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Day 1001

1/ Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney confirmed that Trump blocked military aid to Ukraine to force Kiev to investigate his political rivals. Mulvaney called the quid pro quo exchange "absolutely appropriate" and that "we do that all the time with foreign policy." Mulvaney added: "I have news for everybody: Get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy." Mulvaney also told reporters the funds were withheld in part because of a request to have Ukraine investigate unfounded allegations that foreign countries assisted Democrats in the 2016 election. Trump has repeatedly denied that there was a quid pro quo arrangement linking his demand for an investigation that could politically benefit him to the release of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / CNBC)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Reaction from Rep Pelosi And Sen Schumer and several Congressional members was poor. And thing are worse…and they weigh in.

Top congressional Democrats lashed out President Trump for agreeing to drop recently announced sanctions against Turkey as part of a ceasefire agreement announced Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Trump “is flailing” and that he agreed not to implement sanctions against Turkey for a "sham ceasefire."

The President’s decision to reverse sanctions against Turkey for brutally attacking our Kurdish partners in exchange for a sham ceasefire seriously undermines the credibility of America’s foreign policy and sends a dangerous message to our allies and adversaries alike that our word cannot be trusted,” the two added in a joint statement.

The announcement was the latest twist in a days-long political battle between Trump and lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Members in both parties fiercely criticized his decision earlier this month to pull back U.S. troops from northern Syria, paving the way for the Turkish invasion.

Schumer and Pelosi added on Thursday that Erdoğan had “given up nothing,” while Trump "has given him everything."

ISIS is still a threat, certainly now more than before President Trump gave Erdogan the green light to invade Syria,” they said.

The only beneficiaries of the President’s policies are our adversaries: ISIS, Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin and Iran. Today’s decision further makes the argument that President Trump doesn’t see Putin as the danger he is to our country,” they continued.

News of the ceasefire was met with skepticism, and in some cases outright criticism, on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) ripped the administration in a floor speech, adding that the ceasefire was “far from a victory.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who introduced a sanctions bill with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) earlier Thursday, pledged that they would continue to push for their bill.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, added that "this essentially gives Erdogan everything he wants."

This isn’t a diplomatic victory,” he added. "It’s the capstone on Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds."


The final act of Elijah Cummings was to sign, from his hospice bed, subpoenas directed at 2 US immigration agencies working to deport children with medical conditions they can only get treated here.

Fight like Elijah. Every. Damn. Day.


After the announcement of the cease-fire, sporadic Turkish shelling still hit the border town of Ras al-Ayn, while a relative calm held elsewhere, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor. It also said 20 people were wounded by celebratory gunfire in Qamishli, a Kurdish majority city.


WTF - Cyber security with Russia…resumed??? Another Putin present…?

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia and the United States are gradually starting to resume cooperation on cyber security, TASS news agency cited the head of Russia’s FSB Federal Security Service as saying on Thursday.

Russia’s bilateral relations with the United States are at post-Cold War lows, strained by an array of issues including U.S. allegations that Russia meddled in the U.S. 2016 presidential election.

“…we are restoring these (cyber security) relations,” FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov said.


A letter to Kurdish soldiers from a US military wife (opinion)

…he returned and recounted to me what he could about his experience. I asked how he had made it through. He replied, “We had help. We had the Kurds.”


The “terrorists” Erdogan refers to in this post Trump re-tweeted are the Kurds who are now being ethnically cleansed from northern Syria.


Fighting continues on Syria-Turkey border despite ceasefire

Fighting in Syria persists despite ceasefire, Turkish fighters accused of using white phosphorus

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