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The Trump administration on Thursday approved the sale of 210 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 37 launchers to Ukraine, a deal valued at $47 million.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko quickly expressed gratitude to President Donald Trump for making the sale, while the Russians were considerably less pleased.
“I’m thankful to President Donald J. Trump and his entire team for supporting Ukraine in this important and historic decision,” Poroshenko wrote on Facebook.
“Only unity and solidarity will stop the Russian aggressor and preserve the Free World from his maniac ambitions!” he added, in case anyone had any doubts where those Javelins would be aimed.
“Ukraine is a critical ally to the United States, and I am so pleased to see our country provide this long-overdue assistance in Ukraine’s fight to push back against growing Russian aggression. Providing lethal aid to Ukraine shows that the United States is serious about protecting the interests of our nation and our allies,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), who chairs the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats.
“The deal will support President Trump’s claims that he has been tougher on Russia over Ukraine than the Obama administration,” the Financial Times anticipated. “Mr. Trump’s predecessor in the White House imposed economic sanctions on Russia but refused to provide Ukraine with lethal arms, fearing it could provoke Moscow into ratcheting up a conflict that has already claimed more than 10,000 lives.”
The Pentagon, however, said the proposed sale would “help Ukraine build its long-term defense capacity to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity” without changing the military balance of power in the region.
Ambassador Kurt Volker, the U.S. special representative for negotiations with Ukraine, argued that an anti-tank missile is an entirely defensive weapon because it “sits in a box and doesn’t get used unless you have a tank coming at you.”
Implicit in this seemingly tautological argument is that Russia has nothing to worry about if its denials of supporting separatist militia forces in Ukraine are true as there is no way the separatists could acquire tanks without Russian support.
The process of approving the missile deal has been underway since December when President Trump initially approved the sale and notified Congress. Congress could block the sale within the next 30 days, although this is seen as an unlikely outcome.
Russia’s response to Thursday’s news has been restrained so far, but back in December, the Russian Foreign Ministry thundered that the U.S. “in a certain sense crossed the line” by announcing its “intention to transfer weapons of direct damaging action to Ukraine.”
“American weapons can lead to new victims in our neighboring country, to which we cannot remain indifferent,” the Foreign Ministry said, which is why Volker needled the Russians about anti-tank missiles being entirely harmless if there are no tanks available to use them on.
The anti-tank missile deal features prominently in analyses that find U.S.-Russian relations at a post-Cold War low point, or perhaps even worse than they were during much of the Cold War. Diehard true believers in Trump-Russia conspiracy theories will not easily digest the undeniable truth that the Trump administration is much harder on Russia than its predecessor ever was, especially in Ukraine and Syria.
The major anomaly in this tougher Trump administration stance is that President Trump has a tendency to speak well of Russian President Vladimir Putin — which is either a clever diplomatic ploy, a sign of chaos within the Trump administration, President Trump speaking in his characteristic off-the-cuff manner about Putin qualities he admires, or President Trump saying nice things about Putin because he knows it drives the U.S. media crazy, depending on who you ask.
The stress points Russia is using to expand its geopolitical influence are all relics of the Obama administration: the Islamist chaos unleashed by the Arab Spring, which Obama badly misread as a flowering of enlightened democracy; the growing power of Russia’s partner in the Middle East, Iran; the disastrous Obama intervention in Libya; Obama allowing Russia to take control of the Syrian civil war; and Putin’s skulduggery in Ukraine. Criticism of how Donald Trump plays the cards he has been dealt is fair enough, but no one should deny Barack Obama dealt the cards.
It remains to be seen just how many chips Putin is willing to put on Ukraine, which was intended to be the first of several steps to restore Russia as an imperial power, or at least convince Russian voters to see one when they look in the mirror.
Others see Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for Ukraine separatists as part of a subtle “hybrid warfare” effort waged by China and Russia to weaken the West without the kind of overt provocation that might provoke a strong response from the U.S. and its allies. The Javelin missile sale may help pressure the Russian leader into deciding if he wants to play any more cards in a Ukraine gambit that continually threatens to spiral out of his control.
Nikki Haley Breaks with Trump: ‘We Shouldn’t Have Followed Him, and We Shouldn’t Have Listened to Him’
Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, believes that former President Donald Trump “let us down.”
Haley’s remarks come as the former president’s legal team prepares to present its defense of Trump during his second impeachment trial in the Senate.
In a Politico interview published Friday, Haley, former South Carolina governor, said that “we shouldn’t have followed” Trump.
“We need to acknowledge he let us down,” she said in an extensive profile. “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”
She also told the outlet that she has not spoken to Trump since the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, and takes issue with his remarks condemning former Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to reject the Electoral College vote.
“When I tell you I’m angry, it’s an understatement,” she expressed. “I am so disappointed in the fact that [despite] the loyalty and friendship he had with Mike Pence, that he would do that to him. Like, I’m disgusted by it.”
The former ambassador, who many people are speculating may run for the White House in 2024, also added that Trump will never accept the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“There’s nothing that you’re ever going to do that’s going to make him feel like he legitimately lost the election,” she explained. “He’s got a big bully pulpit. He should be responsible with it.”
Haley also warned that many people still love the former president and will not stop supporting him just because he is out of office.
“I know how much people love Donald Trump,” she admitted. “I know it. I feel it. Whether it’s an RNC room or social media or talking to donors, I can tell you that the love they have for him is still very strong. That’s not going to just fall to the wayside. Nor do I think the Republican Party is going to go back to the way it was before Donald Trump. I don’t think it should.”
Haley added that people, instead, should “take the good that he built, leave the bad that he did, and get back to a place where we can be a good, valuable, effective party.”
“[I]t’s bigger than the party,” she insisted. “I hope our country can come together and figure out how we pull this back.”
Referring to Haley’s possible 2024 ambitions, Politico’s Tim Alberta wrote, “Since last fall, I’ve spent nearly six hours talking with Haley on-the-record. I’ve also spoken with nearly 70 people who know her: friends, associates, donors, staffers, former colleagues. From those conversations, two things are clear. First, Nikki Haley is going to run for president in 2024. Second, she doesn’t know which Nikki Haley will be on the ballot.”
Haley also said that she didn’t believe Trump had a chance of winning in a 2024 election scenario.
“I don’t think he can,” she admitted. “He’s fallen so far.”
“I think his business is suffering at this point,” she added. “I think he’s lost any sort of political viability he was going to have. I think he’s lost his social media, which meant the world to him. I mean, I think he’s lost the things that really could have kept him moving.”
WATCH: Trump’s Defense Team Absolutely Ruins Democrats With 13 Minute Montage of “Fight” Word Like Trump Did
The Democrats demonized President Trump for using the word ‘fight’. Trump’s attorneys responded today with a collage of clips from each of the Democrats in the room using the word ‘fight’.
This portion of today’s events on Capitol Hill was excellent. The Democrats claim that because President Trump used the word ‘fight’ in his speech on January 6th in Washington D.C. However, what every Democrat in that room forgot was that they too had used the word previously in political speech.
The montage went on for 13 minutes. (The video montage starts at 7:10 timeframe.)
WATCH: Trump Attorneys Destroy House Managers on Lying to American Public and Using Manipulated Tweet as Evidence
President Trump’s defense team took the floor of the US Senate on Friday in defense of President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial.
Trump Attorney David Schoen absolutely destroyed the House Managers when he took to the floor of the US Senate.
At one point Schoen played video of the Democrat lawmakers lying about a Trump tweet.
House Impeachment Manager Eric Swalwell gave a riveting performance on Wednesday reading off Trump’s tweets with emotional appeal.
During this theatrical performance, Swalwell read off a Trump retweet by Jennifer Lynn Lawrence.
But there was one problem with the tweet. It was photoshopped.
Jennifer Lynn Lawrence has never been verified by Twitter. Democrats faked that to make it look more important.
On Friday Trump Attorney David Schoen destroyed Democrats for lying about this to the American public.
White House Suspends Deputy Press Secretary For Allegedly Sexually Harassing, Threatening Reporter
The White House announced on Friday that it was suspending Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo after a report surfaced alleging that he sexually harassed and threatened a female reporter who was getting ready to publish a report revealing that he was dating a reporter who had previously been tasked with covering Democrat Joe Biden.
“The confrontation began on Inauguration Day, January 20, after [Politico reporter Tara] Palmeri, a coauthor of Politico’s Playbook, contacted [Axios political reporter Alexi] McCammond for comment while one of her male colleagues left a message for Ducklo,” Vanity Fair reported. “Ducklo subsequently called a Playbook editor to object to the story, but was told to call the Playbook reporters with his concerns. But instead of calling the male reporter who initially contacted him, Ducklo tried to intimidate Palmeri by phone in an effort to kill the story. ‘I will destroy you,’ Ducklo told her, according to the sources, adding that he would ruin her reputation if she published it.”
“During the off-the-record call, Ducklo made derogatory and misogynistic comments, accusing Palmeri of only reporting on his relationship—which, due to the ethics questions that factor into the relationship between a journalist and White House official, falls under the purview of her reporting beat—because she was ‘jealous’ that an unidentified man in the past had ‘wanted to f***’ McCammond ‘and not you,’” the report added. “Ducklo also accused Palmeri of being ‘jealous’ of his relationship with McCammond.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said following the report that Ducklo has been suspended for a week over the incident.
“TJ Ducklo has apologized to the reporter, with whom he had a heated conversation about his personal life,” Psaki wrote on Twitter. “He is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President.”
TJ Ducklo has apologized to the reporter, with whom he had a heated conversation about his personal life. He is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) February 12, 2021
“In addition to his initial apology, he has sent the reporter a personal note expressing his profound regret,” she continued. “With the approval of the White House Chief of Staff, he has been placed on a one-week suspension without pay. In addition, when he returns, he will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico.”
With the approval of the White House Chief of Staff, he has been placed on a one-week suspension without pay. In addition, when he returns, he will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) February 12, 2021
Reporters called out the administration over the incident, highlighting how the Trump administration did not treat reporters that way as well as issues with the timeline of events with regard to the White House taking action to address the incident.
“The Vanity Fair piece indicates that Politico editors reached to the WH after the incident first occurred and the WH acknowledged it was inappropriate,” Spectator editor Amber Athey wrote on Twitter. “But they clearly didn’t have any interest in disciplining Ducklo until his behavior was made public.”
The Vanity Fair piece indicates that Politico editors reached to the WH after the incident first occurred and the WH acknowledged it was inappropriate. But they clearly didn't have any interest in disciplining Ducklo until his behavior was made public @PressSec pic.twitter.com/T3mTLPcdid
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) February 12, 2021
New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi wrote on Twitter: “I covered Donald Trump for 6 years. It is saying something that this behavior — from a Biden official — shocks me.”
I covered Donald Trump for 6 years. It is saying something that this behavior — from a Biden official — shocks me.
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) February 12, 2021
Grabien founder Tom Elliott highlighted the following remarks that Biden made a few weeks ago: “If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot, on the spot. No if, ands, or buts. Everybody — everybody is entitled to be treated with decency & dignity.”
Biden 3 weeks ago: "If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot, on the spot. No if, ands, or buts. Everybody — everybody is entitled to be treated with decency & dignity." pic.twitter.com/0QDHnyU3Jo
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 12, 2021
CNN anchor Jake Tapper responded to the quote, writing: “Standards that are not upheld are not standards. They’re lies.”
Standards that are not upheld are not standards. They’re lies. https://t.co/7b1InypvBT
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 12, 2021