From The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Eight
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved

    This file is attached to from “Beast That Came Out Of The Sea” - Chapter Eight by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved.
    This link will return you to King Of The West 2019 for June or continue to King Of The West 2019 August.


2019 JULY

7/2/2019 Oil still $58.99, DOW up 117 to 26,717.

7/2/219 France warns Iran against further breaches of nuclear deal
French President Emmanuel Macron arrives to take part in a European Union leaders summit,
in Brussels, Belgium July 2, 2019. Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/Pool via REUTERS
    PARIS (Reuters) – France warned Iran on Tuesday against carrying out any further measures that could hinder its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, but appeared to hold off on confronting Tehran over its decision to exceed its low enriched uranium (LEU) limits.
    France, along with Britain and Germany, is seeking to save the deal since U.S. President Donald Trump quit the accord last year and imposed punishing sanctions on Iran.
    Paris had been cautious about responding following Monday’s confirmation by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Tehran had amassed more LEU than permitted under the accord.
    President Emmanuel Macron recalled “his attachment to the full respect of the 2015 nuclear accord and asks Iran to reverse without delay this excess, as well as to avoid all extra measures that would put into question its nuclear commitments,” the French presidency said in a statement.
    The move is a test of European diplomacy after French, British and German officials had promised a strong diplomatic response if Iran fundamentally breached the deal.
    The Europeans, who opposed Trump’s decision to abandon the agreement, had pleaded with Iran to keep within its parameters.
    Under the terms of the deal, if any party believes Iran has violated the agreement, they can trigger a dispute resolution process that could end at the U.N. Security Council with a so-called snapback of U.N. sanctions on Iran.
    The French presidency statement said that Macron would take steps in coming days to ensure Iran met its obligations and continued to benefit from the economic advantages of the deal.
    Officials did not immediately clarify what those steps would be.
    The European powers are attempting to establish a trade barter mechanism system with Iran to enable medical and food transfers to satisfy some of Tehran’s demands that its economic needs are met despite the U.S. sanctions.
    However, the system falls short of ensuring oil sales revenue as Iran has called for.
(Reporting by John Irish and Marine Pennetier; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Leigh Thomas, William Maclean)

7/2/2019 President Trump signs $4.6B humanitarian aid bill to fund efforts at the border by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump has signed a multi-billion dollar humanitarian bill to aid government personnel at the border.    He signed the measure into law at the White House Monday after months of deliberations in Congress.
    The bill contains over $1 billion to shelter and feed migrants, and almost $3 billion to care for unaccompanied migrant children.    The president voiced his criticism over the U.S. government seemingly being treated like a hospital for illegal aliens:
    “You know, we’re not in the hospital business.    We are in the border security business at the border.    And all of a sudden we’re forced to be in the hospital business.    And again, they’re coming up because they want a piece of what’s happening in this country. They want the economy.    They want the jobs.    They’re not coming up, for the most part, for other reasons they’re coming up because they want the jobs…but we want them to come in legally through a process and we want them to come in based on merit, so the merit is very important.”
    The bill also requires lawmakers to be notified of a migrant child’s death within 24-hours, and implements a 90-day time limit to keep migrant children in U.S. custody.
President Donald Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, right,
signs a $4.6 billion aid package to help the federal government cope with the surge of Central American immigrants at the
U.S.-Mexico border during a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    Meanwhile, President Trump also confirmed ICE will carry out immigration raids after the 4th of July.    Those operations were originally scheduled to take place last month, but the president postponed them by two-weeks to give lawmakers a chance to come up with ways to close immigration loopholes and fix asylum laws.
    Lawmakers have yet to propose any plan to solve this, leading President Trump to say the raids will take place unless something “miraculous” happens.    The White House had planned to carry out the raids in 10 major U.S. cities, with several of those cities’ mayors saying they would protect the illegal immigrants living in their communities.

7/2/2019 Border wall being built in Calexico to extend West into San Diego sector by OAN Newsroom
    The Army Corps of Engineers is helping Customs and Border Protection build a new section of the wall along the southern border in California.    This 15-mile stretch of the wall is being installed from Calexico in the El Centro sector to west into the San Diego sector city of Tecate.    The first panels were put up last Thursday.
This is an area where border officials say a high number of drug smugglers and human traffickers attempt to cross illegally from Mexico.
    According the Department of Homeland Security, the price tag is $127 million.    The money to fund this section is coming from Customs and Border Protection’s fiscal budget for 2018. It’s not part of President Trump’s national emergency declaration.
FILE – In this Feb. 5, 2019, file photo, Border Patrol agent Vincent Pirro looks on near a border wall that separates the cities
of Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, in San Diego. Hundreds of thousands of people have been arriving at the border
in recent months, many of them are families from Central America. Once they reach the border, they can take
different paths to try to get into the U.S. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
    Along other parts of the border though, some judges are trying to stop construction from beginning.    On Friday, a Ninth Circuit Court judge in California ruled against using billions of dollars in emergency funding from the Department of Defense to build two other sections of the wall in New Mexico and Arizona.    President Trump addressed the decision Saturday:
    “There was no reason that that should have happened,” he stated.    “And a lot of wall is being built.”
    While overseas, President Trump said he would be appealing the judge’s ruling, which he is confident the federal government will win.

7/2/2019 House GOP: Chamber is less effective now than when under GOP control by OAN Newsroom
    Republican lawmakers in the House say their chamber is less effective now than when it was under GOP control.
    According to a study by public affairs firm Quorum back in 2017, the Republican-led House was able to pass a total of 230 bills in the first six-months of the year.    That’s opposed to the 155 bills that were passed by the Democrat-led House in the first half of 2019.
    House minority leader Kevin McCarthy has accused the chamber of silencing conservatives and focusing on partisan issues important to Democrats.    McCarthy also recently laid into House Democrats for waiting so long to approve a $4.5 billion emergency aid bill to address the border crisis.
…Democrats, Madam speaker, have rejected a bill to provide the aid that is needed not once, not twice, not even 10 times, but 18 times,” he told Nancy Pelosi.    “Madam Speaker, I was shocked — I actually heard from the other side of the aisle someone said there was a crisis.”
    McCarthy also took aim at House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler for prioritizing investigations into the White House.
    At a House hearing back in May, House Intelligence Committee member Doug Collins also slammed Democrats for completely ignoring the crisis at the border to instead drag out proceedings over the Mueller report:
…this committee doesn’t want to talk to the author of the (Mueller) report, they just want to talk about the report, and make innuendos and attack the president at the middle of day when this committee who has charge of immigration, who has charge of intellectual property, which we’ve touched none on with a crisis at the border…
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, speaks during a
hearing regarding special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. (AP/Photo)
    Ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committees — Greg Walden — followed suit. He said Democrats have obstructed passing effective legislation by incessantly tacking on partisan measures to bipartisan bills, leaving them dead on arrival when they move on to the Senate.
    All 435 House seats will soon be up for grabs in 2020.    As we inch closer to election season, Republicans are maintaining their focus on Democrats’ shortcomings in an effort to flip the lower chamber red next year.

7/3/2019 Oil down $2.64 to 56.25, DOW up 69 to 26,787.

7/3/2019 Judge strikes down death penalty rules in Kentucky by Andrew Wolfson, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    A Kentucky judge has struck down the state’s death penalty protocol as unconstitutional because it does not explicitly prohibit the execution of prisoners with intellectual disabilities.
    Ruling on a motion brought by a dozen inmates on death row, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled Tuesday that the regulation is invalid because it doesn’t automatically suspend an execution when the state corrections department’s internal review shows a condemned person has an intellectual disability.
    Granting a motion filed by the Department of Public Advocacy, Shepherd said the state’s rules are flawed because they would allow a prisoner with intellectual disabilities to be executed if he or she declines further appeals.
    The U.S. Supreme Court “categorically prohibits the execution of intellectually disabled persons,” Shepherd noted.
    Assistant Public Advocate David Barron said all executions in Kentucky already had been stayed because of questions about the state’s means of lethal injection, as well as other issues.    Tuesday’s ruling continues that stay, he said.
    Barron called the opinion “a sound ruling that recognizes what we have been arguing for years.”
    He said the corrections department has “doggedly persisted” in refusing to recognize the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling 17 years ago by taking “reasonable steps to ensure that an intellectually disabled person is not executed.”
    The Kentucky attorney general’s office, which defended the regulations, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Three inmates, Thomas Bowling, Brian Keith Moore and Ralph Baze, filed challenges to the execution regulations in 2010.    Bowling died of cancer in 2012.
    The Kentucky Supreme Court has said that “imposing this harshest of punishments upon an intellectually disabled person violates his or her inherent dignity as a human being.”
    Kentucky law once required an inmate to have an IQ lower than 70 to qualify as intellectually disabled and avoid execution.    But last year the state’s high court said the use of a “bright-line” IQ test, without additional evidence, “cannot be used to conclusively determine that a person is not intellectually disabled and thus subject to the death penalty.”
    Baze, 64, was sentenced to death on Feb. 4, 1994, in Rowan County for the murder of two police officers, according to the Corrections Department website.
    On Jan. 30, 1992, a Powell County deputy, Arthur Briscoe, went to Baze’s home regarding warrants from Ohio.    Briscoe returned with Sheriff Steve Bennett. Baze, using an assault rifle, killed the two officers.
    Baze previously challenged the state’s execution protocol on the grounds that its lethal injection “cocktail” violated the ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
    Moore, 61, was sentenced to death on Nov. 29, 1984, in Jefferson County for the kidnapping, robbery and murder of 79-year-old Virgil Harris on Aug. 10, 1979, in Louisville.
    Harris was returning to his car from a grocery store parking lot when he was abducted, driven to a wooded area of Jefferson County and killed.
Andrew Wolfson: 502-582-7189; awolfson@courier; Twitter: @adwolfson.    Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal .com/andreww.
    Kentucky law once required an inmate to have an IQ lower than 70 to qualify as intellectually disabled and avoid execution.    But last year the state’s high court said the use of a “bright-line” IQ test, without additional evidence, “annot be used to conclusively determine that a person is not intellectually disabled and thus subject to the death penalty.”
The protocol was ruled unconstitutional because it does not explicitly prohibit the execution of prisoners with intellectual disabilities. AP FILE
[I worked as a correctional officer for 13 years at KSP and 2 years in death row so it looks like the death row inmates finally got the one judge who will do it.]

7/3/2019 NASA aces test of launch abort system by Marcia Dunn, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA conducted a full-stress launch abort test Tuesday for the Orion capsules designed to carry astronauts to the moon. The capsule was empty for the morning demo, which officials said appeared to be successful.    Barely a minute after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the abort motor fired, pulling the capsule from the booster about 6 miles up. The capsule continued upward for 2 miles, then flipped to jettison the abort tower.
    NASA chose not to use parachutes to keep this test version of the capsule simple and thus save time, and so it crashed into the Atlantic at 300 mph as planned, the three-minute test complete.    Twelve data recorders popped off in bright orange canisters before impact, for ocean retrieval.
    “By all accounts, it was magnificent,” said program manager Mark Kirasich.    It will take a few months to go through all the data collected by the hundreds of vehicle sensors, he said.
    NASA aims to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024 using its still-indevelopment Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket.

7/3/2019 House committee sues for Trump tax returns - It says administration is shielding president by Jessica Gresko, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – A House committee sued the Trump administration in federal court Tuesday for access to President Donald Trump’s tax returns, setting up a legal showdown over the records.
    The House Ways and Means Committee said it needs the documents for an investigation into tax law compliance by the president, among other things.    It asked the court to order the administration to turn over the documents.
    The committee originally demanded six years of Trump’s tax records in early April under a law that says the Internal Revenue Service “shall furnish” the returns of any taxpayer to a handful of top lawmakers.    But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the committee in May that he wouldn’t be turning over the returns to the Democratic-controlled House.
    Mnuchin concluded that the Treasury Department is “not authorized to disclose the requested returns and return information.”    The Justice Department in a legal opinion backed Mnuchin’s position, saying the request lacked a legitimate legislative purpose and was an “unprecedented” use of congressional authority.    The argument is the same one the administration has used in refusing other demands from Congress for financial records from accountants and banks Trump and his family have done business with. Lawsuits over those records were filed in federal courts in Washington and New York, and Trump has lost in those lawsuits’ opening rounds.
    In its lawsuit Tuesday, the committee said the administration has refused to turn over the documents “in order to shield President Trump’s tax return information from Congressional scrutiny.”
    The committee said it’s not required to explain to the Treasury Department its reasons for seeking the tax return information but that in this case the committee’s need is “evident.”
    “Without reviewing the requested return materials, the Committee cannot ensure that the IRS’s audit process is functioning fairly and effectively, understand how provisions of the tax code are impacted by President Trump’s returns or exercise its legislative judgment to determine whether changes to the code may be warranted,” the lawsuit said.
    The president has “declined to follow the practice of every elected President since Richard Nixon of voluntarily disclosing their tax returns,” the lawsuit said.
    Kevin Brady, the lead Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, contended that “this not only weaponizes the tax code and puts every taxpayer at risk, this lawsuit goes further and – for the first time – circumvents America’s democratic process by replacing the U.S. House’s voice with Nancy Pelosi’s voice.”
Contributing: Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY
The House Ways and Means Committee originally demanded six years of President Donald Trump’s tax records in early April. CORY MORSE/AP

7/3/2019 Despite Turkey’s assurances, U.S. still eyes sanctions, F-35 exit by Phil Stewart and Humeyra Pamuk
FILE PHOTO: A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin, Germany,
April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration still plans to impose sanctions on Turkey and remove it from a critical fighter jet program if the NATO ally acquires Russian air defenses, U.S. officials told Reuters, despite the Turkish president’s assurances to the contrary.
    After meeting U.S. President Donald Trump over the weekend in Japan, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara would be spared damaging U.S. sanctions once Russia’s S-400 air defense system starts arriving in Turkey in coming days.
    Trump appeared sympathetic to Erdogan at the talks and reluctant to publicly commit to sanctions — despite being repeatedly asked by reporters.
    But U.S. government officials told Reuters that, at least so far, the administration intends to impose sanctions on Turkey and pull it from the F-35 fighter jet program if it takes delivery of the Russian S-400 system, as expected.
    “The United States has consistently and clearly stated that Turkey will face very real and negative consequences if it proceeds with its S-400 acquisition, including suspension of procurement and industrial participation in the F-35 program and exposure to sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA),” a State Department spokeswoman said.
    At the Pentagon, spokesman Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews said: “Nothing has changed.”
    “Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 air and missile defense system is incompatible with the F-35 program.    Turkey will not be permitted to have both systems,” Andrews said.
    If the United States removes Turkey from the F-35 program, and imposes sanctions on the NATO ally, it would be one of the most significant ruptures in recent history in the relationship between the two nations.
    Trump, who has shown a rapport with Erdogan, could still try to change course by seeking to issue a waiver and postpone sanctions.    Such a move would please Ankara but upset some of Trump’s allies in Congress.
    He has broken with his advisors on other foreign policy decisions.
    He announced plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria last December after another conversation with Erdogan, despite opposition from U.S. military advisers and U.S. allies. He later scaled back the extent of the withdrawal to allow some troops to remain in Syria.
    Speaking in Japan last week, Trump blamed former President Barack Obama’s administration for failing to help Turkey acquire a U.S. alternative to the S-400s system — Patriot missiles, made by Raytheon Co .    He said Erdogan was not at fault.
    “He got treated very unfairly,” Trump said.
    Even minor U.S. sanctions could prompt another sharp sell-off in the Turkish lira.    A 30% slide in the currency drove the economy into recession last year, and the lira has lost another 10% this year. Hard-hit Turkish financial assets jumped on Monday after Erdogan’s latest upbeat remarks.
    But a Trump decision to withhold or delay sanctions would be less difficult than backtracking on U.S. threats to kick Turkey out of the F-35 program, experts said.
    The United States has said the S-400s are not compatible with NATO’s defense network and could compromise its Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets, an aircraft Turkey is helping to build and planning to buy.
    Republicans and Democrats in Congress are broadly opposed to allowing Turkey to have both systems.
    To show it is serious, Washington has already started the process of removing Turkey from the F-35 program.    It has halted training of Turkish pilots in the United States on the aircraft and refused to accept any others.
    Some experts believe Trump could try to change course, potentially using a last-minute deal on Patriots as a way of saving face for him and Erdogan.
    “Trump may try and get a waiver,” Aaron Stein, Director of the Middle East program at think-tank FPRI.
    “This may only buy 180 more days to reach a deal on Patriot, while S-400 is deployed, and Turkey is removed from the F-35 consortium,” he said.
    “The end result is, in a best case scenario for Turkey, a tenuous waiver from sanctions, an angry Congress, and a future without an aircraft Ankara has paid well over a billion dollars to procure.”
(Additional reporting by Steve Holland; editing by Diane Craft)

7/3/2019 56 people shot in Chicago over weekend, 5 killed by OAN Newsroom
    A series of shootings over the weekend in Chicago left five people dead and dozens more injured.    According to Chicago Police, a total of 56 people were shot between Friday afternoon and Monday morning as a result of arguments, drive-bys or random attacks.
    This marks the second time in June in which more than 50 people fell victim to gun violence within the city limits.    Police have tried to get a handle on the situation by increasing patrols in high crime parts of the city, and by stepping up enforcement of gun laws.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks at a news conference Monday, June 3, 2019, in Chicago.
Johnson is decrying a “despicable level of violence” during a weekend in which 52 people in the city
were shot, eight of them fatally, and two people were stabbed to death. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)
    “These initiatives resulted in a significant number of guns being taken off the city’s streets — 92 since Friday,” stated Supt. Eddie Johnson.    “That’s nearly double the amount of guns that we take in during a particular weekend, and it speaks to the commitment of our police officers to safe guard our communities.”
    Despite the violent weekend, the Chicago Police Department has claimed the total number of shootings for the first half of 2019 is at a four-year low.
[Chicago is not a city I want to visit and it is an example of what happens when society becomes liberal and lawless.]

7/4/2019 Oil unch., DOW up 179 to 26,966.

7/4/2019 Its 4th of July and I hope all know why we celebrate it.

7/4/2019 Trump says immigrants ‘unhappy’ with detention centers should stay home by Makini Brice
A drawing by children recently released from CBP depicting their time spent in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
custody, to the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas, are shown in this image released by
American Academy of Pediatrics in Itasca, Illinois, U.S., on July 3, 2019. Courtesy American Academy of Pediatrics/Handout via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump, facing renewed criticism from Democrats and activists over his handling of a migrant crisis on the U.S.- Mexico border, said in a Twitter post on Wednesday that immigrants unhappy with conditions at detention centers should be told “not to come.”
    Democratic lawmakers and civil rights activists who have visited migrant detention centers along the border in recent days have described nightmarish conditions marked by overcrowding and inadequate access to food, water and other basic needs.
    The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general on Tuesday published photos of migrant-holding centers in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley crammed with twice as many people as they were meant to hold.
    “If Illegal Immigrants are unhappy with the conditions in the quickly built or refitted detentions centers, just tell them not to come.     All problems solved!” Trump said on Twitter.
    The Republican president has made cracking down on illegal immigration a key part of his first-term agenda after campaigning on the issue ahead of the 2016 election.
    “Our Border Patrol people are not hospital workers, doctors or nurses,” Trump wrote earlier on Twitter.    “Great job by Border Patrol, above and beyond.    Many of these illegals (sic) aliens are living far better now than where they … came from, and in far safer conditions.”
    Criticism of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency grew after reports this week that current and former agents had posted offensive anti-immigrant comments and targeted lawmakers on their private Facebook group.
    Acting Department of Homeland Security chief Kevin McAleenan on Wednesday ordered an investigation into the posts, calling the comments “disturbing.”
    The Facebook posts, first reported by ProPublica, included jokes about immigrants dying and sexually explicit content about U.S. Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who criticized the detention facilities after a tour this week.
    Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the acting head of the CBP and other top leaders at the agency to be fired.
    Democratic U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro said after a visit to the border this week that detainees had been not been allowed to bathe for two weeks, were deprived of medication and locked in areas with broken water faucets.
    “It’s clear that their human rights were being neglected,” the Texas lawmaker told reporters in a conference call.
    The White House on Wednesday sharply criticized a ruling by a federal judge in Seattle who blocked its attempt to keep thousands of asylum seekers in custody while they pursued their cases.
    “The decision only incentivizes smugglers and traffickers, which will lead to the further overwhelming of our immigration system by illegal aliens,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
    The American Civil Liberties Union and immigrant rights groups sued the government in April after Attorney General William Barr concluded that asylum seekers who entered the country illegally were not eligible for bond.
    Congress has blocked Trump’s efforts to fund construction of a wall on the southern border, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco refused on Wednesday to lift an injunction barring the administration from using $2.5 billion intended to fight narcotics trafficking to build the barrier.
    But the record surge of mostly Central American families, fleeing crime and poverty at home, has begun to ease after tougher enforcement efforts in Mexico, according to officials from both countries.
    Mexico’s government, citing unpublished U.S. data, said border arrests fell 30% in June from May after a crackdown as part of a deal with the United States to avoid trade tariffs.
    The Mexican government said it was busing home Central American migrants from Ciudad Juarez who had been forced to wait in Mexico for their asylum claims to be processed under a U.S. policy known as “Remain in Mexico.”
    Since migrant arrests reached a 13-year monthly high in May, immigration has arguably become the biggest issue for Trump and Democratic presidential contenders vying for the right to face him in the November 2020 election.
    “Mexico is doing a far better job than the Democrats on the Border.    Thank you Mexico!” Trump said Wednesday on Twitter.
    U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker spent much of the day on the Mexican side of the border in Ciudad Juarez, meeting with migrants who had been sent back to Mexico to await their asylum hearings under a new Trump administration policy.
    Booker escorted five women believed to be fleeing domestic abuse across the bridge over the Rio Grande and to the border port of entry in El Paso, Texas, according to a Facebook video he posted.    Booker said they had been unfairly returned back when they should have been accepted by U.S. authorities.
    “I’m going to fight for these five folks and do everything I can to see that they be fairly evaluated,” Booker told reporters.
    Democratic presidential hopeful Julian Castro, Joaquin Castro’s brother, last week proposed decriminalizing border crossings as a step toward freeing up federal resources and eliminating thousands of immigration cases clogging criminal courts.
(Reporting by Makini Brice in Washington, Daina Beth Solomon, Diego Ore and David Alire Garcia in Mexico City, Jonathan Allen in New York, David Alexander, Susan Heavey, Doina Chiacu and Eric Beech in Washington, Andrew Hay in New Mexico and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Bill Tarrant, Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)

7/4/2019 Pres. Trump wishes Americans a Happy 4th of July by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump and the first lady take a moment to send their best wishes to Americans celebrating the Fourth of July.
    President Donald Trump set to commandeer July 4 festivities in nation’s capital.
    In a statement Thursday, the president reflects on the significance of the Declaration of Independence on its 243rd anniversary.
    He highlights that, since its adoption, freedom continues to thrive throughout the U.S. President Trump attributes the ability to maintain the rights to life and liberty, to the men and women of our armed forces for defending them.
    He said contributions from people throughout the country have helped shape and preserve the American dream.

7/4/2019 DOJ says it is following Pres. Trump’s orders to find path for census citizenship question by OAN Newsroom
    The Department of Justice confirms it is following the president’s orders to try and find a way to include the citizenship question on the 2020 Census, frustrating an Obama appointed district judge.
    According to court transcripts released Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Joseph Hunt, said his department was instructed to re-examine the Supreme Court’s decision on the census question, and find “near-term options” to legally add it.
    Hunt said the DOJ plans to file a motion which will “govern further proceedings.”
FILE – In this May 14, 2013, file photo, the Department of Justice headquarters building in Washington
is photographed early in the morning. The Justice Department says Tuesday, July 2, 2019, the 2020 Census
is moving ahead without a question about citizenship. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)
    Judge George Hazel said he expressed confusion, after the president tweeted he would move forward on the census question.
    The President claims it’s so important for our country to have the “very simple and basic” citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
    “I think when a census goes out, you should find out whether or not, and you have the right to ask whether or not somebody is a citizen of the United States,” the President said.
    The judge said he wants “a final answer” by Friday afternoon, and warned the court was going forward, if he does not get an answer by at that time.
    The White House is also reportedly thinking about using an executive order to add the citizen question to the census.
    According to Axios Thursday, senior administration officials said “we didn’t come this far to just throw in the towel.”
    One White House source with legal background said “they are considering the appropriateness of an executive order which would address the constitutional need for the question.”
    A former federal judge told Axios, if the president were to take executive action for the citizenship question, the Supreme court would likely affirm the constitutional power of the president.

7/5/2019 Pres. Trump to issue executive order on drug prices by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump says he’s preparing an executive order which would lower drug prices.
President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for his
Bedminster, N.J. golf club, Friday, July 5, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    Speaking to reporters Friday, the president said his administration plans to create a “favored nations clause.”
    The clause would ensure the U.S. would pay no more for a drug than the lowest price paid by another country.
    The Trump administration is working to shed more light on the healthcare industry’s non-transparent pricing practices.
    Starting this month, big pharma will have to include drug prices in TV ads.

7/5/2019 2 Protesters arrested in D.C. after flag-burning incident outside WH by OAN Newsroom
    Secret service agents apprehend a pair of protesters outside the White House, for allegedly burning an American flag.
    Reports said members of the “revolutionary communist party” were taken into custody Thursday, in connection with malicious burning, assaulting a police officer, and obstructing a police investigation.
    Two officers reportedly sustained minor injuries while attempting to make the arrests.    The protesters were detained, before President Trump delivered his fourth of July address.

7/5/2019 Report: officials worked over July 4th holiday on census question by OAN newsroom
    Officials with the Justice and Commerce departments worked overtime through the holiday, to find a way to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
FILE – In this June 20, 2019 file photo, the Supreme Court is seen under stormy skies in Washington. Two issues that could determine
the distribution of political power for the next decade await resolution on the Supreme Court’s final day of decisions before a long
summer break. Chief Justice John Roberts could well be the author of decisions on both politically charged topics Thursday, June 27, whether to allow a
citizenship question on the 2020 census and place limits on drawing electoral districts for partisan gain. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
    According to the Washington Post, after the Supreme Court ruled against adding the question to the census, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed the department began printing the forms without the question on it.
    However, on Wednesday President Trump said the administration was ‘absolutely moving forward’ with the question, and officials were directed to look for other legal options.
    A federal judge gave the administration until later Friday to present a new reason for including the question on the survey.

7/5/2019 June jobs report in: 224k jobs added, unemployment 3.7%, wage growth 3.1% by OAN newsroom
    The June jobs report posts slightly better results than economist’s expected.
In this Tuesday, June 4, 2019 photo, job applicants line up at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood during a job
fair in Hollywood, Fla. On Friday, July 5, the U.S. government issues the June jobs report. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
    According to early reports Friday, the market added 224,000 jobs this past month, 60,000 more than were originally predicted.
    Unemployment ticked slightly higher to 3.7%.    Wage growth also held steady at 3.1%.
    Reports said the U.S. is entering the longest period of economic expansion on record, as the federal reserve decides whether it will cut interest rates later this month.
    The White House Press Secretary praises the report, calling it good news for American workers.
    Stephanie Grisham tweeted Friday saying job creation is soaring, wages are rising, and unemployment is still near its lowest rate in half a century.
    She concluded by saying, thanks to President Trump, America’s economy is stronger than ever!

7/6/2019 Oil $57.51, DOW down 44 to 26,922.

7/7/2019 SF: 17% more homeless living in vehicles California city sees jump after spending millions to try to combat problem by Janie Har, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    SAN FRANCISCO – Most homeless people in San Francisco sleep in parks and on sidewalks but a growing number are living out of their vehicles, helping fuel an overall 17% increase in homelessness in the last two years, according to a report released Friday.
    San Francisco tallied about 8,000 homeless in its one-night count in January, when counties across the country conducted counts as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
    Other counties in California also saw double-digit increases, reflecting the state’s severe housing crunch.    In May, Alameda County, which includes Oakland, reported a 43% increase over two years while last month Los Angeles County reported a year-to-year 12% jump to nearly 59,000 homeless, with more young adults, older people and families on the streets.
    The San Francisco report, released by the city’s Department of Homelessness & Supportive Housing, paints a picture of a city in crisis despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent every year to tackle the problem.    Nearly 1,200 people were on the waiting list for shelter beds the week of the January count.
    Officials say they can’t keep pace with the number of people who become homeless in a city where the median sales price of a house hovers at $1.4 million and median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $3,700.    Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they had been living in a place they or their partner rented or owned, or with family or friends immediately prior to becoming homeless.
    Homelessness continues to be associated with deep poverty, mental illness and addiction – tents and people sprawled out on sidewalks are all too visible. But people of higher income levels, including those who own cars, are also struggling, said Jeff Kositsky, the San Francisco agency’s director.
    “I’m seeing people with decent RVs but with no place to live, and many of them have jobs,” he said.    “It’s very concerning and it all indicates what everybody already knows in California: that we have a severe affordable housing shortage.”
    San Francisco identified nearly 600 passenger vehicles, RVs or vans that appeared to be inhabited, according to the report.
    RV living has more commonly been associated with Silicon Valley suburbs that are home to Apple, Facebook and Google, which have struggled with the dozens of RVs that line its streets.    But San Francisco plans to open a “safe site” for vehicles by the end of the year.    The city of Oakland opened a space for people living in their vehicles last month.
    “It’s definitely a sign of the wealth gap and what’s happening in San Francisco,” said Supervisor Vallie Brown, adding that officials failed to build units for decades, “and then all of a sudden we became an economic engine where almost anyone who comes to this city can get a job but there’s no housing for people.”
    Julio, a longtime gardener, said he bought an RV for $12,000 off Craigslist in late 2017, after conflicts with neighbors.    Julio, 50, asked that his last name not be used because he does not want to jeopardize his business.
    For more than a year, he parked around San Francisco State University, staying one step ahead of notices to move.
    About six months ago the family of four, including two teens, got a spot at the Candlestick RV Park, where they now have electricity and water.
    “San Francisco is rich.    They can definitely do a lot more, and I wish they could do something better,” he said.    “There are a whole bunch of working people, ... I know for a fact there are more people like myself and my family out there, and they don’t deserve this.”
    Kelley Cutler, an organizer with the Coalition on Homelessness in San Francisco, said it’s natural for people who have lost their homes to take to their cars.    She wishes the city would stop towing RVs and clearing out tents, and focus instead on finding help for people sleeping in doorways.
    “It’s the shuffling game around the city, but it’s not addressing the issue,” she said.
    Shanna Orona, who goes by the name Couper, is a disabled former firefighter who has been living in a beat-up RV in the Mission District for about seven months.    She lives with her cat, Maison, and moves the vehicle once a week for street- cleaning.
    She has been homeless for about four years, after a divorce that left her without a condo to call home.    She tends to other homeless people, treating cuts and changing bandages.
    “We’re just like everyone else.    The only difference between them and us, housies and us, is they have a roof over their head and we don’t, but we’re all San Francisco residents,” she said.
    Homelessness isn’t necessarily growing in other parts of the country. Seattle’s King County reported an 8% decrease from last year to just over 11,000 and the Washington D.C. area counted 9,800 people, the lowest number recorded since 2001.
    The California Assembly voted 64-0 on Friday to set aside $2.4 billion in the state budget to address housing and homelessness.    That includes increasing funding for an emergency homelessness program from $500million to $650 million, removing some of the red tape involved in opening up new homeless shelters and creating incentives for the construction of affordable housing.
    Ahead of the vote, Assemblyman David Chiu, a Democrat from San Francisco, described California as experiencing “the most intense housing crisis we have experienced in our state’s history.”
    Kositsky remains optimistic, despite a population that is older, sicker and growing.    San Francisco is adding shelter beds and he sees progress in housing veterans and youth – and the 17% increase was not as high as in other California counties.
    San Francisco also conducts an expanded count that includes the number of homeless people in jails, hospitals and treatment centers on the same time.
    That number was 9,800, up from 7,499 in 2017, although part of that increase is due to improved counting, the report said.
Shanna Orona, is a disabled former firefighter, tends to a friend in a van in San Francisco. She has been homeless for about
four years and spends part of her time helping other homeless people, such as treating cuts. JEFF CHIU/AP

7/8/2019 Acting DHS secretary defends border conditions - McAleenan touts progress, sees reports as unsubstantiated by ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan on Sunday defended conditions at U.S. Border Patrol stations following reports of crowded and unsanitary conditions that have heightened debate about President Donald Trump’s immigration policy, a trademark issue for his reelection campaign.
    “It’s an extraordinarily challenging situation,” McAleenan told ABC’s “This Week.”
    The Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog provided new details Tuesday about severe overcrowding in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings.    The report said children at three facilities had no access to showers and that some children under age 7 had been held in jammed centers for more than two weeks.    Some cells were so cramped that adults were forced to stand for days on end.
    Government inspectors described an increasingly dangerous situation, for migrants and agents – a “ticking time bomb,” in the words of one facility manager.    The report echoed findings in May by the department’s inspector general about holding centers in El Paso, Texas: 900 people crammed into a cell with a maximum capacity of 125; detainees standing on toilets to have room to breathe; others wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks.
    McAleenan said that since the first of the year, 200 medical providers have been added to facilities, including personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Public Health Service Commission Corps.
    “We have pediatricians in border patrol stations for the first time in history trying to help address conditions where children are coming across 300 a day in … April and May,” McAleenan said.
    “We’ve built soft-sided temporary facilities.    These are spaces that are much more appropriate – high ceilings, more room for children and families.”
    McAleenan disputed news reports, including those by The Associated Press, of especially troubling conditions at a border station in Clint, Texas, where a stench was coming from children’s clothing and some detainees were suffering from scabies and chickenpox.
    “There’s adequate food and water,” he said.    “The facility is cleaned every day because I know what our standards are and I know they’ve been followed because we have tremendous levels of oversight.    Five levels of oversight.    Inadequate food, inadequate water and unclean cells.    None of those have been substantiated.”
    He said everyone in the chain of command is worried about the situation of children detained at the border.    He said that on June 1, his department had 2,500 children in custody, including 1,200 who had been there for more than three days.    As of Saturday, McAleenan said there were 350 children, and only 20 have been in the department’s custody for more than three days.
    “So that’s huge improvement based on the resources we asked for from Congress and were finally given,” he said.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan says the border is an
extraordinarily challenging situation.” MARK WILSON/GETTY IMAGES

7/8/2019 President Trump to hold social media summit by OAN Newsroom
    Hot topic issues surrounding social media are set to be addressed this week during a summit in Washington, D.C.
    According to a White House spokesperson, President Trump will host the forum, which is meant to “bring together digital leaders for a robust conversation on the opportunities and challenges of today’s online environment.”
    Some of the guests slated to attend include online video platform PragerU as well as representatives from the Heritage Foundation, the Media Research Center, and Turning Point USA.
    Although the purpose of this meeting is to discuss social media, two major tech companies are not expected to be in attendance.    According to reports, both Twitter and Facebook have not been invited to the event.    However, neither company has confirmed those claims.
    President Trump and other Republicans have long accused the media sites of trying to silence conservative voices.
President Donald Trump points to the cheering crowd as he leaves an Independence Day celebration in front
of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    “Look at social media.    It’s a thing called free speech rights. You look at Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media giants and I’ve made it clear that we, as a country, cannot tolerate political censorship, blacklisting, and rigged search results.” — President Trump.
    The president has previously met with CEO’s of both Google and Twitter to address these concerns.    Additionally, the White House launched a tool back in May, which gives people the ability to report what they deem to be cases of social media bias.

7/8/2019 Secretary Pompeo: Escalations from Iran will only lead to further isolation by OAN Newsroom
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned the latest threats from Iran regarding the expansion of its nuclear program will lead to additional sanctions and prolonged isolation.
    In a tweet Sunday, Pompeo urged other nations to “restore the longstanding standard of no enrichment” for the country.    He also warned of the great danger Iran poses if armed by nuclear weapons.
    Pompeo tweet: “Iran’s latest expansion of its nuclear program will lead to further isolation and sanctions.    Nations should restore the longstanding standard of no enrichment for Iran’s nuclear program.    Iran’s regime, armed with nuclear weapons, would pose an even greater danger to the world.”
    His comments came just hours after Iranian officials announced they were set to exceed the country’s cap on enriched uranium levels, which was previously set in place by the Iran nuclear deal.
Secretary Mike Pompeo during a photo opportunity with Kazakh Foreign Minister Beybut Atamkulov at
the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, July 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    “In a few hours the technical work will be done and enrichment beyond 3.67% will begin.    The reason we are starting our second step in reducing our commitments from the JCPOA today is that Europe and other members of the JCPOA could not meet our demands, specially in the field of oil and bringing back our income, they haven’t been able to do anything worthy.” — Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s atomic agency     President Trump also responded to the announcement in a statement to reporters, saying “Iran better be careful.”

7/8/2019 GOP Fundraisers: President Trump could raise up to $2.5B for re-election by OAN Newsroom
    Republican enthusiasm is continuing to grow for President Trump’s re-election campaign.    GOP fundraisers predict the president could rake-in as much as $2.5 billion during the 2020 election cycle.
    The record number would double the amount failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former President Obama raised during their campaigns.    It would also quadruple the $600 million President Trump raised in 2016.
President Donald Trump gestures to the cheering crowd as he and first lady Melania Trump leave at the conclusion of an Independence Day
celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    One America News recently spoke with the Trump campaign’s deputy communications director, who said there’s no democrat who can match the enthusiasm for the president.
    “We are just seeing overwhelming support for the president.    They (Democrats) can bring in a quarter of what the president has brought in.    What this money is being able to give us the opportunity to do is get our message out to voters, to register voters, to knock on their doors, to make sure the campaign never has to worry about the opportunity to expand the map to go into competitive states.    We are not going to be limited on any front in making sure that President Trump wins in 2020.” — Erin Perrine, deputy communications director – Trump 2020 campaign.
    The president’s campaign and the RNC raised a record $24.8 million on the day he announced his re-election campaign.    They also raised a combined $105 million in the second quarter.

7/9/2019 Oil up $0.15 to $57.66, DOW down 116 to 26,806.

7/9/2019 Medallion Resources eyes U.S., Canada for rare-earth extraction plant
FILE PHOTO: Samples of rare earth minerals from left: Cerium oxide, Bastnaesite, Neodymium oxide and Lanthanum carbonate at Molycorp's
Mountain Pass Rare Earth facility in Mountain Pass, California June 29, 2015. REUTERS/David Becker/File Photo/File Photo
    (Reuters) – Tiny Canadian company Medallion Resources Ltd said on Tuesday it was looking at sites in North America to develop a rare-earth extraction plant, as the prolonged U.S.-China trade war turns the spotlight on the metals.
    Rare earths are an essential component in rechargeable batteries that power electric and hybrid cars, while some of them, such as neodymium and dysprosium, are also critical to the motors used in electric vehicles.
    “We feel it is the right time to initiate the evaluation of plant sites… as a key part of re-building a North American rare earth value chain,” Chief Executive Officer Don Lay said in a statement on Tuesday.
    Rising trade tensions between the United States and China have sparked concerns that Beijing could leverage its dominant position as a supplier of rare earths.
    Prices of neodymium metal – used in magnets and speakers – have surged 26.5% since May 20, while those of dysprosium and gadolinium oxide have gained around 10%.
    Vancouver-based Medallion, which is looking to produce magnet metal from reddish-brown phosphate mineral monazite, said it was seeking third party proposals for the rare-earth extraction plant.
    California’s Mountain Pass mine is the only operating U.S. rare earths facility, while Australia’s Lynas Corp Ltd in May agreed to build a rare earth processing facility in the country with Texas-based Blue Line Corp.
(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

7/9/2019 President Trump meets with emir of Qatar by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump recently hosted a meeting with the emir of Qatar at the White House.    On Tuesday, the self-proclaimed longtime friends noted success in their partnership thanks to shared economy and infrastructure ideals.
    Both leaders highlighted their commitment to each other and then signed transaction documents, which sealed Qatar’s’ purchase of several Boeing jets.    The jets will be utilized for commercial airline purposes as well as in Qatar’s military.
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani in the
Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, July 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    “It’s a transaction that will be purchasing a lot of Boeing jets and a lot of money spent in our country.    That means a lot of jobs.    So, we just appreciate everything.    We have a great operation, military operation right now in Qatar.    They built one of the great military bases, I would say, anywhere in the world.    And it’s just been expanded with runways and everything else, it’s been really a great honor to work with my friend.” — President Trump
    The Qatari emir thanked the president for his hospitality, and invited him to visit the military bases in his country.

7/9/2019 Food stamp participation hits 10-year low by OAN Newsroom
    The number of people receiving food stamp benefits has hit a 10-year low under the Trump administration.
    The latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows nearly 36 million people participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
    Enrollment in the program hit a record high during President Obama’s second term.    Less people signed up after 2013 due to new state laws, which issued new requirements to qualify.
    President Trump further tightened requirements and has vowed to end dependency on the program, especially for illegal immigrants.
    Last month, the USDA said it would adopt new polices that would make it harder for certain groups to be eligible for the benefits.
    Trump tweet: “Food Stamp participation hits 10 year low. Wow! @OANN

7/10/2019 Oil up $0.17 to $57.83, DOW down 23 to 26,783.

7/10/2019 U.S. and Iran to clash at U.N. nuclear watchdog by Francois Murphy
FILE PHOTO - A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after a group picture with foreign ministers
and representatives of the U.S., Iran, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and the European Union during the Iran
nuclear talks at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo
    VIENNA (Reuters) – The United States will use an emergency meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s board on Wednesday to raise pressure on Iran over breaches of its nuclear deal, but diplomats expect no concrete action as parties to the deal consider their next move.
    In the past two weeks Iran has breached two limits central to the deal, which as a whole was aimed at extending the time Iran would need to obtain enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon, if it chose to, to a year from around 2-3 months.
    Iran says it is responding to the punishing economic sanctions Washington has imposed on Tehran since it pulled out of the deal a year ago.    While Washington says it is open to talks on a more far-reaching deal, Iran says it must first be able to sell as much oil as it did before the U.S. withdrawal.
    With the two sides apparently deadlocked, Iran says it will continue to breach limits of the deal one by one until it receives the economic windfall the deal promised. Washington meanwhile is seeking to isolate Iran to force it to negotiate.
    “The international community must hold Iran’s regime accountable,” the United States said in a statement explaining its decision to call the Board of Governors meeting. Any country on the board can call a meeting under International Atomic Energy Agency rules.    The meeting begins at 2:30 p.m. (1230 GMT).
    Diplomats from many other countries on the board, however, said that while there was likely to be fiery exchanges between the Iranian and U.S. envoys at the closed-door meeting, they did not expect the board to take any concrete action.
    That is partly because while Iran has breached the terms of the deal which the IAEA is policing, the IAEA is not a party to the deal and Iran has not violated the Safeguards Agreement binding it to the agency.
    “We did not want this meeting,” a European diplomat said, before adding wryly: “It’s a chance for everyone to express themselves.”
    Iran has been calling on the European parties to the deal – France, Britain and Germany – to shield its economy from U.S. sanctions, and they have set up a vehicle for barter trade that will be able to handle small amounts.    However, they say there is little they can do to ensure the vital oil sales Iran seeks.
    IAEA inspectors verified on July 1 that Iran’s stock of enriched uranium had gone over the 202.8 kg limit set by the deal, and on Monday that Iran had enriched uranium beyond the deal’s 3.67% purity limit.    That is still far below the 20% it enriched to before the deal and the roughly 90% needed to make uranium weapons-grade.
    Having warned Iran against breaching the deal, the European parties on Tuesday expressed “deep concern” but stopped short of taking action like initiating a process that could lead to the re-imposition of sanctions lifted under the deal.    Instead, they said all parties to the deal should meet urgently.
(Reporting by Francois Murphy)

7/10/2019 U.S. wants military coalition to safeguard waters off Iran, Yemen by Phil Stewart
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford arrives to testify before a Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing
on the proposed FY2020 budget for the Defense Department on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States hopes to enlist allies over the next two weeks or so in a military coalition to safeguard strategic waters off Iran and Yemen, where Washington blames Iran and Iran-aligned fighters for attacks, the top U.S. general said on Tuesday.
    Under the plan, which has only been finalized in recent days, the United States would provide command ships and lead surveillance efforts for the military coalition. Allies would patrol waters near those U.S. command ships and escort commercial vessels with their nation’s flags.
    Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, articulated those details to reporters following meetings on Tuesday about it with acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
    “We’re engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab,” Dunford said.
    “And so I think probably over the next couple of weeks we’ll identify which nations have the political will to support that initiative and then we’ll work directly with the militaries to identify the specific capabilities that’ll support that.”
    Iran has long threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which almost a fifth of the world’s oil passes, if it was unable to export its oil, something U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has sought as a way to pressure Tehran to renegotiate a deal on its nuclear program.
    But the U.S proposal for an international coalition to safeguard shipping in the Strait, at the mouth of the Gulf, has been gaining momentum since attacks in May and June against oil tankers in Gulf waters.    Last month, Iran shot down a U.S. drone near the Strait, prompting President Donald Trump to order retaliatory air strikes, only to call them off.
    The deputy chief cabinet secretary of Japan, one of Washington’s key global allies, declined to comment directly when asked about Dunford’s comments.
    “We are quite concerned about mounting tensions in the Mideast, and guaranteeing safe passage in the Hormuz Strait is vital to our nation’s energy security, as well as to the peace and prosperity of international society,” Kotaro Nogami told a regular news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday.
    “Japan will stay in close contact with the United States and other related nations and continue to make efforts for stability and the reduction of tension in the Mideast.”
    Although U.S. officials had publicly discussed plans to safeguard the Strait, Dunford’s disclosure that the coalition would also seek to bolster security in the Bab al-Mandab off Yemen appeared to be a new element.
    The United States, as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have long fretted over attacks by Iran-aligned Houthi fighters in the narrow Bab al-Mandab waterway, which connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.
    Nearly 4 million barrels of oil are shipped daily through the Bab al-Mandab to Europe, the United states and Asia plus commercial goods.
    Dunford said the United States would provide “command and control” ships but said the goal would be for other countries to provide vessels to patrol waters between those command ships.
    The third part of the mission would involve coalition members escorting their countries’ commercial vessels.
    “The expectation is that the actual patrolling and escorts would be done by others,” he said.    Dunford said the size of the campaign could be adjusted based on the number of countries that commit to it.
    “This will be scaleable, right? So with a small number of contributors, we can have a small mission.    And we’ll expand that as the number of nations that are willing to participate identify themselves,” he said.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart in Washington, and Kaori Kaneko in Tokyo; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, James Dalgleish and Michael Perry)

7/10/2019 Court denies DOJ’s lawyer swap in citizenship question case by OAN Newsroom
    A federal judge has blocked the Department of Justice’s attempt to swap its lawyers as it works on getting the citizenship question on the 2020 census.    A New York judge made the decision Tuesday, saying the request is “patently deficient.”
    On Sunday, the Justice Department announced it would be replacing its legal team defending the inclusion of the citizenship question.    This move followed a Supreme Court ruling last week that didn’t explicitly shut down the question, but left the door open for the Department to make its case again.
FILE – This photo shows an envelope containing a 2018 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident as part of the nation’s
only test run of the 2020 Census. As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs whether the Trump administration can ask people
if they are citizens on the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau is quietly seeking comprehensive information about the
legal status of millions of immigrants. (AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith, File)
    The Justice Department appears to be gearing up for another fight before the court, but President Trump said he’s looking at other avenues to get the question on the 2020 census.
    “We could also add an addition on, so we could start the printing now and maybe do an addendum after we get a positive decision,” the president told reporters.    “So we are working a lot of things, including an executive order.”
    The judge, however, did allow two lawyers who already left the Justice Department to be removed from the department’s team, but rejected the claims for other attorneys.    The judge also signaled he is considering pending sanctions motions against the plaintiffs for future withdrawal motions.

7/10/2019 Speaker Pelosi claims Attorney General Barr lied before House by OAN Newsroom
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will no longer address anything Attorney General William Barr has to say.    She reportedly believes the attorney general lied to Congress, prompting her latest comments.
    Pelosi’s remarks are allegedly in response to Barr’s April testimony before the House Appropriations Committee.    Democrat Congressman Charlie Crist asked the attorney general whether he was aware that Mueller’s team was frustrated with Barr’s summary of the report.
    However, Pelosi says because Barr received a letter and phone call from Mueller two weeks prior, he had knowledge of the special counsel’s concerns.    The former special counsel is scheduled to appear before Congress on July 17th.
FILE – In this June 27, 2019, file photo, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during her weekly media availability
on Capitol Hill in Washington. They don’t talk to each other much, Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — but they
certainly speak past one another, in a very public way that now threatens the House agenda. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
[Pelosi and the Dems are getting desperate since it will not be long before Barr and staff will show the entire nation what crimes have been committed by the former administration.].

7/10/2019 Calif. governor signs bill granting illegal immigrants health care by OAN Newsroom
    California has officially become the first state to offer health benefits to illegal immigrants, and it’s all on a taxpayer’s dime.    State Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new bill into law on Tuesday that will grant taxpayer funded benefits to young adults eligible for the state’s Medicaid program.
    Low income adults aged 25 or younger all qualify for this program regardless of immigration status.    Most notably, California already covers children 18 years and younger despite legal merit.
    According to state officials, about 90,000 people are expected to be covered by the new plan, but not without a cost.    The move will reportedly cost approximately $98 million per year, with that expected to increase in the future.
FILE – In this photo, supporters of proposals to expand California’s government-funded health care benefits to undocumented
immigrants gathered at the Capitol for the Immigrants Day of Action in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
    Newsom recently defended the bill by claiming the move will improve health care in the state overall.
    “You cannot be for universal health care unless you cover everybody, and in covering everybody you bring down the costs of your premiums, my premiums and the cost of the taxpayers,” he stated.
    However, critics argue this law will only incentivize illegal crossings and asylum seekers into the U.S., which is something President Trump has criticized the California governor of doing in the past.
    “Governor Newsom honestly is living in a different world and that’s a very dangerous world he’s living in, and if he keeps living there — lots of problems for the people of California,” said the president.    “They don’t want that — they want to be secure, they want to be safe.”
    Newsom, along with his Democrat base, plans to eventually expand this health care coverage for all adults in the state.    So far, government funded programs have certain health care coverage for illegal’s such as medical emergencies or pregnancies.

7/10/2019 Senate Foreign Relations chairman offers Saudi rights bill by Patricia Zengerle
FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman attends a meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin
on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan June 29, 2019. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Republican chairman, Senator Jim Risch, introduced legislation on Wednesday punishing Saudi Arabia over human rights and criticizing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but not by stopping weapons sales.
    The bill is the latest effort in Congress to hold the kingdom accountable for rights abuses, including the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey and a humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
    “It is the sense of Congress that, since the promotion of Mohammed bin Salman to the position of Crown Prince with significant authorities over foreign and domestic affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the government of Saudi Arabia has demonstrated increasingly erratic and disturbing conduct,” the bill says.
    However, the Saudi Arabia Diplomatic Review Act would not block weapons sales to Riyadh, focusing instead on barring travel by members of the Saudi royal family who work in its government.    Risch had said he wanted to introduce legislation that would punish Saudi Arabia for rights abuses, but which President Donald Trump would sign.
    It was not clear whether Risch’s bill would be considered strong enough to win Senate approval.
    Although Trump’s fellow Republicans hold a Senate majority, the chamber last month defied him by voting to block $8 billion in military sales to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries.
    A handful of Republicans joined Democrats to pass resolutions opposing the sales, rejecting Trump’s decision to sidestep Congress’ review of such deals by declaring an emergency over threats from Iran.
    The Republican-majority Foreign Relations Committee also approved separate legislation, sponsored by ranking Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, that would make it more difficult for Trump to avoid congressional review of arms sales.
    Assistant Secretary of State Clarke Cooper told a Foreign Relations hearing on the weapons sales on Wednesday that the military equipment has not been delivered, even though it has been seven weeks since the emergency declaration in May.
    “Delivery is pending,” he said, a comment that caused both Republican and Democratic committee members to question the administration’s decision to declare an emergency.
    Trump views weapons sales as an important generator of American jobs and Saudi Arabia as an important counterweight to Iran’s influence in the Middle East.    He has promised to veto all 22 resolutions of disapproval.
    Risch’s bill calls for a “comprehensive review” of Washington’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.    It also calls on Trump to deny or revoke visas of members of the Saudi royal family until the country improves its rights record, although it allows waivers if he deems them in the U.S. national interest.
    Risch, who voted against the resolutions of disapproval, said it was important to respond to “clear” threats to the United States and its allies from Iran.
    “Emergency declarations are useful not just for the tangible military capabilities they transfer to allies and partners, but are equally important for the messages they convey,” he said.
    Menendez scoffed at the contention that the Saudi and UAE arms deals were urgent enough to sidestep weapons export law.    “How would sales that will not be delivered for many, many months immediately respond to an emergency?” he asked.
    A Risch aide said the senator is “cautiously optimistic” about getting Trump’s support for his bill, and that the White House had weighed in on its text.
    The House of Representatives is due to vote on some of the resolutions of disapproval next week.    They are expected to pass the Democratic-controlled chamber, but are unlikely to garner the two-thirds majorities there and in the Senate to overcome Trump vetoes.
    The Senate and House both passed legislation earlier this year that would have barred U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.    But there were too few votes to overcome Trump’s veto.
    Republican Senator Ted Cruz joined Democrats in criticizing the State Department’s allowing the weapons sales without congressional review.    Cruz had voted against the resolutions of disapproval because of the threat from Iran.
    “Don’t make the mistake that it is only Democrats that are concerned about this,” Cruz said.    “Follow the damn law and respect it.”
    Risch’s bill is co-sponsored by Democratic Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Chris Coons, and Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

7/11/2019 Oil up $2.60 to $60.43, DOW up 77 to 26,860.

7/11/2019 McConnell says Obama’s ancestors also owned slaves by Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded to an NBC report that his ancestors owned slaves by telling reporters he and former President Barack Obama were “once again in the same position.”
    “I find myself once again in the same position as President Obama.    We both opposed reparations and we both are the descendants of slave-owners,” McConnell said in a Tuesday news conference following Senate Republicans’ weekly conference meeting.
    McConnell had been asked about the report, which found two of his greatgreat-grandfathers owned at least 14 slaves, according to NBC’s search of the 1850 and 1860 censuses.
    McConnell’s comments about Obama referred to reports from 2007 about the then-presidential candidate’s ancestry on his mother’s side. The Baltimore Sun and other outlets had retraced Barack Obama’s ancestry to confirm the geneology, and found in the 1850 census that Obama’s great-great-great-great grandfather on his mother’s side owned two slaves, as did one of Obama’s great-great-greatgreat-great-grandmothers.
    The Obama campaign had addressed the reports at the time, telling the Baltimore Sun in March 2007, “it is a true measure of progress that the descendant of a slave owner would come to marry a student from Kenya and produce a son who would grow up to be a candidate for president of the United States.” had also done an analysis in 2012 and found that Obama’s mother was also descended from a slave named John Punch, who was the first African to be declared “enslaved for life” in early Colonial Virginia.
    Obama opposed reparations as a “practical matter” when asked about it by Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, saying, “I have much more confidence in my ability, or any president or any leader’s ability, to mobilize the American people around a multiyear, multibillion- dollar investment to help every child in poverty in this country than I am in being able to mobilize the country around providing a benefit specific to African Americans as a consequence of slavery and Jim Crow.”
    McConnell previously sparked controversy about reparations, telling reporters that reparations were not a “good idea” and that the United States had tried to solve the “original sin of slavery” by, among other things, electing an “African American president.”
    “I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, when none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea,” McConnell said on June 19.     “We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation.    We’ve elected an African American president.”
    The idea of reparations has recently broken into the political mainstream.    The House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties held a hearing on June 19 on a bill, H.R. 40, that would set up a commission to explore the possibility of reparations for slavery.    The bill is unlikely to pass, but several Democratic presidential candidates have come out in favor of some form of reparations or the study of ways to implement reparations, including Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, and Marianne Williamson.
Contributing: Phillip M. Bailey, Courier Journal
    McConnell previously sparked controversy about reparations, telling reporters that reparations were not a “good idea” and that the United States had tried to solve the “original sin of slavery” by, among other things, electing an “African American president.”
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, left, responded to an NBC report
that his ancestors owned slaves. JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE
[Good job Mitch, the Leftist Dems above need to look into their own past before they accuse others.    I think they need to go after Obama now to show us they are sincere about their goals.].

7/11/2019 Calif. opens health care to young adult migrants - About 100,000 eligible under $98 million plan by John Bacon, USA TODAY
    Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation making California the first state to provide health care coverage to young undocumented adults, a $98 million measure targeting almost 100,000 people.
    The immigrants, ages 19 to 25, are eligible for Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program.    The law signed Tuesday was a win for Newsom, who rejected as too expensive a state Senate plan to include adults 65 and older living in the state illegally.
    President Donald Trump has called the plan “crazy" Newsom shrugs off.
    “The bold moves by Gov. Newsom and the Legislature will save Californians hundreds of millions of dollars in premiums and provide new financial assistance to middle-income Californians, which will help people get covered and stay covered.” Peter Lee.
    Covered California’s executive director the criticism, calling California “the most un-Trump” state in the nation.
    Newsom signed the measure the same day the state forecast an average premium increase of less than 1% for 2020 in the state’s individual insurance marketplace, the lowest such rate change in the state program’s history.
    The coverage expansion and the low average premium increase are mostly being funded through restoration of the individual mandate that requires state residents to purchase health insurance for themselves and their dependents.    Californians who fail to buy insurance would face a state tax penalty.
    The plan is similar to a part of President Barack Obama’s health care law that Republicans in Congress eliminated as part of the 2017 tax code overhaul.
    Not that the state is desperate for cash: California is projected to have a surplus of more than $20 billion, the largest in 20 years.
    “The bold moves by Gov. Newsom and the Legislature will save Californians hundreds of millions of dollars in premiums and provide new financial assistance to middle-income Californians, which will help people get covered and stay covered,” said Peter Lee, Covered California’s executive director.
    Lee said California is “building on the success of the Affordable Care Act” and expanding coverage to hundreds of thousands of people.    The California Immigrant Policy Center lauded the inclusion of undocumented young adults but called the plan “bittersweet.”
    “The exclusion of undocumented elders from the same health care their U.S. citizen neighbors are eligible for means beloved community members will suffer and die from treatable conditions,” said Cynthia Buiza, executive director of the California Immigrant Policy Center.
    Newsom has pledged to further expand coverage.    The new rules are effective in January and are part of a larger effort to ensure everyone in the state has access to health insurance.
Newsom is “un-Trump.” JEFF CHIU/AP

7/11/2019 Britain says it fended off Iranian attempt to block its oil tanker by William Schomberg
FILE PHOTO: A British Royal Navy patrol vessel guards the oil supertanker Grace 1, suspected of carrying Iranian crude oil to
Syria, as it sits anchored in waters of the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, July 4, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca/File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) – Three Iranian vessels tried to block a BP-operated tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz but backed off when confronted by a Royal Navy warship, the UK government said on Thursday.
    Britain urged Iran to “de-escalate the situation in the region” after the British Heritage, a Suezmax oil tanker operated by BP under an Isle of Man flag, was approached.
    “HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away,” a British government spokesman said in a statement.
    The incident followed President Donald Trump’s warning he would soon “substantially” increase U.S. sanctions on Iran as part of a drive to curb Iran’s nuclear program and force Tehran to change its regional behaviour.
    Take a closer look at the Strait of Hormuz
    The United States blames Iran for a series of attacks on shipping in the world’s most important oil artery since mid-May, accusations Tehran rejects but which have raised fears the long-time foes could slip into direct military conflict.
    The growing confrontation between Iran and the West took another twist last week when British Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker, the Grace 1, off Gibraltar on suspicion that it was breaking EU sanctions by taking oil to Syria.
    A senior Iranian military commander on Thursday said Britain and the United States would regret detaining the vessel, just days after the armed forces chief of staff said the action would not go unanswered.
    Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif however dismissed as “worthless” on Thursday UK allegations Iran it had sought to block the British Heritage, the semi-official Fars news agency said.
    Tensions in the Gulf have been rising over recent weeks as Iran began to move away from the terms of the 2015 nuclear accord it struck with world powers.
    The United States withdrew from the pact last year and extended sanctions against Iran, effectively driving Iran from mainstream oil markets and forcing it to find unconventional ways to sell crude, it’s main revenue earner.
    That has deprived Tehran of the economic benefits Iran was to accrue in return for curbing its nuclear program, and the Islamic Republic says it will only return to full compliance once sanctions are lifted and Washington rejoins the pact.
    BP CEO Bob Dudley, asked about the situation in the Gulf at an event at London’s Chatham House on Wednesday evening, said: “We’ve got to be super careful about our ships.”
    A BP spokesman said the oil major was not commenting on the latest event but added: “We thank the Royal Navy for their support.”
    An escalation in the Strait of Hormuz –linking Middle East oil producers with markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond — could drive up crude prices .
    Maritime security sources said Britain to protect shipping lanes but there was no formal policy yet of escorting all UK ships through the area.    The Montrose was in the area to ensure the safe passage of UK flagged ships when needed, they added.
    Refinitiv data shows four other UK registered tankers are currently present in the Gulf.
    Bob Sanguinetti, chief executive with the UK Chamber of Shipping trade association, told Reuters the situation was tense and called for a de-escalation.
    “UK shipowners are in regular contact with the relevant authorities and agencies regarding the security situation in the region, and we are confident that the RN (Royal Navy) will provide the necessary support to their vessels,” he said.
    Oman, which hosts a joint British military base and shares the Strait of Hormuz with Iran, did not immediately comment.    It has mediated between Tehran and the West and also allows the British and U.S. navies to use its ports on the Arabian Sea.
    Heightened tension between Iran and the United States have fanned fears of increasing conflict in countries where Iran and its U.S.-backed Gulf Arab rivals have been locked in proxy battles for predominance in the Middle East.
    Last month, Iran shot down a U.S. drone near the Strait of Hormuz and Trump aborted a retaliatory military strike, saying it could have killed 150 people.    He has signalled he is open to talks with Tehran without preconditions an offer rejected by Iran’s clerical leadership.
    The United States is hoping to enlist allies in a military coalition to safeguard strategic waters off Iran and Yemen, Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Tuesday.
    Britain, France and Germany have sought to avoid being dragged into U.S. sanctions but say Iran must return to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal they were instrumental in brokering.
    They have so far avoided triggering a dispute resolution process contained in the deal but it could take new steps in the next two months, including restarting dismantled centrifuges and purifying uranium to a sharply higher threshold, unless it is allow to resume normal oil sales.
    Francois Lecointre, the French armed forces chief, described the friction between the United States and France as a “clash of wills.”
    “I think it is under control now… I don’t think it can spiral out of control but there can be escalation,” he told CNews television.
(Additional reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh in Geneva, Jonathan Saul in London, Sylvia Westall and Aziz El-Yaakoubi in Dubai; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Jon Boyle)

7/10/2019 France approves digital tax plan despite warnings by the Trump administration by OAN Newsroom
    Despite a warning by the Trump administration, France has decided to move ahead on a new technology tax initiative.    On Thursday, France’s senate approved a tax targeting the French revenue of about 30 tech companies — most of which are based in the U.S.
    The so-called “digital tax” would levy a three-percent rate on French-generated revenue from these companies, including tech giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook.    It’s expected to bring in more than $560 million for the nation.
    While addressing the senate, France’s finance minister said data is taxed 14 points lower than other economic activity and all they are doing is “restoring economic fairness.”
    “We want to have a tax regime for the 21st Century which is both fair and efficient, and we want to impose the same fiscal rules as those which apply to all other economic activity — it’s fundamentally an issue of fairness and efficiency,” stated Minster Bruno Le Maire.
France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire is pictured. (Photo AP/Christophe Ena/SIPA)
    On Wednesday, U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. will investigate if this tax unfairly targets U.S. companies.    The investigation will come under the same provision used last year to examine China’s tech policies, Section 301, which led to tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports.    Lighthizer has up to a year to investigate, and the result could end with similar tariffs against France.
    In a recent statement, Amazon called the tax “poorly constructed and discriminatory.”    The company claimed it will hurt both French and American consumers.    Amazon then praised the Trump administration for taking action and for signaling to the rest of the world that the U.S. government will not accept policies that discriminate against American businesses.
    The French finance minister pointed out France is a sovereign nation that can make its own decisions regarding taxes, and said threatening tariffs is not the way to go.
    “I think that opening a procedure under Section 301 is not, I would say, a friendly signal, and we all know that such a procedure can lead to sanctions against France,” said Le Maire.    “Once again, I think that threats, sanctions, are not the good way of sorting out difficulties that we might have between the U.S. and France.”
    France moved forward with its own tax after EU nations failed to agree on a union-wide tax, following opposition within its own ranks.    Other EU nations have announced their own plans for digital taxes, including Britain, Spain and Italy.    They say a tax is needed for multinational internet companies who are able to profit in low-tax countries despite having no physical presence.

7/11/2019 GOP Rep. Doug Collins calls for internet data property rights by OAN Newsroom
    A senior House Republican is drafting a bill to grant users the ownership of the data they generate.    On Wednesday, congressman Doug Collins, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, released the internet privacy guidelines for an upcoming bill. Collins said the legislation aims to allow internet consumers more control and transparency on data information without imposing heavy regulations.
    This comes as Congress is searching to remedy concerns over user data trafficking, and establish the country’s first sweeping consumer privacy law.    Collins said individuals should have a voice on how their data is used, and has insisted the government and private sector recognize consumer data as the property of the consumer.    The GOP lawmaker has also criticized tech giants such as Google for not doing enough to safeguard private information.
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., speaks during a House Judiciary Committee
debate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    “The amount of data being collected, how it’s used, how you monetize basically the flow of information that you have and the monetization of that is a concern,” stated Collins.    “I’m not sure in the broad scope of things…simply clicking yes…is going to open up a much larger situation, which is not just monetizing data…it’s actually using data that can then be used for law enforcement or others in legal proceedings that then can be used against them.”
    In the guidelines, Collins laid out principles the bill is expected to follow such as establishing a federally recognized class of data property composed of an individual’s location their response to ads and online posts.    It also proposes a federal law to enable consumers to oversee the commercial use of their data property, and includes protections for the information.    Collins hopes to introduce the bill in the coming months after he receives input from other members in Congress.

7/11/2019 President Trump applauds Lockheed Martin by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is praising Lockheed Martin for not closing down one of its plants, and saving hundreds of American jobs.    On Twitter Wednesday, the president thanked the company’s CEO for not shutting down operations at its facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.
    Trump tweet: “I was just informed by Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin, of her decision to keep the Sikorsky Helicopter Plant in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, open and humming! We are very proud of Pennsylvania and the people who work there....
    The company had planned on closing the plant by the end of the year due to a drop in demand.    That would have meant more than 400 people would be in jeopardy of losing their jobs or being relocated.
    Although state and local lawmakers say they are thankful the plant wasn’t shut down, they are concerned the company does not have a long-term plan to keep the facility open.
A Lockheed Martin facility is pictured. (AP Photo)

7/11/2019 Macron to unveil France’s nuclear-powered ‘Barracuda’ submarine
The French Navy vessel called "Suffren", first of the nuclear Barracuda class attack submarines, leaves the workshops
of its construction at the Naval Group site in Cherbourg, France, July 5, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
    PARIS (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron will unveil on Friday France’s latest nuclear-powered ‘Barracuda’ class submarine, a 9 billion euro ($10.13 billion) stealth vessel program Paris says is key to maintaining its naval presence for decades to come.
    The French government has placed an order for six of the 5,000-tonne submarines made by Naval Group, in which defense company Thales has a 35 percent stake.
    The French navy expects to take delivery of the first, named “Suffren,” for sea trials in 2020 and the remainder will enter service over the following decade, replacing France’s ageing ‘Ruby’ class submarines.
    “There is an imperative need for us to be present in conflict zones … and to be able to pose a threat when necessary,” General Francois Lecointre, Chief of the Defense Staff, told CNews on Thursday.
    France expects the Barracuda class to remain in service until at least 2060.    The Suffren will be presented in her dry dock in Cherbourg.
(Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Gareth Jones)

7/11/2019 President Trump, Israeli prime minister talk possible new round of sanctions on Iran by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently discussed the heightened threat posed by Iran.    The two leaders spoke on the phone Thursday to address the latest developments in the Middle East as well as regional security challenges.
    The president said the Ayatollah regime may face a new round of sanctions in response to its ongoing support for Islamic terror groups.    This comes as Netanyahu said he would greatly appreciate an increased pressure on Iran as it has recently vowed to destroy Israel, yet again.
    Benjamin Netanyahu: “I spoke with US President Donald Trump.    We discussed regional developments and security issues.    Foremost among them was Iran.    I thanked President Trump for his intention to increase sanctions against Iran.”
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the “Presidential Social Media Summit” in the East Room
of the White House, Thursday, July 11, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    Meanwhile, Ayatollah regime officials are threatening to end America’s presence in the Middle East.
    “The number one power of the world, the biggest power in international politics, the U.S. couldn’t write down one line against Iran.    America’s role in world politics has ended. America feels that it has been defeated in the campaign theater of Middle East.” — Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister – Iran
    President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu also vowed to boost bilateral security cooperation to curb Iran’s efforts to export the Islamic Revolution across the Middle East.

7/12/2019 Oil down $0.23 to $60.20, DOW up 228 to 27,088 for the first time showing Trump's policies are good.

7/12/2019 Subpoenas for Trump associates get approval - National Enquirer execs, Kushner, Kelly named by Bart Jansen, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – A House panel approved subpoenas for a dozen aides and associates of President Donald Trump on Thursday, seeking information about everything from Russian interference to hush-money payments made in the months leading up to the 2016 election.
    The House Judiciary Committee voted 21 to 12 to authorize subpoenas to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; former chief of staff John Kelly; and David Pecker, the CEO of the company that owned the National Enquirer. Lawmakers are seeking information about what they described as possible corruption and obstruction by Trump and his administration.
    “We will not rest until we obtain their testimony and documents,” said Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.
    The top Republican on the panel, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, called the “subpoena binge” haphazard and premature.
    “This is another trip down an empty road,” Collins said.
    Previous efforts by the panel to subpoena information from the Trump administration have met with stiff resistance and have so far produced little new information.
    Trump has called the continued investigation by House Democrats, after the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry, presidential harassment and a partisan witch hunt.
    The subpoenas would apply to top aides who worked in Trump’s White House or campaign, and officials from the Justice Department and from a magazine company that helped pay off women who claimed to have had sex with Trump before the 2016 election.
    The subpoenas targeting former White House and campaign officials include Kushner, Kelly, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn, former staff secretary Robert Porter and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
    The subpoenas for current and former Justice Department officials cover Sessions, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Joseph Hunt, assistant attorney general for the civil division.    Rosenstein appointed Mueller, and Trump ousted Sessions in November 2018 after repeatedly complaining about him recusing himself from the Russia probe.
    The subpoenas dealing with the hush-money payments include lawyer Keith Davidson, who represented Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal in their claims against Trump; Pecker, CEO of American Media Inc., which owned the National Enquirer; and Dylan Howard, chief content officer at the company.
    “These are the key players, both in our ongoing investigation and in the Mueller report,” said Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla.
Republicans derided the action.
    “It’s really a faux impeachment, a fake impeachment,” said Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio.
Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., heads the House Judiciary Committee, which authorized subpoenas
Thursday for 12 administration figures. ANDREW HARNIK/AP
[As you can see above the Democrats are desperate because they have nothing to attack Trump with and most likely after this they still will have no information for collusion or impeachment unless they make it up themselves which is what they have been doing along.].

7/12/2019 IEA sees oil market oversupplied in 2019 on U.S. production by Noah Browning
FILE PHOTO: A pump jack operates in the Permian Basin oil production area near Wink, Texas U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford
    LONDON (Reuters) – Surging U.S. oil output will outpace sluggish global demand and lead to a large stocks build around the world in the next nine months, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday.
    The forecasts appear to predict the need for producer club OPEC and its allies to reduce production to balance the market despite extending their existing pact, forecasting a fall in demand for OPEC crude to only 28 million barrels per day (bpd) in early 2020.
    “Market tightness is not an issue for the time being and any rebalancing seems to have moved further into the future,” the IEA said in its monthly report.
    “Clearly, this presents a major challenge to those who have taken on the task of market management,” it added, referring to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and producer allies such as Russia.
    The demand for OPEC crude oil in early 2020 could fall to only 28 million bpd, it added, with non-OPEC expansion in 2020 rising by 2.1 million bpd — a full 2 million bpd of which is expected to come from the United States.
    At current OPEC output levels of 30 million bpd, the IEA predicted that global oil stocks could rise by 136 million barrels by the end of the first quarter of 2020.
    Maintaining its forecasts for oil demand for the rest of 2019 and 2020, the Paris-based agency cited expected improvement in U.S.-China trade relations and U.S. economic expansion as encouraging but flagged tailwinds elsewhere.
    “There are indications of deteriorating trade and manufacturing activity.    Recent data show that global manufacturing output in 2019 fell for the first time since late 2012 and new orders have declined at a fast pace,” it said.
    The IEA said that markets were concerned by escalating tension between Iran and the West over oil tankers leaving the Gulf but that incidents in the region’s shipping lanes have been overshadowed by supply concerns.
    “The oil price impact has been minimal with no real security of supply premium,” the IEA said.    “For now, maritime operations in the region are close to normal and markets remain calm.”
    Tightened U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude drove down Tehran’s June exports by 450,000 bpd to 530,000 bpd, near three-decade lows.
(Reporting by Noah Browning; Editing by David Goodman)

7/12/2019 Labor Secretary Acosta announces resignation amid Epstein plea deal controversy by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump announced Labor Secretary Alex Acosta will be stepping down, following the heat he received this week over the decades old Jeffrey Epstein plea deal.
    Acosta joined the president as he spoke to reporters outside the White House Friday. President Trump offered praise for the embattled official, and said the Labor Department’s number two official — Patrick Pizzella — will take over as acting secretary.
    Acosta also blasted the media over its coverage connecting Epstein to the Labor Department before saying he would step aside for the greater good of the administration.
Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, right, accompanied President Donald Trump, left, speaks to members of the media
on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, July 12, 2019, before Trump boards Marine One for a
short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. and then on to Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    “I do not think it is right and fair for this administration’s Labor Department to have Epstein as the focus rather than the incredible economy that we have today and, so I called the president this morning and I told him that I thought the right thing was to step aside,” he stated.    “You know, cabinet positions are temporary trusts — it would be selfish for me to stay in this position and continue talking about a case that’s 12 years old rather than about the amazing economy we have right now.”
    This comes after Acosta defended his 2008 non-prosecution agreement with Epstein lawyers when he was a U.S. attorney in Southern Florida.    The agreement kept alleged sex-trafficking victims in the dark about the so-called “sweetheart deal.”
    Trump tweet: “Alex Acosta informed me this morning that he felt the constant drumbeat of press about a prosecution which took place under his watch more than 12 years ago was bad for the Administration, which he so strongly believes in, and he graciously tendered his resignation....”    “....Alex was a great Secretary of Labor and his service is truly appreciated. He will be replaced on an acting basis by Pat Pizzella, the current Deputy Secretary.”

7/12/2019 Garcetti, Newsom deflect issues of Calif. homelessness on President Trump by OAN Newsroom
    The Los Angeles Police chief has declared homelessness in LA County a humanitarian crisis.    Chief Michel Moore outlined his solution for the crisis at a press conference Thursday.    Part of Moore’s plan would be to dismiss thousands of old warrants for minor offenses to help people on the street recover and break the cycle.    He is also calling for more mental health workers to hit the streets and meet one-on-one with the county’s homeless.
    “First of all, we’re in a crisis — this is a humanitarian crisis of our generation,” he stated.    “This matches any other calamity that this city and this region, or this country has seen — it is, I believe, a social emergency.”
    Homelessness in the county has reportedly jumped 12-percent in the past year, bringing the total number of people on the streets to about 59,000.
    This comes as two high profile California lawmakers take aim at President Trump’s comments regarding the state’s homeless crisis.    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Gavin Newsom are pushing back against criticism from President Trump about their lack of leadership.    In a recent interview, the president threatened to intercede in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and described the results of chronic inaction in California as “disgraceful.”
FILE – San Francisco police officers wait while homeless people collect their belongings in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
    At first the mayor took the comments in stride, saying the crisis is “decades in the making” and can not be blamed on any one individual.    However, his tone changed once Governor Newsom got involved.
    “Cheap political points don’t help a veteran get off the street,” stated Garcetti.    “I’m concerned about those people, and I hope he will be too.”
    Over the past year, major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco have experienced a rise in homelessness in the double digits, which has put thousands of people on the streets.    Growth in the Bay Area has been so rapid, homeless encampments can now be seen from satellite images in space.
    “We’re in a crisis, this is a humanitarian crisis of our generation.    This matches any other calamity that this city, and this region or this country has seen.    It is, I believe, a social emergency.    It cannot be, in my view, overstated.” — Chief Michel Moore, Los Angeles Police Department
    While Garcetti and Newsom claim the issue can be fixed with more federal funding, others say the problem goes much deeper. The high cost of living, drug addiction, systemic problems with rehab centers, and the exploitation of welfare benefits are reportedly contributing factors to the crisis.
File- A homeless man moves his belongings from a street behind Los Angeles City Hall
as crews prepared to clean the area. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

7/12/2019 President Trump: ICE deportations to begin Sunday by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump recently commented on ICE’s upcoming deportation orders. While speaking with reporters outside Air Force One Friday, he confirmed the planned operations are expected to begin this Sunday.
    The president also said ICE agents would not issue a warning before beginning the order, but said the White House has made no attempt to keep the operations secret.
    During his remarks, the president also said when migrants come here illegally it’s a slap in the face to legal immigrants who spend years jumping though the hoops to apply for citizenship.
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, July 12, 2019,
before Trump boards Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. and then on to Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    “They came in illegally.    They have to go out. We have millions of people standing in line waiting to become citizens of this country.    They’ve taken tests, they’ve studied, they’ve learned English, they’ve done so much.    They’ve been waiting 7, 8, 9 years with some waiting 10 years to come in — it’s not fair.” — President Trump
    According to reports, ICE agents are primarily focused illegal aliens who have recently entered the country.

7/12/2019 Take Five: G7 – deep in the Woods?
FILE PHOTO: A U.S. dollar banknote featuring American founding father Benjamin Franklin and a China's yuan banknote
featuring late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong are seen among U.S. and Chinese flags in this illustration
picture taken May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee/Illustration/File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) –
    In July 1944 as World War Two raged, finance chiefs from the world’s main trading nations met in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.
    That agreement, signed July 22, was one of the first global monetary policy and currency agreements – re-establishing a gold standard for exchange rates, backing away from competitive devaluations and setting up the International Monetary Fund to bridge balance of payments gaps.
    But as the Bretton Woods pact turns 75, that spirit of cooperation, whether on exchange rates or trade, is waning.    Trade protectionism is on the rise, nationalism and unilateralism is championed by U.S. President Donald Trump – who says the rest of the world is stealing from the United States via competitive currency devaluations against the dollar.
    And so the July 17-18 meeting of G7 finance ministers and central bankers in the French town of Chantilly could well be a fraught one.    Taking place at the same time as IMF and World Bank heads join ECB officials in Paris to commemorate Bretton Woods, b>G7 discussions will focus less on the past and more on how to resolve pressing problems such as the world economy, Sino-U.S. trade tensions, fair exchange rates between the major economies, U.S. anger over France’s plan to tax tech firms such as Google, and Trump’s threat to slap levies on European autos.
    Other issues on the table include tax havens, cyber security and Facebook’s proposed new coin Libra that has enlivened the debate about regulation of cryptocurrencies.
(Graphic: FX Reserves and USD –
    China’s economy and businesses are showing more visible signs of pain from the trade war, as recent data on producer prices and exports revealed. Monday’s GDP data, no matter how well-massaged, could show quarterly growth at its weakest in three decades and raise doubts over a government aim to keep 2019 growth in the 6-6.5% range.
    Beijing’s monetary and fiscal stimulus has hitherto been a fraction of what it was during the 2015 downturn.    The government is clearly wary of encouraging another property bubble and reckless rise in investment, both of which were targeted during the 2017 campaign to cut leverage.
    But, with worsening economic headlines, falling corporate investment and a looming Fed rate cut, the People’s Bank of China cannot merely be operating behind the scenes through local government spending and liquid money markets.
    Many expect that a bold, symbolic statement about Beijing’s policy easing intent is needed – most certainly if the Fed also cuts at the end of July.    Even though that may just involve the customary, token 10 basis points cut in China’s benchmark one-year 4.35% policy rate.
(Graphic: China GDP, industrial profits –
    Investors are anxious to take the pulse of Wall Street and Europe Inc to check if second-quarter results justify record U.S. stocks and Europe’s best first-half share performance in more than two decades.
    Profit warnings from German blue chips BASF and Daimler have hit confidence as the reporting season kicks off in earnest next week.    Expectations are already low as analysts continue to take a red pen to their estimates.
    With valuations stretched and lingering worries about the economic impact of protracted U.S.-China trade tensions, disappointing results could pour cold water on the rally. U.S. earnings are seen contracting by 0.3% year-on-year, its weakest performance in three years, according to data compiled by I/B/E/S Refinitiv.    That’s down from 1.6% growth in Q1. Companies on Europe’s benchmark STOXX 600 <.STOXX> will report growth of 0.8% for the quarter, data shows, an improvement from the 2% drop in Q1 but down from 1.8% growth expected just a week ago.
    Full-year expectations are dimming as well: consensus based on the MSCI index pegs FY earnings growth for Europe at 4.1% – the lowest since 2016 and half the levels forecast at the start of the year.    For the United States, it is at 2.7% vs 7.5% in January.
    Wall Street banks, including JP Morgan , will release results in coming days.    In Europe, the region’s most valuable technology company, SAP , Swiss drug maker Novartis and semiconductor company ASML are due to report.
(Graphic: Earnings season kicks off –
    Just when you thought there may be a glimmer of hope on world trade as talks between Beijing and Washington resume, raising the possibility that the world’s top two economies could clinch a deal, the tariff heat switches to Europe.
    On Thursday, French lawmakers approved a tax on big tech companies, potentially opening up a new front in a trade row between Washington and the European Union.    U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered an investigation into the French tech tax plans, a probe that could lead to the U.S. imposing new tariffs or other trade restrictions.
    And there’s already lots of shuttle diplomacy going on: German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, after meetings in Washington on Thursday, predicted a 50-50 chance of averting U.S. auto tariffs and that it will take weeks or months to resolve at least some of the thorny trade disputes clouding U.S.-European relations.    Never mind all the differences over a issues such as aircraft subsidies, car imports and the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
    Meanwhile U.S. Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin are Beijing bound in the very near future.
    Markets worried over the impact of trade wars on the health of the global economy will be watching closely for progress and deterioration on all those trade war fronts in days to come.
(Graphic: China trade shock –
    Losing support from monetary policy expectations, the already battered pound faces a tough week ahead.    Key economic data such as earnings growth, inflation and retail sales will be closely watched by markets desperately trying to gauge where interest rates might be in a couple of years from now.
    Markets have nearly priced in a Bank of England rate cut over the next 12 months after Governor Mark Carney signaled he could be about to join other central banks in cutting rates.    Economists expect year-on-year inflation for June to come in at 2% on Wednesday.    But if the reading falls below the central bank’s target rate of 2%, chances of a rate cut may rise.
    However, other data is expected to come in a touch stronger.    Average weekly earnings are expected to rise on Tuesday by 3.2% year-on-year in the three months to May versus a 3.1% increase in April.    Retail sales – due out on Thursday – are expected have risen by 2.5% year-on-year in June after a 2.3% increase in May.
    Brexit of course remains the elephant in the room and is the main reason why sterling has fallen by 20% since June 2016, with the country gearing up to hear who the country’s next prime minister will be on July 23.
(Graphic: Sterling roller coaster –
(Reporting by Karin Strohecker, Sujata Rao, Saikat Chatterjee, Josephine Mason, Olga Cotaga in London and Vidya Ranganathan in Singapore; Editing by Frances Kerry)
[The Group of Seven is a group consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom (BREXIT), and the United States.    These countries, with the seven largest IMF-described advanced economies in the world, represent 58% of the global net wealth, and if you have read my site these are the 7 heads that came out of the Beast with 10 horns or regions of (GATT-WTO) that came up out of the sea (the restless nations) in 1991 as seen in Revelation 13.].

7/12/2019 U.S. oil drillers cut rigs for second week in a row: Baker Hughes
A pump jack operates in the Permian Basin oil production area near Wink, Texas U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford
    (Reuters) – U.S. energy firms this week reduced the number of oil rigs operating for a second week in a row as drillers follow through on plans to cut spending this year.
    Drillers cut four oil rigs in the week to July 12, bringing the total count down to 784, the lowest since February 2018, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.
    That compares with 863 rigs operating during the same week a year ago.
    More than half the total U.S. oil rigs are in the Permian basin in West Texas and eastern New Mexico, where active units decreased by six this week to 437, the lowest since March 2018.    The Permian is the biggest U.S. shale oil play.
    The rig count, an early indicator of future output, has declined over the past seven months as independent exploration and production companies cut spending on new drilling as they focus more on earnings growth instead of increased output.
    “Most of the change in the weekly rig count was due to drops in both directional and vertical drilling activities,” said Trey Cowan, Senior Analyst, S&P Global Platts Analytics in an email.
    “Since directional and vertical wells are typically shallower drilling endeavors that generally take less time from spud to release, the drop in these counts after the U.S. (Fourth of July) holiday may prove to be more noise than a signal of things to come,” he said.
    For the year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects U.S. crude output will rise to 12.36 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019, up from the annual record of 10.96 million bpd set in 2018.
    Surging U.S. oil output will outpace sluggish global demand and lead to a large stocks build around the world in the next nine months, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday.
    U.S. crude futures traded around $60 per barrel on Friday, putting the contract on track to rise about 5% after slipping almost 2% in the previous week as U.S. oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico cut more than half their output because of a tropical storm and as tensions continued to simmer in the Middle East.
    Looking ahead, crude futures were trading around $60 a barrel for the balance of 2019 and $58 in calendar 2020 .
    U.S. financial services firm Cowen & Co this week said that projections from the exploration and production (E&P) companies it tracks point to a 5% decline in capital expenditures for drilling and completions in 2019 versus 2018.
    Cowen said independent producers expect to spend about 11% less in 2019, while major oil companies plan to spend about 16% more.
    In total, Cowen said all of the E&P companies it tracks that have reported will spend about $81.1 billion in 2019 versus $85.4 billion in 2018.
    Year-to-date, the total number of oil and gas rigs active in the United States has averaged 1,012.    Most rigs produce both oil and gas.
    Analysts at Simmons & Co, energy specialists at U.S. investment bank Piper Jaffray, forecast the average combined oil and gas rig count will slide from a four-year high of 1,032 in 2018 to 992 in 2019 before rising to 1,011 in 2020 and 1,067 in 2022.
    That is the same as Simmons forecast since late June.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Susan Thomas and Marguerita Choy)

7/12/2019 Navarro optimistic on USMCA passage, predicts deal will pass with overwhelming support by OAN Newsroom
Assistant to the President and Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro is pictured. (AP Photo)
    White House trade adviser Peter Navarro is confident there is bipartisan support for the USMCA trade deal in Congress.
    In an interview Friday, Navarro expressed optimism House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring the NAFTA replacement to the floor for approval.
    Despite Democrats’ refusal to work with President Trump on several key issues like immigration and health care, Navarro said he expects the trade deal to be approved with “overwhelming support.”
    He predicted the passage of the USMCA would have significant impacts on the U.S. economy.
    “If we get USMCA passed, if we get a rate cut from Jay Powell, we’re over 30,000 on the DOW and this market continues, this economy continues strong.”
    The Trump administration plans to send the deal to the House after Pelosi signals she has garnered enough support to pass it.

7/13/2019 Oil down $0.04 to $60.16, DOW up 244 to 27,332 and still going up.

7/13/2019 Bill would ban ‘sanctuary’ policies in cities - Bevin joins 2 lawmakers in unveiling state plan by Tom Loftus, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    LEXINGTON – Gov. Matt Bevin joined two Republican legislators on Friday to unveil a bill that would ban local governments and state universities from adopting “sanctuary policies” for immigrants in the country illegally.
    The bill mandates local governments and state universities “use their best efforts to support the enforcement of federal immigration law.”    And it forbids local governments from adopting policies or laws that prevent police officers from asking a person about their citizenship or immigration status.
    “There will not not be acceptance of sanctuary” by local jurisdictions, Bevin said at a news conference at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge in Lexington.    “We will not rob law enforcement at any level of the ability to, and the requirement to, fulfill the oath that they took to uphold and defend the laws of the commonwealth and of the nation.”
    If passed, the bill would nullify local ordinances that impact how local police can cooperate with other law enforcement groups, such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Bevin said.
    Louisville has had an ordinance in place the last two years that blocks Metro Police officers from assisting federal immigration agents on immigration matters unless a judge signs a warrant or there is a danger to the public.
    The ordinance was an effort to make clear that police officers are separate from immigration agencies after it was discovered that police had joined federal agents on two dozen sting operations in 2017.
    Even with the ordinance, the Trump administration in April 2018 determined Louisville is not a sanctuary city and is not in violation of federal law, following a review by the Department of Justice.
    In response to the governor’s announcement Friday, Mayor Greg Fischer’s spokeswoman, Jean Porter, said in a statement: “As we have said before, Louisville is both a welcoming city, and in compliance with federal and state law.    We will review and monitor the bill.”
    Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton also released a statement Friday, saying the bill does not appear to conflict with the city’s policies.
    “Lexington is one of the safest cities of its size in the country because of our law enforcement partnerships. We have achieved that level of public safety by allowing our police to focus on local crime,” Gorton said.
    Bevin was joined at the news conference by two state legislators who had long law enforcement careers and who said they will sponsor the bill: Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah; and Rep. John Blanton, R-Salyersville.
    All three argued it was important to public safety to clarify that local police have no restrictions in cooperating with federal law enforcement, and all three suggested that local ordinances to restrict cooperation with ICE were political moves.
    But one immigration rights advocate in Louisville — noting that Friday’s announcement comes two days before President Donald Trump promises ICE will begin raids in some large U.S. cities — said Bevin and the legislators are the ones playing politics.
    “It’s no coincidence the governor did this two days before the raids.    It’s nothing but fear-mongering, race-based politics,” said Jesus Ibanez.
    Ibanez said local leaders who know their communities best should have the right to set policies they believe are best for the safety of their citizens.
    Carroll said it is important for police officers to be able to ask someone his or her immigration status and to know they are free to cooperate with federal and other law enforcement agencies.
    “I don’t think we should allow political agendas in our state to get in the way of this,” he said.
    Carroll said he would be discussing the bill with Senate leaders next week, and it could be filed for consideration at a special session Bevin plans to call in the next few weeks. But more likely, because the special session is expected to deal exclusively with a pension bill, the bill would be considered at the next regular legislative session that begins in January.
    Reporter Tom Loftus can be reached at 502-875-5136 or Twitter: @TomLoftus_CJ. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: toml.
Gov. Matt Bevin speaks about a bill that would ban cities and state universities from
adopting “sanctuary policies” on immigration. TOM LOFTUS/COURIER JOURNAL

7/13/2019 Pres. Trump retweets report Mueller deleted Strzok, page text messages by OAN Newsroom
    The president takes a jab at Robert Mueller, after a Judicial Watch report revealed he may have deleted text messages between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
    On Twitter Saturday, the president called the move “one of the most horrible abuses of all.”
    He went on to say “those texts would have told the whole story,” and blasted Mueller for “illegally” deleting them.
    One America’s John Hines recently sat down with Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton for an exclusive interview, on how the Obama administration helped cover for Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of her email server.
We already knew that Mueller stated that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page cellphones were erased according to some FBI policy before
anyone could get the information off of them, I smell a rat, and of course this goes all the way to the top, Obama

7/13/2019 Rep. Nunes: Russia investigation an ‘obstruction of justice trap’ by OAN Newsroom
    GOP Congressman Devin Nunes says there will be “massive consequences, for the conduct of DOJ official’s during the Russia investigation.”
The outlet, run by volunteers for Devin Nunes’ re-election campaign, has aggregated stories
from other organizations since about June. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    In an interview this week, Nunes called the investigation an “obstruction of justice trap,” that started without evidence of collusion and ended in an “awful situation.”
    He said this could only be fixed by jailing the people responsible for the so-called hoax.
    Nunes added he plans on asking Robert Mueller if he knew a member of his team was briefed on the notorious Steele Dossier, which should have disqualified him from participating in the investigation.
    Mueller is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee later this month.

7/13/2019 President Trump slams former FBI deputy director as a ‘major sleazebag’ by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump drags former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as a “major sleazebag.”
    In a tweet Saturday, the president said Andy McCabe, “among many other things, took massive amounts of money from crooked Hillary representatives.”
FILE PHOTO: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill
in Washington, DC, U.S., June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo – RC12347EEEF0
    The president claims McCabe took the money for his “wife’s campaign” while Hillary Clinton was under investigation by the FBI.
    Trump tweet: “Andy McCabe is a major sleazebag. Among many other things, he took massive amounts of money from Crooked Hillary reps, for wife’s campaign, while Hillary was under 'investigation” by FBI!…'
    Judicial Watch “JW announced that it filed a FOIA lawsuit against the DOJ for records of communications between the FBI & former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe related to his book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump.
    The remarks come after judicial watch announced they have filed a lawsuit against the DOJ to obtain records of communication surrounding McCabe and claims he made in his recent book.

7/13/2019 France to create space command within air force: Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at the residence of French Defense Minister on the eve
of Bastille Day in Paris, France, July 13, 2019. Kamil Zihnioglu/Pool via REUTERS
    PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday he had approved the creation of a space command within the French air force to improve the country’s defense capabilities.
    Addressing military personnel a day before the Bastille Day parade, Macron said the new military doctrine setting up a space command would strengthen protection of French satellites. He said the investment involved had yet to determined.
    “To give substance to this doctrine and ensure the development and reinforcement of our space capabilities, a space command will be created next September in the air force,” Macron said, adding that it would later become the Space and Air Force.
    French Defence Minister Florence Parly said last year she was committed to giving France strategic space autonomy in the face of growing threats from other powers amid a race in space militarization.
    The French military spending program for 2019-2025 has earmarked 3.6 billion euros ($4.06 billion) for investments and renewal of French satellites.
    The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation aims to recognize space as a domain of warfare this year, four senior diplomats told Reuters in June.
    U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration announced a plan last year to create a new “Space Force” as the sixth branch of the military by 2020.
(Reporting by Sophie Louet, Myriam Rivet and Bate Felix; Editing by Edmund Blair)

7/13/2019 Calif. sheriff supports ICE deportations by OAN Newsroom
    One California sheriff said she supports ICE, as they prepare for mass deportations.
    In an interview Friday, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims noted that ICE is doing their job, and complying with law to remove illegal immigrants who have evaded deportation.
    She reiterates that these immigrants received due process and went through the court system, but chose to ignore the law and stay in the country illegally.
    Several California mayors and the state’s governor have reached-out to illegal immigrants, informing them they don’t have to comply with ice officers if they come knocking on their doors.
    Meanwhile, the former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement slams a Virginia Democrat, following a heated exchange on Capitol Hill.
    In an interview Friday, Thomas Homan recapped his testimony before Congress on detention centers at the border, calling out Congressman Gerry Connolly.
    Homan said the congressman threw out dirt and wouldn’t let him respond, calling it political theater, and calling Connolly a coward.
    Connolly and Homan shared some heated exchanges during the hearing, one in which the Democrat lawmaker yelled at the former border agent.
    Homan said the Democrat’s actions are about resisting the president and support for open borders, and not about the truth.
[It is pretty sad that elected officials of the U.S.A. are ignoring the laws of the land, and continues to assure me that we are in the "Age Of Lawlessness Ones" in this country, and is definitely a sign to me that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will soon be coming to judge all.].

7/14/2019 France sees risk of stumble into U.S.-Iranian conflict
FILE PHOTO: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attends a working session during the Foreign ministers
of G7 nations meeting in Dinard, France, April 6, 2019. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo
    PARIS (Reuters) – Iran’s breaching of caps on its uranium enrichment after the United States pulled out of world powers’ nuclear deal with Tehran was “a bad reaction to … (a) bad decision,” raising fears of a stumble into war, France’s foreign minister said.
    Tensions have risen as Washington has blamed Iran for several attacks on oil tankers and Tehran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone, prompting President Donald Trump to order air strikes that he called off only minutes before impact.
    Trump withdrew the United States last year from the 2015 deal between Iran and world powers to curb its nuclear program, to the dismay of co-signatories France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China.
    Washington has since tightened sanctions to block Iran’s oil exports and other benefits accruing from the deal.    Tehran has responded by enriching uranium beyond set limits and threatening to restart deactivated centrifuges and ramp up enrichment well above the level deemed normal for electricity generation.
    “The situation is serious.    The rise of tensions could lead to accidents,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters when asked about the risk of a wider Middle East war.
    “The fact Iran has decided to pull back from some of its engagements on nuclear proliferation is an additional worry.    It is a bad decision, a bad reaction to another bad decision, that of the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal a year ago,” he said, arriving for Paris’s annual Bastille Day military parade.
    The European powers do not support Trump’s sanctions squeeze on Iran, aimed at forcing it into negotiations on stricter nuclear limits and other security concessions, but have been unable to come up with ways to allow Iran to avert them.
    “No one wants a war.    I’ve noticed that everyone is saying they don’t want to go to the summit of the escalation.    Neither (Iranian) President Rouhani, nor President Trump or other Gulf leaders.    But here there are elements of escalation that are worrisome,” Le Drian said.
    “Iran gains nothing from withdrawing from its engagement (with nuclear deal).    The U.S. also gains nothing if Iran gets nuclear weapons, so it is important that de-escalation measures are taken to ease the tensions.”
    In Baghdad on Saturday, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini backed Iraq’s proposal for a conference between Iran and its regional rivals, U.S.-allied Gulf states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
(Reporting by Bate Felix; Writing by Mark Heinrich; Editing by Mark Potter)

7/14/2019 Pelosi sets spending demands for two-year budget deal
FILE PHOTO: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks to the news media during her weekly news conference
on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 27, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Saturday that a two-year budget agreement with the Trump administration must include equal increases in defense and nondefense spending, plus additional money for a program intended to improve healthcare for military veterans.
    “We all agree on the need to address the debt limit, but we also must reach an agreement on spending priorities based upon the principle of parity as soon as possible,” the top Democrat in the House of Representatives told U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a July 13 letter.
    Pelosi’s office said it released the letter after she and Mnuchin spoke by phone on Saturday evening for 12 minutes.
    “The two-year budget agreement we are working to achieve should provide equal increases in the defense base and the non-defense base over the next two fiscal years,” the speaker said in the letter.
    “But it also must provide $9 billion in additional funds for the VA MISSION Act in fiscal 2020 and $13 billion in additional funds in 2021,” she wrote.
    The VA Mission Act, which passed Congress with bipartisan support, seeks to revamp healthcare services provided through the Veterans Administration by allowing veterans to obtain private care, expanding assistance for caregivers and incentives for health professionals, and making other changes.
    Pelosi told Mnuchin that past agreements on parity between defense and non-defense spending did not take into account the growing cost of implementing the program.
(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Andrea Ricci)

7/13/2019 Hundreds protest in Colorado ahead of planned ICE arrests by OAN Newsroom
    Hundreds of protesters in Colorado storm an an ICE facility ahead the agency’s scheduled deportation orders.     Reports Friday said protesters in Aurora removed the American flag from a pole at the facility, and flew the Mexican flag in its place.
Hundreds of protestors assembled for a march at the GEO facility, July 12, in
Aurora, Colorado. Photo by Philip B. Poston/Sentinel Colorado
    Protesters also pulled down a “Blue Lives Matter” flag, painted the words “abolish ICE” on it, before raising it upside down.
    The mayor of Denver, where arrests are expected to be made, has said his city has no intention of cooperating with the operations.
    “We do not cooperate with ICE.    As my grandma, Dolores, would say, ‘This ass-backwards policy of the White House is taking us backwards,'” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said.
    The protests were part of the event dubbed Lights for Liberty, which calls for detention centers to be closed, and immigrants be granted entry into the U.S.

7/15/2019 Trump tells representatives to leave by William Cummings, USA TODAY
    President Donald Trump’s opponents accused him of xenophobia and racism on Sunday after he posted tweets calling on an unspecified group of Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to the countries he says they “originally came” from before trying to make legislative changes in the U.S.
    “So interesting to see 'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run."
    “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.    Then come back and show us how it is done.    These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough.    I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!” the president said in three connected tweets.
    Many presumed Trump’s tweets were directed at the four liberal freshman congresswomen known as “the Squad”: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.    Three were born in the U.S. Omar arrived as a refugee from Somalia more than 20 years ago and is an American citizen.
    “Mr. President, As Members of Congress, the only country we swear an oath to is the United States.    Which is why we are fighting to protect it from the worst, most corrupt and inept president we have ever seen,” Omar replied.
    “Mr. President, the country I ‘come from’ & the country we all swear to, is the United States.    But given how you’ve destroyed our border with inhumane camps, all at a benefit to you & the corps who profit off them, you are absolutely right about the corruption laid at your feet,” Ocasio-Cortez said in her response.
    “Yo @realDonaldTrump, I am fighting corruption in OUR country,” Tlaib tweeted.
    “I do it every day when I hold your admin accountable as a U.S. Congresswoman.    Detroit taught me how to fight for the communities you continue to degrade & attack.    Keep talking, you’ll be out of the WH soon.”
    The four House members recently had some squabbles with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for her support for a bill that funds border security measures and comments Pelosi made about their disagreements in a New York Times interview.
    The Democratic infighting was the subject of a “Fox & Friends” segment on Sunday that mentioned the four congresswomen by name, which ran before Trump posted his tweets.
    Since taking office in January, Omar has sparked anger with her rhetoric criticizing the Trump administration and U.S. foreign policy, past and present.    Her remarks about Israel and the influence of the pro-Israeli lobby were condemned as anti-Semitic by both Republicans and Democrats.
    “I believe as an immigrant, I probably love this country more than anyone that is naturally born,” Omar said at a Netroots Nation event Saturday.
The only country we swear an oath to is the United States,” Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.,
tweeted Sunday in response to the president. NICK WAGNER/AP FILE
[It is sad to see that these 4 individuals have been misguided oaths by such hateful and derilict entities for them to come up and to be elected as Congresspersons in that they do not even know the laws of this country and are trying to create their own laws which are totally against what America stands for in its Democracy.].

7/15/2019 Anxious immigrants await deportation raids - Sunday dawns without expected sweep by ICE by Alan Gomez and Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY
    MIAMI – As the sun rose over the East Coast on Sunday, immigrants were relieved to find that the federal raids promised by President Donald Trump had not yet materialized.
    The president said the raids would start Sunday, leading many to worry that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents would follow their usual procedure of conducting predawn raids to round up immigrants.    But as night turned to day, immigration attorneys and advocates around the country said they had not heard any reports of ICE activity.
    “All quiet so far,” said Melissa Taveras of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, which is running a hotline for immigrants but had received only a few calls Sunday morning from immigrants asking about their legal rights if ICE agents arrived.
    In Baltimore, the only noise around an ICE field office in downtown came from a fountain at the center of a plaza.    No agents scurrying about, no immigrants being brought in, just a few people asleep on benches outside.
    In Chicago, the street outside a detention facility was closed to regular traffic, but no government vehicles were seen coming or going Sunday morning.    The only activity near the site was a group of 50 protesters across the street chanting “Abolish ICE” in English and Spanish.
    “We’ve not heard anything,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on MSNBC shortly after 9 a.m.
    ICE officials remained quiet about their plans, and Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, refused to say whether the raids had started.
    “I can’t speak to operational specifics and won’t,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
    That left immigrants and the advocates who have mobilized around the country to protect them unsure about when, or if, the raids would start.
    Advocates have warned that the raids would tear apart families and sow further mistrust of the government.    In preparation, advocates staffed hotlines, printed fliers with legal information and activated networks of volunteers to monitor and document the raids.
    San Francisco Mayor London Breed said Friday that the city’s police will not cooperate with ICE operations and that the city was gearing up to protect immigrants.
    In Denver and other cities, government human-service workers were on standby to find foster homes for any children left behind if their parents were detained and marked for deportation.    In many cases, immigrants who lack legal permission to remain in the U.S. have minor children who are U.S. citizens.
    Immigration reform advocates expected that communities around Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco would be targeted in raids.
Thousands rally against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies with a march in Chicago on Saturday. ABEL URIBE/CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIA AP

7/15/2019 With Iran deal teetering on brink, Europeans assess next steps by John Irish
FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag flutters in front the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
headquarters in Vienna, Austria July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European foreign ministers will seek to flesh out how to convince Iran and the United States to reduce tensions and initiate a dialogue when they meet in Brussels on Monday amid fears that the 2015 nuclear deal is close to collapse.
    U.S.-Iranian tensions have worsened since U.S. President Donald Trump decided last year to abandon the nuclear deal under which Iran agreed to curtail its atomic program in return for relief from economic sanctions crippling its economy.
    In reaction to the re-imposition of tough U.S. sanctions, which have notably targeted Iran’s main oil revenue stream, Tehran has scaled back on some of its nuclear commitments under the deal, leading the European parties to the pact, France, Britain and Germany, to warn it about not fully complying with the terms.
    The three powers, who are party to the deal alongside Russia and China, have sought to defuse the tensions, which culminated in a plan for U.S. air strikes on Iran last month that Trump called off at the last minute.
    French President Emmanuel Macron dispatched his top diplomat to Tehran last week to offer suggestions on how to freeze the current status quo to gain some time and had said he wanted to review the diplomatic progress by July 15.
    “We told President (Hassan) Rouhani what the parameters of a pause could be and we’re waiting for a response from the Iranians, but their point of departure is relatively far because they are demanding the immediate lifting of sanctions,” said a French presidential official.
    Rouhani on Sunday reiterated Tehran’s stance that it would be ready to negotiate if the U.S. lifted sanctions and returned to the nuclear deal.    Trump has shown no sign of backing down for now.    Despite discussing Iran with Macron, Trump said last week he would push on with more sanctions.
    In New York, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday pointed the finger at the Europeans.
    “There is a serious difference between doing something and announcing your willingness,” Iranian state TV quoted him as saying.
    The European are still trying to put its Instex trade mechanism in place with Iran, but the Iranian mirror entity has yet to be established and should it go ahead would initially only deal in products such as pharmaceuticals and foods, which are not subject to U.S. sanctions.
    Diplomats have that in any case they fear U.S. blowback, while Iranian officials have repeatedly said Instex must include oil sales or provide substantial credit facilities for it to be beneficial.
    “The deal is on the brink.    The message on Monday will be to show EU unity, but make it clear to Iran that it needs to come back into line,” said a European diplomat.    “For now nothing is reversible so we have more room for diplomacy.”
(Additional reporting by Robin Emmott, Marine Pennetier in Paris and Parisa Hafezi in Dubai; Editing by Susan Thomas)

7/15/2019 Oil prices nudge up on Chinese economic data
A horizontal drilling rig on a lease owned by Parsley Energy operates at sunrise in the
Permian Basin near Midland, Texas U.S. August 24, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford
    LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose slightly on Monday as Chinese industrial output and retail data topped expectations but gains were capped by overall figures showing the country’s slowest quarterly economic growth in decades.
    Brent crude futures rose 40 cents, or 0.6%, to $67.12 a barrel by 0923 GMT, while U.S. crude was up 19 cents, or 0.32%, at $60.40 a barrel.
    Both contracts last week posted their biggest weekly gains in three weeks on cuts in U.S. oil production and diplomatic tensions in the Middle East.
    Asian and early European trading was boosted by the more positive Chinese economic data, which may indicate early success in government stimulus efforts and potentially more oil demand in the world’s number two economy.
    Analysts at ANZ bank said China’s crude oil imports year-to-date still looked impressive, even as imports fell in June for a second straight month.
    “We believe additional crude oil quota (given) to private refiners should keep imports upbeat in H2 2019,” they said.
    China’s crude oil throughput rose to a record of 13.07 million barrels per day in June, up 7.7% from a year earlier, following the start-up of two new, large refineries, official data showed on Monday.
    Still, economic growth of just 6.2% in the second quarter of 2019 — the worst in 27 years — signaled the impact of trade tensions with Washington and raised the possibility that more incentives might be needed to jumpstart the economy.
    Despite a truce agreed between the Chinese and U.S. presidents last month, the trade war remains unresolved.
    The Paris-based International Energy Agency said in its monthly report on Friday that abundant output and sluggish growth would leave oil markets increasingly over-supplied going into 2020.
    “As far as 2019 is concerned, the more cautious demand stance is now well established in the market and across most forecasters,” consultancy JBC energy said in a note.
    Refineries in the path of Tropical Storm Barry continued to operate, although the storm has slashed U.S. Gulf of Mexico crude output by 73%, or 1.38 million barrels per day.
    In the Middle East, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Sunday that Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it quit last year.
    Meanwhile Britain has offered to facilitate the release of the detained Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 if Tehran gave guarantees that it would not go to Syria.
(Additional reporting by Florence Tan; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

7/15/2019 Trial begins with high stakes for U.S.-Turkey ties, ex-Trump adviser Flynn by Humeyra Pamuk and Sarah N. Lynch
FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn departs after his sentencing was delayed at
U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., December 18, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a court case that could further strain American relations with Turkey and weigh on the sentencing of former U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn, a criminal trial began on Monday involving a former Iranian-American business partner of Flynn.
    Bijan Rafiekian’s trial in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, turns on whether he conspired to lobby on Turkey’s behalf to try to persuade the U.S. government to extradite Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Turkey for a failed coup in July 2016.
    “During the summer and fall of 2016, the defendant has acted as an agent to advance one of Turkey’s most important foreign policy goals,” one U.S. prosecutor said in his opening statement, adding that was to help support Ankara’s goal in seeking the extradition of Gulen from the United States.
    Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general whose brief tenure in 2017 as part of President Donald Trump’s inner circle is still causing legal aftershocks, is not charged as a co-conspirator with Rafiekian.    But the case could influence how U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan sentences Flynn later this year in Washington.
    Flynn had previously agreed to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors and testify against Rafiekian, known as “Kian,” in hopes of getting a lighter sentence after he pleaded guilty in December 2017 to having lied to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators about his contacts with Russian officials.
    In a reversal earlier this month, Flynn and prosecutors had a falling out and Flynn backed away from earlier admissions of making false statements to the U.S. Justice Department in paperwork that disclosed his work as a Turkish government lobbyist.
    Flynn now contends he relied on attorneys’ advice when filing the lobbying paperwork with the Justice Department and that he did not knowingly file false information.
    Rafiekian faces two criminal counts of conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government, making false statements to the Justice Department and acting as a foreign agent.    His former client, Turkish-Dutch national Ekim Alptekin, is also charged.
    The trial, which began on the third anniversary of Turkey’s failed coup that killed 251 people and wounded more than 1,500, has implications for already strained ties between Ankara and Washington.
    U.S. prosecutors are aiming to build a case showing Rafiekian and Alptekin acted with direction from the Turkish government and did not disclose their lobbying campaign to return Gulen, a shadowy figure who lives in a fortified compound in Pennsylvania, to Turkey.
    The Turkish government has denied engaging in a conspiracy to evade U.S. regulations requiring foreign government lobbyists to register with the Justice Department.
    “The idea that we would conspire against the United States is preposterous. … We categorically reject any accusation of wrongdoing or illegal conduct in the United States,” Fahrettin Altun, spokesman for the Turkish presidency, said in a statement over the weekend.
    Lawyers for Rafiekian denied the allegations.    “Bijan never conspired with anyone, never ever sought to avoid U.S. regulations, never conspired to serve as an agent of a foreign government,” his attorney, Bob Trout, said in his opening statements.
    Government lawyers now no longer plan to call Flynn as a star witness in the Rafiekian case, although they may end up calling Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked for Flynn’s lobbying firm, known as the Flynn Intel Group. Defense lawyers for Rafiekian have listed the elder Flynn as a possible star witness in the case.
    The U.S. government is expected to call five witnesses on Tuesday, prosecutors said.    Michael G. Flynn was not one of them.     Flynn was due to be sentenced in December 2018, but his sentence was delayed after Judge Sullivan lambasted him for selling his country out to Russia and urged him to complete his cooperation with government prosecutors.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Tom Brown and Jonathan Oatis)

7/15/2019 President Trump hosts ‘Made in America’ Showcase, touts nation’s manufacturing sector by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump recently highlighted the success of the nation’s manufacturing sector, while hosting a ‘Made in America’ product showcase.
    During an event at the White House Monday, the president said manufacturing jobs have peaked to 600,000 since he was elected and called it “i>an extraordinary resurgence.”    He also pointed out auto plants are being built and expanded throughout the nation, and we are “reawakening our industrial might.”
President Donald Trump speaks during a Made in America showcase on the South Lawn
of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    “The philosophy of my administration is simple: if we can build it, grow it or make it in the United States — we will,” said the president.    “When we choose American made something truly wonderful happens — our communities thrive and flourish, our neighborhoods bustle with commerce, our children dream bigger and bolder, and the bonds of loyalty that unite us as citizens become closer, richer, and deeper than ever before.”
    After giving remarks, President Trump signed an executive order requiring 95-percent of steel and iron used in federal contracts to come from U.S. firms.    The move will substantially raise the current threshold of 50-percent, which was first set by then-president Dwight Eisenhower back in the 1954.    The president’s executive order also requires ‘Made in America’ products that are used by the government to have 75-percent of their components made domestically.

7/15/2019 President Trump: Far-left Democrats are actual racists by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump is taking a hardline stance on the accusations of racism against him.    While talking to reporters in Washington, D.C.     Monday, the president doubled down on his criticism of far-left Democrat congresswomen, which supposedly include Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
    President Trump said they must apologize to America for their foul language and actual racism.    He stressed that some of the far-left Democrats have endorsed anti-Semitism.
    Trump tweet: “When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said.    So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!
FILE – In this Feb. 26, 2019, file photo, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., left, joined by Rep. Ayanna Pressley,
D-Mass., and Rep.     Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., listens during a House Oversight
and Reform Committee meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
    The president said the squad of far-left Democrats originates from the most dysfunctional countries in the world, and yet has the nerve to attack the U.S. and its policies.
    Democrats are planning a House resolution to condemn what they call the president’s “xenophobic” tweets.

7/15/2019 U.S., Russia to discuss nuclear arms limits in Geneva on Wednesday: officials by Roberta Rampton
National flags of Russia and the U.S. fly at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Representatives from the United States and Russia are set to meet in Geneva on Wednesday to explore the concept of a new accord limiting nuclear arms that could eventually include China, senior U.S. officials said on Monday.
    U.S. President Donald Trump has said that he would like to see a “next generation” arms control deal with Russia and China to cover all types of nuclear weapons.    He has broached the topic individually with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, including most recently at the G20 summit in Osaka last month.
    China is not a party to nuclear arms pacts between the United States and Russia and it is unclear how willing Beijing would be to be drawn into talks, said the officials, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.
    “A good meeting would be some greater clarity about where the Russians see things going with the Chinese,” one official said.
    U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will lead the delegation, which will include Tim Morrison, a top aide at the White House National Security Council, and representatives from the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Agency, the U.S. officials said.
    Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, will lead the Russian delegation, the U.S. officials said.
    “We actually feel that – touch wood – we’ve actually got to a point where we can try to start this again,” one U.S. official said.
    “I say touch wood because we’re always just one incident away from unfortunately things getting derailed,” the official said.
    Relations between the United States and Russia have been sour for years, deteriorating after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian war.
    Trump has sought better relations, but has been hamstrung by a two-year investigation into the 2016 influence campaign by Russian operatives to attack Trump’s Democratic rival in the presidential election, Hillary Clinton.
    The investigation by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller found there was insufficient evidence that the Trump campaign illegally conspired with Moscow.    The Kremlin has denied any meddling.
    Relations also frayed over Russia’s poisoning of a former spy and his daughter on British soil, the detention of Ukrainian navy boats and crew near Crimea, and Russia’s detention of U.S. citizens, among other incidents.
    The Geneva meeting will be just two weeks before the United States withdraws from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty that required both countries to eliminate short-range and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles.
    U.S. authorities believe Moscow is developing and has deployed a ground-launched system in breach of the INF treaty that could allow it to launch a nuclear strike on Europe at short notice.    Russia has consistently denied any such violation.
    No breakthrough is expected on the INF treaty, the U.S. officials said.
    U.S. officials also are not planning to discuss renewal of the 2011 New START treaty, a U.S.-Russia arms control pact which limits deployed strategic nuclear weapons.
    One of the officials told reporters it would be “premature” to talk about New START – which is set to expire in February 2021 but can be extended for five years if both sides agree, calling the issues a “next-year problem.”
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Grant McCool)

7/16/2019 Oil down $0.63 to $59.58, DOW up 27 to 27,359, still breaking records.

7/16/2019 US rule slashes asylum eligibility by David Jackson and Alan Gomez, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – The Trump administration moved Monday to prevent most migrants from claiming political asylum in the United States, requiring them to make their claims in other countries first.
    A new proposed rule will almost certainly be challenged in court.    Previous administration attempts to restrict asylum claims have been struck down.
    The current proposal “will decrease forum shopping by economic migrants and those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.
    Lee Gelernt, an ACLU attorney who led the lawsuit that forced the administration to reunite more than 2,800 migrant families separated under Trump’s failed “zero tolerance” policy, said Monday morning that his team would be filing a lawsuit soon against Trump’s latest move.
    “The rule is unlawful, period,” Gelernt said.    “We will be in court immediately to block the rule.    It effectively ends asylum for anybody approaching the southern border and could not be more inconsistent with our country’s commitment to provide safe haven for those fleeing danger.”
    The plan is scheduled to take effect Tuesday.
    Critics said the practical effect is to all but end asylum requests.

7/16/2019 House to vote on criminal contempt against Attorney General Barr, Commerce Secretary Ross by OAN Newsroom
    House Democrats are demanding more information behind the push for a citizenship question on the 2020 census.    In order to obtain the information, they are going after Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who landed in some heat after their refusal to turn over documents in the face of subpoenas back in April.
This determines who is here, this determines who has power in the United States of America.    That is what we want to know.    I want to know about corruption.    That’s what I want to know — about the racism and the very disturbing history that we’re seeing here.    That’s what I want to know, and so we gave the opportunity to ask –we asked: why are all of these things happening, why is all of this connected?" — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D) New York.
    The House Oversight Committee voted to move forward with a contempt vote to the full chamber in order to take action.    The vote before the full House will determine whether or not Barr and Ross will be held in contempt of Congress, which is a federal misdemeanor that can end in paying a $1,000 fine and possibly even going to jail.
Attorney General William Barr speaks about the census as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross listens during an event with
President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House, Thursday, July 11, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    This comes despite the Trump administration moving past the issue.    The White House invoked an executive order last week, following an unfavorable ruling from the Supreme Court to have federal agencies share information in order to determine how many citizens and non-citizens are in the country.
    “Knowing this information is vital to formulating sound public policy, whether the issue is healthcare, education, civil rights or immigration,” stated President Trump.    “We must have a reliable count of how many citizens, non-citizens, and illegal aliens are in our country.”
    Last week, the House voted to finally take court action against Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn for their failure to turn over information regarding the Mueller report.
    It remains to be seen what action — if any — will be taken following a contempt vote in regard to the citizenship question.

7/16/2019 White House hosts meeting for agencies to discuss 5G, resolve infighting by OAN Newsroom
    Top officials are working to resolve rising tension over the commercial use of 5G networks.    Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney recently held a meeting at the White House, which included officials from the FCC and the Commerce Department.    They debated the economic advantage of 5G against the potentially fatal threat of overcrowded radio frequencies.
    “According to some estimates, the wireless industry plans to invest nearly $300 billion in 5G networks, which would create 3 million American jobs and add $500 billion to the U.S. economy,” said President Trump.    “It’s a race we WILL win.”
    While winning is a priority, some officials are concerned the technology is not quite there yet.    Dr. Neil Jacobs, the assistant secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction, warned that wireless devices using 5G could interfere with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) ability to predict natural disasters.
    According to reports, the NOAA uses spectrum in the 24-gigahertz frequency band to collect data for weather forecasting.    5G networks plan to use the same frequency, which would reduce the accuracy of predictions by at least 30-percent.
    “The polar-orbiting passive microwave sounders account for 90-percent of the data used in the global model, and provide up to 30-percent of the forecast scale,” Dr. Jacobs explained.
    Without accurate warnings, residents in hurricane, earthquake or flood prone areas may not have enough time to evacuate.    The NOAA is working alongside the FCC to find a solution for the blunder.
Visitors walk past a sign advertising 5G services near the Huawei pavilion a the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, China. (Photo/Chinatopix via AP)
    This comes as the technology gets tangled up in a trade war between Huawei and President Trump, which is causing a crisis in Europe.
    “The European common market sets the standard of how roaming takes place, which means you have to have a universal infrastructure and if Britain sides with U.S. it may not be able to be supported by the European Union,” explained Scott Fulton, contributor for Z.D. Net.
    The president has continued to urge U.S. allies to resist Huawei’s release of 5G networks after engineering flaws in the tech suggested it could act as a “gateway” for espionage.    Although China denies the technology is capable of this, the U.S. refuses to back down and has imposed major tariffs.

7/16/2019 Conway faces possible contempt after skipping hearing regarding possible Hatch Act violation by OAN Newsroom
    The House Oversight Committee is threatening to hold White House counselor Kellyanne Conway in contempt.    The decision stems from Conway declining to appear before the committee on Monday.
    The panel is looking to question the Trump administration official on her alleged violations of the Hatch Act.    The White House counsel wrote a letter to committee’s chairman Elijah Cummings earlier in the day, saying Conway was immune from testimony.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway talks with reporters outside the White House in Washington. (AP Photo)
    Last month, the Office of the Special Counsel accused Conway of violating the act by criticizing Democrat presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity.    However, Republicans claim the effort is nothing more than a side-show.
    “Mister chairman today’s hearing is politics, pure politics orchestrated by a left-wing advocacy organization to silence one of the President’s top advisers,” stated Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).    “…They targeted Mrs. Conway…because she’s effective.”
    Congressman Cummings is threatening to hold Conway in contempt unless she complies with the subpoena before the July 25th deadline.

7/16/2019 Man who attacked ICE facility repeats Ocasio-Cortez’s rhetoric in manifesto by OAN Newsroom
    A man who recently attacked an ICE facility, could have been inspired by the rhetoric of New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
    According to the attacker’s manifesto, which was released Monday, the man repeatedly used Ocasio-Cortez’s language.    He called migrant detention centers “concentration camps” at least four times and endorsed John Brown, who staged an armed attack on a U.S. federal arsenal back in 1859.
    Here is the video where Ocasio-Cortez singlehandedly started the "concentration camps" lie about immigrant detention facilities.
    The attacker, identified in local media as 69-year-old Willem Van Spronsen, attempted to cause an explosion outside an ICE facility in Tacoma, Washington on Saturday.    He was shot dead by authorities, and has since been designated as a domestic terrorist.
    The man reportedly identified himself as a member of the left-wing extremist group know as Antifa.    Meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez has yet to condemn the attack even after being repeatedly asked for her input by the media.

7/16/2019 Trump says ‘a lot of progress’ made with Iran to defuse crisis by Jeff Mason and Parisa Hafezi
FILE PHOTO: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary
of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran, June 4, 2017. TIMA via REUTERS
WASHINGTON/DUBAI (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday “a lot of progress” had been made toward ending a volatile standoff with Iran, with his top diplomat saying Tehran had signaled willingness to negotiate over its disputed ballistic missile program.
    He appeared to be reacting to a comment by Iran’s foreign minister said Tehran would discuss its missile program after Washington stopped arming allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, something the United States is unlikely to do.
    The surprising disclosures came hours after Iran’s supreme leader upped the ante in the brewing confrontation by warning Tehran would continue removing restraints on its nuclear activity and retaliate for the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker.
    Tensions have spiraled since Trump last year ditched big powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran under which it agreed to curtail its nuclear program in return for the lifting of global sanctions crippling its economy.
    Washington has since reimposed draconian sanctions to throttle Iran’s oil trade in a policy of “maximum pressure” on Tehran to agree stricter limits on its nuclear capacity, curb its ballistic missile program and end support for proxy forces in a Middle East power struggle with U.S.-backed Gulf Arabs.
    After threats from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s ultimate authority, to push on with breaches of the nuclear deal, Trump suggested to a Cabinet meeting at the White House that Iran wanted to talk with its archenemy.
    “A lot of progress has been made.    We’ll see what happens.    But a lot of progress has been made,” Trump said.
    Trump said the Iran nuclear pact agreed under his predecessor Barack Obama was too weak to prevent Tehran developing atomic bombs.    “They can’t have a nuclear weapon. We want to help them.    We’ll be good to them, we’ll work with them.    We’ll help them in any way we can, but they can’t have a nuclear weapon.    We’re not looking, by the way, for regime change.”
    He added: “They (also) can’t be testing ballistic missiles.”
    U.S. Secretary State Mike Pompeo told the Cabinet meeting at the White House that Iran had signaled it was prepared to negotiate about its ballistic missiles.
    “The Iranian regime is struggling to figure out what they’re going to do with their economy because we’ve been terribly effective,” Pompeo said.
    “And the result is … frankly, I think it was yesterday, maybe the day before, for the first time the Iranians have said that they’re prepared to negotiate about their missile program.    So we will have this opportunity, I hope, if we continue to execute our strategy appropriately, we’ll have this opportunity to negotiate a deal that will actually prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”
    Pompeo appeared to be referring to comments by Iran’s foreign minister on Monday in which he said Shi’ite Iran would discuss its missile program only after the United States ceased arming its regional Sunni rivals Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told NBC’s “Nightly News with Lester Holt” program that once the Trump administration removed sanctions it has restored since leaving the nuclear deal the “room for negotiation is wide open.”
    Asked if that could include its ballistic missile program, Zarif replied: “If they want to talk about our missiles, they need, first, to stop selling all these weapons, including missiles, to our region.”
    There was no immediate comment from Tehran.    The Islamic Republic has repeatedly ruled out negotiating under sanctions duress with Washington.    It has long said its ballistic missile program is defensive in nature and non-negotiable.
    Fears of direct U.S.-Iranian conflict have risen since May with several attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, Iran’s downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, and a plan for U.S. air strikes on Iran last month that Trump called off at the last minute.
    Commitments under threat:
    In a strategy meeting on Monday, European parties to the nuclear deal decided on Monday not to trigger its dispute mechanism over Iran’s breaches in favor of pursuing more troubleshooting diplomacy.
    But they took no action to shield Iran against Trump’s sanctions clampdown as Tehran has demanded in exchange for returning to full compliance with the 2015 deal.
    Supreme leader Khamenei accused Britain, Germany and France of failing to uphold obligations under the deal to restore Iranian access to global trade, especially for Tehran’s oil exports blocked by U.S. sanctions.
    “According to our foreign minister, Europe made 11 commitments, none of which they abided by.    We abided by our commitments and even beyond them.    Now that we’ve begun to reduce our commitments, they oppose it.    How insolent!    You didn’t abide by your commitments!” Khamenei said, according to his website.
    “We have started to reduce our commitments and this trend shall continue,” Khamenei said in remarks carried by state television.
    He has previously upbraided European powers for not standing up to Trump and circumventing his sanctions noose.    Russia and China are also parties to the accord.
    But it was the first time Khamenei explicitly pledged to press ahead with breaches of the nuclear deal, spurning European appeals to Iran to restore limits on enrichment aimed at obviating any dash to development of atomic bombs.
    “So far, efforts to win gestures from Iran to de-escalate the crisis are not succeeding (as) Tehran is demanding the lifting of sanctions on its oil and banking sectors first,” a European diplomatic source told Reuters.
    Iran denies any intent to acquire nuclear weapons, and has said all its breaches could be reversed if Washington returned to the deal and its economic dividends were realized.    Tehran has accused Washington of waging “economic war.”
    “Western governments’ major vice is their arrogance,” Khamenei said.    “If the country opposing them is a weak one, their arrogance works.    But if it’s a country that knows and stands up against them, they will be defeated.”
    IAEA inspectors last week confirmed Iran is now enriching uranium to 4.5% fissile purity, above the 3.67% limit set by its deal, the second breach in as many weeks after Tehran exceeded limits on its stock of low-enriched uranium.
    The level at which Iran is now refining uranium is still well below the 20% purity of enrichment Iran reached before the deal, and the 90% needed to yield bomb-grade nuclear fuel.    Low-enriched uranium provides fuel for civilian power plants.
(Additional reporting by John Irish in Paris and Arshad Mohammed in Washington; writing by Mark Heinreich and Arshad Mohammed; editing by Mark Heinrich and Jonathan Oatis)

7/16/2019 Trump laments U.S. prohibition on selling F-35s to Turkey
U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 16, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday signaled reluctance to punish Turkey over its acquisition of a Russian air defense system, saying it was “not fair” that the United States would now be prohibited from selling Ankara billions of dollars worth of F-35 stealth fighter jets.
    Trump’s remarks were his first about next steps after Turkey defiantly rebuffed U.S. warnings and started taking delivery of Russia’s S-400 air defense system last week.
    “We’re working through it, we’ll see what happens.    But it’s not really fair,” Trump told reporters at a Cabinet meeting at the White House.
    Trump again appeared to blame his predecessor, Barack Obama, for failing to sell America’s best alternative to the Russian S-400s — Patriot missiles, made by Raytheon Co. He said Turkey was “forced to buy another missile system.”
    “Because of the fact that (Turkey) bought a Russian missile, we’re not allowed to sell them billions of dollars’ worth of aircraft.    It’s not a fair situation,” Trump said, lamenting the jobs that would be lost.
    Speaking across town at his confirmation hearing to become Trump’s defense secretary, Army Secretary Mark Esper told a Senate committee that Turkey could not have both the S-400 and F-35.
    Esper said he told Turkey’s defense minister: “You can either have the S-400 or you can have the F-35.    You cannot have both.”
(Reporting by Jeff Mason, Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Writing by Susan Heavey and Phil Stewart; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)

7/16/2019 U.S.: Turkey’s purchase of Russia air defense system ‘disappointing’
Defense Secretary nominee Mark Esper testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing
on his nomination in Washington, U.S. July 16, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee to become the next secretary of defense called Turkey’s decision to buy Russia’s S-400 air defense system “disappointing,” in remarks that break days of administration silence about the move by the NATO ally.
    “They have been a long standing and very capable NATO ally, but their decision on the S-400 is the wrong one and it is disappointing,” said Army Secretary Mark Esper, testifying on Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
    Esper returned to his Army role after stepping down as acting defense secretary while the Senate weighs his nomination.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

7/16/2019 Britain plans additional warship presence in Gulf
FILE PHOTO - British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duncan (D37) sails in the Bosphorus, on its way
to the Mediterranean Sea, in Istanbul, Turkey, July 12, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will send a third warship to the Persian Gulf, though the move is not related to the current Iran crisis, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Tuesday.
    The MoD said HMS Duncan, a type 45 frigate, is transiting to the region to ensure Britain maintains a continuous maritime security presence while HMS Montrose, a type 23 frigate, undertakes planned maintenance.
    Later in the year, HMS Kent, another type 23 frigate, will deploy to the region, taking over from HMS Duncan.
    It said that support ship RFA Wave Knight will deploy to the Gulf at the start of August.
    “These long-planned movements do not reflect an escalation in the UK posture in the region and are routine,” the MoD added.
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)

7/16/2019 Migration from eastern Europe raises German population to record high
An aerial view shows people at a beach on the shores of lake Silbersee (Silver Lake) during a long-lasting
heatwave over central Europe in Haltern, Germany, August 4, 2018. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
    BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s population reached a record high of more than 83 million people last year, largely because migration, most of which came from eastern Europe, data showed on Tuesday.
    Net migration fell to some 400,000 people in 2018 from 416,000 in the previous year, the Federal Statistics Office said. European Union states remained the main origin of new arrivals with net migration of 202,000.
    Within this group, net migration was highest from Romania (68,000), Croatia (29,000), Bulgaria (27,000) and Poland (20,000), the data showed.
    Record-high employment and falling joblessness have led to a tightening labor market in Europe’s largest economy, with employers struggling to staff more than a million positions and work-related bottlenecks limiting overall economic growth.
    An ageing population and low birth rates mean Germany’s workforce is likely to shrink over coming decades, so migrants are considered crucial to help companies find workers, whose pension contributions support the growing number of retirees.
    Fewer refugees from war-torn countries seem to be arriving in Germany.    Net migration from Syria nearly halved to 34,000 in 2018 from 60,000 in the previous year.    Net migration from Africa slipped to 34,000 from 35,000.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber, editing by Larry King)

7/16/2019 Trump admin. enacts new Title X rule by OAN Newsroom
    The Trump administration is taking another dig at abortion rights.    The Department of Health and Human Services announced new regulations Monday for health clinics funded under Title X.
    Title X is a federal grant program, which subsidizes family planning and preventative health services for low income families. The regulations, also known as the Protect Life Rule, was first announced by the president last year, and would bar clinics from referring or provide abortion services to patients.
    “For decades, American taxpayers have been wrongfully forced to subsidize the abortion industry through Title X federal funding.    So today, we have kept another promise.    My administration has proposed a new rule to prohibit Title X funding from going to any clinic that performs abortions.” — President Trump.
    Although no money has been cut from the grant reserve, it will only go towards clinics who are eligible under the new rule.    Planned Parenthood, for example, would be stripped of around $60 million in federal funding for its clinics, which refer for abortion services and are co-located with abortion facilities.
FILE – In this June 4, 2019, file photo, Anti-abortion advocates gather outside
the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
    According to reports, Planned Parenthood currently serves about 40-percent of all clients who benefit from Title X and $4 million people nationwide. Without the federal grants, it will now use its emergency funds.
    Several organizations filed emergency petitions to block the administration from enforcing the regulations, however, the Department of Health and Human Services claims there is no judicial order which would prevent the president from enacting the rule while it is being litigated.

7/17/2019 Oil down $1.96 to $57.62, DOW down 27 to 27,336.

7/17/2019 Trump administration plans to divert $40 million in aid to Venezuela’s opposition
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful interim ruler, gestures as
he takes part in a session of Venezuela’s National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela July 16, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
    (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration plans to divert more than $40 million in humanitarian aid for Central America to support the U.S.-backed opposition in Venezuela, according to an internal document obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.
    The $41.9 million had been destined for Guatemala and Honduras, two of the three Central American countries at the center of a migration crisis in which thousands of people have fled poverty, violence and corruption and attempted to cross the southern U.S. border.
    The congressional notification from the U.S. Agency for International Development said the money will instead be used for salaries, travel, communications equipment, technical assistance and training for the management of a government budget and other needs for the Venezuelan opposition.
    The memorandum, dated July 11, says the funds are necessary because of “a significant, exigent event in the U.S. national interest, specifically the rapidly evolving crisis in Venezuela.”
    The memo and its contents were first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
    Spokespeople for the State Department, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido and Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, invoked the Venezuelan constitution in January to assume an interim presidency, arguing Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro is illegitimate.
    Maduro, meanwhile, has called Guaido a U.S.-backed puppet and has so far retained his grip on the levers of government.
    The State Department announced in June it was slashing hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras after Trump said the three countries were not doing enough to stem migration.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Eric Beech and Makini Brice in Washington, Brian Ellsworth in Caracas and Luc Cohen in Caracas; Editing by Chris Reese and Sonya Hepinstall)

7/17/2019 U.S. Democrat urges USTR to respond to proposals on U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testifies before a Senate Finance Committee hearing on "The President's 2019 Trade Policy Agenda
and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee’s Democratic chairman on Wednesday urged U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to respond constructively to Democrats’ proposals to ensure their support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.
    Committee Chairman Richard Neal issued a statement after a group of Democrats met with Lighthizer to discuss environmental concerns, reflecting apparent frustration about the Trump administration’s failure to respond to the Democratic proposals.
    “The group has now laid out comprehensive concerns and constructive proposals in three of the four issue areas in its negotiating mandate: access to medicines, labor, and the environment,” he said.
    “We look forward to similarly comprehensive and constructive responses from Ambassador Lighthizer.    Progress will only come from each side working to meet the other.”
    The leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico have all signed the agreement, which will replace the current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but it must be ratified by each country’s legislature to go into effect.
    Mexico was the first country to ratify the trade deal in June, but the deal has hit roadblocks in the U.S. House of Representatives, where Democrats have threatened to block passage until their concerns about environmental, labor and pharmaceutical aspects of the agreement are addressed.
    Neal heads a working group that is meeting regularly with Lighthizer to discuss those issues.
    U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not yet said when she will bring the agreement to a vote on the House floor.    White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow has said Lighthizer will wait to submit the formal paperwork for ratification until Pelosi gives him the go-ahead.
    U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview with Fox Business Network on Wednesday that “it would be a real dereliction of duty” if Pelosi did not agree to a floor vote.
    Neal said he expected to meet with Lighthizer again next week to address Democrats’ concerns on enforcement of the agreement.    He said they would also work with the U.S. trade representative to map out a “continuing and robust process” for building on current progress as the process continued next month.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Jonas Ekblom; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

7/17/2019 U.S. will no longer sell F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, President Trump calls it unfair by OAN Newsroom
    The Trump administration will no longer sell the F-35 fighter jet to Turkey now that it has begun receiving shipments of an advanced missile defense system from Russia.    During his nomination hearing Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary nominee Mark Esper described Turkey’s decision as “disappointing.”
    The Russian-made missile defense system is not compatible with NATO and the Pentagon is concerned it could be used by Moscow to acquire critical knowledge of the F-35’s unique radar signature, which could make it easier to track.
    “You can have either the S-400 or the F-35, you cannot have both,” stated Esper.    “Acquisition of the S-400 fundamentally undermines the capabilities of the F-35 and our ability to retain that overmatch in the skies going forward.”
Secretary of the Army and Secretary of Defense nominee Mark Esper testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee
confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    In the months leading up to last week’s deliveries, Washington had warned Turkey about the possibility of sanctions and expulsion from the F-35 program.    Turkey responded by saying the equipment is necessary for securing the country’s southern border with Syria and Iran.
    President Trump is now weighing in on the issue, saying “it’s not fair” that Lockheed Martin could lose out on billions of dollars because the manufacturer will not be allowed to follow through on the sale of more than a hundred of the fighter jets to Turkey.    He pinned the blame on former President Obama for mishandling the situation in the first place.
    “I’ve had a good relationship with President Erdogan…he wanted to buy our patriot missile, we wouldn’t sell it…and when he made a deal with another country, Russia, to buy this system that he didn’t even want…all of a sudden we say ‘okay, we’ll now sell you the patriot’…and because of the fact he bought a Russian missile, we’re not allowed to sell him billions of dollars worth of aircraft — it’s not a fair situation,” the president explained.
Military vehicles and equipment, parts of the S-400 air defense systems, are unloaded from a Russian transport aircraft,
at Murted military airport in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, July 12, 2019. The first shipment of a Russian
missile defense system has arrived in Turkey, the Turkish Defense Ministry said Friday, moving the country closer
to possible U.S. sanctions and a new standoff with Washington.
(Turkish Defence Ministry via AP, Pool)
    The State Department says they are working with President Trump to determine their next steps.    Under current law, the U.S. may be forced to sanction Turkey now that the country has had “significant dealings with the Russian defense industry.”
    “It’s a very tough situation that they’re in, and it’s a very tough situation that we’ve been placed in,” said President Trump.    “With all of that being said, we’re working through it — we’ll see what happens.”

7/17/2019 GOP businesswoman to announce campaign for Ocasio-Cortez’s seat by OAN Newsroom
    Another Republican candidate is entering the contentious battle to take over the seat of New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
    According to reports, New York businesswoman Scherie Murray is expected to formally announce her campaign for New York’s 14th District sometime Wednesday.
    Murray has accused Ocasio-Cortez of ignoring her constituents to focus on self-promotion.    She also laid into the congresswoman for her opposition to Amazon’s plan to open a second headquarters in New York, saying the decision potentially killed thousands of jobs for New Yorkers.
    Murray will face off against four other Republicans during House primaries in June of next year.

7/17/2019 South American trade bloc eyes deal with U.S. after success with EU by OAN Newsroom
    South America’s largest trading bloc is eyeing a deal with the United States.    While speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Argentina’s foreign minister said he wants the bloc to enter more of what he calls “commercial marriages” with nations like the U.S. and China.
    “Regarding Brazil, when President Bolsonaro visited the United States last March he showed interest in the area of commerce,” said Argentine diplomat Jorge Faurie.    “As I mentioned various times before, it is important that the bloc and our members member states be in permanent dialogue and interactions with the principle actors of commerce and with the actors in the global economy.”
FILE – In this file photo, Argentina’s Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie attends a meeting at the Itamaraty Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil.
The Argentine Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday, June 28, 2019, that South America’s Mercosur trade bloc has struck a
“strategic association” trade deal with the European Union, clinched in the Belgian capital of Brussels following two decades of negotiations.
The Mercosur bloc includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)
    Last month the bloc signed a free trade agreement with the EU after more than two-decades of negotiations.    If ratified, the agreement will cut tariffs between the two and open up more market access for South America in Europe.    This marks the first major trade agreement struck by the bloc, founded by Argentina, Brazil as well as Paraguay and Uruguay.
    “The South American bloc and the European Union agree on the benefits, everybody says: ‘it’s great what they have achieved, how can I sell my product?    I want to be part of that story, because I can reach a market of a population of 500 million people with high purchasing power’…” explained Foreign Minister Faurie.    “Before, not everyone wanted to join us, it was something complicated, bureaucratic — now everybody learned that we have a market, that we are interesting, so we have more marriage proposals.”
    The presidents of each of the member states will be holding a summit Wednesday in Argentina.

7/17/2019 CBP to open new 2.5K bed detention center in Texas by OAN Newsroom
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is preparing to open a migrant detention center in Texas in an effort to alleviate overcrowding at current facilities.
    Immigration officials said the new facility in Tornillo is in its final stages of completion, and will begin operations soon.    It has the capacity to house 2,500 people, and is intended to hold single-adult migrants.
In this July 9, 2019, photo, a staff member works in the infirmary, a series of tents, at a
U.S. government holding center for migrants in Carrizo Springs, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
    Some Republicans in Congress, however, are pointing out that building new detention centers is not enough to fix the security crisis at the border.
    “Putting a Band-Aid over the border crisis like we did two weeks ago does not fix the root causes,” stated Rep. Jim Jordan, (R-Ohio).    If Democrats are serious about solving the border crisis…let’s address the Florres settlement agreement, let’s address asylum loopholes, and the other statutory and judicial constraints that incentivize aliens to make a dangerous journey to the United States.”
    Customs and Border Protection expects to open the new facility either later this month or in early August.

7/17/2019 2020 Democrat Sestak says U.S. needs illegal aliens to sustain birth rates for growing economy by OAN Newsroom
    A 2020 Democrat hopeful is taking a unique approach to illegal immigration by claiming the U.S. economy needs undocumented workers. Former Pennsylvania congressman Joe Sestak made the comment Tuesday.
    The Democrat said he believes in protecting the U.S. border, but also in protecting the economy.    Sestak then pointed out the U.S. birth rate has been inadequate over the past few decades.    Therefore, he believes immigration of all types, including undocumented, has played a major role in sustaining growth.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Sestak speaks during the West Des Moines Democrats’
annual picnic, Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
    The 2020 presidential hopeful pointed to countries like Japan, who has faced a similar problem with birth rates, to demonstrate how the economy could be affected.
    “If it were not for immigration of all types we would have been in a population dust pile, not unlike Japans which as you know, their economy stagnated the last two decades largely because of that,” he explained.    “And now with the Baby Boomer generation retiring, all work force would plummet without this, so I believe that we need a bipartisan approach.”
Sestak said migrants who cross the southern border are inherently refugees.    He added, in order to curb the influx of illegal immigration the U.S. should promote economic development in other countries.

7/17/2019 White House expected to roll out merit-based immigration proposal this week by OAN Newsroom
    The White House is getting ready to roll out a new bill designed to overhaul the U.S. immigration system.    Senior Adviser Jared Kushner unveiled parts of the proposal to high ranking cabinet members on Tuesday.
    According to reports, the plan is a more fleshed out version of the president’s “merit-based” immigration proposal he released back in may this year.
    The proposal includes legislation to end the visa lottery and make the process to declare asylum more competitive.    It eliminates the chain migration system and replaces it with a new merit-based system that favors highly-skilled workers.    If enacted, the bill would also impose a nationwide E-verify system allowing employers to see if job candidates is legally allowed to work in the country.
White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner speaks about border security to President Donald Trump and others during a
Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, July 16, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    “I think we are at a time where people are understanding this issue maybe more than they ever have before,” said Kushner.    “I do believe that the president’s position on immigration has been, maybe, defined by his opponents by what hes’s against as opposed to what he’s for, and what I’ve done is I’ve tried to put together a very detailed proposal for him.”
    Members of the administration were scheduled to iron out some last minute details with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday this week, but the meeting was postponed.    McConnell noted that the key to passing immigration reform was keeping it bipartisan, and said Democrats would be reluctant to sign off on any bill that did not provide protections for so called Dreamers.
    However, pundits have suggested the purpose of the plan may not be to sway Democrats, but instead serve as a political litmus test for Republicans on immigration issues.    An official release date has not been given, but insiders say the plan will likely be unveiled by the end of the week.

7/18/2019 Where did the money go when Obama was in office? By Jim A. Cornwell.
    From Reagan through GW Bush $2.7 Trillion to $10.62 Trillion or 7.92 Trillion divided by 16 years equals 0.495 Trillion per year.
    From 2009 to 2017 Obama in 8 years used $19.95 Trillion divided by 8 years is 2.49 Trillion per year and all assume he spent it on wars and military, or ACA, with no resolution to any of it, but I think the money went to the Socialist Czars he implemnted and also $150 billion to Iran.
    From 2018 to date Donald Trump has used $2.07 Trillion to rebuild the military that Obama with his progressive socialist liberal policies let it run down and all the other things that the Dems are trying to block him from Making America Great Again.    He has done it anyway and now with 2020 he could Keep America Great, and hopefully do it without running up the debt for this country but find away to bring it back down, by improving the economy of this country.

7/18/2019 Oil down $0.84to $56.78, DOW down 116 to 27,220.

7/18/2019 b>Flap over Trump tweets sets 2020 framework - ‘Racists’ vs. ‘socialists’ theme has emerged - From Associated Press and USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – With tweets and a vote, President Donald Trump and House Democrats established the sharp and emotionally raw contours of the 2020 election campaigns.
    In the process, they have created a fraught political frame: “racists” vs. “socialists.”
    Trump’s aggressive condemnation of women of color in Congress has allowed House Democrats to mend, for now, their own political divisions as they put the president on record with a resolution condemning his words as racist.
    But by pushing the House majority into the arms of the squad of liberal freshman women, Trump also adds to his narrative that Democrats have a “socialist” agenda, a story line he started to bring into focus during his State of the Union address.
    On Wednesday, it was all set to escalate as Trump was jetting off for a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, and the House prepared a symbolic vote on impeachment, though it was not expected to pass.    The state of affairs offers “a very clear choice,” said Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee on Wednesday.
    “The Democrat party is now a socialist party, and these four women have become the de facto speakers of the Democrat House,” she said on Fox.    “So he’s saying, do you want socialism or do you want what we’re delivering with higher jobs, higher wages, more jobs, a strong economy.”
    But the four freshmen, in their own appearance together, portrayed the president as a bully who wants to “vilify” not only immigrants, but all people of color.    They’re fighting for their priorities to lower health care costs, pass a Green New Deal addressing climate change, they say, while his thundering attacks are a distraction and tear at the core of America vales.
    “America has always been about the triumph of people who fight for everyone versus those who want to preserve rights for just a select few,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, perhaps the most recognizable of the newcomers.
    “And there is no bottom to the barrel of vitriol that will be used and weap- onized to stifle those who want to advance rights for all people in the United States,” she said on “CBS This Morning.”
    The Democratic-led U.S. House voted Tuesday to condemn Trump’s “racist comments” against the congresswomen of color after he told them to “go back” to their own countries.
    The women, Ocasio-Cortez and Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, all were born in the U.S. except for Omar, who became a U.S. citizen after fleeing Somalia as a refugee with her family.
    Democrats eased the resolution through the chamber by 240-187, joined by four Republicans and one Republican-turned-independent congressman.
President Donald Trump has targeted four minority congresswomen for criticism over the past few days. WHITE HOUSE VIA AP/USA TODAY

7/18/2019 Dems join vote to kill impeachment measure by Christal Hayes, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – The House voted to kill a measure seeking to impeach President Donald Trump – the first vote on such a measure since Democrats took the majority and since the release of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
    The b>332-95 vote included a majority of Democrats voting along with Republicans to kill the measure – a win for conservatives and the president, who touted the effort’s failure on Twitter.    The 95 Democrats who voted against casting aside the measure showed there has been an increase in support for taking up the question.
    The articles, included in a resolution by Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, were filed Tuesday evening and declare that Trump is “unfit to be president, unfit to represent the American values of decency and morality, respectability and civility, honesty and propriety, reputability and integrity.”
.     The measure would have required Democrats to go on the record on whether they support taking up impeachment in the House.
    Trump highlighted the failure in a series of posts to Twitter, where he characterized the vote as the definitive end of any possible impeachment effort or inquiry.    “Impeachment of your President, who has led the Greatest Economic BOOM in the history of our Country, the best job numbers, biggest tax reduction, rebuilt military and much more, is now OVER,” Trump said.    “This should never be allowed to happen to another President of the United States again!
    Green has sought to bring articles of impeachment for a vote on the floor twice before.
Al Green
[Poor Dem Al Green he needs to do things that are prosperous to his people in Texas and stop his stupid ideology of getting Trump who has not done anything to justify impeachment.].

7/18/219 U.S. removing Turkey from F-35 program after its Russian missile defense purchase by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart
Turkey and U.S. flags are seen in this picture illustration taken August 25, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Wednesday that it was removing Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program, a move long threatened and expected after Ankara began accepting delivery of an advanced Russian missile defense system last week.
    The first parts of the S-400 air defense system were flown to the Murted military air base northwest of Ankara on Friday, sealing NATO ally Turkey’s deal with Russia, which Washington had struggled for months to prevent.
    “The U.S. and other F-35 partners are aligned in this decision to suspend Turkey from the program and initiate the process to formally remove Turkey from the program,” Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told a briefing.
    Turkey’s foreign ministry said the move was unfair and could affect relations between the two countries.
    Lord said moving the supply chain for the advanced fighter jet would cost the United States between $500 million and $600 million in non-recurring engineering costs.
    Turkey makes more than 900 parts of the F-35, she said, adding the supply chain would transition from Turkish to mainly U.S. factories as Turkish suppliers are removed.
    “Turkey will certainly and regrettably lose jobs and future economic opportunities from this decision,” Lord said.    “It will no longer receive more than $9 billion in projected work share related to the F-35 over the life of the program.”
    The F-35 stealth fighter jet, the most advanced aircraft in the U.S. arsenal, is used by NATO and other U.S. allies.     Washington is concerned that deploying the S-400 with the F-35 would allow Russia to gain too much inside information about the aircraft’s stealth system.
    “The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities,” the White House said in a statement earlier on Wednesday.
    Washington had long said the acquisition of the S-400 might lead to Turkey’s expulsion from the F-35 program.
    After the Pentagon announcement, Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement: “We invite the United States to return from this mistake which would open irreparable wounds in strategic relations.”
    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking at the Aspen Institute’s annual security forum in Aspen, Colorado, said he was concerned at Turkey’s expulsion from the F-35 program.
    But while the S-400 could not become part of NATO’s shared air and missile defenses, he said, Turkey has aircraft and radars that would remain part of the system.
    “The S-400, the Russian air defense system, it’s not possible to integrate into the integrated NATO air defense and missile system, which is about sharing, you know, radar picture, about joint air policing, which is about shared capabilities.    And Turkey has not asked for that,” Stoltenberg said.
    The S-400 acquisition is one of several issues that have frayed ties between the two allies, including a dispute over strategy in Syria east of the Euphrates River, where the United States is allied with Kurdish forces that Turkey views as foes.
    The Pentagon had already laid out a plan to remove Turkey from the program, which included halting training for Turkish pilots on the aircraft.
    Lord said all the Turkish F-35 pilots and personnel had “firm plans” to leave the United States and were scheduled to leave by July 31.
    Turkey will no longer be able to buy the 100 F-35s it had agreed to purchase.
    “These would likely have been delivered at an annual rate of 8-12 aircraft/year through the 2020s,” Byron Callan, an analyst at Capital Alpha Partners, said in a research note on Wednesday.
    The jet’s prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Corp and the jet’s program office at the Pentagon “should be able to re-market those delivery positions,” Callan said.
    Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Carolyn Nelson said: “Over the last several months we’ve been working to establish alternative sources of supply in the United States to quickly” adjust for the loss of Turkey’s contribution to the program.
    The United States is considering expanding sales of the jets to five other nations, including Romania, Greece and Poland, as European allies bulk up their defenses in the face of a strengthening Russia.
    David Trachtenberg, the deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, told reporters at the briefing that the United States still valued its relationship with Turkey.
    “Our strategic partnership continues, but as I said, this is a specific response to a specific action,” Trachtenberg said.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Additional reporting by Mike Stone, David Alexander and Jonathan Landay in Washington and Ezgi Erkoyun in Istanbul; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)

7/18/2019 U.S. plans different approach in leading G7 in 2020: White House official by Jonas Ekblom
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire stalks with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin before a meeting during the
G7 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Chantilly, near Paris, France, July 18, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration plans to adopt shorter communiques and generally revamp how the Group of Seven rich nations does its work when the United States leads the body in 2020, a White House adviser said.
    Kelly Ann Shaw, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump for international economic affairs, said the White House views multilateral groups like the G7 as “incredibly useful” but believed they had been saddled with too many disparate issues.
    “There’s this expectation that they are going to continue to grow and address more and more problems.    They are not really designed for that,” Shaw told an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.
    Shaw said the Trump administration was looking at what changes could be made during the year that the United States runs the group.
    The G7 groups the seven largest advanced economies in the world – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada.     It is currently led by France, which will host a summit of leaders from the seven countries in August.
    Trump, who is generally skeptical about multilateral organizations, upended the 2018 summit in Canada when he became angry with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left early, and instructed his officials not to endorse a joint communique.
    Shaw, who also serves as deputy director of the National Economic Council, said that the multilateral group needs to be smaller and more nimble: “The G7 and the G20 should be more focused in what they are seeking to address,” Shaw said.
    She rejected the idea that the Trump administration was distancing itself from networks like the G7 and G20, adding her view that these groups functioned well because they did not have large staffs and a permanent secretariat.
(Reporting by Jonas EkblomEditing by Andrea Shalal and Cynthia Osterman)

7/18/2019 Trump says U.S. ship destroyed Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz
USS Boxer (LHD-4) ship sails near a tanker in the Arabian Sea off Oman July 17, 2019. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said the USS Boxer destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday after the aircraft threatened the ship by flying to within 1,000 yards of it.
    He called on other countries to condemn Iran and protect their own ships.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Eric Beech)

7/18/2019 RNC sends message to Democrat lawmakers by OAN Newsroom
Donald Trump turns to a large U.S. flag during a rally in Sterling Heights, Mich. (Paul Sancya/AP Photo)
    The Republican National Committee (RNC) is sending a bold message to dozens of top ranking Democrats, meant as a reminder of how lucky they are to live in the United States.
    The RNC plans on sending around 70 Democrat officials packages containing the American flag, and a copy of the country’s flag code.    This follows a number of protests in recent weeks, where the flag has been burned and desecrated by left-wing activists.
    Earlier this month for instance, Nike recalled a patriotic shoe design meant to celebrate the Fourth of July after a number of Democrats, including multiple presidential candidates, called the shoe racist for having the original Betsy Ross flag on its heel.
    In another Independence Day debacle, a number of anti-American protestors burned the flag outside of the White House ahead of President Trump’s patriotic “Salute to America” event.
    Just last week, a group of protesters in Colorado stormed an ICE facility and replaced the American Flag with the Mexican flag in an apparent protest against ICE’s planned crackdown on illegal immigration.
    19 out of the 20 Democrats who appeared in the first primary debate last month will receive the packages as well as multiple Democrat Party leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democrat National Committee (DNC) chairman Tom Perez. RNC officials say they hope Democrats will respond by recognizing how blessed they are to live in America.

7/18/2019 Exclusive: U.S. Gulf maritime proposal not military coalition against Iran – Pentagon official by Phil Stewart
FILE PHOTO: A damaged Andrea Victory ship is seen off the Port of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Satish Kumar
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is not aiming to set up a military coalition against Iran with its new security initiative in the Gulf, but simply “shining a flashlight” in the region to deter attacks on commercial ships, a top Pentagon official told Reuters.
    Kathryn Wheelbarger, who briefed NATO allies this week on the U.S. proposal, said it was less operational and more geared toward increasing surveillance capabilities.
    “This is not a coalition against Iran … If you were militarily confronting Iran, this is not the construct that you would use,” said Wheelbarger, one of the most senior policy officials at the Pentagon.
    “The goal is to increase maritime domain awareness and surveillance capabilities in the region to dissuade malign action,” she said, offering the most detailed assessment to date of the progress of the plans and discussions with allies.
    “Just shining a flashlight on something – that’s all we’re asking people to do, quite frankly.”
    Washington first proposed some sort of multinational effort open to all allies and partners to bolster maritime security in the Gulf in June after accusing Iran of attacking oil tankers around the Strait of Hormuz, a critical maritime chokepoint between the Gulf and Gulf of Oman.
    Tehran denies the charges.
    The proposal was met with concern in some European capitals, already at odds with Washington over President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Some critics worry the move would ramp up military tensions instead of discouraging attacks.
    Iran came close to conflict with the United States last month after the Islamic Republic’s unprecedented shoot-down of a U.S. drone with a surface-to-air missile nearly triggered retaliatory strikes by Trump.
    Wheelbarger stressed that the new initiative was “not about military confrontation,” however.
    Under a plan detailed on July 9, the United States would provide coordinating ships and lead surveillance efforts while participants in the coalition patrolled nearby waters and escorted commercial vessels with their nation’s flags.
    “We have several countries that are interested and are looking at their naval capacities to see how they sequence and perform that duty,” Wheelbarger said, without naming them.
    The United States would not escort other countries’ ships, she said, and it would be up to participating nations to decide whether an escort was required.    The United States is not asking countries to provide escorts, she said.
    “We want to provide a framework of information sharing, so that if countries want to escort their vessels, we can help them do it,” she said.
    Asked about what kinds of contributions she expected from allies, Wheelbarger suggested that small, quick ships would be helpful.
    “There is a lot of benefit to countries who want to contribute their lower capability patrol vessels or corvette-type ships … They’re just fast and mobile and agile and can get around that little territory,” she said.
    Iran has long threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which almost a fifth of the world’s oil passes, if it cannot export its oil.    The Trump administration is trying to block Iran’s exports as a way to pressure it to renegotiate the nuclear deal.
    The Pentagon said earlier this month that the initiative would also extend to the Bab al-Mandab, another strategic waterway off Yemen.
    Wheelbarger made clear that such a complex multinational effort would take time to organize.
    “This doesn’t happen overnight.    It’s not a case of having a conversation with your allies on Tuesday and having commitments on Wednesday,” she said.    “Some of it is a matter of time of how long it takes to transit vessels.    Some of it is (that) every country has a different process.”
    She declined to speculate on timing, and when asked whether it could take months, said: “Could be.”
    She called her conversations with NATO ambassadors in Brussels on Tuesday “very productive.”
    “I went in very prepared for a very skeptical and aggressive audience.    And that’s really not what we experienced,” she said.
    U.S. officials will speak to the Washington diplomatic corps about the initiative on Friday, the State Department said.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

7/18/2019 Argentina brands Hezbollah terrorist organization, freezes assets by Cassandra Garrison
People hold images of the victims of the 1994 bombing attack on the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) community centre,
marking the 25th anniversary of the attack, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 18, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian
    BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentinian authorities designated Hezbollah, which it blames for two attacks on its soil, a terrorist organization on Thursday and ordered the freezing of the Lebanese Islamist group’s assets in the country.
    The announcement coincided with a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as Argentina marks the 25th anniversary of the deadly bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in which 85 people died.    Argentina blames Iran and Hezbollah for the attack.    Both deny any responsibility.
    Argentina also blames Hezbollah for an attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 that killed 29 people.
    The Argentine government’s Financial Information Unit, ordered the freezing of assets of members of Hezbollah and the organization a day after the country created a new list for people and entities linked to terrorism.    The designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist group was the first by any Latin American country.
    “At present, Hezbollah continues to represent a current threat to security and the integrity of the economic and financial order of the Argentine Republic,” the unit said in a statement.
    There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah on the move.
    Last year, Argentina froze the assets of 14 members of the Barakat Clan, an extended family that officials say has close ties to Hezbollah.
    U.S. and Argentine officials say Hezbollah operates in what is known as the tri-border area of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, where an illicit economy funds its operations elsewhere.
    Argentina’s decision to freeze Hezbollah assets and join the United States in designating it a terrorist group is a significant win for President Donald Trump’s administration as it seeks to increase pressure on Tehran and its proxies.
    The financial impact on Hezbollah will likely be insignificant because it has other sources of funding, said Seth Jones, director of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
    “What the administration is hoping is that even taking little bites out of the apple right now may end up being significant in the long run if they can continue to freeze assets of organizations like Hezbollah in a range of different countries,” Jones said.
    The United States, looking to revive a security relationship that suffered after a souring in diplomatic ties during the previous administration of President Cristina Fernandez, views President Mauricio Macri as a partner, particularly as traditional European allies have been slower to offer support amid U.S. tensions with Iran, said Benjamin Gedan, director of the Wilson Center’s Argentina Project in Washington.
    “Clearly, they are not a good replacement for European allies, because they don’t engage Iran significantly, so they cannot put on the same commercial and economic pressure as the Europeans,” Gedan said of Washington’s allies in Latin America.
    “But at least it gives the impression that the Trump administration is not standing alone,” he said.
    Other U.S. allies that designate Hezbollah or its military wing a terrorist organization include Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the European Union and Israel.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Macri for the designation from Jerusalem.
    “It is time the entire enlightened world understand the grave danger Iran and Hezbollah pose.    It is time the entire world stand up against it,” Netanyahu said.
(Reporting by Cassandra Garrison and Nicolas Misculin; additional reporting by Marina Lammertyn in Buenos Aires and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; Editing by Ross Colvin)

7/18/2019 President Trump says he was ‘not happy’ with N.C. rally chants of ‘send her home’ by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump said he was “not happy” with some of his supporters in North Carolina after they began chanting “send her back” in reference to congresswoman Ilhan Omar.    At the White House Thursday, the president said he did not condone the crowd’s rallying cry and disagreed with the statement.     When asked by reporters why he did not stop the chanting, the president said he believes he spoke up very quickly to stop the calls against Omar.    He also told reporters to ask the people of North Carolina why they began chanting the phrase.
President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremony where Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will present a 48-star flag flown
on a U.S. Naval vessel during the D-Day invasion, in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, July 18, 2019, in Washington.
The flag will be given to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The vessel was control vessel Landing Craft, Control 60 (LCC 60). (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    Meanwhile, conservative activists launched an online effort to support President Trump in his standoff with far-left Democrats.    The new hashtag — #IStandWithPresTrump — emerged on social media Thursday in response to an online campaign in support of Representative Omar.    The hashtag was trending on Twitter, following the North Carolina rally.
    However, left-wing users launched a trolling campaign and posted offensive images under the hashtag.    Despite their efforts, President Trump said his supporters far outnumber far-left-radicals.
    The hashtag –#SendHerBack — also trended on Twitter Thursday in response to anti-American and anti-Semitic comments by the far-left “squad.”
[Trump is doing great at tagging the left as what these four women are as a Democratic Party and all the others will have to show that they are all socialist and Omar will also ensure that all the Jewish in America will vote Republican now for sure.].

7/19/2019 Oil down $1.48 to $55.30 and it has fallen $5 a barrel this week but gas prices have stayed the same,
and the DOW was up 3 to 27,223 and holding steady as the Feds are considering rate cuts

7/19/2019 House approves $15 minimum wage by Lisa Mascaro, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – House Democrats approved legislation Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade, to $15 an hour, but the bill has almost no chance in the Republican- controlled Senate.
    Passage was assured after centrists won concessions for a slower phase-in, over six years instead of five.    They also won assurances the pay hike could be halted midway if a study shows job losses or other adverse effects.
    A hike in the $7.25 hourly wage has been a top Democratic campaign promise, intended to address income inequality that’s driving the 2020 political debate.    Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said raising the wage is the “right thing to do.”
    “America’s workers deserve a raise,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a press conference with labor leaders and employees ahead of voting.    Lifting a young girl into her arms, Pelosi said, “This is what it’s all about. … It’s about family.”
    The legislation, for the first time, would pay tipped workers the same as others earning the minimum, boosting their pay to $15 an hour, too.    It’s now $7.13.
    Republicans in the House balked at the wage hike, which would be the first since Democrats last controlled the majority. It was signed into law by then- President George W. Bush.
    States are already able to raise the wage beyond the federal minimum, and many have done so.
    Just a few Republicans joined most all Democrats in passage, on a 231-199 vote.
    During the floor debate, Rep. Ronald Wright, R-Texas, called it a “disastrous bill.”    Wright said essentially doubling pay would cost jobs and the bill should be renamed the “Raising Unemployment for American Workers Act.”
    While opponents have long said higher minimum wages lead to job losses, economists say new studies are casting doubt on those long-held theories.
    A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office sent mixed messages.    It said more than 30 million workers would see bigger paychecks with a higher wage, lifting more than 1 million workers from poverty.    It also said between 1 million and 3 million jobs could be lost.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., hoists Kassidy Durham, 7, who lives in Durham, N.C., where her mother works for
McDonald’s. House Democrats approved legislation to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP

7/19/2019 FBI: Trump took part in payoff talks - Documents unsealed after hush-money inquiry by Kristine Phillips, Kevin Johnson and Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – A day after the public heard Donald Trump boasting about grabbing women’s genitals in a leaked “Access Hollywood” outtake in 2016, the presidential candidate and some of his top aides began an urgent effort to silence a pornographic actress, according to court records unsealed Thursday.
    The documents, part of the FBI’s investigation of a hush-money scheme, show agents gathered evidence that Trump participated in an effort to pay off Stormy Daniels, the adult-film actress who claimed to have had an extramarital affair with him years earlier.    Authorities laid out a timeline of emails, text messages and phone calls – some involving Trump himself – that “concerned the need to prevent” Daniels from going public with her story.
    Trump denied knowledge of the payments after they became public.    The FBI told a judge it obtained telephone records showing he participated in some of the first conversations about the scheme, which prosecutors said violated federal campaign finance laws.
    Federal prosecutors said in court filings last year that Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, orchestrated payments to Daniels and another woman, Karen McDougal, “in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump.    The documents unsealed Thursday offer an account of the extent of Trump’s involvement in that effort, which came at a particularly sensitive moment weeks before the 2016 presidential election.
    The Justice Department told a judge Monday that it “effectively concluded” its investigation of the payoffs, signaling the end of one of the criminal inquiries that shadowed Trump’s presidency.
    Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow said Wednesday that he’s pleased the investigation is closed and said Trump “never engaged in any campaign finance violation.”
    Cohen called Sekulow’s comments “completely distorted and dishonest.”    He said in a statement Thursday that Trump directed him and members of the Trump Organization to “handle the Stormy Daniels matter.”
    “The conclusion of the investigation exonerating The Trump Organization’s role should be of great concern to the American people and investigated by Congress and The Department of Justice,” Cohen said.
    The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    The documents do not describe the conclusions of the hush-money investigation but offer a window into what FBI agents learned in the first months of their work.    They include copies of applications for search warrants laying out evidence that Cohen had broken the law.     Cohen pleaded guilty to two felony violations of campaign finance laws and a series of other crimes, for which he is serving a three-year prison sentence.
    The timeline of communication began Oct. 8, 2016, the day after The Washington Post published the infamous “Access Hollywood” recording in which Trump talks in vulgar terms about women.    Around this time, Daniels planned to talk to “Good Morning America” and Slate about her alleged relationship with Trump in 2006, the same year that his wife, Melania, gave birth to their son.
    Hope Hicks, spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, called Cohen the evening of Oct. 8, 2016.    Trump joined the call briefly. Hicks, Cohen and Trump continued to talk that night, and Cohen also communicated with David Pecker and Dylan Howard, heads of American Media, which publishes the National Enquirer.
    Howard texted Cohen and Keith Davidson, an attorney for Daniels and McDougal, on Oct. 10, 2016, to connect them regarding “that business opportunity.”    Davidson texted Cohen shortly after, telling him that they needed to “close this deal.”

7/19/2019 Acting DHS Secretary McAleenan: Congressional funding improving border conditions by OAN Newsroom
    Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border are improving thanks to congressional funding.
    In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week, McAleenan said supplemental funding approved by Congress has improved the immediate needs at the border — particularly for children.    He said no other law enforcement agency in the U.S. is doing more to ensure the health and safety of those it encounters than the Customs and Border Protection.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan speaks at a House Committee on Oversight and Reform
hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    During a House hearing Thursday, McAleenan defended the Border Patrol’s effort to address the border crisis:
    “Combined with our 2,300 agents and officers who are trained emergency medical technicians and paramedics, I am confident that no law enforcement agency in the world is providing more critical life saving care or medical support than U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”
    Last month, Congress approved $4.6 billion in supplemental funding despite opposition by the Democrat Party’s progressive wing.
In this Tuesday, July 9, 2019, photo, Baptist Child and Family Services CEO Kevin Dinnin talks about medical equipment at
the U.S. government’s newest holding center for migrant children in Carrizo Springs, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

7/19/2019 GOP seeks President Trump’s approval of bipartisan budget deal by OAN Newsroom
    GOP lawmakers are seeking the executive branch’s approval of a bipartisan budget deal. Senate Republicans are anticipating a signal from President Trump as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are on the brink of a two year deal on federal spending and the national debt.
    Republicans are reportedly anxious about the outcome after the president rejected a Senate passed resolution last year.    Officials believe President Trump has warmed up to the deal, but the decision is still up in the air.
    Secretary Mnuchin said the talks are making progress, but still have a ways to go:
    “I’m directly negotiating with the speaker.    I’m doing that at the direction of the president, he’s taking input from a lot of people.    You know, I think we’re very close to a deal, but as you know these deals are complicated– there’s the top line number.    We want to do a two year deal, there’s typically offsets that have been negotiated as part of these deals that’s been done every single time.    So, I’m very hopeful we can come to an agreement quickly.”
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin answers reporters after the G-7 Finance Thursday,
July 18, 2019 in Chantilly, north of Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
    GOP leaders and the speaker have reportedly agreed to raise the debt ceiling and budget caps to $300 billion for the next two years.    Mnuchin urged the importance of increasing the debt limit to $22 trillion in order to avoid putting the federal credit at risk.    However, Pelosi is reportedly using budget caps as leverage to increase federal spending on leftist priorities, including health care, housing and the environment.
    The House speaker and the White House official are also discussing defense and domestic funding.    Although Mnuchin is overall optimistic about the ongoing talks, GOP members cite Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney as a possible obstacle who’s opposition could influence the president’s decision.

7/19/2019 President Trump: Fake news is crazed over chant by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump claimed the “Fake News Media” is obsessed with covering the “send her back” chant.    He took to Twitter Friday to point out how “crazed” they are over the crowd’s chant from his rally in North Carolina earlier this week.
    The president also said it’s amazing how mainstream media outlets are “calm and accepting” of “the most vile and disgusting statements” by three radical left congresswomen.
    Trump tweet: “....Mainstream Media, which has lost all credibility, has either officially or unofficially become a part of the Radical Left Democrat Party. It is a sick partnership, so pathetic to watch! They even covered a tiny staged crowd as they greeted Foul Mouthed Omar in Minnesota, a...”    “....State which I will win in #2020 because they can’t stand her and her hatred of our Country, and they appreciate all that I have done for them (opening up mining and MUCH more) which has led to the best employment & economic year in Minnesota’s long and beautiful history!
    Meanwhile, a Trump supporter in Virginia has claimed people have become too sensitive.
    “We all say things, sometimes we don’t want them to come out the way they came out.    I don’t think he is a racist person.”
Supporters also said the president can’t be held responsible for what other people choose to say.    President Trump said the mainstream media is now officially part of the radical left party.
President Donald Trump calls to the media as he waits to greet Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as he
arrives at the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

7/19/2019 House Judiciary chairman says there are ‘inconsistencies’ in Hicks testimony by OAN Newsroom
    The House Judiciary Committee is asking former White House aide Hope Hicks to clarify remarks she made during last month’s closed-door testimony.    In a letter Thursday evening, committee chairman Jerry Nadler stated there were “inconsistencies” in the testimony she gave back in June.
    Nadler specifically pointed to claims she was not present for discussions between then-candidate Donald Trump and his former attorney Michael Cohen regarding payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016.    However, a New York federal judge revealed Hicks was involved in a phone call with Cohen and the president.
Former White House communications director Hope Hicks is seen behind closed doors during an interview with the House
Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    After that testimony back in June, One America News spoke with Republican lawmakers who came to the defense of Hicks:
    “When you look at the extent to which the administration is being harassed by every angle of the Congress without legitimate oversight…I think the assertions of privilege are inappropriate.” — Rep. Matt Gaetz (R.-Fla.).
    “Everything that she has been allowed to answer, she has answered.    She’s been a very cooperative witness, she’s a compelling witness because she’s believable and likable.” — Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas)
    The House Judiciary Committee chairman is now asking her to clarify her statements by no later than August 15th.

7/19/2019 Sen. Schumer to lead group of Democrats in tour of migrant centers by OAN Newsroom
    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is leading this weekend’s tour of migrant detention centers along the U.S.-Mexico border.    While speaking from the Senate floor Thursday, Schumer said he will be joined by a group of roughly a dozen other Democrats to “investigate, inspect and evaluate” the conditions of those facilities.
    This comes after Democrats toured centers in Texas earlier this month, where congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came under fire for making several serious allegations without any proof.
    Senator Schumer specifically commented on reports regarding Arizona’s detention centers, citing “inhumane” conditions such as overcrowding and sanitary issues.
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., center, walks to speak to reporters following the weekly
policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    “People have different views on immigration, we know that, but no one should want to see these kids treated so inhumanely — all they’re doing is fleeing for a better life,” stated the Senate minority leader.    “We hope, desperately hope, that the conditions have improved over the last several weeks and we will certainly report to the American people and to the Senate on what we find.”
    Vice President Mike Pence recently paid a visit to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities as well, where he cast doubt on claims made by Democrats.    He specifically targeted CNN by accusing it of cherry-picking certain videos of the centers and not giving the American people the “whole story.”
[Just another Democrat going to the Border and wasting taxpayers money and not solving the Crisis At The Border.].

7/19/2019 President Trump, Bolton say ‘no doubt’ the U.S. shot down Iranian drone by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump recently disputed claims from Iran, saying there is “no doubt” the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian drone. He made the comment at the White House Friday, and confirmed the report with National Security Adviser John Bolton who was present in the Oval Office.
    Bolton said the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer took defensive measures because the Iranian drone posed a threat to the ship and its crew.    The drone reportedly came within a thousand yards of the U.S. vessel, and did not heed warnings to stand down.
In this May 1, 2019, photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) transits the San Diego Bay
in San Diego, Calif. President Donald Trump says the USS Boxer destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz amid
heightened tensions between the two countries. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse Monford/U.S. Navy via AP)
    “We have the greatest people in the world.    We have the greatest equipment in the world.    We have the greatest ships, most deadly ships.    We don’t have to use them, but they’re the most deadly ships ever conceived ..we hope for their sake they don’t do anything foolish.    If they do, they will pay a price like nobody’s ever paid a price.” — President Trump
    This comes after Iranian state TV claimed one of their drones was not shot down by Americans.

7/20/2019 Oil up $0.11 to $55.74, DOW down 67 to 27,156.

Delegation of lawmakers visits Mexico, discusses USMCA with Mexican pres. by OAN Newsroom
    A delegation of house lawmakers visits Mexico in order to better comprehend the country’s commitment to the USMCA.
    The group met with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and others Mexican officials Friday to discuss the new trade deal.
Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer is reportedly leading the delegation, which also includes GOP Representative George Holding and California Congressman Jimmy Gomez.
    Gomez said the group saw a “deep commitment” from Mexico in regard to fulfilling the USMCA.
    “This trip is to get a better understanding of some of the provisions, as well as the commitment of the Mexican government to fulfilling those provisions,” Gomez said.    “We learned a lot and we saw there was a deep, deep commitment to fulfilling the letter and the spirit of the new USMCA.”
    Mexico has already ratified the new trade deal, which is still awaiting approval from Congress as well as Canadian lawmakers.

7/20/2019 Pres. Trump touts strong approval rating as economy remains solid by OAN Newsroom
    The president takes to Twitter to tout his approval rating. In a tweet Saturday, the president celebrated the findings of the most recent Rasmussen poll, which put his approval at 50%.
President Donald Trump waves as he walks from Air Force One upon arrival at Morristown Municipal Airport,
in Morristown, N.J., Friday, July 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    In a follow up he said “you can add 10 or 15% to this number,” and the “economy is doing better than ever before!”
    During this time during former President Obama’s term, his approval fell six points lower to 44%.
    During President Trump’s recent rally in North Carolina, he said the market has re-stabilized since he has been in office.
    “We’re presiding over the strongest economy in the history of our country,” the president said. “Biggest tax cuts we’ve ever gotten, as you know, the tax cut plan was the biggest we’ve ever had, and so many other things.    Our military now is rebuilt.    We’re spending billions of dollars.    They were — I took over a very depleted military, it’s now totally rebuilt, and so many other things.”
    On Friday, the New York Times noted the job market is expanding at a healthy rate, and consumer spending is hitting new highs.

7/21/2019 President Trump Slams Democrat ‘Squad’ by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump takes aim at the so-called ‘squad’ of Democrat congresswomen.
    Trump tweet: “I don’t believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country.    They should apologize to America (and Israel) for the horrible (hateful) things they have said.    They are destroying the Democrat Party, but are weak & insecure people who can never destroy our great Nation!
    In a tweet Sunday, the President said he doesn’t believe ‘the four congresswomen are capable of loving our country.’
    The President said the ‘squad’ should apologize to America and Israel for all the horrible things they have said.
    He added, these lawmakers are destroying the democrat party but can never destroy our great nation.

7/22/2019 Nadler: Trump’s reckoning coming by Hope Yen, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – The House Judiciary Committee chairman said Wednesday’s hearing with Robert Mueller will air “very substantial evidence” of wrongdoing by President Donald Trump and make a public case for impeachment.    Republicans pledged sharp questioning of the special counsel about what they see as a “one-sided” Russia investigation.
    Both sides seemed to agree that Mueller’s testimony could be pivotal in shifting public opinion on “holding the president accountable.”
    “This is a president who has violated the law six ways from Sunday,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. Nadler argued that Mueller’s report lays out “very substantial evidence” that Trump is guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the constitutional standard for impeachment.
    The House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee will question Mueller in separate hearings on his 448-page report released in April. While the report did not find sufficient evidence to establish charges of criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to swing the election, it said Trump could not be cleared of trying to obstruct the investigation.    But Mueller believed Trump couldn’t be indicted in part because of a Justice Department opinion against prosecuting a sitting president.
[The Democrats Nadler and Schiff with no proof or evidence has been brought forward, continue to dream of collusion and obstruction and things could go opposite than what they think as Mueller who was setup by Weissman and 18 angry attorneys in his report will either protect his integrity and hopefully will not cave in to their pressure on him, which I am sure they will attempt to threaten him in some way since they are extremely desperate.].

7/22/2019 Racial issues divide Dems - However, they unite in indignation over Trump by Michael Collins and John Fritze, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – Democratic lawmakers rushed to the defense of four liberal congresswomen of color when President Donald Trump attacked them in a series of tweets.
    The show of unity masked a potential problem closer to home: Democrats themselves are dealing with internal divisions over how to talk about race and racism heading into next year’s elections, party leaders and operatives acknowledged. Former Vice President Joe Biden, “We need to have a serious adult conversation about race in this country. ... We have to recognize that Donald Trump is probably never going to be part of that constructive conversation.”    Isaac Wright, Democratic strategist the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, is under fire for his decades-old opposition to school busing.    Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, faces thorny questions about racial tensions in his hometown after a white police officer shot and killed a black man in June.    And the question of slavery reparations has emerged as a litmus test for the field.
    African American voters are a crucial constituency for the Democratic Party.    The huge share of African American voters in early primary states – especially South Carolina but also Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas – means Democratic presidential candidates must connect with black communities or pack it up after New Hampshire.
    Less than a year out from the Iowa caucuses, party operatives acknowledged they have work to do to energize black voters in 2020 – something they failed to do in 2016.    Though Trump’s attack on the four Democratic congresswomen united the party, other racial issues could test that harmony.
    Weeks before Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination in 2016, thenfirst lady Michelle Obama tested what became a mantra for how Democrats should respond to Trump: “When they go low, we go high.”    Nearly three years on, the party is wrestling with whether that approach works when Trump puts issues such as race center-stage.
    “We need to have a serious adult conversation about race in this country,” said Isaac Wright, a Democratic strategist who led fact-checkers for the pro-Clinton group Correct the Record during the 2016 election.    “At the same time, we have to recognize that Donald Trump is probably never going to be part of that constructive conversation.”
Democrats vs. Trump
    Democrats face challenges presenting a unified message to African Americans, but they stressed there is a vast difference between Trump stoking racial tensions with a tweet and a party wrestling with how to address inequality, discrimination and slavery’s legacy.
    “He’s dividing people based on race, ethnicity and religion,” Biden told supporters during a fundraiser in California.    “He’s appealing to prejudice.    His entire design is to actually divide the country in order to gain power.”
    Trump triggered an uproar July 14 with a series of tweets suggesting that four liberal congresswomen known as the “Squad” should “go back” where they came from. Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan are outspoken critics of Trump, and they are U.S. citizens.
    The president’s repeated attacks on the four Democratic congresswomen drew on a familiar playbook in which he uses incendiary rhetoric to fire up supporters.    The president doubled down on his attacks throughout the week.
    “I don’t know if it’s good or bad politically.    I don’t care.    I don’t care about politics,” Trump said Friday.    “These women have said horrible things about our country and the people of our country.”
    “The unintended consequences of Trump’s actions is that he has galvanized a lot of Democrats and a lot of the broader progressive movement against his vile statements about elected representatives of this country,” Wright said.
    While denouncing Trump’s rhetoric, Democrats must have their own dialogue about race, Wright said.
‘Blind spot’ for Democrats
    Those conversations already have begun, Wright said, citing last month’s Democratic presidential debate that included a sharp exchange between California Sen. Kamala Harris and Biden over his opposition to mandatory school busing.
    Though much of the Democratic field has gotten behind an effort to at least study reparations for slavery, Biden aides told Vice News last month that the former vice president isn’t endorsing any specific proposal.
    Several candidates, including Buttigieg, Harris and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, unveiled platforms focused on addressing racial inequality.
    “Donald Trump has forced Democrats to have a really important conversation about racial inequality and racism in this country,” said Cornell Belcher, a veteran Democratic strategist and pollster who worked for President Barack Obama’s campaign.    “Republicans have historically understood the power of race in politics. … Progressives have had a blind spot with it.”
    Belcher said some Democrats erred by treating Trump’s outbursts at the congresswomen or his reliance on racially tinged rhetoric as a distraction.
    “Democrats need to give an alternative vision for the angst and racial divisions in this country,” Belcher said.    “It’s not a secondary issue.”
‘Giving voters a reason’
    Bakari Sellers, a Democratic strategist and former South Carolina state lawmaker, said the party will need to find a cogent message to ensure black voters turn out to the polls in November 2020. Millions of African Americans who twice supported Obama’s election stayed home in 2016.    The lack of enthusiasm among black voters – who vote overwhelmingly Democratic – cost Clinton crucial support.
    “There are voters who will see Trump versus a D and choose the couch instead,” Sellers said.    “So we have to be ... certain that we’re giving voters a reason to come out and vote.”
    Other Democratic operatives suggested policy disputes are unlikely to hurt the party at the polls when Republicans embrace a president who’s been repeatedly accused of racism.
    “While Democrats may be having discussions about reparations and busing, there’s no contest on the commitment all Dems have on overall civil rights, on the importance of diversity and inclusion and a rigorous commitment to tolerance, decency, humanity and civility,” said Maria Cardona, who was a senior adviser to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
    “On these issues,” she said, “it is game over for Republicans as long as Trump is in office.”
    Michelle Obama weighed in briefly to offer another message of inclusion and unity.    “What truly makes our country great is its diversity,” she tweeted Friday.    “I’ve seen that beauty in so many ways over the years.    Whether we are born here or seek refuge here, there’s a place for us all.    We must remember it’s not my America or your America.    It’s our America.”
Contributing: Sarah Elbeshbishi, Jason Lalljee and Christal Hayes
Democrats have been protective of, from left, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar,
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP

7/22/2019 Puerto Rico governor refuses to resign as island braces for big protest by Andrew Hay
Demonstrators protest for the resignation of Puerto Rico's governor Ricardo Rossello
in San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 21, 2019. REUTERS/Gabriella N. Baez
    (Reuters) – Puerto Rico’s governor on Sunday said he would not seek re-election next year but refused to resign as the island braced for more protests by demonstrators demanding he step down over leaked chat messages.
    A day before a planned general strike and street demonstrations in the bankrupt U.S. territory, Ricardo Rossello, 40, said he respected the wishes of Puerto Ricans and would not seek a second term in November 2020 elections.
    He also said he would resign as head of the New Progressive Party (PNP) but would remain as governor until the end of his term in January, 2021.
    “I know that apologizing is not enough,” Rossello said in a video posted on Facebook.    “A significant sector of the population has been protesting for days. I’m aware of the dissatisfaction and discomfort they feel.    Only my work will help restore the trust of these sectors and lead the way to real reconciliation.”
    His comments drew outrage from the many Puerto Ricans, with videos on social media showing San Juan residents leaning out of apartment windows banging pots and pans in a third day of so-called “cacerolazo” protests.
    The July 13 publication of offensive chat messages between Rossello and top aides has unleashed simmering resentment over his handling of devastating 2017 hurricanes, alleged corruption in his administration and the island’s bankruptcy process.
    “‘#Resign Ricky isn’t just a call for him to resign from the party, but from his seat as the top official,” tweeted Linda Michelle, an industrial engineer and Puerto Rico radio personality.    “Whoever wasn’t sure about going to the march tomorrow has now made up their mind to go.”
    Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative to the U.S. Congress, as well as Democratic presidential candidates and lawmakers have called for the governor to step aside after nine days of sometimes violent protests.
Once again: Rosselló must resign,” tweeted U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in response to his video.
    But Puerto Rico’s Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz, a member of the pro-statehood PNP, said Rossello’s actions “put an end to part of the controversies and trauma hitting our people” and his ruling party now had to rebuild confidence in their leadership.
    In the online chats revealed by Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism, the center-right governor and his top allies referred to politicians, celebrities and ordinary Puerto Ricans in misogynistic, homophobic and offensive terms.
    The speaker of Puerto Rico’s house of representatives appointed an independent panel on Friday to investigate whether the chats warranted impeachment and gave it 10 days to deliver a report.
    “I have to respect the constitutional order and welcome the process started by the legislative assembly,” Rossello said in the video.
    The latest unrest comes at a critical stage in the U.S. territory’s bankruptcy process as it tries to restructure around $120 billion in debt and pension obligations.
    It has also raised concerns among U.S. lawmakers who are weighing the island’s requests for billions of federal dollars for healthcare and work to recover from Hurricane Maria, which led to nearly 3,000 deaths.
(Reporting by Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Additional reporting by Luis Valentin Ortiz in San Juan and Karen Pierog in Chicago; Editing by Peter Cooney, Dan Grebler and Daniel Wallis)
[President Trump told everyone in the past what a slime ball he was and now everyone and the Puerto Rico realizes it and the Democrats were all over promoting him as an attack on Trump instead of checking out the facts and pushing that on the "Fake News".].

    Unemployment lowest in 50 years 3.1%.
    Hourly earnings growth has risen to 5%.
    Income growth is at 4.3%.
    First quarter 2019 economic growth is 3.1%.
    DOW is up 50% in 27,500 range.
    The average401K Employer Contribution hit a record hight $1,780.
    Due to Tax Cuts increase in Capital Investment is at plus 8.7% among S&P companies and when signed into law jumped to 21.0% due to de-regulation and investments caused a net change of 300 new manufacturing jobs in Ammerica.
    His tarrifs are bring jobs back from China, whose economy dropped to 6.8%, and wiil help us with Trade issues now.
    ISIS Caliphate Crumbles as Last village in Syria falls.
    Trump boosted our military, and targeted China.
    Trump influence NATO countries to pay their share or the U.S. would withdraw from the alliance.
    Supreme Court chips away at federal agency power.
    U.S. to become a net energy exporter in 2020 for firsst time in nearly 70 years, Energy Dept. says.
    Prescription drug prices are falling for the first time in 47 years.
    Trump signs bipartisan criminal justice overhaul First Step Act into law.
    Trump signs executive order protecting free speech on college campuses, which has become a haven for leftist bullies from denying first amendment rights to conservatives.
    Be thankful as Trump ignored the usual political system and is getting things done for the American people and had to fight in his own administration to achieve this, as well as the left and judicical system, and attacked from a fake witch hunt and the "fake news" did not report any of the information above and he is not done, and will hopefully get four more years to achieve more.

7/22/2019 Leaked documents show Huawei secretly worked with China, North Korea for at least 8 years by OAN Newsroom
    Recently leaked documents are raising new concerns surrounding Chinese tech giant Huawei.    On Monday, leaked internal documents obtained by the Washington Post revealed Huawei worked with a Chinese-state owned tech firm for at least eight years on a variety of projects centered in North Korea.    One of those projects included the development and maintaining of the country’s first commercial 3G wireless network.
    The detailed spread sheet was shared by a former Huawei employee, who claimed the information is of public interest.    However, the person’s identity has not been released out of fear of retaliation.
    If the reports are true it would bring up a new conflict between the U.S. and China as such a move would raise questions of whether Huawei, which has used U.S. technology in its components, violated American export controls to send equipment to North Korea.
People walk past a Huawei retail store in Beijing, Sunday, June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
    The documents appear to confirm what U.S. officials have long feared — that Huawei is a national security risk.
    “…you’ve seen…our effort to ensure that the networks in which American information flows are trusted, that we understand where that information is going, who’s the end user, and wanting to make sure the information doesn’t end up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.” — Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State
    This latest development comes after the Trump administration agreed in June to lift some sanctions on the company, allowing U.S. companies to sell certain products to the the Chinese tech giant.
    According to the Washington Post, Huawei has not directly responded to the report, but a spokesperson said the company does not have business in North Korea.

7/22/2019 Conservative columnists call for Democrat accountability regarding Kavanaugh antics by OAN Newsroom
    A pair of conservative columnists say Democrats have still not been held accountable for their antics during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.
    In a recent radio interview with Breitbart, senior editor for The Federalist — Mollie Hemingway — put Democrat senators on blast for “willfully abandoning” Senate procedures to attack Kavanaugh.    She singled out Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Corey Booker, saying they unfairly lobbed unsubstantiated accusations at the now Supreme Court justice and were never penalized for it.
    Hemingway said not punishing politicians for slander during the confirmation hearing has allowed lasting damage to be done to Kavanaugh’s reputation:
    “Damaging someone’s reputation is a real harm.    We think of crime as being about actual acts of physical violence, but damage to a reputation causes real harm and it needs to be taken seriously, so that these things don’t happen again.    Part of it is just about people being aware of what the left does with confirmation battles, but there also needs to be accountability.”
Brett Kavanaugh, listens to a question during the third round of questioning on the third day of his Senate Judiciary
Committee confirmation hearing, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
    In a separate interview, her counterpart and chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network — Carrie Sevarino — doubled down on that stance.    She said Democrats willingly peddled misinformation and false allegations to obstruct Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
    Hemingway and Sevarino said the conduct of Democrats during the hearing is another example of how the party has fallen prey to the “politics of personal destruction.”    The duo are currently on tour promoting their book “Justice on Trial,” which chronicles Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation process.

7/22/2019 President Trump meets with Pakistani prime minister at White House by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump said there is tremendous potential between the U.S. and Pakistan, while meeting with the country’s prime minister — Imran Khan — at the White House Monday.
    The president offered to help mediate the long-running dispute between Pakistan and India in the Kashmir region.    He also said Pakistan will help the U.S. “extricate” itself out of the war in Afghanistan, but emphasized that he could end the conflict quickly if not for the potential loss of life.
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan during a meeting in the
Oval Office of the White House, Monday, July 22, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    “I think Pakistan’s gonna help us out to extricate ourselves — we are like policemen, we’re not fighting a war.    If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it — I could win that war in a week, I just don’t want to kill 10 million people, does that makes sense to you?” — President Trump
    The president also noted he expects the U.S. to start having very significant trade with Pakistan soon.

7/22/2019 Pompeo discusses efforts to combat migrant crisis with Mexico, El Salvador officials by OAN Newsroom
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently praised Mexico over its efforts to combat the Central American migrant crisis.    Sunday’s meeting marked the halfway point for a the 90 day agreement signed last month for Mexico to slow the flow of illegal migration towards the U.S. southern border.
    Following the meeting, Pompeo applauded Mexico for taking visible efforts to uphold the deal.    However, he pointed out the job is far from over.
    “They’ve made real progress…importantly, they’ve made a real commitment towards that progress…the numbers are good…there are fewer apprehensions taking place today along our southern border, but we’ve got a long way to go yet,” said the U.S. secretary of state.
    According to the agreement, if the U.S. decides that Mexico has not done enough to tackle the issue then they would start discussing a policy requiring most asylum seekers to apply for refuge in Mexico instead of the U.S.
    Last month, the Department of Homeland Security recorded a nearly 30-percent decrease in border apprehensions compared to figures in May.    Many experts partially attribute this drop to Mexico’s policies since ratifying the agreement.
    Particularly, Mexico has sent over 20,000 members of its National Guard to its northern and southern borders to crackdown on the flow of illegal migration.    However, Mexican officials have still expressed concern over the Trump administration’s ‘Safe Third Country’ policy, calling the move unnecessary considering the recent drop in illegal migration.
Nonetheless, Pompeo remained optimistic toward Mexico’s extensive efforts in the past month to cooperate with the United States.
    “For the next set of actions, I’ll talk with the president and the teams back in Washington and we’ll decide exactly which tools and exactly how to proceed, so that we can get to the shared mutual goal between President Obrador and President Trump which is reducing the illegal migrant flow across our southern border,” he explained.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, shakes hands with El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele at the Presidential House in San Salvador,
El Salvador, Sunday, July 21, 2019. Pompeo ends his Latin American tour in this Central American country. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)
    After his meeting in Mexico, Pompeo flew to El Salvador to discuss its diplomatic ties.    During the talks, the two sides reportedly discussed ways to combat the growing gang violence in El Salvador, which has partially caused mass amounts of people to flee the country toward the U.S. border.
    “We talk about fighting crimes together.    We talk about fighting to get the gangs together.    We talk about interdicting narcotics together.    We talk about reducing immigration together.    So I think this was a this was a very, very important meeting.    I think it’s a, it’s a game changer.” — Nayib Bukelenayib Bukele, President – El Salvador
    The majority of Central American migrants come from troubled countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

7/22/2019 Republicans plan measured approach ahead of Robert Mueller questioning by OAN Newsroom
    House Republicans are planning to take a measured approach when they get the chance to question former special counsel Robert Mueller.     According to reports, many GOP members on the House Judiciary Committee and Intelligence Committee are looking to be less combative as seen in past hearings.
    Instead, some congressmen plan on asking questions which reinforce the fact that Mueller did not bring charges against President Trump or any new indictments against members of his 2016 campaign.    They also plan to ask him about the use of the Steele dossier to gain FISA warrants, the Strzok-Page bias scandal, and when he found out there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
FILE – In this May 29, 2019, file photo, Robert Mueller speaks at the Department of Justice in Washington,
about the Russia investigation. House Republicans are pledging tough questioning of special counsel Robert Mueller
when he testifies before Congress this week. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
    “The indictment alleges that they use sophisticated cyber techniques to hack into computers and networks used by the Clinton campaign.    They stole private information and then released that information through fake online identities and through the organization WikiLeaks.    The releases were designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate.” — Robert Mueller, former special counsel.
    Meanwhile, Mueller’s hearing will be a make-or-break moment for Democrats, who have struggled to gain the upper hand on the Russia narrative as many of their investigations regarding the Mueller report have gone nowhere.

7/22/2019 Kushner set to push White House economic peace proposal in Middle East by OAN Newsroom
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens as he attends a working breakfast with President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is set to travel to the Middle East in an effort to push the administration’s peace plan.
    Sunday’s announcement comes as the Trump administration focuses on the economic component of that proposal.
    The White House is attempting to promote a $50 billion support plan to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table.
    However, Palestinian leaders rejected that deal after claiming it ignored their political demands.
    The plan was first introduced at a Bahrain conference last month, and asked Middle East allies to invest heavily in the West Bank and Gaza.
    Kushner hopes to continue that push during his next trip at the end of the month.

7/22/2019 Pompeo declines to say if U.S. would extend waivers for Iran’s trading partners by OAN Newsroom
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to provide a deadline to revoke the remaining waivers for Iran’s trading partners.
    During a press conference in El Salvador Sunday, Pompeo refused to say whether the State Department has renewed its 90 day waiver related to Iran’s nuclear program.    The waiver allows countries to conduct business with Iran without facing secondary sanctions by the U.S.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends a counterterrorism conference at the Palacio San Martin
in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, July 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, Pool)
    Pompeo said his department will announce its decision when the waiver expires later this week.
    “I appreciate the question on waivers with respect to Iran, I never get it out in front of sanctions or sanctions decisions before we’re prepared to make the announcement,” he stated.    “We’re just a few days away from that 90 day time limit, I’m confident on day 90 you’ll know the answer.”
    Pompeo also reiterated support for interim Venezuelan President Juan Guaido and praised El Salvador’s efforts to curb mass migration into the U.S.

7/22/2019 EU countries agree to new migrant influx mechanism: Macron by Marine Pennetier
French President Emmanuel Macron looks on during a joint statement with French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian,
International Organization for Migration Director-General Antonio Vitorino, French Interior Minister
Christophe Castaner, European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos and UN High Commissioner
for Refugees Filippo Grandi at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
    PARIS (Reuters) – Fourteen member countries of the European Union have agreed to a new “solidarity mechanism” proposed by Germany and France to allocate migrants across the bloc, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday.
    Foreign affairs and Interior ministers of the EU had earlier gathered in Paris to discuss immigration and security issues following a first gathering in Finland last week.
    “The conclusion of this morning’s meeting is that, in principle, 14 member states, at this stage, have expressed their agreement with the Franco-German document,” Macron told journalists.
    Macron did not spell out specifics but said the new initiative would be “quick” and “automatic.”
    A source close to the French presidency told Reuters that in addition to France and Germany, Finland, Luxemburg, Portugal, Lithuania, Croatia and Ireland had also signaled a clear intention to move forward with a new system.
    Italy’s Interior minister Matteo Salvini, whose country is at the forefront of the migrant influx in Europe, did not take part in the meeting, however.
    In a letter to his French counterpart Christophe Castaner, Salvini warned of the effect of decisions “solely taken in Paris and Berlin.”
    Italy took in almost all of the migrants rescued by humanitarian groups at sea until a populist coalition government took office in 2018 and immediately sought to close the nation’s ports to the charity ships.
    According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at least 426 people have died during attempts to reach Europe in the Mediterranean sea so far this year.
    Macron also said France had asked the Libyan government to ensure migrants would no longer be placed in custody in the country and that appropriate measures would be taken to ensure their safety.
(Reporting by Marine Pennetier; Writing by Matthias Blamont, William Maclean)

7/23/2019 Oil up $0.46 to $56.09, DOW up 18 to 27,172.

7/23/2019 Young mayor announces challenge to longtime congressman Neal
    HOLYOKE, Mass. – A Massachusetts mayor has announced a Democratic primary challenge to the longest-serving member of the state’s congressional delegation and one of the most powerful members of the House.    Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, 30, on Monday said he is running against U.S. Rep. Richard Neal because Neal has been “absent, unaccountable and unavailable” and “largely silent on the issues that matter most.”    The 70-year-old Neal is a 30-year incumbent and chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
[This is because he has developed a “GET TRUMP ANY WAY YOU CAN DISEASE” and has become obsessed to get Trump and all his peoples’ tax records and the obsession has made him useless as a junkie needing heroin.].

7/23/2019 Widespread blackout hits Venezuela, government blames ‘electromagnetic attack’
A general view is seen during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
    CARACAS (Reuters) – More than half of Venezuela’s 23 states lost power on Monday, according to Reuters witnesses and reports on social media, a blackout the government blamed on an “electromagnetic attack.”
    It was the first blackout to include the capital, Caracas, since March, when the government blamed the opposition and United States for a series of power outages that left millions of people without running water and telecommunications.
    The blackouts exacerbated an economic crisis that has halved the size of the economy.
    Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the outage on Monday was caused by an “electromagnetic attack,” without providing evidence.    He added that authorities were in the process of re-establishing service.
    Power returned for about 10 minutes to parts of southeastern Bolivar state, site of the Guri hydroelectric dam – the source of most of Venezuela’s generation – but went out again, according to a Reuters witness.    Electricity was still out throughout Caracas.
    “It terrifies me to think we are facing a national blackout again,” said Maria Luisa Rivero, a 45-year-old business owner from the city of Valencia, in the central state of Carabobo.
    “The first thing I did was run to freeze my food so that it does not go bad like it did like the last time in March.    It costs a lot to buy food just to lose it,” she said.
    The oil-rich country’s hyperinflationary economic crisis has led to widespread shortages in food and medicine, prompting over 4 million Venezuelans to leave the country.
    Venezuela’s national power grid has fallen into disrepair after years of inadequate investment and maintenance, according to the opposition and power experts.
    “These blackouts are catastrophic,” said 51-year-old janitor Bernardina Guerra, who lives in Caracas.    “I live in the eastern part of the city and there the lights go out every day.    Each day things are worse.”
(Reporting by Tibisay Romero in Valencia, Deisy Buitrago in Caracas, and Maria Ramirez in Puerto Ordaz ; Writing by Angus Berwick and Sarah Kinosian; Editing by G Crosse and Peter Cooney)

7/23/2019 Boris Johnson is expected to be named Britain’s next PM by Kylie MacLellan and Elizabeth Piper
Boris Johnson, a leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Party, leaves his office
in London, Britain July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
    LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson is expected to be elected leader of Britain’s governing Conservative Party and the next prime minister on Tuesday, tasked with following through on his “do or die” pledge to deliver Brexit in just over three months time.
    Johnson and his rival, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, have spent the last month crossing the country seeking to win over the fewer than 200,000 Conservative Party members who will choose Britain’s new leader.
    The winner will be announced at about 1045 GMT at an event near parliament and will formally take over as prime minister on Wednesday afternoon, succeeding Theresa May, who stepped down over her failure to get parliament to ratify her Brexit deal.
    Johnson, a former London mayor who resigned as foreign minister a year ago over May’s Brexit plans, is the clear favorite to replace her, with several polls putting him on around 70 percent.
    “It’s all to play for,” Johnson told reporters as he arrived at his office in Westminster.
    He will inherit a political crisis over Britain’s exit from the European Union, due to take place on Oct. 31.    Johnson must persuade the EU to revive talks on a withdrawal deal that it has been adamant cannot be reopened, or else lead Britain into the economic uncertainty of an unmanaged departure.
    The only divorce deal on the table has been rejected three times by parliament and many lawmakers – including pro-EU rebels in the Conservative Party – are vowing to block Johnson from trying to take Britain out of the EU without a deal.
    He has said he would ramp up preparations for a no-deal to try to force the EU’s negotiators to make changes to the accord.
    “We will of course be pushing our plan into action, and getting ready to come out on October 31st, come what may … do or die,” Johnson told TalkRadio last month.
    Sterling fell for the third straight day, partly due to concern that the new prime minister will back a no-deal Brexit.
    Whoever wins faces the same parliamentary problems that brought down May.
    The Conservatives only govern with the support of 10 lawmakers from the Brexit-backing Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland.     Even with their backing, the working majority can be counted on one hand.
    While some Conservative lawmakers will demand the new leader ensures an EU exit by Oct. 31, a group Johnson has wooed to enhance his leadership prospects, others have hinted that they would be prepared to bring down the government to stop a no-deal Brexit.
    The new prime minister will also be acutely aware of the electoral threat posed by Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which won the most votes and seats in May’s European Parliament elections, while there has been a surge in support for the pro-EU Liberal Democrats.
    Johnson is not likely to start announcing key ministerial appointments until Wednesday, but his expected victory in the leadership contest is likely to prompt several resignations in his bitterly-divided party.
    Two junior ministers have quit over Johnson’s willingness to leave the EU without transition arrangements and finance minister Philip Hammond and justice minister David Gauke have both said they plan to resign before they are sacked.
    Brexit without a divorce deal – as anti-EU hardliners would like – would abruptly wrench the world’s fifth largest economy away from the bloc.    Critics say this would undermine global growth, buffet financial markets and weaken London’s position as the pre-eminent international financial center.
    “I want him to succeed, I want him to do what he says he wants to do which is leave the European Union with a deal,” Gauke told BBC radio, warning that a no-confidence vote in Johnson could result in a government headed by Jeremy Corbyn, the veteran socialist leader of the opposition Labour Party.
    “People have to be wary about that,” Gauke said.
(Additional reporting by Costas Pitas; Writing by Michael Holden; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

7/23/2019 Rep. Nadler slams DOJ over directive on Mueller’s House testimony by OAN Newsroom
    House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler is taking aim at the Department of Justice for instructing former special counsel Robert Mueller to adhere to the bounds of his public report in his upcoming testimony.
    During an interview Tuesday, the Democrat accused the agency of engaging in an ongoing cover-up in issuing the directive.    However, he said “it’s not going to have a real impact.”
    Nadler also claimed Mueller doesn’t have to comply with the directive and the agencies request is beyond it’s authority.    However, he acknowledged Mueller does not plan to go beyond the bounds of what’s in the report.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) gestures during questioning on Capitol Hill
in Washington, DC, on February 8, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    “I don’t think it’s much of an impediment simply because Bob Mueller had indicated repeatedly that he was going to do exactly that,” he stated.    “I think it’s incredibly arrogant of the department to try to instruct him as to what to say.”
    The committee chairman also noted Democrats have been working under the assumption Mueller will stay more or less within the boundaries of his report.    The former special counsel is slated to appear before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committee’s Wednesday.

7/23/2019 FBI Director Wray testifies to Senate panel as lawmakers prepare to grill Mueller by OAN Newsroom
    FBI Director Christopher Wray appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee just one day before two separate House committees are set to press former special counsel Robert Mueller.
    On Tuesday, Wray’s testimony started with prepared remarks about the personal loss he feels at each time a law enforcement officer dies in the line of duty.
    The FBI director also addressed concerns from senators, including the growing threat of China.    Wray said Beijing is the most severe counterintelligence threat to the U.S., noting that the country is tied to more than a thousand open investigations into intellectual property theft. He assured the issue was a top priority:
    “So, it is a threat that is deep and diverse and wide and vexing, whether it’s in terms of the kinds of actors that are used, the kinds of techniques used, the kinds of targets that are used.    And so, we are working extremely hard with all of our partners to combat it, but make no mistake — this is a high high priority for all of us.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Senators also pressed the FBI director on how the agency is addressing hate crimes. Wray said they are taking domestic terrorism seriously, and the FBI is working closely with state and local partners to aggressively pursue the threat.

7/23/2019 Trump Jr. raises $2.5M in Calif. for reelection campaign by OAN Newsroom
    The president’s eldest son recently saw a successful round of fundraising in California.    According to Monday reports, Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle raised $2.5 million over a 48-hour period last week.    The money will likely go toward Trump Victory, which is one of the main fundraising vehicles for the president’s re-election campaign.
    Until this point, the exact locations for the fundraising events had been kept under wraps.
    “Some ugly things have happened recently to the Trump family, and I think they’d like to avoid that,” said John Dennis, San Francisco Republicans chairman.
    Around 200 donors reportedly attended exclusive fundraisers held in major cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Palo Alto.    Guests included a part owner of the San Francisco Giants, the former chairman of the Fine Art Museum of San Francisco, and the founder of American technology company Oculus VR.
    “We support Donald Trump, we want him to be elected again.” stated Joan Leone, President of Republican Women of San Francisco.
President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he walks on the tarmac to board Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport,
in Morristown, N.J., on his way returning back to the White House Sunday, July 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    The fundraisers took place while the president held his own money-raising event in New Jersey on Friday. The three authorized Trump fundraising entities – Trump for President, Trump Victory and The Trump Make America Great Again Committee — have a combined $80.2 million in cash on hand.

7/23/2019 Boris Johnson becomes U.K. prime minister by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump congratulated Boris Johnson on becoming Britain’s new prime minister.    In a recent tweet, the president praised Johnson’s Tory leadership victory saying “he will be great.”
    Trump tweet: “Congratulations to Boris Johnson on becoming the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.    He will be great!
    The final ballot tally was announced early Tuesday, with Johnson taking over 60-percent of the vote to become the new leader of the Conservative Party.
    In his victory speech, Britain’s new prime minister paid tribute to his opponent Jeremy Hunt and called for unity in the party to deliver Brexit.
    “Like some slumbering giant, we are going to rise and ping off the guy-ropes of self-doubt and negativity with better education, better infrastructure, more police, fantastic full-fibre broadband sprouting in every household," he stated.    “We are going to unite this amazing country and we are going to take it forward.”
Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks after being announced as the new leader of the Conservative Party in London,
Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Brexit champion Boris Johnson won the contest to lead Britain’s governing Conservative Party
on Tuesday, and will become the country’s next prime minister. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
    It’s now up to Theresa May to make her resignation official at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.    Appointments to the new prime minister’s cabinet and ministerial team are expected to continue through the rest of the week.
    Thresa May: “Many congratulations to @BorisJohnson on being elected leader of @Conservatives - we now need to work together to deliver a Brexit that works for the whole UK and to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of government.    You will have my full support from the back benches.”
Jeremy Hunt, second left, congratulates Boris Johnson after the announcement of the result in the ballot for
the new Conservative party leader, in London, Tuesday, July 23, 2019. (Stefan Rousseau/Pool photo via AP)

7/23/2019 Venezuela experiences massive blackout by OAN Newsroom
    Venezuela was hit with a massive blackout this week, leaving many parts of the South American nation without power.
    Over a dozen states were reportedly effected by the power outage Monday, which is also said to have hit 94-percent of the country’s telecommunications infrastructure.
    According to a statement by the Venezuelan government, power has been restored to Caracas and four states have seen a partial return of power.    Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro is blaming the blackout on an alleged “electromagnetic attack.”
People walk on a street during a blackout in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, July 22, 2019. The lights went out across
much of Venezuela Monday, reviving fears of the blackouts that plunged the country into chaos a few months ago as
the government once again accused opponents of sabotaging the nation’s hydroelectric power system. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
    Opposition leader Juan Guaido is calling the blackout a “humanitarian catastrophe,” and has attributed Venezuela’s economic crisis for the disrepair of the power grid.

7/23/2019 Kudlow defends bipartisan budget deal by OAN Newsroom
    White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow recently defended the two year budget deal struck between the administration and Congress.    He refuted conservative concerns that the budget agreement will cause the federal deficit to balloon, saying it only includes “very modest” spending increases.
    The deal increases federal spending caps by $320 billion with $77 billion in spending cuts.    Kudlow said President Trump will focus more on cutting the deficit if he wins a second term.
    The Director of the National Economic Council then touted the bipartisanship of the agreement, which was announced by the president on Monday:
    “I think it’s a deal that will get through. I think people are signing on — Democrats and Republicans.    It isn’t everything we hoped for, but it got through the debt ceiling.    That’s so important.”
White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks with reporters, Tuesday, July 23, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came to the agreement, following weeks of negotiations on Monday.
    The deal suspends the debt ceiling through July 31, 2021 and increases both defense and non-defense spending.    Hardline fiscal conservatives have criticized the deal for increasing the deficit.

7/23/2019 ‘Guatemala has not been good’: Trump threatens tariffs, fees on migrant cash
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan in
the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
    WASHINGTON/GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said he is considering a “ban,” tariffs and remittance fees after Guatemala decided not to ink a safe third country agreement that would have required the poor Central American country to take in more asylum seekers.
    “Guatemala … has decided to break the deal they had with us on signing a necessary Safe Third Agreement.    We were ready to go,” Trump tweeted.
    “Now we are looking at the ‘BAN,’ Tariffs, Remittance Fees, or all of the above. Guatemala has not been good,” Trump wrote.
    In response, Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales blamed the country’s top court and political opponents for undermining his close ties to the United States.
    Morales was due to sign a deal with Trump last week that would have made the country act as an asylum buffer zone to reduce immigration to the United States.
    Instead he canceled the planned summit with Trump at the White House after the country’s Constitutional Court ruled he could not ink such an agreement without prior approval from Congress, which is on a summer recess.
    Migrant remittances accounted for 11% of Guatemalan GDP in 2017, according to the IMF, a total of $8.2 billion.    The United States is Guatemala’s main trading partner, with bilateral trade of some $4.7 billion through May this year, Central Bank data shows.
    “The Constitutional Court, without any understanding and without the right to interfere in foreign relations, wrongly took a stance against the national interest,” Morales said in a statement posted on Facebook.
    In the past the Morales government has clashed with the court, which it considers aligned with the opposition.    The case against the third safe country deal was brought by several former foreign ministers, the country’s rights ombudsman and a former presidential candidate.
    Morales called the politicians “petty” and said they were attacking the country’s governability.
    The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Trump has made restricting immigration a cornerstone of his presidency and re-election campaign.    He has pushed Guatemala, Mexico and other countries in the region to act as buffer zones and take in asylum seekers who would otherwise go to the United States.
(Reporting by Makini Brice and Susan Heavey in Washington; Sofia Menchu in Guatemala City; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

7/23/2019 Canada launches contest to build new fighter jet; first delivery in 2025
FILE PHOTO: A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt/File Photo
    OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada launched a long-delayed competition to build new fighter jets on Tuesday, and said it was confident no favoritism had been shown toward any one contender, though some in the industry have said the race is tilted towards Lockheed Martin Corp.
    Ottawa wants 88 new planes in a contract worth between C$15 billion ($11.4 billion) and C$19 billion ($14.5 billion). Initial proposals are due in the spring of 2020, with a winner named early in 2022, and the first aircraft delivery to be scheduled for as early as 2025, a statement from the federal government said.
    this month, sources told Reuters that Airbus SE and Boeing Co might pull out over fears the air force is determined to buy Lockheed Martin’s F-35 plane.    A fourth contender is Sweden’s Saab AB.
    There was no immediate comment from any of the four potential bidders.
    Andre Fillion, assistant deputy minister of Defense and Marine Procurement, said there had been “intense engagement” with all the eligible suppliers while drafting the jet requirements, and “thousands of changes” were made as a consequence.
    “We’re quite confident that we have a product that we’ll publish today that does not have any show stoppers for any of the suppliers,” Fillion said in a telephone interview.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

7/24/2019 Oil up $0.55 to $56.77, DOW up 178 to 27,350.

7/24/2019 Incoming British PM Johnson picks his Brexit team by Guy Faulconbridge, Elizabeth Piper and Kate Holton
FILE PHOTO: Boris Johnson, leader of the Britain's Conservative Party, leaves a private reception
in central London, Britain July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson takes office on Wednesday as British prime minister and will then unveil the names of the team he has tasked with delivering Brexit by the end of October, with or without a deal.
    Johnson enters Downing Street at one of the most perilous junctures in post-World War British history – the United Kingdom is divided over Brexit and weakened by a three-year political crisis since the Brexit referendum.
    His pledge to energize the country and deliver Brexit – do or die – on Oct. 31, sets the United Kingdom up for a showdown with the European Union and thrusts it toward a potential constitutional crisis, or election, at home.
    “Like some slumbering giant we are going to rise and ping off the guy-ropes of self-doubt and negativity,” Johnson, 55, said on Tuesday after he was elected by Conservative Party members.
    “We are going to energize the country.    We are going to get Brexit done on Oct. 31 and we are going to take advantage of all the opportunities it will bring in a new spirit of can do.”
    Wednesday will combine arcane British political choreography with the realpolitik of appointing a new government – likely to be heavy on Brexit supporters.
    Prime Minister Theresa May will leave Downing Street after a three-year premiership that was mired by crises over Brexit.    She will travel to Buckingham Palace to formally tender her resignation to Queen Elizabeth.
    Johnson will then have an audience with the queen who will request he form an administration.    His formal title will be “Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury.”
    He will enter Downing Street in the afternoon and is expected to give a speech before appointing key members of the government – names that could give a hint of how he will handle Brexit, Britain’s most significant decision in decades.
    “Boris will build a cabinet showcasing all the talents within the party that truly reflect modern Britain,” a source close to Johnson said.
    But ‘Prime Minister Johnson’ – a man known for his ambition, mop of blonde hair, flowery oratory and a cursory command of detail – must solve a series of riddles if he is to succeed where May failed.
    The 2016 Brexit referendum showed a United Kingdom divided about much more than the European Union, and has fueled soul-searching about everything from secession and immigration to capitalism, empire and modern Britishness.
    The pound is weak, the economy at risk of recession, allies are in despair at the Brexit crisis and foes are testing Britain’s vulnerability.
    His party has no majority in parliament so the Conservatives only govern with the support of 10 lawmakers from the Brexit-backing Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland.
    While Johnson said he does not want an early election, some lawmakers have vowed to thwart any attempt to leave the EU without a divorce deal.    Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said he was open to an electoral pact with Johnson.
    Investors are braced to see who will be handed the top jobs such as finance minister, foreign secretary and Brexit minister.
    Interior minister Sajid Javid is widely tipped to stay in a top job – possibly as finance minister – and was spotted flanking Johnson as he arrived before lawmakers.
    There is talk that Johnson will appoint career diplomat David Frost as European Union sherpa and adviser on Europe.    Dominic Cummings, the Brexit-supporting campaign director of Vote Leave, will be a senior adviser, a source for the new leader’s team said.
    A record number of ethnic minority politicians are expected to serve as ministers including Priti Patel, the former aid minister who resigned in 2017 over undisclosed meetings with Israeli officials, and employment minister Alok Sharma.
    Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Johnson’s rival for the leadership, was offered the job of defense minister, but turned it down, Sky reported.
    Johnson has pledged to negotiate a new Brexit deal with the EU before Oct. 31 but if the bloc refuses, he has promised to leave without a deal on Halloween.
    That, many investors warn, would send shock waves through the world economy and tip the world’s fifth largest economy into recession or even chaos.
    Brexit without a divorce deal would roil financial markets and, some bankers warn, weaken London’s position as the pre-eminent international financial center.
    Brexit supporters say those fears are overblown and the United Kingdom will thrive if cut loose from the European project which they cast as a German-dominated bloc that is falling far behind its global competitors such as the United States and China.
    “If he really wants a no-deal, he will get it.    We will never push an EU member out but we can’t stop him.    More likely, his own parliament would,” one EU diplomat said.
    “Johnson has been such a chameleon, he has reinvented himself so many times that it is hard to know what to expect really,” said the diplomat.
    Another diplomatic source had an ominous warning: “My scenario is purgatory.”
(Additional reporting by Andy Bruce, Kate Holton, William Schomberg, David Milliken and Paul Sandle in London and Gabriela Baczynska in Brussels; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

7/24/2019 Trump’s new anti-asylum rule faces court test in California
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump addresses Turning Point USA's Teen Student Action Summit
in Washington, U.S., July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
    (Reuters) – A new U.S. rule aimed at slashing the number of asylum cases at the southern border with Mexico faces a court test on Wednesday when a federal judge will hear arguments about whether to block the measure pending trial.
    Groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union sued President Donald Trump’s administration after it issued a so-called interim final rule on July 16 that would require asylum-seekers to first pursue safe haven in a third country through which they had traveled on their way to the United States.
    Opponents say the rule violates U.S. laws covering asylum-seekers fleeing persecution, while the Trump administration considers it a legal means to combat fraudulent asylum claims.
    Judge Jon Tigar in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California will hear arguments on Wednesday about whether to issue a temporary restraining order that would block the rule, which otherwise took effect last week.
    Only the restraining order is at issue, not the underlying merits of the case.    The judge could rule from the bench whether to issue the restraining order or take several days.
    The case is similar to another one in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia filed by the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition that also challenges the Trump administration rule.    That case had a hearing on Monday and a decision about a temporary restraining is due any time.
    Trump’s rule to restrict asylum-seekers was the latest measure ahead of the November 2020 election to please his political supporters, who sent him to the White House after a 2016 campaign in which he promised to build a border wall and also ban immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries.
    The Trump administration has issued a rapid-fire series of anti-immigration edicts recently, the latest coming on Monday with a new rule to expedite deportations for immigrants who entered the United States illegally and are caught anywhere within it.    The rule expands a program typically applied only along the southern border.
    Democrats have blasted the policies as cruel, faulting the Trump administration for warehousing migrants in crowded detention facilities along the border and separating immigrant children from the adults they have traveled with.
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Tom Brown)

7/24/2019 Robert Mueller testifies before Congress by OAN Newsroom
Former special counsel Robert Mueller, accompanied by his top aide in the investigation Aaron Zebley, right,
testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on Russian election
interference, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, July 24, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill after years of investigating the Trump campaign and election interference.    In his opening remarks with the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, Mueller doubled down on his pledge to not go outside the boundaries of his final report.
    Chairman Jerry Nadler confirmed with Mueller that the president refused a sit down interview with the special counsel and did not submit answers on alleged obstruction.
    Ranking member Doug Collins called out Mueller for saying collusion is not a legal term within justice system, but pointed out Mueller wrote collusion and conspiracy are “largely synonymous in the report."    Collins then stated, with Mueller’s own report, the parsing of words between the definitions of collusion and conspiracy can finally be put to rest.
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, speaks as former special counsel
Robert Mueller appears before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on Russian election
interference, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, July 24, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    GOP congressman John Ratcliffe accused Mueller of denying President Trump the presumption of innocence guaranteed under U.S. law.    The Texas lawmaker and seasoned former prosecutor slammed the former special counsel for speaking out on alleged crimes of obstruction in Volume II of his report.
    This comes after Mueller stated in his report that he could not charge the president with obstruction based on Department of Justice legal opinion, while also saying he could not exonerate President Trump based on the findings of the investigation.
    Meanwhile, President Trump took to Twitter to, once again, reiterate:

7/24/2019 DOJ launches anti-trust probe, looks at companies dominating searches, social media by OAN Newsroom
    The Justice Department is opening an investigation into big tech corporations for alleged anti-trust violations.    The department released a statement Tuesday, saying it will examine the practices of online platforms that dominate search results, social media and retail services.
    While the statement didn’t say which companies are in the scope of the probe, sources say it will review new threats posed by Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple.
    The move marks the latest effort by Attorney General William Barr to take on the tech giants, which is an issue he has focused on since taking office earlier this year.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr addresses the International Conference on Cyber Security, hosted by the FBI
and Fordham University, at Fordham University in New York, Tuesday, July 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
    “I am for vigorous enforcement of our antitrust laws in order to preserve competition, and — as I said — this is going to be an area I’m going to want to get into,” stated Barr.    “The thing I’m concerned about are the network effects that are now at work…they’re so powerful that particular sectors could essentially be subsumed into these networks…they are just very powerful network effects because of their size.”
    Shares of Facebook, Alphabet and Amazon fell more than a full percentage point following the announcement, although the scope of the probe remains unknown.

7/24/2019 ICE standoff over illegal immigrant: Members of Tenn. community form human chain to block arrest by OAN Newsroom
    ICE officials attempting to enforce the nation’s immigration laws recently faced opposition from members of a Tennessee community.    The hours-long standoff began Monday when agents tried to pull over a van, but the driver refused to stop and instead headed to a driveway where he parked.    The man then sat in the van with his son and refused to get out.
    That’s when a group of neighbors linked arms to prevent ICE agents from taking the man into custody, allowing him and his son to escape back into their home.    ICE agents were then forced to leave because they lacked a criminal warrant, preventing them from forcibly detaining the man.
    “It’s going to happen again, they’re going to come back and we’re going to come back too.    And we’re going to be even stronger and we’re going to learn how to protect one another, and we’re going to be there for them and let them know that we’re are a community, that we’re going to stick together. That’s what we’re supposed to do.    I don’t care where you come from, your supposed to stick together.” — Felishadae Young, neighbor to illegal immigrant
    Meantime, ICE released a statement stressing these arrests are not unusual, but rather part of their ongoing operations to enforce federal immigration law.
FILE – In this July 8, 2019, file photo, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer looks on during an operation in Escondido, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

7/24/2019 Sen. Braun opposes budget deal, says Americans kicking the can down the road on issue by OAN Newsroom
File – Mike Braun speaks in Indianapolis, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
    Fiscal hawks on Capitol Hill are sounding the alarm over the recently agreed to budget deal between the White House and Congress.
    Indiana’s Republican Senator Mike Braun voiced his opposition to the deal Tuesday, particularly mentioning its effects on the deficit.
    He pointed out that when families and businesses overspend, they make cuts to offset their expenditures.However, when the federal government overspends, they change the rules in order to spend more.
    Braun essentially said the government merely kicks the can down the road and shifts the burden on to future generations.
    “And here we are, $22 trillion in debt, trillion dollar deficits and we’ve got this abomination coming across — it’s sad,” said the Indiana senator.    “And I think the American public need to really pay attention here because this is different now, $22 trillion of debt, than what it was a decade ago or even three, four years ago or even when President Trump came in — this tells you how this place is going to run.”
    The deal will increase spending caps by $320 billion, while suspending the debt ceiling and allowing government borrowing until July 2021.    The set date is notably after the next presidential election.

7/24/2019 Trump’s new asylum border rule clears initial legal hurdle by Daniel Trotta
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump addresses Turning Point USA's Teen Student Action Summit
in Washington, U.S., July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
    (Reuters) – The Trump administration on Wednesday turned back an initial legal challenge to a new rule that bars almost all immigrants from applying for asylum at the U.S.-Mexican border when a federal judge in Washington rejected a request to block it.
    But the new rule still faces other challenges, as Judge Timothy Kelly in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia only ruled on a temporary restraining order and the lawsuit against the substance of the rule will go forward.
    Moreover, a separate but similar lawsuit is also seeking a temporary restraining order against the asylum rule and was due to be heard in a federal court in California later on Wednesday.
    The rule, which went into effect on July 16, will remain in force for now, enabling immigration judges to deny more asylum claims.
    “DHS’s new Asylum Rule stands in D.C. Court ruling! A major victory for @realDonaldTrump’s efforts to stop the crisis at our Southern border,” Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said on Twitter.
    Increasing numbers of Central American migrants, many of them families with children, have been arriving at the border after fleeing violence and poverty in countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
    The rule would require them to first pursue safe haven in a third country through which they had traveled on their way to the United States.     The judge’s decision was in response to a lawsuit filed by the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition.    Oral arguments took place on Monday.
    The advocacy group issued a statement on Wednesday saying it was disappointed by the ruling but that it would keep fighting.
    “We had hoped to obtain immediate relief from the potentially drastic consequences of this rule, which we firmly believe violates U.S. law and the Constitution,” said Mitchell Reich, one of the attorneys representing the coalition.
    The suit is similar to an action led by the American Civil Liberties Union that challenged the Trump administration rule in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. That case is due for a hearing on Wednesday.
    The Trump administration has issued a rapid-fire series of anti-immigration edicts recently, as the issue is shaping up to be a focus of the 2020 presidential campaign.
    Voters rewarded Trump for his anti-immigrant rhetoric in the 2016 election campaign, sending him to the White House after he promised to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
    Last week, the administration issued another rule to expedite deportations for immigrants who have crossed illegally within the last two years and are caught anywhere in the United States, eliminating a level of judicial review and expanding a program typically applied only along the southern border with Mexico.
    Democrats have blasted the policies as cruel, faulting the Trump administration for warehousing migrants in crowded detention facilities along the border and separating immigrant children from the adults they have traveled with.
(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg and Daniel Trotta; Editing by David Gregorio and Paul Simao)

7/25/2019 Oil down $0.89 to $55.88, DOW down 75 to 27,270.

7/25/2019 CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE HEARINGS - Mueller testifies - Former special counsel rejects Trump claim of exoneration by Phillip M. Bailey, Louisville Courier Journal | USA TODAY NETWORK
    Former special counsel Robert Mueller III’s testimony before House members on Wednesday repeated much of what had been known previously known, and received little response from Kentucky’s representatives in Washington.
    Mueller spent hours before the intelligence and judiciary committees to discuss his 488-page report on President Donald Trump’s conduct related to Russian interference in the 2016 election.
    The pair of hearings lacked a blockbuster moment or comment, but Mueller did knock down Trump’s repeated of insistence that investigators found “no collusion” and that the special prosecutor’s team cleared him of all wrongdoing.
    “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Mueller said.    “We did not address ‘collusion,’ which is not a legal term. Rather, we focused on whether the evidence was sufficient to charge any member of the campaign with taking part in a criminal conspiracy.    It was not.”
    Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has become a close Trump ally, insisted on Twitter that Mueller was speaking outside his purview and was violating a basic constitutional premise.
    “Mueller needs to go back to law school,” Paul said.    “In America’s judicial system, no prosecutors ever, ever conclude innocence.    They only decide guilt.    Americans are presumed innocent if not found guilty!
    But Democrats seized on parts of Mueller’s testimony, which affirmed that his report didn’t clear the president.    It also established that further investigation into possible obstruction by Trump was warranted. “So the report did not conclude that he did not commit obstruction of justice, is that correct?” House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., asked. “That is correct,” Mueller replied.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller, accompanied by Aaron Zebley, his top aide in the Russian election interference
investigation, is seated to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. ALEX BRANDON/AP
Mueller, left, talks with aide Zebley during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday. SUSAN WALSH/AP
[The Democrats got a slap in the face as Mueller was not up to par to promote their assumption and you can now see that he did not write the contents of the Mueller report and it was obvious that Weissman and the 18 angry Democratic lawyers did.    A win for the Republicans and we are waiting for Barr and Horowitz to bring the Dossier corruption to light and truth to the public.].

7/25/2019 Mueller rejects Trump claim of exoneration - Ex-special counsel avoids sound bites, partisan fray by Eric Tucker, Mary Clare Jalonick and Michael Balsamo, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – Robert Mueller on Wednesday bluntly dismissed President Donald Trump’s claims of total exoneration in the federal probe of     Russia’s 2016 election interference, telling Congress he explicitly did not clear the president of obstructing his investigation.    The former special counsel also rejected Trump’s assertions that the probe was a “witch hunt” and hoax.
    In hours of sometimes halting and stilted testimony, reliant on terse oneword answers and a steely determination to remain outside the partisan fray, Mueller also declared Russian election interference was one of the greatest challenges to democracy he had encountered in his career.
    The televised Capitol Hill appearances, Mueller’s first since wrapping his two-year Russia probe last spring, unfolded at a moment of deep divisions in the country, with many Americans hardened in their opinions about the success of Donald Trump’s presidency and whether impeachment proceedings are necessary.
    Republicans and Democrats took divergent paths in questioning Mueller.
    Trump’s GOP allies tried to cast the former special counsel and his prosecutors as politically motivated.
    Democrats, meanwhile, sought to emphasize the most incendiary findings of Mueller’s 448-page report and weak- en Trump’s reelection prospects in ways that Mueller’s book-length report did not.    They hoped that even if his testimony did not inspire impeachment demands – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made clear she will not pursue impeachment, for now – Mueller could nonetheless unambiguously spell out questionable, norm-shattering actions by the president.
    Yet Mueller appeared unwilling or unable to offer crisp sound bites that could reshape already-entrenched public opinions.
    But he was unflinching on the most critical matters.
    The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, asked Mueller about Trump’s claims of vindication in the investigation.
    “Did you actually totally exonerate the president?” Nadler asked.
    “No,” Mueller replied.
    Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, asked, “Your investigation is not a witch hunt, is it?
    “It is not a witch hunt,” Mueller flatly replied.
    Republicans focused on his conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.
    “Those are the facts of the Mueller report.    Russia meddled in the 2016 election,” said Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.    “The president did not conspire with Russians.    Nothing we hear today will change those facts.”
Robert Mueller checks pages in his report on Russian election interference as he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. ALEX BRANDON/AP

7/25/2019 ROBERT MUELLER TESTIFIES - FEW ANSWERS - He says Trump is not exonerated Russia is meddling even ‘as we sit here’
Insists inquiry ‘not a witch hunt’ All declared victory, but no one’s happy
by Bart Jansen and Christal Hayes, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – Former special counsel Robert Mueller provided Congress a terse conclusion Wednesday to the Russia investigation that consumed Washington for nearly two years.
    In nearly seven hours of testimony to two House committees, Mueller offered neither surprises nor bombshells.    He resisted made-for-TV moments Democrats had hoped would deliver a summer blockbuster to refocus public attention on the investigation that shadowed President Donald Trump.
    Instead, he often replied to questions with “correct” or “accurate” and never once uttered the word “impeachment.”    The result offered little information beyond the report – and little to persuade anyone to change their minds about it.
    Taking questions from lawmakers for the first time since he began investigating the president, Mueller sounded an alarm about Russian interference in U.S. elections: “They’re doing it as we sit here.”
    He said the Russian meddling was a “serious” threat to American democracy but Trump’s campaign appeared to welcome it.    And he pointedly declined to say Trump did not commit a crime in trying to derail his work.
    ON HIS APPEARANCE BEFORE CONGRESS “The report is my testimony.    And I will stay within that text.” Robert Mueller
Robert Mueller kept his answers curt and concise in testimony to the House Judiciary Committee. JACK GRUBER/USA TODAY
    When he began, Mueller told lawmakers he would not stray beyond the 448-page report his office turned in four months ago, documenting Russian efforts to sway the 2016 election to benefit Trump and the president’s efforts to thwart his inquiry.    He largely made good on that promise, delivering one- and two-word answers, if he answered at all.
    When he strayed, it was to refocus on Russian efforts to interfere in elections, a subject that “deserves the attention of every American,” and to defend the work of his investigators.
    Asked by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., whether he had documented a sweeping and systematic effort by Russians to influence the 2016 election, Mueller replied, “That is correct.”
    During the course of the interference, Schiff asked, did Russians reach out to the Trump campaign?
    “That occurred,” Mueller said.
    Mueller seemed to leave lawmakers from both sides frustrated. Democrats struggled to get him to put his most damaging findings into his own words.    Republicans, who questioned whether his work was an illegitimate effort to target Trump, elicited no concessions or even responses at all.
    “It is not a witch hunt,” Mueller said.
    On Twitter, Trump declared himself a “very innocent President” and mused about why Mueller did not instead “investigate the investigation.”
    Wednesday’s hearings were a microcosm of the investigation that has been Washington’s central political drama since the start of Trump’s presidency.    Partisans repeated talking points.    Mueller seemed to say as little as possible.    And when it was over, everyone declared victory.
    “We just needed him on camera to say correct, correct,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. “I think you will see that we are going to take imminent action in the coming days.    I think the most important thing today is to allow the American people to absorb what was in the report and what was told to the American people in this hearing.”
    Republicans called the hearing a dud for Democrats aiming to impeach Trump.    “What you saw in there is not going to add the needed fuel the Democrats are hoping for to continue the harassment,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.    “Democrats were hoping this would be a launching off point to impeachment.    The reality is, this is the death rattle of impeachment.”
    Leaving the White House on Wednesday afternoon, Trump said the hearings “proved a lot to everybody.”    He said, “There was no defense to this ridiculous hoax, this witch hunt.”
    Democrats spent much of the hearing quoting from Mueller’s report by volume and page number.    They posted passages on televisions in the hearing room to illustrate each point they made.    They tried to get Mueller, a famously taciturn former FBI director, to recount those episodes in his own words.
    Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., asked about the extent of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
    “I would direct you to the report,” Mueller said.
    Whom, she asked, did the Russian government want to win the election?
    “It would be Trump, the president,” Mueller said.
    Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, asked what steps were possible after Mueller declined to pursue criminal charges against a sitting president.    A footnote mentioned impeachment as one constitutional option, but Escobar couldn’t get Mueller to repeat the word.
“I think I heard you mention one of them,” Mueller said.
    Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., focused on the report’s implications in his opening questions.    He suggested that the report didn’t exonerate the president, as Trump claimed.
    “Correct.    That is not what the report said,” Mueller said.    “The president was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed,” Mueller added a few moments later.
Trump’s Republican allies questioned Mueller’s investigation and accused him of unfairly tarnishing the president without giving him an opportunity to defend himself in court. To the extent those critiques turned into questions, Mueller declined to answer them.
    Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, said Trump and others don’t need prosecutors to exonerate them.    “It was not the special counsel’s job to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or to exonerate him because the bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence,” he said.
    Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., asked why Mueller continued to investigate Trump after the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion that a sitting president couldn’t be indicted.
    Mueller said a president could be indicted after leaving office.    He told Sensenbrenner that the opinion allowed the investigation of a president even without indictment.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Intelligence Committee, though he said in May that his
report on Russian election interference and the Trump campaign “speaks for itself.” JACK GRUBER/USA TODAY

7/25/2019 New UK leader faces Brexit struggle by Jill Lawless and Danica Kirka, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    LONDON – Boris Johnson took over as Britain’s prime minister Wednesday, vowing to break the impasse that defeated his predecessor by leading the country out of the European Union and silencing those he called “the doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters” who believe it can’t be done.
    But the brash Brexit champion faces the same problems that flummoxed Theresa May during her three years in office: heading a government without a parliamentary majority and with most lawmakers opposed to leaving the EU without a divorce deal.
    Johnson has just 99 days to make good on his promise to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31 after what he called “three years of unfounded self-doubt.”
    He optimistically pledged to get “a new deal, a better deal” with the EU than the one secured by May, which was repeatedly rejected by Britain’s Parliament.
    “The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts,” he said, standing outside the shiny black door of 10 Downing St.
    Trying to avoid the political divisions that plagued May, Johnson swept many of her ministers from office to make way for his own team, dominated by loyal Brexiteers.    He appointed Sajid Javid to the key role of Treasury chief, named staunch Brexit supporter Dominic Raab as foreign secretary and made Priti Patel the new home secretary, or interior minister.    Michael Gove, who ran the 2016 campaign to leave the EU alongside Johnson, also got a Cabinet job.
    Over half of May’s Cabinet quit or resigned, including ex-Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Johnson’s defeated rival for the Tory leadership, who said he had turned down the chance to stay in government in a different job.
    In his first speech as prime minister, Johnson offered a variety of promises – from more police on the streets to ending a ban on genetically modified crops to faster internet access.
    For the 55-year-old Johnson, walking into the Downing Street residence was the culmination of a life’s ambition.    The flamboyant, Latin-spouting former London mayor and foreign secretary helped lead the 2016 campaign to get Britain out of the EU and is now the darling of Brexit backers who feel frustrated that, three years later, the country is still in the bloc.
    Judging by his words on Wednesday, Johnson’s approach to the EU will be a mix of charm and threats.
    He vowed to keep relations with the EU “as warm and as close and as affectionate as possible” and promised the 3 million EU nationals in Britain “absolute certainty” that they can stay.
    In the next breath, Johnson said Britain might be forced to leave with no deal if “Brussels refuses any further to negotiate” – trying to pin the blame for any future failure on the bloc.    That’s not an approach likely to win the trust and confidence of EU leaders.
    Johnson’s political opponents accused him of offering hot air.
    “Rhetoric and reality are two different things,” said Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer.
    Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that Johnson’s speech was “rambling, blame-shifting and, to put it mildly, somewhat divorced from reality.”
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Boris Johnson, newly elected leader of the Conservative party, at Buckingham Palace. VICTORIA JONES/AP

7/25/2019 Targeting 2,100, ICE rounds up 35 - Agency warns employers they’re under scrutiny by Vandana Ravikumar. USA TODAY
    An immigration enforcement operation that President Donald Trump called an effort to deport “millions” of immigrants from the USA resulted in 35 arrests, officials said Tuesday.
    The action, dubbed “Operation Border Resolve” by the Trump administration, was touted as a significant show of force against an influx of Central American families crossing the border.    The operation targeted 2,100 of the roughly 1 million people illegally in the USA with final deportation orders.
    Of those arrested, 18 were members of families, and 17 were collateral apprehensions of people in the country illegally who were encountered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.    None of those arrests resulted in family separations, agency officials said.
    The raids were condemned by Democrats and lauded by Republicans.    Career ICE agents described them as a routine procedure, saying they expected to net an average of 10% to 20% of their targets.
    “We are focused on criminals as much as we can before we do anything else,” Trump said before the raids.
    ICE conducted a separate nationwide enforcement operation targeting undocumented immigrants who had criminal convictions or charges.    That netted 899 arrests from May 13 to July 11, according to agency officials.
    The agency issued 3,282 notices of inspection to businesses in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, telling business owners that their hiring records would be audited to see whether they employ undocumented immigrants.
    This process, sometimes called “silent raids,” is intended to “reduce economic opportunities” for undocumented immigrants, according to acting ICE Director Matthew Albence.
    “We cannot have individuals who come into the country illegally and then go find work illegally,” Albence told The New York Times.
    Albence said the apprehension efforts would be “ongoing,” claiming that increased enforcement could reduce illegal immigration.    “Part of the way you stop people from coming is having a consequence to the illegal activity when you do come,” he said.
    The initial operation, scheduled for late June, targeted families and centered on those ordered to be deported by an immigration judge in 10 cities around the country, including Los Angeles, Miami and New York City.
    That wave of raids was postponed after media outlets reported when and where they would take place.
    The second effort started July 14, again receiving media attention noting when and where the raids would take place.    Trump also called attention to the raids on Twitter, noting the date himself.
    Immigration advocates braced their communities for the impending action, but elected officials and advocacy groups reported seeing little to no activity over the weekend.
    Albence conceded that the number of arrests was lower compared with similar operations.    An operation in 2017 resulted in 650 apprehensions over four days, according to ICE.    Among those arrested were 73 family members and 120 people who entered the country as children.
    The success of previous efforts can partly be attributed to the lack of “fanfare and media attention,” Albence said.
Contributing: The Associated Press.
    ICE conducted a separate nationwide enforcement operation targeting undocumented immigrants who had criminal convictions or charges.    That netted 899 arrests from May 13 to July 11, according to agency officials.
There was more outcry than action after the government announced “Operation Border Resolve” this month. GREGORY BULL/AP

7/25/2019 President Trump: The ‘witch hunt’ is over by OAN Newsroom
    President Trump took to Twitter to note that the “witch hunt” is over after Robert Mueller was exposed for not really knowing what was in his report.    The president highlighted sources declaring him the winner after Mueller’s testimony cleared him from conspiring with Russians in the 2016 election.
    Trump tweet: “Yesterday changed everything, it really did clear the President.    He wins.”    “It changed everything in favor of the President, who said all along this investigation is rooted in nothing.    Mueller was exposed as being best friends with Comey.    Today, you say.....”    “...impeachment, you have a Party of one.    It’s over.”    “Nancy said, Jerry, please sit down.    Very bad idea.    We discovered that after putting so much time & energy into the Mueller Report, it turns out Mueller didn’t know what was in his Report.”
President Donald Trump is seated during a full honors welcoming ceremony for Secretary of Defense
Mark Esper at the Pentagon, Thursday, July 25, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Democrat were reportedly disappointed after Mueller couldn’t answer nearly 200 of their questions.    Many have argued this destroyed his accountability, and showed he didn’t have any information the Democrats have been trying to obtain.
    “And even, I will tell you, the two most nauseous and nauseating networks — whose ratings have both gone down, way down — even they said this was a really bad day for the Democrats,” stated the president.    “So, Robert Mueller did a poor job, but in all fairness to him, he had nothing to work with.”
    President Trump also noted that Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants chairman Jerry Nadler to stop wasting so much of Congress’ time and energy trying to get anything out of Mueller.

7/25/2019 House Oversight postpones contempt vote for White House adviser Kellyanne Conway by OAN Newsroom
    The House Oversight Committee is delaying a contempt vote for White House Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway. The contempt vote is reportedly being postponed because of ongoing conversations with the Trump administration.
    House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings said even though he feels the president’s trusted adviser violated the Hatch Act, he is working with the White House to arrive at a compromise.
    GOP congressman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) previously warned the Democrats about issuing the subpoena to Conway.
    “What we have here is a political spectacle, and we’re talking about keeping politics out of government,” he stated.    “This subpoena is nothing more than political spectacle.”
White House counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, speaks to the media,
Monday, July 22, 2019, outside the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
    Chairman Cummings reportedly threatened Conway with contempt unless she complied with the panel’s subpoena before the Wednesday, July 25th deadline.
    Previously, Conway said the subpoena was an attempt to silence her support for the president.    She has also been concerned about the weaponization of the Hatch Act, which limits political activity by federal workers.

7/25/2019 Defense Secretary Esper: We will create create a more lethal military force by OAN Newsroom
    At a ceremony outside the Pentagon Thursday, Mark Esper gave his first remarks as the nation’s 27th Secretary of Defense.    He vowed to “continue strengthening the U.S. military,” and build “a more lethal force.”
    President Trump and Vice President Pence were in attendance as Esper announced his plans to reform the department and make the most use of “every dollar Congress” grants it.
President Donald Trump, left, sits with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, during a full honors welcoming ceremony
for Esper at the Pentagon, Thursday, July 25, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    During a speech, the president joked about Esper’s bipartisan support in the Senate:
    “I can see he had some talent because he won, was it 98 to what?    No you got 90 right?    Can you believe this?    I don’t believe it.    I heard a 90.    90 to 8, right?    I don’t know, I haven’t heard that sound in a long time Mark.    Now I’m worried.”
    Secretary Esper also said he will spearhead the creation of the sixth military branch known as the Space Force.    The president has been a vocal proponent of a Space Force, so the U.S. may broaden its network and carry out duties in outer space.

7/25/2019 U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers first address to parliament by OAN Newsroom
    U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would prefer to leave the European Union with a deal and will work to make it happen. He made the comment while addressing parliament for the first time since taking office.
    While speaking on Thursday, he also said he hopes the European Union will rethink their current refusal to make any changes to the withdrawal agreement.    However, Johnson also noted the U.K. is “better prepared” for a no-deal Brexit than many believe, but not as ready as it should be.
    The new prime minister then stressed the Irish border backstop must be eliminated in order for the U.K. to exit the European Union with a deal.
In this grab taken from video, Britain’s newly appointed Prime Minister Boris Johnson issues a statement to the
House of Commons, in London, Thursday July 25, 2019. Johnson has called on the European Union to “rethink” its refusal
to renegotiate the Brexit deal. Addressing the House of Commons for the first time since becoming prime minister,
Johnson said Britain would throw himself into efforts to make sure Britain leaves the EU on time on Oct. 31. (House of Commons/PA via AP)
    “No country that values its independence and indeed its self-respect could agree to a treaty which signed away our economic independence and self-government as this backstop does.    A time limit is not enough.    If an agreement is to be reached it must be clearly understood that the way to the deal goes by way of the abolition of the backstop.”
    The British prime minister also affirmed he and his cabinet are committed to leaving the European Union on October 31st — whatever the circumstances.

7/25/2019 U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal will help stave off U.S. recession: U.S. Chamber CEO by Andrea Shalal and Jonas Ekblom
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue speaks during an event with the
Mexican Chamber of Commerce in Mexico City, Mexico October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Ginnette Riquelme
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Approval and implementation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement will provide a major boost to the U.S. economy and help stave off a recession, Thomas Donohue, chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said on Thursday.
    Donohue, whose organization is spearheading a major campaign to win passage of the trade agreement, said moving ahead with the USMCA would also help pave the way for trade agreements with China, the European Union, Japan and other countries.
    “It is a major component in keeping us out of a recession,” Donohue told Reuters after a news conference with other trade associations pushing the U.S. Congress to ratify the replacement for the current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
    He said the timing was critical given other drags on the U.S. economy, including troubles at top U.S. exporter Boeing Co , which this week reported its biggest-ever quarterly loss due to the spiraling cost of resolving issues with its 737 MAX.
    Boeing has reduced production of the grounded jet and suspended deliveries, but on Wednesday warned it might have to shut production completely if it runs into new hurdles with global regulators.
    The single-aisle plane was grounded worldwide in March after two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia.
    “A reduction in our economic growth and our trade is taking place with the Boeing problem,” Donohue said.    “They’ll survive this, they’ll move forward.”
    House of Representatives Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats, who control the chamber, for not bringing the USMCA up for a vote before lawmakers leave for their summer recess.
    “What will this do? Only make our country stronger, more prosperous, create more jobs, make the debate with China even in a stronger position for America and make the future better than it is today.    But they didn’t do anything about it,” McCarthy told reporters at a news conference.
    Donohue and other business leaders cited growing bipartisan support for the USMCA and expressed optimism that the House would move to ratify the agreement in September.
    Nearly 600 trade and commerce groups sent a letter urging lawmakers to approve the deal as soon as possible.
    “If we don’t move positively on Canada and Mexico, it will be very, very difficult for us to muster the goodwill in other places to get agreements with China, with Japan and the EU,” Donohue told a news conference.
    Leaders from the United States, Mexico and Canada signed the agreement in November, but it must be ratified by lawmakers in all three countries.
    House Democrats have promised to block the deal until their concerns over environmental, labor and pharmaceutical aspects of the agreement are met, but Donohue and others said they were upbeat those issues could be resolved.
    White House officials say the agreement would add about half a percentage point of economic growth to the U.S. economy, creating several hundred thousand jobs and sparking up to $100 billion in new investments in the United States.
    U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is due to meet with Democratic lawmakers about the agreement again this week, with a focus on enforcement issues.
    Industry leaders said moving forward would reduce uncertainty and free businesses to make new investments.
    “The thing we hear most about the need to move forward with this agreement is the need to provide certainty,” said Matthew Shay, president of the National Retail Federation.
    The group said it would use state fairs and events in local districts in coming weeks to pressure lawmakers to back passage of the deal, while campaigning against its opponents.
    “We will be activating our grassroots network and targeting key districts,” Donohue said.    “You can’t be pro-jobs and anti-USCMA.”
(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell; editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

7/25/2019 Sen. Graham: U.S. should move on from Russia hoax, probe origins by OAN Newsroom
    Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) recently doubled down on his intent to investigate the origins of the so-called Russia hoax.    While talking to reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday, Graham said Robert Mueller was only a “figurehead” of the Russia probe.    The senator believes the investigation by the former special counsel involved deeper motives, and more people than previously thought.
    Mueller testified in Congress Wednesday, generally confirming the findings of his lengthy probe.    Senator Graham said Democrats must finally move on from the Mueller report because there is nothing there.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.,arrives for a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    “I’m gonna look at how the whole investigation started, why it went so long," assured Graham.    “As to Mr. Mueller, he served his country long, well, wounded in combat in Vietnam, became FBI director after 9/11 — I don’t want this to define his career.”
    The South Carolina Republican stressed the Russia probe was “a mess,” and said lawmakers should focus on ensuring the integrity of U.S. elections going forward.

7/26/2019 Oil up $0.14 to $56.02, DOW down 129 to 27,141.

7/26/2019 Probes, suits follow Mueller hearings by Mary Clare Jalonick, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – After months of anticipation, Congress finally heard testimony from former special counsel Robert Mueller.    So what now?
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Mueller’s appearance was “a crossing of a threshold,” raising public awareness of what Mueller found.    And Democrats after the hearing said they had clearly laid out the facts about the Mueller report, which did not find a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia but detailed extensive Russian intervention in the 2016 election.    Mueller also said in the report that he couldn’t clear President Donald Trump on obstruction of justice.    But it remains to be seen how the testimony will affect public views of Trump’s presidency and the push for impeachment.    Mueller said some of the things that Democrats wanted him to say – including a clear dismissal of Trump’s claims of total exoneration – but he declined to answer many of their questions, and he spoke haltingly at times.    Trump claimed victory, saying Mueller did “a horrible job.”
    Democrats have struggled to obtain testimony from some of the most crucial figures in Mueller’s report, including former White House counsel Donald McGahn.    And the few people they have interviewed, such as former White House aide Hope Hicks, have failed to give them new information beyond what’s in Mueller’s report.
    But Democrats have multiple investigations of the president ongoing that don’t require cooperation from the White House or Justice Department.    The House intelligence and financial services committees are probing Trump’s finances, an area that Mueller appears to have avoided.    And the intelligence panel is investigating Trump’s negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the campaign.
    To obtain the testimony from McGahn and others, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Wednesday that his panel will file lawsuits.
    Democrats will seek to obtain secret grand jury material from Mueller’s report that has so far been withheld from Congress by the Justice Department.    They will also try to force McGahn to provide documents and testimony.
    Almost 90 House Democrats have called for an impeachment inquiry, and more are certain to do so after Mueller’s testimony.
    But Pelosi isn’t there, not yet. And a majority of the caucus is siding with her, for now.
    Pelosi said Wednesday she wants “the strongest possible hand” by waiting to see what happens in court.
    The House is expected to leave town Friday for a five-week August recess, so some of the Democrats’ efforts will be on hold until September.
    The Justice Department isn’t done with its own investigations into what happened before the 2016 election.
    There are two ongoing reviews into the origins of the Russia probe that Mueller eventually took over – one being conducted by the Justice Department’s inspector general and another by U.S. Attorney John Durham, who was appointed by Attorney General William Barr to examine surveillance methods used by the Justice Department.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to build a consensus on impeachment but wants
to wait on “the strongest possible hand.” J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP

7/26/2019 Workers return to Idaho nuclear facility after fire evacuations
    BOISE, Idaho – Employees returned to work Thursday at a sprawling nuclear research site in southwestern Idaho after a wildfire forced two days of evacuations.
    “The fire is anticipated to be 100% contained today,” said Idaho National Laboratory spokesman Mike Johnson.
    The nuclear research complex sits on a parcel of desert that is nearly the size of Rhode Island, and facilities there include nuclear reactors, high-level nuclear waste treatment plants and various nuclear research projects.
[I heard about this place in 1974 when I was in the Air Force at Mountain Home AFB mostly rumors that it was like Area 51.    So the rumors then was it was where they kept all the real Area 51 aliens and ufo stuff, so this article tells me there is such a place.    If you want to know how remote it was back then, myself and two friends hiked with 100 lb. backpacks into the Sawtooth Forest for two weeks and could hear wolves howl, fought off biting giant horseflies with turpentine in our cutters and climbed mountains and glaciers with a map dating back to 1960, which was one of my best experiences in my life.].

7/26/2019 Pompeo says he’d go to Iran if needed as he asks U.S. allies to join maritime force
FILE PHOTO - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a joint news conference with President of El Salvador
Nayib Bukele at the Presidential House in San Salvador, El Salvador, July 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday he was willing to go to Iran for talks amid tensions between Tehran and Washington, but also called on Japan, Britain and other nations to join a maritime force to guard oil tankers sailing through the Strait of Hormuz.
    Asked if he would be willing to go to Tehran, Pompeo said in an interview with Bloomberg TV: “Sure.    If that’s the call, I’d happily go there… I would welcome the chance to speak directly to the Iranian people.”
    Tensions between Iran and the United States have ratcheted up since last year, when President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Iranian nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, saying it was not strong enough. Washington also reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
    Trump and Iranian leaders have both publicly said talks were possible, but the prospect for dialogue appeared to recede on Wednesday when the top military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran would not negotiate with Washington under any circumstances.
    The relationship between the two countries has come under increased strain over the past three months following attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz off the coast of Iran.
    In a separate interview broadcast by Fox News, Pompeo said that Washington had already asked Japan, France, Germany, South Korea, Australia and other nations to join a planned maritime security initiative in the Middle East.
    “Every country that has an interest in ensuring that those waterways are open and crude oil and other products can flow through the Strait of Hormuz needs to participate,” Pompeo said.
    A senior diplomat in Japan, Washington’s key Asian ally, told Reuters that Pompeo had talked with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by telephone on Friday, but that Japan was not in a position to decide if or how it could join any maritime force until the United Sates provided a blueprint of how such an operation would work.
    “We don’t know where they want to lead,” he said, asking not to be identified because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
    Pompeo’s comments came after Iran on Wednesday tested what appeared to be a medium-range ballistic missile that traveled about 1,000 km (620 miles), said a U.S. defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.    The test did not pose a threat to shipping or any U.S. personnel in the region, the official said.
(The story is refiled to fix typo in paragraph five.)
(Reporting by Makini Brice, David Brunnstrom and Idrees Ali in Washington and Tim Kelly in Tokyo; editing by Leslie Adler)

7/26/2019 DOJ investigation of Russia probe focusing on ‘smoking gun’ tapes of Papadopoulous by OAN Newsroom
    Attorney General William Barr’s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe is reportedly honing in on secret recordings of former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulous
    A pair of Department of Justice reportedly said the recordings may exonerate Papadopoulos.    Attorney General Barr and U.S. attorney John Durham are looking at why the evidence was not included in surveillance warrant applications.
    One source said the tapes are a “smoking gun,” while another alleges the recordings have Papadopoulos saying he did not have any contacts with Russia to obtain “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.    The former campaign aide has repeatedly stated he was not working with the Russians.
Former Donald Trump presidential campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos leaves federal court after he was
sentenced to fourteen days in prison, Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
    “All my work was actually dedicated to undermining Russian influence and interests throughout the world yet I find myself somehow as Patient Zero of a Russian conspiracy, and that was the moment when I realized how dominant and how manipulative PSYOPs ( psychological operation) are and unfortunately the media, in many ways, was complicit in this media disinformation campaign and that’s a travesty,” Papadopoulos stated.
    Barr and Durham are reportedly also trying to figure out the actual start date of the Russia probe after many reported discrepancies over the years.

7/26/2019 Speaker Pelosi: I’m not running out the clock on impeachment by OAN Newsroom
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears to be more open to an impeachment inquiry, following Robert Mueller’s” testimony on Capitol Hill.
    On Friday, reporters grilled Pelosi on whether she is running out the clock on impeachment ahead of the six-week August recess after her party failed to obtain a game-changing soundbite from the former special counsel.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill
in Washington, Friday, July 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Pelosi denied the speculation and claimed she knows what she is doing handling the matter:
    “No, I’m not trying to run out the clock.    Let’s get sophisticated about this.    Okay?    We will proceed when we have what we need to proceed, not one day sooner.    And everybody has the liberty and the luxury to espouse their own position and to criticize me for trying to go down the path in the most determined, positive way.    Again, their advocacy for impeachment only gives me leverage.    I have no complaint with what they are doing.”
    Democrats have faced mounting criticism from within the party due to Pelosi’s slow yet measured approach to move on impeachment.
[Pelosi seems to be the only one in Congress on the Democrat side that understands without proof of a crime you cannot impeach president Trump and even if they make a crime which is I assume what they will have to do, they still would not be able to impeach Trump because they could possibly not have enough votes in Congress, and if they did it would have to go to the Senate where they do not have enough votes to pass that, and even if it did it would have to go through another committee which would be doubtful also, as they are waisting their time and taxpayers dollars.].

7/26/2019 House Democrats vote to subpoena senior White House officials by OAN Newsroom
    House Democrats have authorized subpoenas for multiple senior White House officials.    On Thursday, the House Oversight Committee voted along party lines to allow chairman Elijah Cummings to issue subpoenas into official White House records.
    Specifically, Democrats want to probe whether Trump administration officials used their personal emails and text messages to handle classified information.    However, Republicans are blasting the decision by saying Democrats are unfairly targeting the president’s administration.
    “The issuance of this subpoena is purely for politics…I can’t think of a single reason for this request, this broad aside from wanting to pursue the emails of the president’s daughter and son-in-law,” stated Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).    “This subpoena is completely inappropriate and, frankly, an abuse of the committee’s authority.”
    The investigation into those documents was originally opened in 2017, and was accelerated as soon as Democrats took control of the House last year. This comes just before lawmakers go on August recess.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, listens as former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies to the House Judiciary Committee about his investigation
into Russian interference in the 2016 election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
[It is obvious that the Aerticle 1 House Oversight Committee Elijah Cummings are desparate by issuing subpoenas for White House records and I expect the Article 2 will not provide them with what they request to force them to go to the court system Article 3 which will drag that on into past the 2020 elections and things will change to better or worse.].

7/26/2019 President Trump celebrates 1 year anniversary of ‘Pledge to America’s Workers’ by OAN Newsroom
    The White House is celebrating the one year anniversary of President Trump’s initiative known as "Pledge to America’s Workers."
    The president signed the executive order last year, creating the National Council for the American Worker.    The goal is to increase training and education opportunities, which will contribute to more than 12 million new careers over the next five years.
President Donald Trump looks to Marillyn Hewson, Chairman, President and CEO, Lockheed Martin as she speaks during a “Pledge to America’s Workers
ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 25, 2019.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
    On Thursday morning, President Trump spoke on the initiative:
    “Companies have stepped up like Marillyn (Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin), thank you very much, Lockheed Martin.    Companies have stepped up to the plate, and so many companies have done thousands and thousands of jobs and the training for these jobs.”
    More than 300 companies signed the pledge, including General Motors, Home Depot and Microsoft.

7/26/2019 Army Gen. Stephen Townsend takes over command of AFRICOM by OAN Newsroom
Gen. Stephen Townsend is pictured in Wyvern, Mosul, Iraq. (Photo/ETHAN HUTCHINSON/U.S. ARMY handout)
    Army General Stephen Townsend officially takes the reins at United States Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM).
    The change of command ceremony took place Friday morning at a military base in Germany.
    Townsend was confirmed by a Senate vote back in April to replace Marine Corps General Thomas Waldhauser upon his retirement.
    The Army general will now oversee U.S. military relations with African nations, and coordinate security missions with regional partners.
    “To say that we ask a lot of this team ladies and gentlemen is an understatement,” stated Richard V. Spencer, U.S. Secretary of the Navy.    “If disenfranchisement, insecurity, and extremism flourish here, we can expect a very very dangerous tomorrow — not only in Africa, but also in America and Europe and across this world.”
    Townsend is the fifth commander of AFRICOM since it was established back in 2008.

7/26/2019 Spain’s socialists fail to form government as left-wing Podemos pulls support by OAN Newsroom
    Spain is inching closer to the fourth general election in the last five years as the nation’s socialist party fails to form a cabinet.
    In a vote in Spanish parliament Thursday, socialists failed to secure a backing by the left-wing Podemos to form a ruling coalition.    The two parties could not reach an agreement on social spending as well as the lingering issue regarding the independence of Catalonia.
    According to caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Podemos was asking for a greater role in the government than he could offer.    He claimed the demands made by Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias were too divisive.
Spain’s caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez sits on his parliamentary seat at the Spanish parliament
in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, July 25, 2019. Spain’s Socialist leader says that he has failed to reach a deal with the
far-left rival party that is key to him being able to form a new government. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
    “You continue to not understand, Mr. Iglesias, that what is needed is a government, one government,” stated Sanchez.    “A government that is coherent and cohesive, not two governments in one government.”
    Spain’s caretaker Prime Minister now has two more months to form a parliamentary majority.    If he fails, the country will be up for a new general election.

7/26/2019 Guatemala avoids Trump threat of sanctions with new migration deal by Steve Holland and Sofia Menchu
FILE PHOTO: Torn bag tags, issued by the Department of Homeland Security, are seen on the floor of a reception centre for returnees, after the
arrival of Guatemalan migrants from the United States, in Guatemala City, Guatemala July 12, 2019. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
    WASHINGTON/GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he agreed to drop the threat of economic sanctions against Guatemala after the country agreed to apply new migration measures to citizens from Honduras and El Salvador.
    The Trump administration has grappled with a surge of mainly Central American migrants claiming asylum at the United States’ southern border with Mexico, an influx that has made it difficult for Trump to restrict immigration as he promised when he was elected.
    Trump had wanted Guatemala to sign what is known as a safe third country agreement to require asylum seekers to first pursue safe haven in a third country through which they had traveled on the way to the United States.
    Guatemala’s Constitutional Court ruled that such a deal could not be signed without prior approval from the country’s Congress, which is on a summer recess.
    Trump told reporters on Friday that Guatemala had signed a safe third country agreement, but the Guatemalan government did not use that term.    It said that the new measures applied only to Honduran and Salvadoran citizens.
    “They’re doing what we’ve asked them to do,” Trump told reporters at the White House, calling Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales a “terrific guy.”
    “We have other great countries who are going to be signing on also,” he said, without providing further details.
    Trump threatened to impose tariffs, ban travelers and hit remittances with fees when the agreement fell through last week.
    Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told reporters at the White House the pact would protect “asylum seekers at the earliest possible point in their journey.”
    “If you have a Honduran family or an El Salvadoran national, instead of them having to pay a smuggler, come all the way to our border to seek asylum, when they arrive in Guatemala they’re in a country that has a fair proceeding for assessing asylum claims and that’s where they should make that claim,” McAleenan said.
    The Guatemalan government said in a statement that the deal would allow its citizens to apply for temporary visas to work in the U.S. agricultural sector, and in the medium- to long-term, would allow for work visas for the construction and service sectors.
    Morales said on Facebook that the agreement had headed off the threat of “drastic sanctions” against Guatemala.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Sofia Menchu; additional reporting by Eric Beech, Dave Graham, Frank Jack Daniel, Mohammad Zargham, Tim Ahmann; writing by Roberta Rampton; editing by Susan Thomas and Sonya Hepinstall)

7/26/2019 ‘Very unhelpful’: Ireland scolds British PM Johnson over Brexit by Ian Graham
FILE PHOTO: Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney attends the funeral service for murdered journalist
Lyra McKee in Belfast, Northern Ireland, April 24, 2019. Brian Lawless/Pool via REUTERS
    BELFAST (Reuters) – Ireland said on Friday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s approach to Brexit was “very unhelpful” and that the new     British leader appeared set on a collision course with the European Union that would preclude an orderly exit with a deal.
    Such biting criticism from Ireland, just two days since Johnson took office with a pledge to strike a new divorce deal with the EU, indicates the perils of the Brexit gambit chosen by Britain’s new government.
    On entering Downing Street on Wednesday, Johnson cautioned that if the EU refused to negotiate then he would take Britain out on Oct. 31 without a deal, a step that would send shock waves through the world economy.
    In an indication of business concerns about a disorderly exit from the EU, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said a no-deal Brexit was an existential threat to the British car industry and would risk output.
    Johnson spiced his pitch to the EU on Thursday by bluntly stating that one of the most hotly contested elements of the Brexit divorce agreement – the Irish border backstop – would have to be struck out if there was to be an orderly exit.
    Ireland’s second most powerful politician, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, said Johnson’s comments were “very unhelpful” and warned that the new British leader was not going to get a deal with such an approach.
    “He seems to have made a deliberate decision to set Britain on a collision course with the European Union and with Ireland in relation to the Brexit negotiations,” Coveney told reporters in Belfast after meeting Julian Smith, Britain’s Northern Ireland minister.
Smith later said he did not think a collision was looming.
    “We need to find solutions particularly for the issue of the border, but the prime minister was very, very clear to his cabinet yesterday that he wants to get a deal done,” he said.
    Further illustrating the delicate issues at stake, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said a British EU exit without a deal would raise the question of planning for a possible future unification of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a telephone conversation with Johnson on Friday and he has accepted her invitation to visit Berlin.    “He said the only solution that would allow us to make progress on a deal is to abolish the backstop,” a spokesman for Johnson said of the call.
    The stance from Berlin was frank.
    “My message to the new British prime minister is clear: ‘Boris, the election campaign is over.    Calm yourself down.    We should be fair with each other’,” Germany’s Europe Minister, Michael Roth, told ZDF television.
    “What do not help are new provocations.    Instead, dialogue – one must be able to expect that from the leader of a friendly nation, one that is still a member of the European Union.”
    Ireland is crucial to any Brexit solution.
    Though Ireland is only about an eighth of the size of the United Kingdom’s $2.8 trillion economy, Dublin is backed by the rest of the European Union whose economy – minus the United Kingdom – is worth $15.9 trillion.
    While Ireland would be very badly affected by a no-deal Brexit, the relative importance of Ireland in the negotiations up-ends almost a thousand years of history in which Dublin has traditionally had a much weaker hand than London.
    And the 500 km (300 mile) land border between Ireland and Britain’s province of Northern Ireland has always been the biggest stumbling block for an orderly Brexit.
    Johnson told the British parliament on Thursday he wanted to abolish the backstop, an insurance policy designed to prevent the return of border controls ended by the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.
    The Withdrawal Agreement that former Prime Minister Theresa May struck in November with the EU says the United Kingdom will remain in a customs union “unless and until” alternative arrangements are found to avoid a hard border.
    But many British lawmakers oppose the prospect of being bound to EU rules and customs duties that would prevent Britain doing its own trade deals and leave it overseen by EU judges.
    The EU says it will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement or the backstop protocol within it, but could rework the Political Declaration setting out post-Brexit trade terms that may offer a clearer way of avoiding the backstop.
    “The approach that the British prime minister seems to now be taking is not going to be the basis of an agreement, and that’s worrying for everybody,” Coveney said.
(Additional reporting by David Milliken, Alistair Smout, Costas Pitas and William James in London; Paul Carrel, Tassilo Hummel and Riham Alkousaa in Berlin; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

7/27/2019 Oil up $0.14 to $56.16, DOW up 51 to 27,192.

7/27/2019 Trump’s border wall advances - US high court unfreezes $2.5B in Pentagon funds by Jessica Gresko, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court cleared the way Friday for the Trump administration to tap billions of dollars in Pentagon funds to build sections of a border wall with Mexico.    The court’s five conservative justices gave the administration the green light to begin work on four contracts it has awarded using Defense Department money.    Funding for the projects had been frozen by lower courts. The court’s four liberal justices wouldn’t have allowed construction to start.
    The decision to lift the freeze allows Trump to make progress on a major 2016 campaign promise in his race for a second term.    Trump tweeted after the announcement: “Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall.    The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed.    Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!
    A trial court initially froze the funds in May and an appeals court kept that freeze in place earlier this month.    The freeze had prevented the government from tapping approximately $2.5 billion in Defense Department money to replace existing sections of barrier in Arizona, California and New Mexico with more robust fencing.
    The case the Supreme Court ruled on began after the 35-day partial government shutdown that started in December of last year.    Trump ended the shutdown in February after Congress gave him approximately $1.4 billion in border wall funding. But the amount was far less than the $5.7 billion he was seeking, and Trump then declared a national emergency to take cash from other government accounts to use to construct sections of wall.    The money Trump identified includes $3.6 billion from military construction funds, $2.5 billion in Defense Department money and $600 million from the Treasury Department’s asset forfeiture fund.
    The suit at the Supreme Court challenging the use of the Defense Department funds was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition.    The case involved just the $2.5 billion in Defense Department funds, which the administration said would be used to construct more than 100 miles of fencing. One project would replace 46 miles of barrier in New Mexico for $789 million.    Another would replace 63 miles in Arizona for $646 million.    The other two projects in California and Arizona are smaller.
    The other funds were not at issue in the case. The Treasury Department funds have so far survived legal challenges, and Customs and Border Protection has earmarked the money for work in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley but has not yet awarded contracts.    Transfer of the $3.6billion in military construction funds is waiting on approval from the defense secretary.

7/27/2019 Sandmann suit against Washington Post tossed - Federal judge ruled newspaper had right to report point of view by Max Londberg, USA TODAY NETWORK
    The $250 million lawsuit filed by Nick Sandmann against the Washington Post has been dismissed by a federal judge.
    U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman, who heard oral arguments earlier this month, issued the ruling on Friday in the case that garnered national attention after Sandmann became embroiled in a divisive response to an encounter between him and his Covington Catholic High classmates and Native Americans on the National Mall.
    The Washington Post, in a statement, said it was pleased by the dismissal.
    “From our first story on this incident to our last, we sought to report fairly and accurately the facts that could be established from available evidence, the perspectives of all of the participants, and the comments of the responsible church and school officials,” The Post said through a spokesperson.
    The Sandmann family plans to appeal Bertelsman’s ruling, according to a statement sent to the The Enquirer, part of the USA TODAY Network, by Sandmann’s attorneys, Todd McMurtry and L. Lin Wood.
    The January encounter led to threats lobbed at Sandmann, who would later appear on national television to say he felt he’d done nothing wrong.
    “I believe fighting for justice for my son and family is of vital national importance,” his father, Ted Sandmann, said in a statement.    “If what was done to Nicholas is not legally actionable, then no one is safe.”
    But David Marburger, a Clevelandbased attorney who spent decades representing various media outlets, agreed with the ruling, saying he questioned the validity of Sandmann’s claim from the outset.
    “As a libel lawyer, I thought his claims were quite weak,” Marburger said, “so it’s renewed confidence in the judiciary that the judge would dismiss this case ... by applying the settled law to the allegedly libelous publication.    And rule in favor of the press.”
    Sandmann and his attorneys had alleged that the gist of The Washington Post’s first article conveyed that Sandmann had assaulted or physically intimidated Phillips and engaged in racist conduct.
    Bertelsman ruled such claims were “not supported by the plain language in the article, which states none of these things.”    Bertelsman accepted Sandmann’s assertion that he was only standing motionless across from Phillips, without ill intent.
    But the Eastern District of Kentucky judge ruled that Phillips, who told the media he felt threatened, had a First Amendment right to express his opinion.    “He concluded that he was being blocked and not allowed to retreat,” Bertelsman wrote.
    In an earlier motion, The Post wrote that Phillips “was entitled to offer his subjective point of view, and the Post had a right to report it.”
    Wood, Sandmann’s attorney, said in a statement that “many strong appellate issues” could return the case to federal court for trial.
    Sandmann has also sued CNN and NBC.    Before Friday’s dismissal, he was seeking more than three-quarters of $1 billion against the three media companies.    The cases against CNN and NBC remain pending as of Friday afternoon.

7/26/2019 Trump says China may try to delay trade deal until 2020 election by Steve Holland and Jeff Mason
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday offered a pessimistic view on reaching a trade deal with China, saying Beijing may not sign one before the November 2020 election in hopes a Democrat who will be easier to deal with, will win.
    During a wide-ranging session with reporters in the Oval Office, Trump said China is using stalling tactics and he doubted a trade deal will be reached any time soon, with lead negotiators for the two countries to meet in Shanghai next week.
    Trump has been tough on Chinese trade practices throughout his presidency and has levied billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese imports and threatened another $325 billion if no progress is reached.
    China levied tariffs of its own against U.S. products and together the two countries have disrupted global supply chains and shaken financial markets in their dispute over how China does business with the rest of the world.
    Trump said China may be delaying a deal in a bid to wait him out in the hope a Democrat wins in November 2020.
    “I think that China will probably say ‘let’s wait,'” he said.    “‘Let’s see if one of these people who gives the United States away, let’s see if one of them could get elected.'”
    He said the Chinese leadership is probably thinking, “Maybe we can deal with another dope or another stiff” instead of him.
    The White House said on Wednesday that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for talks in Shanghai starting on July 30.
    It would be their first face-to-face meeting since Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to revive talks to end their yearlong trade war.
    Talks collapsed in May after China reneged on promises made in earlier negotiations, U.S. government and private-sector sources said at the time.
    “I don’t know if they’re going to make a deal,” Trump said of his negotiators.    “Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.”
    He said he did not really care, because the United States is taking in billions in tariffs.
    While Trump insists the tariffs are beneficial to U.S. Treasury coffers, in reality the costs are passed on to U.S. companies and consumers.
    “We haven’t even taxed China yet compared to what I can do,” he said.    “We have tens of billions of dollars rolling in from China,” he said.
    White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said he does not expect a grand deal from next week’s trade talks with China but U.S. negotiators hoped to reset the stage for further productive talks on reducing trade barriers.
    “They’re going to meet next week in Shanghai,” Kudlow said in an interview with CNBC.    “I wouldn’t expect any grand deal.    I think, talking to our negotiators, they’re going to kind of reset the stage and hopefully go back to where the talks left off last May.”     “We were doing well. No deal yet, but still on the structural issues, regarding IP (intellectual property) theft, forced transfer of technology, cyber interference, trade and non-trade, tariff barriers and so forth, certainly the enforcement mechanisms,” Kudlow added.     “But if we were 90 percent there with 10 percent to go … I think our negotiators want to go back to that spot.”
    Kudlow said the United States strongly expected China to make goodwill purchases of U.S. agricultural products.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Jeff Mason, additional reporting by Makini Brice; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Chris Reese)

7/27/2019 UK PM Johnson tells EU: ditch backstop or face no-deal Brexit by William James
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets graduates from a West Midlands Police
training centre in Birmingham, Britain July 26, 2019. Jack Hill/Pool via REUTERS
    MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson cautioned the European Union on Saturday that the “anti-democratic” Irish backstop must be ditched if they were to strike a Brexit divorce deal.
    Johnson, since taking office on Wednesday, has repeatedly said that if the EU continues to refuse to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement agreed by his predecessor Theresa May, then he will take Britain out on Oct. 31 without a deal.
    His biggest demand is that the most hotly-contested element of the Brexit divorce agreement, the Irish border backstop, be struck out of the Withdrawal Agreement, a demand that has angered Ireland and perturbed other EU capitals.
    “If we get rid of the backstop, whole and entire, then we are making a lot of progress,” Johnson said, when asked if it was only the Irish border backstop that he wanted changed.
    Speaking before a Stephenson’s Rocket, a 19th century steam locomotive, in the northern England city of Manchester, Johnson dedicated most of his speech to improving public services, transport and the internet and driving up economic growth.
    “Our post-industrial towns have a proud, great heritage but an even greater future.    Their best years lie ahead of them,” he said, announcing new long-term rail links and promising immediate improvements to bus services.
    That message, aimed at what Johnson called “left behind” towns, is seen as the early stages of an election campaign, even though Britain is not due a parliamentary election until 2022 and Johnson is adamant he will not hold one before Brexit.
    His Conservative Party does not have a majority in parliament, is divided over how to deliver Brexit and under threat of a no-confidence vote when parliament returns in September.
    European leaders are prepared to talk with Britain’s new leader over Brexit but have so far insisted they will not reopen the Withdrawal Agreement.    Many EU diplomats think the United Kingdom will hold a snap election soon.     Johnson, who discussed Brexit with U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday, brushed aside those concerns.
    “My friends, I do not want a no-deal Brexit, that is not where we’re aiming, but we have to face the fact that at the moment we’re being told, as we have been told for the last three year ‘rien ne va plus’ – ‘the deal is fixed’ – and can’t be changed.    I doubt that,” he said.
    Nevertheless, investors fear a no-deal exit would send shock waves through global markets and hurt the world’s economy.
    Ireland is crucial to any Brexit solution.
    The backstop is an insurance policy designed to prevent the return of border controls along the 500-km (300-mile) land border between Ireland and Britain’s province of Northern Ireland that were ended by the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.
    Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said the question of the unification of Ireland and Northern Ireland would inevitably arise if Britain leaves the EU without a divorce deal on Oct. 31.
    “The approach of the UK government is not going to be disengaged or aloof or waiting for them to come to us: we are going to try to solve this problem and we are going to do it in a spirit of friendship and cooperation,” Johnson said.
    “But we can’t do it as long as that anti-democratic backstop, that backstop that seeks to divide our country, divide the UK, remains in place,” he said. “We need to get it out and then we can make progress, I think.”
    The Withdrawal Agreement that May struck in November with the EU says the United Kingdom will remain in a customs union “unless and until” alternative arrangements are found to avoid a hard border.
    Many British lawmakers oppose the prospect of being bound to EU rules and customs duties that would prevent Britain doing its own trade deals and leave it overseen by EU judges.
(Reporting by William James, Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Janet Lawrence)

7/28/2019 Trump attacks critic, takes aim at Baltimore - Seeks probe of ‘rat and rodent infested mess’ by Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Saturday vented on Twitter about a political adversary, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and assailed the city of Baltimore.
    “Rep. Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous,” Trump wrote.
    Trump continued by saying conditions on the border were “clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded,” whereas Cummings’ district was “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” Trump did not present evidence for this claim about the district.
    Cummings, who has been a prominent Trump critic, represents part of Baltimore and its suburbs.    According to census data, Cummings’ district, the 7th District of Maryland, is 53% black and has an average household income of $60,929.
    Trump said the district was the “worst run and most dangerous” in the U.S. and called for an investigation into the “corrupt mess” in the district.
    Cummings responded later Saturday morning on Twitter, writing “it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents” and asking Trump to act on prescription drug prices.
    “Mr. President, I go home to my district daily.    Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors,” Cummings said.    “It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch.    But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”
    He continued, “Two years ago, I went to the White House to ask you to endorse my bill to let the government negotiate directly for lower drug prices.    You told me then that you supported the legislation and that you would work with me to make it happen.    I took you at your word.”
    Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young called Trump “a disappointment to the people of Baltimore, our country, and to the world.”
    Earlier Saturday morning, “Fox and Friends” aired a segment on Cummings’ “dangerous district” in which Republican strategist Kimberly Klacik discuss- ed allegedly downtrodden conditions in West Baltimore.    Klacik said Trump saw her segment before tweeting.
    “The President saw my work.    This just made my day,” Klacik wrote.
    As chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Cummings has taken on a prominent role in criticizing Trump administration policies.    On July 18, Cummings’ committee held a hearing about the federal government’s treatment of migrants in detention during which Cummings sharply critiqued acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan.
    “The damage that the Trump administration has inflicted – and is continuing to inflict – will impact these children for the rest of their lives,” Cummings told McAleenan, referring to the detention of young migrants.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., center, “has been a brutal bully,” President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Saturday. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP

7/28/2019 Assuming EU will not budge, Britain ramps up preparations for no-deal Brexit by Kylie MacLellan
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures during a speech on domestic priorities at the
Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, Britain July 27, 2019. Lorne Campbell/Pool via REUTERS
    LONDON (Reuters) – The British government is working on the assumption that the European Union will not renegotiate its Brexit deal and is ramping up preparations to leave the bloc on Oct. 31 without an agreement, senior ministers said on Sunday.
    Boris Johnson, who took over as British prime minister on Wednesday with a promise to deliver Brexit by the end of October “no ifs or buts”, plans to seek a new exit deal with the EU.    The EU has said repeatedly that the deal cannot be reopened.
    Leading Brexit supporter Michael Gove, who Johnson has put in charge of ‘no deal’ preparations, wrote in the Sunday Times newspaper that the government would undertake “intensive efforts” to secure a better deal from the EU.
    “We still hope they will change their minds, but we must operate on the assumption that they will not … No deal is now a very real prospect and we must make sure that we are ready,” Gove wrote.
    “Planning for no deal is now this government’s no. 1 priority,” he said, adding “every penny needed” for no deal preparations would be made available.
    Gove said the government would be launching “one of the biggest peacetime public information campaigns this country has seen” to get people and businesses ready for a ‘no deal’ exit.
    The Sunday Times reported that Dominic Cummings, the mastermind behind the 2016 referendum campaign to leave the EU and now a senior aide to Johnson, told a meeting of the prime minister’s advisers that he had been tasked with delivering Brexit “by any means necessary.”
    has set up a “” of six senior ministers to make decisions on Brexit and is preparing for a no-deal emergency budget in the week of Oct. 7, the newspaper added.
    Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, new finance minister Sajid Javid said: “In my first day in office … I tasked officials to urgently identify where more money needs to be invested to get Britain fully ready to leave on October 31 – deal or no deal. And next week I will be announcing significant extra funding to do just that.”
    Javid, a former interior minister, said this would include funding for 500 new Border Force officers.
    Asked by Sky News where the money would be coming from, junior Treasury minister Rishi Sunak said it was “not a blank cheque” for spending but that Britain could afford to borrow more.
    Johnson has said the Irish backstop, an insurance policy designed to prevent the return of a hard border between EU-member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland by provisionally keeping Britain in a customs union with the EU, must be removed from any Brexit deal.
    It was one of the most hotly contested elements of the divorce agreement his predecessor Theresa May reached with the EU, and opposition to it was a key driver behind the deal being rejected three times by parliament.
    “You can’t just reheat the dish that’s been sent back and expect that will make it more palatable,” Gove wrote.    “We need a new approach and a different relationship.    Critically, we need to abolish the backstop.”
    Lawmakers from opposition parties and the governing Conservative Party have threatened to try and block Johnson taking Britain out of the EU without a divorce deal.
    The Observer newspaper reported that former finance minister Philip Hammond, who quit last week before Johnson took office, held talks with the opposition Labour Party about how to stop a no-deal Brexit.
    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Sunday his party would do everything it could to prevent the country leaving the EU without a deal.
    Although Johnson has been adamant he will not hold an election before Brexit, his Conservative Party does not have a majority in parliament, is divided over Brexit and under threat of a no-confidence vote when parliament returns in September.
    Speculation of an early election to break the deadlock is likely to be fuel led by a YouGov opinion poll in the Sunday Times, which showed the Conservatives had opened up a 10-point lead over Labour since Johnson took over.
    “That is not what we want, that is not what the prime minister wants,” Sunak said when asked about the possibility of an election.
(Editing by Janet Lawrence)

7/28/2019 Mexico to help create 20,000 jobs in Honduras to curb migration
FILE PHOTO: People belonging to a caravan of migrants from Honduras en route to the United States
walk by an immigration checkpoint in Huehuetan, Mexico April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s government said on Saturday it would help Honduras create 20,000 jobs this year and support its coffee farmers as the two countries seek to curb migration to the United States that has created tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump.
    Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his Honduran counterpart, Juan Orlando Hernandez, pledged to work together to lift prosperity in Central America, where poverty and violence have fueled an exodus of people north.
    That migration has angered Trump, who has made border security a priority, and issued economic threats against Mexico and Central America if more is not done to contain the flows.
    Speaking after the Honduran and Mexican leaders met in the eastern state of Veracruz, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Lopez Obrador had given instructions to help Honduras create 20,000 jobs between now and December.
    He did not provide further details, but afterwards the two presidents offered more insights into their plans in speeches in the eastern city of Minatitlan.
    Hernandez said he was hoping a “great international coalition for mass job creation” in Central America could be forged, while Lopez Obrador stressed that Mexico would support the region with funds and employment schemes.
    In particular, Lopez Obrador said, Mexico would assist Honduran coffee farmers, whose businesses have suffered this year from a drop in international prices.
    “We’ll help improve coffee production in whatever is needed,” he said, “so you have no problem selling coffee.”
    Lopez Obrador did not offer more details, but also said schemes he has championed in Mexico to create jobs via youth apprenticeships and tree planting would come to Honduras too.
    There has been a surge this year in migrant apprehensions on the U.S. southern border with Mexico.    Most of the people caught trying to enter the United States illegally come from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
    On Friday, Trump said he had reached a deal with Guatemala to curb migration, though that plan was called into question on Saturday by the two politicians vying to become Guatemala’s next president in an election next month.
(Reporting by Noe Torres and Dave Graham; Editing by Richard Chang)

7/29/2019 Trump’s top intel aide Dan Coats will step down by John Fritze, David Jackson and Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is stepping down soon after a tenure that featured clashes with President Donald Trump over Russia, North Korea, and other national security issues.
    Trump confirmed the departure Sunday.    The president also announced he will replace Coats with Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas. Trump said Coats will leave office on Aug. 15.     “I would like to thank Dan for his great service to our Country,” Trump said.     As for his new nominee to the post, Trump noted on Twitter that Ratcliffe is a former U.S. attorney who “will lead and inspire greatness for the Country he loves.”     The Senate must still confirm Ratcliffe as the new director of national intelligence.     Coats has clashed with Trump, and the former Indiana senator has widely been considered among the most vulnerable members of the president’s administration – even as both have downplayed talk of tension.     At a time when Trump was repeatedly describing the situation on the U.S.-Mexico border as a national security crisis, Coats declined to include immigration as a major threat facing the country when he spoke to lawmakers in January.    Coats also appeared to break with the White House on North Korea, asserting that Pyongyang was unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons program.     Coats, a Republican who served in the Senate in the 1990s and again in 2010, was appointed in 2017, to serve as the director of national intelligence, succeeding James Clapper.

7/29/2019 Oil loses ground on pessimism over U.S.-China trade talks by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin
A boat is seen close to oil installations at Lake Maracaibo in Cabimas, Venezuela
October 5, 2017. Picture taken October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Isaac Urrutia
    LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices weakened on Monday amid pessimism over U.S.-China trade talks and the prospect of slower economic growth globally that could reduce demand for crude.
    Brent crude futures were down 21 cents at $63.25 a barrel by 0850 GMT. Prices rose 1.6% last week.
    U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was down 7 cents at $56.13 a barrel. WTI gained 1% last week
    Economic growth in the United States slowed less than expected in the second quarter with a boom in consumer spending, strengthening the outlook for oil consumption.
    But non-U.S. growth is slowing faster, due partly to the country’s trade war with China over the last year.
    “Fragile economic growth caused by the confrontational and protectionist U.S. trade policy is having a profound impact on oil demand and oil demand growth,” PVM analyst Tamas Varga said.
    U.S. and Chinese negotiators meet this week for the first time since trade talks broke down in May, but expectations are low after President Donald Trump said China might not want to sign a trade deal until after the 2020 U.S. election.
    “Even though the crude oil supply picture is fundamentally tight … and geopolitical risks front and center, the market remains extremely bearish around demand risks due to the escalation in protectionist trade policies and the risk of additional punitive tariffs,” said Emily Ashford, director of energy research at Standard Chartered.
    Traders and investors are also focused on meetings of major central banks – including the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is expected to lower interest rates.
(Graphic: Trade tensions boost U.S. rate-cut expectations –
    Crude prices were still supported by supply risk as tensions remain high around the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil passageway.
.     Britain warned Iran on Monday that it must follow international rules and release a British-flagged vessel seized in the Gulf this month.
    Defying the pressure, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards published new footage of the seizure of the tanker.
    U.S. energy companies last week reduced the number of oil rigs operating for a fourth week in a row, putting the rig count down for an eighth consecutive month.
(Graphic: U.S. Rig count –
(Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; Editing by Dale Hudson)

7/29/2019 Rep. John Ratcliffe named DNI, replacing Dan Coats who will step down on August 15th by OAN Newsroom
    There’s another shake-up in the Trump administration, with the latest move likely having a trickle-effect throughout the rest of the government.
    On Sunday, President Trump announced Republican Representative John Ratcliffe will take over as Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Ratcliffe has long been considered to be a Trump ally, but apparently made an impression during his interrogation of Robert Mueller. He had this to say during the hearing:
    Can you give me an example, other than Donald Trump, where the Justice Department determined that an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined?    …You can’t find it because, I’ll tell you why, it doesn’t exist.”
Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas., asks questions to former special counsel Robert Mueller, as he testifies
before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference,
on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    The Texas congressman was already a rising star in the Republican Party after winning his election with more than 70-percent of the vote in the 2018 midterms.    Ratcliffe was facing off against other high profile officials for the job, including chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford.    He also challenged Fred Fleitz, the former Chief of Staff for National Security Adviser John Bolton.
    Ratcliffe will now be elevated to a post where the current official, Dan Coats, has often been at odds with the president and his administration.    Perhaps the most memorable event during his tenure was his response after learning President Trump invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House.    When asked about the invitation he laughed and acted as if it were a joke.    Coats later said he meant no disrespect to the White House and admitted the exchange was somewhat awkward.
    Nonetheless, the incident was used to highlight a lack of coordination between the White House and the intelligence community with Coats often being the bearer of bad news.    President Trump was vocal about his disagreements with Coats, reportedly telling him behind the scenes to stay quiet about threats of Russian meddling and even calling him out publicly in certain settings.
    The latest change at the DNI could be a sign that the president is looking to downsize the department altogether in order to concentrate information sharing efforts.    Coats is expected to leave the department on Thursday, August 15th with the president saying an active director will be named in the near future.

7/29/2019 Papadopoulos heads to Greece to return $10K used in alleged set-up by OAN Newsroom
    Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos is going to Greece to return $10,000 given to him for reasons he believes constitute as entrapment.    Papadopoulos claims the money is marked bills, and was given to him in a plot by the Obama-era FBI and CIA to charge him with a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.    The money aroused suspicion with Papadopoulos, prompting him to turn it into his lawyer where it has been stored in a safe.
    “They were looking to make a conspiracy case, using me with this fake information to then hurt Trump…what they were trying to do is fabricate a conspiracy among the Trump campaign and President Trump using their own people,” he explained.
    Papadopoulos specifically requested the Department of Justice look at the dollar bills given to him due to the department’s probe into the origins of the Russia probe, with Papadopoulos being used as a reason to start an investigation.    The money is believed to be supplemental evidence as the Justice Department is getting closer to acquiring transcripts of recorded conversations between Papadopoulos and an alleged informant of the FBI — Stefan Halper.
George Papadopoulos, a former member of the foreign policy panel to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, poses
for a photo before a TV interview in New York, New York, U.S., March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegr
    All my work was actually dedicated to undermining Russian influence and interests throughout the world yet I find myself somehow as Patient Zero of a Russian conspiracy, and that was the moment when I realized how dominant and how manipulative PSYOPs (psychological operations) are,” said the former Trump campaign aide.
    Papadopoulos was approached by a man named Joseph Mifsud in 2016, who told him about Russian knowledge of dirt on Clinton.    Papadopoulos then urged a Department of Justice investigation into the Obama-era FBI’s role in starting the Russia probe and fueling the “collusion hoax.”

7/29/2019 Rep. Nadler refuses to provide impeachment timetable by OAN Newsroom
    House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler said the goal of impeaching President Trump is still on the table.    In a recent interview, Nadler said his committee has several drafts of an impeachment resolution.
    “We are conducting investigations to determine whether we should report those impeachment resolutions to the House or direct our own and report those to the House,” he stated.    “We’re considering those resolutions, we’ll make a determination after we get more evidence as to the president’s crimes that we had from the Mueller report and also from other things.”
    However, the New York Democrat declined to provide a timetable for an official impeachment inquiry and didn’t say if his panel would pursue such a path.
    Rep. Nadler “Today, @HouseJudiciary is filing a petition for 6e grand jury materials where we made clear to the court that we are considering impeachment, along with other options, under our Article I powers.    Congress must hold this President accountable. [ …]”
    Nadler reiterated that he believes President Trump must be impeached regardless of the mounting criticism of such efforts.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler is pictured. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

7/29/2019 Delaney announces mandatory national service plan, would require all Americans over 18 to serve country by OAN Newsroom
    2020 hopeful John Delaney recently unveiled a new plan to institute mandatory national service if he is elected president.    On Sunday, the former Maryland congressman announced the mandatory national service plan, which would require every American over the age of 18 to serve the country for at least one year.
    Under the plan, Americans would choose from one of four options: the military, a community service program, a new national infrastructure apprenticeship program, or a newly created climate corps.
Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., speaks during the
National Urban League Conference, Thursday, July 25, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
    The Democrat presidential contender says the proposal would benefit the nation, and create a nationwide sense of service and patriotism:
    “I think this would be transformative.    It would unify the country.    It would allow kids to mix with each other from all over the country, so kids from New York would mix with kids from Iowa down in New Orleans building some park…and I think we’d be so proud of ourselves.”
    Under the proposal, Americans would also receive two or three years of free tuition at a public university in exchange for one or two years of paid public service.
[It would also give those who are not that big of a group that have joined ANTIFA{CIST} a job and get them out of their parents basement and hopefully make real men out of them someday instead of wimps beating up on people with a baseball bat who cannot defend themselves.].

7/29/2019 U.S. & China keeping expectations low for this week’s trade talks by OAN Newsroom
    U.S. and Chinese negotiators are reportedly keeping their expectations low heading into this week’s round of trade talks.    The goal of Tuesday’s meeting in Shanghai” will be to find agreement on “goodwill gestures” in order to move the negotiation process forward.
    This may include China boosting its purchases of U.S. agricultural products and Washington easing restrictions on telecom giant Huawei.
FILE – In this May 13, 2019, file photo, commuters walk by the new Huawei P30 smartphone advertisement on
display inside a subway station in Beijing. Two months after U.S.-Chinese talks aimed at ending a tariff war
broke down, both sides are trying to temper hopes for a breakthrough when negotiations resume Tuesday,
July 30, 2019 on an array of disputes that has grown to include tension over Chinese tech giant Huawei. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
    “What I know is that both sides are working hard to implement the consensus that the two leaders agreed to in Osaka, and are now about to hold the 12th round of high level China-U.S. economy and trade negotiations,” stated Hua Chunying, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry.    “We also hope, of course, that the U.S. takes specific measures to fulfill its commitment for further progress in the economic cooperation for both sides and create positive conditions.”
    This will be the first round of face-to-face talks since the G20 meeting.    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead the U.S. delegation in Shanghai.

7/29/2019 Venezuela is terrorist sanctuary: Colombian president
FILE PHOTO: Colombia's President Ivan Duque gives a speech during the swearing-in ceremony of a new
Congress in Bogota, Colombia, July 20, 2019. Courtesy of Colombian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS
    BOGOTA (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has turned his country into a terrorist sanctuary and committed the grave error of protecting guerrilla groups and drug traffickers, Colombian President Ivan Duque said on Monday, as tensions between the neighboring countries escalated once again.
    The comments came after Maduro said on Sunday that two missing former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) commanders sought by Colombian judicial authorities were “welcome in Venezuela.”
    Tensions have worsened since Duque joined the United States and most Latin American countries in recognizing Juan Guaido, president of     Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly, as the country’s rightful leader, arguing that Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate.
    “What we are seeing is that not only has (Maduro) harbored Colombian terrorists for many years, but he ratifies more and more that Venezuela is a sanctuary for terrorists and drug traffickers,” Duque said in Shanghai, China, where he is on an official visit.
    Maduro said over the weekend that Seuxis Paucias Hernandez and Luciano Marin, known respectively by their nom de guerres Jesus Santrich and Ivan Marquez, were “leaders of peace.”
    Santrich and Marquez both joined the FARC’s political party after the leftist rebel group demobilized under a 2016 peace deal that ended decades of civil war.    They were set to serve in congressional seats reserved for the group.
    But Marquez went missing last year after his nephew was arrested and taken to the United States to cooperate with drug-trafficking investigators.
    Earlier this month Colombia’s Supreme Court ordered Santrich’s arrest after he failed to appear for questioning about U.S. drug-trafficking charges.
    “There is not one doubt that Santrich is protected by that dictatorial regime,” Duque said of Venezuela.    “This is one more motivation to keep strengthening the diplomatic blockade.”
    Duque has repeatedly said Santrich might have fled to Venezuela.    Maduro said on Sunday he had learned of Santrich’s possible presence in Venezuela from Duque’s statement.
    Colombian authorities believe dissident FARC rebels, who did not demobilize under the peace accord, and fighters for the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group hide in Venezuela and receive protection from Maduro.    Maduro’s government has denied protecting rebels.
    Maduro, who calls Guaido a U.S. puppet seeking to oust him in a coup, broke off diplomatic relations with Bogota in February after Guaido’s failed attempt to bring humanitarian aid into Venezuela via the Colombian border.
(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Dan Grebler)

7/29/2019 Former President Obama supports anti-Trump op-ed, admin. spying on Trump campaign by OAN Newsroom
    Former President Obama and his administration have continued seemingly hypocritical attacks on President Trump despite new scrutiny over his illegal oversight of the Trump campaign.
    In an interview Sunday, RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called on attorney general William Barr to “get to the bottom” of the Obama administration’s spying on then-candidate Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.    In discussing Barr’s investigation, she pointed to the Democrat-funded Steele dossier and hypocrisy within the left for failing to address spying on the Trump campaign.
    “President Obama’s administration — under his FBI — they deployed spies to the Trump campaign, they put FISA warrants on campaign operatives — I mean, this is horrific.    Think if President Trump did this right now to any Democrat candidate through his administration?    We need to find why they did that, how they would have the authority to spy on his campaign, and why didn’t they just go to candidate Trump and say we’re afraid that foreign actors are trying to infiltrate your campaign, can you work with us to make sure that doesn’t happen?” — Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman – RNC
Former Democrat President Barack Obama is pictured. (AP Photo)
    Obama recently seemed to up the ante on his criticism of the president as he took to Twitter to promote an anti-Trump op-ed by the Washington Post over the weekend.    In the piece, 149 of Obama’s former White House aides accused President Trump of “poisoning American democracy.”    It also took aim at the president’s supporters by calling them “racist, xenophobic and homophobic.”
    The authors also cite “relentless attacks” on the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency, but their attacks on President Trump seem to rebuke Obama’s call for caution on labeling people.
    The Obama-endorsed op-ed ends by telling readers to “expect more.”    In the meantime, it remains unclear whether or not an investigation will be launched.
[Your time is coming Obama since you are no longer a president you can be indicted for criminal activity in the office and I hope it brings to life all the crimes committed by you using the Intelligence systems against Americans and individuals in foreign countries and the race card is not going to save you.].

7/29/2019 Death toll in Brazil prison massacre rises to 57 with over a dozen decapitated
Prisoners are seen during a riot at a prison in the city of Altamira, Para, Brazil in this still image
from a social media video taken on July 29, 2019. VIDEO OBTAINED BY REUTERS /via REUTERS
    SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – A bloody clash between two prison gangs on Monday left at least 57 inmates dead with 16 of them decapitated, authorities in the state of Para said, the latest deadly clash as Brazil’s government struggles to control the country’s overcrowded jails.
    State authorities said the riot began around 7 a.m. local time (1000 GMT) at a prison in the northern city of Altamira, and involved rival gangs.
    Prisoners belonging to the Comando Classe A gang set fire to a cell containing inmates from the rival Comando Vermelho, or Red Command, gang, Para’s state government said in a statement.
    Most of the dead died in the fire, they said, while two guards were taken hostage, but later released.
    “It was a targeted act,” state prison director Jarbas Vasconcelos said in the statement, adding there was no prior intelligence that suggested an attack would take place.
    “The aim was to show that it was a settling of accounts between the two gangs.”
Videos circulating online showed inmates at the prison celebrating as they kicked decapitated heads across the floor.    Reuters was unable, however, to independently verify the footage.
    Elected on a tough-on-crime message, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has benefited from a sharp drop in homicides so far this year.    Nonetheless, endemic prison violence has been a stubborn public security challenge in one of the world’s most violent countries.
    In May, at least 55 inmates died during prison attacks in the northern state of Amazonas.    Weeks of violence in Amazonas in 2017 resulted in 150 prison deaths as local gangs backed by Brazil’s two largest drug factions went to war.
    Brazil’s justice ministry said in a statement that it was working with Para authorities to identify those behind the latest attack, adding it had opened some space in the federal prison system where those gang leaders would be transferred.
    Brazil’s incarcerated population has surged eight-fold in three decades to around 750,000 inmates, the world’s third-highest tally.     Prison gangs originally formed to protect inmates and advocate for better conditions, but have come to wield vast power that reaches far beyond prison walls.
    The gangs have been linked to bank heists, drug trafficking and gun-running, with jailed kingpins presiding over criminal empires via smuggled cellphones.
    In the country’s violent northeast, prison gangs have grown powerful by moving cocaine from Colombia and Peru along the Amazon’s waterways to the Atlantic coast, where it heads to Africa and Europe.    Murderous disputes often arise as they clash over territorial control.
    The Red Command hails from Rio de Janeiro, but has expanded deep into northern Brazil as it seeks to diversify its income.    That expansion has often led to confrontations with Brazil’s largest and most powerful gang, the First Capital Command, headquartered in Sao Paulo.
    The Comando Classe A gang is seen as a relatively small gang, and is little known outside Para.    Its high-profile attack against the Red Command could give it a nationwide reputation.
    Bolsonaro’s government has proposed moving powerful incarcerated drug lords to federal lockups, and building more prisons at the state level.    But with the vast majority of prisons run by Brazil’s overstretched state governments, Bolsonaro is likely limited in terms of what he can achieve from Brasilia.
    In February, Justice Minister Sergio Moro unveiled his signature crime-fighting bill, including proposals to toughen prison sentences and isolate gang leaders in maximum-security lockups.
    That bill has since struggled in Congress, with the government giving its pension reform legislation priority.
(Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun and Eduardo Simoes; editing by Gabriel Stargardter, Christian Plumb, Dan Grebler, David Gregorio and G Crosse)

7/30/2019 Oil up $0.67 to $56.67, DOW up 29 to 27,221.

7/30/2019 Sen. majority leader calls ‘Moscow Mitch’ nickname modern McCarthyism by OAN Newsroom
    Senator Mitch McConnell is firing back at accusations from liberal lawmakers over his record of holding Russia accountable.    While speaking on the floor of the upper chamber this week, the majority leader slammed a Washington Post op-ed which called him a “Russian asset.”    In response to this, McConnell said he will not be intimidated over what he denounced as “baseless smears.”
    “Over the last several days I was called unpatriotic, un-American and essentially treasonous by a couple of left-wing pundits on the basis of boldfaced lies,” he stated.    “I was accused of aiding and abetting the very man I’ve singled out as an adversary and opposed for nearly 20 years: Vladimir Putin.”
Democrat members of Congress and liberal news outlets began running with “Moscow Mitch” in recent days over his decision to block election security bills.    If passed, they would have allocated $775 million to go toward improving the current systems in place to safeguard U.S. elections and mandate paper ballots.
    In a rebuke of the criticism, McConnell praised his record of holding Russia accountable when necessary and says it speaks for itself.    He became visibly and unusually heated while speaking to his defense, and reminded lawmakers about Russia’s attempts to create division among Congress.
    “Now here we are in 2019, again, Putin and the Russians seek to provoke fear and division in our country, to undermine faith in our institutions, to exacerbate our political differences until we tear ourselves apart,” stated the Kentucky lawmaker.    “And, once again, it seems there are some who blindly take the bait.”
    McConnell went on to denounce the attacks against him as “modern day McCarthyism.”    However, he maintains Republicans are making “great strides” to protect democracy and the vote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., right, next to Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., speaks to the media after a weekly policy luncheon,
Tuesday, July 16, 2019, in Washington. “Everybody ought to tone down their rhetoric,” said McConnell. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
[McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence.    The term refers to U.S. senator Joseph McCarthy and has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting from the late 1940s through the 1950s.    And we are definitely experiencing the Socialism Scare.].
    Meanwhile, President Trump defended the Senate majority leader before departing for Jamestown, Virginia on Tuesday.    One America News reporter Emerald Robinson asked about the article outside the White House.
    President Trump also called the mainstream media outlet “fake news,” and said it is a “paper just for the benefit of Amazon.”    He called on the outlet to apologize for the op-ed, and said they should be “ashamed of themselves.”

7/30/2019 Trump admin. denies it plans to exit a treaty with Russian which bans testing of nuclear weapons by OAN Newsroom
    The U.S. is denying accusations from Russia that it plans to withdraw from an international treaty, which bans the testing of nuclear weapons.    While speaking at a disarmament conference in Geneva Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood slammed the accusation as “crafty Soviet-like propaganda.”
    This comes days before the U.S. is expected to withdraw from another nuclear pact, known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty or INF, over Russian non-compliance.
File – U.S. Disarmament Ambassador Robert Wood addresses the media during a press conference after leaving
the Conference on Disarmament in protest against the presidency of Venezuela of the Conference on Disarmament
at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)
    Wood denied the allegations and said Russia has a history of violating treaties:
    “We have had over 30 plus meeting with the Russians to try to resolve this issue.    It took a couple of years before they were willing to acknowledge the existence of the type of missile we were talking about, although they said it did not violate the range of the INF.    So, NATO has spoken very clearly on this.    It is really up to Russia right now, but I would not hold that hope for them at this point.”
    This Friday is the deadline for the U.S. to withdraw from the INF Treaty unless Russia returns to full compliance.

7/31/2019 Oil up $1.18 to $58.05, DOW down 23 to 27 to 27,198.

7/31/2019 California governor signs bill on presidential tax returns
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California Democratic governor Gavin Newsom signed a law Tuesday requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns to appear on the state’s primary ballot, a move aimed squarely at President Donald Trump.    But even if the law withstands, Trump could avoid the requirements by choosing not to compete in California’s primary.    New York has passed a law giving congressional committees access to Trump’s state tax returns.     But Efforts to pry loose his tax returns have floundered in other states.
[Another idiot Democrat violates the Constitution since Californians apparently are not part of the rest of the country now.].

7/31/2019 UK PM Johnson holds Belfast talks on Brexit backstop riddle by Ian Graham
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures during a speech on domestic priorities at the
Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, Britain July 27, 2019. Rui Vieira/Pool via REUTERS
    BELFAST(Reuters) – Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson held talks in Northern Ireland on Wednesday in a bid to untangle an impasse over the Irish border “backstop” that has scuppered all efforts to secure an orderly withdrawal from the European Union.
    Plans for the border have become the most contentious issue in negotiations with the EU, and the British pound has tumbled in recent days as Johnson said Britain would leave without a deal on Oct. 31 unless the backstop was scrapped.
    The head of Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, Mary Lou McDonald, said she warned Johnson that leaving without a deal would be catastrophic for the economy and the 1998 peace deal that ended three decades of violence in the region.
    Some 3,600 people died in sectarian violence commonly known as The Troubles.
    Johnson began his trip with talks on Tuesday evening with the leadership of the Democratic Unionist Party, the largest pro-British party in the region whose 10 members in the Westminster parliament prop up the Conservative government.
    After the meeting DUP leader Arlene Foster repeated Johnson’s demand that the backstop, designed as an insurance policy to prevent border controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland, be scrapped.    “It is very important that the backstop goes,” she said.
    But a senior DUP lawmaker also at the meeting said possible compromises were discussed – specifically the possibility of putting a time limit on the backstop and other “pragmatic solutions.”
    Asked if Johnson’s was responsive to the suggestion, Donaldson told Irish radio RTE that he would not “negotiate in public on this.”
    Speaking to journalists ahead of the talks, Johnson’s said Brexit would be on the agenda, but said he wanted a quick restoration of Northern Ireland’s suspended power-sharing executive.    It is a critical part of the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement that ended 30 years of conflict.
    The power-sharing administration was suspended two-and-a-half years ago because of differences between the parties representing mainly Protestant pro-British unionists and mainly Catholic nationalists who favor a united Ireland.
    “The people of Northern Ireland have been without a government, without Stormont for two years and six months so my prime focus this morning is to do everything I can to help that get up and running again,” Johnson told journalists.
    A couple of dozen protesters held a rally against Brexit while the talks continued.
(Writing by Conor Humphries and Michael Holden; Editing by Jon Boyle)

7/31/2019 Portugal’s Socialists lead election poll, but would not win majority
FILE PHOTO: Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa addresses the nation from Sao Bento Palace,
in Lisbon, Portugal, May 3, 2019. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes/File Photo
    LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal’s ruling Socialists remain favorites to win a parliamentary election in October but will fail to grab an absolute majority, according to a new poll.
    Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s center-left Socialists were seen winning 35.5% of the vote, according to the survey by Multidados for TV channel TVI published on Tuesday evening.
    That was lower than a survey by another pollster Pitagorica last week, which put the Socialists at 43.2%, the highest in any recent survey and close to an absolute majority.
    Costa’s main opposition, the Social Democrats, were seen taking 20.3% of the vote, according to Multidados.    Last week’s Pitagorica poll gave them 21.6% support.
    The Social Democrats and their traditional allies from the conservative CDS-PP two parties had governed together before the last election in 2015, presiding over a period of tough austerity they had to impose under an international bailout.
    The Socialists’ combination of fiscal discipline with economic growth has won praise from Brussels and ratings agencies. Growth has slowed somewhat since 2017, but is still expected to outpace the euro zone’s average.
    Multidados’ poll was the first it has carried out ahead of the October election and it provided no comparisons of its own.
    Under Portugal’s proportional representation system, an absolute majority is achievable with 42% to 45% of the vote.
    Majority rule for the Socialists could help the government maintain policies to balance the budget and attract more foreign investment.
    But with 35.5% of the vote, the Socialists would fall short of a majority in parliament, meaning they would need the support of another party to form a government.
    When the Socialists came to power in 2015, they won the parliamentary support of two left wing parties, the Left Bloc and the Communists.    These parties saw support at 14.7% and 5.6% respectively in the Multidados’ poll, compared to 9.2% and 6.8% in last week’s Pitagorica survey.
    A potential new kingmaker has emerged as the People-Animals-Nature party (PAN), which, according to the poll, would grab 7.9% of the votes in October.    PAN recently won a seat in the European Parliament.
    The pollsters surveyed 800 people between July 18 and 28, with a margin of error of 3.5%.
(Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Axel Bugge and Andrew Cawthorne)

7/31/2019 Mexico says migrant numbers at U.S. border down 40% since May by Rebekah F Ward
FILE PHOTO: Members of the Mexican National Guard patrol the border with the United States, as seen from Anapra
neighborhood, on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The number of migrants reaching Mexico’s border with the United States has fallen almost 40% since May, the Mexican government said on Tuesday, seeking to defuse tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump over a recent surge in migration.
    Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that according to a preliminary estimate, 87,648 people would reach the U.S. border during July.    That would represent a fall of around 39.5% compared to the 144,278 migrants registered in May, he added.
    “This is a considerable reduction,” the minister told reporters at a regular government news conference.
    A jump in migrant apprehensions on the U.S. southwest border during the first few months of 2019 prompted Trump on May 30 to threaten tariffs on all Mexican exports to the United States if Mexico did not contain the flow of people.
    Mexico responded by sending out thousands of National Guardsmen to tighten up its southern and northern borders, and this month the government said it had averted the risk of having to adopt new migration rules that could allow Trump to expel thousands of asylum-seekers into Mexico.
    Ebrard credited the migrant slowdown to rising job creation in Central America, spurred in part by the Mexican government’s efforts to foster development programs and growth there.
    Most of the migrants caught trying to enter the United States illegally are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, three countries ravaged by violence, inequality and poverty.
    Mexico’s government said on Saturday that it will help Honduras create 20,000 jobs by December, building on earlier commitments to El Salvador.
(Reporting by Rebekah F Ward; Editing by Dave Graham and Sandra Maler)

7/31/2019 Oil prices seen steady as demand woes mitigate supply risks: Reuters poll by Sumita Layek
FILE PHOTO: A pump jack operates in the Permian basin oil and natural gas production area
near Odessa, Texas, U.S., February 10, 2019. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo
    (Reuters) – Oil prices are expected to be range-bound near current levels this year as slowing economic growth and a protracted trade dispute curb demand, a Reuters monthly poll showed, squeezing gains stemming from production curbs and Middle East tensions.
    A survey of 54 economists and analysts forecast Brent crude would average $67.47 a barrel in 2019, little changed from the $67.59 seen in last month’s poll and compared with the $65.88 average so far this year.
    On Wednesday, Brent was trading near $65 a barrel
    “World demand remains lacklustre and is subject to significant risks of downside revisions due to trade war concerns and disappointing macroeconomic data,” Intesa Sanpaolo analyst Daniela Corsini said.
    Earlier in July, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia agreed to extend output cuts until March 2020, seeking to prop up crude prices.
    While the group’s agreement is seen putting a floor under prices, analysts say its success in balancing the market is likely to diminish into next year.
    The effectiveness of OPEC production cuts “is starting to wane and will have a limited impact on balances heading into 2020,” Edward Bell of Emirates NBD bank said.
    “As the market is increasingly moving off non-supply-related issues, OPEC’s impact on the market will weaken.”
OPEC, the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the International Energy Agency downgraded their demand forecasts in July, citing a slowing global economy amid a U.S.-China trade spat and surging U.S. production.
(GRAPHIC – Oil prices versus OPEC output:
    Analysts in the Reuters poll forecast global demand to grow by 0.8–1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019, versus the 0.9–1.3 million bpd projected in June, and continue to see emerging markets in Asia as the main drivers of demand.
    “For oil to strongly rally, the market needs a positive economic catalyst, either in the form of significant progress in trade talks or central bank easing,” said Harry Tchilinguirian, global head of commodity market strategy at BNP Paribas.
    While the market is likely to have surplus supply this year and next, any flare-ups in the Middle East could trigger a price rally, analysts said.
    “If the Strait of Hormuz were to be completely closed, about 20% of global oil supply could be lost,” said Oliver Allen, economist at Capital Economics, referring to a waterway between Oman and Iran that is the world’s main conduit for oil.
    Friction between Iran and the West escalated after Iranian commandos seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf this month in what was seen as retaliation for the capture of an Iranian tanker by British forces near Gibraltar.
    Industry experts also see a rise in U.S. production for the rest of 2019 and 2020 as infrastructure bottlenecks are resolved and new pipelines from the Permian basin in west Texas and New Mexico come online.
    The survey predicted U.S. crude futures would average $59.29 per barrel in 2019, compared with last month’s $59.30 forecast.
(Reporting by Sumita Layek and Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Arpan Varghese, Noah Browning and Dale Hudson)

7/31/2019 N.Y. lawmakers introduce bill to make water attacks on NYPD a Class E felony by OAN Newsroom
    Following the latest water attack on the NYPD, GOP lawmakers in New York say enough is enough.    They have introduced a bill which would make it an Class E felony to douse water or any other substance on an on-duty officer.    Assembly members Michael Reilly and Mike LaPetri held a press conference alongside police officers Wednesday about the new proposal.
    Several people have been charged with misdemeanors in connection to water-dousing attacks in the Bronx and Manhattan, but Republican lawmakers believe the charges should be upgraded.    They say the attacks have reached a tipping point, and they must be stopped before a life-threatening attack.
    This time it’s water.    What’s next?    Gasoline?    Acid?    What will it take for radical left-wing politicians to abandon their hostile police rhetoric to law enforcement?
    The GOP lawmakers claim the attacks have been fueled by the radical left. President Trump recently called the incidents “a total disgrace” on Twitter, and said Mayor Bill de Blasio needs to “stand up for those who protect our lives and serve us all so well.”
    Trump tweet: “We love our Law Enforcement Officers all around this great Country.    What took place in NYC with water being tossed on NYPD officers was a total disgrace.    It is time for @NYCMayor @BilldeBlasio to STAND UP for those who protect our lives and serve us all so well...
    The proposed Class E felony would be punishable by up to four years in prison.
A New York City Police (NYPD) officer stands guard in Central Park in the Manhattan
borough of New York City, U.S. (REUTERS/Mike Segar/Photo)

7/31/2019 RNC chair points out media hypocrisy: Sen. Sanders called Baltimore ‘third world country’ by OAN Newsroom
    RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is wondering where the mainstream media was when Senator Bernie Sanders was criticizing Baltimore.
    McDaniel pushed back against CNN’s John Berman Tuesday, when he brought up President Trump’s feud with Representative Elijah Cummings.    The RNC chair responded, saying African American communities are experiencing record low levels of unemployment and rising wages.
    She went on to highlight some of the president’s policies:
    “…lowest unemployment for the African American history has hit during (President Trump’s) term as president, criminal justice reform, wages are up, poverty has decreased in the African American community — why aren’t we talking about the good policies that this president is putting forward?
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., talks to reporters after the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates
hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
    McDaniel also pointed out the media’s hypocrisy, asking where were the criticisms in 2015 when Senator Sanders referred to the district as a “third world country.”    Meanwhile, Sanders himself has criticized the president’s comments, but has not yet addressed his own remarks.

7/31/2019 Baltimore officials caution residents amid a police shortage, need 500 additional officers by OAN Newsroom
    Baltimore authorities are cautioning residents amid a police shortage.    On Tuesday, officials announced that the city is short approximately 500 officers.    This comes a week after the department’s police commissioner released a plan aimed at reducing crime in the area.    Officials say the plan cannot be implemented as there are not enough officers to even respond to 9-1-1 calls.
    The district recently came under fire by the president, who blamed Representative Elijah Cummings for the city’s living conditions.    Many residents agreed with President Trump, and claimed Cummings doesn’t listen to their needs.
    Officials have said the city is dangerous for both residents as well as the police.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
    Meanwhile, federal government officials are questioning what Baltimore, Maryland has done with a multi-billion dollar grant.    This week, the regional administrator for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development — Lynne Patton — said the city received nearly $16 billion in 2018 alone.
    Patton also said the Trump administration has given Baltimore more money to benefit the homeless than the previous administration.    President Trump is pointing his finger at Representative Cummings, claiming the money has either been “stolen or wasted.”

7/31/2019 King County prosecutors decide not to press charges against Antifa member by OAN Newsroom
    King County prosecutors recently announced they will not be pressing charges against an alleged Antifa member, following an incident at the University of Washington.
    18-year-old Ezra Brenner, who claims to be part of the left-leaning political protest movement, was arrested in June. Brenner reportedly tried to lock members of a Republican organization inside a conference room during one of their meetings.    Footage of the incident shows members pushing the doors open before Brenner could secure the chain.
    The meeting’s guest speaker, Saleem Juma, said this wasn’t the first time.
    “In the last year or so, we’ve been assaulted by Antifa 15 or 16 times, and that’s just going out and filming,” he explained.    “They tried to chain the doors while we were making a speech, they despise us simply for having a view of the world that they can’t understand.”
Antifa members gather at a rally held by Patriot Prayer in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Mark Graves/The Oregonian via AP)
Campus police took Brenner into custody for “disorderly conduct,” but some believe the charge was far too light.
    “Antifa might not be able to get a hold of nerve gas or a machine gun, but how hard is it to get a hold of gasoline and a match?” asked Juma.    “i>I mean, why wouldn’t they light the room on fire?”
    More than a month later, King County prosecutors announced that all criminal charges against Brenner will be dropped.
    This comes as the Trump administration considers labeling Antifa as a terrorist organization.    In a recent tweet, President Trump said the move would “make it easier for police to do their job.”
    Trump tweet: “Consideration is being given to declaring ANTIFA, the gutless Radical Left Wack Jobs who go around hitting (only non-fighters) people over the heads with baseball bats, a major Organization of Terror (along with MS-13 & others).    Would make it easier for police to do their job!

7/31/2019 Report: Executives from NBC, Comcast favor Democrat Rep. Kamala Harris by OAN Newsroom
A new report is drawing questions about the first round of Democrat primary debates.    A recent article published by MRC NewsBustes suggests NBC, which hosted the debates, favored one candidate in particular.    That candidate was California Senator Kamala Harris.
    Going back to the first event in June, debate moderators allegedly gave Harris more time to speak than her competitors and even broke some rules to do so.    The article cites a moment when Harris was allowed to give a speech, where she targeted one of her biggest competitors.
    “You also worked with them to oppose bussing …and you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of a second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day…and that little girl was me,” she stated while looking in the direction of opponent Joe Biden.
    That particular moment, which became the highlight of the debates, was technically not allowed to have happened.
File – Kamala Harris of California gestures during the Democratic primary debate in Miami. (Wilfredo Lee/AP Photo)
    According to official debate rules, no opening statements are allowed.    Additionally, candidates may have 60 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds to respond to follow-ups.    However, her remarks was not in response to a question nor was it a follow-up.    Instead, it was an outburst that interrupted another candidate who was giving a response.    Instances like this happened multiple times that evening.
    According to recently released data by the Federal Election Commission, Harris also received financial support from NBC Universal and its parent company Comcast.    At least 12 executives from both companies donated to her campaign in the months leading up to the debate.    Three of those donors help over see NBC, while two donors from Comcast are in charge of the company’s political advertising sales.    This has raised concerns of a possible conflict of interest and even network collusion.

7/31/2019 U.S. puts sanctions on Iranian foreign minister Zarif, who says they won’t affect him by Jeff Mason
FILE PHOTO: Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sits for an interview with Reuters
in New York, New York, U.S. April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, targeting the country’s top spokesman and potentially hurting chances of diplomatic talks amid rising tensions between the two countries.
    Zarif, a critical figure in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, dismissed the action and said it would not affect him.
    U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal last year and ramped up sanctions to put pressure on Iran’s economy.     The move dismantled part of President Barack Obama’s legacy and upset U.S. allies who were party to the agreement, which was designed to restrict Tehran’s pathway to a nuclear bomb in exchange for sanctions relief.
    Strains between Washington and Tehran have risen more in recent months after attacks on tankers in the Gulf that the United States blames on Iran and Iran’s downing of a U.S. drone that prompted preparations for a U.S. retaliatory air strike that Trump called off at the last minute.
    “Javad Zarif implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world.    The United States is sending a clear message to the Iranian regime that its recent behavior is completely unacceptable,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
    The sanctions against Zarif would block any property or interests he has in the United States, but the Iranian foreign minister said he had none.
    “The US’ reason for designating me is that I am Iran’s ‘primary spokesperson around the world’,” Zarif said on Twitter.    “Is the truth really that painful?    It has no effect on me or my family, as I have no property or interests outside of Iran.    Thank you for considering me such a huge threat to your agenda.”
    Zarif lived in the United States, from the age of 17 as a student of international relations in San Francisco and Denver, and subsequently as a diplomat at the United Nations in New York, where he was Iranian ambassador from 2002 to 2007.
    The Trump administration said it would make decisions on whether to grant Zarif travel visas, including for trips to the United Nations, on a case by case basis, holding open the possibility that he might attend the annual U.N. General Assembly in September.
    If Zarif received such a visa, that would allow direct or indirect U.S. contacts with him during that gathering, which brings most of the world’s leaders to New York and has been the venue for previous U.S.-Iranian contacts.
    A senior U.S. official reiterated that Trump was open to talks with Iran, but said the administration would want to deal with a key decision maker, which it did not consider Zarif to be.
    Senator Chris Murphy, a Democratic member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, questioned the administration’s move.
    “If our position is really that we want to negotiate with Iran than maybe we shouldn’t sanction their chief negotiator,” Murphy posted on Twitter.
    On June 24 Trump targeted Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other top Iranian officials with sanctions.
    Mnuchin said then that Zarif would be blacklisted that week, but the designation did not happen quickly.    Reuters reported in mid-July that the administration had decided to hold off on sanctions against him for the time being.
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday the Trump administration still sought a diplomatic solution but said Zarif’s foreign ministry was advancing the Iranian Supreme Leader’s “destabilizing” policies.
    “The only path forward is a comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of its threats.    Until then, our campaign of diplomatic isolation and maximum economic pressure will continue,” Pompeo said.
    Mnuchin said Zarif used social media to spread Iranian “propaganda and disinformation” while the government did not allow its citizens to use such mediums themselves.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Eric Beech; Additional reporting by Mohammad Zargham, Arshad Mohammed, Patricia Zengerle and Babak Dehghanpisheh; editing by Grant McCool)

    This page created on 7/1/2019, and updated each month by 7/31/2019.

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