The homeland security department released a statement in response to the department’s acting secretary, Kevin McAleenan, deciding not to speak after protestors interrupted his remarks at an immigration conference this morning.
The department said McAleenan’s right to free speech and assembly were “robbed.”
“Unfortunately the acting secretary and the audience did not get the opportunity to engage in a robust dialogue this morning due to the disruptions of a few activists,” the department said in its statement. “The acting secretary thanked the organizers and returned to work protecting the homeland and American values.”
The demonstrators, who represent a coalition of immigrant advocacy groups, also sent around a statement.
“No Trump henchmen should be given a platform to spread hatred or defend the racist, xenophobic policies put into place by Donald Trump and Stephen Miller,” said CREDO Action campaign director Nicole Regalado, who disrupted McAleenan’s speech. “Institutions that elevate the architects and enforcers of Trump’s hate and normalize that cruelty can expect to hear from us.”
A week after having a heart attack, Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, took a walk with his wife, Jane, near their home in Vermont.
Mitch McConnell: ‘US withdrawal from Syria benefits Russia and Iran’
US senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has joined the wave of Republicans and Democrats criticizing Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria, allowing Turkey to take control of the military operations there.
“A precipitous withdrawal of US forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” McConnell, a Republican senator for Kentucky, said in a statement. “And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”
I urge the President to exercise American leadership to keep together our multinational coalition to defeat ISIS and prevent significant conflict between our NATO ally Turkey and our local Syrian counterterrorism partners. Major new conflict between Turkey and our partners in Syria would seriously risk damaging Turkey’s ties to the United States and causing greater isolation for Turkey on the world stage.
The Trump campaign just held a call with reporters about 2020.
The call centered on a rule change to Republican state party structures that will effectively make it so Trump won’t face his in-party challengers at the Republican national convention.
Utah senator Mitt Romney, a Republican, and Connecticut senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat, have released a statement critical of Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria.
“The president’s decision to abandon our Kurdish allies in northern Syria in the face of an assault by Turkey is a betrayal that will have grave humanitarian and national security consequences,” said the senators, who are chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate foreign relations subcommittee on near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism.
“After enlisting support from the Kurds to help destroy ISIS and assuring Kurdish protection from Turkey, the US has now opened the door to their destruction,” they said. “This severely undercuts America’s credibility as a reliable partner and creates a power vacuum in the region that benefits ISIS.”
South Carolina senator, Lindsey Graham, continues to lead the charge among Republicans publicly challenging Donald Trump’s move in northern Syria.
Graham borrows from Trump’s book and compares his actions to those of Barack Obama – though unlike Trump, he does so unfavorably.
It’s been a busy morning.
- House Democrats issued subpoenas to the defense department secretary and the office of management and budget’s acting director as part of their inquiry into Trump’s request for Ukraine to help him target a political rival.
- Late last night, the White House announced an abrupt foreign policy change that has left the US abandoning its allies in northern Syria and sending Turkish forces in. Trump has found little support within his party for this decision and prominent allies, such as Lindsey Graham, have vehemently criticized the move.
- While Republicans were getting angry about that, a federal judge decided Trump should have to turn over eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns, a decision that was stayed a couple hours later.
- The acting homeland security, Kevin McAleenan, was blocked from speaking at an immigration conference by protestors from CREDO Action, Justice for Muslims Collective, La ColectiVA, National Immigrant Justice Center, and Sanctuary DMV.
House Democrats subpoena defense secretary
House investigators sent a letter today to defense department secretary Mark Esper and the office of management and budget’s acting director, Russell Vought, demanding documents as part of an inquiry into whether Trump urged Ukraine to interfere with the 2020 election by withholding military assistance allocated to Ukraine by Congress.
In an email, the chairmen of the House committees on Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs said:
“The enclosed subpoena demands documents that are necessary for the Committees to examine this sequence of these events and the reasons behind the White House’s decision to withhold critical military assistance to Ukraine that was appropriated by Congress to counter Russian aggression,” the Chairmen wrote.
If you manage to get past Donald Trump referring to his “great and unmatched wisdom,” in his statement about his decision in northern Syria, he goes on to threaten to obliterate Turkey’s economy if they behave in a way he deems inappropriate. He also claims, very incorrectly, that the US captured all of Islamic State.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump loyalist on most issues, vowed that Congress would pass a resolution reversing the decision. “Isis is not defeated. This is the biggest lie being told by this administration,” Graham told Fox News.
The Guardian’s Middle East correspondent, Martin Chulov, explains how the US’s decision to back Turkey in northern Syria threatens the fight against Islamic State:
The abandonment of the Kurds is perhaps the most impactful of all. The debt owed to Kurdish forces is acknowledged by western security partners who realise Isis remains unfinished business. Trump’s US had found itself atop a world order it no longer wanted to lead and, more consequentially, no longer seemed to believe in. In the eyes of some bewildered regional allies, Iraq and Saudi Arabia in particular, the US has nothing left to offer but a chequebook.
Trump’s transactional worldview offers no place for history or morality. His ruthless short-term realism ignores the fact that the regional interests he does want to secure – containing Iran and securing Israel – are jeopardised by such a blatant betrayal.
For all the US president’s talk of taking on Iran, the Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil supply last month received no response from the US and has instead sparked a detente between Riyadh and Tehran that will inevitably lead to new trade openings and puncture US efforts to crush Iran’s economy.