Fusfoo Five: Politics (Russia Sanctions, Hearings, McCain)

The Sanctions Are Coming

The United States has had its fair share of political disagreements with Iran, Russia and North Korea over the years. Recently, tensions have risen to previously unseen levels and United States representatives are ready to impose sanctions on America’s enemies. 

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House of Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce recently stated that an agreement had been reached between the House and the Senate to bestow sanctions onto Iran, Russia, and North Korea.

According to McCarthy and Royce, all three nations have threatened their neighboring countries and directly went against American interests. The Senate passed sanctions against North Korea with a 419-1 vote earlier this year. Iran and Russia were added to the sanctions list a few weeks ago. After these sanctions were released, the House and Senate collaborated to allow House-passed sanctions targeting North Korea’s nuclear weaponry.

The two also addressed the original provisions that are detrimental to American job creators while beneficial to Russian power oligarchs. 

The vote on the bill will be held next week and these nations will certainly be the subject of discussion.

Read more here.

Kushner in the Hot Seat

The Senate’s investigation of Trump officials regarding collusion with Russia continued with Jared Kushner. Kushner, Trump’s political adviser and son-in-law, spent about two hours in the hot seat on Monday as the Senate grilled him with questions.

Kushner denied any collusion with Russia and said the same about his others in the administration. In a written statement released before his Senate meeting, Kushner gave the specifics of the four meetings he had with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign and presidential transition period. He even referred to the meeting led by Donald Trump Jr. with a Russian lawyer to extract damaging evidence against Hillary Clinton.

Towards the end of his testimony, he explained that his lack of disclosure about contact with foreign leaders was “prematurely submitted due to a miscommunication and initially did not list any contacts (not just with Russians) with foreign government officials.”

Kushner is the first member of Trump’s inner circle to be interrogated by the Senate. Who knows whom the Senate will want to speak to next.

Learn more here.

Hearings for Jr. and Manafort

New developments seem to appear each day regarding the investigation of Russian collusion in the 2016 election. The New York Times recently exposed Donald Trump Jr.’s secret meeting with a Russian lawyer and other members of the Trump administration that was held last June at Trump Tower. 

During an appearance on Sean Hannity’s show, Trump Jr. offered to testify under oath on the subject. The Senate Judiciary Committee decided to call his bluff and announced that he and Paul Manafort would appear at a public hearing on the matter.

Much to the dismay of their peers, committee leaders and Senators Chuck Grassley and Diane Feinstein declared that Trump Jr. and Manafort’s testimonies would be private. The two men won’t even be under oath.

According to an inside source, “…the threat of trying to force them to appear publicly and to issue a subpoena was enough to get agreement from the two to provide records and to interview them quicker than they otherwise would have liked.”

Whether the two will publicly testify remains to be seen, but this collusion case is far from solved.

Read more here.

McCain's Brain Cancer

This week, Americans learned the tragic news that Senator (R-AZ), former presidential nominee and beloved war hero, John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer.  The news was devastating, but that didn't stop some of McCain’s political opponents from using his diagnosis as an opportunity to take his place.

Kelli Ward, McCain’s Senate campaign opponent from last year, recently said, “I hope Sen. McCain is going to look long and hard at this, that his family and his advisers are going to look at this, and they’re going to advise him to step away as quickly as possible, so that the business of the country and the business of Arizona being represented at the federal level can move forward,” She even went as far to say that McCain, “owes it to the people of Arizona to step down.”

From debates in the Senate to the jungles of Vietnam, John McCain has never been one to back down from a challenge.  Despite the severity of his diagnosis, he is confident that he’ll be able to triumph over the disease.  He also had a message for those opting for his Senate spot, “I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support - unfortunately for my sparring partners in Congress, I'll be back soon, so stand-by!”

Read more here.

Presidential Pardon?

Robert Mueller’s investigation of collusion between Trump officials and Russian elites has made its way to President Trump’s personal lawyer.  It will now be up to the Supreme Court to decide if the President has the power to pardon his or herself.

The Washington Post reported that President Trump has considered pardoning all members of his family as Mueller’s investigation progresses.  Trump recently informed his twitter followers that the executive branch has the “complete power to pardon”.

American attorney and Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, Jay Sekulow isn’t so sure.  He explained that if a pardon were to be put into place, it would have to be evaluated by the Supreme Court to determine whether or not it’s constitutional.

Despite his skepticism, Sekulow admitted that he isn’t clear whether or not the President has the authority to pardon his or herself.  This is mainly because pardons are a rare occurrence.  The decision rests in the hands of the Supreme Court now.

Learn more about the power of the pardon here.

The Creative Team at Fusfoo! 

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