Archive for December 5, 2017

Robert Mueller’s mighty tuna shrinks to a goldfish

December 5, 2017

Robert Mueller’s mighty tuna shrinks to a goldfish, Washington Times, December 4, 2017

James Comey. (Associated Press) ** FILE

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Robert Mueller has the heart of a Las Vegas hooker and the guile of a New Orleans stripper. Not to push the metaphor too far, he’s skilled at showing a little skin in a cloud of satin and lace, but never quite comes across with what the customer is paying for.

Mr. Mueller, held up by his fellow Blackstones as a model of lawyerly rectitude, teased everyone last week that after testing his prowess to the limit, he had hooked a mighty tuna. His hallelujah chorus in the media celebrated the hundred-pound monster, but overnight it melted into a two-inch goldfish.

The special prosecutor might yet get the last laugh. He may yet land the promised tuna if there’s actually one out there in the briny deep. So far he’s coming up with nothing but net. The Associated Press, which has never been accused of giving Republicans a break, called the arrest “lots of smoke, but no smoking gun.” The “lots of smoke” looked as the new week began as merely a thin tuft of smoke, or more likely a wisp of fog.

The president’s sharpest detractors, agreed CNBC News, among the most fervent of those detractors, have so far been unable to find evidence that the Trump campaign coordinated with, or was even aware of, Russian efforts to swing the 2016 presidential election against Hillary Clinton.

The Democrats figure that since the tuna turned out to be a goldfish, it’s time to resurrect something dead from the recent past. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose Senate seat has been getting a little warm, resurrected a notion discarded earlier that Mr. Trump obstructed justice by firing James Comey as director of the FBI. Mr. Comey is best buds with Robert Mueller, who has never given up trying to rehabilitate Mr. Comey from goat to grandee. Only last week Mr. Comey himself took a turn as Bible scholar, attempting to apply a verse from the Book of Amos (5:24) — “But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream” — to Mr. Mueller’s search for a crime. A Bible verse in the hands of a novice can be like a child with a gun.

Alan Dershowitz thinks the idea that the president, by sacking Mr. Comey, obstructed justice is nonsense. Mr. Dershowitz, the distinguished law professor at Harvard, warned Mrs. Feinstein and Democrats who are trying to build a case that the president obstructed justice that they’re wasting their time.

“You cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power to fire Comey and his constitutional authority to tell the Justice Department who to investigate, who not to investigate. That’s what Thomas Jefferson did, that’s what Lincoln did, that’s what Roosevelt did. We have precedents that clearly establish that.”

The president’s tweets are making trouble for him again. Some Democrats, eager for something, anything, to hang their hats on, argue that Mr. Trump’s tweet on Sunday “suggested” that the president knew former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied to the FBI, and that implies obstruction of justice. Or it might only be that these Democrats inferred that that’s what the president did. They should study the difference. A desperate Democrat might infer a lot of fake stuff. To pursue a president for obstruction would ultimately require that “clearly illegal acts” would have to have been committed.

This is what some of Mr. Trump’s pursuers would call mere technicalities in the law. Destroying Donald Trump is of such transcendent purpose, the goal of every right-thinking American, that anything goes. Ask any never-Trumper. What does the Constitution have to do with it, anyway? Six and seven decades of drinking the poison that the Constitution is only “a living document,” subject to reinterpretation to fit any theory of the law, has done great damage.

The Flynn episode might be the needed tutorial in constitutional law. Lawyer and layman alike can learn something useful. Alan Dershowitz thinks Mr. Trump’s lawyers should learn something, too. Legally speaking, he says, Mr. Flynn was “up for sale,” and his “credibility is worthless” since he has been credibly accused of perjury.

“I think the administration is not aggressive enough with [Mr.] Mueller,” Mr. Dershowitz told Laura Ingraham of Fox News last week. “They should be in court challenging what he has been doing. He is going far beyond any possible scope of his investigation.”

The president’s lawyers could be challenging subpoenas, and who are called as witnesses. An investigation, whether called for or not, should be done with a semblance of fairness or it will invite a generation of vipers to do their evil work. If Donald Trump is half as bad as the Democrats say he is, Robert Mueller does not need a railroad to get to where he’s trying to go.

• Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.

Supreme Court Reinstates The Trump Travel Ban In Full Depending Appeal

December 5, 2017

Supreme Court Reinstates The Trump Travel Ban In Full Depending Appeal, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, December 5, 2017

I do not see how these orders cannot be taken as a strong indication of the view of the majority on the Supreme Court in favor of the authority claimed by the Administration.  Moreover, the orders contain a notable line that indicates that the Court wants this litigation brought to an end: “In light of its decision to consider the case on an expedited basis, we expect that the Court of Appeals will render its decision with appropriate dispatch.”  If the injunction decision is any indication, the Court may be thinking of dispatching more than the schedule in this long-running litigation.

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Yesterday, the Trump Administration secured two clear victories after the United States Supreme Court issued two orders lifting the lower court injunctions imposed on the travel ban.  I have written repeatedly on the travel ban (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here) and my view that the case law supported the Trump Administration.  I thought that the appeal that reached the Supreme Court on the second round seemed likely to succeed while the third round was even stronger for the Administration.  The Administration had already secured an order with the Ninth Circuit reversing the trial courts in critical respects.  Now the Supreme Court restored the travel ban in its entirety pending appeal.  The orders issued shortly before appellate arguments on the merits this week is a further indication that the Administration is likely to prevail on the merits.  Indeed, while the orders do not dictate an outcome, they send a strong message to the lower courts on the skepticism of the Court.

When the Supreme Court lifted a significant part of the injunctions imposed by lower courts, there was a surprising footnote in the short order that I discussed at the time.  The Court indicated that the Trump Administration had not asked for an expedited hearing before October.  That set the travel ban up for what I described as “planned obsolescence” to expire shortly before the scheduled oral argument.

Buried in the order was the following line after the Court set the oral hearing for the start of the October session:  “The Government has not requested that we expedite consideration of the merits to a greater extent.”  So the Administration asked for expedition but did not push for a July argument, which would not be unprecedented. Instead, the Court set oral argument for the start of the October session.  Why?  If this is a matter of national security danger, one would expect at least a request for a July argument.

As discussed at the time, the answer would seem to be that the Administration was planning to issue a new travel order after the expiration (it would be smarter to wait for the passage of the 90 days to avoid arguments that the new order in any way worked in tandem with the prior order).  The new order would then be based on new information, new priorities, and likely cover additional countries. That would make it even more difficult to challenge.  The degree of reliance of lower courts on Trump’s campaign statements and tweets were always questionable.  Replaying “Golden Trump Oldies” on a new ban is unlikely to garner as much of a judicial audience.

After the Supreme Court order lifting the injunction, the expired ban barred citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who could not show a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” from entering the U.S. As I discuss, the new order could add additional countries to the list and identify other vetting concerns and procedures.  It did.

The new order issued Sept. 24 contains a new list of countries that dropped some of the original countries while adding new non-Muslim countries. For the record, I have long criticized the earlier orders against the travel orders as relying too heavily on campaign statements and too little on existing case law. I believe that the administration would have largely prevailed on the second order if the litigation were not mooted. The new opinions in Hawaii and Maryland offered basically the same narrative while ignoring the new factual foundation.

There is no question that President Trump continues to make the defense of these orders more difficult with his controversial tweets, including the recent retweeting of controversial videos from an extremist group in England. However, the materiality of these statements has become more and more forced with each new generation of agency findings. Agencies studied the vetting procedures for months and reached a consensus on the changes that they deemed necessary for border protection. Such factual findings are normally accorded deference by courts, which are bound not to substitute their judgment for policy or political choices.

Judge Chuang notably found that the administration may have met the “low bar” of establishing that entry from these countries would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.” However, he insisted that the administration did not “explain why the broad travel ban is necessary in a way…unrelated to religious animus.” It is not clear how the administration is supposed to prove that, particularly after shouldering the burden on the detrimental impact to the nation’s security. The administration cited “inadequate identity management protocols, information sharing practices, and risk factors,” including need technological improvements.

The new orders allow, for the first time, the travel bans to go into full affect. They notably do not include the prior limitation imposed by the Court in June when the Court lifted most but not all of the injunctions.  At that time, three justices indicated that they wanted to lift the injunctions without limitations but the rest of the Court decided to preserve the injunction for those with established connections to the United States.  On this occasion, only Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented to allowing the travel ban to be enforced in its entirety.

While the orders relate to the injunctions and not the merits, the Court clearly rejected the lower court finding under the preliminary injunction standard that the challengers had shown a “likelihood of success on the merits” of the case. The Court could also have rejected the showing that the plaintiff is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities weighs in the plaintiff’s favor, or that a preliminary injunction is in the public interest.

I do not see how these orders cannot be taken as a strong indication of the view of the majority on the Supreme Court in favor of the authority claimed by the Administration.  Moreover, the orders contain a notable line that indicates that the Court wants this litigation brought to an end: “In light of its decision to consider the case on an expedited basis, we expect that the Court of Appeals will render its decision with appropriate dispatch.”  If the injunction decision is any indication, the Court may be thinking of dispatching more than the schedule in this long-running litigation.

Here are the orders: International Refugee Assistance order and the Hawaii order.

Trump Tells Abbas & Abdullah: The US Embassy is Moving to Jerusalem

December 5, 2017

Trump Tells Abbas & Abdullah: The US Embassy is Moving to Jerusalem, The Jewish Press, December 5, 2017

(Please see also Report: US Quietly Taking Major Steps Toward Moving Israeli Embassy. As to the timing, it may take time to get the new embassy ready.– DM)

Mazal Tov to President Trump from a Jerusalem, Israel builder

On Monday night, President Trump did not sign the waiver for the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which he is required to sign every 6 months if he wants to delay the move.

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President Donald J. Trump spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the King of Jordan Abdullah II on Tuesday and informed them that he intends to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Both the PA and the Kingdom of Jordan released statements stating that this is what Trump told them.

No indication was given for a timeline as to when this will happen.

The Palestinian Authority had already called for three days of rage starting on Wednesday, before they received the phone call.

There is some expectations that on Wednesday, Trump may also officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

On Monday night, President Trump did not sign the waiver for the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which he is required to sign every 6 months if he wants to delay the move.

US embassies said to gird for protests over Trump Jerusalem moves

December 5, 2017

US embassies said to gird for protests over Trump Jerusalem moves, Times of Israel, December 5, 2017

(Please see also, Report: US Quietly Taking Major Steps Toward Moving Israeli Embassy. As to the “peace process,” the “Palestinians” have gone far beyond what is necessary to demonstrate that they do not want peace at any price Israel can pay and survive. — DM)

This file photo taken on January 20, 2017 shows the exterior of the US Embassy building in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv. (AFP/JACK GUEZ)

The US State Department is reportedly bracing for violence at its embassies and consulates should President Donald Trump follow through on his reported intention to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Diplomats fear an announcement by Trump, expected in a major policy speech Wednesday, could provoke anger in the Muslim world, setting off protests at US missions around the world, the Politico news site reported Monday.

At least two classified cables have been sent to embassies and consulates warning them of potential danger and advising they ramp up security, the report said.

“The impending Jerusalem announcement has me very worried about the possibility of violent responses that could affect embassies,” the site quoted a State Department official as saying.

World leaders have warned Trump that breaking with decades of US policy and shifting Washington’s position on Israel’s capital — as well as possibly moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — could spark violence.

The Hamas terror group, which controls Gaza, called Saturday for a new intifada if Washington recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or moves its embassy there.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday brushed aside warnings of violence by Palestinians and the wider Arab world, saying Israel will “know how to deal with all the ramifications” of any US police shift.

Though heavily fortified, US missions have been the target of violent mobs angry at Washington in the past, including protests outside embassies in 2012 following the release of a movie critical of the prophet Muhammad.

Protesters run as police, unseen, open fire into the air near the US Embassy during a protest about a film ridiculing Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. (photo credit: Hani Mohammed/AP)

Trump, who campaigned on a promise of moving the embassy, walked it back after assuming the presidency. Recent reports say that he was unhappy with his first waiver issued in June and wants to go ahead and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. There have been conflicting details as to what such a recognition would encompass, and whether it would involve moving the embassy.

A deadline on signing a waiver to delay moving the embassy passed Monday without any US move on the issue.

Palestinian officials have said that moving the embassy would scuttle attempts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks led by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser. Kushner, in a rare public appearance this weekend, said he was optimistic about restarting the talks.

Significantly, Saudi Arabia on Monday also warned against recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Kushner has become close to the Saudi crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman, and has sought his help in advancing the peace process.

“Any US announcement on the status of Jerusalem prior to a final settlement would have a detrimental impact on the peace process and would heighten tensions in the region,” Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Khalid bin Salman, the crown prince’s brother, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The Arab League said it was closely watching Trump’s moves on Jerusalem, with leader Ahmed Abul Gheit warning that recognizing the city as Israel’s capital would pose a threat “to the stability of the Middle East and the whole world.”

“It will not serve peace or stability, instead it will nourish fanaticism and violence,” he said on Sunday, noting that the League was following the issue and would coordinate a joint position with Palestinian and Arab leaders if Trump took the step.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi attends the Arab Foreign Minister’s meeting in Cairo to discuss the simmering unrest surrounding the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on July 27, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

ordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi also warned that any change to the status of Jerusalem would have “grave consequences,” in a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday.

It was crucial, he said, “to preserve the historical and legal status of Jerusalem and refrain from any decision that aims to change that status,” the official Petra news agency reported.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation said Monday that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would be an act of “naked aggression” that would cause the United States to lose “its mediating role” in the Middle East, after an emergency meeting at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

I,am a kind of nervous !

December 5, 2017

I have the Wednesday blues full of expectations , so to calm down a bit December  music.

so easy , so smooth .

Israel hits back at Turkish leader over threat to sever ties

December 5, 2017

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-hits-back-at-turkish-leader-over-threat-to-sever-ties/

Officials dismiss statement by Erdogan saying American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would be a ‘red line’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he speaks during the Justice and Development (AK) Party's provincial heads meeting in Ankara, November 17, 2017. (AFP/Adem Altan)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he speaks during the Justice and Development (AK) Party’s provincial heads meeting in Ankara, November 17, 2017. (AFP/Adem Altan)

Israeli officials blasted Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Tuesday for his threat to sever diplomatic ties should US President Donald Trump recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Diplomatic officials said in a statement that Jerusalem has been the “capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years and Israel’s capital for 70 years, regardless of whether Erdogan recognizes this or not.”

They spoke on condition of anonymity because the government has not yet commented formally.

Earlier, the Turkish president had said that his country, which currently holds the chairmanship of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, would immediately call a summit meeting of the pan-Islamic group if Trump went ahead with the move on Wednesday, and would “set the entire Islamic world in motion.”

“Mr. Trump! Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims,” he said in a raucous televised speech to his ruling party that was greeted with chants and applause.

Turkey, Erdogan said, would “follow this struggle to the very last moment with determination and we could even go right up to cutting our diplomatic relations with Israel.”

Education Minister and head of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett leads a faction meeting at the Knesset on November 27, 2017. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, blasted Erdogan for his comments.

“Unfortunately, Erdogan does not miss an opportunity to attack Israel,” he said in a statement. “Israel must advance its goals, including the recognition of United Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel. There will always be those who criticize, but at the end of the day it is better to have a united Jerusalem than Erdogan’s sympathy.”

Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) said that Israel did not take orders from Turkey.

“Israel is a sovereign state and Jerusalem is its capital,” Katz tweeted. “There is no more historically justified and correct step now than recognizing Jerusalem, which has been the capital of the Jewish people for the past 3,000 years, as the capital of Israel. The days of the sultan and the Ottoman Empire have passed.”

Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz attends a press conference at the Transportation Ministry in Jerusalem on March 14, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) added his voice, saying that Turkey had enough of its own problems to worry about.

“Turkish rule in Israel ended 100 years ago,” he tweeted. “Erdogan, you have enough troubles in Turkey — worry about your own issues and don’t threaten us.”

MK Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, also said Israel must not cave to Turkey’s threats.

“Turkey’s president, the man who calls our soldiers by disgusting names, threatens once again to cut off relations with us,” Lapid tweeted. “The Israeli government must send a clear message to Erdogan — you do not threaten us. Jerusalem is our capital, and it is time for the world to recognize that fact. The US embassy and also the embassies of the rest of the countries of the world must be in Jerusalem.”

Last year, Turkey and Israel ostensibly ended a longstanding rift greatly exacerbated by Israel’s storming of a Gaza-bound ship attempting to beat the blockade of the coastal strip in 2010. That incident left dead 10 Turkish activists who had attacked Israeli soldiers and led to a downgrading of diplomatic ties.

The two sides have since stepped up cooperation, in particular in energy, but Erdogan, who regards himself a champion of the Palestinian cause, is still often bitterly critical of Israeli policy.

Donald Trump placing a note in the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem on May 22, 2017. (screen capture: Channel 2)

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel gained control of East Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967 and extended its sovereignty there in 1980, an effective annexation that remains unrecognized by the international community. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

All foreign embassies in Israel are located in Tel Aviv, with consular representation in Jerusalem.

Trump is expected to make an announcement on Jerusalem in a major policy speech Wednesday.

He was supposed to decide Monday whether to sign a legal waiver delaying by six months plans to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv, but missed the deadline.

The mercurial president has yet to make his final decision, officials said, but is expected to stop short of moving the embassy to Jerusalem outright, a central campaign pledge that has been postponed once already by the new administration.

Illustrative image of US President Donald Trump signing the Education Federalism Executive Order during a federalism event with governors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, April 26, 2017. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

In 1995, the US Congress passed the so-called Jerusalem Embassy Act recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and stating that the US embassy should be moved there.

But an inbuilt waiver, which allows the president to temporarily postpone the move on grounds of “national security,” has been repeatedly invoked by successive US presidents, from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush and Barack Obama — meaning the law has never taken effect.

Several peace plans have unraveled over disagreement on whether, and how, to divide sovereignty or oversee sites in the city that are holy for Christians, Jews and Muslims.

Erdogan says Turkey could sever ties with Israel if Trump recognizes capital

December 5, 2017
https://www.timesofisrael.com/erdogan-says-turkey-could-sever-ties-with-israel-if-trump-recognizes-capital/
( A truly amazing asshole,,, – JW )

Palestinians, Saudi Arabia, Arab League and European Union warn changing Jerusalem’s status could scuttle peace efforts

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gestures as he gives a speech at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, on December 5, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN)

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gestures as he gives a speech at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, on December 5, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN)

The status of Jerusalem is a “red line” for Muslims and changing it could prompt Turkey to cut its ties with Israel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Tuesday, as US President Donald Trump reportedly geared up to recognize the city as the Jewish state’s capital.

Erdogan said Turkey, which currently holds the chairmanship of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, would immediately call a summit meeting of the pan-Islamic group if Trump went ahead with the move on Wednesday, and “set the entire Islamic world in motion.”

“Mr. Trump! Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims,” he said in a raucous televised speech to his ruling party that was greeted with chants and applause.

Turkey, Erdogan said, would “follow this struggle to the very last moment with determination and we could even go right up to cutting our diplomatic relations with Israel.”

Nabil Shaath, the Commissioner for External Relations of the Fatah movement, seen in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 18, 2012 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Nabil Shaath, the commissioner for external relations of the Fatah movement, seen in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 18, 2012 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Meanwhile, a senior Palestinian official warned that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would spell the end of Trump’s nascent Israeli-Palestinian peace push.

“That totally destroys any chance that he will play a role as an honest broker,” Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, told journalists on Tuesday.

“That takes away… the deal of the century,” he added, referring to Trump’s pledge to clinch the long-elusive peace deal.

Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit also warned of the “danger” of the United States recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or relocating its embassy there, calling on Washington to reconsider.

Abul Gheit told Arab government delegates that they had decided to meet in Cairo “given the danger of this matter, if it were to happen, and the possible negative consequences not only for the situation in Palestine but also for the Arab and Islamic region.”

US President Donald Trump visits the Western Wall, May 22, 2017, in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Saudi Arabia, a major partner to the American efforts to revive the peace process, added its voice, expressing “grave and deep concern” over the possible US plans.

If Trump decides to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital it would reverse years of US policy, even if he did not move the US embassy.

“Saudi Arabia (expresses) grave and deep concern over reports that the US administration intends to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem,” the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing a foreign ministry source.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, May 20, 2015 (AP/Majdi Mohammed)

“This step will have serious implications and will further complicate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It will also obstruct the ongoing efforts to revive the peace process.”

The European Union also noted possible “serious repercussions” of the move.

The EU, which supports a two-state solution to the conflict, warned against doing anything that would jeopardize the peace process.

“Since early this year, the European Union was clear in its expectation that there can be reflection on the consequences that any decision or unilateral action affecting Jerusalem’s status could have,” EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini’s office said in a statement.

“It might have serious repercussions on public opinion in large parts of the world,” it added. “The focus should therefore remain on the efforts to restart the peace process and avoiding any action that would undermine such efforts.”

Trump is expected to make an announcement on Jerusalem in a major policy speech Wednesday.

The mercurial president has yet to make his final decision, officials said, but is expected to stop short of moving the embassy to Jerusalem outright, a central campaign pledge that has been postponed once already by the new administration.

Facing dark warnings of a historic misstep and widespread unrest, Trump on Monday delayed a decision on whether to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. The White House said the president would miss a deadline on the decision, after a frantic 48 hours of public warnings from allies and private phone calls between world leaders.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel gained control of East Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967 and extended its sovereignty there in 1980, an effective annexation that remains unrecognized by the international community. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.