Beltway Insider: Trump/Pence/Netanyahu; Flynn Fallout; France/UK; Pakistan; Russia; WTC Sheikh; Jane Roe

President Trump suffered the thrill of victory with renewed Israeli relations and the agony of defeat with a key resignation this week as he continued to fumble his way through the first month of his presidency.

According to Gallup, President Trump’s job approval, over the past week, decreased four percentage points to 55% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President increased four percentage points to 41%. 

Israel: President Trump and Vice President Pence Meet Prime Minister Netanyahu Separately

President Trump welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Oval office this week where the two men reiterated the unwavering support each have for the other.

Trump “underscored the United States' unwavering commitment to Israel's security, and that his Administration will safeguard and strengthen the overall security relationship.”

Netanyahu found a partner in President Trump who agreed with his beliefs on security in the middle east, the threats to Israel and more importantly the Iranian Nuclear Deal, which the president agreed “is a terrible deal for the United States, Israel, and the world.” The President assured the Prime Minister that Iran must not, and will not, obtain nuclear weapons capability. 

The security of Israel and its partnership with the United States is a primary concern for the new administration and one Prime Minister Netanyahu could return home with the knowledge the United States is no longer walking a slippery slope of middle east polices.

The two-state solution, always a combustible issue, was also discussed. The two leaders agreed that two state solution is best negotiated between parties and the United States will monitor that process.

The two leaders agreed on “the mutual goal of making the United States-Israel relationship even closer as both countries pursue shared interests in the region. The two leaders have directed their respective teams to form joint working groups in the months ahead to dramatically improve bilateral relations in a number of areas, including cyber, intelligence, security, trade, technology, countering the threats posed by Iran and other actors, and promoting Arab-Israeli cooperation, including economic cooperation. A working group will also focus on enabling the growth of the Palestinian economy,” the Presidential read out said.

Vice President Pence Meets with Netanyahu

Vice President Michael Pence also met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, hosting the leader for breakfast at his residence.

The two leaders reiterated the call to build and strengthened the relationship between the United States and Israeli.

Prime Minister Netanyahu can rest assured that he has the best of both worlds now, with a financial aid package agreed to by the Obama administration, which amount to the largest ever in the history of the two nations and now with the Trump Administration, a president who believes in importance of adopting the viewpoints and opinions of our allies while standing with them.

Beltway Insider: Trump Defeated; Immigration Ban Unlawful; INS; TEO’s; Russia; Israel; Germany; Paris Violence; SNL

Michael Flynn Fallout

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned this week, creating a firestorm of second guessing and assessments of the misplaced loyalties, proven associations with Russia and direct ties to the Kremlin.

“With respect to General Flynn, he didn’t tell our Vice President properly, and then he said he didn’t remember.  Either way, it wasn’t very satisfactory to me.  But he didn’t tell the Vice President of the United States the facts, and then he didn’t remember.  And that just wasn’t acceptable to me,” the President said.  

Unfortunately, Flynn didn’t realize the hierarchy of relationships and made the determination that his relationship and position to the president was more valuable and of greater importance than a few embarrassments the VP may suffer.

Trump, Flynn, and Russia

The Trump Administration saw it differently. Flynn’s past relationship with Russia had always been at the crux of the situation. His positions and beliefs in the strength of enemies of the United States matched the positions of the administration. Aggressively evangelizing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats spelled deep trouble for the retired Army Lieutenant General.

“I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence, very simple.  Mike was doing his job.  He was calling countries and his counterparts.  So it certainly would have been okay with me if he did it.  I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn’t doing it.  I didn’t direct him but I would have directed him because that’s his job,” the President said.

The fact that Flynn had many dealings with the Russians, even to the point of appearing regularly on a television program “Russia Today,” the state owned English language media outlet, created a conflict of interest for him and created the possibility of blackmail by the Russian to the point that the recommendations from the White House Counsel were for protection of the information available to Flynn, he be terminated.

To the credit of the president he acted on the information and asked for Flynn’s resignation.

Flynn was one of the more regular guests, serving after retirement as a guest analyst. The most damaging evidence in Flynn’s current trouble came as he accepted a fee for a speech given at the Russia Today banquet in which he was seated beside Russian President Vladimir Putin at dinner along with other prominent Presidential candidates.

While the money was defended, the loyalty was not. Flynn had developed a close relationship with Putin and other Russian officials. So much so that during the 2016 election, Flynn was responsible for spreading damaging, false and critical fake news regarding democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.

As most Americans believe the Russians were directly involved in influencing through election from simple tactics to cyber interruptions or influences, the choice of Flynn was a calculated and excellent opportunity to keep your friends close and enemies closer, the only issue of course was trying to determine which category the Russian fell into and when.

France: Officials Thwart Terror Attack

French officials have announced the recent arrest of four individuals, including a 16-year-old girl and her 20-year-old boyfriend, in Southern coastal region of the country, near Montpellier, for allegedly plotting a terrorist attack.

Prosecutors said they received information regarding the girl, and put her under surveillance. She led them to the makeshift laboratory where they found enough evidence to determine the threat was imminent and legitimate.

An explosive substance, TATP, popular and frequently used by Islamic State fighters, as it can be made from general use everyday substances found in most homes, was discovered as were additional materials used in the bombmaking process.

TATP is the same style explosive used in the Brussel attack in March 2016 and the November 2015 Paris attacks.

The girl’s phone conversations were extremely damaging to the group as she spoke of the future plans she and her boyfriend, who planned to attack a Paris Tourist attraction, had made which included moving to Syria.

Two other suspects, both in their mid-twenties were also arrested.

France’s terror alert has remained at Severe, the highest level, since November 2015.

UK: Official Make Terror Arrest at Heathrow

A man has been arrested at London’s Heathrow Airport by Counter Terrorism Command detectives on “suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts (contrary section 5 Terrorism Act 2006)” according to Scotland Yard Metropolitan Police communique.

The 36-year-old had disembarked and was still inside the terminal when police stopped him.  The unidentified man “was taken into custody, under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE).”

The case is still under investigation.

Pakistan: More than 70 killed in Mosque Bomb Blast

In the bloodiest attack in recent memory, Pakistani officials are blaming the fringe Afghanistan terror organization, Jama-ul-Ahrar, for the recent attack in one of the most revered Mosques in the Sindh Province which killed 72 and injured dozens.

Pakistani officials moved quickly to close borders with neighboring Afghanistan whom they blame for their approach to the terrorist who pass freely through the country. Pakistani officials have demanded 76 of the most wanted terrorists harbored by the Afghans be handed over.

The borders which are a well-traveled route for military and U.S. led NATO forces remained closed with trucks and other vehicles backed up waiting for the Pakistanis to reopen the borders.

The build-up of the terror coalition led forces hammering the Islamic State and other fringe terror groups into silence have also lured some nations into a false sense of security.

Russia: White House Discuss Sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been on a campaign of his own recently, shaking hands and welcoming the change, as he greets the incoming administration declaring unified agendas as both nations seek ways to restore the Kremlin to its natural luster.

As the fallout over the belief of Russian involvement in the election that landed Mr. Trump in office, the nearly 70 million voters who expected proven leadership to be sitting in the Oval Office, the actions the Russian expected, a quick loosening of the sanctions to free up some financial support, appear to be in limbo.

The message from the stumbling Trump White House who is stinging from the recent resignation of Retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as National Security adviser due to his intimate ties to Russia, is any pre-election deals are on hold until the media backs away from the microscopic review of every step.

The subject of sanctions dominated the recent Press Conference with reporters pressing White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer for specifics on the President’s friendship, the company line and expectations.

The Russians government has continued to face sectorial sanctions due to the February 2014 invasion of the Ukraine, an action this White House blames on the previous administration that “allowed” the Russians to seize the Crimea.

The result of this action, violating the territorial sovereignty of the Ukraine and a refusal to withdraw troops and return Crimea back to the Ukraine, and compounding the escalation by forcing the inhabitants to vote for succession, while making a similar move on the eastern border of the Ukraine, funding insurgents to instigate and menace, threatening and if the truth is remembered factuality shooting down Malaysian Airline Flight 17 killing 298 on board is the attempt on the part of the Russian government to advance his empire to include neighboring countries.

His refusal left the world no choice. The sanctions increased in time until the point the Russian government is left with limited options, the first was to influence the general election in the United States opting for the inexperienced Trump with an eye for business over Clinton, and her tough as nails policy.

“The President has been incredibly tough on Russia.  He continues to raise the issue of Crimea, which the previous administration had allowed to be seized by Russia.  His Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, stood before the U.N. Security Council on her first day and strongly denounced the Russian occupation of Crimea.  As Ambassador Haley said at the time, the ‘“dire situation in Eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions.”’  President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to deescalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

The G7, once the G8, suspended Putin and Russian and the suspension has remained in place and until the Ukraine is restored will stay in place.

WTC Sheikh: Mastermind of 1993 World Trade Center Terror Attack Dies

Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, one of the masterminds behind the 1993 World Trade Center Terror attack died this week in prison. His lawyer, Lynne Stewart, who also went to prison, received a compassion release in 2013, as she was diagnosed with advanced stage Breast Cancer.

The 1310 lb. bomb, which killed six and injured 1,042, was packed into a Ryder moving truck. The idea was the blast would bring down Tower 1 and fall into Tower 2, from the car bomb inside the parking garage. The World Trade Center structures were too secure and the tower held although the parking garage sustained heavy localized damage.

The Sheikh, Ramzi Yousef, Mahmud Abouhalima, Mohammad Salameh and Eyad Ismoli and other co-conspirators rented a truck and left information specific to their identities within the vehicle and returned to pick up the deposit after they reported the truck stolen to the rental agency.

Federal authorities quickly followed up on the attempted terrorist attack, one of the first in modern times, in the United States.

The Sheikh, who was blind, was arrested and tried for terrorism. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

Jane Roe: Landmark Supreme Court Case Plaintiff Dies

Norma Leah McCorvey, the plaintiff behind the historic Supreme Court Case, Roe V. Wade, died this week. She was 69.

McCorvey, in 1969, at 21, was pregnant for the third time. In Texas, abortions were still illegal except under extenuating circumstances. While trying to determine her options, she was referred to attorneys Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington.

These lawyers were looking to challenge the abortion laws and took McCorvey’s case. Eventually, as the action took over three years to reach the Supreme Court, McCorvey had the child and allowed it to be adopted.

Although McCorvey was the namesake in the trial the case was not about her and she had no attachment to the proceedings or outcome. She did not attend a single hearing.

Later in life, McCrovey became a devout Catholic denouncing abortion and working with anti-abortion groups including Operation Rescue. The case dramatically changed McCorvey’s life and gave her a cause to which, after she fell on difficult times, embraced penning two books, adopting religion and its practices, changing her life and lifestyle.

McCrovey died of heart failure. She was 69.

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