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PMU asks Washington to apologize for US Secretary of State Remarks
PMU Spokesman, Ahmed Al-Asadi, sought an apology on Monday, Oct 23th, 2017, from the United States for the remarks of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about the existence of “Iranian militias in Iraq”.
In the press conference held in the Iraqi Parliament and attended by PMU delegate, Al-Asadi described “Tillerson’s remark as unacceptable and is only false accusation” and assured that “all fighters in the Iraqi lands are Iraqis”.
Al-Asadi added “those remarks reflect lack of expertise and they belittle the Iraqi sacrifices” and he demanded the US to apologize for them.
Considering the advisers in Iraq, Al-Asadi confirmed “their presence is authorized by the Iraqi government” and “the government will request them to leave Iraq after the end of the military operations

FBI asked Justice Department to refute Trump’s wiretapping claim

The FBI asked the Justice Department on Saturday to refute President Donald Trump’s assertion that President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump’s phones last year, two sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN.

The FBI made the request because such wiretapping would be illegal, since the President cannot just order the eavesdropping of a U.S. citizen’s phones, the sources said. A court would have to approve any request to wiretap. The sources would not say who was involved in the conversations between the FBI and DOJ or what role FBI Director James Comey might have played.

One of the sources said instead of the FBI saying something publicly about the allegations, it was felt it would be more appropriate to ask the Justice Department since the bureau as a policy does not confirm or deny investigations.

The source said it was also felt it would be more appropriate politically to handle this through the Justice Department since Justice officials are freer to talk about such matters with the White House. Before any possible rebuke, it would be expected some conversations with the White House would need to take place.

So far, the Justice Department has not said anything in reaction to Trump’s tweets on Saturday, in which he made the wiretapping allegations.

Asked about the FBI request, a Justice Department spokesman said he had no comment. The FBI refused comment as well.

The New York Times first reported that the FBI asked the Justice Department to refute Trump’s wiretapping claim.

Trump’s aides asked Congress on Sunday to look into whether the Obama administration abused its investigative powers during the 2016 election. The move comes a day after Trump posted a series of tweets alleging, without presenting any evidence, that Obama wiretapped his phones in Trump Tower in the weeks leading up to the November election.

“Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in the statement Sunday morning, which he also posted on Twitter. “President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016.

“Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted,” Spicer added. He did not provide any further details on the President’s request to Congress.

RELATED: Trump’s baseless wiretap claim

While Spicer said “reports” prompted the call for a congressional investigation, the White House still has not provided any evidence to back up the President’s accusations. There are no publicly known credible reports to back up Trump’s claim that Obama ordered Trump’s phones be monitored.

Frustrated that the Russia stories have overshadowed a widely praised performance in his joint address to Congress on Tuesday, Trump angrily raised the wiretapping issue unprompted in conversations with friends and acquaintances at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend, two people who have spoken with him at his Palm Beach resort said on Sunday. The President didn’t specify what information he was basing his accusations upon, but told them he expected an investigation to prove him right.

Multiple former senior US officials have dismissed Trump’s allegations, however, calling them “nonsense” and “false.” Obama, through a spokesman, also rejected the claim that he ordered Trump’s phones tapped.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, a career intelligence official who had oversight of the US intelligence community in that role, said Sunday that Trump was not wiretapped by intelligence agencies nor did the FBI obtain a court order through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor Trump’s phones.

“For the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no wiretap activity mounted against the President-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign,” Clapper said Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Democrats in dilemma over Supreme Court

In a season of Democratic Party frustration and anger, Donald Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court Tuesday night is a particularly bitter pill to swallow.

When the seat opened nearly a year ago following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Democrats imagined a durable liberal majority on the court for the first time since the 1960s.

Even as the Republican Senate majority broke with longstanding tradition and blocked any consideration of President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, Democrats comforted themselves with the prospect of Hillary Clinton’s likely victory in November’s presidential election. They entertained the possibility that she would instead pick someone younger and even more progressive than the decidedly moderate Mr Garland.

Then the election happened – setting up the inevitability of Tuesday night’s prime-time announcement. President Trump, standing in the East Room of the White House, sprayed lemon on their open wounds, noting that the next Supreme Court justice would follow in Scalia’s conservative footsteps.

Republicans, across the board, are thrilled with the pick. Mr Gorsuch has a sterling legal reputation and indisputable right-wing pedigree. While Mr Trump has proven an uncertain quantity when it comes to fealty to other party orthodoxies, they view his court pick as their trust rewarded.

Media captionDonald Trump picks Neil Gorsuch as US Supreme Court nominee

“President Trump won 81% of the evangelical vote in no small measure because he made an ironclad pledge that if elected he would fill the vacancy on the US Supreme Court with a strict constructionist who would respect the Constitution and the rule of law, not legislate from the bench,” Faith and Freedom Coalition Chair Ralph Reed said in a press release. “We never doubted then-candidate Trump’s sincerity or commitment, and by nominating Judge Gorsuch, he has now kept that promise.”

As great as was conservative joy, so were the depths of liberal anger – likely only stoked by calls by Republicans, from Mr Trump on down, to give their nominee a fair shake.

“The default is if you are generally qualified and not extreme you are confirmed,” White House press spokesman Sean Spicer said on Tuesday afternoon.

It’s a sentiment that has not been welcomed by those on the left.

“The Democrats should treat Trump’s [Supreme Court] pick with the exact same courtesy the GOP showed Merrick Garland,” tweeted Dan Pfeifer, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama. “Don’t flinch, don’t back down.”

Senate Democrats considering Mr Gorsuch’s nomination have a powerful weapon at their disposal, should they choose to use it – the filibuster. If 41 of the 48 members of their caucus are on board, they could block a confirmation vote indefinitely. It’s something some Democrats are already promising to do.

“This is a stolen seat,” Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon said, pledging to invoke the filibuster power. “We will use every lever in our power to stop this.”

Such a scorched-earth strategy puts Senate Democrats in a bit of a bind, however.

Media captionLabor union leader Mary Kay Henry: “This judge is a step backwards”

First of all, if they do indeed filibuster, Republicans may simply do away with the procedure entirely – the so-called “nuclear option” – as Democrats did for all other presidential nominees in 2013, allowing Mr Gorsuch to be confirmed with a simple majority.

“If you can, Mitch, go nuclear,” Mr Trump urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a meeting on Wednesday.

In fact, Democratic pressure could prompt Republicans to do away with the Senate tradition entirely, allowing their party to enact all legislation without minority consent. That would make it significantly easier for Congress to pass conservative priorities like Obamacare replacement, weakening union power, education reform and sweeping deregulation.

Already some Democrats are giving indications they may not take such a hard-line stand.

“I’m not going to do to President Trump’s nominee what the Republicans in the Senate did to President Obama’s,” Delaware Senator Chris Coons said in a television interview.

Mr Coons is in a safely Democratic seat. The 10 Senate Democrats up for 2018 re-election in states Mr Trump carried last year may be under even more pressure to avoid total war with the president over a Supreme Court nomination.

While the base may be angry, they will need independent and moderate conservative votes if they want to stay in office.

Ronald Klain, a former legal adviser to Democratic President Bill Clinton, offers another reason why Democrats should be cautious when choosing how to handle Mr Gorsuch’s nomination. The real battle is not over this seat – it’s the next one.

While it seems unlikely any of the four liberal justices will willingly vacate their seats during the Trump administration, 80-year-old Anthony Kennedy – who leans conservative but has proven to be a swing vote – may be gauging retirement and will be watching the proceedings closely.

“While it is tempting to begin the confirmation process with an intent to avenge the injustice done to President Barack Obama and his nominee,” Klain writes, “an attitude of score-settling and partisan bitterness would likely be off-putting to Kennedy.”

The Democratic base may not care. They’re angry, and they’re out for blood – and if they don’t get it from Republicans, they may turn on their own.

“Senate Democrats, let’s be very clear: You will filibuster and block this Supreme Court nominee or we will find a true progressive and primary you in next election,” liberal filmmaker Michael Moore tweeted.

More than 1,000 Democrats showed up at a town hall by Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse after he voted to support Mr Trump’s CIA nominee. Around 200 protesters picketed California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s California home in response to her votes for several of his cabinet picks.

Democrats ignore this sentiment at their own peril – and their recent efforts to delay confirmation of Mr Trump’s cabinet appointments may be evidence that they are getting the message. The situation is similar to the one the Republican Party found itself in following Barack Obama’s election.

At first, they thought they could harness conservative Tea Party anger to defeat Democrats. They did – but the Tea Party brought down a lot of establishment Republicans, as well.

This damaged the party’s electoral chances in the short term, likely costing them the Senate in 2010 and 2014. It also contributed to Mr Trump’s rise and eventual victory in 2016, however.

That, alone, should be enough to give Democrats officeholders many a sleepless night.

Hillary Clinton’s gut-wrenching day

It was not the Inauguration Day that Hillary Clinton imagined.

When the skies finally opened up on Friday and rain began to fall over the US Capitol, Clinton’s turn to stand before the thousands gathered on the Mall and take the oath of office as the 45th president never came.

Instead, she remained seated with her husband, Bill Clinton, by her side. And she watched a man whom she believes is fundamentally unfit to hold the highest office of the land get sworn in as her next president.

Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday and the ceremonial passing of the baton by Barack Obama crystalized before a watchful nation the deeply personal loss that Clinton had suffered in November.

Hillary Clinton arrives at Trump inauguration

Hillary Clinton arrives at Trump inauguration 00:56

For the former Democratic presidential nominee, the decision to attend Friday’s ceremony was not an easy one.

Clinton anticipated that it would be painful for her to watch Trump become the next president, according to a former aide, but felt she had no choice but to attend given her role both as former first lady and Trump’s challenger. It weighed on her, this aide added, that her presence symbolized the peaceful transition of power, regardless of her own emotions about the day.

The Clintons arrived on Capitol Hill shortly before the swearing-in. At the same time, the presidential motorcade was making its way down Pennsylvania Ave. towards the Capitol. In one car sat two men who had each taken away Clinton’s dreams of becoming president — Obama and Trump.

Clinton wore a white coat — something she did often on the campaign trail to represent the color women wore during the suffrage movement. She and Bill Clinton were introduced to the inaugural stage by the announcer as “the 42nd president of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, and the honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

For Clinton’s supporters, both were painful reminders of how close Clinton — the first woman to clinch a major political party’s nomination for president — had come to becoming to the president of the United States.

With the exception of when she exchanged pleasantries with other dignitaries on the stage, Clinton, for the most part, appeared stoic.

Trump, with his former political opponent seated behind him, delivered an inaugural address reminiscent of his campaign speeches, vowing that the “forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”

“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” Trump said.

Trump did not mention Clinton in the address.

But during the luncheon honoring Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall, Trump rose to deliver gracious remarks about Clinton. It was a striking contrast from even a few months ago, when Trump had threatened to jail her if he became president and repeatedly dredged up some of the most painful moments of the Clintons’ turbulent marriage, including Bill Clinton’s infidelities.

“I was very honored, very, very honored, when I heard that President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hilary Clinton was coming today,” Trump said, before asking both to stand, when they received a long round of applause.

“Honestly,” Trump added, “there’s nothing more I can say because I have a lot of respect for those two people.”

For Clinton and her aides, losing the presidential election to Trump had been a difficult scenario to imagine for the better part of the general election. In the heat of a contentious and bitter campaign, the former secretary of state let her tone grow increasingly dark, as she repeatedly warned the American people that the values Trump espoused were un-American.

“Imagine that on January 20, 2017, it is Donald Trump standing in front of our Capitol and taking the oath of office,” Clinton told her supporters in Las Vegas, Nevada, just three days out from the election. “Imagine with me what it would be like to have Donald Trump sitting in the Oval Office come next January.”

More than two months after the election, a political scandal that had haunted Clinton’s presidential run still lingered.

GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee that investigated Clinton’s use of a private email service during her time at the State Department, posted a photo of himself shaking hands with Clinton on the inaugural platform.

His caption read: “So pleased she is not the President. I thanked her for her service and wished her luck. The investigation continues.”

Republican Sen. John Cornyn, who was seated at the same table as Clinton for the lunch, told CNN that she appeared to be in good spirits but lamented the vitriolic nature of politics.

“She did talk about how she hoped our politics was more consensus-building and everybody can have their views but it doesn’t have to be poisonous,” Cornyn said.

The displaced people in unenclosed area for five days,are calling for help and relief , and Dr. Sabah Al-Tamimi is responding to them by getting them in displacement camp.

thepeacenews” Dr. Sabah was able to enter 11 family (Mosul origin) whom are displaced from Al-Hool camp in Syria to Baghdad,  in displacement camps at Al-Jamea’a neighborhood after being stayed in un enclosed area for 5 days .

The displaced people said that “we  demanded  a lot of officials in Baghdad and Nineveh for 5 days , but unfortunately, no one replied us , so we forced to ask Dr. Sabah Al-Timimi for  a relief and help, who responded  to us within short  hours  and was able to get us in displacement camps at Al-Jamea neighborhood after we were  stayed for 5 days in un enclosed area without water, food or even medicine” .they thanked Al-Timimi deeply upon her noble humanitarian position to rescue and save them and their kids from hunger, cold and diseases.

Al-Timi said that our duty is to serve the displaced people and assured that she is proud of serving all Iraqi people whether they are from Baghdad or Mosul or any other Iraqi governorate, referring that she would take care them and follow up those families via her multi visits to them as well as she would do her best efforts to meet their necessary humanitarian requirements .

What to know about Trump’s visa and refugee restrictions

President Donald Trump’s road to the White House was paved in part with hard-line promises such as building a “great, great wall” along the US-Mexico border and outright banning immigration from any nations “compromised by terrorism.”

After a week in office, Trump has sought to make these dramatic steps the pillars of his national security policy, scrawling his signature on executive orders aimed at reshaping immigration across the United States.

Here’s what you need to know about the latest controversial actions.

What immigration restrictions are under consideration?

An executive order signed by Trump on Friday bans all people from certain terrorism-prone countries from entering the United States for 90 days. The text of the order doesn’t name the countries, but a White House official said they are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.

The same order also suspends the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until it is reinstated for nationals of countries that Trump’s Cabinet believes can be properly vetted.
The total number of refugees admitted into the United States will be capped during the 2017 fiscal year at 50,000, down more than half from the current level of 110,000.
During his campaign, Trump vowed to ban Muslim immigrants from countries with a “proven history” of terrorism against the United States or its allies.
Friday’s executive order gives the Department of Homeland Security leeway to prioritize refugee claims “on the basis of religious based persecution” as long as the person applying for refugee status is “a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”
That would make it easier for Christians and other religious minorities in majority-Muslim countries to enter the United States than it would for Muslims in general.
Trump to take action on refugees, visas

Trump to take action on refugees, visas

Trump to take action on refugees, visas 02:21
Trump’s order also cancels the Visa Interview Waiver Program, which once allowed repeat travelers to the United States to be able to forgo an in-person interview to renew their visa. Under the new order, these travelers must now have an in-person interview.
“We strongly believe that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race,” the International Organization for Migration and the U.N. refugee agency said in a joint statement.

What’s the reaction to his plan?

Abed A. Ayoub, legal and policy director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said Trump’s actions were “tantamount to a Muslim ban.”
“In our view, these actions taken by Trump and this administration have nothing to do with national security,” he said. “They’re based off Islamophobia, they’re based off of xenophobia, and we cannot allow that to continue.”
Justin Cox, a staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center, agreed.
“This is a Muslim ban,” Cox said. “It doesn’t say that in those words, but those seven countries are Muslim-majority.”
The National Iranian American Council, for instance, pointed out that all seven nations have Muslim-majority populations.
“We agree with the goal of making America safe from terror, but a blanket ban based on national origin does nothing to achieve that objective,” the council’s statement said.

How many people come to the US from countries Trump is targeting?

In the last fiscal year, 43% of refugees admitted into the United States came from the seven countries that could be affected by restrictions, according to data from the Refugee Processing Center.
The Obama administration had pushed to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States as part of humanitarian efforts in 2016.
During fiscal 2016, which began October 2015 and ended September 2016, the United States admitted the following number of refugees from the seven countries: 9,880 from Iraq; 3,750 from Iran; 1 from Libya; 9,020 from Somalia; 12,587 from Syria; 1,458 from Sudan and 26 from Yemen.

Are other types of visas available?

Apart from refugees, there are also other types of visas issued by the United States. Here are the number of total US non-immigrant and immigrant visas issued to the affected countries in 2015: 15,509 to Iraq; 42,542 to Iran; 3,575 to Libya; 1,409 to Somalia; 11,962 to Syria; 2,153 to Sudan and 7,668 to Yemen.
Trump on Syrian refugees

Trump tracker syrian refugees_00001307

Trump on Syrian refugees 00:15

What do critics of the resettlement effort say?

The issue is a major domestic political flashpoint. Critics like Trump and several Republican governors have expressed concern about the potential for ISIS or other terrorist groups to exploit refugee flows to reach the West.

Is it legal?

Hours after Trump signed the executive orders, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced it will mount a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the order.
CAIR said more than 20 plaintiffs have joined the suit, the details of which will be announced Monday.
“The courts must do what President Trump will not — ensure that our government refrains from segregating people based on their faith,” said Gadeir Abbas, co-counsel on CAIR’s lawsuit.
Still, the Immigration and Nationality Act grants broad-ranging powers to the President:
“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate,” part of the act reads.
This suggests Trump has a lot of leeway.
But another section of the law, which was passed in 1965 during the Civil Rights movement, states that “no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.”
In an analysis piece, David Bier, an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute, wrote that such protection extends to green card holders and may not extend to non-immigrants such as refugees, asylum seekers, guest workers, tourists and temporary visitors.
Anxiety over Trump in a California mosque

exp Muslim Fears Tuchman_00002001

Anxiety over Trump in a California mosque 03:03

What will be some effects of these actions?

Melanie Nezer, vice president for policy and advocacy at HIAS, a Jewish nonprofit, said Trump’s actions could be devastating for refugees. “People will literally, if this goes through, not be allowed to get on planes, or arrive in the US and be told they have to go back,” she said.
She said she wonders whether refugees who have already been approved for travel to the United States will have their papers revoked.
“So maybe they’ve given up their housing,” Nezer said. “Maybe they’re waiting at the airport and everything has been sold.”
Said Cox, “It could have real consequences for individuals who have been issued visas and are making their way to the United States right now. They could conceivably be denied entry at airports or at the border.”

Is there precedent for this?

President George W. Bush suspended refugee admissions for three months after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks while certain safeguard were put in place.
However, banning people from specific countries is new.
“I’m not aware of any prior such edict from the president saying that people from a particular country aren’t permitted to be admitted as refugees,” Cox said.

Trump Mexico wall will destroy lives, Berlin mayor warns

Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller has urged US President Donald Trump “not to go down the road of isolation” with his planned border wall with Mexico.

Mr Mueller warned such divides cause “slavery and pain” and would “destroy the lives of millions”.

The German city was divided by the Berlin Wall from 1961 to 1989.

Mr Mueller’s statement came as Mr Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto agreed to “work out their differences” over the issue.

The planned wall was one of Mr Trump’s key election campaign pledges, but it has cast a shadow over the US’s relationship with its neighbour.

Mr Pena Nieto has repeatedly stated that Mexico will not pay for the wall and has condemned a US suggestion that it may impose a 20% tax on his country’s imports to finance the structure.

A sign in front of the Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate reads Image copyrightEPAImage captionThe Berlin Wall (pictured in 1986) divided the city from 1961 to 1989

“We Berliners know best how much suffering was caused by the division of an entire continent,” Mr Mueller said in a statement, referring to Europe’s “Iron Curtain”.

He said the city could not “silently look on as a country sets about building a new wall”.

“We cannot let our historical experience get trashed by the very people to whom we owe much of our freedom: the Americans.

“I call on the president not to go down the road of isolation,” the statement reads(in German). “Mr President, don’t build this wall.”

A strategic relationship

At a joint news conference on Friday at the White House with the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, Mr Trump said he had had a “very good call” with Mr Pena Nieto.

The White House later released a statement describing the telephone conversation as “productive and constructive”, adding that both presidents recognised the “differences of positions” on the issue of the proposed wall.


Read more


“Both presidents have instructed their teams to continue the dialogue to strengthen this important strategic and economic relationship,” the statement said.

He did not reveal the subject of the conversation with Mr Nieto when questioned at the White House, but said the US was “no longer going to be the country that doesn’t know what it’s doing”.


The new order? – Anthony Zurcher, BBC News North America Reporter

Welcome to a brave new world of international diplomacy, Donald Trump style.

The new president seems determined to run foreign policy the way he handled his business empire and public interactions – vying for dominance and exploiting weakness.

Recalcitrant clients were either denied payment or sued. Personal adversaries were mocked. Political foes were demeaned.

On the international stage, we see these attitudes playing out in Mr Trump’s goading, belligerent remarks directed at Mexico and its president. With a gross domestic product that’s a fraction of the US’s, Mexico is the Rosie O’Donnell or “Little Marco” Rubio on Mr Trump’s world stage.

Contrast that with the president’s deferential treatment of Russia’s Vladimir Putin or British PM Theresa May during her recent White House visit.

US-Mexico border wall

1,900 miles

Length of the border (3,100 km)

650 miles

Distance the current barrier covers

  • $10bn-$12bn Amount Donald Trump estimates the new wall will cost
  • $25bn Amount Washington Post study estimates the new wall will cost
Getty Images

When it comes to foreign relations, Mr Trump respects strength and tradition. His admiration for Winston Churchill is not so different from past praise of General George Patton or actor John Wayne – strong men from a different era.

Mr Trump was elected because voters – particularly blue-collar workers – believed he would fight for them and economic benefits would follow. His critics warned his temperament would disrupt global order.

We’ll eventually find out who was right.


Mexico’s increasing nervousness over its northern neighbour appears to have prompted Mexico’s richest man to step in.

Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim speaks during a press conference in the midst of a diplomatic rift between Mexico and the US over Donald TrumpImage copyrightAFPImage captionMexican billionaire Carlos Slim acknowledged Mr Trump was a good negotiator, but ‘not Terminator’

In a rare news conference, Carlos Slim said Mr Trump – who he spoke out against during the campaign, but has since had dinner with – is a good negotiator, but “he is not Terminator”.

Mr Slim, who has offered to help his government negotiate with Mr Trump, added that he believed “the circumstances in the United States are very favourable for Mexico”, and policies aimed at boosting the US economy would also help Mexico.

He also said he expected Trump’s “hyperactivity” to cool down with time.

Britain’s May due in Turkey for talks with Erdogan

British Prime Minister Theresa May, who met with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, arrived in Turkey on Saturday for a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — another important but complicated British ally.

May flew overnight to Ankara by RAF Voyager jet from the U.S., where she and Trump hailed a new chapter in the trans-Atlantic “special relationship.”

May’s talks in Ankara with Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim will focus on boosting trade between Turkey and Britain once the U.K. leaves the European Union, and on increasing cooperation over security and counterterrorism.

May, who is paying her first visit to Turkey since becoming prime minister, is under pressure at home to condemn Turkey’s clampdown on civil liberties since the government crushed a coup attempt in July.

Turkey has detained tens of thousands of people suspected of links to a movement led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the government accuses of orchestrating the failed attempt. More than 100,000 others have been dismissed from government jobs.

The clampdown extended to other government opponents. More than a hundred journalists and pro-Kurdish party leaders are in jail.

Kate Allen, head of Amnesty U.K., said the visit was a “vital opportunity” for May to ask “probing questions” about allegations of excessive use of force and ill-treatment in detention.

May’s office said Britain urged Turkey “to ensure that their response is proportionate, justified and in line with international human rights obligations.”

May and Turkish leaders are also expected to discuss the conflict in Syria and efforts to reunite Cypru

Theresa May ‘to discuss trade’ with President Erdogan on Turkey visit

Theresa May is set to discuss a post-Brexit trade deal with Turkey during weekend talks in the country with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The prime minister arrived in Ankara from the US, where she met President Trump.

A new trading relationship with Turkey following the UK’s exit from the European Union would form part of discussions, Number 10 said.

The PM is also expected to discuss security, Mrs May’s spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman added: “They will be discussing a new trade relationship [and] a strategic security partnership.”

It comes as Brexit Secretary David Davis predicted a “round of global trade deals” would be “fully negotiated” within 12 to 24 months, coming into force when the UK leaves the EU.

The government plans to begin the formal two-year Brexit process by triggering Article 50 by the end of March.


Analysis – By defence and diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus

Both Ankara and London find themselves in a position where they need friends. Many fear that Turkey – a key Nato ally – is heading towards a more authoritarian future under President Erdogan.

He is clamping down on dissent and press freedom, pushing his country further away from the prospect of EU membership and in the process drawing strong criticism from European governments.

Mrs May arrives as an advocate of “global Britain” – this policy a necessity following the Brexit decision.

The UK has a strong security relationship with Turkey – an ally in the fight against so-called Islamic State (IS) – and she will also be seeking preliminary understandings on bilateral trade.

But she will need to show her domestic critics that the growing emphasis on trade in Britain’s relationships abroad does not come at the expense of values such as human rights.


Mrs May’s first prime ministerial visit to Turkey comes as President Erdogan is increasing pressure on opponents following the failed military coup in July 2016.

Asked whether Mrs May would raise human rights concerns since the coup, the spokeswoman said Britain had “expressed our strong support for Turkey’s democracy and institutions following the coup”.

In further unrest, 39 people were killed in an attack on a New Year’s Eve party at a nightclub in Istanbul.

IS said it was behind the attack and the militant group was linked to at least two other attacks in Turkey last year.

Trump says he might not like Putin once he gets to know him

President Donald Trump said Friday it was “too early” to start discussing lifting sanctions on Russia, whose leader he will speak with Saturday, though he indicated his interest in warmer ties.

Earlier Friday, though, top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News that lifting US sanctions on Russia would be up for discussion when the two countries’ leaders talk.

“All of that is under consideration,” Conway said when asked specifically whether lifting sanctions approved by the Obama administration would be considered.

Friday night, however, a senior administration official said the current plan was not to lift the Russian sanctions.

Saturday’s phone call will be the first phone conversation between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin since the inauguration. Vice President Mike Pence also will join the call.

“I hear a call was set up and we will see what happens,” Trump said regarding sanctions during a White House news conference.
“We’re looking to have a great relationship with all countries,” Trump added. “If we can have a great relationship with Russia and China and all countries, I’m all for that.”
He added, “How the relationship works out, I won’t be able to tell you that (until) later. I’ve had many times where I thought I’d get along with people and I don’t like them at all.”
Trump also said there was “no guarantee” on a path forward.
The President said he hopes to have a good rapport with Putin but that it was possible they would be adversaries.
“I hope we have a fantastic relationship. That’s possible, and it’s also possible that we won’t. We will see what happens,” he said.
Obama imposed sanctions on Russia throughout his eight years as president and earlier this month expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the United States for alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Obama’s administration also sanctioned a host of Russian banks, defense contractors and energy companies in 2014 for Russia’s continued support for separatists in Ukraine and earlier in the year the administration imposed a range of measures, including asset freezes and travel bans, in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
'Engage but beware': PM cautions Trump on Putin

‘Engage but beware’: PM cautions Trump on Putin 03:52
Trump spoke warmly of Putin throughout the 2016 campaign, even questioning whether Russian interests hacked Democratic organizations as part of an attempt to influence the election — a determination made by the US intelligence community.
“The Democratic National Committee would not allow the FBI to study or see its computer info after it was supposedly hacked by Russia,” Trump tweeted earlier this month. “So how and why are they so sure about hacking if they never even requested an examination of the computer servers? What is going on?”
During the campaign, Trump said he didn’t think “anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC,” arguing instead that it could have been “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”
Trump has also said, as he did earlier this month as a news conference, that if Putin likes him, that is a good thing.
Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, slammed the Trump administration for considering lifting sanctions on Russia.
“For the sake of America’s national security and that of our allies, I hope President Trump will put an end to this speculation and reject such a reckless course,” McCain said. “If he does not, I will work with my colleagues to codify sanctions against Russia into law.”
McCain added that it would be “naive and dangerous” for Trump to think Putin isn’t an enemy to the United States.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer confirmed Friday that Trump would speak with Putin on Saturday, as well as leaders from France and Germany.