Posts tagged with "USA"

Will Congress confront Trump on Iran?

June 21, 2019

A U.S. drone was shot down during an “unprovoked attack” in international airspace above the Strait of Hormuz on June 20, according to U.S. Central Command; although Iran’s Revolutionary Guard disputed that claim—saying that it had struck the aircraft after it entered the nation’s airspace.

It was another “shot heard round the world”—but the U.S. Congress is hoping that the results will not be the same: combat and bloodshed, this time in Iran.

The news comes amid rising tensions in the region, The Daily Beast reports, after American officials blamed Iran on June 13 for what they said was an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Iran at that time also denied any involvement.

And as the possibility of armed conflict with Iran grows stronger, legislators are struggling to settle on what—if anything—they are obligated to do, as the only branch with the constitutional authority to declare war.

Many lawmakers, including a odd-couple coalition of libertarian-minded Republicans and mainstream and progressive Democrats, are increasingly worried that the Trump administration might use, as a legal basis for war, the 18-year old authorization of military force ( or AUMF) that Congress approved immediately after the September 11 attacks, The Daily Beast noted. And as the possibility of conflict inches closer, they are making a play to force the administration to come to Congress and actually convince them military action is necessary.

Senators Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) co-authored a letter to President Trump on June 18, calling on him to explain his recent decisions to deploy additional troops to the Middle East. In the letter, the Senators asked for more information on the troops’ missions and expressed concern about escalating tensions leading to a war between the United States and Iran. They underscored the fact that the Trump Administration does not have the authority to start a war with Iran without authorization from Congress. Other signatories included Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) , Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky).

In addition, Kaine and several others, including Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), had filed an amendment the week before to the annual Department of Defense spending authorization that would block funds for a conflict with Iran unless Congress explicitly authorizes military action.

“The administration desperately wants to avoid coming to Congress on this, and it looks like they’re constructing an argument, the purpose of which is to avoid Congress,” said Kaine. “The purpose is not really to make a great argument about the 2001 AUMF.”

And in the House, The Daily Beast said, Representatives Ro Khanna (D-California) and Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) announced on June 17 that theywould introduce a resolution to block the administration from going to war with Iran on the basis of the 2001 AUMF. Such a measure would require Trump to obtain explicit congressional approval for any hostilities with Iran. Khanna told The Daily Beast that their resolution will likely make it to the House floor next week as an amendment to the House’s Pentagon authorization bill.

In the past, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has linked Iran with al Qaeda—which is specifically named in the 2001 AUMF—and claimed that the Iranian government has supported them, the news outlet reported. That claim is hotly contested by Iran experts.

President Trump, himself, has said repeatedly that he does not wish to escalate military actions into a war—but he also has refused to cooperate with Congress in recent weeks. What happens now is anybody’s guess.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Trump cuts Kim summit short, with no agreement on denuclearization

March 1, 2019

“We are gonna win, win, win. We’re going to win with military, we’re going to win at the borders, we’re going to win with trade, we’re going to win at everything”—has just lost ground in his negotiations with Leader Kim Jong Un of North Korea.

Trump arrived in Vietnam this week entertaining high hopes that he and Kim would strike a deal on denuclearization. Such a pact would have positioned the president firmly in the winners’ circle among global leaders following a long-term standoff with the Asian military state.

But it didn’t happen: The second U.S.-NoKo summit in a year (following a June 2018 meeting in Singapore) ended without any agreement on February 28, The Hill reported.

“Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump said at a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam. “This was just one of those times.”

Accord to The Hill’s report, Trump said the sticking point was sanctions, which Kim wanted lifted before taking all of the steps towards transparency that the United States was asking of him.

“It was about the sanctions,” Trump said at the media event. “Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that. They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that.”

Nonetheless, Trump said the summit was “very productive.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that the two leaders “discussed various ways to advance denuclearization and economic driven concepts.”

“No agreement was reached at this time, but their respective teams look forward to meeting in the future,” she added.

The lack of any tangible results could give fodder to critics who have accused Trump of holding summits with Kim that are nothing more than photo ops that boost the legitimacy of the North Korean dictator, the political news outlet noted.

The summit included a one-on-one meeting and dinner Wednesday night, followed by a one-on-one meeting and meeting with aides Thursday.

Signs that no agreement was within reach became clearer, The Hill reported,  a half-hour after a working lunch was supposed to start when the White House told reporters the summit would end earlier than expected. The schedule originally called for the lunch and a ceremony to sign a joint agreement, both of which were abruptly scrapped.

At the start of Thursday meeting, Kim said he was not “pessimistic” about the ability to reach a deal and that he had a “feeling that good results would come out” of the summit.

The stand-down couldn’t have come on a worse day politically for Trump, whose former “fixer” and personal attorney Michael Cohen took the opportunity to “correct the record” before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform simultaneously with the summit—calling Trump “a racist, a conman, and a thief” during nearly a full day of testimony.

“He was just disbarred by the State Supreme Court for lying & fraud. He did bad things unrelated to Trump. He is lying in order to reduce his prison time. Using Crooked’s lawyer!” Trump tweeted, referring to Cohen adviser Lanny Davis, who once worked for former President Clinton.

Research contact: @rebecca_h_k

73% of Americans want NAFTA to add protections for intellectual property

January 24, 2018

Nearly three out of four U.S. voters  (73%) believe that the North Amertican Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) should be revised and updated to better protect and value U.S. inventions and creativity; based on findings of a poll released on January 23 by ACTION for Trade, a coalition of trade associations, technology companies and creative houses

The NAFTA agreement established a free-trade zone in North America. It was signed in 1992 by Canada, Mexico, and the United States and took effect on January 1, 1994.

The new poll of 1,986 U.S. adults comes as a round of NAFTA talks began yesterday in Montréal, scheduled to run through January 29.

Among the other key findings: Nearly 90% of Americans say that continued innovation is important to ensuring U.S. competitiveness; as well as job creation (91%), economic growth (91%) and the development of new medicines and treatments (89%).

Research contact: 189182@email4pr.com