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Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw set former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes straight after he questioned America’s credibility on the current crisis with Iran.

Rhodes, who was involved with selling the Iran nuclear deal to the American public during the Obama administration, replied to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement on Thursday that the U.S. was blaming Iran for the attacks by saying America’s word alone was not enough.

“This definitely feels like the kind of incident where you’d want an international investigation to establish what happened. Huge risk of escalation,” Rhodes tweeted.

Texas Rep. Crenshaw sent back a bristling reply.

“So, do or don’t believe the Intel community? And you’re not really a trusted source to weigh in on Iran…You sold the public the falsehood of a moderating Iranian regime – using your media “echo chamber” (your words)- & ignoring the true danger Iran presents in the region,” Crenshaw tweeted.

In 2016, Rhodes used the phrase “echo chamber” to describe the Obama administration’s efforts to ensure that arms control experts would say that backing the Iran nuclear deal would eliminate aggressive behavior from Iran, Fox News reported.

President Donald Trump campaigned against the Iran nuclear deal and has ramped up sanctions against Iran during his time in the Oval Office.

Crenshaw further noted on Twitter that the recent attacks on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman bear all the hallmarks of Iran’s style.

“I’ve been watching for years as Iran moves weapons to proxies around the region, looking for opportunities to destabilize & wreak havoc, and then claim innocence. This is not new. And the Administration is right to strengthen our regional presence as a deterrence,” Crenshaw tweeted, referencing the buildup of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region that began last month in response to fears of Iranian aggression.

On Friday, a video of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded mine from one tanker was released, backing up Pompeo’s initial claim that Iran attacked two tankers.

The role of former Obama administration officials in taking Iran’s side was noted by David Harsyni in an Op-Ed published by the New York Post.

“(T)he Iranians — not only responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American servicemen but a player in nearly every destructive conflict in the Middle East today — already act with impunity,” he wrote.

“The attacks on shipping are meant to spike oil prices to damage the world economy and undermine Trump’s maximum-pressure campaign.

“An added bonus, of course, is that a campaign may undercut Trump’s electoral chances in 2020 and bring someone into the White House who would almost certainly reenter the Obama-era nuke deal with Iran and allow it a wide berth to destabilize the region,” he wrote.

“Perhaps Iranian leadership has been emboldened after listening to former Obama administration officials like John Kerry tell them to wait out the president,” he added.

Although many European nations have been reluctant to blame Iran for the attacks, Britain on Friday joined the U.S. in attributing the attacks to Iran, according to The Guardian.

“It is almost certain that a branch of the Iranian military — the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — attacked the two tankers on 13 June. No other state or non-state actor could plausibly have been responsible,” Britain’s Foreign Office said in a statement.

Author: Jack Davis

Source: Western Journal: Dan Crenshaw Rips Ex-Obama Aide for Questioning Validity of Iran Tanker Attack Intel

Vermont will soon do away with Columbus Day and make the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day, if Gov. Phil Scott follows through on his plan to sign a bill that has passed the state’s legislature.

“I see no reason that I would not sign it, but we’re reviewing the bill as we speak,” Scott said, according to the Burlington Free Press.

Vermont has been recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day along with Columbus Day since 2016, when former Gov. Peter Shumlin began issuing proclamations to that effect.

Scott has continued that precedent of celebrating both the state holiday and the informally designated Indigenous People’s Day, but the law would now make it official.

Vermont’s Senate strongly supported the bill, but it faced contrary winds in the House of Representatives. Republican legislators sought to preserve Columbus Day and establish a February holiday for indigenous people.

The Vermont House turned back the Republican-led proposal 95-42 on Wednesday.

“I know it’s controversial from many standpoints, from many people, but you know, it’s just a day, and we’ll get through it,” Scott said. “And we’ve been treating it as something different over the last couple of years through resolutions. Without any technical difficulties within the bill, I’ll probably sign it.”

Maine is also considering a bill to change the name of the day. Last week, Maine’s bill received final legislative approval in the state’s Senate and is expected to be signed into law.

The bill had drawn debate in Maine’s House before passage last month, Maine Public Radio reported.

“Christopher Columbus, while making an important impact on history, was also a war criminal,” said state Rep. Rachel Talbot-Ross, a Portland Democrat.

“And is the symbolic genesis of the idea that Indigenous people of the Americas were a savage and inferior race that should be exterminated in order for progress and colonization,” she said.

Not everyone agreed.

State Rep. Roger Reed, a Republican from Carmel, said that the actions of Columbus are part of America’s history.

“But as regrettable as these are, they are still part of America’s’ story. We can’t change what has occurred in the past and we certainly don’t condone what has happened,” he said.

Oami Amarasingham, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, said after the law’s Senate passage that the change was overdue.

“It’s time to stop celebrating a man whose arrival brought death, disease and slavery to hundreds of thousands, and start honoring the people who lived here long before,” Amarasingham said, according to the Bangor Daily News.

“I greatly respect the history of the Italian-Americans and their contribution, however, I think we can honor their presence here without this day, which really isn’t fitting,” Democratic legislator Ben Collings, who sponsored Maine’s legislation, has said, according to the Bangor Daily News.

New Mexico and South Dakota dropped Columbus Day to recognize indigenous peoples. Alaska, which also marks Indigenous Peoples’ Day, never had Columbus Day as an official state holiday.

“Things that are symbolic can carry very far,” Brattleboro’s Rich Holschuh, who belongs to the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, said.

“The degree of disinformation and lack of understanding around the situation of native people in Vermont, as a microcosm of the national situation, is totally exemplified in the way that Columbus has been celebrated and the native people ignored. It’s not trivial and this kind of opens up an opportunity for that story to begin to change,” he added.

Author: Jack Davis

Source: Westernjournal: Vermont Governor Says He Expects To Sign Bill Abolishing Columbus Day

Special counsel Robert Mueller may be finished with his investigation of alleged collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, but congressional Democrats are not.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said if parts of the Mueller report are not made public by the administration, House Democrats will intervene.

“If the Justice Department doesn’t release the whole report or tries to keep parts of it secret, we will certainly subpoena the parts of the report and we will reserve the right to call Mueller to testify before the committee or to subpoena him,” Nadler said, according to the New York Post.

Although the report has not yet been made public, the early word on the document is that it will be anti-climactic.

Other Democrats also want Mueller to speak publicly about his investigation.

Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said Mueller should testify publicly about “the evidence he gathered, the scope of his work, and findings,” according to Politico.

Regardless of Mueller’s findings, Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee have already launched a separate investigation into alleged obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power by the president.

“Over the last several years, President Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms,” Nadler said earlier this month. “Investigating these threats to the rule of law is an obligation of Congress and a core function of the House Judiciary Committee.”

From the Republican side, lawmakers said that after an investigation that lasted almost two years, enough is enough.

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said the report should be made public and “put an end to the speculation and innuendo that has loomed over this administration since its earliest days.”

“Attempts to keep the collusion narrative alive, especially for political reasons, will only serve to further harm our political discourse and play into the hands of our foreign adversaries,” Grassley said.

“The Mueller report delivery suggests no more indictments are coming from the Special Counsel. If that’s true, it would mean we just completed 2 years of investigating ‘Russian collusion’ without ONE collusion related indictment. Not even one. Why? Because there was no collusion,” North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows tweeted.

“I have always believed it was important that Mr. Mueller be allowed to do his job without interference, and that has been accomplished,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said.

Before the report was released, the president also said it should be made public.

“Let people see it. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no nothing,” he said, according to The New York Times.

Mueller indicated Friday that his report was delivered to Attorney General William Barr, who as of Saturday morning had not released it.

Author: Jack Davis

Source: Westernjournal: Democrats May Call Mueller To Testify, Continue Trump-Russia Probe After Mueller Investigation Is Over

China will increase its purchases of a broad range of American products under an agreement that will stave off a tariff increase President Donald Trump had planned to impose on Jan. 1, officials announced Saturday.

China agreed to buy “a very substantial amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other products from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement, according to Politico.

China will “start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately,” Sanders said.

In her statement, she said that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping “agreed to immediately begin negotiations on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture.”

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“Both parties agree that they will endeavor to have this transaction completed within the next 90 days. If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent,” she said.

Xi also agreed to designate fentanyl as a controlled substance, meaning that Chinese citizens selling the drug are subject to China’s maximum penalty, Sanders said in the statement, according to the White House media press pool.

The decision came after a meeting between American and Chinese officials at the G20 summit in Argentina.

“This was an amazing and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China,” Trump said. “It is my great honor to be working with President Xi.”

At the summit meeting, Trump emphasized the positive nature of his relationship with Xi, New York Times reported.

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“The relationship is very special — the relationship that I have with President Xi,” he said.

“I think that is going to be a very primary reason why we’ll probably end up with getting something that will be good for China and good for the United States,” he said.

Xi also offered an upbeat assessment of his partnership with Trump.

“Only with cooperation between us can we serve the interest of world peace and prosperity.”

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Author: Jack Davis

Source: Westernjournal: Trump Keeps Promise to Farmers, China Folds in Negotiations

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