Categories for National Security

23,606. 4/1/2019

CONGRESS/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/WHITE HOUSE STAFF: “A whistle-blower working inside the White House has told a House committee that senior Trump administration officials granted security clearances to at least 25 individuals whose applications had been denied by career employees for ‘disqualifying issues’ that could put national security at risk, the committee’s Democratic staff said Monday [4-1-19]. The whistle-blower, Tricia Newbold, a manager in the White House’s Personnel Security Office, told the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in a private interview last month that the 25 applicants included two current senior White House officials, in addition to contractors and other employees working for the office of the president, the staff said in a memo it released publicly. The memo does not identify any of the 25 people. But one of the senior White House officials appears to be Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser. NBC News reported in January that Carl Kline, who until recently served as the head of the personnel security division and was Ms. Newbold’s boss, had overruled a decision by career security officials concerned about granting Mr. Kushner a clearance.”

Nicholas Fandos and Maggie Haberman, “White House Whistle-Blower Tells Congress of Irregularities in Security Clearances,” The New York Times online, April 1, 2019

23,321. 3/14/2019

BORDER/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/VETO/WALL: “A big National Emergency vote today by The United States Senate on Border Security & the Wall (which is already under major construction). I am prepared to veto, if necessary. The Southern Border is a National Security and Humanitarian Nightmare, but it can be easily fixed!”

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, March 14, 2019 5:44 am

23,208. 3/9/2019

ECONOMY/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “RT @WhiteHouse: Economic security is national security. That’s the principle at work as President @realDonaldTrump helps our veterans tra…”

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, March 9, 2019 11:21 pm

23,195. 3/9/2019

ECONOMY/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “RT @WhiteHouse: Economic security is national security. That’s the principle at work as President @realDonaldTrump helps our veterans tra…”

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, March 9, 2019 11:21 am

23,145. 3/7/2019

JARED KUSHNER/JOHN KELLY/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The former White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, on Wednesday [3-6-19] declined to answer questions about the existence of a memo he wrote saying that President Trump had ordered officials to give his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a security clearance in May 2018. Mr. Kelly also broke with Mr. Trump on key aspects of his approach to immigration and the NATO alliance, and said that his top concern about decisions made by the president was whether they were objectively right for the country when divorced from political concerns. Mr. Kelly, who kept his voice level during a 90-minute question-and-answer session at Duke University, would not specifically address Mr. Kushner’s clearance being ordered by Mr. Trump, which The New York Times reported last week.”

Maggie Haberman, “John Kelly, Out of White House, Breaks With Trump Policies,” The New York Times online, March 7, 2019

23,121. 3/6/2019

INTELLIGENCE/MILITARY/NATIONAL SECURITY/OBAMA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Donald Trump on Wednesday [3-6-19] revoked an Obama-era requirement for reporting civilian casualties that resulted from U.S. intelligence operations in non-combat areas across the globe. Trump struck a section of an executive order issued by former President Barack Obama that required both the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies to report on civilian casualties that occurred during their operations. There are other provisions that still require the Pentagon to report on civilian casualties caused by military operations outside of combat areas…In a statement, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council said the U.S. government is fully committed to ‘minimizing — to the greatest extent possible — civilian causalities and acknowledging responsibility when they unfortunately occur during military operations.’”

Associated Press, “Trump: Civilians Killed in Intelligence Ops to Go Unreported,” The New York Times online, March 6, 2019

23,108. 3/6/2019

INTELLIGENCE/MILITARY/NATIONAL SECURITY/OBAMA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “US intelligence officials will no longer be required to publicly disclose the number of civilians killed in airstrikes against terrorist targets ‘outside areas of active hostilities’ due to a new executive order issued by President Donald Trump on Wednesday [3-6-19]. However, given the secrecy surrounding counterterrorism strikes conducted by US intelligence agencies, it is unclear whether Wednesday’s announcement will result in less transparency about how the US conducts such operations. A spokesperson for the National Security Council declined to clarify when asked for more information by CNN. Specifically, Trump’s order lifts an Obama-era mandate for intelligence professionals to provide an ‘unclassified summary of the number of strikes’ as well as ‘assessments of combatant and non combatant deaths resulting from those strikes’ each year. The most recent published report, which was released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in January of 2017, said ‘US government’ conducted 54 strikes outside of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan during 2016, resulting in one civilian death.”

Zachary Cohen and Ryan Browne, “Trump revokes Obama order on reporting civilians killed in US airstrikes,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, March 6, 2019 6:53 pm

23,000. 3/1/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The day after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, White House national security adviser Susan Rice gathered her staff for a pep talk. About a third of the room was crying. Everyone was in shock. Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton, an upset of historic proportions that promised, at a minimum, a period of uncertainty in U.S. foreign policy. Most who joined Rice that day worked for the National Security Council, the White House’s elite group of foreign policy experts. Some were political appointees of President Barack Obama, and there was little question they’d be out of jobs by Inauguration Day. But most were career government staffers, typically detailed to the NSC from other agencies and sworn to serve under any presidential administration in a nonpartisan way. They didn’t know what to expect, but many were uneasy about Trump’s heated rhetoric on the campaign trail — his praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin, his skepticism of U.S. allies, his calls to dismantle the post-Cold War consensus on global trade.”

-Nahal Toosi, “Inside the Chaotic Early Days of Trump’s Foreign Policy,” Politico, March 1, 2019

22,980. 3/1/2019

HOUSE OF REPS/LEGAL/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “The chairman of the House Oversight Committee issued a stark warning Friday [3-1-19] to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, demanding that the White House turn over documents and comply with interviews related to how the White House handled security clearances of some of the President’s closest advisers. Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland gave the White House counsel’s office until March 4 to comply with the request..Cummings’ letter comes after The New York Times reported Thursday that the President personally intervened to secure his son-in-law Jared Kushner a security clearance, despite concerns from career officials. The President had previously denied he personally intervened…The White House did not respond to CNN’s request for comment Friday on Cummings’ request for information. Rep. Gerry Connolly, a senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, told CNN that he wants former White House chief of staff John Kelly to appear before the panel — and he says the committee needs to obtain Kelly’s memo about Trump ordering the Kushner security clearance.”

Lauren Fox and Manu Raju, “House Oversight Committee issues ultimatum to White House over security clearance information,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, March 1, 2019 3:28 pm

22,979. 3/1/2019

JARED KUSHNER/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “U.S. President Donald Trump ordered his chief of staff in May to grant his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner a top-secret security clearance, the New York Times reported on Thursday [2-28-19]. It said senior administration officials were troubled by the decision, which prompted then White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to write an internal memo about how he had been ordered to give Kushner the top-secret clearance. The White House counsel at the time, Donald McGahn, also wrote an internal memo outlining concerns raised about Kushner and how McGahn had recommended against the decision, it said. The Times said the memos contradicted a statement made by Trump in an interview with the newspaper in January that he had no role in Kushner’s receiving his clearance.”

Reuters Staff, “Trump ordered aide to give Kushner security clearance: NY Times,” Reuters, March 1, 2019 2:43 pm

22,761. 2/21/2019

NATIONAL SECURITY/TECHNOLOGY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Donald Trump today argued U.S. companies must take the lead in the global race to build next-generation wireless networks — and made a cryptic warning against blocking certain technology from being used in their development…In a followup, he added, ‘I want the United States to win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies.’ It wasn’t immediately clear what he was referring to, though his administration has offered mixed messages on keeping Chinese telecom companies like Huawei and ZTE out of the U.S. over national security concerns, despite calls to do so from Democrats and Republicans alike. A planned executive order to ban certain Chinese gear from being used in U.S. 5G networks has been long delayed, and Trump chafed against an export ban the Commerce Department placed last year on exports from ZTE, which the company said was poised to doom its global operations. The administration subsequently struck a deal with ZTE lifting the ban.”

John Hendel, “Trump cautions against ‘blocking out’ tech in call for 5G networks,” Politico, February 21, 2019 10:14 am

22,749. 2/20/2019

CLIMATE CHANGE/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP PEOPLE: “A climate change skeptic who once compared ‘demonization’ of carbon dioxide to the treatment of Jews under Adolf Hitler may lead a proposed White House committee tasked with studying whether climate change poses a national security threat, The Washington Post reported Wednesday [2-20-19]. The Post, citing planning documents obtained by the paper, reported that William Happer, a National Security Council official, would head up the proposed Presidential Committee on Climate Security. The committee would be created via an executive order signed by President Donald Trump, according to the paper. The White House declined a request for comment. In 2014, Happer, who co-founded the CO2 Coalition, an advocacy group that focuses on ‘the consequences of mandated reductions in CO2 emissions,’ compared criticism of carbon dioxide, the increase of which scientists say has raised global temperatures, to the treatment of Jews under Hitler.”

Devan Cole, “Washington Post: Climate skeptic may lead WH panel to study climate change and national security,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, February 20, 2019 5:24 pm

22,508. 2/8/2019

IVANKA/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Trump’s oldest daughter, who serves as a senior adviser in the White House, denied on Friday [2-8-19] that her father was involved in issuing security clearances for her or her husband, Jared Kushner. Ivanka Trump made the remarks during an interview with the ABC News host Abby Huntsman in an interview for ‘The View’…Asked what had delayed her security clearance, as well as the clearance for Mr. Kushner, Ms. Trump replied, ‘There weren’t any, other than a backlog that exists of close to a million clearances across government.’ Her comments marked the first time that she has spoken about the clearance issue that dogged both her and her husband for the first year of the administration. She described the delays — which lasted into May 2018 — as part of a normal course of business.”

Maggie Haberman, “Ivanka Trump Denies President Was Involved in Granting Security Clearance,” The New York Times online, February 8, 2019

22,312. 1/31/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/INTELLIGENCE/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “A day after he lashed out at U.S. intelligence agency chiefs over their assessments of global threats, President Donald Trump abruptly reversed course Thursday [1-31-19] and said that he and the intelligence community ‘are all on the same page.’ Trump met with his director of national intelligence and other top security officials in the Oval Office and said afterward that they told him their testimony at a Senate hearing had been ‘mischaracterized’ by the news media. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats had slammed the president for his comments disparaging Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel and other top security officials. The officials told Congress on Tuesday [1-29-19] that North Korea is unlikely to dismantle its nuclear arsenal and that the Iran nuclear deal is working, contrary to what Trump has claimed.”

Associated Press, “In Reversal, Trump Says He and Intel Chiefs on ‘Same Page’,” The New York Times online, January 31, 2019

22,239. 1/29/2019

AFGHANISTAN/ISIS/NATIONAL SECURITY/NORTH KOREA/SYRIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “They think pulling out of Syria and Afghanistan would be a debacle. They think North Korea cannot be trusted. They think the Islamic State is still a threat to America. They think Russia is bad and NATO is good. The trouble is their president does not agree. More than two years into his administration, the disconnect between President Trump and the Republican establishment on foreign policy has rarely been as stark. In recent days, the president’s own advisers and allies have been pushing back, challenging his view of the world and his prescription for its problems. The growing discontent among Republican national security hawks was most evident on Tuesday [1-29-19] when Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader and perhaps Mr. Trump’s most important partner in Congress, effectively rebuked the president by introducing a measure denouncing “a precipitous withdrawal” of American troops from Syria and Afghanistan.”

Peter Baker, “A Growing Chorus of Republican Critics for Trump’s Foreign Policy,” The New York Times online, January 29, 2019

22,194. 1/26/2019

DEMS/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/WALL: “21 days goes very quickly. Negotiations with Democrats will start immediately. Will not be easy to make a deal, both parties very dug in. The case for National Security has been greatly enhanced by what has been happening at the Border & through dialogue. We will build the Wall!”

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, January 26, 2019 9:01 am 

22,112. 1/23/2019

DEMS/HOUSE OF REPS/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “House Democratic investigators launched a probe on Wednesday [1-23-19] into the Trump administration’s use of security clearances and temporary security clearances, accusing the White House of playing fast and loose with the nation’s most guarded secrets. Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings laid out several lines of inquiry on the matter in a letter to the White House, naming former national security adviser Michael Flynn and top officials who he wrote should have raised red flags. The panel will press the White House to provide Congress with information about how and why it issued some security clearances, which Democrats note is required under federal law. Democrats have said the White House has so far refused to provide that information. Several inquiries on the same issue went unanswered by the administration last year.”

Rachael Bade, “House Dems launch investigation into Trump administration’s use of security clearances,” Politico, January 23, 2019 11:23 am

22,061. 1/22/2019

BORDER/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/WALL: “Without a Wall our Country can never have Border or National Security. With a powerful Wall or Steel Barrier, Crime Rates (and Drugs) will go substantially down all over the U.S. The Dems know this but want to play political games. Must finally be done correctly. No Cave!”

-Donald Trump, Twitter.com, January 22, 2019 7:48 am 

22,028. 1/20/2019

BORDER/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “RT @sendavidperdue: President Trump again spoke directly to the American people about the national security crisis at our southern border.…”

-Donald Trump, Twitter.com, January 20, 2019 3:31 pm

21,974. 1/18/2019

BORDER/GOP/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Never seen the Republican Party so unified. No ‘Cave’ on the issue of Border and National Security. A beautiful thing to see, especially when you hear the new rhetoric spewing from the mouths of the Democrats who talk Open Border, High Taxes and Crime. Stop Criminals & Drugs now!”

-Donald Trump, Twitter.com, January 18, 2019 10:58 am

21,868. 1/15/2019

BUSINESS/CHINA/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The reclusive founder of Huawei has denied allegations that his telecoms company spies for the Chinese government. Ren Zhengfei also praised President Donald Trump as a ‘great president,’ shrugging off allegations by Washington that Huawei is a threat to US national security. Speaking to foreign media for the first time in three years, Ren, 74, said he loved China and supported the Communist Party but had never been asked to share ‘improper information’ about Huawei’s partners…US government officials say Beijing could use Huawei equipment to snoop on Americans. The company has also been prevented from supplying next-generation 5G equipment to Australia and New Zealand. The company has attracted even greater scrutiny following the arrest of its chief financial officer, Ren’s daughter Meng Wanzhou, last month in Canada.”

Charles Riley, “Huawei’s founder praises Trump and denies claims his company spies for China,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, January 15, 2019 4:06 am

21,719. 1/9/2019

NATIONAL SECURITY/NATO/SYRIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “President Donald Trump and senior defense officials met to discuss the planned Syria troop withdrawal Wednesday [1-9-19], as his national security team continued to send conflicting signals about the planned pullback that has roiled relations with NATO-ally Turkey. Even as administration officials continue to insist the US will leave Syria, they are indicating — in part by adding conditions for withdrawal without timelines — that the American presence will continue far longer than the President’s initial pledge of departure ‘now’ or even by the 120-day deadline the White House offered later. The planned withdrawal has unsettled allies, undermined the Kurds and deeply roiled relations with Turkey, an issue Trump was expected to discuss during his Wednesday meeting with acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.”

Kylie Atwood and Nicole Gaouette, “Amid confusion Trump admin signals Syria pullout won’t be rapid,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, January 9, 2019 9:38 pm

21,709. 1/9/2019

BORDER/CONGRESS/LEGAL/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/WALL: “President Trump’s quest to build a wall on the southern border has escalated to considering declaring a national emergency. It’s being reported the administration is looking to declare the emergency, then move around money already appropriated to the Pentagon by cancelling some other construction projects so that construction at the border can start. The emergency declaration threat would most assuredly be challenged in the courts for things like abuse of power, but does it matter? ‘One question is what is he going to declare an emergency to do we’re all assuming it’s to build some sort of barrier whether it’s his steel slats or his concrete wall or some combination of the two. I’m not sure that simply declaring the emergency is something that you’re ever gonna be able to successfully challenged in court,’ POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein said. Whatever possible legal recourse that Congress or another group might pursue, this kind of declaration would surely have some serious political impacts later on.”

Eugene Daniels, “The legality behind President Trump’s national security threat,” Politico, January 9, 2019 2:28 pm

21,661. 1/8/2019

BORDER/NATIONAL SECURITY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/WALL: “President Trump’s greatest hurdle in persuading Americans that there is a national security crisis on the southwest border may well be his own credibility. Mr. Trump is using a rare currency — a prime-time address to the nation — to make the case for a border wall with Mexico, an issue that has forced a partial shutdown of the federal government. His penchant for superlatives — ‘the best,’ ‘the worst,’ ‘never,’ ‘always,’ and now, ‘crisis’ — and his record of falsehoods, misstatements and exaggerations on the topic will likely be challenged as never before.”

Michael Tackett and Linda Qiu, “What to Watch For in Trump’s National Address on Immigration,” The New York Times online, January 8, 2019

21,413. 12/20/2018

NATIONAL SECURITY/SYRIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “James Jeffrey, President Donald Trump‘s special representative for Syria engagement, probably should have seen it coming. In August 2016, the well-respected veteran diplomat signed an open letter denouncing then-presidential candidate Trump as a danger to America. ‘In our experience,’ Jeffrey and dozens of fellow ‘Never Trumpers’ wrote, ‘a president must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads [and] must encourage consideration of conflicting views.’ Trump, they argued, is ‘erratic’ and ‘acts impetuously.’ This week Trump blindsided his national security team, including Jeffrey, by announcing that he will be pulling U.S. troops from war-torn Syria. Just two days earlier, Jeffrey had delivered a high-profile speech forecasting a sustained U.S. role in the Arab country. And with that, the 70-something Jeffrey became the latest in a long line of Trump administration officials to be undermined and even humiliated by the president they serve. In a sign of frustration at the top levels of Trump’s national security team, Defense Secretary James Mattis announced his resignation on Thursday, releasing a letter saying that his views are not ‘aligned’ with Trump’s and specifically citing the U.S. campaign against the Islamic State terrorist group, which has partly been waged in Syria.”

Nahal Toosi, “A ‘Never Trumper’ bets on Trump, and loses,” Politico, December 20, 2018