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Former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski – a current board member for Ukrainian gas company Burisma, admitted to AP that Hunter Biden was picked to sit on the company’s board because of his name, and that’s ‘just how the world works.’

Still, he insists that the younger Biden never leveraged his relationship with his father to further the company’s interests – such as the time Joe threatened to withhold $1 billion in US aid unless Ukraine’s top prosecutor, who was investigating Burisma, was fired.

“I understand that if someone asks me to be part of some project it’s not only because I’m so good, it’s also because I am Kwasniewski and I am a former president of Poland. … Being Biden is not bad. It’s a good name,” he said.

Hunter and his ‘good name’ was recently revealed to have fathered a child out of wedlock with an Arkansas stripper – notably from a different strip club than he’s accused of smoking crack in, neither of which were the club where he allegedly had someone run out to get a dildo “so the gals could use it” on him, according to Page Six.

Then there was the time Hunter returned a Hertz rental car to an Arizona with a crack pipe, and the number of a local colon hydrotherapist called the next day to let the rental agency know the keys were in the gas cap.

Great name indeed!

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: “That’s How Business Works”: Burisma Board Member Admits Hunter Biden Was Picked “Because Of His Name

House Democrats have released the latest in the series of heavily-redacted transcripts of the secret hearings they had undertaken in recent weeks – that of Bill Taylor – the top US diplomat in Ukraine – ahead of his public testimony next week.

As The Hill notes, Taylor is viewed as a key witness who previously testified in meticulous detail about what he considered an effort by Trump and his allies to pressure Ukraine into opening investigations that would benefit Trump politically.

In leaked copies of his 15-page opening statement, Taylor voiced concerns that the Trump administration had withheld nearly $400 million in aid as leverage to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open investigations into interference in the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden, one of his leading 2020 political rivals.

Key excerpts include:

Republican counsel Steve Castor asked Taylor whether he knew the individual who is rumored to be the whistleblower, dropping his name:

Isn’t that a good reason to hold up aid to ensure that it is not corruptly flowing to the wrong entities?

Taylor also testified that his knowledge of the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelensky wasn’t first-hand knowledge.

“And this isn’t firsthand. It’s not secondhand. It’s not thirdhand,” Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., said to Taylor. “But if I understand this correctly, you’re telling us that Tim Morrison told you that Ambassador Sondland told him that the president told Ambassador Sondland that Zelensky would have to open an investigation into Biden?”

“That’s correct,” Taylor admitted.

“So do you have any other source that the president’s goal in making this request was anything other than The New York Times?” Zeldin asked.

“I have not talked to the president,” Taylor said. “I have no other information from what the president was thinking.”

Additionally, as The Federalist notes, under questioning from Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, Taylor also testified that the Ukrainian government wasn’t aware U.S. military funding had been temporarily suspended until late August, and then only after the information was leaked to the news media, meaning an alleged quid pro quo would have been impossible.

“So, if nobody in the Ukrainian government is aware of a military hold at the time of the Trump-Zelensky call, then, as a matter of law and as a matter of fact, there can be no quid pro quo, based on military aid,” Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor, said.

“I just want to be real clear that, again, as of July 25th, you have no knowledge of a quid pro quo involving military aid.”

“July 25th is a week after the hold was put on the security assistance,” Taylor testified. “And July 25th, they had a conversation between the two presidents, where it was not discussed.”

“And to your knowledge, nobody in the Ukrainian government was aware of the hold?” Ratcliffe asked.

“That is correct,” Taylor responded.

The Democrats may need a better witness.

trans 1 by Zerohedge on Scribd

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: Democrats’ ‘Star Witness’ Admits He Wasn’t On Trump-Ukraine Call, Sole Source Was NY Times

In what we are sure will be “hair-on-fire” screamed about as ‘tyrannical-book-burning’, President Trump has reportedly planning to instruct federal agencies to not renew their subscriptions to the New York Times and the Washington Post.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in an email Thursday:

“Not renewing subscriptions across all federal agencies will be a significant cost saving – hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars will be saved.”

The decision comes days after the president cancelled the White House’s print subscriptions to the Post and the Times after expressing frustration with their coverage.

“We don’t even want it in the White House anymore,” Mr. Trump said of the Times during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity that aired Monday night.

“We’re going to probably terminate that and the Washington Post. They’re fake.”

Additionally, The Journal reports that a White House official confirmed that print editions of the Times and the Post weren’t among the newspapers delivered to the White House on Thursday.

And while liberals use “fact checkers” to force advertisers to boycott “right wing” websites/newspapers, President Trump’s response is even cleaner: “your subscription has been terminated.”

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: Trump Cancels All Admins’ NYT, WaPo Subs: “Will Save 100s Of 1000s Of Taxpayer Dollars”

Twitter has announced new rules governing how they will now treat world leaders’ accounts, making clear that certain content will result in “enforcement action,” according to a Tuesday press release.

“There continues to be meaningful public conversation about how we think about Tweets from world leaders on our service. We welcome the conversation and want to share more context on our principles and process for reviewing reported Tweets from these accounts,” reads the statement.

When it comes to the actions of world leaders on Twitter, we recognize that this is largely new ground and unprecedented. We understand the desire for our decisions to be “yes/no” binaries, but it’s not that simple. The actions we take and policies we develop will set precedent around online speech and we owe it to the people we serve to be deliberate and considered in what we do.

Our mission is to provide a forum that enables people to be informed and to engage their leaders directly. We also have a responsibility to the people who use Twitter to better explain why we make the decisions we make, which we will do here. -Twitter

That said, world leaders are still to be afforded far greater leeway than the general population, as they state ” the accounts of world leaders are not above our policies entirely.”

For example, the following areas “will result in enforcement action for any account on our service” regardless of who it is:

  • Promotion of terrorism;
  • Clear and direct threats of violence against an individual (context matters: as noted above, direct interactions with fellow public figures and/or commentary on political and foreign policy issues would likely not result in enforcement);
  • Posting private information, such as a home address or non-public personal phone number;
  • Posting or sharing intimate photos or videos of someone that were produced or distributed without their consent;
  • Engaging in behaviors relating to child sexual exploitation; and
  • Encouraging or promoting self-harm.

Twitter says that in other cases involving world leaders, they will err on the side of leaving content up if there is a “clear public interest in doing so.

More:

“With critical elections and shifting political dynamics around the world, we recognize that we’re operating in an increasingly complex and polarized political culture. These are constantly evolving challenges and we’ll keep our policies and approach under advisement, particularly as we learn more about the relationship between Tweets from world leaders and the potential for offline harm.

This post seeks to provide clear insight into how we address content from world leaders on Twitter today, and will serve as our statement on the decisions we make, rather than our teams providing feedback on individual Tweets and decisions. We’ve also updated our dedicated Help Center page to provide a significantly more detailed breakdown of how we make decisions regarding the use of the public interest notice.

Our goal is to enforce our rules judiciously and impartially. In doing so, we aim to provide direct insight into our enforcement decision-making, to serve public conversation, and protect the public’s right to hear from their leaders and to hold them to account.”

So just how long will it be before Twitter is strong-armed by Schiff et al. into leveraging these new rules to ban one of their most-followed users?

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: Twitter Paves Way For Trump Ban With New Content Rules For World Leaders

With international oil prices soaring following this weekend’s attack in Saudi Arabia, which has indefinitely crippled as much as half of its oil-production capacity, President Trump sent a tweet Monday morning to try and reassure markets that the US is now energy independent and doesn’t need crude from the Middle East in what looks like an attempt to send prices lower.

“Because we have done so well with Energy over the last few years (thank you, Mr. President!), we are a net Energy Exporter, & now the Number One Energy Producer in the World. We don’t need Middle Eastern Oil & Gas, & in fact have very few tankers there, but will help our Allies!

The takeaway from the tweet is that Trump’s threatening posture toward Iran, which Washington has blamed from the attack, is simply an example of the US standing up for Saudi Arabia since its a critical regional ally. The US’s energy supplies are not being threatened.

Though this isn’t the first time that the president has used Twitter to try drive US oil prices lower, it’s important to remember that Trump has a point about his policies helping to bolster the US energy industry. Democrats, particularly those who have embraced AOC’s ‘Green New Deal’ are much more hostile to the US energy industry. Among the candidates seeking the 2020 nomination, Elizabeth Warren has promised to shut down US shale drilling on her first day as president, something that would irreparably damage the US energy industry and kill any hopes of continued energy independence.

We wonder: Will she reevaluate that promise now?

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: Trump Praises US Energy Independence After Saudi Attack: “We Don’t Need Middle Eastern Oil”

Just 18 years after the terrible events of September 11, 2001, The FBI has agreed to provide a key piece of new information about alleged official Saudi involvement following intense efforts by the victims families.

While the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, remains at Guantamo Bay (trial date set for January 2021!), he opened the door in July to helping victims of the attacks in their lawsuit against Saudi Arabia if the U.S. government spares him the death penalty.

And, as The Wall Street Journal reports, victims’ families have urged the government to make more information public, telling President Trump in a letter recently that it would help them “finally learn the full truth and obtain justice from Saudi Arabia.”

The families had sought an unredacted copy of a four-page 2012 summary of an FBI inquiry into three people who may have assisted two of the hijackers in California in finding housing, obtaining driver’s licenses and other matters.

Two of the people, Fahad al-Thumairy and Omar al-Bayoumi, were linked to the Saudi government, according to FBI and congressional documents. The third person, whose name is redacted, is described in the summary as having tasked the other two with assisting the hijackers.

As a reminder, most of the attackers were from Saudi Arabia; Riyadh has denied complicity in the attacks.

In an odd admission, that appears to suggest they are withholding even more evidence, The FBI, citing the “exceptional nature of the case” said it would provide the name of one Saudi official the families’ had most wanted, but wouldn’t release any other information they sought.

Of course, this decision puts President Trump back in an awkward position of maintaining ties with his petrodollar partners who are buying all those arms while being forced to face realities about the Saudis’ behaviors.

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: FBI Finally Agrees To Name Saudi Official Who Helped 9/11 Attackers

Last night, we reported that President Trump had decided to delay a 5% increase in tariffs on Chinese goods by two weeks, supposedly out of respect for Beijing and its celebration of 70 years of Communist Party rule on Oct. 1. Trump’s decision came less than a day after China waived 25% tariffs on 16 types of US goods to try and “sweeten” the deal ahead of trade talks next month.

Now, in the latest tit-for-tat deescalation of trade tensions, Bloomberg reports that Beijing is considering whether to permit imports of American agricultural products including soybeans and pork, a move that would further alleviate trade tensions while bolstering support for Trump in the midwestern farm states that comprise a sizable chunk of his base. Foodstuffs and farm products were notably not included in the 16 goods exempted from tariffs earlier this week. According to the Ministry of Commerce, Chinese companies have started asking about prices for US soybeans and pork, a sign that they could restart imports in the near future.

Reopening the door to US soybean imports would come at a critical time for Beijing, which this week announced that it would start allowing imports of soy meal from Argentina to offset the drop in US raw soybeans. China halted imports of US farm products in August as trade talks broke down and President Trump ordered more tariffs on Chinese goods.

As fallout from the trade war hits the US and Chinese economies, pressure for a deal is rising.

Chinese officials welcomed Trump’s decision to postpone US tariffs, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said at a press briefing on Thursday. Gao noted that mid-level teams of trade negotiators will soon meet to prepare for higher level talks.

China has been struggling with a weak yuan, factory-price deflation and falling exports. Meanwhile, in the US, factory activity unexpectedly contracted in August for the first time in three years, highlighting the impact of slowing global growth and the trade war.

“Trump’s goodwill gesture suggests that the trade war is starting to bite and the US may be more eager to close a deal,” said Chua Hak Bin, an economist at Maybank Kim Eng Research Pte. in Singapore. “The clock is ticking and Trump’s approval ratings are sliding, with manufacturing now in recession.”

Still, despite the latest round of goodwill gestures, the two sides remain far apart on fundamental issues: Beijing insists that the US must drop all trade war tariffs as part of any deal, while Washington is demanding concessions on IP and state subsidies that Beijing has so far refused.

WSJ reported Thursday morning that Beijing is hoping to narrow the scope of negotiations with the US to only focus on trade matters, and put thorny national security issues on a separate track. Senior Chinese officials hope this approach will offer a path out of the current impasse, before a team of mid-level Chinese officials heads to Washington next week to prepare for the next round of high-level talks.

Will these ‘goodwill’ gestures lead to a breakthrough toward a deal? Or will they prove to be the latest in a series of false starts as the trade war nears the 18th month mark?

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zerohedge: Beijing Considers Re-Authorizing Imports Of US Agricultural Products In Latest ‘Goodwill’ Gesture

President Trump on Friday said that his administration would begin rounding up illegal immigrants for mass deportation “fairly soon,” after the operation was postponed last month due to someone leaking the date.

“I don’t call them raids. I say they came in illegally and we’re bringing them out legally. They’ll be starting fairly soon. We’re removing people that have come in, all of these people over the years that have come in illegally, we are removing them and bringing them back to their country,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last month said operations would target recently-arrived undocumented migrants in a bid to discourage a surge of Central American families at the southwest border.

ICE said in a statement its focus was arresting people with criminal histories but any immigrant found in violation of U.S. laws was subject to arrest.Reuters

The new sweep comes after migrant apprehensions on the southwest border hit a 13-year high in May, only to dramatically drop in June after Mexico deployed their National Guard stem the flow of mostly Central American migrants into the United States.

According to documents published this week by migrant rights groups, ICE has previously made more so-called “collateral” arrests of non-criminal migrants (aside from residency) than the criminals they were targeting. The rights groups say that the US government’s ‘generalized threat’ against illegals is harmful to the US economy, as it forces adults to miss work and children to skip school if they feel they may be at risk of arrest.

We have to be ready, not just when Trump announces it, because there are arrests every day,” said New Mexico migrant rights organizer Elsa Lopez, who works for Somos Un Pueblo Unido. The organization helps migrants enter the United States; advising them on their civil rights, and connecting them to a phone network that will send alerts if ICE agents are in their neighborhood.

A rising number of migrants are coming from outside Central America, including India, Cuba and African countries. The Del Rio, Texas, Border Patrol sector on Friday reported the arrest of over 1,000 Haitians since June 10. –Reuters

Between the Mexican national guard and the looming threat of being tossed in a detention facility while awaiting deportation, we wonder how many migrants have recently decided against the already-dangerous trek into the United States?

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: Trump: Immigration Raids Coming ‘Fairly Soon’

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