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Mueller should testify, Dems should be able to 'ask him whatever they want:' Judge Nap

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 07:40
Special Counsel Robert Mueller should testify before Congress and answer lawmakers’ questions regarding his report of the Russia investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, Judge Andrew Napolitano said.

Trump blasts Russia probe as ‘hoax’ and ‘harassment’ ahead of Mueller report release

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 07:31
President Trump sought to get out ahead of Thursday's release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report by branding the Russia investigation anew as “the greatest political hoax of all time.” 

Is the Trump Administration Helping the Saudis Build a Bomb?

Cato Recent Op Eds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 07:20

Doug Bandow

President Donald Trump went dancing with the Saudi royals in Riyadh, where he tried to sell America’s principles in exchange for a mess of weapons contracts. Since then, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has become Saudi Arabia’s lead PR counsel in America. The Pentagon is the Saudi regime’s premier armorer.

Now Energy Secretary Rick Perry is acting as chief nuclear procurer for the Saudis. “By ramming through the sale of as much as $80 billion in nuclear power plants,” The New York Times warned recently, “the Trump administration would provide sensitive knowhow and materials to a government whose de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has suggested that he may eventually want a nuclear weapon as a hedge against Iran and has shown little concern for what the rest of the world thinks.”

Obviously, Trump has not endorsed a Saudi nuclear weapon. However, his administration’s ongoing attempt to provide the Kingdom with nuclear technology raises serious questions about U.S. policy.

The crown prince can’t be trusted with a bone saw, let alone nuclear weapons.

America’s relationship with Riyadh has long been fraught with tension, inconsistency, and hypocrisy. The faux friendship revolves around oil, the lifeblood of the Western economy. However, the fracking revolution turned the U.S. into an energy super-supplier, and other hydrocarbon sources have since emerged. And if Washington stopped routinely sanctioning other governments for not following its dictates, oil producers such as Iran, Russia, and Venezuela would be supplying international markets, further reducing Riyadh’s importance.

American officials like to promote the Saudis’ antediluvian absolute monarchy as the foundation for Middle East stability. Alas, the price is unrivaled repression. Despite the crown prince’s reputation as a social reformer, he so far has not relaxed the Kingdom’s totalitarian political or religious controls one bit.

And that brutality has not guaranteed stability. Saudi Arabia looks brittle, an artificial, antiquated governing structure held together by tyranny and bribery. In time, it will likely lose to demands for justice, equality, and democracy, which have doomed a host of other corrupt, brutal, Mideast dictatorships, most recently Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir.

Outside of the country, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) has pursued a wild and reckless strategy of regional domination. Even Senator Lindsey Graham, perhaps the United States’ most war-happy lawmaker, has called MbS “crazy,” “dangerous,” and a “wrecking ball.”

The KSA has backed radical Islamists in Syria, subsidized the al-Sisi dictatorship in Egypt, kidnapped Lebanon’s prime minister, used troops to sustain Bahrain’s dictatorial Sunni monarchy, isolated Qatar, kidnapped and murdered Saudi critics in foreign nations, invaded Yemen, intensified the Mideast’s long-running sectarian conflict, and promoted General Khalifa Haftar’s attack on Libya’s internationally recognized government. MbS is even willing to court war with Iran if he believes it’s necessary for regional domination.

Moreover, the Saudi royals are not Westerners in different dress. They have poured $100 billion into the promotion of intolerant fundamentalist Wahhabism around the world, including in Yemen, where a Saudi-Emirati coalition has allied with radical jihadists against the Houthis, who had opposed al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Nuclear weapons would further embolden MbS. Currently there is no active nuclear program. Nevertheless, suspicions about Riyadh’s intentions are legion. A decade ago, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz told U.S. officials that if Iran acquired a nuke, “we will get nuclear weapons.” Last year, MbS said, “If Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.”

Nevertheless, the Trump administration is pushing the sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. And no one seems to know what safeguards will be imposed and whether MbS will abide by those limits. “There’s a legitimate question over whether such a government could be trusted with nuclear energy and the potential weaponization of it,” worries Senator Marco Rubio. Senator Jeff Merkley agrees: “The last thing America should do is inadvertently help develop nuclear weapons for a bad actor on the world stage.” The two are pushing legislation that would give Congress the final say over any sale.

The transfer of nuclear reactors is usually not controversial, so long as it’s accompanied by a cooperation agreement under Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act. Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette insists, “We won’t allow them to bypass 123 if they want to have civilian nuclear power that includes U.S. nuclear technologies.” Legislators remain wary, however, complaining that seven permits, called “Part 810 authorizations,” have been issued to firms to provide nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia without notification to Congress. “I believe the Saudis saw an opportunity with Trump and [son-in-law Jared] Kushner to conclude this rapidly on their terms, holding out the promise of major purchases,” charges Thomas Countryman, head of the Arms Control Association.

In fact, the Saudis, in contrast to the Emiratis, want to enrich uranium, which offers a principal opportunity to divert nuclear materials for military use. And Riyadh hasn’t agreed to any weapons inspections. As a result, if the Saudis come to believe they “need” a bomb—and their criteria might broaden over time—any peacetime program could automatically be turned into one for military development.

Admittedly, America’s refusal to deal might not stop Riyadh. Prince Turki al-Faisal has pointed to China, France, Pakistan, and Russia as other options, a point that’s been echoed by administration officials. Even so, Washington should not aid, even inadvertently, another nation, especially such a repressive and aggressive power, in acquiring nuclear weapons. The consequences would be grave, including to America’s nonproliferation credentials.

Prince al-Faisal also pointedly included “our friends in Pakistan” as a nuclear power option. But Islamabad could provide more than peaceful energy. Riyadh might purchase weapons directly from the cash-strapped and unstable Pakistan government—especially since the Saudis financed the Pakistani nuclear program. Doing so would cause an international furor, but for years, A.Q. Khan, father of the Pakistani bomb, has essentially operated a Nukes “R” Us open to the world. When confronted, Islamabad closed down Khan’s market, but with the right incentives it might be convinced to accept another client.

Six years ago, Israel’s former head of military intelligence, Amos Yadlin, claimed that Pakistan had already produced and set aside weapons for Riyadh. Gary Samore, who advised President Barack Obama on nonproliferation, observes, “I do think that the Saudis believe that they have some understanding with Pakistan that, in extremis, they would have claim to acquire nuclear weapons from Pakistan.”

The Trump administration’s fixation on Iran has malformed American policy towards the rest of the Mideast, including Saudi Arabia. The United States should not take sides in the bitter Sunni-Shia rivalry that lies beneath the Saudi-Iran conflict. It certainly shouldn’t treat Saudi Arabia as a permanent and trusted ally. The latter shares neither values nor interests with the United States, and is aggressively pursuing dangerous imperial ambitions.

Washington should drop its support for MbS’s irresponsible policies and be on guard against the Kingdom’s possible acquisition of nuclear weapons. A Saudi bomb would unsettle the region, guarantee a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race, and encourage sectarian conflict. MbS can’t be trusted with a bone saw, let alone nukes.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.

Left will continue to 'believe in Russia collusion' even after Mueller report release, Byron York says

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 06:43
Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York made a prediction Thursday morning that the Russia collusion narrative is unlikely to go away even after the Robert Mueller report is released later today.

Fox Nation takes you behind the scenes of Bernie Sander's Fox News town hall

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 06:28
See how the Bernie Sanders Town Hall was put together and how the anchors prepared.

Maxine Waters calls Barr a 'lackey and a sycophant' for Trump

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 05:47
While some of her fellow Democrats were questioning the credibility of Attorney General William Barr over his handling of the Robert Mueller report, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., took that criticism to another level.

Meet the New FDA Commissioner, Same as the Old FDA Commissioner

TownHall Latest columns - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 05:04
When then-Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced he was stepping down from the helm of the agency last month, taxpayers and harm reduction advocates cheered. Unfortunately, Gottliebs anti-harm reduction crusade will not retire with Gottlieb.

Kamala Harris admits 'unintended consequences' in anti-truancy law while she was California AG

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 04:25
Kamala Harris expressed regret this week for a 2011 anti-truancy law she supported that put some parents in jail while she was California’s attorney general.

Yang: Companies like Amazon will fund my Universal Basic Income plan

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 04:16
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang promoted his ‘Freedom Dividend’ plan while appearing on “Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream” Thursday and revealed that tech companies like Amazon would fund his proposed program which aims to give American adults $1,000 dollars monthly.

The Pro-Life Movement Is On The March In State Capitals Across the Country

TownHall Latest columns - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 04:16
The momentum toward a culture of protecting the most innocent among us is building, and states are leading the way.

9 large banks subpoenaed in Trump finance probe: report

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 02:46
House Democrats subpoenaed nine large banks this week in connection with an investigation into President Trump’s financial ties, according to a report.

Ann Coulter says she’d consider vote for Bernie Sanders

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 01:16
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter said she could support Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, in 2020 and even floated the idea of working in his administration if he returned to his earlier stance on immigration.

Karl Rove: Months of Democrats demanding redacted Mueller report ahead

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 04/17/2019 - 23:07
Republican strategist Karl Rove doesn’t see Thursday’s Mueller report release as the end of a the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, he sees it as “the beginning of the next chapter”

Terry McAuliffe says he won't run in 2020, wants to tackle 'problems' in Virginia

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 04/17/2019 - 21:44
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe revealed Wednesday he will not be entering the 2020 White House race, saying Virginians want him back in the commonwealth to tackle various “problems” on a state level.

'The Five' on what to expect from the Mueller report

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 04/17/2019 - 21:12
“The Five” spent time on Wednesday discussing what to expect from Democrats and the media as Attorney General William Barr releases a redacted version of the Mueller report Thursday.

Federalist editor says Mueller probe's full origins still require look

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 04/17/2019 - 21:10
The Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway believes that while people believe it’s important to move on from the Mueller report following Thursday’s expected release, one aspect that should continue to be followed up on is how it all began.

Campaign donations from Ilhan Omar rejected by at least 2 Dems

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 04/17/2019 - 20:54
At least two Democrats have reimbursed the campaign contributions made by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who has been at the center of numerous controversies since she was sworn in as a freshman congresswoman last January.

Top Dem challenges WH adviser Stephen Miller to testify on immigration

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 04/17/2019 - 20:53
A top Democrat in Congress on Wednesday challenged White House aide Stephen Miller to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee and defend the hardline anti-illegal immigration policies he has championed and, in some cases, engineered.

Nadler, Pelosi, other Dems blast DOJ ahead of Mueller report release

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 04/17/2019 - 20:32
Democrats in Congress attacked Attorney General William Barr Wednesday evening ahead of the Justice Department's planned release of a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

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