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An Illinois judge has granted a restraining order to block Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s (D) extension of his stay-at-home order, putting the plan in jeopardy.

Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney ruled against Pritzker’s proposed order to lengthen the stay-at-home mandate, which was slated to take effect on Friday, according to local news reports.

Pritzker said that his office is going to work to have the judge’s order reversed. Under the new ruling, cities could disregard the state’s stay-at-home order and reopen starting Friday.

“We are certainly going to act in a swift action to have this ruling overturned,” the governor told reporters on Monday.

The judge ruled in favor of Illinois state Rep. Darren Bailey (R), who said the governor exceeded his authority and is violating the civil rights of residents.

Closed Chicago Theatre is seen in Chicago, Ill., on March 21, 2020. (Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images)

“My lawsuit asks the court to find that Gov. Pritzker overextended his power by issuing additional ‘stay at home’ orders after his original disaster proclamation, which expired on April 9th, 2020,” said Bailey in a statement. “Enough is enough! I filed this lawsuit on behalf of myself and my constituents who are ready to go back to work and resume a normal life.”

Pritzker said he would continue to issue new health directives until the lawsuit is resolved.

“Representative Bailey’s decision to go to the courts is an insult to all Illinoisans who have been lost during this COVID-19 crisis. It’s a danger to millions of people who might get ill because of his recklessness,” Pritzker said Monday, according to NBC Chicago. “Disasters don’t evaporate on a 30-day timeframe. Legislators took this into account when they wrote this law. We will fight this lawsuit to the furthest means possible.”

Illinois’ public health agency reported a 1,980 additional CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus cases as of Monday. Fifty deaths were reported, bringing the total to around 2,000.

In his latest order, Pritzker would allow for some outdoor activities, and many previously barred surgeries and some medical operations. Meanwhile, some retailers can reopen to fill online orders or pick the orders up. The governor’s order will also require face coverings for anyone over the age of 2, Fox32 in Chicago reported.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China before it was transmitted worldwide.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Illinois Judge Overturns Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order Extension

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Iran or one of the militia groups it controls is planning to make a sneak attack on American assets in the region.

“Upon information and belief, Iran or its proxies are planning a sneak attack on U.S. troops and/or assets in Iraq,” Trump wrote in a Twitter post. “If this happens, Iran will pay a very heavy price, indeed!”

The president didn’t offer any more details about a potential attack.

Iranian proxy militia groups have targeted U.S. troops housed in several Iraqi bases.

Iran launched a barrage of rockets at two bases earlier this year, causing minor injuries to more than 100 soldiers after the United States killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. The United States carried out a drone strike that killed Soleimani after Iranian-backed militia groups killed an American contractor and tried to storm the American Embassy in Baghdad.

Earlier this month, at least two American soldiers were killed in a rocket attack on a base in Iraq. U.S. Central Command spokesman Capt. William Urban confirmed to news outlets that the soldiers and another coalition member were killed after about 10 rockets were launched by Iran-backed proxies.

Iran on Wednesday warned the United States after Patriot missile systems were reportedly deployed in the Middle East.

“The U.S. is moving defensive systems into Iraq to protect Iraqi, coalition, and U.S. service members from a variety of air threats seen at Iraqi bases that host coalition troops,” Pentagon spokesperson Sean Robertson said.

The U.S. deployment runs “counter to the official position of the Iraqi government, parliament, and people,” according to a statement from the Iranian foreign ministry.

Iran then accused the United States of “warmongering during the coronavirus outbreak” and called on the United States to cease military activities, claiming it will lead to “instability and disaster.”

Tehran has reported more than 3,000 deaths from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, although experts are skeptical of the number.

American soldiers should “respect the wishes of the Iraqi people and government and leave the country,” the Iranian foreign ministry said.

In late March, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran refused to follow U.S. air restrictions amid the CCP virus pandemic.

“In February, Iran’s chief terror airline, Mahan Air, continued to fly at least 55 times between Tehran and China, spreading the #WuhanVirus. At least five countries’ first cases of #COVID19 were a direct result of the Iranian regime’s disregard for everyone’s health,” Pompeo wrote.

But Pompeo added that Iran is asking for more money, and since 2012, it sent $16 billion to terrorist proxies in the Middle East.

They also stole money “intended for medical supplies, and continue to hoard desperately needed masks, gloves, and equipment for sale on the black market,” he said.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Trump Says Iran Planning ‘Sneak Attack’ on American Troops in Iraq

A man was arrested outside the White House after he told a U.S. Secret Service agent that he had a knife and was there to assassinate President Donald Trump.

Roger Hedgpeth, 25, was arrested Feb. 8 for making threats, the Metropolitan Police Department confirmed Feb. 9 to The Associated Press.

“I am here to assassinate President Donald Trump,” he told a Secret Service officer, the police report said, according to the Washington Post. “I have a knife to do it with.”

Officials said they discovered a 3.5-inch knife in a sheath on his hip. They also found a pistol holster with no gun, AP reported.

Hedgpeth was taken into police custody before he was brought to a hospital for a mental health evaluation. His car was also impounded, authorities said.

According to the Post, citing police records, Hedgpeth hails from Brandon, Florida. Police said he is a “critically missing/endangered person as well as a mental health consumer.”

The incident took place near 15th St. NW and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, police said. That’s about a block from the White House.

White House security has been increased in recent years after several people jumped over the iron fence surrounding the building and lawn. One man made it to the presidential residence in 2014, during former President Barack Obama’s second term. In 2017, after Trump took office, a California man carrying pepper spray climbed over the fence and roamed around for about 17 minutes before he was caught.

In 2019, officials began construction of a higher, 13-foot fence that almost doubles the previous height, according to an AP report at the time. The Secret Service said it cost about $64 million to complete.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Man Carrying Knife Arrested Outside White House After Making Assassination Threat

President Donald Trump delivered his annual State of the Union, touting the burgeoning U.S. economy in a key moment just months away from the November election.

“Three years ago, we launched the great American comeback. tonight, I stand before you to share the incredible results,” Trump said. “In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny” and the United States is “moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never going back,” he added.

Trump, speaking to both the House of Representatives and the Senate, delivered the address in the same chamber where he was impeached late last year. The Senate on Wednesday will surely vote to acquit him on charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power, as no Republicans have signaled that they would vote to convict. Behind him on the dais was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who made the announcement of the impeachment inquiry in late September, and Vice President Mike Pence.

Rush Limbaugh at the State of the Union Address on Tuesday (White House)

Other than members of Congress, the Supreme Court justices—including presiding impeachment officer Chief Justice John Roberts—were in the audience.

In the speech, Trump used his podium to offer an optimistic and hopeful message in light of the partisan bickering in Washington. He didn’t mention the word impeachment once.

“The vision I will lay out this evening demonstrates how we are building the world’s most prosperous and inclusive society—one where every citizen can join in America’s unparalleled success, and where every community can take part in America’s extraordinary rise,” the president said.

US Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi are seen at their seats before President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, on Feb. 4, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

The president touted NAFTA-replacement U.S.–Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), his trade deal with China, tax cuts, and highlighted more factories being built in the United States.

“In eight years under the last administration, over 300,000 working-age people dropped out of the workforce,” he said, referring to former President Barack Obama’s two terms. But, “In just three years of my Administration, 3.5 million working-age people have joined the workforce,” the president remarked.

USMCA was signed last week by Trump after being approved by both the House and the Senate. Trump in his 2016 campaign said that implementing a new deal to replace NAFTA, which was signed during the Clinton administration, would be one of his priorities, and he will likely be pointing out its replacement at campaign events in the coming months.

President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address at the Capitol in Washington on Feb. 4, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

“Many politicians came and went, pledging to change or replace NAFTA—only to do absolutely nothing,” referring to the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement that he updated with Canada and Mexico, he said. “But unlike so many who came before me, I keep my promises. Six days ago, I replaced NAFTA and signed the brand new U.S.–Mexico-Canada Agreement into law.”

The White House invited a number of guests to the address, including a Border Patrol deputy chief, a former Venezuelan police chief who was held in detention for 15 years before escaping, military veterans, the wife of a soldier who was killed in Iraq by forces associated with Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani—who was killed in a U.S. drone strike earlier this year—and others.

Socialism also was a target during the address, with the president describing it as a destructive force that is eroding both the U.S. economy and values.

“We will never let socialism destroy American healthcare,” he said.

Trump also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who recently announced he has advanced lung cancer. First Lady Melania Trump presented him with the medal during the speech.

The president also honored Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who attended the State of the Union as Trump’s guest. He received a standing ovation from both Republican and Democratic members of Congress.

“Mr. President please take this message back that all Americans are united with Venezuelans in their righteous battle for freedom,” Trump said to Guaido.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Trump Touts US Economy in State of the Union Address: ‘Never Going Back’

Former Vice President Joe Biden said that he would nominate former President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court if he won the presidency, according to several reports.

Speaking to reporters in Iowa, Biden was asked about whether Obama could get the nod to the nation’s highest court.

“Biden asked here in Washington, Iowa, if he would ever nominate former President Obama to serve on the Supreme Court. ‘If he’d take it, yes,’” wrote Wall Street Journal reporter Ken Thomas on Twitter.

New York Times reporter Thomas Kaplan confirmed the former vice president’s “If he’d take it, yes,” statement.

If Biden were elected president in 2020 and nominated Obama, it wouldn’t be unprecedented. Former President William Howard Taft, who was in office from 1909 to 1913, was the 10th supreme justice of the Supreme Court. He was the first and only person to serve as both a president and as justice.

President Taft signed a bill to protect green forests that trace the path of the Appalachian Trail a hundred years ago. (Courtesy of the National Archives/Newsmakers/Getty Images)

President Obama graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991 and was admitted as a lawyer by the Supreme Court of Illinois the same year, according to FactCheck.org.

Before he was elected to the Illinois state Senate in 1996, Obama “worked as a civil rights lawyer at the firm formerly known as Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland. Four days after Obama announced that he would run for president in February 2007, he voluntarily elected to have his law license placed on ‘inactive’ status … Then, after becoming president, he elected to change his status to ‘retired’ in February 2009,” FactCheck noted.

In April, when Biden made the announcement to run for president, Obama issued a statement praising Biden’s leadership. Since then, the former president hasn’t endorsed his former deputy.

“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made. He relied on the Vice President’s knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today,” Obama’s spokesperson Katie Hill said in a statement at the time.

Days later, Biden, 76, told reporters that he asked Obama not to endorse him.

“I asked President Obama not to endorse, and he doesn’t want to. Listen, we should—whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits,” he remarked.

Publicly, the former president has not endorsed a 2020 Democratic candidate. But in private, according to a report from The Hill, Obama has been praising Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to wealthy donors about her electability.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: ‘If He’d Take It’: Biden Says He’s Open to Nominating Obama for Supreme Court

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Democrats need to ascertain how the Senate will conduct its trial, after Republican lawmakers criticized her tactic to delay the articles of impeachment.

“The House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct. President Trump blocked his own witnesses and documents from the House, and from the American people, on phony complaints about the House process. What is his excuse now?” she wrote on Twitter on Dec. 23.

President Donald Trump and his allies in Congress took issue with Pelosi’s statement and argued that it contradicts her claim that the House needed to act quickly on impeachment. Republicans say House Democrats and Pelosi rushed their case against Trump and decided not to go to court to obtain documents and witnesses in the three-month inquiry after the White House said the executive branch is entitled to executive privileges.

Her remarks came shortly after Trump criticized her for the decision.

“Pelosi gives us the most unfair trial in the history of the U.S. Congress, and now she is crying for fairness in the Senate, and breaking all rules while doing so. She lost Congress once, she will do it again!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also lashed out on Dec. 23 amid the impasse and accused Democratic senators of bias.

“Do you think Chuck Schumer is impartial? Do you think Elizabeth Warren is impartial? Bernie Sanders is impartial? So let’s quit the charade. This is a political exercise. … All I’m asking of Schumer is that we treat Trump the same way we treated Clinton,” McConnell told Fox News.

During several talk shows on Dec. 22, Republican senators questioned why Pelosi would hold the articles.

“This is a sign [Pelosi] understands just how weak these articles are. These articles of impeachment that they actually voted on were really an admission of failure,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told Fox News. “For months, [Democrats] had been promising all of this evidence of criminal activity. For months, they’d be talking about bribery, they’d be talking about quid pro quo,” he said. “But then they heard all the evidence and they got no evidence of it and these articles don’t allege any crime.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said he believes Pelosi doesn’t have the power to hold up the trial.

“The Speaker has a lot of power,” Blunt told CNN on Dec. 22, adding that he doesn’t think she has the authority to hold the articles once “the House has spoken” on the articles of impeachment, which accuse Trump of abusing his power and obstructing Congress.

“I think it’s a mistake on the speaker’s part,” he said of the delay tactic. “I think this will look pretty political.”

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Pelosi Insists on Choosing Impeachment Managers After Senate Makes Impeachment Trial Rules

Nine in 10 Orthodox Jews support President Donald Trump, according to a new survey.

AMI Magazine reported it polled more than 700 Orthodox Jews, finding that the president has an 89 percent approval rating. Only five percent disapproved and six percent said they were undecided.

“According to a survey conducted by the American Jewish Committee, 54 percent of Orthodox Jews said that they voted for Trump in 2016. One year into his presidency, 71 percent of Orthodox Jews supported him, and that was before he commuted the sentence of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” the magazine said.

But his support among the group has only expanded.

“Then in 2018, in a Tri-State-area poll commissioned by Ami Magazine, 82 percent of respondents said that they would vote for Trump in 2020. And as this year’s Ami poll reveals, support for the president has now hit a whopping 89 percent. What this upward trajectory makes abundantly clear is that more and more Orthodox Jews are fans of the 45th president of the United States,” AMI wrote.

President Trump highlighted his strong approval rate among Orthodox Jews in a tweet on Wednesday.

As a whole, the Jewish community tends to vote for Democrats. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency said that more than 75 percent of Jewish voters supported Democrats in 2018 and about 70 percent voted for Hillary Clinton.

The AMI poll came on the same day Trump signed an executive order to cut federal funding to universities and colleges that don’t curb anti-Semitism.

Trump’s new order is aimed at the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and it invoked Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to Fox News.

“This is my message to universities,” Trump said at White House. “If you want to accept the tremendous amount of federal funding you get every year, you must reject anti-Semitism.”

Another Poll

Amid the impeachment push, more than half of voters said that Trump should not be removed from office, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll (pdf) released this week.

Fifty-one percent said Trump should not be impeached and removed from office and 45 percent said that he should be removed, said the poll.

On Nov. 26, the same polling organization said it found that 48 percent of respondents said Trump should not be impeached while 45 percent said he should be.

“Today’s poll is the first time since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the inquiry that more than half of voters say that Trump should not be impeached,” Quinnipiac wrote.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Trump’s Support Among Orthodox Jews Is at 89 Percent: Poll

U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared to be inclined to let President Donald Trump terminate the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program, known as DACA, that shields hundreds of thousands of immigrants from deportation and also allows them to get work permits.

The judges heard arguments on Tuesday and at least five of the court’s conservatives are backing the Trump administration, reports said. The Supreme Court hasn’t yet ruled on the case.

Chief Justice John Roberts indicated that he saw DACA as illegal when it was implemented by President Obama, saying it covers more people than prior deferred deportation programs, according to Bloomberg News. The other conservative justices suggested that they would not second-guess the Trump administration’s reasoning and thought its explanations were sufficient, the New York Times reported.

Trump’s Solicitor General Noel Francisco called on the justices to throw out rulings from lower courts to allow the White House to wind down the DACA program, according to the transcript. He also claimed that the program exceeded the power of the president and is, therefore, illegal.

The “Department of Homeland Security reasonably determined that it no longer wished to retain the DACA policy based on its belief that the policy was illegal, its serious doubts about its illegality, and its general opposition to broad non-enforcement policies,” he said.

In 2017, President Donald Trump said that DACA should be undone, and he repeated his criticisms of the program on Tuesday.

Demonstrators march through a tunnel during a demonstration in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement that it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in Washington on Sept. 5, 2017. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

“Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels.’ Some are very tough, hardened criminals. President Obama said he had no legal right to sign order, but would anyway. If Supreme Court remedies with overturn, a deal will be made with Dems for them to stay!” he wrote on Twitter.

The court ruling will affect so-called “DREAMers” who depend on the program, which was created via executive action by former President Barack Obama. The DREAMers were brought into the United States illegally as children.

The move reportedly will affect about 700,000 immigrants, mainly from Mexico and Central America.

Ken Cuccinelli, the Trump administration’s acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, told Reuters that DACA is “a de facto amnesty program for hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens.”

“If Congress wants to shield these aliens from deportation and provide them a legal status, that is its prerogative,” Cuccinelli explained. “In the meantime, DHS (the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) is a law-enforcement agency and nothing should keep it from enforcing the law.”

Trump previously attempted to rescind the program just months after he took office, but the lower courts blocked his action, leading to the current Supreme Court battle. Those courts said that Trump’s move to rescind DACA was possibly “arbitrary and capricious” and violated a U.S. law known as the Administrative Procedure Act.

In 2017, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the Trump administration would be winding down the program, saying that the president didn’t have the authority to suspend deportations.

At the time, the White House asked why so few politicians had “any compassion for the millions of Americans victimized” by the immigration system. “Before we ask what is fair to illegal immigrants, we must also ask what is fair to American families, students, taxpayers, and job seekers,” Trump said in the statement.

He then called on Congress to “advance responsible immigration reform.”

The program allows eligible immigrants to get renewable two-year work permits and remains in effect for those who are already enrolled. The Trump administration has refused to hand out new applications.

The “DREAMers” moniker was based on the name of a bipartisan bill that was never passed called the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors) Act, which would have granted them legal status.

The Supreme Court cases are Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, No. 18-587; Donald Trump v. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, No. 18-588; and Kevin McAleenan v. Martin Jonathan Batalla Vidal, No. 18-589.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Supreme Court Justices Appear Inclined to Allow Trump to Terminate DACA

Billionaire media magnate Michael Bloomberg is running at 4 percent nationally as he reportedly explores a presidential bid for 2020, according to a new poll.

No Democratic contender is viewed more negatively by Democratic voters than Bloomberg, said the poll from Morning Consult.

According to the poll, he sits in sixth-place behind Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

“Nearly 25 percent of likely primary voters view him unfavorably—the highest unfavorable rating in the field—while about 31 percent view him favorably,” Politico reported. “In contrast, nearly three-quarters of Democratic primary voters view Joe Biden favorably, compared to about 18 percent who hold an unfavorable opinion of him.”

Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York City, has not publicly confirmed whether he will run for president. However, there is no clear Democratic front-runner three months ahead of the crucial Iowa caucuses.

The Morning Consult poll was carried out on Friday and surveyed 5,387 registered voters, including 2,225 Democratic primary voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, 76, dismissed the suggestion that Bloomberg, 77, poses a threat to him.

“I welcome him in the race,” he told reporters in New Hampshire. “Michael’s a solid guy, and let’s see where it goes. I have no problems with him getting into the race.”

“In terms of his running because of me, the last polls I looked at, I’m pretty far ahead,” Biden said. “If I’m not mistaken, I’m doing pretty well both relative to [President Donald] Trump and relative to all the people running in the Democratic primary.”

Bloomberg on Nov. 8 filed paperwork in Alabama to appear on the Alabama Democratic primary next year, reported the BBC.

His spokesman, Jason Schechter, said that Bloomberg’s announcement “could come as early as next week.”

On Nov. 7, his adviser, Howard Wolfson strongly suggested on Twitter that Bloomberg was looking to enter the race.

“In 2018, he spent more than $100 million to help elect Democrats to ensure that Congress began to hold the President accountable. And this year he helped Democrats win control of both houses of the Virginia legislature,” he wrote. “We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated—but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well-positioned to do that.”

He added: “If Mike runs he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist.”

“Based on his record of accomplishment, leadership and his ability to bring people together to drive change, Mike would be able to take the fight to Trump and win,” he added.

On Friday, Trump responded to questions from reporters about Bloomberg’s potential bid.

“I know Michael Bloomberg … He’s not going to do well,” he said. “But I think he’s going to hurt [former Vice President Joe] Biden actually,” Trump, 73, said of the former mayor.

“Little Michael will fail. He’ll spend a lot of money” in the election, but he will ultimately not win the presidency, Trump told reporters.

This is not the first time Trump has used the “Little Michael” moniker.

“‘Little’ Michael Bloomberg, who never had the guts to run for president, knows nothing about me,” Trump wrote on Twitter in July 2016 after Bloomberg criticized Trump’s business credentials at the Democratic National Convention. “His last term as Mayor was a disaster!”

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Poll: Michael Bloomberg’s Potential Run Not Resonating With Voters

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and a delegation of mostly Democratic lawmakers are in Jordan to meet with top Jordanian officials on Syria.

A statement from the Speaker’s office Saturday said Pelosi and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) arrived in the country to meet with King Abdullah II and other officials.

Thornberry, who is not seeking reelection, is the only Republican to join Pelosi. He is a ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

“This evening, our bipartisan delegation was honored to meet with His Majesty King Abdullah II, Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, Prince Feisal bin Al Hussein, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and senior Jordanian officials,” Pelosi said in a statement.

She said that they “expressed our continued appreciation for the strategic partnership between the U.S. and Jordan and engaged in a constructive dialogue on regional stability, counterterrorism, security cooperation, Middle East peace, economic development and other shared challenges.”

Turkish soldiers and Turkey-backed Syrian fighters gather on the northern outskirts of the Syrian city of Manbij near the Turkish border on Oct. 14, 2019. (Zein Al Rifai/AFP via Getty Images)

She then noted that the delegation is visiting Jordan amid the crisis in Syria and Turkey’s incursion.

“Our delegation has engaged in vital discussions about the impact to regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia,” Pelosi said.

She also thanked American service members for serving as part of a U.S. Marine detachment.

Jordan is located directly south of Syria, and the two countries share a 233-mile border.

On Friday, President Donald Trump hailed a ceasefire that was brokered between Turkey and Kurdish forces in the region.

Syrian government forces raise a national flag and an image of President Bashar al-Assad at Tabqa air base in norther Syria’s Raqa region on Oct.16, 2019. Assad’s troops have returned to key northern areas for the first time in years in a deal with the Kurds, seeking protection after President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of American forces. (AFP via Getty Images)

“We’ve had tremendous success I think over the last couple of days,” Trump said on Friday, reported The Associated Press, adding that “we’ve taken control of the oil in the Middle East.”

At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said U.S. troops are continuing their withdrawal from northern Syria. He also said no U.S. ground troops will participate in enforcing or monitoring the cease-fire. “The force protection of our service members remains our top priority and, as always, U.S. forces will defend themselves from any threat as we complete our withdrawal from the area,” Esper told reporters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Pelosi, Other US Lawmakers in Jordan for Meetings on Syria

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