Categories for State

31,041. 11/26/2019

CHINA/HUMAN RIGHTS/MIKE POMPEO/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday [11-26-19] stopped just short of endorsing legislation that would punish violent crackdowns against pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, a plan that could imperil trade with both the Hong Kong government and China. In wide-ranging remarks at the State Department, Mr. Pompeo took care to note that the decision on the bill would be made by President Trump and would come “before too long’…With veto-proof majorities, both the House and the Senate have approved legislation that would compel the United States to support pro-democracy activists who are demanding true semi-autonomy in Hong Kong. The bill would impose economic sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for human rights abuses in the territory, which has been roiled by increasingly violent protests since June. Additionally, the legislation would require the State Department to review annually the special autonomous status it grants Hong Kong in trade considerations.” 

Lara Jakes, “Pompeo Warns China to Honor ‘Human Rights Standards’ in Hong Kong,” The New York Times online, November 26, 2019

30,771. 11/18/2019

AMBASSADOR/EU/STATE/TRUMP PEOPLE/UKRAINE: “A diplomat at the US embassy in Ukraine told lawmakers last week he’d ‘never seen anything’ like the call Gordon Sondland placed to President Donald Trump at a restaurant in Kiev, according to a transcript of his deposition released Monday [11-18-19] night. David Holmes, the political adviser at the embassy, said he was taken aback both by the conversation he overheard and the woeful lack of operational security demonstrated by Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union…Holmes also provided lawmakers with more details about what happened after the US security aid money was released on September 11, saying there was a belief that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was going to follow through with a CNN interview to announce the investigations once the money was unfrozen.”

Jeremy Herb and Kevin Liptak, “US diplomat in Kiev said he’s ‘never seen anything’ like Trump-Sondland call in restaurant,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, November 18, 2019 11:44 pm

30,770. 11/18/2019

CORRUPTION/REX TILLERSON/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/UKRAINE: “Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday [11-18-19] that ‘clearly asking for personal favors and using United States assets as collateral is wrong,’ a swipe at President Donald Trump as the investigation into his dealings with Ukraine intensifies. PBS Newshour’s Judy Woodruff asked Tillerson at an event in Texas what he would have done if — while he was secretary of state — US military assistance to Ukraine had been made conditional on the launching of a political investigation, which is what House Democrats accuse Trump of having done…Tillerson appears to have prevented some potentially troubling dealings initiated by those later found to be central to the Ukraine saga. CNN reported last month that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, used a 2017 Oval Office meeting with Trump to press Tillerson, then-secretary of state, to support a prisoner swap to resolve the Justice Department’s prosecution of a Turkish businessman accused of violating Iran sanctions, a person briefed on the meeting tells CNN.”

Jennifer Hansler, Michael Callahan and Caroline Kelly, “Tillerson swipes at Trump: ‘Asking for personal favors and using United States assets as collateral is wrong’,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, November 18, 2019 11:33 pm

30,666. 11/15/2019

JOE BIDEN/OBAMA/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “RT @EliseStefanik: Obama’s own State Dept. was so concerned about conflicts of interest from Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma that they raise…”

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, November 15, 2019 3:39 pm

30,548. 11/13/2019

DEMS/IMPEACHMENT/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/UKRAINE: “George P. Kent, a senior State Department official, appeared on Capitol Hill for testimony Wednesday [11-13-19] during public hearings as lawmakers consider whether to impeach President Trump for what Democrats say was an effort to use the power of his office for political gain. Mr. Kent said that efforts to ‘gin up politically motivated investigations”’ were ‘infecting’ United States policy toward Ukraine. The following is Mr. Kent’s prepared opening statement, as released by the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.”

NYT Staff, “Read George Kent’s Prepared Opening Statement From the Impeachment Hearing,” The New York Times online, November 13, 2019

30,482. 11/11/2019

BRITAIN/LEGAL/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “The grieving family of the British teenager who was killed in a motorcycle crash involving a US diplomat’s wife has criticized both the US and UK governments for their handling of the incident, accusing the Trump administration of abusing its power. In an interview with CNN’s Hala Gorani, family spokesperson Radd Seiger explained why Harry Dunn’s parents were contemplating legal action against the Trump administration and Anne Sacoolas — the American woman involved in the crash. Dunn, 19, died in August after being knocked from his motorcycle outside a Royal Air Force station in central England that is controlled by the US Air Force. British police say he was struck by a vehicle that was traveling on the wrong side of the road…Dunn’s parents met US President Trump last month, an encounter which left them feeling as if they had been ‘taken advantage of,’ Seiger said in the immediate aftermath of the meeting, as Trump presented them with an unexpected offer to meet Sacoolas, whom he said was waiting in the next room.”

Hala Gorani and Aimee Lewis, “Trump administration ‘abused its power,’ says family of British teenager killed in crash,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, November 11, 2019 5:14 am

30,264. 11/4/2019

INVESTIGATIONS/MIKE POMPEO/RUSSIA/STATE/TRUMP PEOPLE/UKRAINE: “As President Trump’s first C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo was briefed by agency officials on the extensive evidence — including American intercepts of conversations between participants — showing that Russian hackers working for the government of Vladimir V. Putin had interfered in the 2016 American presidential campaign. In May 2017, Mr. Pompeo testified in a Senate hearing that he stood by that conclusion. Two and a half years later, Mr. Pompeo seems to have changed his mind. As Mr. Trump’s second secretary of state, he now supports an investigation into a discredited, partisan theory that Ukraine, not Russia, attacked the Democratic National Committee, which Mr. Trump wants to use to make the case that he was elected without Moscow’s help…Mr. Pompeo’s spreading of a false narrative at the heart of the Ukraine scandal is the most striking example of how he has fallen off the tightrope he has traversed for the past 18 months: demonstrating loyalty to the president while insisting to others he was pursuing a traditional, conservative foreign policy.” 

Edward Wong and David E. Sanger, “Pompeo Faces Political Peril and Diplomats’ Revolt in Impeachment Inquiry,” The New York Times online, November 4, 2019

30,056. 10/30/2019

RUDY GIULIANI/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE/UKRAINE: “John Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state, said on Wednesday [10-30-19] that President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani was involved in a smear campaign to oust the ambassador to Ukraine, publicly confirming a key part of the saga behind the impeachment inquiry. Jumping into an impeachment fight that so far has been waged in the House behind closed doors, Senate Democrats used Mr. Sullivan’s nomination to be President Trump’s next ambassador to Russia to bring the drama into the open. Mr. Sullivan, testifying under oath and on camera before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, corroborated private testimony from one of House Democrats’ central impeachment witnesses, Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine. Pressed on whether he believed it was appropriate for the president to demand investigations into domestic political opponents, Mr. Sullivan said, ‘I don’t think that would be in accord with our values.’” 

Catie Edmondson, “Top State Department Official Confirms Smear Campaign Against Ousted Ukraine Envoy,” The New York Times online, October 30, 2019

30,025. 10/29/2019

BRITAIN/LAWSUIT/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The family of Harry Dunn, the teenage motorcyclist who was killed in a crash in Britain in August, is suing the Trump administration for ‘lawless misconduct,’ a spokesman for the family said on Tuesday [10-29-19]. Mr. Dunn, 19, died after his motorcycle collided with a car that the police said had been traveling on the wrong side of the road on Aug. 27 in Brackley, a town about 60 miles northwest of London. The case ignited a diplomatic tug-of-war between Britain and the United States after the woman thought to be driving the car, Anne Sacoolas, the wife of an American diplomat, claimed immunity and left the country a little over two weeks after the accident. Seeking resolution in the case, Mr. Dunn’s parents have petitioned the highest echelons of government on both sides of the Atlantic, culminating with a meeting at the White House this month that left them disillusioned after President Trump unexpectedly announced that Ms. Sacoolas was in an adjacent room and wanted to meet with them. They declined to do so.”

Iliana Magra, “Harry Dunn’s Parents Say They Will Sue Trump Administration,” The New York Times online, October 29, 2019

29,950. 10/27/2019

STATE/TERRORISM/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “RT @StateDept: Last night, the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice. President @realDonaldTrump address…”

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, October 27, 2019 11:50 am

29,783. 10/22/2019

FOREIGN AID/INVESTIGATIONS/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/UKRAINE: “The top U.S. envoy to Ukraine told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday [10-22-19] that President Donald Trump sought to withhold critical military aid to Ukraine and refuse a White House meeting with the country’s president unless he pursued politically motivated investigations into Trump’s rivals. The diplomat, William Taylor, painted a damaging portrait of events that directly tied Trump to a quid pro quo with Ukraine, according to his prepared remarks obtained by POLITICO and his responses to questions as described by sources in the room for the closed-door testimony. The timeline Taylor laid out during his nearly 10 hours testifying before investigators is at the heart of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into the president. The 50-year veteran of government service systematically dismantled Trump’s repeated denials that he sought to leverage American military and diplomatic might to coerce an ally into a coordinated campaign to damage his potential 2020 rival.”

Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, “Top U.S. envoy ties Trump directly to Ukraine quid pro quo,” Politico, October 22, 2019 9:07 pm

29,711. 10/20/2019

CONGRESS/DEMS/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “RT @IngrahamAngle: Republicans in the Congress should be asked: why have you allowed the State Department to become an arm of the Democrat…”

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, October 20, 2019 8:52 pm

29,674. 10/19/2019

E-MAILS/HILLARY CLINTON/INVESTIGATIONS/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “RT @NBCNews: NEW: US State Dept. has completed its internal investigation into former Sec. Clinton’s use of private email and found violati…”

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, October 19, 2019 2:10 pm

29,611. 10/18/2019

JOE BIDEN/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/UKRAINE: “A career State Department official told impeachment investigators this week that he raised concerns with a senior White House official in 2015 about the son of then-Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. holding a position on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. But the warning from George P. Kent, then a State Department officer stationed in Kiev, was not acted on, according to two people familiar with Mr. Kent’s testimony. Mr. Kent, now of the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, said he told the official that Hunter Biden’s position could look like a conflict of interest, given his father’s role, and would complicate American efforts to encourage Ukraine to clean up corruption. The White House official told Mr. Kent that the elder Mr. Biden did not have the ‘bandwidth’ to address the concerns while his older son, Beau, was undergoing cancer treatment, according to the people, who were not authorized to discuss the private deposition.”

Nicholas Fandos, “Diplomat Told House Investigators He Raised Alarm About Hunter Biden in 2015,” The New York Times online, October 18, 2019

29,531. 10/16/2019

INVESTIGATIONS/MIKE POMPEO/STATE/TRUMP PEOPLE : “Michael McKinley told investigators he resigned last week as a top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo out of frustration with an increasingly politicized State Department — particularly the way the Trump administration wrestled Ukraine policy away from career diplomats. He warned that efforts to pressure Ukraine ‘to procure negative information on political opponents’ would ‘have a serious impact on foreign service morale and the integrity of our work overseas.’ Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, outlined the next few months of impeachment at the Senate Republicans’ weekly lunch. He said House Democrats wanted to move expeditiously, possibly approving articles of impeachment by Thanksgiving. Chief Justice John Roberts would then preside over the Senate trial, which Mr. McConnell hoped would be completed by Christmas.”

Noah Weiland, “The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What Happened Today,” The New York Times online, October 16, 2019

29,402. 10/11/2019

DEMS/INVESTIGATIONS/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/UKRAINE: “The State Department’s request went in early March to Marie L. Yovanovitch, a longtime diplomat who had served six presidents: Would she extend her term as ambassador to Ukraine, scheduled to end in August, into 2020? Less than two months later came another departmental communiqué: Get ‘on the next plane’ to Washington. Her ambassadorship was over. How and why Ms. Yovanovitch was removed from her job has emerged as a major focus of the impeachment inquiry being conducted by House Democrats. And in nearly nine hours of testimony behind closed doors on Capitol Hill on Friday, Ms. Yovanovitch said she was told after her recall that President Trump had lost trust in her and had been seeking her ouster since summer 2018 — even though, one of her bosses told her, she had ‘done nothing wrong.’ Her version of events added a new dimension to the tale of the campaign against her.”

Sharon LaFraniere, Nicholas Fandos and Andrew E. Kramer, “Ukraine Envoy Says She Was Told Trump Wanted Her Out Over Lack of Trust,” The New York Times online, October 11, 2019

29,390. 10/11/2019

AMBASSADOR/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE/UKRAINE: “The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine abandoned diplomatic discretion and accused the Trump administration of recalling her based on false claims and of eviscerating the State Department, an act that may end her career but drew praise for her courage. Three-time ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who was abruptly recalled from Kiev in May, gave a closed-door deposition on Friday to three congressional committees investigating whether there are grounds to impeach President Donald Trump. The Democratic-led House of Representatives’ inquiry began on Sept. 24 after a whistleblower’s allegations that Republican Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate unsubstantiated corruption charges against Democratic political rival Joe Biden and his son, businessman Hunter Biden.”

Arshad Mohammed, Jonathan Landay, “Abandoning diplomat’s discretion, ex-Ukraine ambassador takes Trump to task,” Reuters, October 11, 2019 4:06 pm

29,248. 10/8/2019

AMBASSADOR/DEMS/EU/IMPEACHMENT/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “House Democrats on Tuesday [10-8-19] issued a subpoena to a central witness in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump after he bowed to a State Department order to skip a deposition earlier in the day. Gordon Sondland, Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, had been expected to testify Tuesday morning as part of an expanding impeachment probe by three House committees related to Trump’s efforts to press Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump endorsed the decision to block Sondland’s testimony in a tweet, accusing Democrats of running a ‘kangaroo court.’ Now Democrats have subpoenaed Sondland for his testimony and documents that they say are being withheld by the State Department. The subpoena demands those documents be turned over by Oct. 14, and that Sondland sit for a deposition on Oct. 16 before three congressional panels.”

Kyle Cheney, “Democrats subpoena Gordon Sondland after Trump intervenes,” Politico, October 8, 2019 8:37 am

29,013. 10/3/2019

STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “RT @ByronYork: So State Department inspector general asks for ‘urgent’ briefing on Capitol Hill. Trump and Ukraine! Then admits he’s had ‘u…”

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, October 3, 2019 6:37 am

28,989. 10/2/2019

CONGRESS/IMPEACHMENT/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The cryptically worded request marked urgent from the State Department’s independent watchdog set Congress on edge. The message, according to Steven A. Linick, the department’s inspector general, was that he needed to meet — and right away — with senior congressional staff members to give them copies of documents related to the State Department and Ukraine. He signaled that they could be relevant to the House investigation into whether President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden. Some Democrats prepared for an explosive revelation that might show top administration officials had tried to obstruct their work. Speaker Nancy Pelosi told lawmakers on a caucus conference call that news reports were confirming that the heart of the briefing was about the White House retaliating against State Department staff who complied with the investigation…There were more questions remaining than answers on Wednesday [10-2-19].”

Catie Edmondson, “Impeachment Bombshell That Wasn’t: Mysterious Packet Sends Rumor Mill Into Overdrive,” The New York Times online, October 2, 2019 

28,892. 9/29/2019

DEMS/E-MAILS/HILLARY CLINTON/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “‘State Department has stepped up Hillary Clinton Email probe.’ @foxandfriends You mean the 33,000 Emails that she has deleted and acid washed so they can never be found, even though she said that all 33,000 pertained only to her daughter’s wedding, and her Yoga!” 

Donald Trump, Twitter.com, September 29, 2019 7:30 pm

28,807. 9/27/2019

AMBASSADOR/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/UKRAINE: “Shortly after being named the U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations in mid-2017, Kurt Volker attended an invitation-only strategy session at the Atlantic Council with a small group of foreign-policy hands. There, he encouraged the people gathered at the downtown D.C. think tank to publicly praise President Donald Trump for his handling of Russia and Ukraine. It might have been in jest, but Volker’s point was obvious: Flattering Trump might lead him to ‘do the right thing’ and act in the U.S. interest, as one attendee put it. Two years later, Volker has resigned the envoy role after becoming ensnared the Ukraine-related scandal that is consuming Trump’s presidency and fueling an impeachment drive by House Democrats. It’s an ominous turn for the widely respected diplomat, who joined the Trump team even as dozens of veterans of past Republican administrations shunned the new president.”

Nahal Toosi, “Ukraine envoy resigns amid scandal consuming Trump’s presidency,” Politico, September 27, 2019 8:04 pm 

28,769. 9/26/2019

REFUGEES/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Donald Trump plans to reduce the annual refugee cap to 18,000 in the coming fiscal year, the State Department said Thursday [9-26-19]. The lower ceiling follows a trend under Trump of cutting refugee levels every year. The administration considered dropping the cap to zero, but ultimately opted to keep the program running amid pressure from Democratic and Republican lawmakers. Trump also issued an executive order Thursday that requires department leaders to develop new procedures for refugee resettlement. Under the terms of the order, states and localities must consent to refugee resettlement before refugees can be sent to those areas. The secretary of State can override the geographic restrictions if they are determined to be contrary to federal law or related policies. The cut to refugee levels comes after the Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to proceed with a sweeping ban on asylum-seekers who transit through another country en route to the U.S.-Mexico border.”

Ted Hesson, “Trump administration nearly halves refugee cap for coming year,” Politico, September 26, 2019 7:00 pm

28,544. 9/19/2019

ISRAEL/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday [9-18-19] that Israeli officials ‘played’ President Donald Trump in their conversations with him, warning that a ‘healthy amount of skepticism’ is needed in dealings with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The comments came during a panel discussion at Harvard University in which Tillerson, who was fired by the president last year, touched on a variety of themes from his tenure, including Iran, his hiring freeze at the State Department and the unpredictable nature of Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Netanyahu…Netanyahu, a close ally of Trump, faces an uncertain future. Israel held its second parliamentary election in six months this week, and it appears that Netanyahu’s right-wing, Likud party will be unable to win a governing majority in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. Instead, it appears Likud and the centrist Blue and White Party will have an even number of seats in the Knesset, leaving Netanyahu’s future as prime minister uncertain. Benny Gantz, who leads the Blue and White Party, said he’s open to a coalition government but not a power-sharing agreement with Netanyahu.”

Arren Kimbel-Sanit, “Tillerson: Netanyahu, Israelis ‘played’ Trump,” Politico, September 19, 2019 2:49 pm

28,532. 9/18/2019

FOREIGN POLICY/NATIONAL SECURITY/STATE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “Even his many critics conceded that the former national security adviser John R. Bolton brought useful credentials to the job: decades of foreign policy experience and a keen grasp of how the gears of government turn. Mr. Bolton’s main problem, as it turned out, was that he knew too much. Confident in his experience to a fault, he was unwilling to shade his deeply held hawkish views, which he defended with a prickly personality that alienated colleagues — and ultimately President Trump himself, leading to his ouster last week. Robert C. O’Brien, Mr. Trump’s choice to succeed Mr. Bolton, flips that equation. He is a former Los Angeles lawyer with limited government experience before he became the State Department’s point man for hostage negotiations. But his friends all cite an affable, ingratiating personality that has earned him allies throughout the Trump administration, notably including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, both of whom supported his appointment.”

Michael Crowley, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, “Robert O’Brien ‘Looks the Part,’ but Has Spent Little Time Playing It,” The New York Times online, September 18, 2019