Tag Archive | "United States of America"

Donald Trump says he’s ‘very close’ to naming an FBI director

Tags: , ,

Donald Trump says he’s ‘very close’ to naming an FBI director

Posted on 19 May 2017 by GGS News

Washington : President Donald Trump says he is “very close” to naming a new FBI director.

An announcement could come today, the soft deadline Trump set for himself. The president departs Friday on his inaugural overseas trip, a four-country, five-stop journey tour of the Middle East and Europe that will keep him out of the country for more than a week.

“We’re very close to an FBI director,” Trump said Thursday when asked about the search during an Oval Office appearance with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. He said an announcement could come “soon” and that former Sen Joe Lieberman was among his top candidates.
Lieberman was among four candidates Trump interviewed at the White House this week. The former Connecticut senator flashed a thumbs-up as he left the White House on Wednesday after meeting with Trump and said they had a “good meeting.”
Trump also met with former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating; Richard McFeely, a former top FBI official; and acting FBI director Andrew McCabe.

Trump needs a new FBI director because he fired James Comey last week, an unexpected move that drew bipartisan criticism. Comey was overseeing the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s role in the presidential election, including ties between Russian government officials and Trump associates.

In an attempt to quell the furor over Comey’s ouster, the Justice Department this week hired former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee the investigation. Trump has denounced the probe as a “witch hunt.”

The Senate must confirm Trump’s candidate for the FBI job.

Word of Lieberman’s standing in the candidate search drew a mixed reaction from Capitol Hill, with Senate Republicans praising the Democrat turned independent, and Democrats seeming less than enthused about their former colleague.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called Lieberman a “pillar of credibility.” Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said Lieberman “may be the only potential nominee that could get 100 votes that I know of. Everybody likes and respects Joe Lieberman.”

But several Democratic senators said during a caucus lunch Thursday that they would not support Lieberman, according to a person familiar with the meeting who declined to be identified because the lunch was private.

Among their concerns was Lieberman’s past praise of Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, who was fired in February after misleading officials about his talks with Russian officials. Flynn has figured prominently in the FBI investigation into Russia and the election.

AP |

 

Comments (0)

China says willing to put South Korea ties back on track, urges THAAD resolution

Tags: , , , ,

China says willing to put South Korea ties back on track, urges THAAD resolution

Posted on 19 May 2017 by GGS News

Beijing : China wants to put ties with South Korea back on a “normal track”, President Xi Jinping said on Friday, but Beijing also urged Seoul to respect its concerns and resolve tensions over the deployment of a US anti-missile system that it opposes.
Relations between Beijing and Seoul, strained by disagreement over South Korea`s hosting of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, have taken on a more conciliatory tone with the election earlier this month of President Moon Jae-in.

Xi told Moon`s representative Lee Hae-chan on Friday that his visit showed the importance the new South Korean leader attached to relations with Beijing.
“China, too, pays great attention to the bilateral ties,” Xi said in comments in front of reporters in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
“We`re willing to work with South Korea to preserve the hard-won results, properly handle disputes, put China-South Korea relations back onto a normal track and benefit both peoples on the basis of mutual understanding and mutual respect,” he said.

Lee gave Xi a hand-written letter from the popular, liberal Moon, who easily won election earlier this month to replace Park Geun-hye, who was ousted in a corruption scandal.

“President Moon said he hopes I`d also pass on his gratitude to you for your message of congratulation and the telephone call after he was elected,” Lee said, before reporters were asked to leave the room.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, Xi told Lee: “China is willing to strengthen communication with the new South Korean government… (and) continue to push for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.”

In a separate meeting with Lee on Friday, China`s top diplomat Yang Jiechi said China “hopes that South Korea can respect China`s major concerns (and) appropriately resolve the THAAD issue,” Xinhua reported.

Reuters |

 

Comments (0)

Former FBI chief Robert Mueller appointed to probe Trump-Russia ties

Tags: , , ,

Former FBI chief Robert Mueller appointed to probe Trump-Russia ties

Posted on 18 May 2017 by GGS News

Washington : The US Department of Justice has appointed former FBI chief as special counsel to oversee the investigation of alleged Russian efforts to affect the 2016 election in favour of the US President Donald Trump.

Robert Mueller, 72, is a Vietnam veteran and former US attorney who ran the FBI from 2001-2013, Efe reported on Thursday.

The appointment was announced by Deputy Attorney General Rod J Rosenstein, who has authority over the Russia probe due to the decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions` decision to recuse himself because of his role in the Trump campaign.
“My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination,” Rosenstein said.

“What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command,” he said.

Rosenstein is one of the few senior figures in the Trump administration to enjoy the confidence of both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

“Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result,” the deputy attorney general said.

Mueller has agreed to resign from his private law firm to allay concerns about potential conflicts of interest.

The naming of Mueller as special counsel comes a week after Trump abruptly fired the man who succeeded him as FBI director, James Comey.

While the official announcement of Comey`s dismissal cited his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton`s use of a private e-mail server during her 2009-2013 tenure as secretary of state, Democrats accused Trump of seeking to short-circuit the probe of possible collusion between his team and the Russian government.

Senators plan to question Rosenstein about Comey`s firing when the deputy attorney general testifies Thursday in a closed hearing.

IANS |

Comments (0)

Israel provided intelligence Donald Trump shared with Russians: Report

Tags: , , , , ,

Israel provided intelligence Donald Trump shared with Russians: Report

Posted on 17 May 2017 by GGS News

Washington : The classified intelligence US President Donald Trump divulged to Russian officials last week was provided by Israel, a media report said on Wednesday.

“The revelation adds a potential diplomatic complication to an episode that has renewed questions about how the White House handles sensitive intelligence,” The New York Times said.

The White House refused to comment on the report.However, Israel came out in support of the White House.

“Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump,” Israeli Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, said in a statement to The New York Times.

US National Security Advisor Lt General HR McMaster asserted that Trump’s sharing of information with Russia did not risk national security.However, Israel came out in support of the White House.

“Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump,” Israeli Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, said in a statement to The New York Times.

US National Security Advisor Lt General HR McMaster asserted that Trump’s sharing of information with Russia did not risk national security.

PTI |

Comments (0)

ISIS struggling to maintain its ‘little hold’ in Afghanistan: Pentagon

Tags: , , , , ,

ISIS struggling to maintain its ‘little hold’ in Afghanistan: Pentagon

Posted on 16 May 2017 by GGS News

Washingtonc : The Afghan unit of ISIS known as ISIS-K or ISIS Khorasan Province is not growing in the war-torn country and instead is struggling to maintain the little hold it has, the Pentagon has said.

“It is continuing to be a challenge, but at this point I don’t see it growing. I see it, if anything, struggling to maintain what little hold it has,” the Pentagon Spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters here.

“ISIS-K, is very small area in the mountains of Nangarhar region, not something that presents the level of threat at this point that it would probably like to. But we will continue to work with our partners there to defeat it. We don’t want it to establish a foothold,” he said in response to a question.The very presence of ISIS in Afghanistan, he said is both a problem and a symptom or a reflection of progress.

“When ISIS is on its back in Iraq and Syria, it is no surprise that it’s popping up in other places that are more hospitable compared to Iraq and Syria. Iraq and Syria, because of the success of the mission there, have become less hospitable,” Davis said.

“So we have seen this affiliate grow in Afghanistan, called ISIS-K or ISIS Khorasan Province. But we have focused a lot of effort on it, and you’ve certainly seen that covered widely in the press, both with air strikes and operations on the ground in conjunction with the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,” the Pentagon spokesman told foreign journalists.

Davis said the main objective of the United States is to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack the United States and its allies.

“We remain focused on the defeat of al Qaeda and its associates as well as the defeat of ISIS Khorasan province, or ISIS-K as we call it,” he said.

“The Taliban, tried eight separate times last year to overtake a provincial capital in Afghanistan. They failed every single one of those times, and they have yet to do it successfully this year as well. And you’ve heard General Nicholson talk about it in his open testimony and elsewhere that Afghanistan remains a formidable challenge,” he said.

PTI |

 

Comments (0)

Donald Trump revealed intelligence secrets to Russians in Oval Office: Officials

Tags: , , , , ,

Donald Trump revealed intelligence secrets to Russians in Oval Office: Officials

Posted on 16 May 2017 by GGS News

Washington : US President Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russia`s foreign minister about a planned Islamic State operation during their meeting last week, two US officials with knowledge of the situation said on Monday.

The intelligence shared at the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak was supplied by a US ally in the fight against the militant group, both officials said.

The White House said the allegations, first reported by the Washington Post, were not correct.”The story that came out tonight as reported is false,” HR McMaster, Trump`s national security adviser, told reporters at the White House, adding that the two men reviewed a range of common threats including to civil aviation.
“At no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed. The president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. … I was in the room. It didn`t happen,” he said.

The White House also released a statement from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said the meeting focused on counterterrorism, and from deputy national security adviser Dina Powell, who said the Washington Post story was false.

Reacting to the news, the Senate`s No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin, called Trump`s conduct “dangerous” and “reckless.” The Republican head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, called the allegations “very, very troubling” if true.

The latest controversy in the White House came as it continued to reel from the fallout over Trump`s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey last week and amid congressional calls for an independent investigation into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

On Monday, one of the officials said the intelligence discussed by Trump in the meeting with Lavrov was classified “Top Secret” and held in a secure “compartment” to which only a handful of intelligence officials have access.

After Trump disclosed the information, which one of the officials described as spontaneous, officials immediately called the CIA and the National Security Agency, both of which have agreements with a number of allied intelligence services, and informed them what had happened.

While the president has the authority to disclose even the most highly classified information at will, in this case he did so without consulting the ally that provided it, which threatens to jeopardize what they called a long-standing intelligence-sharing agreement, the U.S. officials said.

Trump, a Republican who has called allegations of links between his presidential campaign and Russia a “total scam,” has sharply criticised his 2016 election rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, for her handling of classified information as secretary of state, when she used a private email server.

The FBI concluded that no criminal charges were warranted, but Comey said she and her colleagues had been “careless” with classified information.

Reuters |

 

Comments (0)

Donald Trump considering how move of US embassy in Israel could affect Mideast peace

Tags: , , , , , ,

Donald Trump considering how move of US embassy in Israel could affect Mideast peace

Posted on 15 May 2017 by GGS News

Washington: President Donald Trump is trying to determine how keeping his promise to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem could affect his hopes of brokering a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, his secretary of state said on Sunday.

Since taking office in January, Trump has shown signs of shelving his campaign pledge to move the embassy from Tel Aviv, while vowing to do what is necessary to clinch a Middle East peace agreement.

“The president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told NBC`s “Meet the Press.” He spoke just days before Trump starts a Middle East trip that includes meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.Israel regards Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all foreign countries to base their embassies there. The relocation is strongly opposed by many U.S. allies as the Palestinians also claim the city as their capital.

Tillerson said Trump`s decision would depend greatly on how it is seen by governments in the region, including “whether Israel views it as being helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction.”

His comments drew a quick response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Israel`s position has been stated many times before to the American administration and the world,” Netanyahu`s office said in a statement.

“Moving the American embassy to Jerusalem will not harm the peace process, it will do the opposite. It will advance it by righting a historical wrong and by shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.”

 

Reuters|

Comments (0)

Over 1,370 gang members arrested in massive US police operation

Tags: , , ,

Over 1,370 gang members arrested in massive US police operation

Posted on 12 May 2017 by GGS News

Washington : The US government has announced the arrests of almost 1,400 gang members between March 26 and May 6 in the largest ever operation undertaken by the Department of Homeland Security`s (DHS) investigation unit.

A total of 1,378 people were arrested around the country for assorted crimes, including drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, people trafficking, murder and people trafficking for sexual exploitation, DHS officials said at a Washington press conference on Thursday.

“Gangs threaten the safety of our communities, not just in major metropolitan areas but in our suburbs and rural areas, too,” said Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Thomas Homan.
“Gang-related violence and criminal activity present an ongoing challenge for law enforcement everywhere. Our efforts to dismantle gangs are much more effective in areas where partnership with local law enforcement is strongest,” he added.

Of the 1,378 arrests, 933 were US citizens, while 445 were foreigners from 21 countries in South America, Central America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.

Those arrested are citizens of Mexico (249), El Salvador(72), Honduras (63), Guatemala (19), the Dominican Republic (10), Cuba (four), three each from Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia and Nicaragua, while the others come from nations as diverse as Brazil, Mauritania, Laos and Jamaica, along with other countries.

The DHS said that of those arrested, 1,095 had declared their allegiance to certain gangs, including 137 members of the Bloods, 118 affiliated with the Surenos, 104 who said they belonged to Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and 104 who said they were part of the Crips.

Among those arrested were three people who benefited in the past from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme inaugurated in 2012 by former President Barack Obama for undocumented migrants who were brought to the US as children and known as “Dreamers”.

The programme halted the deportations of young undocumented foreigners and granted them temporary work permits on the condition that they not commit any crimes.

According to the DHS, the three individuals were excluded from DACA protection for criminal activities.

Since DACA was implemented in 2012, DHS has denied coverage to 1,500 people because of their affiliation with criminal groups.

IANS |

Comments (0)

This is a presidency of broken promises: Ro Khanna on Donald Trump

Tags: , ,

This is a presidency of broken promises: Ro Khanna on Donald Trump

Posted on 31 March 2017 by GGS News

Washington : Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna has lashed out at US President Donald Trump for failing to fulfil his campaign promises like bringing back jobs and reviving the country’s manufacturing sector.
“(It is) a Presidency of broken promises,” Congressman Khanna, 40, who served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Department of Commerce in the previous Obama administration told PTI.

Khanna, who represents the hub of Silicon Valley in the US Congress, said that Trump has not lived up to the promises he made.

“He (Trump) promised to help expand coverage in healthcare and lower costs. He proposed a bill that would have cut coverage and increased premiums. He promised to help working families and not Wall Street. He has proposed budgets that would slash funding from working families and give tax breaks for Wall Street,” he said.

“He promised to invest in American cities and broadband and infrastructure. He has curtailed the expansion of broadband and he has not fulfilled the promise to invest in infrastructure. So, he has not lived up to the promises he made to Americans across this country,” Khanna said in response to a question.

Khanna, author of “Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America’s Future”, in his book laid out a blue print for reviving the country’s manufacturing sector.

“If he was serious about creating manufacturing jobs, he would fund manufacturing, extend partnership, instead of defunding it,” he said.

“He would fund apprenticeship programmes across this country, like Switzerland does. The Swiss apprenticeship programme prepares the workforce for manufacturing. He would make sure that we were ending corporate deferral and require companies to pay tax on their overseas earnings so that it would incentivise to bring back those jobs to the US,” he said.

“So, I share the goal of bringing manufacturing back to the US. I’ve written a book on it, but it’s not going to happen through his policies,” Khanna said referring to the book he wrote in 2012.

“I have always believed that America remains the greatest superpower of innovation. Khanna is a leading thinker on how to make US manufacturing more competitive across this country, whether it comes to making high-technology planes, cars, steel bars, fire suits, or even blenders.

“The unconventional ideas in this book chart the path America can take to lead the world for years to come,” Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla wrote after reading the book.

Khanna said he is very passionate about helping take Silicon Valley’s vision and creating tech jobs and partnering with communities across the country, figuring out how to make partnership programmes and jobs programmes for the jobs of the 21st century.

“How do we make sure that entrepreneurship is not just in Silicon Valley but across this country? How do we make sure that we are rewiring labour markets to adapt to the needs to jobs in the future?” he said.

“I am also passionate about improving our healthcare system and for medicare for all. But making sure that we provide a wage increase for working families. We can do that by massive expansion of the earned income tax credit, making sure that we’re making college debt-free. So having a progressive economic vision and apprenticeship programme for jobs of the 21st century,” Khanna said.

PTI |

Comments (0)

Al Qaeda wants to create local leadership in South Asia: US official

Tags: , , , ,

Al Qaeda wants to create local leadership in South Asia: US official

Posted on 27 March 2017 by GGS News

Washington: The top al Qaeda leadership has started nurturing terror units in South Asia, including in India, to give a local face to their outfit, according to a senior US defence official.
“We believe that Qaeda’s senior most leadership realises that their presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been under pressure for quite some time. So, they wanted to create an organisation with more of a local face. People that are South Asian as opposed to Egyptian or something else that can last there long term,” the senior defence official said.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official was responding to a question on the activities of Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent and its relationship with Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

According to the official, the creation of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent is part of the long-term planning of the Qaeda leadership to develop local leadership in the region.

“We believe it was created specifically as Qaeda’s permanent presence within South Asia,” the official said.

“So by South Asia means Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh…That whole region. Not just Afghanistan. And, certainly some of the intelligence that we found through raids in Afghanistan have indicated that there are connections between AQIS (Qaeda in Syria) guys in Afghanistan and people in Bangladesh and elsewhere within South Asia,” the official said.

“So, there’s a definite direct connection there. In the long-term planning, there, as well. We believe that Al Qaeda’s senior most leadership realises that their presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been under pressure for quite some time,” the official said.

Responding to questions, the official, who keep tracks of development on al Qaeda and ISIS front, said that there are “definite” links between the Islamic State leadership in Syria and Iraq and those in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The core of Al Qaeda leadership is still in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the official pointed out.

Announcing the formation of Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent, its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had said it would be “good news for Muslims in Burma, Bangladesh and in the Indian states of Assam, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir, where they would be rescued from injustice and oppression”.

PTI |

Comments (0)

Advertise Here


Advertise Here















View amritpal Singh SIDHU's profile on LinkedIn