Posted tagged ‘Trump administration’

Trump considers ending Iran deal ahead of key deadline

September 18, 2017

Trump considers ending Iran deal ahead of key deadline, Washinton ExaminerSarah Westwood, September18, 2017

The October benchmark will be the first recertification to occur without Bannon and Gorka, two strong opponents of the JCPOA, on the president’s team.

Gorka said he was unsure if anybody left in the West Wing is pushing for a full decertification of the Iran deal. But he noted Trump will ultimately make his own decision, regardless of their counsel.

“I think the president is an army of one,” Gorka said. “My prediction is the president will not want to recertify.”

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President Trump is weighing whether to nullify the Iran nuclear deal next month, as proponents of the agreement rally to its defense ahead of a key deadline that will force Trump to reevaluate its future.

The president faces pressure to fulfill his campaign promise to end the Iran nuclear agreement, which he has called the “worst deal ever negotiated.” Known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the deal requires the State Department to certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran is still complying with the agreement under the terms ironed out by the Obama administration in 2015.

Some top Trump aides have urged the president to preserve the Iran deal at the next 90-day mark in October. H.R. McMaster, his national security adviser, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have cautioned Trump against scrapping the JCPOA despite his deep skepticism of the agreement, a source familiar with the talks told the Washington Examiner.

But others close to the president have urged him to follow through on his threats to dismantle the deal and have attempted to craft a new strategy for dealing with Iran in the event Trump ends the JCPOA.

Sebastian Gorka, former strategist to the president, said Trump resisted the recertification process at the most recent 90-day deadline in July, when he requested more information from his aides about how he could end the agreement.

“The president didn’t want it recertified last time,” Gorka told the Washington Examiner.

The former White House adviser, who stepped down last month, suggested Trump did not undo the Iran deal this summer only because he had not yet received from his team a set of satisfying alternatives to the agreement.

“Last time, he didn’t do it because he hadn’t been given an adequate path, the scenario hadn’t been provided to him” to decertify the deal, Gorka said.

But soon after Trump requested a draft plan to dismantle the Iran deal, Gorka said he and another top aide tasked with overseeing the creation of the plan, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon left the West Wing and were unable to pass on their findings to the president.

“Those options were never presented to him because of Steve’s resignation and my resignation,” Gorka said.

Bannon had enlisted the help of at least one outside adviser to give Trump options should he choose to exit the Iran deal.

John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, wrote in a late August memo published in National Review that Bannon had approached him shortly after the most recent recertification and asked him to prepare a “game plan” for withdrawing from the JCPOA.

“[S]taff changes at the White House have made presenting it to President Trump impossible,” Bolton wrote of his Iran deal withdrawal plan. “Although he was once kind enough to tell me ‘come in and see me any time,’ those days are now over.”

Bolton’s memo advises Trump to conduct “early, quiet consultations,” beginning with private phone calls from the president, with key allies like Israel and countries that had signed onto the deal, such as France and Germany. Those early conversations should provide a friendly warning about the decision ahead and should help those countries understand why the administration was pulling back from the agreement, Bolton wrote. Then, Bolton advised Trump to undergo an expanded diplomatic campaign aimed at rallying support around the world for new sanctions against Iran once the deal was no longer in place.

Proponents of the JCPOA argue the independent inspections Iran must undergo as a condition of the deal have so far turned up no evidence of explicit violations, proving it has been a success. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the organization that perform the inspections, reportedly conducted more than 400 site visits in 2016 and has informed the international community that Tehran remains in compliance with limits on its centrifuges and uranium enrichment.

The Trump administration has publicly given little indication of where the president plans to go with the JCPOA in the coming weeks. Trump has already recertified the deal twice, although in April, he called for a sweeping review of whether the sanctions relief Iran won as part of the deal remains in the U.S. national interest.

“We’re continuing to conduct a full review of our Iran policy. That has certainly not changed,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters on Sept. 12. “During the course of the review — and I’ll say this again — that we will continue to hold Iran accountable for its malign activities.”

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley began earlier this month to make the administration’s case for breaking with the deal. Instead of focusing only on whether Iran remains within the parameters of the JCPOA, Haley argued, the U.S. should take a broader view of all Iranian provocations, including the activity of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, support for Hezbollah, and ballistic missile development, and decide on a more comprehensive Iran policy.

“The question of Iranian compliance is not as straightforward as many people believe,” Haley said during a speech to the American Enterprise Institute on Sept. 5. “It’s not just about the technical terms of the nuclear agreement. It requires a much more thorough look.”

The administration moved quickly to signal its low tolerance for Iranian aggression after Trump took office. By early February, Trump had sanctioned more than two dozen people and groups in response to a ballistic missile test Tehran conducted in late January, and his then-national security adviser, Gen. Mike Flynn, had announced that Trump planned to put Iran “on notice” over its provocations.

Trump’s State Department reissued waivers in May that continued to lift sanctions on Iran, which the Obama administration had granted in exchange for compliance with the JCPOA. But Trump also hit several Iranian individuals and entities in May with fresh sanctions related to their aggression outside the terms of the nuclear deal.

And the Trump administration issued a new round of sanctions in July aimed at IRGC-affiliated groups that had engaged in ballistic missile development, among other provocative activities.

Fred Fleitz, senior vice president for policy at the Center for Security Policy, said some critics of the deal have presented options that would keep the JCPOA in place while punishing Iran more severely for bad behavior outside of it.

“They’re trying to find a way to allow the president to do something so he can make a big announcement without pulling out,” Fleitz said of that camp, noting their overall objection for the recertification next month would be to “wrap this in a big, new, anti-Iran policy.”

“The jury is out on what the president is going to do,” Fleitz said.

But Trump has spent months excoriating the deal and blasting the Iranian regime for its aggression. Fleitz said it would make little sense for Trump to continue approving an agreement he has described as dangerous.

“I just think it’s ridiculous to say the deal’s not in our interest and stay in it,” Fleitz said.

Any effort to abrogate the JCPOA would face fierce opposition from the Iran deal’s supporters, all of whom characterize the agreement as the only thing standing between the regime and a nuclear weapon.

However, Trump would earn applause from some members of Congress for following through on his threats to Iran.

Republican lawmakers — including Sens. David Perdue, Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio — have urged Trump to reconsider the suspension of sanctions at the heart of the Iran deal.

Less than a month before the next recertification deadline, one source close to the administration told the Washington Examiner that Trump is “leaning towards decertifying” the Iran deal.

The October benchmark will be the first recertification to occur without Bannon and Gorka, two strong opponents of the JCPOA, on the president’s team.

Gorka said he was unsure if anybody left in the West Wing is pushing for a full decertification of the Iran deal. But he noted Trump will ultimately make his own decision, regardless of their counsel.

“I think the president is an army of one,” Gorka said. “My prediction is the president will not want to recertify.”

State Department Waging “Open War” on White House

September 17, 2017

State Department Waging “Open War” on White House, Gatestone InstituteSoeren Kern, September 17, 2017

“It’s not clear to me why the Secretary of State wishes to at once usurp the powers of the Congress and then to derail his boss’s rapprochement with the Israeli government.” — Foreign policy operative, quoted in the Washington Free Beacon.

Since he was sworn in as Secretary of State on February 1, Rex Tillerson and his advisors at the State Department have made a number of statements and policy decisions that contradict President Trump’s key campaign promises on foreign policy, especially regarding Israel and Iran.

“Tillerson was supposed to clean house, but he left half of them in place and he hid the other half in powerful positions all over the building. These are career staffers committed to preventing Trump from reversing what they created.” — Veteran foreign policy analyst, quoted in the Free Beacon.

The U.S. State Department has backed away from a demand that Israel return $75 million in military aid which was allocated to it by the U.S. Congress.

The repayment demand, championed by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was described as an underhanded attempt by the State Department to derail a campaign pledge by U.S. President Donald J. Trump to improve relations with the Jewish state.

The dispute is the just the latest example of what appears to be a growing power struggle between the State Department and the White House over the future direction of American foreign policy.

The controversy goes back to the Obama administration’s September 2016 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Israel, which pledged $38 billion in military assistance to Jerusalem over the next decade. The MOU expressly prohibits Israel from requesting additional financial aid from Congress.

Congressional leaders, who said the MOU violates the constitutional right of lawmakers to allocate U.S. aid, awarded Israel an additional $75 million in assistance in the final appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017.

Tillerson had argued that Israel should return the $75 million in order to stay within the limits established by the Obama administration. The effort provoked a strong reaction from Congress, which apparently prompted Tillerson to back down.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) “strongly warned the State Department that such action would be unwise and invite unwanted conflict with Israel,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Speaking to the Washington Examiner, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) added:

“As Iran works to surround Israel on every border, and Hezbollah and Hamas rearm, we must work to strengthen our alliance with Israel, not strain it. Congress has the right to allocate money as it deems necessary, and security assistance to Israel is a top priority. Congress is ready to ensure Israel receives the assistance it needs to defend its citizens.”

A veteran congressional advisor told the Free Beacon:

“This is a transparent attempt by career staffers in the State Department to f*ck with the Israelis and derail the efforts of Congressional Republicans and President Trump to rebuild the US-Israel relationship. There’s no reason to push for the Israelis to return the money, unless you’re trying to drive a wedge between Israel and Congress, which is exactly what this is. It won’t work.”

Another foreign policy operative said: “It’s not clear to me why the Secretary of State wishes to at once usurp the powers of the Congress and then to derail his boss’s rapprochement with the Israeli government.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left) and President Donald J. Trump (right) on February 1, 2017. (Image source: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

Since he was sworn in as Secretary of State on February 1, Tillerson and his advisors at the State Department have made a number of statements and policy decisions that contradict Trump’s key campaign promises on foreign policy, especially regarding Israel and Iran.

August 10. The State Department hosted representatives of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), an umbrella group established by the Muslim Brotherhood with the aim of mainstreaming political Islam in the United States. Behind closed doors, they reportedly discussed what they said was Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and the removal of all Israeli control of the Temple Mount and holy areas of Jerusalem. Observers said the meeting was part of larger effort by anti-Israel organizations to drive a wedge between the Trump administration and Israel. The USCMO includes a number of organizations, including American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), which promote “extreme anti-Israel views” and “anti-Zionist” propaganda, and which support boycotts of the Jewish state.

July 19. The State Department’s new “Country Reports on Terrorism 2016” blamed Israel for Palestinian Arab terrorism against Jews. It attributed Palestinian violence to: “lack of hope in achieving statehood;” “Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank;” “settler violence;” and “the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount.” The report also characterized Palestinian Authority payments to the families of so-called martyrs as “financial packages to Palestinian security prisoners…to reintegrate them into society.”

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) called on the State Department to hold the PA accountable in State Department Country reports: “The State Department report includes multiple findings that are both inaccurate and harmful to combating Palestinian terrorism…. At the highest level, the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership incites, rewards, and, in some cases, carries out terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis. In order to effectively combat terrorism, it is imperative that the United States accurately characterize its root cause — PA leadership.”

June 14. Tillerson voiced opposition to designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, saying that such a classification would complicate Washington’s relations in the Middle East. During his confirmation hearings on January 11, by contrast, Tillerson lumped the Brotherhood with al-Qaeda when talking about militant threats in the region. He said:

“Eliminating ISIS would be the first step in disrupting the capabilities of other groups and individuals committed to striking our homeland and our allies. The demise of ISIS would also allow us to increase our attention on other agents of radical Islam like al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and certain elements within Iran.”

June 13. During testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tillerson said he had received reassurances from President Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinian Authority would end the practice of paying a monthly stipend to the families of suicide bombers and other attackers, commonly referred to by Palestinians as martyrs. One day later, Palestinian officials contradicted Tillerson, saying that there are no plans to stop payments to families of Palestinians killed or wounded carrying out attacks against Israelis.

May 22. Tillerson sidestepped questions on whether the Western Wall is part of Israel, while telling reporters aboard Air Force One they were heading to “Tel Aviv, home of Judaism.” Asked directly whether he considers the Western Wall under Israeli sovereignty, Tillerson replied: “The wall is part of Jerusalem.”

May 15. In an interview with Meet the Press, Tillerson appeared publicly to renege on Trump’s campaign promise to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:

“The president, I think rightly, has taken a very deliberative approach to understanding the issue itself, listening to input from all interested parties in the region, and understanding what such a move, in the context of a peace initiative, what impact would such a move have.”

Tillerson also appeared to equate the State of Israel and the Palestinians:

“As you know, the president has recently expressed his view that he wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we cannot advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine. And so I think in large measure the president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process.”

Critics of this stance have argued that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would, instead, advance the peace process by “shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.”

March 8. The State Department confirmed that the Obama administration’s $221 million payment to the Palestinian Authority, approved just hours before Trump’s inauguration, had reached its destination. The Trump administration initially had vowed to freeze the payment.

In July 2017, the Free Beacon reported that Tillerson’s State Department was waging an “open political war” with the White House on a range of key issues, including the U.S.-Israel relationship, the Iran portfolio, and other matters:

“The tensions have fueled an outstanding power battle between the West Wing and State Department that has handicapped the administration and resulted in scores of open positions failing to be filled with Trump confidantes. This has allowed former Obama administration appointees still at the State Department to continue running the show and formulating policy, where they have increasingly clashed with the White House’s own agenda.”

A veteran foreign policy analyst interviewed by the Free Beacon laid the blame squarely on Tillerson:

“Foggy Bottom [a metonym for the State Department] is still run by the same people who designed and implemented Obama’s Middle East agenda. Tillerson was supposed to clean house, but he left half of them in place and he hid the other half in powerful positions all over the building. These are career staffers committed to preventing Trump from reversing what they created.”

Notable holdovers from the Obama administration are now driving the State Department’s Iran policy:

Michael Ratney, a top advisor to former Secretary of State John Kerry on Syria policy. Under the Trump administration, Ratney’s role at the State Department has been expanded to include Israel and Palestine issues. Ratney, who was the U.S. Consul in Jerusalem between 2012 and 2015, oversaw $465,000 in U.S. grants to wage a smear to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from office in 2015 parliamentary elections, according to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Ratney admitted to Senate investigators that he deleted emails containing information about the Obama administration’s relationship with the group.

Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., a career foreign service officer who serves as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Shannon, the State Department’s fourth-ranking official, has warned that scrapping the Iran deal would lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. “Any effort to step away from the deal would reopen a Pandora’s box in that region that would be hard to close again,” he said. His statement indicates that Shannon could be expected to lead efforts to resist any attempts to renege or renegotiate the deal; critics of the deal say that Iran’s continued missile testing has given Trump one more reason to tear up his predecessor’s deal with the Islamist regime.

Chris Backemeyer is now the highest-ranking official at the State Department for Iran policy. During the Obama administration, Backemeyer made his career by selling the Iran deal by persuading multinational corporations to do business with Iran as part of an effort to conclude the Iran nuclear deal.

Ratney, Shannon and Backemeyer, along with Tillerson, reportedly prevailed upon Trump twice to recertify the Iran nuclear deal. The Jerusalem Post explained:

Washington was briefly abuzz on the afternoon of July 17 when rumors began to circulate that President Trump was eager to declare that Iran was in breach of the conditions laid out in the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA).

Those receptive antennas were further heightened given the previous signals sent. After all, the State Department already released talking points to reporters on the decision to recertify Iran. The Treasury Department also had a package of fresh sanctions on over a dozen Iranian individuals and entities ready to announce to appease the hawks who were eager to cut loose from the deal.

But Trump didn’t want to recertify Iran, nor did he want to the last time around in April. That evening, a longtime Middle East analyst close to senior White House officials involved in the discussions described the scene to me: “Tillerson essentially told the president, ‘we just aren’t ready with our allies to decertify.’ The president retorted, ‘Isn’t it your job to get our allies ready?’ to which Tillerson said, ‘Sorry sir, we’re just not ready.'” According to this source, Secretary Tillerson pulled the same maneuver when it came to recertification in April by waiting until the last minute before finally admitting the State Department wasn’t ready. On both occasions he simply offered something to the effect of, “We’ll get ’em next time.”

Judicial Watch Presents: ‘Exposing the Deep State’

September 16, 2017

Judicial Watch Presents: ‘Exposing the Deep State’ via YouTube, September 15, 2017

The blurb beneath the video states,

Judicial Watch hosted a special educational panel on Friday, September 15, 2017, discussing “Exposing the Deep State.” The expert panelists include: Dr. Sebastian Gorka Former Deputy Assistant to the President Author of New York Times best seller Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War Diana West Journalist and Author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character Todd Shepherd Investigative Reporter Washington Examiner James Peterson Senior Attorney Judicial Watch Moderated by Christopher J. Farrell Director of Investigations and Research Judicial Watch.

Report: Kelly Is Blocking Negative Amnesty Coverage From Trump

September 15, 2017

Report: Kelly Is Blocking Negative Amnesty Coverage From Trump, Daily CallerAlex Pfeiffer, September 15, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – Trump and Kelly. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Axios’ Friday report noted: “Instead of being able to march into the Oval Office and hand Trump the latest Breitbart headline or printouts of tweets showing how badly his amnesty drive is playing with his fiercest nationalist supporters, aides opposing the decision would now have to go through the Kelly process, which would involve submitting an official, documented, request to meet with the president.”

White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who used to work for Trump critic Sen. Mike Lee, manages Trump’s news clips and briefing materials, according to the Axios report.

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President Donald Trump’s embrace of amnesty is in part due to White House chief of staff John Kelly blocking negative coverage from the president, according to a Friday report from Axios.

Trump has reversed his stance from the campaign trail and asked Congress last week to “legalize” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty program that protects roughly 800,000 illegal immigrants. The reaction has been negative from conservative commentators and news outlets.

Trump has paid attention to outlets like Breitbart and The Daily Caller in office, which have been highlighting Trump’s flip-flop, two sources who speak with the president told The Daily Caller. However, a recent report from The New York Times said that Kelly has started to take TheDC and Breitbart stories out of Trump’s pile of media reports.

This is part of Kelly’s new regime in which there is more control over the flow of information to Trump. Axios’ Friday report noted: “Instead of being able to march into the Oval Office and hand Trump the latest Breitbart headline or printouts of tweets showing how badly his amnesty drive is playing with his fiercest nationalist supporters, aides opposing the decision would now have to go through the Kelly process, which would involve submitting an official, documented, request to meet with the president.”

White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who used to work for Trump critic Sen. Mike Lee, manages Trump’s news clips and briefing materials, according to the Axios report.

Israeli Team Refused to Brief Trump Officials As Long as McMaster Appointee Ali Was in the Room

September 14, 2017

Israeli Team Refused to Brief Trump Officials As Long as McMaster Appointee Ali Was in the Room via YouTube, September 13, 2017

(Please see also, EXCLUSIVE: Gen. McMaster Sparked a Row With the Israeli Delegation at a White House Meeting on Hezbollah. — DM)

EXCLUSIVE: Gen. McMaster Sparked a Row With the Israeli Delegation at a White House Meeting on Hezbollah

September 13, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Gen. McMaster Sparked a Row With the Israeli Delegation at a White House Meeting on Hezbollah, PJ MediaDavid Steinberg, September 12, 2017

H.R. McMaster (Rex Features via AP Images)

Friction between General McMaster and the Israeli delegation did not end with Israel’s demand that Ali leave the room.

Sources reported that McMaster went on to explicitly dismiss the Israelis’ specific concerns about Hezbollah.

In particular, the Israelis expressed concern that the “safe zone” currently being established within Syria — an idea that had been vociferously supported by Hezbollah’s sponsor, Iran — would immediately become a safe zone for Hezbollah to operate.

McMaster was said to “blow off” this major Israeli concern, and to be “yelling at the Israelis” during the meeting

None of the several sources were aware if Trump had been made aware of the incident.

As has been widely reported, Trump’s Chief of Staff General Kelly has instituted tight restrictions on information and contacts reaching the president. Additionally, Kelly has been said to be working closely with General McMaster on issues related to the flow of information within the administration.

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During the week of August 27, an Israeli delegation met with members of the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House to discuss the current threat to Israel by the terror group Hezbollah.

Israel believes this threat is currently dire. This meeting preceded a two-week long Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) exercise to rehearse for possible war with Hezbollah. The Jerusalem Post described this exercise, which commenced on September 4 and is ongoing, as the IDF’s largest in 20 years.

Hezbollah has been a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997. However, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster reportedly brought NSC Senior Director on Counter-Terrorism Mustafa Javed Ali to the White House meeting with Israel. Ali, a McMaster appointee, is described by a senior administration source as being “opposed to Hezbollah’s designation as a terrorist organization.”

What then transpired at the meeting has been confirmed to PJ Media by several administration sources, by members of non-governmental organizations involved in national security, and by a source within the Israeli government.

The Israeli delegation demanded that Mustafa Javed Ali leave the room.

This demand was made despite the clear likelihood that Ali would later be privy to the meeting’s materials and discussion. As such, sources speculated that Israel intended the demand to serve as a message to President Trump that McMaster’s behavior has constituted a subversion of Trump’s stated Middle East policy.

Mustafa Javed Ali, second from right, attending West Point’s 2015 Senior Conference. The conference was described as having focused on “unconventional approaches to counterterrorism.”

None of the several sources were aware if Trump had been made aware of the incident.

As has been widely reported, Trump’s Chief of Staff General Kelly has instituted tight restrictions on information and contacts reaching the president. Additionally, Kelly has been said to be working closely with General McMaster on issues related to the flow of information within the administration.

Friction between General McMaster and the Israeli delegation did not end with Israel’s demand that Ali leave the room.

Sources reported that McMaster went on to explicitly dismiss the Israelis’ specific concerns about Hezbollah.

In particular, the Israelis expressed concern that the “safe zone” currently being established within Syria — an idea that had been vociferously supported by Hezbollah’s sponsor, Iran — would immediately become a safe zone for Hezbollah to operate.

McMaster was said to “blow off” this major Israeli concern, and to be “yelling at the Israelis” during the meeting.

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For months, General McMaster has been under fire regarding his personnel decisions from Trump voters and the large majority of Americans who support Israel. McMaster has fired or otherwise removed all NSC appointees who strongly supported President Trump’s Middle East campaign platform.

Trump had repeatedly promised that his administration would reject the Bush/Obama policy of denying the doctrinal Islamic roots of terror, most notably expressed by Trump’s willingness to declare jihadist attacks to be “radical Islamic terrorism.” Indeed, Trump honored this pledge early in his term via the many appointees to the NSC brought on by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and others.

Under McMaster, however, all of these voices have been removed from the NSC in what has been described as a “purge.”

In their stead, McMaster has astonishingly welcomed figures such as Kris Baumanand Robert Malley to his NSC. Bauman’s and Malley’s careers have been so objectively subversive to the Trump agenda on Israel that McMaster might as well have appointed Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter.

Mustafa Javed Ali in attendance at former President Obama’s 2010 White House Iftar Dinner. Ali worked within the FBI at the time. Per a source: “No Muslim reformers or liberals were welcome at those events.” (List of expected attendees available at link.)

Little information has previously been public about McMaster appointee Mustafa Javed Ali. Regarding Israel’s demand that he leave the meeting, a source claimed:

Israel possibly knows more about Javed Ali than [the Trump administration] does.

Earlier this year, Ali was rumored to have caused the cancellation of a scheduled talk to the NSC by Ayaan Hirsi Ali on account of her “Islamophobia.” Mrs. Ali, who escaped to the Netherlands from Kenya after fleeing a forced marriage, violence, and being a victim of female genital mutilation, is now an activist exposing Islamic doctrine. She has lived under 24/7 protection since 2004, when a Muslim murdered Dutch film director Theo van Gogh for making a film with Mrs. Ali that criticized Islam. A five-page note threatening the same fate for Ali was left pinned to van Gogh’s chest with a knife.

Sources within the Trump administration have confirmed to PJMedia that this rumor about Mustafa Javed Ali was correct: Mrs. Ali had been invited to speak to the NSC. She was later disinvited due to Javed Ali’s interference.

On August 11, Mrs. Ali published a Wall Street Journal op-ed criticizing Trump for “losing focus” on his terrorism campaign pledges. Within the op-ed, she chose to mention only the “most charitable” criticism being floated about General McMaster:

Some administration critics have blamed the loss of focus on Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who became White House national security adviser in February. The most charitable formulation of this criticism is that military men who slogged their way through wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have an aversion to the argument that we face an ideological opponent, as opposed to a series of military problems.

But I put the responsibility on Mr. Trump. With regard to radical Islam, he simply seems to have lost interest.

Yet senior administration sources are far less charitable about McMaster and his appointee Mustafa Javed Ali. As mentioned above, they described Ali as taking the breathtaking position that Hezbollah should not be a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization. They described Ali as holding the same view regarding the Muslim Brotherhood.

They claimed Ali’s work within the NSC essentially amounts to him attempting to prevent the Trump administration from using any of the means at its disposal to target Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood as organizations. They claimed Ali advocates only targeting such groups’ identifiably “violent” members, and ignoring all other elements of their activities that may be subversive of U.S. interests.

These are recognizable as Obama-era policies — the “smart set” foreign policy strategies behind the Obama administration’s disastrous “Countering Violent Extremism” programs. This is the thinking that marched the Middle East to bloody catastrophe: a half-million dead in Syria.

Yet General McMaster appointed Ali as NSC Senior Director on Counter-Terrorism, and purged the NSC of voices supporting President Trump’s Mideast agenda. Then McMaster reportedly sat Ali in front of an Israeli delegation visiting the White House to share its concerns about Hezbollah.

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I have previously reported here at PJMedia of an extensive public relations push — coordinated by administration supporters of General McMaster — to encourage conservative outlets and think-tanks to reject claims that McMaster is antagonistic to Trump’s foreign policy and to the State of Israel in general. That push was remarkably successful: an online search for critical McMaster stories from the right will reveal such articles virtually halted in mid-August.

The broader questions of President Trump’s continued silence are more difficult to read. None of the sources contacted for this article believe the president has fundamentally shifted his thinking.

Trump likely understands he would not have defeated Hillary Clinton without stating “radical Islamic terrorism.” Yet sources could offer only speculation as to how Trump intends to win his Middle East agenda while saddled with a National Security Council subversive to those goals.

John Kelly blocking Breitbart, Daily Caller articles from reaching Donald Trump: Report

September 2, 2017

John Kelly blocking Breitbart, Daily Caller articles from reaching Donald Trump: Report, Washington Times

(On and on it goes; where (and if) it stops nobody knows. — DM)


In this July 31, 2017 photo, President Donald Trump talks with new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly after he was privately sworn in during a ceremony in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump in Washington.

Mr. Kelly formally laid out the new review process in a pair of memos issued last month, Politico reported, “designed to ensure that the president won’t see any external policy documents, internal policy memos, agency reports and even news articles that haven’t been vetted.”

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President Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, has curtailed the flow of conservative-media reports reaching his boss amid a bid to block his access to unvetted articles, according to The New York Times.

Hardly one month into his tenure as Mr. Trump’s latest chief of staff, Mr. Kelly has made a noticeable impact on the president by reducing the number of right-wing news articles making their way to the oval office, The Times reportedFriday.

Mr. Trump does not have a web browser on his phone, and does not use a laptop, so he was dependent on aides like Stephen K. Bannon, his former chief strategist, to hand-deliver printouts of articles from conservative media outlets,” the Times reported.

“Now Mr. Kelly has thinned out his package of printouts so much that Mr. Trump plaintively asked a friend recently where The Daily Caller and Breitbart were,” conservative websites typically supportive of the administration and its policies, the report said.

Mr. Trump’s chief of staff hasn’t entirely curbed conservative news from reaching the president, however. “Mr. Kelly cannot stop Mr. Trump from binge-watching Fox News, which aides describe as the president’s primary source of information gathering,” according to The Times.

The president appeared to respond to The Times report Friday, tweeting: “General John Kelly is doing a great job as Chief of Staff.”

“I could not be happier or more impressed — and this administration continues to get things done at a record clip. Many big decisions to be made over the coming days and weeks. AMERICA FIRST!” the president tweeted.

Mr. Trump is routinely given packages of a printed-out articles, the White House acknowledged last month, but multiple reports have called into question the quality of the content the commander in chief regularly peruses. Mr. Bannon admitted in May that an uncorroborated article smearing the deputy chief of staff at the time was shared throughout the West Wing, and Axios indicated last week that Mr. Kelly was working to prevent the flow of articles from the likes of Infowars, the far-right website managed by noted conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Mr. Kelly formally laid out the new review process in a pair of memos issued last month, Politico reported, “designed to ensure that the president won’t see any external policy documents, internal policy memos, agency reports and even news articles that haven’t been vetted.”