Foreign Policy

Russian spy unit paid Taliban to attack US troops, US intelligence says

A Russian spy unit paid members of Afghanistan’s Taliban movement to conduct lethal attacks on U.S. troops in that country, according to a classified American intelligence assessment, people familiar with the report said. The assessment of the role played by Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, in fostering attacks on American soldiers, comes as President Trump is pushing the Pentagon to withdraw a significant portion of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and as U.S. diplomats try to forge a peace accord involving the Taliban and the U.S.-backed Afghan government. The intelligence assessment regarding Russia’s actions in Afghanistan was delivered to the White House earlier this spring, and until recently had been known only to a handful of officials, a person familiar with it said. Its contents were reported earlier Friday by the New York Times. It couldn’t be determined whether Russian bounties paid to Taliban fighters resulted in any American combat deaths in Afghanistan. The White House, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon declined to comment. Russia’s Embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. At issue is a secretive unit of the GRU that, according to Western officials, has conducted sometimes clandestine lethal operations against Moscow’s adversaries. The same unit, they said, was responsible for the poisoning in the U.K. of Sergei Skripal, a former GRU officer who defected to Britain, and his daughter. Russia has denied involvement.

Of course they have..  This cannot be allowed to stand.

Opinion/Analysis: Trump is right to ditch 5 decades of failed US-China engagement policy

In less than nine minutes, President Trump delivered remarks at the White House on Friday signaling his administration has ditched almost five decades of the American policy of engagement with China. It’s about time. China has been challenging the United States across the board, and Trump – with his comprehensive comments Friday – signaled the United States would defend itself across the board. Trump announced a series of actions, including: Terminating America’s relationship with the World Health Organization. Trump said the WHO is biased in favor of China and has failed to approve reforms arising out of its dealing with the coronavirus pandemic that originated in China. The move cuts off about $450 million in U.S. funding for the WHO. Trump said the U.S. would use those funds for “other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.” Suspending entry into the U.S. of Chinese nationals posing a security risk. Revoking almost all special exemptions and rules for Hong Kong and imposing sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials. Studying the “differing practices” of Chinese companies listed in the U.S. The president signed a proclamation stating that he will block entry into the United States of Chinese students and researchers tied to U.S. military efforts. In his brief remarks, Trump also commented on other matters, especially the spreading of the coronavirus. “The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government,” he said. On the issue of Hong Kong, Chinese leaders were undoubtedly waiting to see if Trump would withdraw America’s special treatment of the beleaguered territory on trade and other issues. Some thought Trump would not do this, making this issue a test of his resolve. In meeting the test, the president showed political will rarely seen in American leaders. Most observers thought the president would concentrate his remarks on Hong Kong. The surprising aspect of the comments was their comprehensive nature. Moreover, the tone of the president’s words – he was not only adversarial but also angry – broke with decades of precedent. Chinese leaders have not heard an American leader talk to them this way in public. The range of announced actions should concern Chinese leaders. The actions suggest Trump is now leading a whole-of-government charge on China. Not everyone thought Trump was so resolute. The Financial Times, for instance, said Trump “pulled his punches,” not adopting a “range of measures” the markets feared. For instance, he did not terminate the Phase One trade deal, signed Jan. 15. Yet the trade agreement looks shaky – termination or no termination. There are signs China will not meet its principal commitment – increasing purchases of American goods and services by $200 billion over a two-year period. A result, the trade deal is in danger. The Financial Times also said the markets were relieved that Trump did not impose new tariffs or freeze assets of Chinese nationals. The markets should not break out the champagne just yet, however. The Trump administration will be announcing more actions in the weeks to come, probably including “full expensing” for costs to relocate factories from China and Hong Kong to the United States. Larry Kudlow, the director of the president’s National Economic Council, talked about such subsidies in an interview with Fox Business’ Stuart Varney on Tuesday. Moreover, Trump’s mentioning of the behavior of listed Chinese companies is a warning that investment is the next big area on the chopping block. China for months has been saying the “decoupling” of the United States from China was not possible. However, on Friday Trump was making the process look inevitable. Trump said he wanted “an open and constructive relationship with China” – but ultimately the state of relations is not up to him. Beijing, showing off its “wolf warrior diplomacy” has taken a series of aggressive actions since February including: invading India; engaging in boat-bumping and other incidents against six of its neighbors in the South China and East China Seas; threatening to invade Taiwan; breaking promises over Hong Kong; and increasing the tempo of dangerous intercepts of the U.S. Navy in China’s peripheral waters and airspace. It’s not entirely clear why China is lashing out at this moment. Some say it’s a sign of strength. Others says it is a sign of weakness. But it is evident that America’s engagement policy has failed. Engagers, adopting a long view, often ignored or condoned unacceptable Chinese behavior. That feckless policy approach – conducted by U.S. presidents of both parties and by liberals and conservatives alike – only emboldened the worst elements in Beijing by showing everybody else that aggression worked. The upshot is that there is now a perception that Chinese communism cannot be reformed – meaning the only thing the Trump administration can do to protect America is to reduce exposure to China. The underlying theme of the president’s actions Friday was that his administration is cutting ties with Chinese communism. That is the correct approach. The People’s Republic of China is more than just an adversary. A year ago the Communist Party declared a “people’s war” on America. That hostility means that apart from surrendering to Beijing, there is not much Trump can do to patch up relations with China. This is not a Trump issue; it is a China one. There will be costs in unwinding decades of misguided U.S. policies toward China – how could there not be? But Beijing is leaving Trump with little choice. It’s time an American leader did what is necessary: go after China on all fronts. And that’s what the world heard Friday from President Trump.

Exactly right!!  Thanks to Gordon C. Chang, the author of that spot-on analysis.  Gordon is the author of “The Coming Collapse of China.” Follow him on Twitter @GordonGChang.  Excellent!!         🙂

Trump pulls U.S. out of World Health Organization, slaps penalties on China over Hong Kong action

President Trump announced Friday the U.S. is terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronarvirus crisis, and took limited actions to punish China for misleading the world on the virus and for its security crackdown on Hong Kong. Mr. Trump also announced he was ending U.S. preferential treatment for Hong Kong, as Beijing moves to curb its autonomy. “Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organization and pressured the World Health Organization to mislead the world,” Mr. Trump said in a Rose Garden announcement at the White House. “The Chinese government has continually violated its promises to us and so many other nations. These plain facts cannot be overlooked or swept aside,” Mr. Trump said. Mr. Trump said the U.S. will redirect certain funding, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars per year, that would normally go to the WHO. For weeks, the administration threatened to enlist other organizations to conduct health projects it would normally fund under the leadership of WHO. Mr. Trump also suggested China allowed the virus to spread around the world, but not within China. “The world needs answers from China on the virus,” Mr. Trump said. “We must have transparency.” Deaths in the U.S. from the virus topped 100,000 this week, and business shutdowns to slow the spread have thrown roughly 40 million Americans out of work in less than three months. The president will impose sanctions on Hong Kong and Chinse officials who are involved in restricting freedoms in Hong Kong. He also said the U.S. is suspending the entry of “certain foreign nationals from China” as potential security risks. He further announced a move to study “differing practices” of certain Chinese companies trading in U.S. financial markets “with the goal of protecting U.S. investors.” But the actions did not appear as broad or as harsh as U.S. investors had feared. Major stock indexes rose in trading after Mr. Trump’s announcement. Rep. Chris Smith, a leading congressional critic of China’s human rights record, said past administrations answered China with “cheap rhetoric,” emboldening Chinese President Xi Jinping to be ever more aggressive. “President Trump, however, is beginning to change that and is doing what previous presidents have failed to do,” the New Jersey Republican said. “For the sake of oppressed people, the United States — even if we have to go it alone — must impost sanctions.” The president said Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong “is a tragedy for the people of Hong Kong, the people of China and indeed, the people of the world.”

Indeed..  And we need to do much more to punish China.  But, this is a good first step by the Trump Administration.  And, hey..  It’s far more than Hillary or Joe Biden would ever do.

Sen. Graham introduces bill to sanction China if it refuses to cooperate on coronavirus investigation

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Tuesday introduced legislation that would allow President Trump to impose a wide range of sanctions on the Chinese government if it refuses to cooperate with an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus. “I’m convinced that without Chinese Communist Party deception the virus would not be here in the United States,” Graham said in a statement. “China refuses to allow the international community to go into the Wuhan lab to investigate. They refuse to allow investigators to study how this outbreak started. I’m convinced China will never cooperate with a serious investigation unless they are made to do so. This hard-hitting piece of legislation will sanction China until they cooperate with investigators. “ The COVID-19 Accountability Act would require Trump to certify to Congress that China had: cooperated with an international coronavirus investigation, led by either the U.S., an ally or a U.N. body; closed all relevant wet markets, and released Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters arrested during the crisis. If not, then Trump would be authorized by Congress to impose a range of sanctions — including asset freezes, travel bans and measures barring U.S. institutions from making loans to Chinese businesses. The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Mike Braun, R-Ind., Rick Scott, R-Fla., Steve Daines, R-Mont., Todd Young, R-Ind., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss. “China must be more forthcoming as investigations begin and we endeavor to learn lessons from this disaster,” Hyde-Smith said. “This legislation will demonstrate to the communist regime in Beijing that the world needs answers on how this pandemic started and spread misery across the globe.” It comes as part of a growing appetite in Congress to investigate and possibly punish the Chinese for their actions in the initial outbreak of the crisis. House Republicans last week launched a “China Task Force” to coordinate a strategy against the geopolitical threat from Beijing — eyed as a clearinghouse to coordinate responses to the threat from China. Meanwhile, the U.S. is investigating how the virus initially spread — and particularly whether it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, China, or the result of transmission at a nearby wet market. Fox News reported in April that there is increasing confidence from U.S. officials about the role of the laboratory, where it is believed that naturally occurring strain was being studied as part of an effort to show Chinese superiority in identifying and combating viruses. Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell later announced that the U.S. is investigating that possibility. Meanwhile, a 15-page document from the intelligence agencies of the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand was obtained by Australia’s Saturday Telegraph newspaper and reportedly found that China’s secrecy amounted to an “assault on international transparency.” The dossier highlighted the initial denial by the Chinese government that the virus could be transmitted between humans, the silencing of doctors, destruction of evidence, and a refusal to provide samples to scientists working on a vaccine. Click here for more:

Gowdy: U.S. Can Hit China ‘Where It Hurts the Most’ for Hoarding PPE

With China reportedly covering up the coronavirus outbreak and hoarding important medical materials such as Personal Protective Equipment to corner the market and the White House mulling taking action against them, former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said in a Tuesday appearance on “Fox & Friends” the United States could hit China “where it hurts the most” to hold them accountable. Instead of combating China in the “toothless” courts, Gowdy suggested the Trump administration can “ostracize them on the world stage,” not allow their students to study abroad and deduct money that the country owes China. “There are international entities, whether it’s the United Nations, the World Health Organization, there’s the International Court of Justice, there are actually treaties that govern the interactions of countries as it relates to infectious disease. But those are toothless,” Gowdy stated. “You’ve got the American courts, but you have to get around the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, and if you get around that, you’ve got proof problems. I mean, how is an individual American supposed to get information from China when the rest of the world cannot?” He continued, “The Trump administration doesn’t need to go to court to hold China accountable. You can hit them where it hurts the most. You can ostracize them on the world stage, quit letting their students come here and study, you can make them a pariah, but most importantly you can start deducting the amount of money we owe them and other countries owe them, deduct our costs including the loss of life, but all of the other costs, start deducting that, and then see what China’s reaction is.” Gowdy went on to say the United States should be “less dependent on other countries” for important items and manufacture them locally.

As usual, former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) is spot on.  And, as a reminder..if you have a choice between buying something made in China and one that might be a couple bucks more, but says “Made in the USA,” then please please BUY AMERICAN!!  That is something each and every one of us can do to send a clear, unified message to the communist Chinese government about how they handled this Wuhan virus disaster.  To see the video of this interview with Trey, click on the text above.

Trump Signs TAIPEI Act to Increase U.S. Support for Taiwan

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed the Taiwan Allies and International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act, whose acronym in a remarkable coincidence spells out TAIPEI, the name of Taiwan’s capital. The TAIPEI Act enhances U.S. support for Taiwan by encouraging other nations to engage with the island and punishing those who follow the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) orders to isolate it. “This bipartisan legislation demands a whole-of-government approach to ramp up our support for Taiwan, and will send a strong message to nations that there will be consequences for supporting Chinese actions that undermine Taiwan,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who introduced the bill along with Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware in May. The bill enjoyed strong bipartisan support after some revisions and passed the House on a 415-0 vote. The Senate passed the final version of the TAIPEI Act with unanimous consent on March 11. A joint statement from Gardner and Coons highlighted the importance of the Act during the current crisis, stressing America’s determination to “support Taiwan’s participation in appropriate international organizations like the World Health Organization, which would help Taiwan respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and be able to share globally its expertise and knowledge in handling this crisis.” Taiwan was forced into observer status at the World Health Organization (WHO) by Communist China in 2009 and was blocked altogether after the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016. During the coronavirus crisis, WHO uncritically relayed false information provided by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and inexcusably delayed declaring a global health emergency, while Taiwan devised the world’s most effective coronavirus response – in some ways benefiting from its separation from a World Health Organization compromised by CCP politics. Taiwan still correctly objects to its exclusion as outrageous, and at this point the rest of the world is probably suffering more than Taiwan from keeping Beijing in and Taipei out. In February, Taiwan was able to get some of its experts into an online WHO meeting about the coronavirus by working directly with WHO leaders and freezing Beijing out of the discussion. The Chinese Communist government later claimed it had approved Taiwan’s request. As the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry pointed out in February, even after unleashing a historic global pandemic, the CCP still has enough sway over WHO to make it change its reports so they describe Taiwan as part of Communist China. Supporters of the TAIPEI Act also said it would be an important step toward reversing China’s economic and political campaign to isolate Taiwan by bribing and intimidating its allies into abandoning the island and switching their formal diplomatic recognition to Beijing. Eight of Taiwan’s allies have done so since President Tsai’s election, leaving it with 15. “The TAIPEI Act sends a clear message that the United States stands with Taiwan’s free-market democracy. I look forward to finding additional ways to support the positive role Taiwan plays in international affairs,” Sen. Coons said on Thursday. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), Taiwan’s de facto embassy in the United States, on Thursday offered “big thanks to President Donald Trump and Congress’ staunch support for Taiwan.” President Tsai said it was “gratifying” to see the TAIPEI Act signed into law, hailing it as a “testament to Taiwan-U.S. friendship and mutual support as we work together to address global threats to human health and our shared economic values.” “The bill reflects the strength of Taiwan-U.S. ties. It also paves the way for expanded bilateral exchanges while preserving the country’s international space in the face of authoritarian China’s campaign of coercion,” said the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Chinese Communist Party is, unsurprisingly, less pleased with the TAIPEI Act. The Chinese Foreign Ministry actually threatened a “resolute strike back” if the law was implemented. “We urge the United States to correct its mistakes, not implement the law, or obstruct the development of relations between other countries and China, otherwise it will inevitably encounter a resolute strike back by China,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman warned. China stepped up its campaign of military intimidation against Taiwan after the coronavirus pandemic began, conducting provocative naval and air drills. Taiwanese citizens are increasingly angry about these provocations, which have included brief violations of Taiwan’s airspace by Chinese military jets.

This is extremely important, and sends a message to China that we stand with Taiwan.  Kudos to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and the others who pushed this bill and got it to President Trump’s desk for signature.    🙂

 

Rep Diaz-Balart: My family fled Cuba, and I’m setting the record straight for Sanders and Castro apologists

Following praise of Castro’s Cuba by Democratic presidential candidate for president Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., I must take the opportunity to correct the misinformation and false claims so frequently touted by Castro’s apologists. First of all, it is appalling to those personally affected by the Castro regime legacy of firing squads, torture, imprisonment, brutal oppression and terrorism to witness a U.S. presidential candidate seek to decipher some nominal good from the abject and all-pervasive evil of totalitarianism. Many of those who support Sanders today may not have been around to witness the evils of communism over the past few decades. Sanders has no such excuse. At the height of the Cold War, he hobnobbed with the Soviets and established a partnership with the Sandinistas in a Nicaraguan region at war with the indigenous Miskito people. He should remember that when nuclear missiles in Cuba were pointed at the United States, Fidel Castro pleaded that Khrushchev launch a first strike. He should remember that the Castro dictatorship ordered the shootdown of two unarmed civilian aircraft in international waters, resulting in the murder of three innocent Americans and a permanent resident for which the general and two pilots were indicted in U.S. federal court. He should demand the return of fugitives from U.S. justice such as Joanne Chesimard, an FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist, and terrorist bomb maker William Morales. He should remember the “13 de Marzo” Tugboat Massacre of 1994 when the Castro regime rammed, sprayed and ultimately sunk a tugboat of 72 men, women and children who were attempting to escape Cuba in search of freedom. 41 perished, including 10 children. They were among the over a million Cubans who, like my family, fled totalitarianism. He should also remember the lives of those who died at the hands of the Castro regime in the past ten years, such as Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Juan Wilfredo Soto, Laura Pollan, Oswaldo Paya, Harold Cepero and Armando Sosa Fortuny. He should call for the immediate release of political prisoners Jose Daniel Ferrer, Mitzael Diaz Paseiro, Yanet Perez Quevedo and Miguel Diaz Bouza so that they do not suffer the same fate. Collectivist systems of socialism and communism have brought devastation and tyranny wherever they have been tried. The regimes of communist China, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela have used socialist/communist policies to justify the most egregious human rights abuses and their iron grip on power. In less than two decades, socialism has managed to plunge Venezuela, a country with the world’s largest known oil reserves, into blackouts, starvation, medical shortages and utter destitution. The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation reveals that more than 100 million people have perished as a result of communism, from the purge policies of Mao and Stalin, including forced starvation, through the dictatorships in North Korea, Eastern Europe and Cuba. Sanders should be asked about Communist China’s forced reeducation and labor camps, including the current oppression of Uyghurs who have been forced to abandon their language and culture and improve their “literacy” of the state-mandated Mandarin language. With collectivist systems where individual rights are subsumed by the so-called “greater good” of the many, once unthinkable horrors become reality. Sanders’ comments in regard to Cuba are particularly shocking given the Castro regime’s long and sordid history of threatening U.S. interests. The regime in Cuba partners with rogue regimes, terrorists and Anti-American interests such as the terrorist state of Iran, Russia, communist China, the Maduro regime in Venezuela, the FARC and Hezbollah. In 2013, the Cuban regime was caught smuggling weapons to North Korea in the largest violation of international sanctions against that country to date. It has welcomed Russian espionage ships to Cuban waters to spy on the United States. Sonic health attacks against U.S. personnel in Havana caused traumatic brain injury to Americans and their families. For years, Cuba has maintained thousands of Cuban intelligence operatives in Venezuela in what the Organization of American States’ Secretary General called an “occupation army” to oppress the Venezuelan people and sustain the illegitimate Maduro regime. The Obama Administration chartered a course to legitimize the Castro tyranny. Thankfully, President Trump understands the danger of the Cuban dictatorship and has corrected this course. I was disappointed that the Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives chose not to consider such an important resolution condemning Sanders’ admiration of a murderous dictator, a resolution that should have enjoyed bipartisan support. It’s very alarming that the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is willing to turn a blind eye to this evil. “The truth is the truth.”

Thanks to Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) who represents the 21st congressional district in South Florida for that compelling, powerful op/ed.  Please forward that on to anyone you know who liked Bernie’s recent comments about Cuba.

Israel Ambassador to UN: We Don’t Want ‘Ignorant Fool’ Bernie Sanders in Israel

Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, declared Sunday that Democratic Party presidential frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is an “ignorant” fool, adding: “We don’t want him in Israel.” The unusually blunt criticism came at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the most prominent pro-Israel groups in the country. Sanders declared a week ago that he would not attend AIPAC, claiming that it was a platform for “bigotry.” When asked what he means, during the Democrat debate in South Carolina, he called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “reactionary racist.” (The audience applauded.) Danon, a free-marker conservative known for his blunt opinions declared (via Times of Israel): “Whoever calls the prime minister of Israel a ‘racist’ is either a liar, an ignorant fool, or both,” Danon said. “We don’t want Sanders at AIPAC. We don’t want him in Israel.” Netanyahu’s own reaction was more muted: he said Sanders was “wrong,” but hastened to add that he did not want to interfere in the U.S. elections. Sanders has also said that he would use U.S. aid as leverage to force Israeli concession, and would consider moving the U.S. embassy from Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv. The only Democratic Party presidential candidates who will address AIPAC are former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) — the latter two by video.

What irony!  Bernie is Jewish, and yet Israel wants nothing to do with him.  By contrast, when Trump visited Israel, he was treated like a rock star!  And, he has a great working relationship with Bibi Netanyahu.  That’s crucial to our foreign policy in the middle east.  If Bernie were elected, it’d be a disaster for our middle east policies.

Trump rallies massive crowd in India, inks military deal with Modi

President Trump drew the crowd of a lifetime to kick off his first official visit to India. The president, who loves to play to a big audience, was met with a raucous ovation Monday as he addressed a crowd of more than 110,000 people in a joint rally with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Along with first lady Melania Trump, the visiting first family packed the world’s largest cricket stadium, as the U.S. president declared America’s love for the country and solidarity with its people — and announced a military partnership with the Indian government. “The first lady and I have just traveled 8,000 miles around the globe to deliver a message to every citizen across this nation: America loves India, America respects India, and America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people,” Trump said, drawing massive cheers. The two heads of state spoke at the “Namaste Trump” rally at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad. It was a follow-up to the “Howdy Modi” rally in Houston last September. Later in his visit, the president and first lady toured the site of the Taj Mahal. The famous Indian landmark had served as the inspiration for a hotel and casino Trump once owned in Atlantic City, N.J. At the rally, Trump announced a $3 billion deal that will send state-of-the-art military helicopters to the country. “I believe that the United States should be India’s premier defense partner and that’s the way it’s working out,” Trump said. The president also spoke of both countries’ desire to combat radical Islamic terrorism. “Both of our countries have been hurt by the pain and turmoil of terrorism,” the president said, before boasting of the defeat of ISIS and the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Trump then drew a rousing ovation when he touted his administration’s work with Pakistan “to crack down on the terrorist organizations and militants that operate on the Pakistani border.” The president closed with a message of positivity and hope for a bright future for the two countries and the world. “So today I say to every Indian — North and South, Hindu and Muslim, Jewish and Christian, rich and poor, young and old: take pride in the glories of your past, unite for an even brighter future, and let our two nations always stand together as powerful defenders of peace and liberty, and the hope of a better world for all of humanity,” he said.

Senate Democrat Murphy acknowledges meeting with Iran’s foreign minister

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., confirmed on Tuesday that he met with Iran’s foreign minister, arguing that “it’s dangerous not to talk to adversaries.” The two met at the Munich Security conference amid tough rhetoric between President Trump and Iran’s leadership. Murphy claimed he told Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that Congress is also responsible for setting U.S. foreign policy. “Many of us have met w Zarif over the years, under Obama and Trump,” Murphy tweeted. “So though no one in Congress can negotiate with Zarif or carry official U.S. government messages, there is value in having a dialogue.” According to his tweets, Murphy also urged Zarif to control any proxies that might attack U.S. forces, as well as release American citizens unlawfully detained in the nation. Murphy’s tweets confirmed an earlier report that Murphy and other Democratic senators held a secret meeting with Zarif. It’s unclear which other senators were involved. In a Medium post, Murphy expanded on his meeting and clarified that he wasn’t trying to sidestep the administration’s foreign policy. “I don’t know whether my visit with Zarif will make a difference. I’m not the President or the Secretary of State — I’m just a rank and file U.S. Senator. I cannot conduct diplomacy on behalf of the whole of the U.S. government, and I don’t pretend to be in a position to do so,” Murphy wrote. “But if Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should. And Congress is a co-equal branch of government, responsible along with the Executive for setting foreign policy. A lack of dialogue leaves nations guessing about their enemy’s intentions, and guessing wrong can lead to catastrophic mistakes.” Murphy’s chamber recently voted on a war powers resolution aimed at reining in Trump’s actions against Iran. The resolution received a majority vote but ultimately failed to garner the two-thirds majority needed to overcome Trump’s veto. The meeting came as the Trump administration seeks to increasingly isolate Iran through the re-imposition of sanctions under its “maximum pressure campaign” on the Islamic republic. Murphy has been a harsh critic of the administration’s policy toward Iran and said in a Medium post that he had raised the U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian general in Iraq and told Zarif that despite differences, Congress and the administration are united in sending a message that any Iran-backed attack on American troops in Iraq would be “an unacceptable escalation.” The senator also said he had raised Iran’s support for Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen and Americans held prisoner in Iran.

What Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) has done here is mind-boggling, and sinister at best.  The President and the Executive Branch of government are responsible for setting and maintaining our nation’s foreign policy.  It is NOT something shared with the legislative branch.  Sen. Murphy knows this, despite his disingenuous comments to the contrary.  To be clear…  He is consciously, proactively undermining the Trump Administration’s foreign policy efforts with Iran because he disagrees with them, and he’s a Dem that doesn’t like Trump.  It’s that simple.  At best, Sen. Murphy is in violation of the Logan Act, and should be censured by the Senate.  At worst, he is undermining our national security, and might be engaging in treasonous activities and should be criminally charged accordingly. Sen. Murphy has NO business doing what he’s doing, and has no authority to be doing it whatsoever.  Yes, there ARE three co-equal branches of government, Senator.  But, they each have their separate roles and responsibilities and those roles and responsibilities are clearly laid out in our Constitution, Sir.  Perhaps you should read it.  The conduct of foreign policy resides solely in the purview of the executive branch.  Period.  Sen. Murphy is a legislator, and someone needs to tell him to stay in his lane.  What a self-serving, sanctimonious, sleazy tool…