Bob Woodward:People Better Wake Up to What's Going On With Trump

Washington, Sep 9 (Prensa Latina) Watergate journalist Bob Woodward made headlines once again this past week, with his new book about the Trump White House, entitled ''Fear.'' This morning, in his first TV interview, Woodward paints a picture of an administration in disarray: 'You look at the operation of this White House and you have to say, 'Let's hope to God we don't have a crisis,'' said Bob Woodward.

For the Washington Post reporter, that is the bottom line to all the jaw-dropping chaos and discord described in his new book, 'Fear: Trump in the White House' .

'People who work for him are worried ... that he will sign things or give orders that threaten the national security or the financial security of the country, or of the world,' Woodward said.

Aides like then-Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn and White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter literally stole documents off the president's desk in the Oval Office, such as a letter terminating a trade agreement with South Korea, so that, Woodward explained, Mr. Trump could not sign them: 'Because they realized that this would endanger the country.'

Unelected officials like Cohn and Porter intentionally thwarting the actions of the elected president, the exact reverse of what a White House staff is supposed to do.

Going back to Richard Nixon and Watergate, this is the ninth White House Woodward has covered. 'In the eight others,' he said, 'I never heard of people on the staff in the White House engaging in that kind of extreme action.'

According to Woodward, the president is obsessed by the fact that the U.S. pays $3.5 billion a year to station troops in South Korea as a first line of defense against the North. 'I don't know why they're there,' he said at one meeting. 'Let's bring them all home.' At another meeting, Secretary of Defense James Mattis starkly why the U.S. has 28,000 troops in Korea: 'We're doing this in order to prevent World War III.'

'The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.' - President Trump at the United Nation, Sept. 19, 2017

The standoff with North Korea has been eased, for the moment, by the Singapore Summit, which brought together two leaders who had been trading nuclear threats and schoolyard insults.

The most dangerous moment of the standoff, Woodward says, came when the president went to work on another tweet: 'He drafts a tweet saying 'We are going to pull out dependents from South Korea ... Family members of the 28,000 people there.''

That tweet was never sent, because of a back channel message from North Korea that it would regard a pullout of dependents as a sign the U.S. was preparing to attack. 'At that moment there was a sense of profound alarm in the Pentagon leadership that, 'My God, one tweet and we have reliable information that the North Koreans are going to read this as an attack is imminent,'' Woodward said.

The president surrounded himself with generals - active duty and retired - all of whom had served in Afghanistan. But before he decided on a new Afghan strategy, he insisted on meeting with enlisted men who had served there as well. In a meeting the next day, he lashed out at the generals: 'I don't care about you guys,' he said to Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford, and then-National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. ''The soldiers on the ground could run things much better than you,' he says to Mattis and Dunford, and there is a 25-minute dressing down of the generals and senior officials,' said Woodward.

When he didn't like a trade deal Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had negotiated with China, the president lit into him at a White House meeting: 'It's a terrible deal. We got screwed. ... You're past your prime. You're not a good negotiator anymore. ... you've lost it. I don't trust you.'

When Economic Adviser Gary Cohn was upset over the president's reluctance to condemn white supremacists for the violence in Charlottesville he went into the Oval Office to resign. According to Woodward, 'Trump said, 'You can't resign. I need you to do tax reform. If you leave, this is treason.' And Trump talked him out of resigning.'

Afterwards, Chief of Staff John Kelly, who had been in the room, pulled Cohn aside: 'Cohn wrote this down, quote from General Kelly: 'If that was me I would have taken that resignation letter and shoved it up his *** six different times.''

The president has been bracing for Woodward's book since last month when the two lamented - or at least pretended to lament - that they had not talked.

Last week, when the contents of 'Fear' began to leak ahead of its scheduled publication, the president said it was worse than bad. 'The book is a work of fiction,' Mr. Trump argued. 'If you look back at Woodward's past, he had the same problem with other presidents. He likes to get publicity, sell some books.'

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Trump Cuts US$25 Million Aid For Palestinians in Hospitals

Trump called for a review of U.S. assistance to Palestinians earlier this year to ensure the funds were being spent in accordance with 'national interests.'

U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered that US$25 million earmarked for the care of Palestinians in East Jerusalem hospitals be directed elsewhere as part of a review of aid, a State Department official said on Saturday.

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Trump called for a review of U.S. assistance to the Palestinians earlier this year to ensure that the funds were being spent in accordance with national interests and were providing value to taxpayers.

"As a result of that review, at the direction of the president, we will be redirecting approximately US$25 million originally planned for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network," the State Department official said. "Those funds will go to high-priority projects elsewhere."

The aid cut is the latest in a number of actions by the Trump administration that have alienated the Palestinians, including the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

That move reversed longtime U.S. policy and led Palestinian leadership to boycott Washington peace efforts led by Jared Kushner, Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law.

Last month, the Trump administration said it would redirect US$200 million in Palestinian economic support funds for programs in the West Bank and Gaza.

And at the end of August, the Trump administration halted all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), a decision that further heightened tensions with the Palestinian leadership.

Palestinian refugees have reacted with dismay to the funding cuts, warning they would lead to more poverty, anger and instability in the Middle East.

A statement from the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said the latest aid cut was part of a U.S. attempt "to liquidate the Palestinian cause" and said it would threaten the lives of thousands of Palestinians and the livelihoods of thousands of hospital employees. 

"This dangerous and unjustified American escalation has crossed all red lines and is considered a direct aggression against the Palestinian people," it said.

At the gates of two of the East Jerusalem hospitals affected, medical staff were aware of the decision but refused to comment, Reuters reports.

One of the centers, Al Makassed Islamic Charitable Society Hospital, said in statement the U.S. aid cuts come as the "hospital is going through a suffocating crisis as a result of the lack of flow of financial aid, and the piling up of debts and funds held back by the Palestinian government."

It said it had received US$12.5 million of the U.S. money to treat patients from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. In the statement hospital CEO Dr. Bassam Abu Libdeh "questioned the justification behind mixing political issues with medical and humanitarian issues."

The last round of U.S.-brokered Palestinian-Israeli peace talks collapsed in 2014. 

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Facebook,Twitter and the Freedom of Speech according to Marco Rubio

Two high executives of Facebook and Twitter appeared this Wednesday to explain, before the United States Congress, 0what the legislators consider their failure to fight the continuous foreign efforts to influence the domestic politics.

The appearance of Facebook Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, and the Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, took place soon after President, Donald Trump accused, in an interview published by Daily Caller, the social networks of interfering in the midterm elections scheduled for November in that country.

These last statements are part of a saga of critics that in recent days that the White House tenant has launched against, according to him, those "super liberal" companies that try to silence the conservative voices of the United States while giving privilege to progressive opinions in their platforms.

In this Wednesday audience, incidentally, the topic of freedom of speech was approached by Marco Rubio republican senator for Florida. As the New York Times, reported Rubio questioned the executives for their loyalty to American values like freedom of speech, since as he said, they are pressured by foreign nations to silence the voices of users outside the United States.

According to the same media, when he asked about Facebook commitment to the freedom of speech worldwide, Mrs. Sandberg said: “We support these principles in the entire world”, and he added that the company doesn't have servers in Vietnam and they would apply those same principles to China.

Also when referring to Twitter that defines itself as a square of the global city, Mr. Rubio expressed his concern that foreign governments could put pressure on the company to suffocate the freedom of speech.

To what his president answered that the company regularly pushes against nations like Turkey that demands the censorship of certain voices.

I suppose that in Cuba’s case, despite being one of the senator's obsessions, it had not been approached in the audience due to how inappropriate would be if it was known, during a live broadcast that, while on one hand the U.S. government nags social networks to allow the use of “political manipulation” against the White House interests, that same government encourages such proceedings against Cuba.

On the chapter dedicated to Cuba in the report of 2019 budget of the Broadcasting Board of Governors of that country published hardly a couple of weeks ago, it reads without hiding anything that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), to which belongs the wrongfully named Radio and TV Martí: “it’s creating digital teams in the island to create fake Facebook accounts to disseminate information. The pages opened in Cuba increase the chances to appear in the news of Cuban Facebook users. The same strategy will be used in other social networks".

It’s impossible that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States, of which senator Marco Rubio is member, ignore this type of subversive strategy against Cuba. Most likely it seems that for the United States government there are two or more types of freedom of speech.

But undoubtedly, during the appearance of the executives of both social networks in the Capitol, it was crystal clear what is the type of "freedom of speech" private companies like Facebook and Twitter enjoy in the United States.

Showing some blackmailing meaning Marco Rubio reminded the executives of those social networks from his seat in Congress:

"Your companies would not exist if it weren’t for the United States and the freedoms we have."

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‘Made up frauds’? Book claims Trump is called an ‘idiot’ by aides & wanted to ‘f**king kill’ Assad

President Trump and those close to him have challenged the narrative of Bob Woodward’s new book, which portrays him as "a 5th-grader" ready to make rash decisions, such as ordering the assassination of Assad.

"The Woodward book has already been refuted and discredited by General (Secretary of Defense) James Mattis and General (Chief of Staff) John Kelly," Trump tweeted on Tuesday afternoon, after excerpts from the book were published by the Washington Post and other publications. The manuscript, which is scheduled for release next week, contains many quotes that were "made up frauds," Trump said, calling the book's narrative "a con on the public."

@realDonaldTrump The Woodward book has already been refuted and discredited by General (Secretary of Defense) James Mattis and General (Chief of Staff) John Kelly. Their quotes were made up frauds, a con on the public. Likewise other stories and quotes. Woodward is a Dem operative? Notice timing?

Rejecting the claims that senior aides have been plucking sensitive documents off his desk to prevent him from making rash decisions, Trump noted in an exclusive interview with the Daily Caller that the bulk of the stories in the book were just a compilation of "nasty stuff" totally "made up" by the famed Watergate Washington Post reporter.

‘She’s a lowlife!’ Trump explodes over former aide Omarosa’s claims of his ‘racist’ rants

Trump was not the only one to slam Woodward's claims, which present the US leader as an impulsive decision-maker, who is sometimes called an "idiot" and a "liar" even by those closest to him:

Trump ordered Mattis to 'f**king kill' Assad

One of the excerpts from the book claims the president ordered Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to assassinate the Syrian leader following the 2017 Idlib chemical incident. "Let's f**king kill him! Let's go in. Let's kill the f**king lot of them," Trump allegedly told Mattis. "We're not going to do any of that. We're going to be much more measured," the defense secretary allegedly told one of his senior staffers after that.

Following the controversial claim, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley denied that Trump ever planned to assassinate Assad. "I have not once ever heard the president talk about assassinating Assad," she told reporters at UN headquarters.

"Mr. Woodward never discussed or verified the alleged quotes included in his book with Secretary Mattis or anyone within the DOD," a Pentagon spokesman, Col. Rob Manning, added.

Mattis compared Trump to '5th or 6th grader'

Woodward claims that Trump once asked Mattis why the US backs South Korea militarily and financially, prompting the defense secretary to tell close associates afterward that Trump had the understanding of a fifth or sixth grader. "Secretaries of defense don't always get to choose the president they work for," Mattis allegedly said in another instance.

Mattis personally rejected the claim made in the book. "In serving in this administration, the idea that I would show contempt for the elected Commander-in-Chief, President Trump, or tolerate disrespect to the office of the President from within our Department of Defense, is a product of someone's rich imagination," he said.

Chief of Staff described Trump as an 'unhinged idiot'

"He's an idiot. It's pointless to try to convince him of anything. He's gone off the rails. We're in crazytown," Woodward quotes White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as saying at a staff meeting in his office. "I don't even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I've ever had."

Kelly, however, has firmly denied the allegations, dismissing the chapter about him as "total BS."

Staff snatched documents from Trump's desk fearing he might sign them

Former Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn, according to Woodward, once saw a draft letter on the Oval Office desk that would have withdrawn the US from a trade agreement with South Korea. "I stole it off his desk," Cohn told an associate, allegedly terrified Trump might sign it. "I wouldn't let him see it. He's never going to see that document. Got to protect the country." Former staff secretary Rob Porter, who handled the flow of presidential papers, allegedly used similar tactics on several occasions.

However, according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, the entire book is nothing more than a bunch of "fabricated stories" told by "disgruntled" former employees to make the president "look bad."

Egypt's president wondered if Trump was 'going to be around' for long

According to Woodward, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is one of the world leaders who was worried the infamous Mueller probe might eventually result in impeachment. "Donald, I'm worried about this investigation. Are you going to be around?" al-Sisi allegedly said. Trump supposedly later told his lawyer that the question was "like a kick in the nuts."

Amid the barrage of firm denials by Trump and his team, Woodward reiterated that he "stands by" his reporting and the book's contents.

  • Published in World

Trump tweets warning on Syria as offensive targets last rebel stronghold

The Kremlin on Tuesday rejected President Donald Trump's warning that an attack on the last major enclave of Syrian rebels would be a "grave humanitarian mistake," saying the Idlib rebels are hindering efforts at a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

"President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province," Trump tweeted. "The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. Don’t let that happen!"

Within hours of Trump's tweet, Russian warplanes reportedly carried out airstrikes against the rebel positions. Reuters, citing a report from the Syrian Observatory as well as at least one rebel leader, said airstrikes began Tuesday near the city of Jisr al-Shughour in the province that borders Turkey.

Assad has been building up forces for a phased offensive aimed at taking control of the province in northwest Syria. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the rebel drone attacks from Idlib pose a threat to Russia's temporary bases in the war-battered country.

"It goes without saying that this problem must be straightened out," Peskov said. "We do know that the Syrian armed forces are getting ready for tackling this problem."

More: UN verifies over 7,000 child casualties in Syria since 2013

More: Death toll in devastating ISIS attacks in Syria climbs to 216

Peskov called Idlib home to a "nest of terrorists," but it is also home to more than 2 million refugees.

The rise in tensions comes ahead of meetings aimed at creating a commission to help draft a new Syrian constitution. Representatives from Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet with Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy on Syria, early next week. A few days later Mistura will meet with envoys from the U.S., U.K.,  France, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Germany and Egypt.

Mistura, in Geneva, echoed Trump's call for calm, saying violence could "hold hostage" efforts at a political settlement. The International Rescue Committee also called on the Syria, Russia and its allies to halt the attacks.

“The world is now watching with bated breath to see what unfolds," said Lorraine Bramwell, the IRC's Syria director. "Many civilians in Idlib have survived intense bombardment or fighting elsewhere in Syria and are rightly terrified about what they may now face."

The war has dragged on for seven years, cost hundreds of thousands of lives and driven millions from their homes. Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces have consistently battered Islamic State forces in the region, but also have battered the West-backed rebels who had hoped to drive Assad from power.

The Trump administration has largely stayed out of the fray, with coalition forces conducting bombing raids against Islamic State positions but avoiding clashes with Assad's armed forces or their Iranian and Russian backers.

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Marcos Rubio: The biggest courtier in the U.S. Capitol

After his presidential candidature was crushed in 2016, and bore harsh jibes from Donald Trump, Sen. Marcos Rubio is trying now to show himself as both, Republican and Democrat.

Lisa Mascaro, journalist from AP (Associated Press), described him as if he were sitting on the fences.

According to Mascaro, he tries to find his place in the Republican Party.

The AP reveals that he also ignores journalists covering official events at the U.S. Capitol and only tackles proposed legislations and speeches before the Senate.

Every time he travel to his State, Florida, he only addresses minor issues.

It seems Marcos Rubio tries not to stand too close of the White House before the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Contrary to what polls say, Rubio stated to AP: “I am not going to run against Trump in the upcoming primaries. No one else should do it unless they want to lose the White House.”

The Senator has developed permanent ties with Donald Trump via telephone calls.

However, he continues to maintain his political stance detached from the President while not officially ruling out the possibility of running for presidency.

The Washington Post uncovered the scandal triggered by Marcos Rubio with his parents when he said they were “victims of political persecution” in the Castro regime.

As a matter of fact, Marcos Rubio’s parents left Havana in 1956 as economic migrants.

Senator Rubio believes, among other things, in the need to “modernize” the agenda of the U.S. Republican Party for the 21st century.

Lisa Mascaro says that there are people who believe Rubio is only trying to survive his disappointing presidential campaign in 2016. And he is doing exactly what he usually does: finding the happy medium that pleases nobody.

But many converge on one point: Senator Marcos Rubio is still the biggest courtier in the U.S. Capitol.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

China hits back at Trump’s ‘absurd logic’ on N. Korea denuclearization

China has slammed US President Donald Trump’s “absurd logic” in blaming Beijing for an apparent delay in Washington’s denuclearization talks with North Korea. It follows Trump accusing China of “pressuring” Pyongyang.

Pressure has been mounting on Trump to explain why his much-vaunted talks with North Korea in June have yet to deliver any results, with Pyongyang failing to show any concrete steps towards its promise of denuclearizing the region.

The US president on Wednesday shrugged off any responsibility and instead sought to shift the blame onto Beijing – North Korea’s only ally in the region – citing its “tremendous pressuring” of Pyongyang.

READ MORE: Trump says ‘no reason’ for costly war games with South Korea, blames China for stalemate with North

“President Donald J. Trump feels strongly that North Korea is under tremendous pressure from China because of our major trade disputes with the Chinese government,” Trump said on Twitter.

He added that China providing North Korea with a series of other “commodities” is “not helpful.” 

China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman hit back during a press briefing. “A lot of people, like me, feel that the US is first in the world when it comes to twisting the truth, and irresponsible and absurd logic,” she said. “This logic is not easily understood by all.”

Trump then seemed to take a more amicable tone as he said that – despite North Korea’s current failure to return concessions – there is “no reason” right now to spend loads of money on US military exercises with South Korea.

@realDonaldTrump

STATEMENT FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

President Donald J. Trump feels strongly that North Korea is under tremendous pressure from China because of our major trade disputes with the Chinese Government. At the same time, we also know that China is providing North Korea with...

Trump took military commanders by surprise in June when, after talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, he announced that “provocative” drills with Seoul would be suspended.

In yet another episode of White House officials contradicting their leader, the comments were at odds with Defense Secretary James Mattis on Tuesday, who said the drills would not be suspended for the time being.

That was just a day after the announcement that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to North Korea would be canceled because of the peninsula’s failure to denuclearize.

  • Published in World

Trump-McCain: Quarrel among Wolves

The death of John McCain shows, among other things, the existent contradictions in the core of the extreme right sector of United States.

The Washington Post revealed, last Monday that Donald Trump refuted praises aimed at the republican senator John McCain, recently deceased.

Regarding the delicate condition of the senator, the spokesman of the White House, Sarah Huckabee Sanders; the Chief of Staff, John Kelly, and others agreed to draft an official statement after he passed away praising his service as “hero” during the invasion to Vietnam in the 60’s of the last century.

The Post added that “they both kept a tense relationship”, Trump discarded the official note and he rather posted in Twitter: “my deepest condolences and respect for the family.”

The above-mentioned breaks the customary protocol of the Presidents of the United States, who elaborate documents where they highlight supposed achievements and prowesses of outstanding personalities after their death.

The newspaper, reflected that Trump’s attitude shows his level of hostility towards McCain.

The differences between them were evident since Trump’s electoral campaign in 2015, when he minimized that John McCain was war prisoner for five years in Vietnam, when saying “I prefer people who have not been captured."

Since the president took office, McCain criticized his foreign policy, he voted against eliminating the Obama Care and alerted of its "egotism" and "sympathy for autocrats."

According to the North American press, collaborators and other close to McCain informed the White House that the senator didn't want Donald Trump's presence at his funeral.

The ceremony is scheduled for next Saturday at the National Cathedral of Washington, VP Mike Pence has been invited to the ceremony.

They also invited to mass the former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

The burial ceremony will take place on Sunday September 2nd at Annapolis Naval Academy.

The funeral services of the veteran legislator will be divided among the North American capital, where he made a career as a politician for more than three decades, and the state he represented in the Senate, Arizona where he died.

John McCain, died at 81 due to an aggressive brain cancer.

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés

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