AuthorTopic: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread  (Read 100138 times)

Offline RE

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This is like Doomer Christmas!  :icon_mrgreen:

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/04/17/hannity-insanity-late-night-hosts-revel-in-sean-hannity-michael-cohen-news/

'Hannity Insanity': Late-night hosts revel in Sean Hannity-Michael Cohen news
It was as if the comedy gods were looking down on America’s late-night television hosts.


You realize, you couldn't sell this plot twist on a comedy sitcom. No one would believe it.

Probably not, but SNL has a whole week to script up this one for the Cold Open.  They will positively go nuts with it I am sure.

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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1261 on: April 17, 2018, 08:39:33 AM »
I believe Hannity is lying. If there weren't seized documents detailing Hannity's legal problems in Cohen's seized files, Cohen would not have given him up to the judge or even named him as a client. Not over some curbside consult or hypothetical.

Probably has to do with harassment claims and #metoo bullshit,but it isn't as much of a nothing as Hannity is saying.
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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1262 on: April 17, 2018, 08:50:13 AM »
I believe Hannity is lying. If there weren't seized documents detailing Hannity's legal problems in Cohen's seized files, Cohen would not have given him up to the judge or even named him as a client. Not over some curbside consult or hypothetical.

Probably has to do with harassment claims and #metoo bullshit,but it isn't as much of a nothing as Hannity is saying.

WaPo has already covered this.  Legally speaking no matter how you cut it SH is a client of MC.  The FBI has something, or they wouldn't be getting this exposed.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/04/17/yes-sean-hannity-was-a-legal-client-of-michael-cohens/

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🤡 Trump hires Giuliani amid mounting legal turmoil over Russi
« Reply #1263 on: April 20, 2018, 02:59:15 AM »
New Clowns coming out of the Volkswagen!

How long before Trumpsky fires Rudy?

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-hires-giuliani-two-other-attorneys-amid-mounting-legal-turmoil-over-russia/2018/04/19/8346a7ca-4418-11e8-8569-26fda6b404c7_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f5a550e5f019

Trump hires Giuliani, two other attorneys amid mounting legal turmoil over Russia


Rudolph W. Giuliani was an ardent supporter of President Trump during the 2016 campaign, and the former New York mayor was considered for the post of attorney general. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

by Robert Costa, Josh Dawsey and Rosalind S. Helderman April 19 at 9:08 PM Email the author

Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and two other former federal prosecutors joined President Trump’s legal team Thursday following weeks of turbulence and struggles to find attorneys who would agree to represent the president in the ongoing federal probe into Russian election interference.

The reshuffling comes at a particularly tense juncture for Trump, who aides said is increasingly frustrated by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation and with the senior officials at the Justice Department.

The entry of Giuliani, an experienced attorney with a combative reputation, immediately raises questions about how Trump will engage with Mueller and the leadership at Justice. Some Trump advisers are concerned that the president could use his ­executive authority to close or diminish the special counsel probe, which has spawned a parallel investigation in New York targeting his personal attorney.

“I’m doing it because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller,” Giuliani said in an interview Thursday.

Trump said in a statement that Giuliani “wants to get this matter quickly resolved.”

In recent days, the president has been regularly venting and speculating to aides about his legal status and the expected timeline for the Russia investigation to end, according to associates briefed on the discussions.
2:16
Rudy Giuliani's strangest moments on the 2016 trail

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) is a big fan of Donald Trump – and he said some strange things while campaigning for the Republican nominee. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

Trump also loudly and repeatedly complained to several advisers earlier this week that former FBI director James B. Comey, former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, among others, should be charged with crimes for misdeeds alleged by Republicans, the associates said.

Although White House officials said Thursday that Trump has not called Justice Department officials or taken any formal action, the persistent grousing has made some advisers anxious, according to two people close to the president. A publicity tour by Comey to promote his book critical of Trump, “A Higher Loyalty,” has attracted particular attention from the president, who has disparaged Comey publicly and privately.

Trump also complained this week about Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, saying the judge had proved too liberal in recent cases, according to administration officials who heard about the complaints. Associates said he was incensed that Gorsuch had voted against the administration on an immigration case and said it renewed his doubts that Gorsuch would be a reliable conservative. One top Trump adviser played down the comments as unhappiness with Gorsuch’s decision rather than with Gorsuch broadly.

Giuliani, 73, brings a familiarity with several of the legal fronts that Trump is navigating. He is a former associate attorney general and a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, which is the office overseeing an investigation of Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

Trump counsel Jay Sekulow said Thursday that former federal prosecutors Jane Serene Raskin and Marty Raskin, a couple who manage a Florida-based law firm, have also agreed to join the legal team.

Giuliani is certain to come under intense scrutiny for his role. His own pre-election activities two years ago have been the subject of criticism from Democrats, especially television interviews in which he suggested he had sources providing him inside information about the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s private email server when she was secretary of state.

A Justice Department Inspector General report on the department’s handling of the Clinton investigations is expected to be released in coming weeks and will probably include results of leak investigations regarding the Clinton probe.

Numerous other challenges face the attorneys who will work alongside Sekulow and counsel Ty Cobb — who have functioned as Trump’s legal nucleus for weeks following the resignation of John Dowd, a legal veteran and the team’s former leader. Dowd stepped down in March amid clashes over strategy and whether Trump should sit for a voluntary interview with Mueller. The legal team has often been beset by infighting.

“The big question is, how’s he going to play with everybody else?” said a lawyer involved with the investigation who was not authorized to speak publicly. “Will he be combative Rudy, or will he play well with Mueller’s team? Will he try to walk . . . back from the brink and answer the big question, which is whether the president will sit for an interview? And will Trump listen to him?”

Giuliani declined to say whether Trump has made a final decision on whether to sit for an interview with federal investigators. Trump has been mulling it for weeks, moving away from the idea after the home, offices and hotel room of Cohen were raided this month. Trump reacted angrily, calling it “disgraceful.”

“It’s too early for me to say that,” Giuliani replied, when asked whether a Trump interview is unlikely to happen.

Giuliani also declined to discuss whether Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who has been under fire from conservatives and oversees the Russia probe, could be fired by the president in the coming weeks.

“I’m not involved in anything about those issues. My advice on Mueller has been this: He should be allowed to do his job. He’s entitled to do his job.”

Giuliani said he formalized his decision in recent days, including over dinner last week at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Giuliani and Trump spoke Thursday about the legal plan moving forward, along with Sekulow, whom he has known for years and called a friend. He added that he and Cobb also spoke, on Wednesday.

Giuliani — who will take a leave from his law firm, Greenberg Traurig, and is in the midst of a divorce from his third wife — said he would spend a “great deal of time” in Washington working with Trump but would continue to live in New York. He has been frequently been seen holding court at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, dining and drinking with friends and browsing for gourmet cigars.

Trump had considered Giuliani for attorney general and has said in recent weeks he needs a New York-based attorney. Many leading white-collar lawyers, such as former solicitor general Theodore Olson, have declined Trump’s entreaties, often citing conflicts or expressing unease about the high-profile case.

Trump is also known to be a difficult client who does not always listen to his attorneys’ advice, according to lawyers who know him. And Giuliani, once a top adviser, grew frustrated with his treatment during the transition and had receded from the inner circle.

As he has closely monitored cable-news programs chronicling his presidency and the Mueller probe, Trump has swatted away the notion that he cannot attract prominent attorneys. He has also spoken about his desire for a bolstered team and wondered aloud about the damage that Cohen’s legal proceedings could bring, according to the associates briefed on the discussions, who requested anonymity to talk about them.

Giuliani’s arrival is part of a broader shift in Trump’s inner circle toward the core allies and brusque and brutal style that defined his outsider presidential campaign and his business career. Beyond Mueller, aides said everyone and everything around Trump feels liable to become a target for his wrath as he grapples with difficult issues at home and abroad, in Syria and North Korea.

“What we’ve been seeing with the president is that he is picking A-level people that he knows are experienced but also know him well,” said Trump ally Christopher Ruddy, the president and CEO of Newsmax Media, a conservative outlet. “One of the problems in the first year was that people didn’t work out because they didn’t know him and they didn’t have experience for the position.”

Carol D. Leonnig contributed to this report.
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🤡 Flipping Cohen against Trump may not be so easy
« Reply #1264 on: April 24, 2018, 05:49:39 AM »
Isn't the legal system great?

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https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/24/cohen-trump-attorney-legal-minefield-546336

 Flipping Cohen against Trump may not be so easy

Secrecy issues make turning a lawyer against a client a legal minefield, experts say

By JOSH GERSTEIN
04/24/2018 05:00 AM EDT


Michael Cohen is pictured. | Getty Images

FBI agents raided President Donald Trump's attorney Michael Cohen’s (pictured) home and office earlier this month and seized records and electronic devices which reportedly contain communications with the president. | Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty Images


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    Senators hold their fire against vulnerable home-state colleagues
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Politico Magazine

    Lede-1.jpg
    Church of The Donald

    By Ruth Graham
    A protester at March for Our Lives is pictured. | AP Photo
    African-Americans Feel Left Out of the Gun Debate

    By Ayanna Alexander
    lede-1.jpg
    ‘I Don’t Like to Be Called a Nazi.’

    By John F. Harris
    AP_18107806460260.jpg
    I Was a Top Clinton Aide. Here’s What I Think About Comey’s Book.

    By Jennifer Palmieri

Getting Michael Cohen to rat out President Donald Trump may not be as simple as it sounds.

Although Trump’s detractors are rooting for Trump's personal attorney to “flip” on the president and cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller to escape a potentially harsh prison sentence, legal obstacles make it difficult for lawyers to expose their clients’ guarded secrets.

Even if Cohen is determined to break his confidences with Trump, legal ethics might deter federal prosecutors from coaxing him to betray his professional confidences with Trump, legal veterans and experts say.

"This idea of 'flipping' Cohen—they can't just flip a lawyer to testify against a client," longtime defense attorney Harvey Silverglate said. “Even if Cohen doesn't know better, one would think the FBI and the prosecutors would know better."
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Silverglate said not only Cohen but prosecutors could be disbarred for overstepping the well-established ethical boundaries.

FBI agents raided Cohen’s home and office earlier this month and seized records and electronic devices which reportedly contain communications with Trump, whom Cohen has represented for more than a decade.

Because Cohen was Trump’s lawyer, many of those communications are likely covered by the legal principle of attorney-client privilege, which would typically prevent them from being admissible in court.
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While the privilege can be waived, only Trump—and not Cohen—has the right to do so.

"It is absolutely the case that, even if he is criminally liable himself, Michael Cohen is not allowed to disclose client confidences learned through the attorney-client relationship about any client without their permission," said Paul Rosenzweig, a former legal adviser to Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

Attorneys for Cohen and Trump declined to comment for this story. But other lawyers expect the president's legal team would vigorously object to Cohen discussing Trump's past dealings to prosecutors. Lawyers for Trump are already fighting in court to block prosecutors' access to information that the FBI seized on the grounds that it is covered by privilege.

There are exceptions to what privilege will protect. Communications made with the intent of committing or concealing a crime or fraud are exempted, for instance.

And Cohen is entitled to disclose conversations with Trump that are directly related to charges he might face.

"The ethics rules allow lawyers to disclose client confidences from a representation if the lawyer is charged with wrongdoing arising out of the representation," said New York University law professor Stephen Gillers. "You can't trade on client information unless you're charged with wrongdoing because of the representation of that client."
Donald Trump, Aras Agalarov and Emin Agalarov are pictured. | Getty Images

White House
Trump’s false claims to Comey about Moscow stay could aid Mueller

By BEN SCHRECKINGER

Lawyers said prosecutors are likely to tread carefully because any misstep could jeopardize the investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in New York into Cohen, which includes his payment of $130,000 in alleged "hush money" payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had sex with Trump and was paid to buy her silence shortly before the 2016 election. Trump says he was unaware of the payment.

That federal probe also reportedly involves Cohen's personal business dealings, including financing of dozens of New York City taxi medallions that Cohen has owned.

Casual treatment of information from Cohen could even put at risk Mueller's investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, attorneys said. It was Mueller who uncovered and referred to New York federal prosecutors the information that triggered the raid on Cohen’s addresses.

On Saturday, Trump lashed out at press reports that Cohen might choose to 'flip' against his former boss and client, but the president also seemed to emphasize that Cohen was engaged in business Trump had nothing to do with.

"Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked and respected. Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories,” Trump wrote. “Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!”

Even if Cohen is inclined to share information about Trump with prosecutors, the government would likely want a judge to rule explicitly that the attorney-client privilege doesn't apply—either because Cohen was engaged in order to commit a crime or because the matter in question did not involve confidential legal advice.

"They have to be very careful. They don't want to taint the members of the Mueller team," said one former federal prosecutor who handled a case where an attorney was charged criminally. "They get tainted with that, they're off this case. It's a pretty heavy penalty... They certainly could not simply bring [Cohen] in. They could not break that privilege without some court deciding that."

Adding to the complexity is the fact that Cohen also served as an attorney for the Trump Organization and acted on his own in various business deals. That means prosecutors could be entitled to ask some questions about Cohen's experiences in dealings with Russia, for example, but may not be entitled to pry into what Cohen told Trump on such issues or vice versa.

"They could ask about what he negotiated with the Russians but cannot ask what he told Trump or what Trump told him," said Silverglate. "The relationship between Trump and his lawyer was probably very mixed. If they were in business together and had a part of some deal together that wouldn't surprise me."

Ultimately, divining that line will likely require a court-appointed special master to consider what is fair game for prosecutors. Any rulings on those questions could spur protracted litigation, but could provide a road map for what prosecutors can talk to Cohen about and what they can't

"It's incredibly complicated.... The special master is really essential," Silverglate added.
Donald Trump is pictured. | AP Photo

White House
Trump lashes out as legal risks pile up

By ANDREW RESTUCCIA

Veteran prosecutors says they can recall few, if any, instances where attorneys agreed to testify freely about their clients—even in cases where attorneys have been prosecuted for alleged complicity in mafia or drug activity.

Cohen's dilemma does have at least one significant historical echo.

After President Richard Nixon's personal attorney, Herbert Kalmbach, pleaded guilty in 1974 to illegal fundraising for GOP Congressional candidates, he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors to reduce his prison sentence and revealed that he knew of payments of illegal "hush money" to Watergate burglars.

Former White House Counsel John Dean said Monday he does not recall attorney-client privilege being an issue because Kalmbach's activities were clearly in the fundraising and financial realm and not the provision of legal advice.

Dean, who served as White House counsel to Nixon from 1970 to 1973, said the president ultimately waived any attorney-client privilege to allow his own testimony. However, the president dropped the privilege issue only after Dean made clear he was planning to testify anyway on the ground that some of his actions amounted to crimes.

"Nixon waived the privilege, although he did know that I was going to blow right through it," said the former White House counsel, who pleaded guilty in 1973 to conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with the payments Kalmbach made to the burglars. "I'd already flipped."

Darren Samuelsohn contributed to this report.
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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1265 on: April 24, 2018, 07:19:01 AM »
All the talk about Cohen flipping is completely speculation and extremely premature. This isn't some mob attorney who knows where the bodies are buried. Besides, Mueller is probably going to stay very focused on JUST the election, and ignore Trump and Cohen's long term criminal collusion in other matters. He has given every indication that this is the case.
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🤡 New Evidence Trump Obstructed Justice
« Reply #1266 on: April 29, 2018, 07:55:38 AM »
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/04/new-obstruction-of-justice-evidence-in-the-house-intelligence-committees-minority-report-on-the-russia-investigation.html

There’s New Evidence Trump Obstructed Justice in the House Intelligence Committee’s Minority Report

By Ryan Goodman
April 28, 20184:30 PM


WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 16: House Intelligence Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks at the Council On Foreign Relations with Andrea Mitchell, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent at NBC News on February 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Democratic House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff at the Council On Foreign Relations Feb. 16, in Washington, D.C.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Just Security

This piece was originally published on Just Security, an online forum for analysis of U.S. national security law and policy.

The dueling House Intelligence Committee reports into Russian election interference, both released on Friday, provide new information that adds significantly to a picture of obstruction of justice and abuse of power on the part of President Donald Trump.

Nevertheless, there are reasons to be cautious. The most relevant information is provided only in the minority report—produced by Democrats—and the bulk of these revelations depend on testimony by former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, whose credibility as a witness in some respects may be under a cloud.

At the same time, the reason that this information is parsed in the minority’s report but not the Republican majority’s is because Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes appears not to have had any interest in investigating the obstruction issue, much to his discredit. What’s more, McCabe’s December 2017 testimony is detailed and, in important instances, refers to other senior FBI officials as witnesses to the same events and conversations as him. At least one of those officials—James Baker, the FBI general counsel—was also present during McCabe’s testimony. It is also useful to recall that Rep. Nunes and the GOP members of the committee have themselves publicly relied on McCabe’s December 2017 testimony. In particular, they invoke McCabe’s testimony in a key sentence in their earlier memo concerning the surveillance of Carter Page, as though McCabe’s testimony provided significant support for that memo’s conclusions.

With those caveats and acknowledgments in mind, what are the new revelations on potential obstruction and abuse of power?
It is readily apparent that McCabe’s testimony very closely tracks Comey’s congressional testimony.

One of the most important revelations is that Baker and FBI Director James Comey’s chief of staff James Rybicki listened in on Comey’s side of at least some phone conversations with the president, in which Trump reportedly attempted to alter the course of the Russia investigation. “(Jim) Rybicki and (Jim) Baker also heard Comey’s side of phone conversations with the President, in real time,” the minority report states. It is, however, not clear which particular phone conversations with the president they were able to hear in this manner. Comey testified to Congress about six separate phone conversations he had with Trump.

Both Comey and McCabe interpreted one of the president’s phone calls as threatening Comey if he did not lift the cloud of the Russia investigation. In a phone conversation on April 11, the president said he wanted Comey to lift the cloud, “because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know,” according to Comey’s written testimony and contemporaneous memo. But why would the president refer to his loyalty to Comey rather than Comey’s “honest loyalty” to the president?
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McCabe testified that the FBI director and he “weren’t 100 percent sure what that was” but interpreted it as “a veiled threat.” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff asked McCabe to clarify:

    SCHIFF: And in this case the veiled threat would be against Director Comey?

    MCCABE: That’s correct.

    SCHIFF: Along the lines of, I the president have been very loyal to you. I want you to lift the cloud. Otherwise I might be less loyal to you. Is that the—

    MCCABE: That’s correct.

    SCHIFF: That was the impression of Director Comey?

    MCCABE: It was his and my impression.

Second, the FBI director and deputy director were also concerned that the president was threatening to take action against McCabe if the FBI director did not lift the cloud of the Russia investigation. According to Comey’s testimony and contemporaneous memos, Trump repeatedly brought up McCabe in these conversations about the probe. McCabe testified that he and Comey were concerned that the president “was bringing it up as some sort of an almost a veiled threat.”

Rep. Schiff again asked McCabe to clarify:

    SCHIFF: That if the Director didn’t lift the cloud of the Russian investigation, that he would take action against you?

    MCCABE: That’s correct. That was my concern, and as I understand it, that was Director Comey’s concern as well.

Other observations in the minority report and in McCabe’s testimony are perhaps less significant on their own, but also add to the case for obstruction and abuse of power. It is readily apparent that McCabe’s testimony very closely tracks Comey’s congressional testimony. McCabe testified, for example, that the FBI director debriefed senior FBI leadership following encounters with the president and that McCabe and others shared Comey’s views of the inappropriateness of the president’s actions. McCabe corroborated that in February 2017, Comey—following his meeting with the president in the Oval Office—informed his senior FBI leadership that “the president was asking him to end an investigative matter.” The president’s subsequent phone calls to the FBI director were even broader. “Comey’s impression was that the president was still quite frustrated with the fact that we were continuing our investigative efforts into the—into the campaign and Russia issues,” he told the committee.
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The minority report ends with a remarkable statement: It ties the specific timing of McCabe’s testimony to Trump going after not only McCabe but also the FBI’s general counsel. Recall that the general counsel was present during McCabe’s testimony, was cited as a witness by McCabe for important events, and was also then told by the committee that he may be called as a witness. President Trump’s tweets about McCabe and Baker followed within days.

The report states:

    Only three days after McCabe’s testimony before the Committee, for which then-FBI General Counsel James Baker was present and during which the Majority indicated that they might also call him in as a witness, the President tweeted: “Wow, ‘FBI lawyer James Baker reassigned,’ according to @FoxNews”. Trump turned his sights on McCabe later the same afternoon.

Whether such efforts by the president could be a form of witness tampering is a matter that has been discussed before at Just Security and elsewhere. If what inspired Trump was that he had been specifically informed of McCabe’s congressional testimony and its connection to the FBI general counsel as a potential witness, it would be alarming. That said, there are other plausible explanations for the timing of the president’s tweets. Days before the his tweets that Saturday, news outlets had raised different questions about the FBI general counsel that could have inspired the president as well. Still, this all leaves obvious questions to be asked about the committee’s possible communications with the White House and about President Trump’s motivations. The minority report appropriately points in the direction of those questions.

One thing is certain. There are now several data points to add to Just Security’s obstruction of justice timeline.
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🤡 Trump’s incoherence on North Korea and Iran
« Reply #1267 on: April 30, 2018, 03:22:33 AM »
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/04/30/trumps-incoherence-on-north-korea-and-iran/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.253af0bc6ef8

Trump’s incoherence on North Korea and Iran
by Ishaan Tharoor April 30 at 12:59 AM Email the author


Want smart analysis of the most important news in your inbox every weekday along with other global reads, interesting ideas and opinions to know? Sign up for the Today's WorldView newsletter.

At the end of his visit to the United States last week, French President Emmanuel Macron offered a bit of candor. Despite his entreaties, Macron suspected that President Trump would choose to eventually pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran. The move, said the French president, would have little to do with Middle East geopolitics.

“My view ... is that he will get rid of this deal on his own for domestic reasons,” Macron told reporters, while cautioning that jettisoning the agreement would be “insane in the medium to long-term.”

Macron's conclusion — that Trump is mostly driven to fulfill his campaign promises (and systematically unravel the legacy of his predecessor) — is hardly a novel insight. But it's still apt, especially as Trump champions the cause of diplomacy with North Korea while decrying diplomatic efforts toward Iran.

    KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2018

Trump hails his administration's campaign of “maximum pressure” on North Korea, which he claims formed the backdrop to Friday's historic meeting between North Korean despot Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The summit, which took place on the South Korean side of the DMZ, has led to positive noises about the “denuclearization” of the peninsula and optimism about Trump's own planned meeting with Kim.

But if Trump's stated agenda with North Korea comes to fruition, it may not look that different from the nuclear pact he seems intent on scrapping. The deal forged between Iran and a group of world powers in 2015 followed not just months of concerted negotiations, but years of wider diplomacy to squeeze Tehran and bring it to the table.

Even though the pact has effectively curbed Tehran's nuclear program, its critics in the Trump administration say it granted Iran economic relief while doing nothing to curtail its wider role in the Middle East's various conflicts. Yet, at the same time, the White House is possibly creating a scenario in which Kim can win similar concessions for North Korea without doing much to reform his tyrannical rule.

There's a fair dose of speculation now on what may follow with the North Koreans. Pyongyang made a few goodwill gestures over the weekend, including a promise to dismantle its key nuclear-test site. But a host of analysts remain skeptical of the potential for a genuine breakthrough. There have been other false dawns with North Korea in recent history, they point out, and there's still a wide gulf in how both sides envision “denuclearization” taking place.

    Just had a long and very good talk with President Moon of South Korea. Things are going very well, time and location of meeting with North Korea is being set. Also spoke to Prime Minister Abe of Japan to inform him of the ongoing negotiations.
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 28, 2018

They also suggest that Trump's potential reneging of the Iran deal will shadow negotiations with Kim. “It is difficult to imagine America’s allies once again investing Washington with the authority they handed it over Iran,” wrote Max Fisher of the New York Times. “Trump is asking Washington’s Asian allies to follow his lead on North Korea just as he is defying European allies who are pushing him to stay in the Iran deal.”

The Trump administration rejects that idea. “I don't think Kim Jong Un is staring at the Iran deal and saying, ‘Oh goodness, if they get out of that deal, I won't talk to the Americans anymore,’” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters during his debut trip through the Middle East. “There are higher priorities, things that he is more concerned about than whether or not the Americans stay in the [agreement].”

Still, it's curious that while the United States is now preparing to extend an olive branch to the North Koreans, it has placed itself on a collision course with Tehran. Iran may be a human-rights abuser at home and a destabilizing presence in the Middle East, but it is more open and tethered to the international system than the totalitarian, pariah regime in Pyongyang. And unlike North Korea, it has submitted to thorough international inspections and doesn't actually possess nuclear weapons.

Trump himself has shown little ideological consistency here: Long before he was president, he told CNN in 2011 that talks with the Iranian leadership would be preferable to “killing millions of people.” Holly Dagres, writing for the Atlantic Council, argued that a diplomatic push by the Trump administration to engage Iranian President Hassan Rouhani would disturb the regime's more hard-line elements, including the influential Revolutionary Guard who largely oversee Iran's foreign proxy wars.

“Had Trump taken this nuanced approach, the hardliners in Tehran would’ve been shaken to their core. The potential of good ties with the West, particularly Washington, would hurt their standing in Iranian domestic politics. After all, part of the raison d'etre of the Islamic Republic is opposition to US 'imperialism,'" Dagres wrote. “Instead, hardliners are counting down to the May 12 deadline for Trump to renew sanctions waivers, hoping the president follows through on his threats to withdraw from the [Iran deal]. This would validate their argument that Iran can never trust the U.S. to keep its commitments.”

    The Iran nuclear deal is a terrible one for the United States and the world. It does nothing but make Iran rich and will lead to catastrophe
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 3, 2015

Perhaps the Trump administration wants this atmosphere of confrontation. Both Pompeo and Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, have called for regime change in Iran. Neither are placing much faith in a nuclear deal with North Korea.

On Sunday, Bolton said the administration was pursuing “the Libya model” with Pyongyang, referring to a process started in 2003 that pressured then-Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi to give up his nuclear, chemical and long-range missile program. It was a curious analogy, given that the North Koreans point to Gaddafi's death at the hands of a NATO-backed rebellion as justification for maintaining their own nuclear arsenal.

“It was fully exposed before the world that ‘Libya’s nuclear dismantlement,’ much touted by the U.S. in the past,” North Korea’s state media said in 2011, “turned out to be a mode of aggression whereby the latter coaxed the former with such sweet words as ‘guarantee of security’ and ‘improvement of relations’ to disarm itself and then swallowed it up by force.”

Some analysts suggest that Bolton and his cohort are explicitly setting the table for talks to collapse. “Bolton is willing to entertain some period of negotiations for the sole purpose that, when they fail, he can discredit diplomacy and push for more aggressive solutions,” wrote arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis.

That may allow Trump another potshot at Barack Obama, the president who was ever wary of “aggressive solutions.” But critics are right to be worrying about its profound risks.

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🤡 Trump repaid lawyer $130,000 'hush money', says Giuliani
« Reply #1268 on: May 03, 2018, 01:57:40 AM »
Who's side  is  Rudy on?  ???  :icon_scratch:

RE

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43985260

Stormy Daniels case: Trump repaid lawyer $130,000 'hush money', says Giuliani


Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Trump has previously said he knew nothing of the payment to Ms Daniels

President Donald Trump personally repaid his lawyer the $130,000 that was used to buy an adult film actor's silence about an alleged affair, his legal aide Rudy Giuliani has said.

It appears to contradict Mr Trump, who said he did not know about the payment made by lawyer Michael Cohen to Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.

Mr Trump has denied Ms Daniels' claims of an affair in 2006.

Mr Giuliani said no campaign finance was used, a key issue in the matter.

    Should Trump be worried about Stormy Daniels?
    The president and the porn star: Why this matters

What did Mr Giuliani say and why?

The former New York City mayor recently joined Mr Trump's legal team and was talking to Sean Hannity on Fox News.

The campaign finance issue appears to be one his main motives - to deny that there was any wrongdoing.
Image Copyright @FoxNews @FoxNews
Report

Mr Cohen's $130,000 (£95,650) payment to Ms Daniels just before the 2016 election could count as an illegal contribution to President Trump's campaign.

Mr Giuliani said: "That money was not campaign money. Sorry, I'm giving you a fact now that you don't know. It's not campaign money. No campaign finance violation.

"They funnelled it through a law firm and the president repaid it."

Mr Giuliani said the repayment was made "over a period of several months".

He added that the president "didn't know about the specifics of it, as far as I know, but he did know about the general arrangement that Michael would take care of things like this".
Does this contradict the president?

When asked by reporters a month ago if he knew about the payment to Ms Daniels, Mr Trump said: "No."

When asked why the payment was given to Ms Daniels, he added: "You'll have to ask Michael Cohen."

The president might argue that the lawyer "took care of things like this", as Mr Giuliani suggested and that he knew nothing of the "specifics", making the repayment personally later.

Speaking on Fox TV last week, Mr Trump suggested some knowledge of the matter in admitting Mr Cohen had represented him during the "crazy Stormy Daniels deal", but did not go into specifics.

Mr Cohen, for his part, told the New York Times in February: "Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly."

How this relates to any personal repayments by Mr Trump is unclear.

If Mr Cohen did co-ordinate with the Trump campaign, the $130,000 payment would be a violation of federal election law.

Mr Giuliani's comments also raise the question of whether Mr Trump was repaying an undisclosed loan. Mr Trump's personal financial disclosure form from June 2017 makes no mention of a debt to Mr Cohen.
What has been the reaction?

Ms Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said that Americans "should be outraged" at Mr Giuliani's comments.

"We predicted months ago that it would be proven that the American people had been lied to as to the $130k payment and what Mr Trump knew," he wrote on Twitter.

He told Associated Press: "Mr Trump evidently has participated in a felony and there must be serious consequences for his conduct and his lies and deception to the American people," he said.
Stormy clouds not going away

Analysis by BBC's Anthony Zurcher in Washington

There are two ways to look at Rudy Giuliani's blockbuster revelation that Donald Trump reimbursed Michael Cohen for his $130,000 payment.

The first is that the former New York mayor was freelancing and caught the president and the White House communications team flatfooted. In that case, Mr Giuliani's brief return to the political spotlight will be short-lived.

The other possibility is that this was a pre-planned revelation in the friendly confines of Sean Hannity's Fox News talk show. Some in the White House may have been caught by surprise, but there was a strategy in play. Perhaps Mr Giuliani and the president decided that the legal exposure from hiding that Mr Trump made the payment was more dangerous than the political risk from admitting he cut the cheque and lied about it.

Mr Trump has proven bulletproof when it comes to most political scandals and this one may prove no different, although the Stormy saga has proven to have staying power. Even with the revelation, the president and Mr Cohen's payment may still constitute a campaign finance law violation.

The Stormy clouds aren't going away.
How did the payment come about and what happened since?

The payment relates to allegations by Ms Daniels that she had sex with Mr Trump in 2006, allegations he denies.

After initially denying the payment, Mr Cohen eventually admitted he had paid the sum privately to Ms Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, in October 2016 out of his own funds in exchange for her silence in a non-disclosure agreement.

He denied that Mr Trump was a party to the transaction.

Mr Cohen is now facing a criminal investigation. FBI agents searched his home and office in New York recently in relation to the nondisclosure agreement.

In March this year, Ms Daniels filed a lawsuit against the president, alleging that the agreement was invalid because Mr Trump did not sign it.
Media captionStormy Daniels: "I was threatened"

She later lost a court motion for Mr Trump to give sworn testimony about her claim that they had a relationship.

While Mr Trump has denied her claims, his lawyers are seeking $20m in damages from Ms Daniels, arguing she broke the non-disclosure deal.

Ms Daniels is also suing the president over a "defamatory" tweet he posted after she said she was threatened by a man in a Las Vegas car park to drop her allegations of the affair.

Mr Trump said her claims were "a total con job".
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Online Eddie

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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1269 on: May 03, 2018, 05:22:43 AM »
It's not Rudy. It's Flood. A studied decision, fully approved. It takes all the sting out of the Stormy matter. If it wasn't a campaign contribution, it was just Donald whoring around, which is not a serious crime, and now it's completely handled. I'd say it's pretty good tactics, and what they should have done before now.

But they better be prepared to prove it at this point. If the money trail supports this version, I'd say Trump dodged one of many bullets headed his way. I fully expect him to dodge ALL the bullets. Mueller's investigation, unless it gets to the Russian oligarch money-laundering, is fairly toothless, I think.

If there is some smoking gun...if multiple witnesses say Trump personally sent Manafort to curry Russian help to win the election, there might be a problem. But I'm betting Trump's guys will stand up for him and take the heat, and he'll remain the Teflon Don.

I think the money-laundering will be ignored. The elephant in the room. Mueller will decide it isn't within his mandate. Old crimes and not related to the current investigation.

What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1270 on: May 03, 2018, 09:13:32 AM »
It's not Rudy. It's Flood. A studied decision, fully approved. It takes all the sting out of the Stormy matter. If it wasn't a campaign contribution, it was just Donald whoring around, which is not a serious crime, and now it's completely handled. I'd say it's pretty good tactics, and what they should have done before now.

But they better be prepared to prove it at this point. If the money trail supports this version, I'd say Trump dodged one of many bullets headed his way. I fully expect him to dodge ALL the bullets. Mueller's investigation, unless it gets to the Russian oligarch money-laundering, is fairly toothless, I think.

If there is some smoking gun...if multiple witnesses say Trump personally sent Manafort to curry Russian help to win the election, there might be a problem. But I'm betting Trump's guys will stand up for him and take the heat, and he'll remain the Teflon Don.

I think the money-laundering will be ignored. The elephant in the room. Mueller will decide it isn't within his mandate. Old crimes and not related to the current investigation.

I'm old enough to recall how the Rs went through three special prosecutors and years of tireless investigation to get to Ken Starr and the infamous cum-stained blue dress. A matter so redolent of violence toward established norms that the pear-shaped Henry Hyde was compelled to waddle over to the Senate to present Articles of impeachment. Cue the somber chin-stroking.

Good times.

Now Fox "News" is a 24/7 Fifth Column peddling twaddle and lies to the rubes and keeping those fuckwits in line, the keep his approval rating at 35-40 per cent. They do that, there ARE and WILL NEVER be any consequences. Tweet out six lies a day, tell them black is white and night is day, and in time, they wioll believe it.

The end game: permanent government by Kochsuckers.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1271 on: May 03, 2018, 09:21:19 AM »
It's not Rudy. It's Flood. A studied decision, fully approved. It takes all the sting out of the Stormy matter. If it wasn't a campaign contribution, it was just Donald whoring around, which is not a serious crime, and now it's completely handled. I'd say it's pretty good tactics, and what they should have done before now.

But they better be prepared to prove it at this point. If the money trail supports this version, I'd say Trump dodged one of many bullets headed his way. I fully expect him to dodge ALL the bullets. Mueller's investigation, unless it gets to the Russian oligarch money-laundering, is fairly toothless, I think.

If there is some smoking gun...if multiple witnesses say Trump personally sent Manafort to curry Russian help to win the election, there might be a problem. But I'm betting Trump's guys will stand up for him and take the heat, and he'll remain the Teflon Don.

I think the money-laundering will be ignored. The elephant in the room. Mueller will decide it isn't within his mandate. Old crimes and not related to the current investigation.

It takes the sting out of it to admit you paid hush money to a porn actress while running for POTUS? It's stingless to lie about doing so during you presidency?

RE
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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1272 on: May 03, 2018, 11:34:26 AM »

If there is some smoking gun...if multiple witnesses say Trump personally sent Manafort to curry Russian help to win the election, there might be a problem. But I'm betting Trump's guys will stand up for him and take the heat, and he'll remain the Teflon Don.

I think the money-laundering will be ignored. The elephant in the room. Mueller will decide it isn't within his mandate. Old crimes and not related to the current investigation.

It takes the sting out of it to admit you paid hush money to a porn actress while running for POTUS? It's stingless to lie about doing so during you presidency?

RE

Who's going to hold him to account? The Republican House? Trump averages six lies per day and is now over 3000 for his presidency, and what consequences has he faced?  He has just added converts willing to debase themselves in return to access for power. Trump gets his ego stroked, and the Kochs get Christmas every day.

Fundamentalist and evangelican Christians continue to look the other way as regards Trump's many moral failings, adulteries, porn star payoffs and putative treasons because their deal with Trump is transactional. They accept and support, and he delivers. Starting with the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, which is big because in fundy circles, it will hasten Jesus' return. Then add opposition to the Johnson Amendment, coming out strongly against abortion, supporting "religious liberty" by elevating religious protections, putting the "right people" on the Supreme Court and promising more-more-more, allowing federal money to pay to rebuild churches, directing aid to persecuted Christians through faith-based groups, and even doubling the tax credit for children. The fundys are runnng the table with Trump as their champion. Why change?

In the 2016 election, giving Trump 81 percent of the white evangelical vote — reportedly the highest percentage ever. That won't change in 2020.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Online Eddie

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Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Reply #1273 on: May 03, 2018, 01:11:21 PM »

If there is some smoking gun...if multiple witnesses say Trump personally sent Manafort to curry Russian help to win the election, there might be a problem. But I'm betting Trump's guys will stand up for him and take the heat, and he'll remain the Teflon Don.

I think the money-laundering will be ignored. The elephant in the room. Mueller will decide it isn't within his mandate. Old crimes and not related to the current investigation.

It takes the sting out of it to admit you paid hush money to a porn actress while running for POTUS? It's stingless to lie about doing so during you presidency?

RE

Who's going to hold him to account? The Republican House? Trump averages six lies per day and is now over 3000 for his presidency, and what consequences has he faced?  He has just added converts willing to debase themselves in return to access for power. Trump gets his ego stroked, and the Kochs get Christmas every day.

Fundamentalist and evangelican Christians continue to look the other way as regards Trump's many moral failings, adulteries, porn star payoffs and putative treasons because their deal with Trump is transactional. They accept and support, and he delivers. Starting with the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, which is big because in fundy circles, it will hasten Jesus' return. Then add opposition to the Johnson Amendment, coming out strongly against abortion, supporting "religious liberty" by elevating religious protections, putting the "right people" on the Supreme Court and promising more-more-more, allowing federal money to pay to rebuild churches, directing aid to persecuted Christians through faith-based groups, and even doubling the tax credit for children. The fundys are runnng the table with Trump as their champion. Why change?

In the 2016 election, giving Trump 81 percent of the white evangelical vote — reportedly the highest percentage ever. That won't change in 2020.

What he said. Absolutely right,, unfortunately.

Welcome to Atlantis. Prepare to die.
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Offline Surly1

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Revealed: Trump team hired spy firm for ‘dirty ops’ on Iran arms deal
« Reply #1274 on: May 06, 2018, 08:15:31 AM »
Revealed: Trump team hired spy firm for ‘dirty ops’ on Iran arms deal

Israeli agency told to find incriminating material on Obama diplomats who negotiated deal with Tehran

and in Washington

 
Donald Trump promised the Israeli leader that Iran would never have nuclear weapons.
Donald Trump promised the Israeli leader that Iran would never have nuclear weapons. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Aides to Donald Trump, the US president, hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to orchestrate a “dirty ops” campaign against key individuals from the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, the Observercan reveal.

People in the Trump camp contacted private investigators in May last year to “get dirt” on Ben Rhodes, who had been one of Barack Obama’s top national security advisers, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama, as part of an elaborate attempt to discredit the deal.

The extraordinary revelations come days before Trump’s 12 May deadline to either scrap or continue to abide by the international deal limiting Iran’s nuclear programme.

Jack Straw, who as foreign secretary was involved in earlier efforts to restrict Iranian weapons, said: “These are extraordinary and appalling allegations but which also illustrate a high level of desperation by Trump and [the Israeli prime minister] Benjamin Netanyahu, not so much to discredit the deal but to undermine those around it.”

One former high-ranking British diplomat with wide experience of negotiating international peace agreements, requesting anonymity, said: “It’s bloody outrageous to do this. The whole point of negotiations is to not play dirty tricks like this.”

Sources said that officials linked to Trump’s team contacted investigators days after Trump visited Tel Aviv a year ago, his first foreign tour as US president. Trump promised Netanyahu that Iran would never have nuclear weapons and suggested that the Iranians thought they could “do what they want” since negotiating the nuclear deal in 2015. A source with details of the “dirty tricks campaign” said: “The idea was that people acting for Trump would discredit those who were pivotal in selling the deal, making it easier to pull out of it.”

Benjamin Netanyahu on Israeli television, describing how Iran has continued with its plans to make nuclear weapons.
Benjamin Netanyahu on Israeli television, describing how Iran has continued with its plans to make nuclear weapons. Photograph: Jim Hollander/EPA
 

According to incendiary documents seen by the Observer, investigators contracted by the private intelligence agency were told to dig into the personal lives and political careers of Rhodes, a former deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, and Kahl, a national security adviser to the former vice-president Joe Biden. Among other things they were looking at personal relationships, any involvement with Iran-friendly lobbyists, and if they had benefited personally or politically from the peace deal.

Investigators were also apparently told to contact prominent Iranian Americans as well as pro-deal journalists – from the New York Times, MSNBC television, the Atlantic, Vox website and Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper among others – who had frequent contact with Rhodes and Kahl in an attempt to establish whether they had violated any protocols by sharing sensitive intelligence. They are believed to have looked at comments made by Rhodes in a 2016 New York Times profile in which he admitted relying on inexperienced reporters to create an “echo chamber” that helped sway public opinion to secure the deal. It is also understood that the smear campaign wanted to establish if Rhodes was among those who backed a request by Susan Rice, Obama’s final national security adviser, to unmask the identities of Trump transition officials caught up in the surveillance of foreign targets.

Although sources have confirmed that contact and an initial plan of attack was provided to private investigators by representatives of Trump, it is not clear how much work was actually undertaken, for how long or what became of any material unearthed.

Neither is it known if the black ops constituted only a strand of a wider Trump-Netanyahu collaboration to undermine the deal or if investigators targeted other individuals such as John Kerry, the lead American signatory to the deal. Both Rhodes and Kahl said they had no idea of the campaign against them. Rhodes said: “I was not aware, though sadly am not surprised. I would say that digging up dirt on someone for carrying out their professional responsibilities in their positions as White House officials is a chillingly authoritarian thing to do.”

A spokesman for the White House’s national security council offered “no comment” when approached. However, the revelations are not the first time that claims of “dirty tricks” have been aimed at the Trump camp. Special counsel Robert Mueller is leading an investigation into apparent attempts by Trump’s inner-circle to dig up damaging information on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Missiles are paraded through Tehran on Iran’s annual army day on 18 April.
Missiles are paraded through Tehran on Iran’s annual army day on 18 April. Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Of particular interest is a meeting involving the US president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chair Paul Manafort and a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who had promised damaging information about Clinton.

Trump has repeatedly signalled his intention to scrap the Iran deal, denouncing it as “the worst deal ever.” In a January speech the US president accused his predecessor of having “curried favour with the Iranian regime in order to push through the disastrously flawed Iran nuclear deal.”

Last Monday, Netanyahu, accused Iranof continuing to hide and expand its nuclear weapons know-how after the 2015 deal, presenting what he claimed was “new and conclusive proof” of violations.

However, European powers including Britain responded by saying the Israeli prime minister’s claims reinforced the need to keep the deal.

On Thursday the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres urged Trump not to walk away from the deal, warning that there was a real risk of war if the 2015 agreement was not preserved. The following day details emerged of some unusual shadow diplomacy by Kerry, meeting a top-ranking Iranian official in New York to discuss how to preserve the deal.

It was the second time in around two months that Kerry had met foreign minister Javad Zarif to apparently strategise over rescuing a pact they spent years negotiating during the Obama administration. On Sunday Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, will arrive in Washington, hoping to persuade Trump to keep the deal, known as the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA).

Straw, who was foreign secretary between 2001 and 2006, said: “The campaign against the JCPOA has been characterised by abuse and misinformation. It is the best chance of ensuring Iran never develops a nuclear weapons programme, and it is insane to suggest abandoning the deal could do anything but endanger international security.”

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

 

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