Kevin Sheekey, who has been at high-level positions within Bloomberg’s business empire for years, said the current political situation favors Trump.
“I think Trump is a complicated individual. He has high personal negative. The economy is doing well. When you look at the presidential campaign, we don’t have a national campaign. We have a campaign that happens in six states,” Sheekey said on Nov. 27 on CNN’s “Amanpour.”
“It happens in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Arizona today. And The New York Times polled earlier this month—we’ve polled it ourselves—if that election occurred today, Donald Trump has a pretty clear shot, according to The New York Times, of winning all six states. He only needs to win three or four. If he had an election and it was in those states today, he would win.”
Host Christiane Amanpour asked, “Even with the impeachment process?”
“Yeah. I think I worry a lot that we’re setting ourselves up here to impeachment, acquittal, and reelection. We’re all outraged by what is going on. Anyone who looks at those things, you should be outraged by what the president has done. Except it’s not helping in the places where this election will ultimately be decided,” Sheekey said.
“There are about 31 congressional districts in this country that are swing districts. Mike Bloomberg spent an enormous amount of money and time and his own leadership to focus on 24 of those races last year, all Republican. We elected 18 democrats, 15 women. If you’re in one of those districts today and you’re a moderate member of Congress, almost all of them would tell you today these impeachment hearings are threatening their reelection. If you think about that, those are the districts to where we tilt the presidential election. So by definition, it means the impeachment proceedings are making the president’s reelection more likely, not less likely.”
“That’s the whole general election. And right now Donald Trump is winning, he is winning that election. It’s very tough for people who don’t live in New York or California to understand that, but that is what’s happening,” Sheekey said, adding that Bloomberg “thinks he’s on a path to victory and he’s getting in to alter that dynamic.”
The confirmation of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominee Barbara Lagoa on Nov. 20 flipped another court to a GOP-appointed majority as Republicans continue what some hail as the president’s most impactful push continues.
With Republicans holding the majority in the Senate throughout Trump’s term, a raft of the president’s judicial nominees have been approved. The 11th Circuit Court is the third that has flipped during Trump’s term, following the 2nd and 3rd Circuits.
Trump nominees hold five of the 12 seats on the 11th Circuit, with two additional Republican-appointed judges on the court. Robert Luck, another Trump appointee, was confirmed to the court on Tuesday in a 64-31 vote.
The Senate confirmed Lagoa 80-15 on Wednesday. Both Lagoa and Luck were justices on the Florida Supreme Court.
There are now seven appeals courts with a majority of Republican-nominated judges out of 13 such circuit courts in the nation.
“This is a major achievement for his presidency,” said Carrie Severino, who runs the Judicial Crisis Network. “This success—along with the record number of federal appellate judges President Trump has appointed to date—is a testament to the tangible impact the president has had in reshaping the federal judiciary with constitutionalist judges who are committed to the rule of law.”
According to a tracker kept by the Heritage Foundation, Trump had made 162 judicial appointments by Nov. 14 of his third year, more than any of the five presidents preceding him.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told attendees at a gala last week that Republicans would flip the 11th Circuit soon, telling them his motto is “leave no vacancy behind,” a riff on President George W. Bush’s “no child left behind” policy.
McConnell and Trump have repeatedly championed the judges who have been confirmed since Trump was elected. Some voters in 2016 went for Trump in large part because of the Supreme Court vacancy at the time, worried about the effect that a Hillary Clinton nominee would have, according to “The Great Revolt.”
“I’m very pleased that the Senate has confirmed 150 federal judges thus far in President Trump’s first term,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a statement in September after the 150th judge nominated by Trump was confirmed. “This is a historic milestone. These conservative judicial appointments will impact our nation for years to come.”
“As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will continue to push through highly qualified conservative judges at all levels of the federal courts,” said Graham.
“The fact that there was no bodily injury or harm does not make this crime count any less,” Cannon added. Lawmakers should be able to serve without fear being assaulted, she said.
“Physical assault has no place in our political discourse,” Gaetz said in a statement. “I am grateful that law enforcement and our judicial system recognized this principle today.”
In a statement submitted in court, Gaetz said, “Constituents deserve to be safe at events hosted by our congressional office. My staff deserves to be safe. Their families and mine shouldn’t have to worry that while federal officials are doing their jobs, we are at risk of assault.”
According to the Daily Caller, Kondrat’yev is a member of the far-left, violent Antifa group.
Kondrat’yev didn’t speak to reporters after she heard her sentence. Her lawyer Eric Stevenson tried deflecting from what she did by bringing up when Gaetz was arrested in 2008 for driving under the influence—the charges were later dropped—and when Gaetz recently led a group of lawmakers to a secure room in Congress to interrupt a closed-door impeachment hearing.
“For him to talk about a violent crime, it’s not as violent as a potential DUI is to drivers on the road,” Stevenson said, reported the News Journal.
“It’s not as much of a threat to our national security as storming a security hearing with a cell phone in a room that doesn’t allow cell phones. It doesn’t jeopardize our rule of law as much as intimidating witnesses, and it’s not as severe as threatening to unleash violent supporters if you don’t get what you want.
While police officers didn’t see Kondrat’yev hurl the drink, multiple witnesses said they saw her throw it and one reportedly captured it on video.
According to a police report obtained by the News Journal, Kondrat’yev was arrested trying to flee. She was holding a sign that read “Gaetz—wipe off the blood from your hands, A+ rating—NRA, save our kids vote Gaetz out in 2020.”
Referring to the change in the plea, Stevenson said in August: “She wanted to accept responsibility. She’s never been arrested before, she’s no threat to the public. This was a pretty (minimal) incident. Nobody was injured or in danger of being injured.”
A California man who helped raise money for Barack Obama’s campaign and served as co-chair of the Obama for America national finance committee for nearly a decade agreed to plead guilty to being a foreign agent and making illegal contributions.
Federal prosecutors charged Imaad Shah Zuberi, 49, with falsifying records to conceal his work as a foreign agent while lobbying high-level U.S. government officials, the Department of Justice said on Oct. 22. He was charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
Zuberi earned millions of dollars through his lobbying, mostly from stealing from his clients, prosecutors said, and was charged with tax evasion and making illegal campaign contributions funneled from foreign entities and individuals totaling almost $1 million.
Once Zuberi pleads guilty to three counts on Oct. 30, he faces up to 15 years in federal prison.
“This case should deter individuals who seek to provide false statements to the Department and covertly influence our political process on behalf of foreign governments,” Assistant Attorney General of National Security John Demers said in a statement.
“Through misrepresentations in his FARA filing, Mr. Zuberi attempted to deceive our elected officials and the American public on behalf of Sri Lanka. The Department of Justice treats these crimes with the gravity that they deserve and will continue to aggressively identify, investigate and prosecute FARA violations.”
“Mr. Zuberi’s multi-faceted scheme allowed him to line his pockets by concealing the fact that he was representing foreign clients, obtaining access for clients by making a long series of illegal contributions, and skimming money paid by his clients,” added U. S. Attorney Nick Hanna. “Mr. Zuberi circumvented laws designed to insulate U.S. policy and our election process from foreign intervention. This investigation has halted his illegal conduct, will result in several felony convictions, and could send him to prison for a lengthy period of time.”
Officials said Zuberi operated a venture capital firm called Avenue Ventures and told foreigners that he could use his influence in Washington to change U.S. foreign policy and create business opportunities. Clients gave Zuberi money for consulting fees, to make investments, or to fund campaign contributions.
While some U.S. officials were willing to take action on issues Zuberi put forward, most of Zuberi’s business efforts were unsuccessful and his clients suffered significant losses. Many of the lobbyists, public relations consultants, and other subcontractors also suffered losses when Zuberi refused to pay them, according to prosecutors.
The illegal activity took place from 2012 to 2015, according to the charging documents. Officials said Zuberi used photographs of himself posing with top lawmakers to promote his scheme.
According to Foreign Policy, Zuberi met with top Democrats including President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Zuberi delivered more than $685,000 in contributions to Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and helped Clinton raise more than $100,000 in less than three months for her 2016 bid.
According to campaign finance records, Zuberi began donating to candidates in 2004, giving $1,000 to John Kerry’s campaign. In 2008, he donated $4,600 to Obama’s 2008 campaign as well as $2,300 to Kery’s campaign and $2,500 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
He donated tens of thousands of dollars in 2012, including $10,000 to DNC Services Corp. and $2,500 or $5,000 to an array of Democratic candidates, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and Rep. Bob Casey (D-Penn.).
The bulk of Zuberi’s donations have been to Democrats but he has donated to some Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).
Zuberi also donated $90,000 to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee. The allegations against Zuberi did not involve his ties to Trump.
The Senate didn’t get enough votes to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a resolution that, if it had gone through, would have ended the emergency declaration that included an order to use national security funds to build the wall at the southern border.
The vote on Thursday was 53-36.
Ten Republicans sided with Democrats in voting to try to override the veto: Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
“Today I am vetoing this resolution. Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it,” Trump said, calling the congressional resolution “reckless” and “dangerous.”
He said the flood of illegal immigrants amounted to an “invasion,” adding that there is “nowhere left to hold all of the people that we’re capturing.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who opposed the resolution, said he believed Trump was “operating within existing law” and that if senators did not like the powers provided to the president under the National Emergencies Act, “then they should amend it.”
The House tried and failed to override Trump’s veto of H.J. Res. 46 about two weeks later. The vote was 248-181.
Eleven Republicans voted with Democrats. Ten were the same as this week. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) also voted for the resolution in that case.
The resolution was introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.).
“Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, pursuant to section 202 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622), the national emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15, 2019, in Proclamation 9844 (84 Fed. Reg. 4949) is hereby terminated,” it stated.
Trump vetoed the Senate resolution this week, saying his reasons for doing so remained the same for doing so with the House resolution.
“Proclamation 9844 has helped the Federal Government address the national emergency on our southern border. It has empowered my Administration’s Government-wide strategy to counter large-scale unlawful migration and to respond to corresponding humanitarian challenges through focused application of every Constitutional and statutory authority at our disposal. It has also facilitated the military’s ongoing construction of virtually insurmountable physical barriers along hundreds of miles of our southern border,” he said in a message explaining the veto.
“The southern border, however, continues to be a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics to come into our country. As explained in Proclamation 9844, in my veto message regarding H.J. Res. 46, and in congressional testimony from multiple Administration officials, the ongoing crisis at the southern border threatens core national security interests. In addition, security challenges at the southern border exacerbate an ongoing humanitarian crisis that threatens the well-being of vulnerable populations, including women and children,” he continued.
“In short, the situation on our southern border remains a national emergency, and our Armed Forces are still needed to help confront it.”
CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Fox News, the Washington Post, and ABC are among the media outlets that cut out crucial parts of the transcript of the call between President Donald Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky. See the full transcript of the call here.
CNN twice on Sept. 25 following the release of the transcript cut out 540 words between one sentence in the transcript and another without noting that anything was between the two sentences.
The deceptive edit started with a line from Trump: “I would like you to do us a favor.” CNN then immediately placed another line—”There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.”
There were no ellipses or any commentary noting the two sentences were not even in the same paragraph in the transcript.
After asking Zelensky for a favor, Trump in the call said: “I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike…”
At NPR, which is publicly funded, ellipses were placed between the sentence “I would like you to find out about what happened with this whole situation in Ukraine” and “there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son” and the rest of the aforementioned sentence.
The ellipses represented 526 words.
Fox News’ Shep Smith flashed “I would like you to do us a favor though” before saying Trump urged Zelensky to work with Attorney General William Barr and Trump’s lawyer Rudy Guliani to investigate Biden, failing to mention Crowdstrike.
The Washington Post, which was accused of running a false story on Wednesday, also cut out the crucial parts of the transcript on the front page of its paper, going from the “favor” sentence to the “Biden” sentence and omitting the Crowdstrike reference.
Other stories about the transcript were revised after the fact. ABC revised a story that initially claimed Trump urged Zelensky eight times to investigate Biden. The story is now about the eight times “Trump urged Ukraine’s leader to help with investigations.” No correction or editor’s note has been appended.
The "favor"? Help with DOJ's probe of 2016 election meddling by Ukraine. Neither of these headlines accurately describe that. A *great* example of the corruption of our political media, which is now running and fueling the impeachment effort against its most hated political foe. https://t.co/OorlHfVulK
Mollie Hemingway, a senior editor at The Federalist and a frequent media critic, was among those wondering about all the outlets removing the references to Crowdstrike.
“The ‘favor’? Help with DOJ’s probe of 2016 election meddling by Ukraine,” she said, sharing pictures of front pages of the Post and the New York Times.
“Neither of these headlines accurately describe that. A *great* example of the corruption of our political media, which is now running and fueling the impeachment effort against its most hated political foe.”
Former Texas representative and current Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke told people watching the debate on Thursday, Sept. 12: “Hell yes! we’re gonna take your AR-15, your AK-47.”
O’Rourke has endorsed confiscating guns, though he claimed this week that such a plan would not require police officers going “door to door.”
Pressed on how he’d enforce the plan if it were passed, he replied, “How do you—how do we enforce any law? There’s a significant reliance on people complying with the law. You know that a law is not created in a vacuum.”
O’Rourke’s declaration on Thursday clashed with his own words from last year when he said during an appearance on KFYO: “If you purchased that AR-15 if you own it, keep it. Continue to use it responsibly.”
At the debate, O’Rourke was answering a question on whether he’d force Americans to give up their guns.
“I am if it’s a weapon that was designed to kill people on the battlefield. If the high-impact, high-velocity round, when it hits your body shreds everything inside of your body—because it was designed to do that—so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield. And not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers,” he said.
He recalled the mother of a 15-year-old girl he met in Odessa, Texas, after the mass shooting there. The girl was shot by a man wielding an AR-15.
“That mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa and Midland, there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time,” he said.
That’s when he said the “hell yes” phrase, adding, “We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
Some media outlets, reporters, and analysts have derided Trump for warning Alabama residents that they could see effects from the hurricane, but forecasts from before Dorian’s path shifted, including multiple forecasts and maps from the National Hurricane Center, showed that it was at one point poised to impact the state.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in a new statement that a number of advisories backed up Trump’s claim.
“From Wednesday, Aug. 28, through Monday, Sept. 2, the information provided by NOAA and the National Hurricane Center to President Trump and the wider public demonstrated that tropical storm-force winds from Hurricane Dorian could impact Alabama. This is clearly demonstrated in Hurricane Advisories #15 through #41, which can be viewed at the following link,” the agency said in a statement on Sept. 6.
“The Birmingham National Weather Service’s Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”
The tweet in question came after Trump wrote over the weekend that Alabamans should be on the watch for Dorian.
“Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east,” the Birmingham office of the National Weather Service wrote in the tweet.
In another missive, he wrote: “The Fake News Media was fixated on the fact that I properly said, at the beginnings of Hurricane Dorian, that in addition to Florida & other states, Alabama may also be grazed or hit. They went Crazy, hoping against hope that I made a mistake (which I didn’t). Check out maps,” he wrote.
“This nonsense has never happened to another President. Four days of corrupt reporting, still without an apology. But there are many things that the Fake News Media has not apologized to me for, like the Witch Hunt, or SpyGate! The LameStream Media and their Democrat partner should start playing it straight. It would be so much better for our Country!”
The Fake News Media was fixated on the fact that I properly said, at the beginnings of Hurricane Dorian, that in addition to Florida & other states, Alabama may also be grazed or hit. They went Crazy, hoping against hope that I made a mistake (which I didn’t). Check out maps…..
….This nonsense has never happened to another President. Four days of corrupt reporting, still without an apology. But there are many things that the Fake News Media has not apologized to me for, like the Witch Hunt, or SpyGate! The LameStream Media and their Democrat…..
Rear Adm. Peter Brown, a Homeland Security and counterterrorism advisor, said in a statement on Sept. 5 that he personally briefed the president multiple times on the position, forecast, risks, and government response to Hurricane Dorian using various models that predicted the potential path of the eye of the storm.
“The president and I also reviewed other products including multiple meteorological models (often called the “spaghetti models”) and graphics that displayed the time of onset and geographical range of tropical storm-force winds, storm surge, and rainfall. These products showed possible storm impacts well outside the official forecast cone,” Brown said.
“While speaking to the press on Sunday, Sept. 1, the president addressed Hurricane Dorian and its potential impact on multiple states, including Alabama,” he continued.
“The president’s comments were based on that morning’s Hurricane Dorian briefing, which included the possibility of tropical storm-force winds in southeastern Alabama. In fact, from the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 27, until the morning of Monday, Sept. 2, forecasts from the National Hurricane Center showed the possibility of tropical storm-force winds hitting parts of Alabama.”
New York City Mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential contender Bill de Blasio said that he would ban semi-automatic rifles if he were elected president, but that his bodyguards could keep their rifles.
De Blasio, who said this week he’d end his longshot bid unless he qualifies for the October debates, said during an appearance on Fox News that he’s not sure how he’d enact the ban.
“You have said that you’re for mandatory buybacks of semi-automatic rifles,” Tucker Carlson, the Fox host, said to de Blasio on Sept. 5. “There are tens of millions of these rifles in circulation now, and presumably some large number of people won’t feel like selling them to the government. What do you do with those people?”
“We’ve got to end the availability of assault weapons in this country, so I think if there was a ban on assault weapons and there was a buyback program, the vast majority of people, I think, would do the smart thing and they would sell them back,” de Blasio responded. “I don’t have a specific answer for you, but I think it’s a good question.”
Carlson said that a federal ban, which many believe would lead to forced seizures of weapons, could lead to violence from those who refused to give over their guns. He asked de Blasio how he would enforce the ban among those who didn’t want to hand over the firearms.
“I’m being honest with you, I think anyone in public life should say, you know, when we think we have an answer or whether it’s something we still have to work out,” de Blasio said. “What I know is this: we cannot have assault weapons in our society—we’ve seen the devastating impact, they need to be banned. And that means by definition you don’t leave millions and millions of them out there.”
“The buyback’s the obvious approach,” he added. “How we deal with someone who doesn’t want to participate in the buyback, that’s something we have to resolve going forward.”
De Blasio said such a ban would not violate the Second Amendment, in his opinion.
Carlson then asked if de Blasio’s security detail would be allowed to carry semi-automatic rifles. De Blasio said they wouldn’t be subject to the hypothetical ban.
“They’re sworn law enforcement officers. Sworn law enforcement officers who are here to protect all of us,” he said about the bodyguards. “Someone who serves in public service for a limited period of time, and in the society that we’re living in, and I hate to say it, but public servants are vulnerable to violence in a different way. Our law enforcement officers are there to protect all of us.”
Other 2020 Contenders Propose Bans
Other 2020 candidates have proposed gun bans and confiscation.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said that she was willing to send police officers to people’s homes to confiscate firearms banned through so-called red flag laws or other avenues.
“When I was attorney general [of California], and we put resources into allowing law enforcement to actually knock on the doors of people who were on two lists—a list where they had been found by a court to be a danger to themselves and others,” she told the Washington Examiner.
“They were on a list where they were precluded and prohibited from owning a gun because of a conviction that prohibited that ownership. Those lists were combined and then we sent law enforcement out to take those guns, because, listen, we have to deal with this on all levels, but we have to do this with a sense of urgency.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden said during an appearance on CNN last month that, if he were elected, he would push for a “national buyback programs” to get assault weapons “off the street.” He didn’t specify what he meant by assault weapons.
Biden was asked by host Anderson Cooper about people worrying Biden would be coming for their guns.
“Bingo! You’re right, if you have an assault weapon,” Biden responded, before adding: “The fact of the matter is [assault weapons] should be illegal. Period. The Second Amendment doesn’t say you can’t restrict the kinds of weapons people can own. You can’t buy a bazooka. You can’t have a flame-thrower.”
He said that the program would not involve sending law enforcement to people’s homes. “That’s not walking into their home, knocking on their doors, going through their gun cabinets, et cetera,” he said. He later said that magazines that can hold more than one bullet should be banned.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said earlier this year assault weapons should be banned and the government should buy back such weapons from gun owners. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has voted in favor of a nationwide ban of such weapons, as well as a ban on high-capacity magazines and for expanded background checks.
Former Texas Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke endorsed an Australian-style program that would require people to sell their guns to the government.
“I’m open to them right now as a candidate—absolutely has to be part of the conversation,” O’Rourke said in a podcast interview, reported The Federalist.
At the end of the day, if it’s going to save lives, if it’s going to prevent the kind of tragedies that we saw in El Paso, or Gilroy, or Dayton, or this weekend in Chicago, or all over this country on a daily basis, then let’s move forward and do it.”
Australia confiscated about 650,000 guns during the mandatory buyback program in the 1990s after a mass shooting there.
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg wrote in an action plan that he would “ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said in her own action plan that she would push for a federal assault weapons ban, ban high-capacity magazines, and prohibit some gun accessories. She would also prohibit people with restraining orders, who have been convicted of a hate crime, or who have been convicted of stalking from owning a gun.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the United States should “bow down before the Iranian people” in a speech this week.
Rouhani also indicated that he would not meet with President Donald Trump unless there was “repentance” on the part of the United States.
“Those who have imposed sanctions on our people, and have carried out economic terrorism—any change in our conduct toward them must start with their repentance,” Rouhani said on Aug. 27, according to a translation from Arabic from the Middle East Media Research Institute.
“They must return to their obligations, and change the erroneous path they have chosen. They must act in the service of the world’s interests and security, while maintaining respect for the other. They must recognize our revolution, our regime, and the rights of our people, and they must reject their mistakes. With regard to the relations between Iran and America—unless America gives up the sanctions and rejects the erroneous path it has chosen, we will see no positive change.”
Rouhani then seemed to allude to a possible meeting with President Donald Trump.
“If you lift all the sanctions and bow down before the Iranian people, the circumstances will be different. We want to resolve the issues and problems in a reasonable manner, but we are not interested in photo-ops. If someone wants to have his photo taken with Hassan Rouhani—well, that’s impossible. It can be done with Photoshop, but a real photo is impossible, unless one day they lift all their unjust sanctions, and respect the rights of the Iranian people. Then we would be talking about new circumstances, and we could reconsider it.”
Iran has become increasingly isolated under sanctions from the Trump administration, which broke off a nuclear deal reached by former President Barack Obama that the administration said was insufficient. The tension ramped up in June when Iran shot down an American drone, but Trump said he pulled back a military response because of concerns it would have hurt innocent people.
Observers were stunned when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif appeared at the G-7 summit in France over the weekend. Zarif met with French President Emmanuel Macron before continuing to China to meet with officials there.
“I’m looking to have a really good Iran, really strong,” Trump told reporters. at the summit. “We’re not looking for regime change. You’ve seen how that works over the last 20 years. That hasn’t been too good. And we’re looking to make Iran rich again. Let them be rich. Let’s let them do well, if they want, or they can be poor as can be. They can be like they are now.”
“And I’ll tell you what: I don’t think it’s acceptable, the way they’re being forced to live in Iran. And what we want … it’s got to be non-nuclear. It’s got to be non-nuclear.”
He then indicated that he might meet with top Iranian officials soon.
“It’s soon going to be time to meet with Iran, and it’s going to be a great thing for Iran. They have great potential,” Trump later said.
“Iran has a chance to really build themselves up and be a very great nation—greater than before. But they have to stop terrorism. That is your number one nation of terror. Now, not in the last year and a half, two years, because they can’t spend like they used to spend. They took President Obama’s $150 billion and they doled it out to terrorists all over the place. I think they’re going to change. I really do. I believe they have a chance to be a very special nation. I hope that’s true.”