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Donald Trump’s team views Iran, not Russia, as major threat to US

All four of the persons selected by U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump for the top U.S. national-security posts are committed to replacing the outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama’s #1 military target, Russia, by a different #1 military target, Iran.

Eric Zuesse

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Published with the permission of the author. First appeared on strategic-culture.org

Saudi Arabia dominates above all other nations as a supplier of suicide bombers, and its royal family dominates as the world’s top financial backer of Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups, but incoming President Donald Trump has chosen to lead his national-security team, only people who blame Iran and not Saudi Arabia, as being the main source of international terrorism.

Iran has long been the #1 military target in the view of Michael Flynn, the chosen Trump National Security Advisor; and of James Mattis, the chosen Trump Secretary of Defense; and of Dan Coats, the chosen Trump Director of National Intelligence; and of Mike Pompeo, the chosen CIA Director.

Coats’s appointment to become the DNI in Trump’s Administration is a clear indication that Trump intends to refocus American foreign policy away from Russia as being America’s #1 enemy, to Iran as being that.

Like Lt. General Michael Flynn, who will be Trump’s National Security Advisor; and like Marine General James Mattis, who has been selected to be the head of the Defense Department; and like the next CIA Director, Mike Pompeo; Dan Coats views Shiite Iran, and not ‘America’s ally’ (the rabidly anti-Iranian) Sunni Saudi Arabia, as being the source of 9/11 and other terrorist acts against the U.S. and Europe.

However, in fact, Al Qaeda is funded mainly by the Sunni-fundamentalist Saudi royal family. Al Qaeda is a fundamentalist Sunni armed force, and it condemns Shiites; it is hostile toward Iran, not in any way an extension of Iran. ISIS, too, is Sunni-fundamentalist, and kills Shia. And all four men have said that America should, at least at the start, try to work with Russia against such ‘terrorists’ (meaning mainly against Iran, which actually produces vastly fewer terrorists than America’s Sunni-fundamentalist ‘allies’ do).

Russia has long been allied with Iran, and could provide the U.S. government crucial help to conquer Iran. The idea is to persuade Russia to sell-out Iran, instead of for Trump’s foreign policy to start off by continuing to treat Russia as being America’s number-one enemy (such as U.S. President Barack Obama did despite Obama’s having famously mocked Romney’s «Russia, this is, without question, America’s number one geopolitical foe»).

This means that President Trump intends to make a deal with Russia’s President Putin, for Russia to separate from and isolate, and so allow America’s (and/or Israel’s) military to defeat, Iran. (Invasions, after all, can be extremely profitable, for some people.) Also, for Marine General James Mattis and the entire Marine Corps, who have long craved revenge against the Iranian-backed suicide-bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983, conquering Iran would be a long-delayed sweet victory.

That terrorist act was against America’s support for Israel against Palestinians, which was one of the very few anti-Western jihadist acts that were Shiite-fundamentalist instead of Sunni-fundamentalist.

This foreign policy is based upon false assumptions, especially that terrorists are fundamentalist Shiites instead of fundamentalist Sunnis — such as they actually are. All of the 9/11 hijackers were fundamentalist Sunnis, and 15 of the 19 were Saudis. Virtually all Islamic terrorists except against Israel, are fundamentalist Sunnis. That’s just a fact — but one that the American aristocracy refuse to acknowledge publicly, because America’s aristocracy is allied with the Saudis and other Arabic, fundamentalist-Sunni, royal families: America’s ‘allies’ finance Al Qaeda and other such groups.

So, this is not a foreign policy that’s actually designed to overcome the terrorist threat against the United States (since jihadism doesn’t come from Iran but does come from America’s Arab ‘allies’), but it is a foreign policy that’s designed to continue the pretext for America’s overspending on the military (very profitable for the U.S. aristocracy). That, more than anything else, is what the U.S. aristocracy (who control the ‘defense’ firms such as Raytheon etc.) demand from their agents in the U.S. Congress and White House.

Even conquering Russia (in order to take its oil and gas etc.) isn’t as important to them as keeping the ‘defense’ (i.e., aggression) budget astronomically high. Obama’s method of meeting the aristocracy’s requirement was to boost strategic nuclear forces against Russia and to claim that he was doing it mainly against Iran and held no hostility against Russia. He lied in order to hide his plan — a plan in cooperation with the Gulf Arab countries and America’s vassal-states in Europe — to conquer Russia.

Here [with my comments in brackets] is from a speech that Senator Coats, the newly appointed DNI, delivered in the Senate on 17 November 2015:

* * *

We, the United States, need to show the world that threats to our principal freedoms are entirely unacceptable. Unfortunately, President Obama continues to fail to provide the American people with the leadership we so desperately need…

President Obama, in a shockingly dismissive tone, doubled down on his so-called strategy to deal with this global threat. What has his strategy to date accomplished? Well, ISIS [the most-fundamentalist of all Sunni sects] has expanded into more than half a dozen countries…

Time after time, the President has shown he simply doesn’t get it. In 2012, he boasted Al-Qaeda was on the path to defeat. In 2014, he dismissed the Islamic State as the «JV team», saying that ISIS «is not a direct threat to us nor something that we have to wade into». Last Thursday he said, «I don’t think [the Islamic State] is gaining strength» and saying «we have contained them». What will it take for this President to wake up and see what is happening around the world as a result of the ever-expanding threat of ISIS terrorism?..

I called for a diplomatic effort to persuade Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar [all three of which were actually allied with the U.S. in supporting Al Qaeda in Syria to overthrow and replace the Russia-allied Syria’s legitimate government, which is headed by the non-sectarian Shiite Bashar al-Assad], and other regions [all being Sunni] to join with us to resist more forcefully ISIS aggression.

Last year I called for much greater security assistance for our potential partners in the fight against ISIS… I said we also needed to find effective ways to support and directly arm the reliable, vetted Sunni tribes and Sunni leaders in Iraq who are essential partners in combatting ISIS extremism that ultimately are Sunni Islam’s greatest threat. 

[This is analogous to asserting that Dominionist fundamentalist Christians are ‘Christianity’s greatest threat’ — the greatest threat to Christianity. One might as well say that Orthodox or fundamentalist Jews are the greatest threat to Judaism. But Coats is himself a Dominionist fundamentalist Christian — a member of the super-secret «The Family» group of Washington insiders who aspire for the U.S. to take over the world for Christians. And he’s not saying that such Dominionist fundamentalist Christians are «Christianity’s greatest threat».] …

We need their engagement. They are in the crosshairs of ISIS. Why haven’t they stepped up? [The reason why is that the Saudis hire jihadists to attack and overthrow only other governments, not their own; same for the Thanis who control Qatar, and for all the other Arabic royal families: to overthrow only foreign governments, not their own.]… As I said, we also need to find effective ways to support the Sunni tribes and Sunni leaders. 

[He wants only Sunni Muslims as allies; no Shiites — this means that the leadership in both Iran and Syria need to be overthrown, not worked with.]… I have called for increased specialized military action by our own Armed Forces — intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and special forces — not a massive invasion. [This is exactly Obama’s approach.] …

Our bombing campaign — this strategy of bombing against ISIS targets — has been far from adequate. [He wants the Obama approach but more intense.]… Contrast this anemic bombing campaign with the bombing campaign before the first Gulf War, which was several thousand sorties a day.[He wants to get those American bomb-factories humming again at full capacity.] …

My bill would… recognize the reality that exists here in terms of abuse of the Visa Waiver Program or the possibility of abuse and inserting terrorists into the United States… When introducing this, I remember the response: Oh, that is too tough. Nothing is too tough these days to keep Americans safe. …

We need a comprehensive, realistic, articulate plan if we are going to destroy ISIS, and NATO action should be part of that plan…

Admiral Stavridis also suggests the possibility of forming some type of a coalition with Russia. We are seeing a strong Russian response today — last evening — once it was determined and proven the Russian airliner was brought down by a bomb and by ISIS. [He deceives there: Russia has consistently opposed jihadists and fundamentalist Islam itself; only the U.S. and its allies have supported jihadism, when it serves to defeat Russia or any government that’s friendly toward Russia. Coats knows this.] 

ISIS has taken credit for it, and ISIS will receive the wrath of the Russian military as a result [again repeating that lie about Russia], in direct contrast to what we have done for attempts on our own people. I am not a big fan of Putin. I am not a big fan of the current Russia government.

I spoke out strongly about Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, and have strongly advocated for Russia’s diplomatic isolation. In fact, I so strongly advocated for it that Russia put me on a list of seven people who are banned from entering Russia for life. Well, I have been to Russia, and I don’t need to go back. So it is no big deal. Apparently it was a big deal to them. But now we are facing an emergency situation.

Russian forces are deployed in Syria. Russian efforts need to be coordinated with NATO efforts, if we go the NATO route. We are already coordinating in terms of some of our flights. As we learned in 1941, national emergencies can create strange bedfellows…

In conclusion, let me say this. In 2014, the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, said:

Our last message is to the Americans: Soon we will be in direct confrontation, and the sons of Islam have prepared for such a day. So watch, for we are with you, watching.

This is the enemy we are dealing with. This is not some vague threat; this is a direct threat. We have seen how they carry out their direct threats, and we stand in the crosshairs.

* * *

There is no evidence whatsoever that either the Iranian regime, or any other Shia Muslims, participated in, or knowingly assisted, the 9/11 attacks. The 9/11 attackers were 100% Sunni and almost entirely Saudi — and the 9/11 Commission Report devoted only two of its 585 pages (240-241) to the topic, «Assistance from Hezbollah and Iran to al Qaeda» and was unable to find anything against Iran other than the Iranian regime’s attempts pre-9/11 to have cordial relations with both Al Qaeda and the Saudis.

The U.S. government never sought cordial relations with Iran, except when America’s coup-imposed stooge, the brutal Shah, infamous for torturing all opponents, headed Iran. Those attempts at rapprochement with the Saudis and their agents, bore no fruit. To the contrary, the Saudis, during Obama’s regime in the U.S., increased their hostility against Iran.

After 9/11, Iran sided with the U.S. even against Al Qaeda, but the U.S. government has even blamed Iran for 9/11, while covering-up the massive evidence that the Saudis had actually financed the 9/11 attacks. The U.S., under Obama, even sided with Hitler against Russia and Russians — and even against Jews. Obama was every bit as depraved a liar as was George W. Bush, but depended upon votes from the opposite Party of suckers of the U.S. aristocracy.

Regarding Mike Flynn, his international-affairs viewpoint is well summarized by the anti-Russian, but even more anti-Iranian, conservative commentator, Michael J. Totten, writing in the neoconservative World Affairs journal, headlining «How Trump’s General Mike Flynn Sees the World», and it’s remarkably similar to the views that were propounded there by Dan Coats. This is more an anti-Iranian neoconservatism, than an anti-Russian neoconservatism (which was backing Hillary Clinton).

Flynn is openly anti-Muslim, but that’s only because he erroneously equates what is actually fundamentalist-Sunni Islam, with Islam itself; and then he misattributes Shia Islam — and especially Iran — with that (alleged ‘Muslim’ threat), and he assumes that the jihadists who endanger Americans, the actually fundamentalist Sunnis who are financed actually by the U.S. aristocracy’s allies the Saudis and other fundamentalist-Sunni royal Arabic families, will somehow be able to become destroyed by an alliance between the U.S. government and those actual funders of jihadists (plus perhaps Russia, if Putin will agree to join Trump’s war against IRAN — not against the Saud family etc.).

It’s stupid, but apparently it’s sincere — not intended merely to advance Flynn’s career serving the U.S. oligarchy (who are even more obsessed to conquer Russia, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were hoping to achieve, than they are to conquer Russia). Thus the U.S. aristocracy hate Trump’s guts even though he himself is a member of America’s aristocracy.

Marine General James Mattis, whom Trump has chosen to head the ‘Defense’ Department, is similarly focused against Iran and Shia Islam (including Hezbollah) as the main source of jihadism, and as being America’s number-one enemy. Consequently, on 4 December 2016, Mark Perry at Politico headlined «James Mattis’ 33-Year Grudge Against Iran», and he attributed Mattis’s obsessive hatred of Iran to the 23 October 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, by an Iranian, during the Lebanese civil war — an event that had turned the Marine Corps (the entire institution) rabid against Iran.

Perry wrote that «It was also this Iran obsession that led Obama to force Mattis’ retirement back in January 2013». Referring to Obama’s National Military Strategy, Perry wrote: «The gravest threat to America, according to the document, is not ‘Iran, Iran, Iran’ [as Mattis insisted], but ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’». Obama would not keep any general who failed to share his hatred of Russia.

At the far-right Heritage Foundation, on 13 May 2015, Mattis delivered a lecture in which he stated that jihadists are mainly Iranian or Shia (actually they’re almost 100% fundamentalist Sunnis, not Shia, and that’s one of several historical falsehoods in Mattis’s lecture). The only other major source of it that he even identified there was «the Muslim brothers in Cairo for a year» — by which he referred to the temporary Muslim Brotherhood rule of Egypt, from 30 June 2013 to 3 July 2013.

He didn’t mention there, for example, as being the main Sunni source of jihad, Al Qaeda, or ISIS — he gave as the main Sunni example of what he referred to as America’s number-one enemy, or «political Islam», the one example in which it was democratically elected into power (which jihadist groups never are).

He treated that «political Islam» which he identified as America’s top enemy, as being a threat that comes from the masses of Muslims (the Sunni public for example who voted Mohamed Morsi into Egypt’s Presidency) and not at all from the the Sunni elite (the royal families who own the Arabic nations that are allied with the U.S. aristocracy). He mentioned Sunni leaders only as being allies of America. Mattis is targeting only Iran’s aristocracy and public, and their supporters abroad.

As regards the next CIA Director, House Republican Mike Pompeo, Ryan Costello of the National Iranian American Council, bannered on 23 November 2016, «Trump CIA Pick Hyped Facts On Iran, Downplayed Costs Of War», and he wrote: «Pompeo has been a fierce ideological opponent of the Iran nuclear accord and gone out of his way to work to roll back the multilateral agreement. Perhaps most disconcertingly, Pompeo has downplayed the costs of bombing Iran», and «fought tooth and nail to prevent the deal from being struck».

Pompeo’s record is clear that he wants the U.S. to invade Iran. Furthermore, «Pompeo’s last tweet prior to his selection as Trump’s future CIA Director stated ‘I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism’». This common neoconservative allegation — that Iran, instead of the Saudi royal family, is ‘the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism’ — contradicts the massive and compelling evidence, but now the U.S. CIA will be tasked to go full-bore ‘documenting’ this vicious, and bloody dangerous, lie.

Even Donald Trump’s opponent, the hater of Russia Hillary Clinton, said in her private communications:

«We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region».

and, «Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide».

She never mentioned that those «donors» — as Glenn Greenwald noted on 25 August 2016 — happened to have «donated between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation, with donations coming as late as 2014, as she prepared her presidential run. A group called ‘Friends of Saudi Arabia,’ co-founded ‘by a Saudi Prince,’ gave an additional amount between $1 million and $5 million».

Those same people who funded the Clintons and Bushes had funded also Osama bin Laden. And, the Saud family own Saudi Arabia: the Saud family and the government of Saudi Arabia are the same entity. Like bin Laden’s former bagman said, «Without the money of the — of the Saudi you will have nothing». The Saud family are enemies of the American people, but to both Democratic and Republican Administrations, the Saud family, the Saudi government, are America’s ‘allies’.

Consequently, Donald Trump, like his predecessor, Obama, blames Iran, not Saudi Arabia — not the royal Saudis, who own Saudi Arabia — for Islamic terrorism. Trump, apparently, shares President Obama’s 100% backing of immunity for the dictatorial Saudi royal family’s financing the 9/11 attacks and for their continuing to finance Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups.

Obama had said that if the leaders of Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be immune for perpetrating 9/11, then American Presidents could similarly be prosecuted by other nations, perhaps (for example) like for Obama’s bloody coup overthrowing Ukraine’s democratically elected and Moscow-friendly President in 2014.

America’s mainstream news media supported him on that immunity for all international leaders, and even Britain’s liberal Guardian also reported favorably on Obama’s support for sovereign immunity (which puts The West now against — for example — the Nuremberg Tribunals, as merely victors’ ‘justice’ in the eyes of The West’s aristocracies today). (Hitler would be pleased.) Obama’s blaming Iran for such jihadists, will thus almost certainly be continued by President Donald Trump, and there will be no ‘draining of the swamp’ accountability, such as Trump had campaigned on.

Even the American public approve of President Obama’s Presidency; so, they’re not bothered by his having constantly lied to them. The 9/11 victim-families are thus chillingly ignored by both the American public, and the American aristocracy (who actually control the government). Trump need not worry, so long as his words feed the standard (aristocracy-created) myths, which both Trump and Obama do very effectively.

Maybe the only good thing that one can reasonably say about Donald Trump as U.S. President is that, unlike his electoral opponent Hillary Clinton, he’s not heavily committed to forcing World War III. In fact, unlike her (and President Obama), he’s not (at least not yet) at all committed to conquering Russia. But still, America’s aristocracy rules; only now they’re aiming to conquer Iran, instead of to conquer Russia. They’ve chosen a less dangerous, more vulnerable, target, for the time being.

But as regards destroying jihadists, that’s still not their top foreign-policy, national ‘security’, objective. Conquest is. It’s still a neoconservative regime, just a less dangerous variety of that.

The American people have already been conquered by the American aristocracy. It has been done by lies, and by the public’s tolerance of being lied-to.

So, the people in Iran have sound reason now to be very worried.

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Damaged goods Saudi Crown Prince MbS remains political thorn in Trump’s side (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 20.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump said his administration plans to stand by Saudi Arabia amid the Khashoggi crisis.

In a statement on Tuesday, Trump said he intends to maintain Washington’s strong ties to Saudi leaders, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), despite the “unacceptable and horrible crime” committed against Jamal Khashoggi.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Trump’s decision to stand by the House of Saud and the Crown prince, as US lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and mainstream media outlets, have denounced Trump’s statement.

Meanwhile a G20 summit looms in Argentina, where MbS will be in attendance sitting side-by-side with other G20 leaders.

Within the Saudi Kingdom Prince Ahmed, King Salman’s only surviving full brother, has returned to Riyadh after 2-1/2 months abroad, in what many analysts believe to be a bid by the exiled brother to wrestle away the throne from the Crown Prince.

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Read Trump’s full statement below:

America First!

The world is a very dangerous place!

The country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” Iran is considered “the world’s leading sponsor of terror.”

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave. They would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism.

After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!

The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone. Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder. After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body.

Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!

That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!

I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction – and they are free to do so. I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America. After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels – so important for the world. As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!

Via The Middle East Eye


Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan called Trump’s comments a “betrayal” of American values, accusing the president of putting his personal relationships and “commercial interests” above US interests.

Ryan said the White House should make public any evidence it may have that would contradict an earlier CIA conclusion that bin Salman ordered the assassination of Khashoggi.

“An innocent man, brutally slain, deserves better, as does the cause of truth and justice and human rights,” Ryan said in a statement Tuesday.

He also called on the US Congress to act where Trump has apparently failed. “In this failure of leadership from President Trump, it now falls to Congress to stand up for America’s true values and lasting interests,” Ryan said.

Washington Post editor Karen Attiah, who edited Khashoggi’s columns at the newspaper, called the White House’s statement “juvenile” and “clumsy”.

She also condemned the US president for repeating a “Saudi lie” in his statement, which Trump used to convey Saudi assertions that Khashoggi was “an enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, claims the journalist’s family has refuted as baseless.

In a column published on Tuesday afternoon, Attiah went on to say that Trump’s handling of the crisis emboldens repression and endangers journalists around the world.

“If the administration continues down this path, it will further destroy whatever is left of America’s moral credibility on global human rights and freedom of expression,” she wrote. “It puts truth-seekers and journalists who dare challenge the Saudi regime and other intolerant governments in grave danger, no matter where they live.”

US lawmakers call for MBS to be held accountable

Several members of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate also expressed their dismay at the president’s vow to stand alongside Saudi Arabia despite Khashoggi’s killing.

Bob Corker, the retiring Republican chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, accused Trump of acting like a public relations agent for the Saudi government.

The incoming US House Intelligence Committee chairman, Adam Schiff, said Trump’s statement harms Washington’s standing in the world.

“To say ‘maybe he did and maybe he didn’t,’ or that we are incapable of finding out the truth, or that knowing the truth our silence can be bought with arms sales, undermines the Presidency, credibility of our intelligence professionals, and our role as a champion of human rights,” the congressman said on Twitter.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, said she was “shocked” by the president’s decision not to impose consequences on the Saudi crown prince, also known as MBS, for the murder.

“I plan to vote against any future arms sales and appropriation to Saudi Arabia. I also believe that the United States should consider sanctions against the crown prince and that the Saudi ambassador to the United States should not be allowed to continue in that role,” Feinstein said in a statement.

Left-wing Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also condemned Trump’s “rambling and dishonest” statement.

Sanders dismissed the White House’s assertion that Tehran, not Riyadh, is to blame for the war in Yemen.

“Trump is clearly very afraid of the prospect of the Senate delivering a serious rebuke to his policy by voting to end U.S. support for the Yemen war. But that is exactly what we will do when we vote on SJ Res 54 next week,” Sanders wrote on Twitter.

Senior Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said although international diplomacy requires dealing with “bad actors and imperfect situations,” the US should not lose its “moral voice” at the world stage.

“While Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally, the behavior of the Crown Prince – in multiple ways – has shown disrespect for the relationship and made him, in my view, beyond toxic,” Graham wrote on Twitter.

“I firmly believe there will be strong bipartisan support for serious sanctions against Saudi Arabia, including appropriate members of the royal family, for this barbaric act which defied all civilized norms.”

Saudi officials have repeatedly denied that the crown prince had any knowledge of the plan to murder Khashoggi or cover up the crime. Still, human rights groups, journalists, UN experts and others have pointed the finger at MBS, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, saying it’s impossible the crown prince was not involved.

Former CIA chief John Brennan, meanwhile, urged the US intelligence agency to release its finding on the murder, criticising Trump’s dishonesty.

“Since Mr. Trump excels in dishonesty, it is now up to members of Congress to obtain & declassify the CIA findings on Jamal Khashoggi’s death. No one in Saudi Arabia – most especially the Crown Prince – should escape accountability for such a heinous act,” he wrote on Twitter.

Brennan has been an outspoken critic of Trump, and previously had his security clearance revoked by the White House.

Iran’s foreign minister weighs in

Trump also used his statement on Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia Tuesday to criticise the Iranian government, saying strong ties between Washington and Riyadh were necessary in “the fight against Iran”.

Shortly after the US president’s comments were made public, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Trump’s decision to bring Tehran into the crisis was “shameful”.

“Mr. Trump bizarrely devotes the FIRST paragraph of his shameful statement on Saudi atrocities to accuse IRAN of every sort of malfeasance he can think of,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.

Zarif then made a dig at Trump’s suggestion – which came over the weekend after a massive, deadly wildfire ravaged parts of California – that Finland prevents wildfires by raking leaves.

“Perhaps we’re also responsible for the California fires, because we didn’t help rake the forests – just like the Finns do?” the Iranian foreign minister asked sarcastically.

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The Geopolitical Strategy Of The US’ Global Hegemony By A Notorious Russophobe Zbigniew Brzezinski

The achievement of a New World Order after 1990 is being tested for some time in Washington.

The Duran

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Authored by Vladislav Sotirovic via Oriental Review:


If we have to use force, it is because we are America.

We are the indispensable nation.

(Madeleine K. Albright, February 1998)[1]

Madam Secretary

As a matter of very fact, regardless to the reality in global politics that the Cold War was over in 1989, Washington continued to drive toward the getting the status of a global hyperpower at any expense for the rest of the world. The Balkans undoubtedly became the first victim in Europe of the old but esthetically repacked American global imperialism. The US’ administration is a key player during the last 25 years of the Balkan crisis caused by the bloody destruction of ex-Yugoslavia[2] in which Washington played a crucial role in three particular historical cases:

  1. Only due to the US’ administration (more precisely due to the last US’ ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmermann), a Bosnian-Herzegovinian President Alija Izetbegović (the author of the 1970 Islamic Declaration) rejected already agreed Lisbon Agreement about peaceful resolution of the Bosnian crises which was signed by the official representatives of the Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks in February 1992. Alija Izetbegović was one of those three signatories. The agreement was reached under the auspices of the European Community (the EC, later the European Union) that was represented by the British diplomat Lord Carrington and the Portuguese ambassador José Cutileiro. However, under the US’ protection, a Bosnian-Herzegovinian Bosniak-Croat Government declared independence on March 3rd, 1992 which local Serbs decisively opposed. Therefore, two warmongers, Warren Zimmermann and Alija Izetbegović pushed Bosnia-Herzegovina into the civil war which stopped only in November 21st, 1995 by signing the Dayton Accords in Ohio (Slobodan Milošević, Bill Clinton, Alija Izetbegović and Franjo Tuđman).[3]
  2. It was exactly the US’ administration which crucially blessed the ethnic cleansing of the Serbs from the Republic of Serbian Krayina committed by Croatia’s police and army forces (including and neo-Nazi Ustashi formations) on August 4−5th, 1995. For the realization of this criminal operation (under the secret code Storm/Oluja) Washington gave to Zagreb all logistic, political, diplomatic and military support. As a consequence, around 250,000 Croatia’s Serbs left their homes in two days which were quickly occupied by the Croats.[4]
  3. South Serbia’s Autonomous Province of Kosovo-Metochia was firstly occupied in June 1999 by the NATO/KFOR’ forces and later in February 2008 politically separated from its motherland when Albanian-dominated Kosovo’s Parliament proclaimed the formal independence primarily as a direct consequence of the Serbophobic policy by the US’s administration of President Bill Clinton and his warmongering hawk Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. Today, Kosovo, except its northern part, is ethnically cleansed from the Serbs[5] and transformed into a mafia state with a silent blessing by Washington and the rest of the Western gangsters from the NATO and the EU who recognized its quasi-independence.[6]

Here is very important to stress that, basically, during the Bill Clinton’ administration, the US’ foreign policy in regard to the Balkans (ex-Yugoslavia) was primarily designed and directed by Madeleine K. Albright who became a chief US’ war criminal at the very end of the 20th century. Who was Mrs. Albright – the author of Madam Secretary: A Memoir, New York: Talk Miramax Books, 2003, 562 pages.[7] Madeleine K. Albright was born in Czechoslovakia in 1937. She was confirmed as the 64th US’ Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001. Her career in the US’ government included positions in the National Security Council and as US’ ambassador to the United Nations. The highest-ranking warmonger female hawk in the history of the US’ Government was telling an unforgetable whitewashed story of lies in her memoirs of the US’ imperialism at the turn of the 21st century. She was the first woman in the US’ history to be appointed to the post of Secretary of State (Minister of Foreign Affairs). For eight years during the first and second Bill Clinton’s terms, she succeeded drastically to ruin America’s image of a democratic and freedom fighting country mainly due to her direct and crucial involvement into the US-led NATO’s aggression on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (the FRY) in 1999 composed by Serbia and Montenegro that was the first aggression of this organization in its 50 years long history of the preparation for the invasion of Russia. The aggression lasted for 78 days from March 24th to June 10th, 1999 and was one of the most brutal and barbaric in the modern history of the world breaking all international laws, rules of war and, most important, the Charter and principles of the UNO. Madeleine K. Albright tried in her memoirs to whitewash her extremely important and even crucial participation in the post-Cold War US’ policy of imperialism but primarily her focal role in the preparation and conduction of the US/NATO’s unprecedented war on the FRY as being one of the most influential policy-makers in her adopted country. The Madam Secretary’s memoirs are firstly the story of a woman of great warmongering character with a fascinating talent to lie and whitewash the truth. Her memoirs are surely a valuable contribution to the political history of aggressive diplomacy of the project of the US’ global hegemony after the collapse of the USSR. But who was her mentor?

Former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright

If we are speaking about the US’ foreign policy, the fundamental question is what are the US policy’s interests and its implications in both the Balkans and Europe.

The US’ involvement in the Balkans and Europe

The achievement of a New World Order after 1990 is being tested for some time in Washington. We have to keep in mind that for some first 20 years after the end of the Cold War, the strongest military and economic power, the leaders of the NATO and the UNO, the initiators of the international peacekeeping missions and negotiations in the regions of „failed states“ in which they provoked the crises and wars, especially at the Balkans, the champions against the international terrorism and crime that was a reaction to their dirty foreign policy of unmasked imperialism and global hegemony, were the USA.[8] Nevertheless, the US’ interests in the Balkans cannot be understood apart from a larger picture of the American interests in Europe in general.

There are many American scientists and politicians who argued that a leadership in Europe will either be American or it will not be, since France and Germany (the axis-powers of the EU) were not too strong to take over and Germany was still in the 1990s too preoccupied with the consequences of its reunification (i.e., the absorption of the DDR). However, the recent (on November 11th, 2018) French President Emmanuel Macron’s initiative to create a joint European Army shows that probably the Europeans finally became enough matured to maintain security in their own home by themselves but not anymore under the umbrella of the US-led NATO. The question, in essence, is not if, but what kind of leadership the US has and will have in the case that the current post-Cold War’s international relations are not going to be drastically changed? In this respect, the US need to be aware that the best leadership is the one shared with other partners, in this case with the EU/NATO, more specifically France, Germany, and Britain but, of course, Russia have to be seriously taken into the consideration too. With the involvement of Russia into a common European security system on the bases of equal reciprocity, friendship and partnership, the final aim will be to obtain a common vision and an efficient coordination in conflict management, as well as in political and economic cooperation. At such a way, the cases of violent destructions and civil wars, for example on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia, will be avoided for sure.

U.S. Marines escorting Yugoslavian soldiers in Kosovo to be handed over to Yugoslavian authorities

The US’ political analysts are keen to suggest that the American presence in Europe should not be regarded as a competition, but rather as a part of the transatlantic partnership between the two continents, as well as a necessity demonstrated by the sad experience in the former Yugoslavia. According to official Washington, the NATO’s intervention in both Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995 and Kosovo in 1999 (in both cases against the Serbs) under the US’ leadership was the only credible action along with many initiatives taken by the international community.[9] However, on the other side, military intervention is in many cases creating more political and security problems for a longer period of time. It is understandable that the US cannot assist apathetically to the collapse of countries vital to their own interest but such principle is valid to be applied for any great power too. Besides, regional instability only expands, engaging other areas and creating new confrontations. Thus, the economic support offered to some countries, and the military one offered to others shows that the US formally believe in the regional stability as an enforcer of the international stability but in reality only if such stability is put under the umbrella of Washington’s interests and benefits. The case of Kosovo is, probably, the best example of such practice: by bringing a formal stability this province of Serbia is put at the same time under the full Western (primarily American) political control and economic exploitation.[10]

In supporting the NATO’s expansion, there is a hesitation in treating all aspirant countries in a non-discriminatory fashion. And that, because interests are more important than global security, can be the reason. The advocates of the „Pax Americana’s“ view of the global security would publically say that they are not propagating the US as the savior of the world, or the world’s policeman, but they are just the most fervent supporters of the global peace and stability. However, in the practice they are working oppositely: as many as conflicts and insecurity issues in the world, there are more chances and practical opportunities for Washington to become the regional policeman and global savior of the order.[11] In their relationship with other NATO’s countries, the USA regard the process of integration in the Euro-Atlantic space (i.e., the area of the US’ control and administration) as a two-way street in which each partner needs to accomplish its tasks. An addition to those is, of course, the geostrategic position (Turkey instead of Greece, for instance, in the 1974 Cyprus crisis) and short, medium and long-term declarative promises like the economic gratification of security which can at the end to be turned to its opposite side. For instance, the US’ offering military, political and financial assistance to the countries of East-Central and South-East Europe as a mean to build up their security shield against „aggressive“ Russia can be easily transformed into their very insecurity reality coming from the US’ imperialistic policy toward Russia as there were already the cases with Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 as the „Pax Americana’s“ approach in international relations is as its countereffect just provoking the Russian (and Chinese) counteraction in enhancing its own nuclear and other military potentials as Vladimir Putin exactly stressed during his electoral campaigns.

The US’ geopolitical strategy by Zbig

(Vietnam) war criminal Henry Kissinger (ex-US’ Secretary of State), summarized the post-Cold War’s international relations from the American geopolitical viewpoint:

„Geopolitically, America is an island off the shores of the large landmass of Eurasia, whose resources and population far exceed those of the United States. The domination by a single power of either of Eurasia’s two principal spheres – Europe or Asia – remains a good definition of strategic danger for America, Cold War or no Cold War. For such a grouping would have the capacity to outstrip America economically and, in the end, militarily“.[12]

It is not surprising that in the 1990s there were raised voices in Washington which required that the US has to find a way of dominating Eurasia at any reasonable cost. The US’ neocon warmongering hawks, like Zbigniew Brzezinski, recognized that the area of the enlarged Middle East (with the Balkans, North Africa, and Central Asia) is from the strategical viewpoint, economically, ideologically and above all geopolitically at the center of the Eurasian issue. However, the US’ neocon hawks’ much wider global geopolitical aims which were coming closer to the aim to continue domination in the Middle East were launched during the Bill Clinton’s presidency as a result of a wider shift in the American foreign policy’s profile led by Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright (“Madam Secretary”) and her extremely Russophobic mentor Zbigniew Brzezinski (known as Zbig).

Warsaw-born Zbig (1928−2017) was a focal personality in the US’ foreign policy’s elite establishment since President Jimmy Carter’s administration in which he was a National Security Advisor. During the Ronald Reagan’s administration, Zbig was the main mediator between Washington and its clients in Afghanistan – the anti-Soviet Taliban forces and Osama bin-Laden with whom Zbig has several common photos (in 1979) on which he is training Osama to operate with just donated American guns to fight the Soviets. Further, Zbig has a great influence on the first Bill Clinton’s administration and he was at the same time an early advocate of the NATO’s eastward expansion (started in 1999). It is assumed that it was exactly Zbig who was instrumental in getting the US’ President Bill Clinton to commit himself to this course of the American imperialism in 1994. Furthermore, Brzezinski’s influence on the US’ foreign policy became stronger during the second Clinton’s administration through a Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright – his former pupil at Columbia University. It is worth to note that Albright was working under his supervision in Carter’s administration. If we have to summarize Zbig’s chief imperatives of the US’ imperialistic global policy and geostrategy of the making America world’s hegemon, they are going to be as follows:

  1. To prevent collusion and maintain security among the US’ vassal states (the NATO/EU).
  2. To keep tributaries pliant and protected.
  3. To keep the barbarians (the Russians and their supporters) from coming together.
  4. To consolidate and perpetuate the prevailing geopolitical pluralism in Eurasia by manipulation in order to prevent the emergence of a hostile coalition that could finally attempt to challenge the US’ supremacy in the world.
  5. Those that must be divided and eventually ruled are Germany, Russia, Japan, Iran, and China.[13]

Former US national security advisor Zbigniew Former US national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski

The American direct and infamous participation in the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia in 1991−1995 followed by the 1998−1999 Kosovo’s War can be understood, therefore, as the steps in the realization of Zbig’s geopolitical strategy of making America global hegemon. The US-led bombing of Serbia and Montenegro from March to June 1999 (78 days) was carried out by enlarged NATO and the UNO was only called at the end to sanctify the resulting colonial policy of Washington. The aggression on Serbia and Montenegro was formally justified by a reference to the TV-show plight of Kosovo’s Albanians, developing at the same time the new doctrine of the „humanitarian imperialism“. We have to keep in mind on this place that the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s were fought in a geographical area which is the crucial courtyard of the Eurasian continent that is as such opening a direct way to the ex-Soviet republics on the shores of the Caspian and the energy sources they control.[14] Nevertheless, Kosovo’s War became for the US the genuine precursor of its later invasion of Iraq in 2003.

„Madam Secretary“ was a firm advocate of bombing Serbia and Serbs in Washington primarily due to the direct influence by notorious Russophobe Zbig who saw the Balkan Serbs as „little Russians“ and the Balkan wars of the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia as a testing ground for the US’ policy throughout the whole Caspian and Central Asian area. However, in addition, being an advocate for the US’ oil companies wishing to establish their business on the territory of ex-Soviet Union in the Caucasus and Central Asia, Zbig regarded the American political and geostrategic supremacy in this region as a crucial aim of the US’ foreign policy in the 1990s. In order to accomplish his aim, among other manipulations and instruments, Zbig championed the American support to the Islamic Pakistan, the Taliban Afghanistan (till 9/11) and the Islamic resurgence in Saudi Arabia and even Iran.[15]

Multidimensional aspect of security

It is true that globalization, stability, and security offer to the countries a greater capacity to cooperate and focus on the economic prosperity of its citizens but in practice, this particularly means much more important businesses and more money for the US’ economy and citizens. Today, security has multidimensional aspects. If during the Cold War security only had a military-political component, today it has gained a new aspect – the economic one. The non-military aspects of security comprise everything from macroeconomic stability to environmental health. The proponents of the US’ global hegemony will all the time argue that where there is a harmony (established by the US) and well-being the chances of conflicts to erupt are smaller and the gain is exclusively financial and economic (primarily for the US).

There is, of course, a combination between interest per se and their consequences. To illustrate, the case of Macedonia could be interesting. Macedonia at the first glance benefits of the US’ military presence on her territory since 1991 as it is a geostrategic spot in the Balkans of the highest importance. As a matter of fact, this military presence maintained Macedonia’s economic level at a higher standard than some of the other countries in the area up to 2001, despite the fact that was still the poorest of the former Yugoslav six republics affected by two economic embargos by Greece in 1991−1993. Macedonia was illustrated till 2001, especially by the Western media, as being a success story in conflict prevention and peace maintenance primarily due to the presence of the US/NATO’s military troops. However, in 2001 erupted inter-ethnic conflict between the Slavic Macedonians and the local Albanians (supported by the Kosovo Liberation Army) what brought the question of the US/NATO’s efficiency in the region.

The NATO’s eastward expansion is a particular story of Zbig’s geostrategic designs against his eternal enemy – Russia. It is a fact that just before the NATO’s aggression on Serbia and Montenegro in 1999, this military organization accepted as the member states three East-Central European countries: Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic (the next eastward enlargement was in 2004). Therefore, the southern flank of the NATO between Hungary and Greece became now interrupted only by the territory of ex-Yugoslavia. Subsequently, such situation gave NATO a considerable strategic interest in controlling the Balkans where the Serbs were the most numerous and geostrategically important nation. However, as a direct effect of the NATO’s eastward enlargement, the Iron Curtain was moved further to the east and closer to Russia’s borders with all spectrum of the expected and unexpected consequences of such anti-Russian Drang nach Osten. Now, the Iron Curtain, once dividing Germany, it came in 1999 to run down the eastern borders of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, ending on the state-borders of the ex-Yugoslav republics, now independent states. The crux of the matter is that a decade-long process of the NATO’s eastward enlargement became at the beginning of 1999 blocked in the Balkans by the Serbs – the only ex-Yugoslav nation firmly opposing a NATO’s membership. Subsequently, it was exactly Washington to assume the role of leading the NATO to the new anti-Russian front and borders. That was the crucial reason why the Serbs had to be bombed in 1999 and Kosovo occupied by the US-led NATO’s troops in the form of the UNO KFOR. What regards this issue, both Zbig and „Madam Secretary“ were clearly speaking through the mouth of the US’ President Bill Clinton: the stability (the US’ control) in the Balkans could only be established if the EU and the USA do for this region what it was done for Europe after the WWII and Central Europe after the Cold War – occupation and economic-financial exploitation within the formal framework of the NATO’s and EU’ (the USA) enlargement.

Conclusion

The brutal expansion of the NATO is very visible since 1999 and even expected if we are taking into consideration the final aims of the US’ foreign policy in Eurasia framed by a notorious foreign policy gangster – Zbigniew Brzezinski. As a consequence, the EU is going to continue to be America’s main colonial partner in the NATO’s preparations for the war of aggression against Russia and most probably at the same time China. Subsequently, there will be a need for much work and a common will to overcome violence, injustice, and suffering in order to achieve a global security without the hegemonic dominance by any great power.[16]

Endnotes:

[1] Andrew J. Bacevich, American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy, Cambridge, Massachusetts−London, England: Harvard University Press, 2002, the page before 1.

[2] On the Western approach about a modern Yugoslav history, see in Allcock B. John, Explaining Yugoslavia, London: Hurst & Co, 2000; David Gowland, Richard Dunphy, Charlotte Lythe, The European Mosaic: Contemporary Politics, Economics and Culture, Third Edition, Harlow, Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited, 2006, Section 5.3 Yugoslavia.

[3] About the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia and particularly on the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, see in Jelena Guskova, Istorija jugoslovenske krize 1990−2000, Beograd: Izdavački grafički atelje “M”, 2003.

[4] Вељко Ђурић Мишина (уредник), Република Српска Крајина. Десет година послије, Београд: „Добра воља“, 2005, 48.

[5] On this issue, see more in Zoran Anđelović, Miroslav Marković (eds.), Days of Terror (In the Presence of the International Forces), Belgrade: Center for Peace and Tolerance, 2000; Dragan Kojadinović (ed.), March Pogrom in Kosovo and Metohija (March 17−19, 2004) With a Survey of Destroyed and Endangered Christian Cultural Heritage, Belgrade: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia−Museum in Priština (displaced), 2004.

[6] Pierre Pean, Sébastien Fontenelle, Kosovo une guerre juste” pour créer un etat mafieux, Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard, 2013.

[7] This article is a constructive-critical contribution to the new, revised and updated edition of the memoirs of the “Madam Secretary”.

[8] About the post-Cold War’s US’ foreign policy, especially through the prism of the “Bush Doctrine”, see in David P. Forsythe, Patrice C. McMahon, Andrew Wedeman (eds.), American Foreign Policy in a Globalized World, New York−London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2006.

[9] About a typical American approach on the case of Yugoslavia’s destruction in the 1990s, see in Susan L. Woodward, Balkan Tragedy: Chaos and Dissolution after the Cold War, Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1995. However, the focal lack of such books is the fact that a crucial US/EU/NATO’ role in creating Balkan tragedy and Yugoslavia’s chaos is omitted.

[10] Hannes Hofbauer, Eksperiment Kosovo: Povratak kolonijalizma, Beograd: Albatros Plus, 2009.

[11] There are well-known words by Theodor Roosevelt uttered in December 1899: “Of course, our whole national history has been one of expansion”.

[12] John Rees, Imperialism and Resistance, New York−London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2006, 18.

[13] Ibid., 19−20.

[14] About the issue of a strategic environment from the Adriatic to the Caspian, see in Stefano Bianchini (ed.), From the Adriatic to the Caucasus: The Dynamics of (De)Stabilization, Ravenna: Longo Editore Ravenna, 2001.

[15] Differently to all other American warmongers and imperialistic hawks, Zbig favors the alliance with the Shia Islamic Republic of Iran.

[16] On global security, see in Peter Hough, Understanding Global Security, Third edition, New York−London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2005.

 

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Trump hands over written responses to Mueller’s Russia probe questions

The written answers submitted by Trump Tuesday have the same legal implications as an oral testimony, meaning that if the statements are proven false, he might be accused of perjury.

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Via RT…


A lawyer for Donald Trump has confirmed that the US President has submitted answers to the questions penned by FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. The questions refer to the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Moscow.

“The president today answered written questions submitted by the special counsel’s office,” Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow said in a statement, as cited by AP.

The issues Trump covered in his responses are “the Russia-related topics of the inquiry,” Sekulow said. Trump’s legal team has indicated that the president would not answer any additional questions aside from potential follow-ups. Likewise, Trump is not expected to answer any questions that refer to allegations of obstruction of justice, with his lawyers insisting that the constitution protects the sitting President from answering questions on policies he conducted while in office.

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudi Giuliani said Tuesday, that “much of what has been asked raised serious constitutional issues and was beyond the scope of a legitimate inquiry,” without elaborating.

Giuliani has not ruled out that Trump might answer further questions if forwarded by Mueller, but said that it is “unlikely we will answer any more questions.”

The contents of both the answers and the questions themselves will not be made public, Sekulow said.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Trump said he prepared the answers himself, and that it did not take him “very long.”

The written answers submitted by Trump Tuesday have the same legal implications as an oral testimony, meaning that if the statements are proven false, he might be accused of perjury.

Trump’s cooperation with Mueller’s office has been seen as a compromise. The president’s attitude toward a potential face-to-face interview with the federal prosecutor has shifted over time. Back in January Trump said that he was “looking forward” to speaking under oath. He doubled down in May, saying that he “would love” to sit down for an interview with Mueller “if treated fairly.” There have been reports, however, that the president’s legal team has been staunchly opposed to a personal encounter between Trump and Mueller and eventually talked the president out of it.

The personal interview might still happen if Mueller’s office issues a subpoena for Trump to testify. However, it would first need to be signed off on by the Acting Attorney General, the probe’s well-known critic Matthew Whitaker, and even then it could be thrown out by the Supreme Court.

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