Trump Dump: Foreign Policy (Thead I)

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Re: Trump Dump: Foreign Policy (Thead I)

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-03-10 01:17am

The Independent

Donald Trump invites foreign tourists to the White House, then bans them
Exclusive: British Embassy reveals it has been notified by State Department that tycoon's administration has halted all visits

Donald Trump’s chaotic start as US President is now impacting British tourists to Washington DC who hope to visit the White House.

The President and First Lady, Melania Trump, jointly announced the resumption of public tours at their new home. After an intense security screening process, visitors can take a 45-minute self-guided tour.

According to the official White House statement, visitors from the UK and elsewhere can apply for places, saying: “If you wish to visit the White House and are a citizen of a foreign country, please contact your embassy in Washington, DC for assistance in submitting a tour request.”

Trump has removed Iraq from travel ban in light of Isis fight
But the British Embassy in the US capital quickly repudiated the announcement, citing the State Department: “The White House website states that foreign nationals interested in touring the White House should contact their Embassy to arrange a tour.

“However, the Embassy has been advised by the US Department of State that this is on hold.

“We are therefore unable to process any applications at this time.”

A father from west London, Julian Eccles, visited the White House during the Obama administration with his elder son in 2009, and expressed disappointment not to be able to repeat the experience with his younger son on a similar trip this year.

“There seems to be a rupture in White House-State Department relations here,” he said.

"Perhaps I should call Nigel Farage."

British travellers are able to visit the US Capitol Building, home of the Senate and House of Representatives, without fuss.

They can also book a tour of the Pentagon, though they are advised “to submit the British Embassy’s address instead of their home address”.


Now, this is just petty.
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Re: Trump Dump: Foreign Policy (Thead I)

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-10 01:31am

Trump is, as the British would say, a wanker. In other news, water is wet.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Trump Dump: Foreign Policy (Thead I)

Postby TheFeniX » 2017-03-10 01:33am

FaxModem1 wrote:Now, this is just petty.
Pretty sure at some point there's going to need to be two posts (foreign and domestic) that just lists of all the petty shit Trump has pulled using his station as Head Asshole. Seriously, one only has to check his Twitter at any given moment to see how petty the man truly is.

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Re: Trump Dump: Foreign Policy (Thead I)

Postby Flagg » 2017-03-10 03:31pm

Trump is the herpes sore on the penis of the display of the United States in the Smithsonian that America forgets about and then screams in agony as it starts masturbating, reopening the sore, and then has to reapply the cream only to forget about it a day or so later, repeating the entire the process. I don't know if it will stay on display, or if those in charge of the exhibit would do something to ease the nation's suffering.
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Re: Trump Dump: Foreign Policy (Thead I)

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-03-11 06:32am

TheFeniX wrote:
FaxModem1 wrote:Now, this is just petty.
Pretty sure at some point there's going to need to be two posts (foreign and domestic) that just lists of all the petty shit Trump has pulled using his station as Head Asshole. Seriously, one only has to check his Twitter at any given moment to see how petty the man truly is.


Asshole In Chief.

Its amazing how they seem to be averaging about a horrific scandal a day. And horrifying how that's becoming normalized.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Trump Dump: Foreign Policy (Thead I)

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-03-13 03:59pm

Bloomberg

Kushners Set to Get $400 Million From Chinese Firm on Tower
by David Kocieniewski and Caleb Melby
March 13, 2017, 8:57 AM PDT March 13, 2017, 10:44 AM PDT
Family company of president’s son-in-law in deal with Anbang
Plan is circulating among investors for more equity partners
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Jared Kushner’s Rise to Power Mirrors Trump's
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Jared Kushner’s Rise to Power Mirrors Trump's
A company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, stands to receive more than $400 million from a prominent Chinese company that is investing in the Kushners’ marquee Manhattan office tower at 666 Fifth Ave.

The planned $4-billion transaction includes terms that some real estate experts consider unusually favorable for the Kushners. It provides them with both a sizable cash payout from Anbang Insurance Group for a property that has struggled financially and an equity stake in a new partnership.


666 Fifth Ave.Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
The details of the agreement, which is being circulated to attract additional investors, were shared with Bloomberg. It would make business partners of Kushner Cos. and Anbang, whose murky links to the Chinese power structure have raised national security concerns over its U.S. investments. In the process, an existing mortgage owed by the Kushners will be slashed to about a fifth of its current amount.

The document offers a rare look at a major deal by a close Trump associate and family member. It’s unclear whether the deal could prompt federal review, as occurred when Anbang bought other properties, like the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. Anbang could also face review by the Chinese government, which has been clamping down on overseas investments and which has a range of pending issues with the Trump administration.

Controversial Visa Program

The proposed partnership is seeking additional participants through a controversial federal program known as EB-5, which is intended for economically distressed neighborhoods and provides residency permits to major foreign investors.

The deal would value the 41-story tower at $2.85 billion, the most ever for a single Manhattan building: $1.6 billion for the office section and $1.25 billion for the retail section. The new partnership will refinance $1.15 billion in existing mortgage debt.

"This is a huge, huge exit strategy for an office building," said Joshua Stein, a New York real estate lawyer. "It does sound like a home run of a transaction for Kushner and his group.”

Scott A. Singer, president of the Singer & Bassuk Organization, said the terms struck him as “aggressive but not absurd,” based on the net income and square footage metrics he was shown by Bloomberg. He said they were along the lines of what might be expected for a trophy asset at a prime location.

Conflict of Interest?

Kushner Cos. declined to discuss details of the plan or name the potential lenders or investors it is courting, saying the deal is not finalized. A company spokesman, James Yolles, said that Jared Kushner sold his ownership stake in 666 Fifth to family members so the transaction poses no conflict of interest with his White House role.

“Kushner Companies has taken significant steps to avoid potential conflicts and will continue to do so," Yolles said in a written statement.

Asked for comment, a White House spokeswoman said Kushner will recuse himself from any matter where his impartiality could be reasonably questioned, including an examination of the EB-5 program.


Jared KushnerPhotographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Some government ethics experts argue that the Kushner family and business are so close-knit that the steps Jared Kushner has taken do not go far enough. Also at issue: as-of-yet undisclosed lenders who are financing the project and the forgiveness of a portion of a $250 million loan which will allow the debt to be cleared for one-fifth of its value.

‘Sweetheart Deal’

"At the very least, this raises serious questions about the appearance of a conflict that arises from the possibility that the Kushners are getting a sweetheart deal," said Larry Noble, general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. "A classic way you influence people is by financially helping their family."

The transaction would allow the Kushner Cos.’ investment in the tower to be salvaged by lenders and businesses that could have extensive dealings with the federal government, while also permitting the Kushners to buy back into the building’s more lucrative retail spaces and maintain a 20 percent stake.

The deal would allow Vornado Realty Trust -- which is partnered with Trump in his two most valuable properties -- to exit a troubled asset with a 10-fold payout on its stake in the building’s offices and a doubling of its investment in its stores. It declined to discuss the deal.

Steven Roth, chairman of Vornado, co-chairs a committee dedicated to one of the new administration’s signature campaign pledges: infrastructure investment. Vornado is the biggest property owner in the area surrounding Manhattan’s Pennsylvania Station and could benefit from increased infrastructure spending.

Fears of Espionage

Anbang would pay a hefty price for both sections of the 666 Fifth Ave. project but score its first U.S. real estate investment of the year. The company’s ties to the Chinese government are sufficiently unclear that former President Barack Obama declined to stay at the Waldorf after Anbang bought it because of fears of espionage. Now Anbang will be business partners with in-laws of the First Family.

An outside spokesman for Anbang, Tim Ragones, declined to comment on the deal terms but denied that the company’s ownership structure is unclear. “Anbang is a highly transparent company that operates in accordance to the standards of public companies and strictly abides by applicable regulatory requirements,” he said.

Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, has become something of a de facto envoy for the administration, and was present for a meeting between Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat, and his father-in-law at the end of February. As one of the president’s closest advisers, he could have input on a wide range of issues affecting China, from national security concerns and territorial disputes to trade matters and allegations of currency manipulation. There are discussions under way between China and the U.S. on a potential summit between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to take place as early as next month.

The refinancing agreement is the latest twist in the history of a building that was Jared Kushner’s grandest conquest and nearly proved his downfall. In 2007, he purchased the tower for a then-record $1.8 billion. It was a move that signaled the company’s intention to expand beyond its extensive holdings in suburban garden apartments to more prestigious urban properties. Then the financial crisis hit. Four years later, with the investment teetering near insolvency, Vornado swooped in, getting a 49.5 percent stake in exchange for an $80 million capital injection. It then took on more of the tower in 2012, purchasing the retail spaces at the building’s base from Kushner and others for $707 million.

‘Hope Note’

An unusual consideration in the refinancing plan is the proposal to pay off a part of the mortgage known as a "hope note," which was for $115 million when Kushner Cos refinanced its debt in 2011. The loan, which was made by Barclays Plc and has since been sold off to investors, is now valued at more than $250 million because of compounded interest. But according to the deal documents, the Kushners will settle the debt for just $50 million. The Kushners declined to discuss the agreement. LNR Partners LLC, which currently oversees the debt, declined to comment.

Anbang will pay for most of the building and take out a construction loan of more than $4 billion to convert the property’s higher floors into luxury residential units. The Kushners have agreed to invest $750 million in the retail portion of the building and will end up with a one-fifth stake in a project that the deal document says would be valued at $7.2 billion when completed. In addition to the $400 million from Anbang, the Kushners will receive another $100 million from other investors.

The plan also relies on the government program known as EB-5, which grants two-year visas and a path to permanent residency to foreigners who invest a minimum of $500,000 in projects that create jobs in economically distressed areas.

Lax Vetting?

Supporters argue that the program, which is overwhelmingly used on deals involving Chinese investors, attracts foreign capital and creates jobs at no U.S. taxpayer cost. But some Homeland Security officials and the General Accounting Office have warned that lax vetting has threatened to turn the program into a mechanism for the government to sell visas to wealthy foreigners with no proven skills, paving the way for money laundering and compromising national security.

It has been used to finance high-profile developments in wealthy enclaves, however, including Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Hudson Yards. The deal for 666 Fifth Avenue, on one of the world’s most expensive shopping strips, blocks from Trump Tower, would arguably be the toniest location for an EB-5 project yet. The $850 million in EB-5 funding sought in the refinancing plan for 666 Fifth Avenue would be the largest to date.

Congress is now considering whether to renew the program and adopt new restrictions to deter the misuse of the program. The White House will ultimately be involved in that decision.


So, does this mean that visas are now, for all intents and purposes, a business?
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Re: Trump Dump: Foreign Policy (Thead I)

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-03-14 03:11am

Among other things, yes.

This is what voting for "Elite Businessman who Tells It Like It Is" means: the government starts making massive deals that benefit his cronies, as do private corporations that stand to gain from government favoritism.

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Re: Trump Dump: Foreign Policy (Thead I)

Postby Tribble » 2017-03-17 04:58pm

I'm going to throw this one under "Foreign Policy":

Trump stands by unsubstantiated claim that British intelligence spied on him
President offered no apology for allegations that have caused outrage, saying: ‘You shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox’

Donald Trump refused to back down on Friday in the face of British outrage at White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s decision to repeat an unsubstantiated claim that British intelligence had spied on the president.
Asked about the claim during a joint press conference with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, Trump said Spicer had only been quoting “a talented lawyer” who had been speaking on Fox News. “We said nothing,” argued Trump. “All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television.”

The US president added: “You shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox.”
Trump also noted of Merkel that “at least we have something in common, perhaps” – presumably a reference to reports that the US National Security Agency (NSA) monitored her cellphone.
Shortly afterwards, Spicer offered a similar defence, telling reporters: “We just reiterated the fact that we were just simply reading media accounts. That’s it.”
Asked if he regretted repeating the allegation, he said: “I don’t think we regret anything. We literally listed a litany of media reports that are in the public domain.”
The comments came after the White House scrambled to limit the damage to transatlantic relations caused by Spicer’s repetition of the claim during his regular White House press briefing on Thursday.
There was no apology from the Trump administration, which said only that the circumstances in which Spicer made the allegation at the briefing had been “explained” to British officials.

But on Thursday, the US national security adviser, HR McMaster, phoned his opposite number in the UK, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, and Spicer spoke to the British ambassador in Washington, Sir Kim Darroch, at a St Patrick’s Day event to discuss the controversy.
“Ambassador Kim Darroch and Sir Mark Lyall expressed their concerns to Sean Spicer and Gen McMaster,” a White House spokesman said. “Mr Spicer and Gen McMaster explained that Mr Spicer was simply pointing to public reports, not endorsing any specific story.”
A Downing Street spokesman said British officials had been assured Spicer would not repeat the British spying claims again. The British embassy described the conversation between Darroch and Spicer as “private”.
The flurry of transatlantic damage-limitation is the latest wave of fallout from the president’s early morning tweet on 4 March, claiming Barack Obama had wiretapped his phones.

The claim has been rejected by the Obama administration’s intelligence chief, James Clapper, and by leading Republicans and Democrats in Congress. But Trump, and his spokesman, have persevered with the allegation.
On Thursday, Spicer read from a series of press reports that he claimed supported the wiretapping allegation. In doing so, he read out verbatim a claim by Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano that three intelligence sources had confirmed to him the Obama administration used GCHQ to spy on Trump so there would be “no American fingerprints on this”.
The claim drew a rare outspoken response from the normally taciturn UK surveillance agency, GCHQ, which dismissed it as “utterly ridiculous”.
The allegation was also rejected by the British government.

“I don’t want to get into private conversations, but we’ve made clear to the administration that these claims are ridiculous and should be ignored,” a Downing Street spokesman said. “We’ve received assurances these allegations won’t be repeated. We have a close relationship which allows us to raise concerns when they arise, as was true in this case. This shows the administration doesn’t give the allegations any credence.”
Asked whether Spicer had been told not to repeat the claims, the spokesman said: “Indeed.”

The chair of the UK’s intelligence and security committee said that the allegation of GCHQ surveillance was “potentially damaging” in an apparent warning that that the row could threaten co-operation between British and US intelligence agencies.

Along with counterparts from Australia, New Zealand and Canada, British and US agencies are members of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

In a statement, Dominic Grieve said: “Long-standing agreements between the Five Eyes countries means that the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand cannot ask each other to target each other’s citizens or individuals that they cannot themselves target, or in any other way seek to circumvent their own or each other’s legal and policy obligations.

“An individual can only be the target of interception by GCHQ under a warrant signed by a secretary of state. Such warrants can only authorise action where it is necessary and proportionate for a valid national security purpose. It is inconceivable that those legal requirements could be met in the circumstances described”.

Although Clapper denied that Trump or his campaign had been wiretapped, it has been reported that some Trump associates, and former campaign members, had been under investigation for their contacts with Moscow. The first Trump national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign, after failing to accurately describe his contacts with the Russian ambassador in Washington.

The FBI director, James Comey, has not responded to deadlines set down by senior senators to confirm or deny whether there is an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. He is due to appear before the House intelligence committee on Monday.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former chair of parliament’s intelligence and security committee, demanded the White House withdraw the allegations and not merely say they would not be repeated. He said Spicer never had evidence for the allegations and made them only because he was desperate to justify Trump’s claim.
He told BBC radio: “That’s just foolish and very dangerous stuff and President Trump better get a grip not only on his own press officer but on the kind of encouragement being given in the White House that makes a press officer make these stupid allegations in the first place.
“You don’t just quote from a Fox News report if you are the president’s official spokesman unless you have taken the trouble to find out if that report is justified.”

Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, described Spicer’s repetition of the claims as “shameful” and said Trump was “compromising the vital UK-US security relationship to try to cover his own embarrassment”.
Spicer had quoted Napolitano’s allegations in an effort to validate Trump’s unfounded claim that Obama tapped his phones last year. The US president accused his predecessor of tapping his phones in a series of tweets in early March, describing Obama as a “bad (or sick) guy”.
On Thursday, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate intelligence committee joined their counterparts on the House intelligence committee in concluding they had seen no evidence to support the president’s accusation.
The prime minister’s spokesman said: “I would add, just as a matter of fact, with the Five Eyes pact, we cannot use each other’s capabilities to circumvent laws. It’s a situation that simply wouldn’t arise.”


https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... ied-trump-



So Fox News is Trump's primary source of information, what a surprise.

And this is the person May considers her main "ally".
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Re: Trump Dump: Foreign Policy (Thead I)

Postby LaCroix » 2017-03-17 06:26pm

Merkel's eyes got a workout. A couple of times you could see the impending roll for a moment before she could suppress it. Especially when Trump ignored the requests for handshake in the most awkward way possible.

Understandable. Merkel is a girl, and he did not want to get cooties...
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Re: Trump Dump: Foreign Policy (Thead I)

Postby Flagg » 2017-03-17 07:16pm

LaCroix wrote:Merkel's eyes got a workout. A couple of times you could see the impending roll for a moment before she could suppress it. Especially when Trump ignored the requests for handshake in the most awkward way possible.

Understandable. Merkel is a girl, and he did not want to get cooties...

More like his version of a "handshake" where women are concerned is to grab them by the vagina, or get a handful of ass cheek. Because he's super classy in a New Jersey Dumpster Rat kind of way.
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