Sarah Sanders Called Out For Tweeting Misleading Photo Celebrating Syria Strike

On Saturday evening, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted out a photo of the Situation Room, stating that the president had put “our adversaries on notice” the previous night. The implication of the photo was that Trump and his staff were reacting to Friday night’s military strike on Syria.

Only one problem with the tweet — Vice President Mike Pence wasn’t in Washington on Friday evening. The photo shows Pence at the table thus highlighting that it was taken earlier in the week as the vice president was in Peru on Friday.

[Mediaite]

Trump: US, France and UK launch strikes on Syria

President Donald Trump announced on Friday he ordered strikes on the Syrian regime in response to a chemical weapons attack last weekend.

“I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator of Bashar al-Assad,” Trump said from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room.

US aircraft and ships were used in the attack, according to multiple US defense officials.

Trump said the strikes were in coordination with France and the United Kingdom, adding that the purpose of the campaign is to “establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons.”

“The combined American, British and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power: military, economic and diplomatic,” Trump said.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement that she “authorized British armed forces to conduct co-ordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their use.”

Trump indicated the strikes would continue until the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons ends.

“We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents,” Trump said.

The President also insisted that the US would not remain engaged in Syria forever under any circumstances. He has previously told his national security team he wants US troops to exit Syria within six months.

“America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria,” Trump said from the White House.

“As other nations step up their contributions we look forward to the day we can bring our warriors home.”

Trump told the nation in his address the US “cannot purge the world of evil or act everywhere there is tyranny.”

And he described the Middle East as a “troubled place.”

“We will try to make it better but it is a troubled place,” Trump said. “The US will be a partner and a friend. But the fate of the region lies in the hands of its own people.”
He criticized Russia’s support of the Syrian regime saying “Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path.”

Trump also called out Russia’s promise in 2013 that they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons.

[CNN]

Trump softens rhetoric on potential Syria strike

President Donald Trump on Thursday softened his rhetoric about potential airstrikes on Syria, a day after warning Russia that missiles “will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart.'”
In an early morning tweet and later in comments at the White House, Trump attempted to cloud the timing of military action — a day after indicating it was imminent — and said a final decision had not yet been made.

“Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!,” the President tweeted. Trump notably did not rule out plans to attack Syria in retaliation for the weekend’s suspected chemical attack on civilians at the hands of the Assad regime.

The President, however, did not specifically refer to the attack’s timing in his Wednesday tweet, though he warned Russia to “get ready.” In Thursday’s tweet, Trump also suggested he did not get enough credit for US gains against ISIS in the region, asking, “Where is our ‘Thank you America?'”

Speaking to reporters at the White House later in the day, Trump said a decision had not yet been made on a course of action.

“We’re looking very, very seriously, very closely, at that whole situation,” the President said during a meeting with farm state lawmakers. “We have to make some further decisions. So they’ll be made fairly soon.”

Secretary of Defense James Mattis echoed the President when he told lawmakers Thursday, “We have not yet made any decision to launch military attacks into Syria.”
The President will meet with his national security team at the White House on Thursday for further discussions on the US response.

Trump on Wednesday vowed to thwart Russia’s missile defense system in Syria, warning that rockets “will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart.'” In tweeting about a potential attack, Trump appeared to publicly telegraph military plans — something for which he heavily criticized former President Barack Obama back in 2013.

Mattis said Wednesday that the US is “still assessing the intelligence” on whether the Assad regime is to blame for the recent suspected chemical attack. Russia has blamed Syrian opposition forces for the attack.

Trump has consulted with US allies, particularly France and the United Kingdom, about a coordinated response to the suspected chemical attack, but officials say they have not reached a firm agreement on scale or timing. The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, was convening a meeting of her Cabinet on Thursday afternoon, at which she is expected to make the case for supporting the US in any military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned against a missile strike, writing on Facebook Wednesday that it could destroy evidence on the ground and interrupt the work of international investigators.

“Smart missiles should fly toward terrorists, not the legal government that has been fighting international terrorism for several years on its territory,” Zakharova wrote in response to Trump’s Wednesday tweet.

Should the President follow through on his warnings of an attack, two US Navy destroyers armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles are in position and ready to be called into action, among other assets including jets and submarines.

[CNN]

Trump says missiles ‘will be coming’

US President Donald Trump has tweeted that Russia should “get ready” for missiles to be fired at its ally Syria, in response to an alleged chemical attack near Damascus on Saturday.

“Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!'” Mr Trump said in his tweet.

Senior Russian figures have threatened to meet any US strikes with a response.

President Bashar al-Assad’s government denies mounting a chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Douma.

In one of his tweets on Wednesday, Mr Trump called the Syrian leader a “gas killing animal”.

In another, he painted a dark picture of US-Russia relations but said it did not have to be that way.

The US, UK and France have agreed to work together and are believed to be preparing for a military strike in response to the alleged chemical attack at the weekend.

[BBC]

Trump: Saudi Arabia Might ‘Have to Pay’ For U.S. to Keep Troops in Syria

President Donald Trump said in his joint presser with Baltic leaders that Saudi Arabia might “have to pay” for the United States to maintain a military presence in Syria.

“As far as Syria is concerned, our primary mission in terms of that was getting rid of ISIS,” Trump responded to a question. “We’ve almost completed that task.”

“And we’ll be making a decision very quickly in coordination with others in the area as to what we’ll do,” he added. “Saudi Arabia is very interested in our decision. And I said, well, you know, you want us to stay maybe you’re going to have to pay.”

Trump continued:

But we do a lot of things in this country, we do them for — we do them for a lot of reasons. But it is very costly for our country. And it helps other countries a hell of a lot more than it helps us. So we’re going to be making a decision. We’ve had a tremendous military success against ISIS as you know. It is close 100% as I just said. And we’ll be making a decision as to what we do in the very near future. We’ll be consulting also with the groups of our people and groups of our allies.

Reuters White House reporter Steve Holland asked Trump if he is “inclined to pull the troops out” of Syria, to which the president replied:

“I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home. I want to start rebuilding our nation. We will have as of three months ago, $7 trillion in the Middle East over the last 17 years. We get nothing out of it. Nothing.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Draws a His Own Red Line in Syria

Defense officials were “caught off guard” Monday by a White House statement warning against “potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime,” Buzzfeed reports.

“The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children,” the statement from White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reads. “The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.”

“As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”

Buzzfeed spoke to five US defense officials who told the publications “they did not know where the potential chemical attack would come from” and were not informed that the White House was going to release such a statement. As Buzzfeed notes, statements like this are usually coordinated across national security agencies prior to their release.

Likewise, the New York Times reports that “several” military officials were caught of guard by the White House statement.

[Raw Story]

Donald Trump Personally Profited From Missile-Maker Raytheon’s Stock Jump After His Syria Attack

While the world is dealing with both the implications and the fall-out from President Donald Trump’s missile attack on a Syrian airfield on Thursday, the manufacturer of the Tomahawk missile used in the attack is seeing their stock surge which is good news for their investors — including the president.

As noted by the Palmer Report, Trump owns stock in Raytheon, which was reported by Business Insider in 2015.

According  to Trump’s financial disclosure reports filed with the FEC in 2015, his stock portfolio includes investments in  technology firms, financial institutions and defense firms, including Raytheon.

On Thursday, Trump launched an attack on the al-Shayrat military airfield, used by both Syrian and Russian military forces, hitting it with 59 Tomahawk missiles manufactured by Raytheon. Trump’s attack on Syria was reportedly in response to a deadly gas attack launched by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against his own people earlier in the week.

While the Tomahawk attack did little damage to the airfield — with the Syrian air force  continuing to launch assaults from the same base on Friday — investors, sensing an increasing escalation in tensions between two countries and the possibility of war , pushed Raytheon stock up.

Since taking office, Trump has refused to divulge all of his financial information — including his income taxes — and refused to place his business and financial holdings in a blind trust allowing Trump and his family to move money and investments around as they see fit.

(h/t Raw Story)

President Trump Blames Obama for Syria Chemical Attack

President Donald Trump said that the attack in Syria on Tuesday “crossed a lot of lines for me,” but he did not specify how he would respond to it.

His comments came during a press conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah II that began with Trump’s condemning the “heinous actions,” which left at least 72 people dead.

Trump was asked if the attack crossed a red line for him, a reference to then-President Barack Obama’s 2012 threat that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be seen as doing so.

“It crossed a lot of lines for me. When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, little babies, with a chemical gas that is so lethal — people were shocked to hear what gas it was — that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line, many, many lines,” he said.

Later, when a reporter noted he seemed reluctant to get involved in the matter, Trump said, “I watched past administrations say we will attack at such and such a day at such and such an hour … I’m not saying I’m doing anything one way or the other.”

He released a statement on Tuesday saying the attack was “a consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution.”

Today he said, “I think the Obama administration had a responsibility to solve the crisis a long time ago. And when he didn’t cross that line in making the threat, I think that set us back a long ways, not only in Syria but in many other parts of the world, because it was a blank threat. I think it was something that was not one of our better days as a country.”

Trump added, “I now have responsibility, and I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly.”

He said that he is open to changing his stance on issues and that the attack in Syria was an example of how current events have prompted a shift.

“I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don’t have to have one specific way, and if the world changes, I go the same way,” Trump said. “It’s already happened, that my attitude towards Syria and [President Bashar al-]Assad has changed very much.”

Later in his remarks, Trump praised Jordan‘s efforts in the fight against ISIS.

“The Middle East and the entire world is faced with one of its gravest threats in many, many years. Since the earliest days of the campaign against ISIS, Jordan has been a staunch ally and partner, and we thank you for that,” he said.

“In King Abdullah, America is blessed with a thoughtful and determined partner. He’s a man who has spent years commanding his country’s special forces. He really knows what is being a soldier is — that I can tell you. And he knows how to fight,” Trump said.

(h/t ABC News)

Reality

Trump can try to put the blame solely on former President Barack Obama but things are not as simple as “if you bad then I bomb,” Syria in particular is a very complicated situation.

Obama could have used military force in Syria as promised after Assad crossed the “red line” and used chemical weapons on his own people, sure that’s a position you could hold. But then you’ll need to explain how you would deal with Russia, which has massive investments such as an important naval base in Tartus, and Iran, who Syria is its closest ally, and are both backing Assad.

Keep in mind, at the time the Obama administration was holding negotiations with Iran to dismantle their nuclear program. If there was no nuclear deal with Iran, then they were ready to have a bomb within two or three months and were ready to walk if America used force in Syria as retaliation. So an alternative solution needed to be found.

So what Assad actually did by crossing Obama’s red line in 2013, is created international pressure for Syria to accept a diplomatic solution. (A much preferred foreign policy.) The agreement left Russia in charge of overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons and was in charge of ensuring they wouldn’t be used. Russia, as it seems, did not do such a good job.

This would also ignore Trump’s own missteps. Just a few days prior, the Trump administration mentioned their new policy in the Syrian civil war was to lead from behind. Assad, always one to test his boundaries with both ally and enemy, read this signal loud and clear that he was free to act as he wished.

If Trump did not have such a simplistic view of a very complex situation (which is usually the case with him) then perhaps this attack would have never occurred.

Media

Trump Jr. Likely Paid $50K for Event Hosted by Russian Allies

President Trump’s eldest son may have profited off an appearance at an event last fall hosted by a couple aligned with the Russian government on Syria, according to new reporting.

Trump’s private talks with the pro-Russia figures on Oct. 11 in Paris were reported in November, though new details about the meeting have since emerged.

Donald Trump Jr. was likely paid $50,000 for addressing the dinner at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Trump was a guest of the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs, whose president Fabien Baussart and Syrian-born wife Randa Kassis have cooperated with Russia on ending the Syrian civil war, U.S., Arab and European officials told the newspaper.

Trump, 39, serves as executive vice president of the Trump Organization and was a top official in his father’s 2016 presidential campaign before the October event.

All American Speakers, a talent booking agency that represents Trump, lists his booking fee range as “$50,000 and above” on its website. The Journal noted it confirmed with people who had participated in past Center events that it often pays speakers 20-30 percent above their going rate.

The Trump Organization did not dispute Thursday whether Trump received at least $50,000 for his remarks in France.

“Donald Trump Jr. has been participating in business-related speaking engagements for over a decade — discussing a range of topics including sharing his entrepreneurial experiences and offering career specific advice,” said Amanda Miller, the company’s vice president for marketing, according to the Journal.

Kassis heads a political party, the Movement for a Pluralistic Society, which is part of a faction endorsed by Russia in global negotiations aimed at ending the Syrian conflict.

She regularly visits Moscow to coordinate policy with Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Arab and European officials told the Journal, and she is often featured at Russian state media.

Baussart told the newspaper he and his wife are focused on finding a solution to Syria’s six-year civil war involving cooperation between Russia and the U.S. Kassis said she explained the need for harmony between the two nations to Donald Trump Jr. in October, adding she had passed on his views on the conflict to Russian diplomats in Moscow.

Baussart formally nominated Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize in December for his role in ending the Syrian civil war.

“I believe that President Putin deserved it,” he told Ria Novosti then while discussing the award. “He is the only one who is truly fighting terrorism.”

The Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian officials and allies have come under increasing scrutiny following reports last month that top campaign aides and allies were in regular contact with Russian intelligence officials last year.

U.S. intelligence officials have concluded Russia launched an extensive hacking and influence campaign during the 2016 race.

(h/t The Hill)

Trump Warns of Another 9/11-like Attack from Syrian Refugees

"The Green Line" podcast.

Donald Trump again warned of another 9/11-like attack on the United States if refugees are continually allowed into the country.

In an interview on the National Border Patrol Council podcast “The Green Line” the presumptive Republican nominee said:

Our country has enough difficulty right now without letting the Syrians pour in.

Trump also suggested ISIS is paying for refugees’ cell phone plans.

They all have cell phones so they don’t have money, they don’t have anything, they have cell phones. Who pays their monthly charges, right? They have cell phones with the flags, the ISIS flags on them.

When asked if he thought it would take an attack similar to 9/11 for the country to “wake up about border security,” Trump agreed.

Bad things will happen; a lot of bad things will happen. There will be attacks that you wouldn’t believe. There will be attacks by the people that are right now coming in to our country.

Trump also spoke about Hillary Clinton’s agenda for immigration reform and his own plans for border control, including his proposal to build a wall at the Southern border. The National Border Control agents’ union made its first-ever endorsement of a presidential candidate when it backed Trump in March.

(h/t CNN, Vox)

Reality

The reference to Syrian refugees with ISIS phones appears to be from an article first reported by the Norwegian newspaper The Netavisen, where a few of the refugees had cell phone images with horrors of war, as well as images of flags, symbols and characters that can be linked to the terrorist group ISIS and other terrorist groups. The article was then floated on the conspiracy site Infowars and the British tabloid the Daily Mail that “hundreds” of refugees in Norway were found with photos of ISIS flags on their phones. And finally we have Donald Trump claiming “thousands.” Just like a game of whisper down the alley the reality is it was not “thousands of people” like Trump claimed.

Conveniently omitted from Donald Trump’s claim was the statements from the Norwegian officials in charge of investigating these incidents who say the images are most likely documentation of ISIS’s presence and what the individuals have witnessed, rather than a statement of support. Also the refugees had images of ISIS flags which they could use when passing through ISIS controlled areas as to avoid suspicion.

Trump had proposed a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” in a December press release, but just this week flip-flopped and said the ban was “only a suggestion.”

Media

 

1 2