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It is not often that President Trump’s genius son-in-law Jared Kushner, his senior adviser, gives an interview.

However, Kushner did agree to appear on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on Monday for a brief segment:

Hannity was very good and did not interrupt once.

Jared Kushner speaks in complete sentences, which is a rarity in today’s English-speaking world, especially the US.

His main points were about the necessity for prison reform and achieving a far-reaching, peaceful solution in the Middle East.

This is well worth watching. Who knows when he will appear again on the airwaves?

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President Donald Trump had a successful G20 meeting on November 30 and December 1, 2018 in Buenos Aires.

The American president and his first lady Melania left Washington on Thursday, November 29, arriving in Argentina that night:

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner went to receive an award from Mexico’s outgoing president. This was for his work on the new North American trade agreement, USMCA:

In fact, USMCA was signed at the G20 on Friday, November 30:

Congress now has six months to ratify it.

Attendees appeared in a group photo. If you’ll notice, Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel is not in it, as her flight was delayed because of technical difficulties:

This was the president’s schedule for Friday:

That evening, G20 participants and their spouses attended a cultural event at the Colón (Columbus) Theatre in Buenos Aires. By then, Angela Merkel had arrived and had taken part in the second photo op, not shown here:

The next video shows the Trumps arriving at the theatre, along with Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner shortly afterwards:

The president tweeted his appreciation …

… and told Americans to watch Hannity on Fox News Network that night for a preview of developing news:

Bombshell news was due to break on Hannity on Monday, December 3, however, that has been postponed because of the death of George H W Bush, announced on Friday.

Before going into the events of December 1, not only did Trump wear a G20 pin, he also did not sign the group’s commitment to fight climate change. He did not need to — job done:

N.B.: the photo is from 2017.

This was Trump’s schedule for Day 2 of the G20 meeting:

The Trumps issued a formal statement in memory of President Bush:

The president spoke with former president George W Bush:

That morning, the Trumps also visited the American embassy in Buenos Aires.

In the afternoon, Trump met with Merkel as scheduled. Excerpts from the pre-meeting press conference transcript follow:

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much everybody. It’s a great honor to be with Chancellor Merkel, who is my friend. We have a great relationship and a great working relationship, I think very important. And we are talking trade. We’re talking defense. We’re talking about many things …

CHANCELLOR MERKEL: …

(As interpreted.) Well, let me say I’m very glad we have the opportunity for this bilateral meeting. We shall address issues related to trade, multilateral issues, and also fair trade and the World Trade Organization. We will also talk about bilateral relations, Ukraine, Syria, and the violations of the INF treaty by Russia.

So there’s quite a lot to do, quite a lot on our plate for this relatively short time …

Q Mr. President, have you spoken to President George W. Bush?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes, I have. And Jeb also. And I expressed deepest sympathies. Angela and I were just talking about it. He was a wonderful man. And you may want to just explain your little meeting with him. I found it very interesting.

CHANCELLOR MERKEL: Yes. I was in (inaudible), in the White House, visiting George Bush. And he’s the father, or one of the fathers, of the German unification, and we will never forget that.

THE PRESIDENT: I found that very interesting.

So we extended our best wishes. And he was — he was a very fine man. I met him on numerous occasions. He was just a high-quality man who truly loved his family. One thing that came through loud and clear, he was very proud of his family and very much loved his family. So he was a terrific guy and he’ll be missed. And he led a full life, and a very exemplary life too, I will say …

A gala dinner took place that evening:

Afterwards, the meeting between the US and China took place:

A major step was the Chinese stance on ‘fentanyl’. I put the word in quotes, because Xi had already declared regular fentanyl a controlled substance in 2015. Since then, fentanyl has taken on new forms and those are what this new declaration is about.

Puppet String News explains the gravity of the fentanyl situation:

Not only is this a major victory brokered between Trump and XI, but this will quite literally be a major defeat against the Deep State…As the opioid Fentanyl is a major drug that the Deep State funds it’s operations with. Tens of thousands of Americans have died after being exposed to Fentanyl over the last few years in America, and also this is an opioid that also profits Mexican drug cartels and gangs like MS-13…So China declaring today that Fentanyl will now be a controlled substance is a major victory on multiple fronts.

A statement by Trump’s press secretary Sarah Sanders says, in part:

… people selling Fentanyl to the United States will be subject to China’s maximum penalty under the law.

On Trade, President Trump has agreed that on January 1, 2019, he will leave the tariffs on $200 billion worth of product at the 10% rate, and not raise it to 25% at this time. China will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries. China has agreed to start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately.

President Trump and President Xi have agreed to immediately begin negotiations on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture. Both parties agree that they will endeavor to have this transaction completed within the next 90 days. If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10% tariffs will be raised to 25%.

It was also agreed that great progress has been made with respect to North Korea and that President Trump, together with President Xi, will strive, along with Chairman Kim Jong Un, to see a nuclear free Korean Peninsula. President Trump expressed his friendship and respect for Chairman Kim.

On board Air Force One on the flight back to Washington, Trump spent time with reporters. On December 2, the AP reported highlights, including the following:

The White House says President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have reached a 90-day ceasefire agreement on new economic tariffs to allow for continuing trade negotiations …

Tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods were set to rise from 10 percent to 25 percent in the new year, and Trump was considering duties on even more Chinese goods.

The White House says if the two sides don’t reach agreement within 90 days, then Trump will impose the tariffs.

Also:

… his next meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is likely to happen in January or February.

The president tells reporters that there are three sites under consideration, but he’s not identifying them.

Trump, speaking aboard Air Force One on his return from Argentina, tells reporters that he and Kim are “getting along very well” and have a “good relationship.”

He adds that at some point he’d like to invite Kim to the United States.

So, this year’s G20 summit has been another overseas success for President Trump.

Would that Americans realised and appreciated how much he accomplishes on their behalf.

Last week, Jeff Sessions resigned as attorney general.

He left the Department of Justice (DoJ) on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.

Asking Sessions to resign was President Trump’s first action after the mid-terms on November 6.

Finally!

Now, maybe, justice can be done!

The acting attorney general (AG) was formerly Sessions’s chief of staff. His name is Matt Whitaker.

Trump was clever and did not promote Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, to the post. Because Sessions had recused himself, Rosey had been overseeing the Mueller probe. Now that Whitaker has been given the responsibility of overseeing Mueller, the Left — Democrats and the media — have said that the United States is experiencing a ‘constitutional crisis’.

Fox News’s Howard Kurtz explains why (emphases mine):

Whitaker is a former prosecutor, as well as a conservative activist, but he is obscure. He is a Trump loyalist, once described as the president’s “eyes and ears” at DOJ.

What’s more, as a CNN contributor and at other times, he has trashed the Mueller investigation that he will now be overseeing. He’s suggesting that Justice could curtail the special counsel’s probe by cutting his funding.

“The truth is there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign,” Whitaker once said. As for the left, “the last thing they want right now is for the truth to come out, and for the fact that there’s not a single piece of evidence that demonstrates that the Trump campaign had any illegal or any improper relationships with the Russians. It’s that simple.”

So Whitaker has, to put it mildly, a rather dim view of the investigation. And his associates are telling reporters he has no intention of recusing himself. Of course not — that’s why Trump wants him.

So it’s a big deal that oversight of the Russia probe is moving from Rosenstein, who likes the job Mueller is doing, to a man who’s been so critical of the investigation. And criticism from House Democrats who’ll soon be in a position to scrutinize these matters is fueling the story.

Rumour has it that Robert Mueller might be wrapping up his investigation soon, possibly next week. If true, whether that is related to Sessions’s resignation is unclear.

As acting AG, Whitaker can stay in that position for up to 210 days. Whitaker was appointed to his former chief of staff role in 2017, therefore, he requires no Senate confirmation.

Whitaker quickly protected his Twitter account, which was all about sports, although you can see a photo of him lifting weights. He’s no pencil-necked geek. He’s a big man with a shaved head (similar to Mr Clean). One of Whitaker’s tweets featured a similar photo with the caption:

What I do in my free time. #powerclean #CrossFit…

VA Online News has an interesting article about Whitaker and how he got the AAG job. The article purports that White House aides thought Rod Rosenstein’s resignation was imminent, so they went about finding a replacement:

Convinced that the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, was ready to resign after the revelation that he suggested President Trump was unfit for the job, senior White House aides got to work last weekend installing a replacement.

Whitaker received a phone call on Saturday, November 3:

Matthew G. Whitaker, the chief of staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, would become the acting No. 2 official at the Justice Department, his White House counterpart, John F. Kelly, told him over the phone on Saturday morning, according to two people briefed on the call. To the White House, he was an obvious choice: a confident former college football player and United States attorney whom Mr. Kelly has privately described as the West Wing’s “eyes and ears” in a department the president has long considered at war with him.

By Monday, Rosenstein had decided to stay at the DoJ for the time being, therefore, Whitaker could not be moved into his slot.

Interestingly, had Whitaker become DAG, replacing Rosenstein, he would not have been able to supervise the Mueller probe:

thanks to complex department rules, Mr. Whitaker would not assume control of the inquiry if he ever replaces Mr. Rosenstein.

Some think that Whitaker could become the permanent AG if he performs well as AAG. Even if he doesn’t, there are other roles open to him:

Administration officials have also mentioned Mr. Whitaker as a possible successor to Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel who plans to leave in the fall.

Justice Department and White House spokespeople declined to comment. The back-and-forth between the White House and Justice Department were described by more than a half-dozen administration officials and others briefed on the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal conversations.

President Trump is said to have an easy rapport with Whitaker, who disapproves of Mueller potentially probing the Trump family finances.

In 2016, he was critical of Hillary Clinton’s server situation:

A reasonable prosecutor may ask, if on numerous occasions, an unknown State Department employee had taken top secret information from a secured system, emailed that information on a Gmail account, and stored the information on a personal server for years, would that individual be prosecuted? I believe they would.

Eighteen US AGs have demanded that Whitaker recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller probe. On Friday, November 9, Fox News reported:

More than a dozen U.S. state attorneys general signed a document Thursday calling for Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation, a role he assumed following his temporary appointment following the resignation of Jeff Sessions …

As part of Whitaker’s new role as the head official at the Justice Department, he will oversee the Russia probe and the agency’s other federal investigations, including the New York prosecutors’ look into the finances of Trump and his former aides.

In an op-ed Whitaker wrote last year, he argued that “any investigation into President Trump’s finances or the finances of his family would require Mueller to return to Rod Rosenstein for additional authority under Mueller’s appointment as special counsel.”

“It is time for Rosenstein … to order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation to the four corners of the order appointing him special counsel,” Whitaker wrote. “If he doesn’t, then Mueller’s investigation will eventually start to look like a political fishing expedition. This would not only be out of character for a respected figure like Mueller, but also could be damaging to the President of the United States and his family — and by extension, to the country.”

And separately, in July 2017, Whitaker told CNN, “I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced with a recess appointment, and that attorney general doesn’t fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces his budget to so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt.”

Whitaker is adamant about refusing to recuse.

The Left — Democrats and the media — are in a right tizz at the moment.

Whitaker’s DoJ could look at all types of left-wing scandals from the past several years.

He could get a lot done in 210 days, especially as he has the little-known but brilliant Ezra Cohen-Watnick, 32, working at the DoJ. Cohen-Watnick formerly worked for HR McMaster, who fired him from the National Security Council. Trump fired McMaster earlier this year.

Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner think highly of Cohen-Watnick, who has an intelligence background. In April 2018, Trump personally told the DoJ he wanted Cohen-Watnick to work with Jeff Sessions. That did not sit well with the Left, either, because it was rumoured he had shown Rep. Devin Nunes classified documents relating to Nunes’s FISA investigation of the 2016 election.

With Whitaker and Cohen-Watnick working together, who knows what the near future might hold? We could well see some sunlight disinfecting the Swamp. 

Although the new US embassy opened in Jerusalem a fortnight ago, I did not have time to sort through links and tweets of the event until now.

Background

During his presidency, Bill Clinton pledged to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Subsequent presidents did, too, but only President Donald Trump actually followed through.

On December 5, The Conservative Treehouse posted on this historic move (emphases mine below):

In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, requiring the movement of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The act said that Jerusalem should be undivided and be recognized as the capital of Israel. The legislation passed 93-5 in the Senate, and 374-37 in the House of Representatives. (link)

Following passage, all subsequent Presidents never carried through with the law; each signing national security waivers to delay moving the U.S. Embassy.

The most recent waiver lapsed at midnight last night; President Trump did not extend another waiver. It is now reported that President Trump has been in discussions with various mid-east leaders to notify them of his plan to follow through on the Jerusalem Embassy Act with a six month phase-in. President Trump will deliver a speech tomorrow outlining the plans …

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) applauded the move. Note how long ago the move was to have taken place:

Trump met with a lot of opposition, the rationale being that a move to Jerusalem would exacerbate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The pope publicly expressed his ‘deep worry’.

On December 6, President Trump held a press conference to say, in part:

Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage, but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.

Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.

Promises made, promises kept:

On December 18, Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have nullified Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. She said, in part:

I have been the proud Representative of the United States at the United Nations for nearly a year now. This is the first time I have exercised the American right to veto a resolution in the Security Council. The exercise of the veto is not something the United States does often. We have not done it in more than six years. We do it with no joy, but we do it with no reluctance …

It is highly regrettable that some are trying to distort the President’s position to serve their own agendas.

What is troublesome to some people is not that the United States has harmed the peace process – we have, in fact, done no such thing. Rather, what is troublesome to some people is that the United States had the courage and honesty to recognize a fundamental reality. Jerusalem has been the political, cultural, and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people for thousands of years. They have had no other capital city. But the United States’ recognition of the obvious – that Jerusalem is the capital and seat of the modern Israeli government – is too much for some.

On December 21, a vote came up before the UN General Assembly. Only eight countries stood with the United States: 128 nations voted against. Haley said, in part:

When we make generous contributions to the UN, we also have a legitimate expectation that our good will is recognized and respected. When a nation is singled out for attack in this organization, that nation is disrespected. What’s more, that nation is asked to pay for the “privilege” of being disrespected …

The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation. We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.

America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do, and it is the right thing to do. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that.

But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the UN and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the UN. And this vote will be remembered.

On Christmas Eve, Guatemala decided to move their embassy to Jerusalem.

On December 27, The Daily Caller reported that a proposed new railway station in Jerusalem might be named after Trump:

The nation’s transportation minister Israel Katz said Wednesday that the station, if approved and built, will be a thank you to Trump for his “courageous and historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel.”

The run-up to the new embassy

In April, Trump congratulated Israel on her 70th anniversary as a nation:

On April 24, he said:

Trump did not attend. First Lady Melania Trump underwent a previously scheduled procedure on her kidney on Monday, May 14, the day of the embassy’s opening. He also rescheduled a fundraiser which was to have taken place that day.

One week earlier, the White House announced the delegation headed to Jerusalem. The Washington Free Beacon reported:

Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will lead the delegation to Jerusalem for the May 14 events.

Joining Sullivan will be Ambassador David Friedman, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt.

President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will not attend.

Meanwhile, in Israel that day:

The excitement continued. By May 10, Israelis showed their enthusiasm for Trump:

A commemorative coin went on sale, marking Israel’s 70th anniversary and the embassy’s move. It compares President Trump to King Cyrus.

On Friday, May 11, Trump tweeted:

That day, the State Department issued a statement about the dedication ceremony, adding:

While in Jerusalem as the Head of Delegation, Deputy Secretary Sullivan will also meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Hotovely, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General Yuval Rotem, and members of both our Embassy and Consulate General staff.

Preparations in Jerusalem continued:

Fox News’s Judge Jeanine Pirro went to Jerusalem and interviewed locals and tourists. Most were overwhelmingly pro-Trump. One man said:

He’s a strong man. He knows what he’s doing.

Former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was annoyed with CNN’s criticism of the embassy move:

Ivanka Trump said:

.: “With great joy, I am returning to Jerusalem. I am honored to join the distinguished delegation representing President Trump, at this momentous ceremony commemorating the opening of our new US Embassy in , Israel.”

Sunday, May 13, was Jerusalem Day:

The American delegation arrived:

Before streets shut down:

This video has more on the Israeli bikers.

Excitement continued to build:

May 14, 2018 — opening day of the new embassy

The new — albeit temporary — embassy opened on Monday, May 14.

The ceremony was in the afternoon, Jerusalem time, 9 a.m. EST in the US.

The Jerusalem Post‘s front page is memorable. The paper’s poll said that two-thirds of Israeli Jews support the move. Also read their editorial ‘NO HOLDS BARRED: Jerusalem on fire with gratitude to President Trump’.

The White House issued a statement about the new embassy.

Reporters and guests gathered:

Below are tweets from the dedication ceremony (full video here):

Pastor Hagee delivered the Benediction. Pastor Robert Jeffress also offered a prayer:

Trump appeared via video link:

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is standing next to Ivanka Trump:

That evening, other commemorative events and speeches took place:

The vice president gave a speech via video link:

In closing, this is what Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Missouri) had to say:

It is probably the one time he has ever truly agreed with Trump. (Why can’t Trump get more appointees through? Mitch is stalling!)

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