Auteursarchief: Joseph Klein

Nikki Haley to Leave Post as UN Ambassador

Oude Media Nieuwe Media

Nikki Haley to Leave Post as UN Ambassador

President Trump confirmed on Tuesday that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is resigning from that post and leaving the Trump administration, effective as of the end of this year. He praised Ambassador Haley as a “very special” person who had helped him solve “a lot of problems.” The reason for Ambassador Haley’s resignation remains unclear as of the writing of this article. However, President Trump said that she had told him six months ago that she might want to take some time off.

Nikki Haley has been one of the greatest and most courageous UN ambassadors that the United States has ever had. She has stood up for America and its national sovereignty without any apology, even if it meant going against the latest instances of so-called “international community consensus.”  She strongly defended Israel and helped to begin chipping away at the UN’s inherent bias against the Jewish state. Ambassador Haley has spoken out forcefully against Russian aggression and deceit in various speeches at the UN Security Council. And she has made it one of her top priorities to expose the Iranian regime’s malignant behavior, including its use of terrorist proxies to sow mayhem in the Middle East and beyond and its ballistic missile program in violation of a UN Security Council resolution. She has explained and strongly defended the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the loophole-ridden nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and to re-impose sanctions on the Iranian regime.

At the same time, Ambassador Haley has proven her negotiating skills, which eluded her Obama era predecessors. She was instrumental in negotiating the tough UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea that have played a major role in North Korea’s decision to pursue negotiations on denuclearization and to suspend its nuclear bomb and ballistic missile tests. Not content with words on paper, she has doggedly sought to keep the pressure on Russia and China to strictly enforce the sanctions.

Upon entering UN headquarters for the first time in January 2017 as the Trump administration’s UN ambassador, Nikki Haley told reporters, “you are going to see a change in the way we do business.” She added that the Trump administration “is prepared and ready to go in – to have me go in, look at the UN, and everything that’s working, we’re going to make it better; everything that’s not working, we’re going to try and fix; and anything that seems to be obsolete and not necessary, we’re going to do away with.” Ambassador Haley made it clear that the administration would be “taking names” of “those who don’t have our back.” She has more than kept her word.

After the dysfunctional UN Human Rights Council failed to heed Ambassador Haley’s warning to reform or lose U.S. support, the Trump administration withdrew from the Human Rights Council. This travesty counts some of the world’s worst human rights abusers as its members, while spending much of its time and resources hounding Israel. It is about to add some more human rights abusing countries to its membership.

Ambassador Haley worked tirelessly to trim the UN’s peacekeeping budget. She led the Trump administration’s move to curtail U.S. funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). Since UNRWA’s establishment in 1948, the U.S. has spent approximately $5 billion propping up what was supposed to be an agency for temporary relief until the original refugees leaving Israel after it declared its independence could be resettled in neighboring countries. While the U.S. was throwing more good money after bad, UNRWA was hiring terrorists, teaching hate against Jews in its schools, and perpetuating a permanent refugee status for millions of Palestinian descendants who insist on the so-called “right of return” to the territory encompassing pre-June 1967 Israel. Ambassador Haley, with the president’s support, said that enough was enough. Why, Ambassador Haley once told me, should the United States keep supplying funds unconditionally through UNRWA and other channels to assist Palestinians who turn around and bash the United States? 

Ambassador Haley highlighted the Trump administration’s unwavering support for Israel and its insistence on U.S. national sovereignty when she defended President Trump’s bold decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. She declared in her remarks to the UN General Assembly, which had passed a resolution condemning the U.S. move, that “the President’s decision reflects the will of the American people and our right as a nation to choose the location of our embassy. The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation.”

UN Watch executive director Hillel C. Neuer issued a laudatory statement in the wake of Tuesday’s announcement that Ambassador Nikki Haley will be resigning as of the end of the year. He praised her for standing up for “truth, fairness and human rights” in the face of “an assembly of dictatorships and their apologists.” He added that Ambassador Haley “was unafraid to stand alone to defend moral clarity, for example by calling out the obsessive singling-out of the Jewish state by the UN’s Human Rights Council and other bodies that have become hijacked by tyrannies.”

In reflecting on her service as UN ambassador, Nikki Haley said, “It was a blessing to go into the U.N. every day with body armor.” It has been a blessing for the United States to have had as its ambassador to the United Nations for nearly two years a leader possessing her moral clarity and grit.

Nikki Haley to Leave Post as UN Ambassador

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Mueller Comes Up Empty Against Trump

Oude Media Nieuwe Media

Mueller Comes Up Empty Against Trump

According to a report in the Washington Post, “Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III informed President Trump’s attorneys last month that he is continuing to investigate the president but does not consider him a criminal target at this point.” In other words, while Mr. Mueller still considers the president a subject of investigation, he has concluded, after nearly 11 months looking for something solid to use against President Trump, that he does not have enough evidence to charge the president with conspiring to collude with the Russians to interfere in the 2016 presidential election or, for that matter, with any other crime. Despite having gathered hundreds of thousands of documents for review, interviewed multiple witnesses, and gained guilty pleas for conduct unrelated to the Russian collusion investigation itself in return for full cooperation, Special Counsel Mueller has admitted that he lacks substantial evidence linking President Trump to the commission of any crime. Ironically, this matches the conclusion of former FBI Director James Comey himself before President Trump fired him.

While this development is obviously welcome news to President Trump, he is not entirely out of the woods yet. The Washington Post article added that Mr. Mueller informed the president’s lawyers that “he is preparing a report about the president’s actions while in office and potential obstruction of justice.”

The special counsel could suggest in his report that President Trump may have had a “corrupt intent” to interfere with the Russian collusion investigation by firing Comey, for example, or by asking Comey to go easy on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, but has not accumulated enough evidence yet to go forward with an indictment. Not only would the special counsel’s discussion along such lines in his report heighten calls for extending the special counsel’s mandate indefinitely, for further congressional investigations and for impeachment. Such a report would place more pressure on the president to submit to an interview with the special counsel or a high-level member of his team. President Trump has indicated a willingness to consider such an interview against the advice of John Dowd, the lawyer who had led the president’s legal team dealing with the Mueller investigation until he resigned last month. If the president does agree to an interview, he needs to tread very carefully to avoid falling into a perjury trap or saying something that the Mr. Mueller can use as evidence of the “corrupt intent” necessary to make a credible case of obstruction of justice against the president.

However, unless the president says something during such an interview to hang himself, there is nothing on the public record that would justify a charge of obstruction of justice against the president, whether before a grand jury or in an impeachment proceeding. There is no evidence we know of that President Trump acted himself to destroy or withhold relevant evidence or that he directed anyone else to do the same, as Richard Nixon was accused of doing. There is also no evidence we know of that President Trump told any witnesses to commit perjury, as Bill Clinton was accused of doing. 

Moreover, it is turning the rule of law upside down to criminalize the president’s exercise of his constitutional authority as the government’s top executive officer to fire a member of the executive branch, including an FBI director. In any case, the FBI’s investigation of possible Russian collusion with then presidential candidate Trump or his campaign aides to interfere in the 2016 presidential election has proceeded without any disruption. Nor is there anything legally wrong with the president simply expressing his opinion that the special counsel investigation has become a witch hunt or his urging the FBI director to consider being lenient with a particular suspect. 

 “[T]here’s no credible case because under the Constitution a president cannot be charged for merely exercising his constitutional authority under Article 2,” according to attorney and constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz. Professor Dershowitz added that “if the president simply exercises his constitutional authority, namely firing an underling, which he’s entitled to do; telling the FBI not to investigate a particular person, which he’s entitled to do; pardoning people, which he hasn’t done yet; thinking about whether he should fire the special counsel – that’s not obstruction of justice under the Constitution. It would create a constitutional crisis and a separation of powers issue if a president were ever charged with merely exercising his constitutional authority because the prosecutor didn’t approve of his motive. Everybody has mixed motives and to start creating thought crimes out of a president’s motives would create a serious constitutional conflict.”

Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation has only lasted this long because Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein secretly expanded the scope of his mandate, ten weeks after Mr. Mueller’s May 17, 2017 appointment, to include matters unrelated to any allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election itself. It was only after Deputy General Rod Rosenstein’s secret expansion of the special counsel’s jurisdiction that Mr. Mueller was free to go after Paul Manafort, who served briefly as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, for his decade-old business dealings with a Russian-backed Ukrainian political party. This included the alleged involvement of Mr. Manafort’s company in a lobbying campaign that ended in 2014 and Mr. Manafort’s tax filings through 2014, all of which preceded Donald Trump’s entry into the 2016 presidential race.

Notably, Mr. Manafort was not charged with any crimes linked directly to the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Obviously, Mr. Mueller’s team was using the charges against Mr. Manafort and his associate Richard Gates as leverage to pressure them into cooperating in the investigation against President Trump. Mr. Gates has since pleaded guilty to lesser charges and is said to have been cooperating. Even so, Mr. Mueller has admitted he has nothing yet with which to criminally target President Trump.

Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation also produced a guilty plea by President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI. Again, the special counsel’s team was looking to possibly flip a key player against President Trump. It appears that the special counsel’s team was over-zealous in not providing Mr. Flynn’s defense counsel with potentially exonerating evidence to which it was entitled. In any case, Mr. Flynn’s guilty plea last December and promise to cooperate have evidently borne no fruit to use against the president.

This is not to say that Mr. Mueller has completely wasted his time and taxpayers’ money. For example, as a result of his investigation, the Department of Justice brought charges against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for allegedly conspiring to interfere with “US political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016.” The charges focused on engaging in propaganda to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign and help Donald Trump’s candidacy. George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, has pleaded guilty to making false statements about his contacts with Russians to investigators. Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan, who admitted to lying to FBI investigators regarding his contacts with Gates and a suspected Russian intelligence operative with ties to Gates and Manafort, is the first individual charged as part of the Mueller investigation to have received a sentence – 30 days in federal custody and a $20,000 fine. 

The special counsel’s office spent more than $3.2 million during the period from May 17, 2017 through September 30, 2017 alone according to a Statement of Expenditures it filed with the Department of Justice. It has spent more per day than the entire $20,000 fine it has garnered thus far for all its efforts. It’s been nearly 11 months since Special Counsel Mueller was appointed. In all that time, neither President Trump nor any other American has been charged with being a witting participant in colluding with the Russians to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, which was supposed to be the purpose of the special counsel investigation in the first place. It is time for Special Counsel Mueller to either immediately bring such charges with the mass of evidence he has already accumulated, or wind down the investigation and produce his final report. Enough is enough!

Mueller Comes Up Empty Against Trump

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