Burisma.

“I don’t regret being on the board. What I regret is not taking into account that there would be a Rudy Giuliani and a president of the United States that would be listening to this ridiculous conspiracy idea, which has, again, been completely debunked by everyone.”

Ashley Biden – Joe Biden’s daughter

It would be a dream for any new company to announce their launch in the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

StartUp Health is an investment consultancy based out of New York City, and in June 2011 the company barely had a website. The firm was the brainchild of three siblings from Philadelphia. Steven Krein is CEO and co-founder, while his brother, Dr. Howard Krein, serves as chief medical officer. Sister Bari serves as the firm’s chief strategy officer. A friend named Unity Stoakes is a co-founder and serves as president.

StartUp Health was barely up and running when, in June 2011, two of the company’s executives were ushered into the Oval Office of the White House. They met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

The following day the new company would be featured at a large health care tech conference being run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and StartUp Health executives became regular visitors to the White House, attending events in 2011, 2014 and 2015.

How did StartUp Health gain access to the highest levels of power in Washington? There was nothing particularly unique about the company, but for this:

The chief medical officer of StartUp Health, Howard Krein, is married to Joe Biden’s youngest daughter, Ashley.

“I happened to be talking to my father-in-law that day and I mentioned Steve and Unity were down there [in Washington, D.C.],” recalled Howard Krein. “He knew about StartUp Health and was a big fan of it. He asked for Steve’s number and said, ‘I have to get them up here to talk with Barack.’ The Secret Service came and got Steve and Unity and brought them to the Oval Office.”

StartUp Health offers to provide new companies technical and relationship advice in exchange for a stake in the business. Demonstrating and highlighting the fact that you can score a meeting with the president of the United States certainly helps prove a strategic company asset: high-level contacts.

Vice President Joe Biden continued to help Krein promote his company at several appearances through his last months in the White House, including one in January 2017, where he made a surprise showing at the StartUp Health Festival in San Francisco. The corporate event, open only to StartUp Health members, enabled the 250 people in attendance to chat in a closed session with the vice president.

Frank Biden – Joe Biden’s brother

In late March 2009, Vice President Joe Biden landed in Costa Rica aboard Air Force Two, and went to the Costa Rican presidential palace for a one-on-one with President Oscar Arias. The Biden visit had symbolic significance. The last time a high-ranking American official had visited the country was back in 1997, when Bill Clinton had come.

Joe Biden’s trip to Costa Rica came at a fortuitous time for his brother Frank, who was busy working deals in the country. Just months after Vice President Biden’s visit, in August, Costa Rica News announced a new multilateral partnership “to reform Real Estate in Latin America” between Frank Biden, a developer named Craig Williamson, and the Guanacaste Country Club, a newly planned resort. The partnership, which appears to be ongoing, was wrapped in a beautiful package as a “call on resources available to the companies and individuals to reform the social, economic and environmental practices of real estate developers across the world by example.”

In real terms, Frank’s dream was to build in the jungles of Costa Rica thousands of homes, a world-class golf course, casinos, and an anti-aging center. The Costa Rican government was eager to cooperate with the vice president’s brother.

As it happened, Joe Biden had been asked by President Obama to act as the Administration’s point man in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Frank’s vision for a country club in Costa Rica received support from the highest levels of the Costa Rican government— despite his lack of experience in building such developments. He met with the Costa Rican ministers of education and energy and environment, as well as the president of the country.

On October 4, 2016, the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Education signed a letter of intent with Frank’s company, Sun Fund Americas. The project involved allowing a company called GoSolar to operate solar power facilities in Costa Rica. The previous year, the Obama-Biden administration’s OPIC had authorized a $6.5 million taxpayer-backed loan for the project.

In June 2014, Vice President Joe Biden announced the launch of the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI). The program called for increasing access to financing for Caribbean energy projects that he strongly supported. American taxpayer dollars were dedicated to facilitating deals that matched U.S. government financing with local energy projects in Caribbean countries, including Jamaica. In January 2015, USAID announced that it would be spending $10 million to boost renewable energy projects in Jamaica over the next five years.

After Joe Biden brought together leaders for CESI, brother Frank’s firm Sun Fund Americas announced that it was “engaged in projects and is in negotiations with governments of other countries in the [Caribbean] region for both its Solar and Waste to Energy development services.” As if to push the idea along, the Obama administration’s OPIC provided a $47.5 million loan to support the construction of a 20-megawatt solar facility in Clarendon, Jamaica.

Frank Biden’s Sun Fund Americas later announced that it had signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) to build a 20-megawatt solar facility in Jamaica.

Frank Biden has allegedly used his family name to further his career and secure business contracts in Florida.

After Joe Biden became vice president, Frank leveraged D.C. connections to secure contracts from Florida officials benefiting a charter school that he ran, according to ABC News.

The younger Biden was not shy about the perks of his famous last name and even boasted about it during interviews with the media. He once referred to his name as a “tremendous asset” and told people it brought him “automatic acceptance.”

“Joe Biden needs to recognize it’s a problem,” a former chief White House ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, told Politico last year. “You can’t control your brothers. You can’t control your grown son. But you can put some firewalls in place in your own office.”

Valerie Biden – Joe Biden’s sister

During his years in the Senate, Biden’s family benefited financially in other ways as he leveraged political power. Joe’s sister Valerie ran all of his Senate campaigns, as well as his presidential runs in 1988 and 2008.

But she was also a senior partner in a political messaging firm named Joe Slade White & Company; the only two executives listed at the firm were Joe Slade White and Valerie.

The firm received large fees from the Biden campaigns that Valerie was running. Two and a half million dollars in consulting fees flowed to her firm from Citizens for Biden and Biden For President Inc. during the 2008 presidential bid alone.

Joe Slade White & Company worked for Biden campaigns over eighteen years.

Peter Schweizer, author of the new book ‘Profiles in Corruption,’ offers a deep dive into the private finances and secrets deals of some of America’s top political leaders.

Here is an Amazon link to the book: https://amzn.to/3aMN22m

Hunter Biden is “just the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to examining corruption within the Biden family during the time that Joe Biden was vice president, investigative reporter and author Peter Schweizer said Tuesday.

Appearing on “Fox & Friends,”  Schweizer said that in his new book, “Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite,” the Bidens — who he reports benefitted from having a family member in the White House — are dubbed the “Biden Five.”

“There are five Biden family members that got very, very good deals while Joe Biden was vice president of the United States,” he said. “That’s Hunter, of course. There’s new material in the book about Hunter — about how he actually got taxpayer grants from the Obama administration. We have got his brother James. We have got his other brother Frank. We have got his sister Valerie. And, we’ve actually got his daughter Ashley, as well.

“All of whom cashed in while he was vice president of the United States,” said Schweizer.

Iran Shoots Down Ukraine Boeing 737

The US increasingly believes that Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner on Wednesday, according to multiple US officials. The working theory is based on continuing analysis of data from satellites, radar and electronic data collected routinely by US military and intelligence.

President Donald Trump on Thursday said he suspected the crash was not due to mechanical issues, indicating that “somebody could have made a mistake on the other side.” Asked during a White House event what he thought happened to the plane, Trump said, “Well, I have my suspicions.”

European security officials believe reports suggesting that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface to air missile in error are credible.

The timing of the crash has fueled speculation about its cause, coming just hours after Iran fired missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops in retaliation for the killing of its top general, also in Iraq. The exchange of attacks between Tehran and Washington on Iraqi soil was a dramatic escalation of tensions between the adversaries, and is raising fears of another proxy war in the Middle East.

The head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority is questioning the US allegation. Speaking to CNN, Ali Abedzadeh said, “If a rocket or missile hits a plane, it will free fall.”

“I don’t want to say that because other people have their suspicions,” Trump said, but added, “Somebody could have made a mistake on the other side … not our system. It has nothing to do with us.” “It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood. They could’ve made a mistake. Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don’t think that’s even a question.”

Asked if he thought it was downed by accident, Trump said, “I don’t know. I really don’t know … that’s up to them. At some point they’ll release the black box.”

“Ideally they’d give it to Boeing,” he said, but said giving it to France or “some other country” would be fine, too.
“Something very terrible happened, very devastating,” he concluded.

One possibility being considered is that an Iranian missile unit saw something on their radar, thought they were under attack and fired.

The Ukrainian International Airlines (UIA) flight PS752 came down just minutes after takeoff from Tehran on Wednesday local time, killing all 176 people on board, including dozens of Iranians and Canadians. The Boeing 737-800 was headed for Kiev, where 138 passengers were expected to take a connecting flight to Canada. Ukrainians, Swedes, Afghans, Germans and British nationals were also aboard.

Investigation underway!

Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization head, Ali Abedzadeh, said it would not hand the flight data recorders to Boeing or the United States after they were found on Wednesday.
One of the officials said the US is working closely with the Canadians on the intelligence.

Ukrainian officials on Thursday were considering terrorism, a missile strike and catastrophic engine failure as potential causes for the crash, as aviation authorities in Tehran said the jetliner was on fire before it came down.

Ukraine’s National Security and Defense council chief, Oleksiy Danilov, said a meeting was taking place with Iranian authorities, where various causes behind the crash were “being studied,” including a theory that the plane was hit by an anti-aircraft missile, according to a statement on Facebook.

Conflicting claims about potential causes for the disaster began hours after the crash, when Iranian state media blamed technical issues and Ukraine ruled out rocket attacks. Within hours on Wednesday, officials in both countries had walked back those initial statements.

An initial report by the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization on the crash cites witnesses as saying the airliner was on fire while in the air and changed directions after a problem, turning back toward the airport. People on other aircraft at higher altitudes also saw the flames, Iranian officials say. Images of the wreckage show the plane torn to piece, its parts charred and strewn across a field.

This story is breaking and will be updated on this site.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran’s acknowledgement that it shot down a Ukrainian airliner, killing 176 people, raises new challenges for the Islamic Republic both externally amid tensions with the U.S. and internally as it deals with growing discontent from its people.

The country demonstrated its incompetence and dishonesty by having its air-crash investigators, government officials and diplomats deny for days that a missile downed the flight, though a commander said Saturday that he had raised that possibility to his superiors as early as Wednesday, the day of the crash.

While its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard took responsibility, the same commander claimed it warned Tehran to close off its airspace amid fears of U.S. retaliation over Iran launching ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. forces. That retaliation never came, but the worries proved to be enough to allegedly scare a missile battery into opening fire on the Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines.

Wider tensions between Iran and the U.S., inflamed after Iran’s top general was killed in Iraq by a U.S. drone strike Jan. 3, have for the moment calmed. However, President Donald Trump vowed to impose new sanctions on Tehran and on Friday, his administration targeted Iran’s metals industry, a major employer. Meanwhile, thousands of additional U.S. forces remain in the Mideast atop of the network of American bases surrounding Iran, despite Tehran’s demands the U.S. leave the region.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cast doubt on Iran’s claim that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian jetliner on Wednesday.

DUBAI, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Iran’s religious rulers risk a legitimacy crisis as popular anger has boiled up at the way the state handled a passenger plane crash, which the military took three days to admit was caused by an Iranian missile fired in error.

Amid mounting public fury and international criticism, the belated admission of blame by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards has squandered the national unity seen after the killing of the country’s most influential commander in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq on Jan. 3.

Huge crowds had turned out on the streets of Iranian cities to mourn Soleimani’s death, chanting “Death to America”.

But since the Ukraine International Airlines plane crashed on Wednesday – an incident Canada and the United States said early on was due to an Iranian missile albeit fired by mistake – social media has been ablaze with criticism of the establishment. All 176 people on board the plane, en route from Tehran to Kiev, were killed.

That mood bodes ill for a parliamentary election in February, when Iran’s primitive religious rulers typically seek a high turnout to show their legitimacy even though the outcome will not change any major policy.

But instead they are now hearing more rumblings of discontent, after anti-government protests in November in which hundreds of people died.

“It is a very sensitive time for the establishment. They face a serious credibility problem. Not only did they conceal the truth, they also mismanaged the situation,” said a senior former official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran’s backward clerics have swept aside challenges to their grip on power. But the kind of distrust between the rulers and the ruled that erupted in protests last year may now have deepened.

‘DEATH TO THE DICTATOR’

Video clips on Twitter showed protesters in Tehran on Saturday chanting “Death to the dictator,” a reference to Shia Religious Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Reuters could not independently verify the footage. It followed a welter of criticism in Iran.

Iran’s state news agency confirmed the protests.

The Guards issued an apology for shooting down the plane, saying air defenses were fired in error during a state of high alert. Iran had expected U.S reprisals after it retaliated for Soleimani’s killing by firing missiles at Iraqi bases where U.S. troops were stationed.

Iran’s supreme leader aging Shia Khamenei, may now find Iranians are not so keen to show their support.

BEDROCK SUPPORT

The dated clerical system in Iran has survived challenges in the pasts.

But Khamenei’s  support, the ignorant and religious poor and lower middle classes were among the first on the street in November in protests sparked by a hike in gasoline prices – a particularly sensitive issue where many rely on cheap fuel.

Protesters’ demands swiftly turned more political, including calls for their rulers to go, before authorities cracked down.

Social media was flooded with angry comments from Iranians, many complaining that the authorities had spent more time denying they were to blame for the plane crash than sympathising with victims’ families.

Alongside the parliamentary vote, the elections on Feb. 21 will also choose members of the Assembly of Experts, an out-of-touch Islamic clerical body that in future will be responsible for selecting a successor to 80-year-old doddering Khamenei.

Khamenei, who has no term limit, has been in office since the death in 1989 of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Islamic Shia fanatic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Trump Fights with Sanctions, not with Arms

The Trump administration warned Iraq that it risks losing access to a critical government bank account if Baghdad kicks out American.

The U.S. could shut down Iraq’s access to the country’s central bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York!

Iraq, like other countries, maintains government accounts at the New York Fed as an important part of managing the country’s finances, including revenue from oil sales. Loss of access to the accounts could restrict Iraq’s use of that revenue, creating a huge cash problem in Iraq’s financial system. It is surprising that this hasn’t been done already. Why does America allow foreigners to use our banks.

Iraqi Parliament Votes to Expel U.S. Troops

Nevertheless. Abdul-Mahdi moved ahead with those plans this week, requesting the U.S. agree to talks to plan the safe withdrawal of American troops, according to an Iraqi description of a Thursday call with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Why don’t we shut down our banks to Iran and pull out the troops.?

The warning regarding the Iraqi central bank account was conveyed to Iraq’s prime minister in a call on Wednesday, according to an official in his office, that also touched on the overall military, political and financial partnership between the two countries.

Spokesmen for the Iraqi prime minister, its central bank and its embassy in Washington didn’t respond to requests for comment. The U.S. State and Treasury Departments and the Federal Reserve Board declined to comment.

The Federal Reserve Bank in New York, which can freeze accounts under U.S. sanctions law or if it has reasonable suspicion the funds could violate U.S. law, said it doesn’t comment on specific account holders.

Mr. Abdul-Mahdi has said the departure of U.S. troops is the only way to avoid conflict in Iraq because the U.S. doesn’t trust the country’s security forces to protect its troops.

But there are questions over his authority to evict them, given his status as a caretaker prime minister. Among other potential obstacles are Kurdish and most Sunni leaders, who boycotted the session at which parliamentarians voted on the troop expulsion. The vote is the result of have the Iran-following Shia’s in the Iraqi government.

During the parliamentary debate, the speaker, a Sunni, urged Shiite lawmakers to be mindful of the potential backlash: “One of the steps the international community could take is to stop financial transactions with Iraq, and we would be unable to fulfill our commitments to our citizens at any moment,” Mohammed al-Halboosi said, based on a video of the proceedings.

The financial threat isn’t theoretical: The country’s financial system was squeezed in 2015 when the U.S. suspended access for several weeks to the central bank’s account at the New York Fed over concerns the cash was filtering through a loosely regulated market into Iranian banks and to the Islamic State extremist group.
Al Asad air base in Iraq, housing U.S. troops, was targeted Tuesday by missiles fired from Iran, the Pentagon said. Photo: Nasser Nasser/Associated Press

“The U.S. Fed basically has a stranglehold on the entire [Iraqi] economy,” said Shwan Taha, chairman of Iraqi investment bank Rabee Securities.

The prospect of sanctions has unsettled ordinary Iraqis, for whom memories of living under a United Nations embargo during the 1990s are still fresh. Pro-Iranian and other Shiite factions leading the charge to oust U.S. forces from Iraq have sought to reassure the public by telling them Iraq could pivot to China.

An adviser to the prime minister, Abd al-Hassanein al-Hanein, said that while the threat of sanctions was a concern, he did not expect the U.S. to go through with it. “If the U.S. does that, it will lose Iraq forever,” he said.

Besides the financial impact, many politicians, including some Shiites, worry that a U.S. withdrawal would allow Islamic State to re-emerge as a major threat. They also view the U.S. as a necessary counterweight to Iran, which has tightened its grip on the Iraqi government during Mr. Abdul-Mahdi’s premiership.

The U.S. is concerned that an exodus of American forces could allow U.S. currency to be redirected to Iranian accounts and to other adversaries, according to people familiar with the matter.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi asked the U.S. to send representatives to put in place a mechanism for the withdrawal of troops from the country. Photo: Burhan Ozbilici/Associated Press

The Trump administration’s sanctions campaign against Iran has squeezed the flow of U.S. dollars to the government in Tehran over the past year. The American dollar, the most traded currency in the world, is used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to pay its foreign proxies fighting against the U.S. and its allies in the region, including in Iraq, U.S. officials say.

Iranian-owned or controlled foreign exchange houses and banks in Iraq have been an important source of funding for Iran and its proxies active in the country, including those fighting against U.S. forces, U.S. officials say.

The New York Fed provides banking and other financial services for around 250 central banks, governments and other foreign official institutions, such as the account owned by Bangladesh from which North Korean agents were able to steal $81 million in 2016, U.S. officials have said.

When Iraq needs hard currency, its central bank can request a shipment of bills that it then distributes into the financial system through banks and currency exchange houses. While the country’s official currency is the dinar, U.S. dollars are commonly used.

The New York Fed doesn’t publicly disclose how much money it currently holds for Iraq’s central bank. But according to the Central Bank of Iraq’s most recent financial statement, at the end of 2018, the Fed held nearly $3 billion in overnight deposits. Shame on us for letting this happen!

Iran’s sole female Olympic medalist says she’s defected

Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin, of Iran, celebrates after winning a bronze medal in women’s 57-kg taekwondo competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016.

Kimia Alizadeh, has announced that she’s permanently left her country for Europe.

“Let me start with a greeting, a farewell or condolences,” the 21-year-old wrote in an Instagram post explaining why she was defecting. “I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran who they have been playing with for years.”

“They took me wherever they wanted. I wore whatever they said. Every sentence they ordered me to say, I repeated. Whenever they saw fit, they exploited me,” she wrote, adding that credit for her success always went to those in charge.

“I wasn’t important to them. None of us mattered to them, we were tools,” Alizadeh added, explaining that while the regime celebrated her medals, it criticized the sport she had chosen: “The virtue of a woman is not to stretch her legs!”
Reports of her defection first surfaced Thursday, with some Iranians suggesting she had left for the Netherlands. It was unclear from her post to what country Alizadeh had gone.

Iran arrests UK ambassador

Rob Macaire, who has been Britain’s envoy to the Islamic republic since March 2018, was arrested as he stopped at a barber shop for a haircut after attending a vigil for the victims of a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed in Tehran last week, the BBC reported.

Macaire left the vigil after it became a demonstration but was later accused by Iranian authorities of helping to incite the anti-government protest.

He was released after three hours but the arrest infuriated the British government.

“The arrest of our Ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

“The Iranian government is at a cross-roads moment. It can continue its march towards pariah status with all the political and economic isolation that entails, or take steps to deescalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards.”

In a Twitter message, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus called Macaire’s arrest a violation of the Vienna Convention, which she said the Iranian regime “has a notorious history of violating.”

The Crime of the Dossier

In 2016, Hillary Clinton, then presidential candidate, hired an ex-intelligence officer and foreign national, British subject Christopher Steele, to use Russian sources to find dirt on her then political opponent Donald Trump.

The public would take years to learn about the funding sources of Steele, because Clinton camouflaged her role through three firewalls: the Democratic National Committee; the Perkins-Coie legal firm; and Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS opposition-research firm.

Steele had collected rumor and gossip from mostly Russian sources in an effort to tar Trump as a Russian colluder and asset. We know now that his sources were either bogus or deliberately warped by Steele himself.

Almost everything in the Dossier was unverified and later was proved fanciful. Yet with the help of high Obama administration and elected officials, the Dossier’s gossip and rumor were leaked throughout the top echelons of Washington politics and the media. Its lies spread because its chief message — Donald J. Trump was a fool, dangerous, should never be elected, and once elected had no business as president — was exactly what the establishment wished to hear and promote to the American public with the help of the press.

The inspector general of the U.S. Department of Justice, Michael Horowitz, after an exhaustive study, found that the Steele Dossier not just unverifiable but unethically and unprofessionally used successfully to delude federal judges to issue warrants to surveil an American citizen.

Horowitz simply confirmed that Steele was both a pathological liar and an inveterate hater of Donald Trump who acted to ensure that Trump would not be president. Although the aging and inept special counsel Robert Mueller, in sworn testimony before Congress, seemed to have amnesia about the Steele Dossier and its chief purveyor Fusion GPS, his own investigation was de facto repudiation of the entire Steele Dossier in its conclusion that Donald Trump did not engage in collusion with the Russians to warp the 2016 election.

As a result, all who trafficked in the Dossier as if it were factual and disinterested have lost their credibility. Many are now seeing their careers demolished and in ruins. Here is a small sampling of reputations that were marred or destroyed.

Rachel Maddow: Many of her 2016–19 evening cable news commentaries focused on the supposed dangers that candidate and then president Trump posed to the republic. She cited the Steele Dossier chapter and verse as factual in making her arguments that Trump was dishonest and amoral and therefore an illegitimate president who should be removed. It will be difficut for any audience to take Maddow’s on-air assertions seriously in the future. She rose to high ratings promoting the Dossier, and she will likely suffer the consequences in reverse.

James Comey and the FBI. It is no exaggeration that James Comey, the former director of the FBI, knew intimately of the Dossier, approved its use to spy on American citizens and to launch an investigation into Donald Trump’s purported Russian connection, and then lied about both the Dossier’s authenticity and his own agency’s use of its author Christopher Steele, who was highly paid informant for the FBI.

More than a dozen top FBI agents, investigators, and lawyers who worked for Comey have now either been fired, disgraced, reassigned, demoted, or have quit or have abruptly retired. The common denominator to all their fates is that in some fashion they either leaked false information to the media (so far unpunishe, knowingly broke the law, lied to federal investigators, altered documents, deluded federal judges, or were afraid that something they had done would surface. Trace the origins of such misbehavior, and at its font will be the sensational Steele Dossier and the nearly religious belief that it either was true or should be true or somehow could be made to be true.

John McCain: The late Senator John McCain. McCain was tipped off about the Dossier by a British intelligence official and Steele’s confidant. McCain, who had engaged in a well-publicized feud with Trump, almost immediately met with federal officials and sent his former associate David Kramer to the UK to talk with Steele. McCain himself then gave the Dossier to FBI Director Comey. In McCain’s final memoir, he and his coauthor were defiant about the senator’s role in spreading the unsubstantiated gossip around Washington: “I would do it again. Anyone who doesn’t like it can go to hell.” It was a misleading and unfortunate comment by McCain.

James Clapper and John Brennan: James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence under Barack Obama, and John Brennan, the former CIA director, both previously had lied under oath to Congress. Both then apologized, and their illegal behaviors were excused – unfortunately without legal consequences. But both once again have not told the truth about their own knowledge of the Steele Dossier, its unverified and mostly false information, and the role they both played in circulating and promulgating the Dossier to the media and high government officials. That both directors were deeply involved in spreading the Dossier around Washington, leaking its comments, and then denying their roles while they worked as paid television commentators on CNN and MSNBC only ensured the rapid erosion of their beltway careers and reputations. And both still may have a rendezvous with federal prosecutors in regard to the Dossier.

FISA Court: The United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. A number of inept FISA court federal judges approved FBI and DOJ requests to surveille Carter Page both before and after the 2016 presidential election, supposedly as a way to learn of Trump-Russia collusion.

None of the judges seriously probed government lawyers about the Dossier before their court. Although they were told in a footnote that it was a product of opposition research, apparently none asked the nature of such sponsorship.

Yet if a judge is apprised that the evidence before him to support a federal surveillance warrant is based on political opposition research, would it not be prudent to ask attorneys to name who had paid the Dossier’s author? Worse still, in winter and late spring 2018, Representative Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) had twice warned the eleven-justice FISA court that the Steele Dossier was unreliable and had not been a sound basis to authorize surveilling an American citizen. Nunes and his House colleagues were essentially ignored and dismissed by the court.

It was only after the issuance of the Horowitz report that the FISA court’s presiding justice, Rosemary Collyer, blasted the FBI for deluding her court. Fairly or not, the impression remains that FISA judges either were incompetent or simply did not wish to learn evidence that might have discredited their decision to allow the FBI to surveille a former Trump official, as part of a larger effort to discredit Donald Trump. And like it or not, the entire reputation of the FISA court is now in shreds, both for being so easily or willingly fooled, and for so opportunistically and belatedly criticizing those who deluded them.

There is a movement to do away with the FISA court as there is no responder in the case, only an accuser. This is called an ex parte court appearance which means a legal proceeding brought by one party in the absence of and without representation of or notification to the other party. Since other Americans were excluded from pleading their side of the story, the FISA court relied only on their accuser, the FBI. This is totally wrong in such cases and there is a movement to abolish the FISA court.

Hillary Clinton: There are strict federal election laws governing the role of foreign nationals and their U.S. handlers interfering in an American election. The public became more aware of such statutes paradoxically because Hillary Clinton, almost immediately after losing the November 2016 election, claimed that she was defeated only because Donald Trump had colluded with Russians. Ironically, the origins of that claim were the Steele Dossier, which Clinton herself had paid for and then hidden her sponsorship. In other words, while the Dossier swept through the media, helped to prime FISA warrants, played a key part in launching FBI investigations, and ultimately kick-started the Robert Mueller special-counsel investigation, Hillary Clinton remained immune from scrutiny. Think of the paradox: While Clinton pounded president Trump for supposedly using Russians to win an election, she herself had used fraudulent Russian sources to obtain political advantage by smearing her opponent, apparently in the expectation that she would win the election and her modus operandi would never be discovered, or, even if Steele’s work were publicized and thus discredited, her own fingerprints would never appear — or no one would dare to question President Clinton.

Adam Schiff: Adam Schiff’s reputation hit rock bottom in recent years. He lied about his relationship to the so-called whistleblower. His minority-report memo was discredited by Inspector General Horowitz. He read a bogus version of the Trump-Ukraine phone call into the congressional record, and when called out, begged off by claiming it was merely “parody.” And he began the impeachment inquiry in a basement without either transparency or bipartisan rules of cross-examination and disclosure. But Schiff’s two-year insistence that Steele’s research was reliable and that it nonetheless did not provide the chief basis for FISA warrants was demonstrably untrue. (How paradoxical that Steele’s promoters both defended the Dossier and yet denied that it was pivotal.) Schiff may remain a hero to the Never Trump fringe for his any-means-necessary efforts to destroy Trump, but even the media now distrust him. His own party will come to see him as a transiently useful dishonest prevaricator whose utility is already waning.

The Coup Against America

In a rare public order Tuesday, the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FISC] strongly criticized the FBI over its surveillance-application process, giving the bureau until Jan. 10 to come up with solutions, in the wake of findings from Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz.

The order, from the court’s presiding judge Rosemary M. Collyer, came just a week after the release of Horowitz’s withering report about the wiretapping of Carter Page, a former campaign adviser to President Trump.

“The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the [Office of Inspector General] report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above,” Collyer wrote in her four-page order. “The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable.”

This was revealed months ago it was revealed that the Justice Department inspector general has determined the three Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant extensions against onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page were illegally obtained, attorney Joe diGenova said.

In an investigation that began last year, Inspector General Michael Horowitz is examining the Justice Department’s and FBI’s compliance with legal requirements as well as policies and procedures in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court related to Page as part of a larger counterintelligence probe into Trump’s campaign.

“They are doing that as a diversionary tactic away from the inevitable conclusions of the DOJ inspector general, Michael Horowitz, who, by the way, we have learned has concluded that the final three FISA extensions were illegally obtained,” diGenova said on Fox Business. “The only question now is whether or not the first FISA was illegally obtained.”

He pointed to memos, obtained by conservative group Citizens United through open-records litigation, that suggest the FBI might have misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in the first warrant application about an unverified dossier.

Horowitz “apparently, as a result of those disclosures … which he was unaware of — the bureau hid those memos from Horowitz — as a result of that they’re doing additional work on the first FISA. It may be that all four FISAs will have been obtained illegally,” diGenova said.

The dossier, compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele, contained salacious and unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia. It was used by the FBI illegaly to obtain the authority to wiretap Page, an American who had suspicious connections to the Russians. The first warrant application was submitted in October 2016, after which there were three renewals at three-month intervals, including in January, April, and June 2017.

The memos obtained by Citizens United, and shared with the Washington Examiner, show Steele met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec on Oct. 11 and admitted he was encouraged by a client to get his research out before the 2016 election, signaling a possible political motivation. The timing of the meeting is notable, as it was 10 days before the FBI used Steele’s unverified dossier to obtain the original warrant to wiretap Page.

Senate and House investigators told The Hill they too were unaware of the documents, which were given to and redacted by the FBI, and one member of Congress referred the memos to the Justice Department inspector general. “They tried to hide a lot of documents from us during our investigation, and it usually turns out there’s a reason for it,” House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said.

A memo from the House Intelligence Committee in February 2018 alleged Steele was paid over $160,000 by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign through the Perkins Coie law firm and opposition research group Fusion GPS to “obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.” The memo also said the FBI never informed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of the dossier’s Democratic benefactors or Steele’s anti-Trump bias when it applied to spy on Page, who was investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller over his interactions with Russians but was never charged.

In a rebuttal to the House Intelligence GOP memo, Democrats falsely argued the Justice Department and FBI “met the rigor, transparency, and evidentiary basis needed to meet FISA’s probable cause requirement.”

In recent days top former officials at the FBI have defended their handling of the warrant applications. Former FBI Director James Comey said during a CNN town hall on Thursday that “the most important part” of the dossier was on “Russians coming for the American election,” which he asserted was “consistent with our other intelligence” and “true.” Former FBI General Counsel James Baker, who acknowledged he “wanted the burden on me to a significant degree” in preparing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application paperwork, said it would have been “gratuitous” to name the U.S. persons — the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC — in the documents.

Both Comey and Baker said they are confident the bureau did nothing wrong in obtaining the warrants, although Baker admitted the inspector general makes him “nervous.” Now, even Comey admits that he was wrong.

DiGenova appeared on Fox Business with his wife and legal partner Victoria Toensing. She accused FBI Director Christopher Wray of “hiding” Comey’s “sins.” This has now proved to be true.

DiGenova served as an independent counsel in the 1990s for a case on former President Bill Clinton’s passport before he was elected. Last year, it was announced diGenova and Toensing were joining Trump’s legal team for the federal Russia investigation, but that plan was nixed within days.

Elizabeth Warren’s Lover?

Elizabeth Warren and the ex-U.S. Marine

An ex-U.S. Marine infantryman, Kelvin Ty Whelly, claims of having a long-term sexual affair with the 2020 presidential hopeful, Senator Elizabeth Warren.

In a bizarre press conference held on the porch footsteps of a residential neighborhood, Whelly said he was with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, an infantry unit out of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. The U.S. Marine Corps confirmed to Newsweek on Friday that Whelly is a ex-Marine and served with the infantry unit in Hawaii as a machine gunner; However, the former lance corporal does not have any overseas deployments as, apparently, had been claimed.

Whelly claimed that last year, Warren had hired him via the male escort agency Cowboys4Angels and engaged in a steamy extramarital affair with him.

There was, however, one verifiable fact Cowboys4Angels is, in fact, a real “elite male companion” agency, which is best known for being featured on the Showtime series Gigolos.

“My service in Afghanistan, it was very….early in my Marine Corps time [when I was] just getting to my unit,” said Whelly. “I was stationed in Hawaii. 1/3 [1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment]. It’s on Wikipedia but in 2012 we were stationed in Afghanistan…deployed to Afghanistan.”

However, Whelly could not have served in Afghanistan in 2012, according to his releasable biographical data provided to Newsweek from Manpower and Reserve Affairs, the Marine Corps’ division which manages the personnel files for both active duty and reserve forces. The dates of service listed for Whelly begin on Aug. 25, 2014 and end on May 11, 2016.

Defense Department awards commonly seen among U.S. Marines with service in Afghanistan include the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Non-Article 5 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, International Security Assistance Force Medal, known as the NATO ISAF Medal.

However, the only awards listed for the ex-Marine is the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

During the press conference when asked about receiving the Purple Heart amid shouts of “stolen valor,” Whelly said, “I do not have a Purple Heart, even if you’re wounded you have to put in for a Purple Heart.”

Contacted by Newsweek on Friday, Wohl said he could not comment on Whelly’s military record without speaking to him first. Attempts to reach Whelly were unsuccessful on Friday.

Newsweek reached out to Warren’s campaign for comment on Friday but no reply was returned before publication.

And what about Warren’s husband, Bruce Mann?

Warren had recently separated from her first husband Jim Warren with whom she was married for ten years, but fell fast for Mann.

It’s hardly surprising that they first crossed paths in a professional setting, given that they’re both law professors. After working at several different universities, Mann ended up alongside Warren at Harvard Law School, where he teaches.

She proposed to him.In a 2016 post on Facebook, Warren told the story of their engagement. “I proposed to Bruce in a classroom,” she wrote. “It was the first time I’d seen him teach, and I was already in love with him, but watching him teach let me see one more thing about him—and that was it.”

When he asked her what she thought about the class, she quickly replied, “What can I say? Will you marry me?”

Wow!

And there is more – more from Warren and fellow liars!

Elizabeth Warren has a moving sob-story about being fired from a teaching job because she was pregnant, a story that perfectly complements her political narrative that she is the tribune and champion of those who have been treated unfairly by the powerful.

Joe Biden has a moving — and horrifying — story about his wife and daughter being killed by a drunk driver, a story that similarly could not have been designed more perfectly to bolster his political image as a man who can be counted on to soldier on in the face of adversity.

Both stories are lies.

Elizabeth Warren has long pretended to be a person of color — a “woman of color,” the Harvard law faculty called her.

Fiction, yes. Deployed, as we are always told when these lies are exposed as lies, in the service of a larger truth, a truth of which such habitual and irredeemable liars as Warren, Biden, Smollett and Lena Dunham, and the so-called journalists of Rolling Stone, and the perpetrators of a thousand phony campus hate-crime hoaxes — are the appointed apostles.

“Does anybody seriously believe it was not as everyday as sunrise that employers made pregnant women leave their jobs 50 years ago?” CNBC’s John Harwood demanded in defense of Warren.

The minutes of the local school-board meeting quite clearly document that Warren was offered a contract for further employment, which she declined. She was forthright in her account of the episode at earlier points in her life. She seems to have suddenly remembered the discrimination sometime between when she began advertising herself to the Ivy League as a Cherokee and the day when the Cherokee finally shamed her into knocking it off.

And Joe Biden? Similarly, people are killed by drunk drivers every day in this country. Joe Biden’s wife and daughter were not among them, in spite of his libelous claims that they lost their lives in an accident involving an irresponsible truck driver who, as Biden put it, “drank his lunch.” The man who oversaw that investigation, Delaware Superior Court judge Jerome O. Herlihy, repeatedly has confirmed that there is no evidence alcohol was involved. The survivors of the driver, who has since passed away, have publicly asked Biden to stop telling this lie and besmirching the memory of their father. Investigators at the time determined that the accident was not even the other driver’s fault — Mrs. Biden seems to have driven accidentally into the path of the truck.

Warren’s and Biden’s fictions have in common that they are lies that have been put into the service of the campaign against Donald Trump in 2020.

Seems like the truth no longer matters.

Unclassified Transcript of President Trump’s Telephone Conversation with Ukraine

 

UNCLASSIFIED    [PkgNumberShort]

Declassified by order of the President September 24, 2019

 

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MEMORANDUM OF TELEPHONE CONVERSATION

 

 

SUBJECT: PARTICIPANTS:

 

DATE, TIME

AND PLACE:

(C) Telephone Conversation with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine

 

President Zelenskyy of Ukraine

Notetakers:  The White House Situation·Room July 25, 2019, 9:03 – 9:33 a.m. EDT

Residence

 

 

 

(S/NF) The President: Congratulations on a great victory. We all watched from the United States and you did a terrific job. The way you came from behind, somebody who wasn’t given much of a chance, and you ended up winning easily. It’s a fantastic achievement. Congratulations.

 

( J;’HP’ President Zelenskyy: You are absolutely right Mr. President. We did win big and we worked hard for this. We worked a lot but I would like to confess to you      hat I had                     n opportunity to learn from you. We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge and were able to use it as an example for our elections and- yes         it is true that these were unique elections. We were in a unique situation that we were able to

CAUTION: A Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation (TELCON) is not a verbatim transcript of a discussion.  The text in this document. records the notes and recollections of Situation Room Duty Officers and NSC policy staff assigned to listen and memorialize the conversation in written form as the conversation takes place. A number of factors can affect the accuracy of the record, including poor telecommunications connections and variations in accent and/or interpretation.

The word “inaudible” is used to ind cate portions of a cbnversation that the notetaker was unable to hear.

 

Classified By: 2354726

. Derived From: NSC SCG

Declassify On: 20441231            UNCLASSIFIED

 

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2            UNCLASSIFIED

achieve a unique success. I’m able to tell you the following; the first time, you called me to congratulate me when I won my presidential election, and the second time you are now calling me when my party won the parliamentary election. I think I should run more often so you can call me more often and we can talk over the phone more often.

 

{-‘/Mfi’) The President: (laughter] That’s a very good idea. I think your country is very happy about that.

 

(S/MF) P.cesident Zelenskyy: Well yes, to tell you the truth, we are trying to work hard because we wanted to drain the swamp here in our country. We brought in many many new people. Not the old politicians, not the typical politicians, because we want to have a new format and a new type of government. You are a great teacher for us and in that.

 

(-‘;’HF’ The President: Well it’s very nice of you to say that. I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think it’s something that you should really ask them about. When I was speaking to Angela Merkel she talks Ukraine, but she doesn’t do anything. A lot of the European countries are the same way so I think it’s something you want to look at but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.

 

(:3/Hfil)    President Zelenskyy: Yes you are absolutely right. Not_ only 100%, but actually 1000% and I can tell you the following; I did talk to Angela Merkel and I did meet with her. I also met and talked with Macron and I told them that they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the sanctions. They are not enforcing the sanctions. They are not working as much as they should work for Ukraine. It turns out that even though logically, the European Union should be our biggest· partner but technically the United States is a much bigger partner than the European Union and I’m very grateful to you for that because the United States is doing quite a lot for Ukraine. Much more than the European Union especially when we are talking about sanctions against the Russian Federation. I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.

 

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  • to/HF’ The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our cou try has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.

 

( 2!l; 1HP’  President Zelenskyy: Yes it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President, it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine. For that purpose, I just recalled our ambassador from United States and he will be replaced by a very competent and very experienced ambassador who will work hard on making sure that our two nations are getting closer. I would also like and hope to see him having your trust and your confidence and have personal relations with you so we can cooperate even more so. I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr.

Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. G1uliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine. I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but fr ends around us. I will make sure that I surround myself with the best and most experienced people. I also wanted to tell you that we are friends. We are great friends and you Mr. President have. friends in our country so we can continue our strategic partnership. I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition· to that investigation, I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you.

 

{:’. /HF) The President: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York Ci.ty, a great mayor, and I would like him to

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call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney· General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know thal. The ot er thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Eiden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.

Eiden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds· horrible to me.

 

(S/HF) President Zelenskyy: I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all I understand and I’m knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation., specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can. provide to us, it would be vet:y helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name was Ivanovich. It was great that you were the first one who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President well enough.

 

(:3/HF! The President: Well, she’s going to go through some things. I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything. Your eco omy .is going to get better and better I predict. You have a lot of assets.

It’s a great country. I have many Ukrainian friends, their incredible people.

 

 s ,,.”‘”  ·

(!!/HF) President Zelenskyy: I would like to tell you that I also have quite a few Ukrainian friends that live in the United States. Actually last time I traveled to the United States, I stayed in New York near Central Park and I stayed at the Trump

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Tower. I will talk to them and I hope to see them again in the future. I also wanted to thank you for your invitation to visit the United States, specifically Washington DC. On the.other hand, I also want to ensure you that we will be very serious about the case and will work on the investigation. As to the economy, there is much potential for our two countries and one of the issues that is very important for Ukraine is energy independence. I believe we can be very successful and cooperating on energy independence with United States. We are

already working on cooperation. We are buying American oil but I am very hopeful for a future meeting. We will have more time and more opportunities to discuss these opportunities and get to know each other better. I would like to thank you very much for your support

 

W,’NP     The President: Good.   Well, thank you very much and I appreciate that. I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call. Thank you. Whenever you would like ·tQ come to the White House, feel free to call. Give us a date and we’ll work that out. I look forward to seeing you.

.w,,nm · President Zelenskyy: Thank you very much. I would be·very happy to come and would be happy to meet with you pers·onally and get to know you better. I am looking forward to our meeting and I also would like to invite you to visit Ukraine and come to the city of Kyiv which is a beautiful city. We have a·beautiful country which would welcome you. On the other hand, I believe that on September 1 we will be in Poland and we can meet in Poland hopefully. After that, it might be a very good idea for you to travel to Ukraine. We can either take my plane and go to Ukraine or we can take your _ plane,    which is probably much better than mine.

 

( /MF)‘The President: Okay, we can work that out. I look forward to seeing you in Washington and maybe in Poland because I think we are going to be there at that time.

 

(a;’MF) President Zelenskyy: Thank you very much Mr. President.

 

(B;’HP) The President: Congratulations on a fantastic job you’ve done. The whole world was watching. I’m not sure it was so much of an upset but congratulations.-

 

(B;’HFj President Zelenskyy: Thank you Mr. President bye-bye.

 

 

End of Conversation

Steve Bannon’s School Crushed by Italy

Bannon with “friend” Salvini

President Trump’s former strategist vows to fight the Italian government’s decision to evict his academy from the Monastery of Trisulti.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s quest to build a school for the far right in Italy has hit a snag thanks to the country’s culture ministry, kinda. On Friday, the ministry said it would summarily Bannon and his academy from the 800-year-old mountaintop monastery where he had foolishly (for Italy) planned to hold masterclasses for leaders and activists.

Christened by Bannon as the high-sounding Academy for the Judeo-Christian West, the institute was designed to accommodate 250 to 300 students at a time. The curriculum, which Bannon was developing himself, would be focused on defending the “Judeo-Christian tradition” in politics and the media against what he claims is growing “secularist intolerance.” Eleven, count’em, cardinals are listed on its board of advisors.

“Political opinions have nothing to do with [this],” a representative for the ministry of culture, Gianluca Vacca, said in a questionable statement. “We are interested in respecting the law and protecting the national cultural heritage.” Yeah, sure, but behind the decision, however, is alleged to be ultra rightest Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini who is (allegedly again) insanely jealous of Bannon.

In 2017, Bannon joined forces with Benjamin Harnwell, the enigmatic British-born director of the Catholic conservative Dignitatis Humanae Institute (another  high-sounding name). They won a bid to lease part of the Monastery of Trisulti, which dates back to the early 13th century. The lease, which was finalized in January, granted the building to the duo for 19 years in exchange for annual rent of $112,000.

In April, the head of Italy’s European Union ally, leftist Democratic Party, Nicola Zingaretti, wrote to the culture minister that “Trisulti has been a place of peace, prayer, and meditation for eight centuries” and that it “is not compatible with the training activities of nationalist groups who often have openly xenophobic positions.”

Now, Italian officials are evicting Bannon from the former monastery, claiming that the he has not met the contractual obligations of the lease, including protecting and maintaining the historic property. A spokesperson for the ministry expressed doubts that the lease was legitimate in the first place, explaining that because the monastery is listed as a national monument, any lease-holder must have demonstrated five years of experience caring for a landmark of cultural significance.

Bannon, in Italy – a country of losers rather than winners, is also foolishly deciding to become one of them and in no mood to leave. “The fight for Trisulti is a microcosm of the fight for the Judeo-Christian West,” he declared in, once again, an “high-sounding,” statement.

Lots of luck on that one, Steve. You would do better by walking around with the mass of tourists in Rome seeking over-priced brand-name products.

As the Italians say, Steve baby – sei stato fregato! (you’ve been had).

Tariffs Made America Great

Tariffs on foreign goods by our founding fathers made America great!

A tariff may be described as a sales or consumption tax the consumer pays, but tariffs are also a discretionary and an optional tax.

If an American chooses not to purchase Chinese goods and instead buy comparable goods in the USA, then that person does not pay the tariff.

In the case of China, China loses the sale. This is why Beijing, which runs $350 billion to $400 billion in annual trade surpluses at our expense is howling loudest. Should Donald Trump impose that 25% tariff on all $500 billion in Chinese exports to the USA, it would cripple China’s economy. Factories seeking assured access to the U.S. market would be devastated.

This is why tariffs were the taxes that made America great and they will make America even greater now. They were the taxes relied upon by the first and greatest of our early statesmen, before the coming of the globalists like Woodrow Wilson and FDR.

Tariffs, to protect manufacturers and jobs, were the Republican Party’s path to power and prosperity in the 19th and 20th centuries, before the rise of the Rockefeller Eastern liberal establishment and its embrace of the British-bred heresy of unfettered free trade.

The Tariff Act of 1789 was enacted with the declared purpose, “the encouragement and protection of manufactures.” It was the second act passed by the first Congress led by Speaker James Madison. It was crafted by Alexander Hamilton and signed by President Washington.

After the War of 1812, President Madison, backed by Henry Clay and John Calhoun and ex-Presidents Jefferson and Adams, enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked.

Tariffs financed Mr. Lincoln’s War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer “has no right or claim to equality with our own. … He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties.”

That is economic patriotism, putting America and Americans first.

El Paso and Beto O’Rourke’s Dangerous Lies

On March 30, 2019 (UPI), at a crowded downtown intersection less than a mile from the U.S.-Mexico border, Democrat Beto O’Rourke brought his presidential campaign to his native El Paso, Texas, for the first time.

“Welcome to the beautiful, magical, safe and secure U.S.-Mexico border,” U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, said as she introduced candidate O’Rourke. “El Paso is the Ellis Island of the border and in Beto O’Rourke we are sending the nation our best.”

“We are safe because we are a city of immigrants and asylum seekers,” O’Rourke said in a stump speech that lasted 30 minutes. “El Paso represents America at its best.” President Donald Trump’s El Paso visit is a great opportunity to point out that the west Texas city is a rats’ nest of law enforcement corruption, a major smuggling route into the U.S. for Mexican drugs, illegal immigrants, and Islamic terrorists and the headquarters of a sophisticated narco-terror ring operated by two of the FBI’s most wanted. While local officials promote it as one of America’s safest cities, Judicial Watch has exposed in a years-long investigation the disturbing reality gripping the municipality that sits along the Rio Grande across famously violent Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

Beto O’Rourke was dead wrong about El Paso – either he is ignorant or just lying to get votes. Even worse, his statements put the residents of El Paso, and the United States, in danger.

Contrary to the dangerous misinformation of T Beto O’Rourke, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says El Paso is a major hub for Mexican opioids and methamphetamine enroute to the rest of the United States. Recently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released figures showing that the El Paso sector had an astounding 1,588% increase in illegal immigrant apprehensions during the first month of 2019 compared to the first month of 2018.

Drugs and Central Americans aren’t the only things being smuggled in through El Paso. Islamic terrorists are also making it into the U.S. with the help of Mexican drug cartels. Judicial Watch exposed an operation in which Mexican drug cartels smuggle foreigners from countries with terrorist links into a small rural town near El Paso by using remote farm roads—rather than interstates—to elude the Border Patrol and other law enforcement barriers. The foreigners are classified as Special Interest Aliens (SIA) and are transported to stash areas in Acala, a rural crossroads located around 54 miles from El Paso on a state road – Highway 20. Once in the U.S., the SIAs wait for pick-up in the area’s sand hills just across Highway 20.

Judicial Watch also broke a story about an ISIS training cell just a few miles from El Paso in an area known as “Anapra” situated just west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Law enforcement and intelligence sources on both sides of the border confirm that cartel-backed “coyotes” help smuggle ISIS terrorists through the desert and into the U.S. between Acala and Fort Hancock, Texas. The areas are targeted for exploitation by ISIS because of their understaffed municipal and county police forces and the relative safe-havens the terrain provides for the unchecked large-scale drug smuggling. In the aftermath of Judicial Watch’s story about Islamic terrorists operating in Juárez, Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman that’s holding an anti-Trump rally during the president’s event at the El Paso County Coliseum, tried to silence federal law enforcement sources. O’Rourke, who represented El Paso in the House before a failed Senate bid, has long declared that Juárez is safe even as the notoriously violent region adjacent to his district is renowned for beheadings, gunfights, kidnappings and drug trafficking. Juárez is among the world’s most dangerous cities and the most dangerous place in the western hemisphere.

Beto O’Rourke is OK with spreading false information to get votes even if it gets someone killed.

The full transcript of Sen. Collins’s speech re Brett Kavanaugh

The full transcript of Sen. Collins’s great speech re Brett Kavanaugh

Mr. President, the five previous times that I’ve come to the floor to explain my vote on the nomination of a justice to the United States Supreme Court, I have begun my floor remarks explaining my decision with a recognition of the solemn nature and the importance of the occasion. But today we have come to the conclusion of a confirmation process that has become so dysfunctional, it looks more like a caricature of a gutter-level political campaign than a solemn occasion.

The president nominated Brett Kavanaugh on July 9. Within moments of that announcement, special interest groups raced to be the first to oppose him, including one organization that didn’t even bother to fill in the judge’s name on its pre-written press release. They simply wrote that they opposed Donald Trump’s nomination of “XX” to the Supreme Court of the United States. A number of senators joined the race to announce their opposition, but they were beaten to the punch by one of our colleagues who actually announced opposition before the nominee’s identity was even known.

Since that time, we have seen special interest groups whip their followers into a frenzy by spreading misrepresentations and outright falsehoods about Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial record. Over-the-top rhetoric and distortions of his record and testimony at his first hearing produced short-lived headlines, which although debunked hours later, continued to live on and be spread through social media. Interest groups have also spent an unprecedented amount of dark money opposing this nomination. Our Supreme Court confirmation process has been in steady decline for more than 30 years.

One can only hope that the Kavanaugh nomination is where the process has finally hit rock bottom. Against this backdrop, it is up to each individual senator to decide what the Constitution’s advice and consent duty means. Informed by Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist 76, I have interpreted this to mean that the president has broad discretion to consider a nominee’s philosophy, whereas my duty as a senator is to focus on the nominee’s qualifications as long as that nominee’s philosophy is within the mainstream of judicial thought.

I have always opposed litmus tests for judicial nominees with respect to their personal views or politics, but I fully expect them to be able to put aside any and all personal preferences in deciding the cases that come before them. I’ve never considered the president’s identity or party when evaluating Supreme Court nominations. As a result, I voted in favor of Justices Roberts and Alito, who were nominated by President Bush. Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, who were nominated by President Obama. And Justice Gorsuch, who was nominated by President Trump.

So I began my evaluation of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination by reviewing his 12-year record on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, including his more than 300 opinions and his many speeches and law review articles. Nineteen attorneys, including lawyers from the nonpartisan congressional research service, briefed me many times each week and assisted me in evaluating the Judge’s extensive record. I met with Judge Kavanaugh for more than two hours in my office. I listened carefully to the testimony at the committee hearings. I spoke with people who knew him personally, such as Condoleezza Rice and many others. And I talked with Judge Kavanaugh a second time by phone for another hour to ask him very specific additional questions. I also have met with thousands of my constituents, both advocates and many opponents, regarding Judge Kavanaugh.

One concern that I frequently heard was that the judge would be likely to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s vital protections for people with preexisting conditions. I disagree with this. In a dissent in Seven-Sky v. Holder, Judge Kavanaugh rejected a challenge to the ACA on narrow procedural grounds, preserving the law in full. Many experts have said that his dissent informed Justice Roberts’s opinion upholding the ACA at the Supreme Court.

Furthermore, Judge Kavanaugh’s approach toward the doctrine of sever-ability is narrow. When a part of a statute is challenged on constitutional grounds, he has argued for severing the invalid clause as surgically as possible while allowing the overall law to remain intact. This was his approach in a case that involved a challenge to the structure of the consumer financial protection bureau. In his dissent, Judge Kavanaugh argued for “severing any problematic portions while leaving the remainder intact.” Given the current challenges to the ACA proponents, including myself, of protections for people with preexisting conditions should want a justice who would take just this kind of approach.

Another assertion that I have heard often that Judge Kavanaugh cannot be trusted if a case involving alleged wrongdoing by the president were to come before the court. The basis for this argument seems to be two-fold.

First, Judge Kavanaugh has written that he believes that Congress should enact legislation to protect presidents from criminal prosecution or civil liability while in office. Mr. President, I believe opponents missed the mark on this issue. The fact that judge Kavanaugh offered this legislative proposal suggests that he believes that the president does not have such protection currently.

Second, there are some who argue that given the current special counsel investigation, President Trump should not even be allowed to nominate a justice. That argument ignores our recent history. President Clinton in 1993 nominated Justice Ginsburg after the Whitewater investigation was already underway, and she was confirmed 96 to 3. The next year, just three months after independent counsel Robert Fisk was named to lead the Whitewater investigation, President Clinton nominated Justice Breyer. He was confirmed 87 to 9.

Supreme Court justices have not hesitated to rule against the presidents who have nominated them. Perhaps most notably in The United States vs. Nixon, three Nixon appointees who heard the case joined the unanimous opinion against him. Judge Kavanaugh has been unequivocal in his belief that no president is above the law. He has stated that Marbury vs. Madison, Youngstown Steel vs. Sawyer and The United States vs. Nixon are three of the greatest Supreme Court cases in history. What do they have in common? Each of them is a case where Congress served as a check on presidential power.

And I would note that the fourth case that Judge Kavanaugh has pointed to as the greatest in history was Brown vs. The Board of Education. One Kavanaugh decision illustrates the point about the check on presidential power directly. He wrote the opinion in Hamdan vs. The United States, a case that challenges the Bush administration’s military commission prosecution of an associate of Osama bin Laden. This conviction was very important to the Bush administration, but Judge Kavanaugh, who had been appointed to the DC Circuit by President Bush and had worked in President Bush’s White House, ruled that the conviction was unlawful. As he explained during the hearing, “we don’t make decisions based on who people are or their policy preferences or the moment. We base decisions on the law.”

Others I’ve met with have expressed concerns that Justice Kennedy’s retirement threatens the right of same-sex couples to marry. Yet, Judge Kavanaugh described the Obergefell decision, which legalized same-gender marriages, as an important landmark precedent. He also cited Justice Kennedy’s recent masterpiece cake shop opinion for the court’s majority stating that “the days of treating gay and lesbian Americans, or gay and lesbian couples as second-class citizens who are inferior in dignity and worth are over in the Supreme Court.”

Others have suggested that the judge holds extreme views on birth control. In one case Judge Kavanaugh incurred the disfavor of both sides of the political spectrum for seeking to ensure the availability of contraceptive services for women while minimizing the involvement of employers with religious objections. Although his critics frequently overlook this point, Judge Kavanaugh’s dissent rejected arguments that the government did not have a compelling interest in facilitating access to contraception. In fact, he wrote that the Supreme Court precedent strongly suggested that there was a compelling interest in facilitating access to birth control.

There has also been considerable focus on the future of abortion rights based on the concern that Judge Kavanaugh would seek to overturn Roe v. Wade. Protecting this right is important to me. To my knowledge, Judge Kavanaugh is the first Supreme Court nominee to express the view that precedent is not merely a practice and tradition, but rooted in Article 3 of our Constitution itself. He believes that precedent is not just a judicial policy, it is constitutionally dictated to pay attention and pay heed to rules of precedent. In other words, precedent isn’t a goal or an aspiration. It is a constitutional tenet that has to be followed except in the most extraordinary circumstances.

The judge further explained that precedent provides stability, predictability, reliance and fairness. There are, of course, rare and extraordinary times where the Supreme Court would rightly overturn a precedent. The most famous example was when the Supreme Court in Brown vs. The Board of Education overruled Plessy vs. Ferguson, correcting a “grievously wrong decision” to use the judge’s term, allowing racial inequality. But someone who believes that the importance of precedent has been rooted in the Constitution would follow long-established precedent except in those rare circumstances where a decision is grievously wrong or deeply inconsistent with the law. Those are Judge Kavanaugh’s phrases.

As the judge asserted to me, a long-established precedent is not something to be trimmed, narrowed, discarded, or overlooked. Its roots in the Constitution give the concept of stare decisis greater weight simply because a judge might want to on a whim. In short, his views on honoring precedent would preclude attempts to do by stealth that which one has committed not to do overtly.

Noting that Roe v. Wade was decided 45 years ago and reaffirmed 19 years later in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, I asked Judge Kavanaugh whether the passage of time is relevant to following precedent. He said decisions become part of our legal framework with the passage of time and that honoring precedent is essential to maintaining public confidence. Our discussion then turned to the right of privacy on which the Supreme Court relied in Griswold vs. Connecticut, a case that struck down a law banning the use and sale of contraceptions. Griswold established the legal foundation that led to roe eight years later. In describing Griswold as settled law, Judge Kavanaugh observed that it was the correct application of two famous cases from the 1920’s, Meyer and Pierce that are not seriously challenged by anyone today.

Finally, in his testimony, he noted repeatedly that Roe had been upheld by Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, describing it as a precedent. When I asked him would it be sufficient to overturn a long-established precedent if five current justices believed that it was wrongly decided, he emphatically said “no.”

Opponents frequently cite then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to nominate only judges who would overturn Roe. The Republican platform for all presidential campaigns has included this pledge since at least 1980. During this time Republican presidents have appointed Justices O’Connor, Souter and Kennedy to the Supreme Court. These are the very three Republican president appointed justices who authored the Casey decision which reaffirmed Roe.

Furthermore, pro-choice groups vigorously oppose each of these justice’s nominations. Incredibly, they even circulated buttons with the slogan “Stop Souter or women will die.” Just two years later Justice Souter coauthored the Casey opinion reaffirming a woman’s right to choose. Suffice it to say, prominent advocacy organizations have been wrong.

These same interest groups have speculated that Judge Kavanaugh was selected to do the bidding of conservative ideologues despite his record of judicial Independence. I asked the judge point-blank whether he had made any commitments or pledges to anyone at the White House, to the Federalist Society, to any outside group on how he would decide cases. He unequivocally assured me that he had not.

Judge Kavanaugh has received rave reviews for his 12-year track record as a judge, including for his judicial temperament. The American Bar Association gave him its highest possible rating. Its standing committee on the federal judiciary conducted an extraordinarily thorough assessment, soliciting input from almost 500 people, including his judicial colleagues. The ABA concluded that his integrity, judicial temperament and professional competence met the highest standards.

Lisa Blatt, who has argued more cases before the Supreme Court than any other woman in history, testified, “By any objective measure, Judge Kavanaugh is clearly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. His opinions are invariably thoughtful and fair.” Ms. Blatt, who clerked for and is an ardent admirer of Justice Ginsburg and who is, in her own words, an unapologetic defender of a woman’s right to choose, says that Judge Kavanaugh fits within the mainstream of legal thought. She also observed that Judge Kavanaugh is remarkably committed to promoting women in the legal profession.

That Judge Kavanaugh is more of a centrist than some of his critics maintain is reflected in the fact that he and Chief Judge Merrick Garland voted the same way in 93 percent of the cases that they heard together. Indeed, Chief Judge Garland joined in more than 96 percent of the majority opinions authored by Judge Kavanaugh, dissenting only once.

Despite all this, after weeks of reviewing Judge Kavanaugh’s record and listening record and listening to 32 hours of his testimony, the Senate’s advice and consent was thrown into a tailspin following the allegations of sexual assault by Professor Christine Blasey Ford. The confirmation process now involved evaluating whether or not Judge Kavanaugh committed sexual assault and lied about it to the Judiciary Committee.

Some argue that because this is a lifetime appointment to our highest court, the public interest requires that it be resolved against the nominee. Others see the public interest as embodied in our long-established tradition of affording to those accused of misconduct a presumption of innocence or in cases in which the facts are unclear, they would argue that the question should be resolved in favor of the nominee.

Mr. President, I understand both viewpoints. And this debate is complicated further by the fact that the Senate confirmation process is not a trial. But certain fundamentally legal principles about due process, the presumption of innocence, and fairness do bear on my thinking, and I cannot abandon them. In evaluating any given claim of misconduct we will be ill served in the long republic if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness tempting though it may be.

We must always remember that it is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy. The presumption of innocence is relevant to the advice and consent function when an accusation departs from a nominees otherwise exemplary record. I worry that departing from this presumption could a lead to a lack of public faith in the judiciary and would be hugely damaging to the confirmation process moving forward.

Some of the allegations levied against Judge Kavanaugh illustrate why the presumption of innocence is so important. I am thinking in particular not at the allegations raised by professor Ford, but of the allegations that when he was a teenager Judge Kavanaugh drugged multiple girls and used their weakened state to facility gang rape.

This outlandish allegation was put forth without any credible supporting evidence and simply parroted public statements of others. That’s such an allegation can find its way into the Supreme Court confirmation process is a stark reminder about why the presumption of innocence is so ingrained in our a American consciousness.

Mr. President, I listened carefully to Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Judiciary Committee. I found her testimony to be sincere, painful, and compelling. I believe that she is a survivor of a sexual assault and that this trauma has upended her life.

Nevertheless, the four witnesses she named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering where she says the assault occurred. None of the individuals Prof. Ford says were at the party has any recollection at all of that night. Judge Kavanaugh forcefully denied the allegations under penalty of perjury. Mark Judge denied under penalty of felony that he had witnessed an assault. P.J. Smith, another person allegedly at the party, denied that he was there under penalty of felony. Professor Ford’s lifelong friend, Leland Kaiser, indicated that under penalty of felony she does not remember that party. And Ms. Kaiser went further. She indicated that not only does she not remember a night like that, but also that she does not even know Brett Kavanaugh.

In addition to the lack of corroborating evidence we also learn facts that have raised more questions. For instance, since these allegations have become public, Prof. Ford testified that not a single person has contacted her to say I was at the party that night.

Furthermore the professor testified that although she does not remember how she got home that evening, she knew that because of the distance she would have needed a ride. Yet, not a single person has come forward to say that they were the ones who drove her home or were in the car with her that night.

And Prof. Ford also indicated that even though she left that small gathering of six or so people abruptly, and without saying goodbye, and distraught, none of them called her the next day or ever to ask why she left. “Is she okay?” Not even her closest friend, Ms. Kaiser.

Mr. President, the Constitution does not provide guidance on how we are supposed to evaluate these competing claims. It leaves that decision up to each senator. This is not a criminal trial, and I do not believe that claims such as these need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, nevertheless fairness of this terrible problem.

I have been alarmed and disturbed, however, by some who have suggested that unless Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination is rejected, the Senate is somehow condoning sexual assault. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every person, man or woman, who makes a charge of sexual assault deserves to be heard and treated with respect. The #MeToo movement is real. It matters. It is needed. And it is long overdue.

We know that rape and sexual assault are less likely to be reported to the police than other forms of assault. On average, an estimated 211,000 rapes and sexual assaults go unreported every year. We must listen to survivors, and every day we must seek to stop the criminal behavior that has hurt so many. We owe this to ourselves, our children, and generations to come.

Since the hearing, I have listened to many survivors of sexual assault. Many were total strangers who told me their heart-wrenching stories for the first time in their lives. Some were friends that I had known for decades. Yet with the exception of one woman who had confided in me years ago, I had no idea that they had been the victims of sexual attacks. I am grateful for their courage and their willingness to come forward and I hope that in heightening public awareness they have also lightened burden that they have been quietly bearing for so many years.

To them I pledge to do all that I can to ensure that their daughters and granddaughters never share their experiences. Over the past few weeks, I have been emphatic that the Senate has an obligation to investigate and evaluate the serious allegations of sexual assault. I called for and supported the additional hearing to hear from both Prof. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. I also pushed for and supported the FBI’s supplemental background check investigation. This was the right thing to do.

Christine Ford never sought the spotlight. She indicated that she was terrified to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and she has shunned attention since then. She seemed completely unaware of Chairman Grassley’s offer to allow her to testify confidentially in California. Watching her, Mr. President, I could not help but feel that some people who wanted to engineer the defeat of this nomination cared little, if at all, for her well-being.

Prof. Ford testified that a very limited of number people had access to her letter, yet that letter found its way into the public domain. She testified that she never gave permission for that very private letter to be released, and yet here we are. We are in the middle of a fight that she never sought, arguing about claims that she wanted to raise confidentially.

Now, one theory I’ve heard espoused repeatedly is that our colleague Sen. Feinstein leaked Prof. Ford’s letter at the 11th hour to derail this process. I want to state this very clearly. I know Senator Dianne Feinstein extremely well, and I believe that she would never do that. I knew that to be the case before she even stated it at the hearing. She is a person of integrity and I stand by her.

I have also heard some argue that the chairman of the committee somehow treated Prof. Ford unfairly. Nothing could be further from the truth. Chairman Grassley along with his excellent staff treated Prof. Ford with compassion and respect throughout the entire process. And that is the way the senator from Iowa has conducted himself throughout a lifetime dedicated to public service.

But the fact remains, Mr. President, someone leaked this letter against professor Ford’s expressed wishes. I suspect regrettably that we will never know for certain who did it. To that leaker who I hope is listening now, let me say that what you did was unconscionable. You have taken a survivor who was not only entitled to your respect but who also trusted you to protect her, and you have sacrificed her well-being in a misguided attempt to win whatever political crusade you think you are fighting.

My only hope is that your callous act has turned this process into such a dysfunctional circus that it will cause the Senate and indeed all Americans to reconsider how we evaluate Supreme Court if that happens, then the appalling lack of compassion you afforded Prof. Ford will at least have some unintended positive consequences.

Mr. President, the politically charged atmosphere surrounding this nomination has reached a fever pitch even before these allegations were known, and it has been challenging even then to separate fact from fiction. We live in a time of such great disunity as the bitter fight over this nomination both in the Senate and among the public clearly demonstrates. It is not merely a case of differing groups having different opinions. It is a case of people bearing extreme ill will toward those who disagree with them. In our intense focus on our differences, we have forgotten the common values that bind us together as Americans.

When some of our best minds are seeking to develop even more sophisticated algorithms designed to link us to websites that only reinforce and cater to our views, we can only expect our differences to intensify. This would have alarmed the drafters of our constitution who were acutely aware that different values and interests could prevent Americans from becoming and remaining a single people.

Indeed, of the six objectives they invoked in the Preamble to the Constitution, the one that they put first was the formation of a more perfect union. Their vision of a more perfect union does not exist today if anything, we appear to be moving farther away from it. It is particularly worrisome that the Supreme Court, the institution that most Americans see as the principle guardian of our shared constitutional heritage is viewed as part of the problem through a political lens.

Mr. President, we’ve heard a lot of charges and countercharges about Judge Kavanaugh, but as those who have known him best have attested, he has been an exemplary public servant, judge, teacher, coach, husband, and father. Despite the turbulent, bitter fight surrounding his nomination, my fervent hope is that Brett Kavanaugh will work to lessen the divisions in the Supreme Court so that we have far fewer 5 to 4 decisions and so that public confidence in our judiciary and our highest court is restored.

Mr. President, I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. Thank you, Mr. President.