Trump Authorized US Strike That Killed Iranian Military Leader Qassim Soleimani

The Pentagon confirms the U.S. was responsible for an attack that killed the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force at Baghdads International Airport Friday.

“At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” a statement from Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said.

“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more. He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months – including the attack on December 27th – culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week.

“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”

The Associated Press said Iraqi officials whose names were not released had confirmed Soleimani’s death and said he was identified by a ring he wore. Other sources said the strikes hit two cars, which were set on fire, making it difficult to confirm the identities of those who died.

Soleimani is one of Iran’s most powerful and shadowy figures. As leader of the Quds Force, he is said to be responsible for the country’s development and coordination with militias and proxy forces throughout the Middle East. U.S. officials accuse him of coordinating Iraqi militia attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq.

U.S. officials have accused Soleimani of sponsoring terrorism and singled him out as a major figure for decades. The Trump administration placed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — which includes the Quds Force — on the State Department’s list of terrorist groups. It was the first time a government’s official military was placed on the list.

President Trump had vowed that Iran would “pay a very big price” for the unrest at the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad. After the strikes, he tweeted the image of an American flag with no comment.

The chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), released a statement saying he is worried about the security aftereffects of the strike, which Engel said had gone ahead without notice or consultation with Congress.

“To push ahead with an action of this gravity without involving Congress raises serious legal problems and is an affront to Congress’s powers as a coequal branch of government,” Engel said.

Soleimani was a prominent figure

Norman Roule, now retired, tracked Iran through his career with the CIA and the Director of National Intelligence. He told NPR’s All Things Considered the death of Soleimani was significant.

“You can expect seismic waves to go through the Shia communities of Lebanon, Iraq and Iran,” Roule said. “You can expect that the Iranians and the Iraqi militia groups will certainly seek some sort of retribution.”

He also pointed to the death in the same attack of Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis whom he called Soleimani’s “senior-most lieutenant in the Iraqi military architecture.”

Roule said he believed the U.S. would not have carried out the strikes unless “a significant terrorist attack was underway or about to be undertaken by these individuals and if neutralizing these individuals would prevent that.”

Qassim Soleimani, the Iranian military leader killed by U.S. airstrikes at the Baghdad airport Friday, wielded power in his country that went beyond the elite Quds Forces he commanded. He had been given authority over Iranian operations in the region.

The AP reports that “Soleimani rose to prominence by advising forces fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and in Syria on behalf of the embattled [Syrian President Bashar] Assad.”

Soleimani’s Quds Forces are “sort of a mixture of our special operations and Central Intelligence Agency,” according to Norman Roule, a former Iran expert for the CIA and Director of National Intelligence. “He [had] been given charge of Iran’s foreign policy in the region and in essence he used that authority to create a series of militias based on the Lebanese Hezbollah.”

“As a military commander he would not actually rank in capacity or stature with a first-world military commander, such as a U.S. general. However, his political reach was vast … in that Iran basically ceded its regional activities to his purview,” Roule said.

In 2018, Soleimani spoke with political authority when he responded to a tweet by President Trump, that Iran would “suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before” if it repeated threats against the U.S.

Soleimani was quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency: “As a soldier, it is my duty to respond to your threats,” he said. “It is not in our president’s dignity to respond to you.”

“Come. We are ready,” Soleimani said, accusing Trump of using “the language of night clubs and gambling halls.”

“If you begin the war, we will end the war,” he said.

[NPR]

Trump Fires Back at Home Alone Snub: ‘The Movie Will Never Be the Same’

President Donald Trump blamed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after his brief cameo in early 90s movie Home Alone 2 was cut out of a holiday broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

“I guess Justin T doesn’t much like my making him pay up on NATO or Trade!” Trump tweeted out, seemingly blaming the Canadian prime minister for the network’s editing choice.

He then lamented with a bit of kid at the end — retweeting a Mediaite post — that “the movie will never be the same! (just kidding).”

Trump is featured only briefly in the film running into Home Alone 2 star Macaulay Culkin.

CBC has defended their editing choices, claiming cutting out Trump had nothing to do with politics. It was meant to make more room for commercials.

The decision was also reportedly made long before Trump bragged about being in the movie when speaking to the troops this holiday and, according to CBC, even before he was president.

[Mediaite]

Trump Retweets Attack Article That Names Alleged Whistleblower

U.S. President Donald Trump’s Twitter account retweeted on Thursday a tweet by the president’s re-election campaign account, the official “Trump war room” that allegedly names the whistleblower whose complaint led Democrats to launch the impeachment inquiry. 

“It’s pretty simple. The CIA ‘whistleblower’ is not a real whistleblower!” says the tweet Trump retweeted, which includes a link to a Washington Examiner piece, published Dec. 3, the alleged whistleblower’s name in the headline.

While some right-wing news outlets have named the alleged whistleblower, no major news agency has and Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the president pro tempore of the United States Senate, has argued that the whistleblower’s name must remain private to protect his safety.

[Haaretz]

Trump criticizes California on homelessness, threatens federal involvement

President Donald Trump is blaming California’s governor for the state’s homeless crisis and threatening a federal government intervention.

In a Christmas Day tweet, Trump wrote, “Governor Gavin N has done a really bad job on taking care of the homeless population in California. If he can’t fix the problem, the Federal Govt. will get involved!”

This tweet came after cell phone video showed California Gov. Gavin Newsom telling reporters that the Trump administration was “not serious about this issue” and “they’re playing politics.”

This wasn’t the first time the president has chimed in on the issue. Earlier this year he had said he was considering creating a task force on the matter.

California has announced some changes to start solving homelessness. State lawmakers passed legislation that caps rent increases and the governor announced $1 billion in funding to help the homeless. But numbers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development show California has more work ahead.

The annual data from HUD shows homelessness in California increased by 21,306 people. This is up 16.4% from last year. This is higher than the overall national increase of 2.7%.

Maria Foscarinis is the executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. She said affordable housing is the solution.

“It’s a matter of making this a priority and recognizing that this is something that needs a solution, it affects everybody. Homelessness obviously affects homeless people, but it affects entire communities,” said Foscarinis.

Local leaders in California also say that while housing is important in solving homelessness, it’s only part of it. They say there must be other services, such as addiction and mental health treatment.

That is the lesson that other states and cities are learning as they grapple with their own homelessness crises.

California is among the hardest hit by the homelessness crisis but it has affected communities up and down the West Coast. Oregon’s homeless population increased by more than 9% in 2019. And while Washington State showed a slight decline of 3.3%, Seattle continues to struggle to find solutions for its homeless population.

KOMO News recently reported on the intertwined crises of homelessness, drug addiction and restrictions on law enforcement in an extensive documentary, “Seattle Is Dying.” Reporters spoke to residents, business owners and police officers who expressed frustration as they have watched their city change for the worse in recent years.

KOMO reporters also traveled to San Francisco, a city with one of the highest costs of living in the country and one of the largest homeless populations. The documentary looked into possible solutions that have worked in other cities, including medication-assisted treatment for addiction and rehabilitation programs for homeless persons who enter the criminal justice system.

[ABC News]

Trump goes after Pelosi in early morning tweets complaining about impeachment

President Trump assailed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a series of tweets early Thursday, saying she should “clean up” her “filthy” and “dirty” district and suggesting she should face a primary challenger in 2020.

Trump, who repeated his earlier characterizations of Pelosi as “crazy,” continued his theme of lashing out at Democrats roughly a week after the House voted largely along party lines to pass articles of impeachment accusing him of abusing his office and obstructing Congress.

Trump has taken particular issue with Pelosi over her decision to delay sending the two articles of impeachment to the Senate until the rules for the impeachment trial in the upper chamber are made clear. Pelosi has expressed concerns that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will not hold a fair trial.

“The Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats said they wanted to RUSH everything through to the Senate because ‘President Trump is a threat to National Security’ (they are vicious, will say anything!), but now they don’t want to go fast anymore, they want to go very slowly. Liars!” Trump, who is on a two-week stay at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., tweeted early Thursday.

Trump then went after Pelosi and Gavin Newsom, California’s Democratic governor, claiming the two had ignored problems in their state.

“Nancy Pelosi’s District in California has rapidly become one of the worst anywhere in the U.S. when it come to the homeless & crime. It has gotten so bad, so fast — she has lost total control and, along with her equally incompetent governor, Gavin Newsom, it is a very sad sight!” Trump wrote.

“Crazy Nancy should clean up her filthy dirty District & help the homeless there. A primary for N?” the president added in a later tweet.

Pelosi, who has served in Congress for more than three decades, is facing three primary challengers in California’s 12th Congressional District, though all are believed to be long shots for the nomination.

Trump is hungry for a trial in the GOP-controlled Senate, which is widely expected to acquit him of accusations that he abused his office by pressuring Ukraine to launch investigations that could benefit his reelection campaign and obstructed the impeachment inquiry into his administration’s dealings with Kyiv.

Pelosi’s decision to withhold the articles, however, has left the timing of a Senate trial up in the air. McConnell has said he will not acquiesce to Democrats’ demands that the Senate call witnesses such as acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify at the trial.

Trump has lashed out over impeachment several times in recent days, telling reporters Tuesday that he believed Pelosi would be “thrown out” as Speaker of the House over her decision to move forward with impeachment.

“She got thrown out as Speaker once before,” Trump told reporters following a video teleconference with members of the military.

“I think it’s going to happen again. She’s doing a tremendous disservice to the country, and she’s not doing a great job. And some people think she doesn’t know what she’s doing,” Trump added.

[The Hill]

Trump lashes out at an old enemy: Wind turbines

President Trump lashed out at a familiar foe during a speech on Saturday, calling windmills “monsters” that “kill many bald eagles,” ruin the visual appeal of “magnificent” farms and fields, and “look like hell” after 10 years.

“I never understood wind,” Trump said at the start of the lengthy tangent, days after he became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. “You know, I know windmills very much. I’ve studied it better than anybody I know. It’s very expensive. They’re made in China and Germany mostly — very few made here, almost none. But they’re manufactured tremendous — if you’re into this — tremendous fumes. Gases are spewing into the atmosphere.”

He continued: “You know we have a world, right? So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything. You talk about the carbon footprint — fumes are spewing into the air. Right? Spewing. Whether it’s in China, Germany, it’s going into the air. It’s our air, their air, everything — right?”

Critics of wind energy often cite carbon emissions from the manufacture, transport and installation of the turbines. But research has found that wind energy has among the smallest carbon footprints of any source of electricity generation. Once in place, studies have found, the turbines significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Yet Trump has repeatedly ranted about

The president’s latest attack on wind turbines came as he kicked off his holiday stay in Florida with an appearance at Turning Point USA’s annual summit. The event by the conservative student group was staged in West Palm Beach, near Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, presenting an opportunity for him to, as Politico put it, “bask in the love of some of his fiercest supporters, with scores of 20-somethings donning ‘Make America Great Again’ hats and rhinestone ‘TRUMP’ hair clips.”

In an address that stretched to more than an hour, Trump cycled through some of his greatest hits, saying that he brought back the expression “Merry Christmas” and that his administration “achieved more in this month alone than almost any president has achieved in eight years in office.” He took aim at “Crazy Nancy” Pelosi, “Crooked Hillary” Clinton, Hunter Biden, the “almost totally corrupt” media, the “Washington swamp,” the “illegal, unconstitutional and hyperpartisan impeachment” — and wind turbines.

Trump’s disdain for wind energy can be traced to about a decade ago, when he bought property for a luxury golf resort in Scotland and found out that a wind farm was planned nearby. Concerned that it would detract from his course’s views, he mounted a vigorous campaign against wind energy. Over the years, he has suggested that wind turbines threaten schoolchildren and even cause cancer — a claim not grounded in any robust evidence.

He has also tweeted about them.

On Saturday, Trump arrived at the topic by way of complaining about the Green New Deal, climate change legislation championed by liberal Democrats. After talking about the “tremendous fumes” generated by wind turbines, he moved on to complaints that wind turbines are ugly and kill birds. (They do kill birds, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, although collision with glass buildings, communication towers, electrical lines and vehicles are by far the worst offenders.)

“You want to see a bird graveyard?” he asked. “You just go. Take a look. A bird graveyard. Go under a windmill someday. You’ll see more birds than you’ve ever seen ever in your life.”

There was laughter and scattered applause in the crowd.

“You know, in California, they were killing the bald eagle,” Trump continued. “If you shoot a bald eagle, they want to put you in jail for 10 years. A windmill will kill many bald eagles. It’s true. And you know what? After a certain number, they make you turn the windmill off. That’s true, by the way. This is — they make you turn it off after you — and yet, if you killed one, they put you in jail. That’s okay. But why is it okay for these windmills to destroy the bird population? And that’s what they’re doing.”

Someone yelled, “Because they’re idiots!”

“Okay,” Trump said, laughing. “This is a conservative group, Dan. No, but it’s true. Am I right?” He had referenced Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) earlier in the program.

Then: “I’ll tell you another thing about windmills. And I’m not — look, I like all forms of energy. And I think in — really, they’re okay in industrial areas. Like you have an industrial plant, you put up a windmill — you know, et cetera, et cetera.

“I’ve seen the most beautiful fields, farms, fields — most gorgeous things you’ve ever seen, and then you have these ugly things going up. And sometimes they’re made by different companies. You know, I’m like a perfectionist; I really built good stuff. And so you’ll see like a few windmills made by one company: General Electric. And then you’ll see a few made by Siemens, and you’ll see a few made by some other guy that doesn’t have 10 cents, so it looks like a — so you see all these windows, they’re all different shades of color. They’re like sort of white, but one is like an orange-white. It’s my favorite color: orange.”

That line drew a wave of applause. But Trump wasn’t done with the turbines.

“No, but — and you see these magnificent fields, and they’re owned — and you know what they don’t tell you about windmills?” he asked. “After 10 years, they look like hell. You know, they start to get tired, old. You got to replace them. A lot of times, people don’t replace them. They need massive subsidy from the government in order to make it. It’s really a terrible thing.”

With that, the president moved on to his next target: former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who left the 2020 race almost two months ago.

[Washington Post]

Media

Trump sides with Putin on impeachment in late Friday night tweet

President Donald Trump continues to side with Russia on questions of domestic politics.

On Friday, the commander-in-chief tweeted out Russian President Vladimir Putin’s views on impeachment, adding that it is “a total witch hunt.”

Trump has received a great deal of criticism for believing the Russian military intelligence conspiracy theory that it was actually Ukraine that interfered in the 2016.

The scandal is at the heart of the impeachment trial expected to start in January.

[Raw Story]

Bill Taylor, top US diplomat in Ukraine, to depart post ahead of Mike Pompeo’s visit

The veteran U.S. diplomat who was a key witness in impeachment hearings is departing his post in Ukraine, according to two State Department sources.

Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Kyiv who was recruited by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to fill in after President Donald Trump abruptly recalled Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, will depart in early January.

Taylor was wrapped up in the efforts by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker, in conjunction with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy allegedly announce investigations to benefit Trump politically. While that effort unfolded, Taylor pushed back, infamously writing that it was “crazy” to withhold security assistance to Ukraine in exchange for those investigations.

That made Taylor a key witness in the impeachment proceedings in the House, which come to a head Wednesday with a vote on two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Both sources said the departure is because Taylor’s temporary appointment expires on Jan. 8, limited by law under the Vacancies Act. A State Department official said he will leave Jan. 1, while the other source said he will hand over his responsibilities on Jan. 1 and leave on Jan. 2.

Either way, he will be gone just ahead of Pompeo’s first trip to Ukraine in early January, according to the official — and after being attacked by Trump and Giuliani as a “Never Trumper.” Just last month, Giuliani accused Taylor of personally blocking visas for Ukrainians who have “direct evidence of Democrat criminal conspiracy with Ukrainians to prevent Donald J. Trump from being President,” he said in a letter to Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

With Taylor gone, Pompeo avoids being seen with him in meetings in Kyiv, potentially angering Trump, whom Pompeo has fiercely defended throughout the impeachment proceedings. But it also leaves a leadership gap at a critical time in Ukraine, where U.S. support has been questioned by Trump’s efforts and amid an ongoing war with Russia in the country’s east.

Taylor, whose departure was first reported by NBC News, previously served as ambassador to Ukraine under George W. Bush and was brought in because of that expertise. But he was appointed and never confirmed by the Senate, and without a nomination for a new ambassador pending, he must depart after 210 days.

The State Department official said Pompeo is going to Kyiv at this time to show the administration’s support for Zelenskiy and for Taylor’s successor. Kristina Kvien, a career Foreign Service officer who arrived in Kyiv in May and has served as Taylor’s deputy, will become the top U.S. diplomat, known as the charge d’affaires.

The Trump administration’s potential nominee for the next ambassador to Ukraine is still in the vetting process, according to the official, who said Kvien could be the top diplomat for some time and it was important for her to be seen as having Pompeo’s backing by accompanying him during his upcoming visit.

But critics say making the visit after Taylor departs undermines Taylor and the embassy and sends the wrong message.

In a scathing letter Tuesday, Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, accused Pompeo of “unceremoniously recalling” Taylor “in a manner similar to” Yovanovitch, which, he said, “denigrate[s] the role of our frontline diplomats.”

After being asked to stay on for an additional year, Yovanovitch was recalled in May, months before her tenure was scheduled to end and after an effort by Giuliani and Ukraine’s former prosecutor general to trash her name with allegations that the State Department has called unfounded. Specifically, Giuliani told The New Yorker magazine that he “believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way” to get the Ukrainian government to launch investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden’s son and the energy company Burisma, as well as the debunked theory of Ukrainian election interference to support Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Despite those false allegations, Pompeo never issued a statement of support for Yovanovitch and, amid similar allegations now by Giuliani against Taylor, has remained quiet on Taylor, too.

“I am extremely concerned that this suspect decision furthers the President’s inappropriate and unacceptable linking of U.S. policy to Ukraine to his personal and political benefit, and potentially your own,” Menendez wrote to Pompeo Wednesday.

In November, after both diplomats testified in the impeachment hearings, Pompeo declined to specifically defend them, saying instead, “I always defend State Department employees. This is the greatest diplomatic corps in the history of the world.”

Menendez and all Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democrats have called on Pompeo to recuse himself from matters related to Ukraine and the House investigation — something Pompeo rejected, while declining to turn over any department documents to the three House committees investigating the administration’s actions.

[ABC News]

Phrase ‘White Nationalists’ Cut From Measure To Screen Military Enlistees

A measure in the National Defense Authorization Act meant to keep white nationalists out of the U.S. military no longer mentions “white nationalists” after Congress quietly altered the text after it initially passed the House.

The change, which has not been previously reported, could water down a House-passed amendment meant to address the threat of white nationalists in the military. The House language was specifically drafted to encourage screening for white nationalist beliefs in military enlistees. But after the Republican-controlled Senate passed its own version of the massive military spending bill and the two chambers’ bills were reconciled, the final NDAA instead requires the Department of Defense to study ways to screen military enlistees for “extremist and gang-related activity.”

While it may seem like a minor tweak, the removal of the term “white nationalists” from the amendment text was concerning to Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), who introduced the amendment in July after alarming reports about white nationalists in the U.S. military. 

Earlier this year, federal authorities arrested a Coast Guard lieutenant for allegedly stockpiling weapons in preparation for a terror attack. A series of HuffPost investigations also exposed 11 U.S. service members who had ties to Identity Evropa, a white nationalist group best known for helping organize the deadly 2017 “Unite The Rally” in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Stripping the specific mention of “white nationalists” from the legislation could leave the door open for more white nationalists to join the military and could leave the U.S. military off the hook for what many critics say are lackluster efforts to screen enlistees for white nationalist beliefs.

It’s not clear who approved the language change or why. Senators on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, including Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), did not respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment on the language.

After the House and Senate each passed their own versions of the NDAA, lawmakers from both chambers met to reconcile differences between the two. The final NDAA was then approved by both chambers.

Aguilar said the fact that the final NDAA does not mention “white nationalism” indicates the Senate may not be taking white nationalism seriously.

In a statement to HuffPost, he noted that white nationalists have “successfully enlisted in our military in order to gain access to combat training and weaponry.”

To prevent more white nationalist violence, Aguilar said, “we cannot turn a blind eye to this growing problem which puts our national security and the safety of the brave men and women serving our country in jeopardy.”

“It’s disappointing that Senate Republicans disagree,” he added.

Academics and law enforcement officials have long warned of the specific threat posed by white nationalists who join the military, where they receive combat training they can use to inflict violence on civilians. White supremacists have long been attracted to the U.S. military, and often for good reason. In the 1970s, for example, a Department of Defense directive allowed service members to join the Ku Klux Klan.

Although military rules prohibit service members from committing acts of discrimination or engaging in extremist activity, an unnerving 2017 Military Times poll found that nearly 25% of American service members reported encountering white nationalists within their ranks.

Just this week, an ESPN article revealed the Army football team’s motto had origins in the neo-Nazi gang the Aryan Brotherhood; two cadets flashed the “OK” hand sign, often a white power symbol, on live television during the Army-Navy football game; and Army units memorialized World War II’s Battle of the Bulge on social media by posting a photo of a Nazi war criminal.

Last month, Vice News confirmed that three members of the U.S. military were registered users of the online neo-Nazi forum Iron March.

And in 2018, a series of investigative reports by ProPublica and “Frontline” found multiple members of violent neo-Nazi groups in the armed services.

Aguilar’s amendment to the NDAA this year sought to address this long-standing problem by requiring the Secretary of Defense to “study the feasibility” of screening for “individuals with ties to white nationalist organizations” during initial background investigations of enlistees.

The amendment also requires the Department of Defense to study whether two FBI resources — the Tattoo and Graffiti Identification Program and The National Gang Intelligence Center — could aid the military in this effort.

[Huffington Post]

Trump calls Christianity Today ‘far left magazine’ after editorial called for his removal from office

President Donald Trump, who has attacked many news organizations during his career in politics, found a new target Friday: Christianity Today, the faith-focused magazine founded by the iconic evangelical preacher Billy Graham.

Trump lashed out at the publication, calling it a “far left magazine” on Twitter the day after Christianity Today posted an editorial calling for him to be removed from office. Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on Wednesday and faces possible removal in a Senate trial next year.

“Christianity Today, knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call and would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President,” Trump said.

In an editorial posted on Thursday, Christianity Today said the House was justified in approving impeachment articles over allegations Trump pressured Ukraine into investigating political opponent Joe Biden.

“The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents,” the magazine said. “That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”

Christianity Today called on the Senate to convict Trump and remove him from office, calling it “not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”

The Republican-run Senate is expected to acquit Trump in the trial.

In his harangue against Christianity Today, Trump said “no President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close.”

In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won 80% of the votes from whites who declared themselves born-again or evangelical Christians, according to exit polling.

While Billy Graham died in 2018, the magazine says it is still guided by his spirit. In its editorial calling for Trump’s removal, Christianity Today said that “we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear – always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love.”

Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son and a Trump supporter, tweeted that his father “knew @realDonaldTrump, believed in him & voted for him. He believed Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation.”

Other news organizations editorial boards have called for Trump’s conviction and removal, and been subject to presidential blowback – including USA TODAY.

On social media, critics of Trump noted that Christianity Today is a conservative publication and mocked the president for his criticism.

“No one would call Christianity Today ‘progressive’ but you. Sad!” tweeted Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics with The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

[USA Today]

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