Tuesday, January 28, 2020


Office of the Press Secretary

Via Teleconference

5:06 P.M. EST

     MR. GIDLEY:  Thank you very much.  Good evening, everyone.  Thank you so much for joining the call regarding impeachment.

     This is a background call.  The ground rules are as follows: The information on this call can be attributable to “sources on the President’s legal team.”  Again, it's on background, attributable to “sources on the President’s legal team.”  The content is embargoed until the end of the call.

     As a reminder, by participating, you are agreeing to the ground rules I've just set forth.  With that, I’ll turn the call over to [source on the President’s legal team].

     SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM:  Thank you, Hogan.  As you know, we concluded the presentation of the President's case in the Senate today.  We demonstrated that, both on the facts and on the law, the President should be acquitted; the President did not do anything wrong; and the articles of impeachment, on their face, are constitutionally deficient -- they fail to state impeachable offenses.

     We also explained that the entire process that's led to these articles of impeachment being adopted by the House of Representatives was illegitimate and failed to provide due process.  That process led to a completely partisan impeachment, and it was really not based on any wrongdoing by the President, any constitutionally sufficient theories for impeaching the President.  It was simply a partisan process that was driven by political desires to overturn the last election and to affect the 2020 election.

     And in our closing this morning, the Counselor to the President very accurately explained how, in the past, members of Congress have identified the problems with partisan impeachments and foresaw that there could be this sort of a partisan impeachment in the future, and explained why it is essential to stop this process of partisan impeachment, end that process, and quickly and swiftly acquit the President on these charges.

     So, with that, I'll open it for questions.

     Q    Hi, thanks for taking my call.  My question is: How concerned are you about John Bolton possibly testifying?  And how are you preparing, if at all, to push back?  Do you plan to claim executive privilege?  Do you foresee any scenario where John Bolton would be able to testify?

     SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM:  Well, I'm not going to get too much into our strategy for, you know, hypotheticals that may or may not develop.  We're not concerned in the sense that we've seen the President's statement; we know that the President hasn’t done anything wrong.  We're prepared for any eventuality that arises.

     So the fact is that it's not the job of the Senate to start doing an investigation now that the House didn’t pursue.  And the House never even attempted to subpoena John Bolton.  So we don’t think that there's a basis for the Senate going to get testimony at this point.

     Q    And a quick follow: With things that are happening outside of the Senate trial, John Kelly today said he believes John Bolton.  How much are you factoring in things that are happening outside of these developments?  Do you feel like you're going to have to answer to John Kelly's statements if senators call and ask about that, or if senators pull the questions about John Kelly believing John Bolton?

     SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM:  Well, as I said, I'm not going to get too much into our strategy.  We'll deal with the situation as it’s resolved.  But this is part of the problem, you know, with having sort of a half-baked impeachment go to the Senate.  The job of the House is to do a proper investigation in something that is this serious before going to the Senate.  And we don’t think that it's the proper role of the Senate to start opening things up, to be addressing new developments on the fly in the middle of a trial.

     Q    Thanks for doing this.  Since it is a, sort of, background call on strategy, what is your strategy for the Senate Q&A portion?  What do you expect from Republicans' and Democrats' questioning?  And have you been in coordination or talks with the Senate Majority Leader's team on sort of what questions you might get that are considered perhaps more friendly and what questions you might get that could be considered more combative?

     And I also just wanted to follow up.  I know that you're saying you don’t think it's the role of the Senate to open things up to new developments, so you obviously -- you can't control that; that's going to be up to the votes of the senators.  So, in that eventuality, what witnesses would you want to call?  And what are you doing specifically to prepare for the possibility Bolton shows up?

     SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM:  Well, in terms of preparing for the questions, you know, we’ll be prepared to address whatever questions the senators have for us.  That’s their opportunity, if there are things that were not addressed in the presentations by the parties, to get additional information or specific answers, and we’ll be prepared to do that.  I’m not going to get into anything more on our strategy on that.  It’s really up to the senators what they want to ask.

     And, similarly, in terms of your -- you’re right, of course -- it’s up to the senators to decide if they want to vote on more witnesses.  And we’ll be prepared for any eventuality there as well.  You know, that’s one of the things in litigation: It can go different ways and you just be prepared for it.

     Q    Thanks guys for doing this call.  My question is just: Has anyone on the legal team seen or been briefed on John Bolton’s manuscript?

     SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM:  The White House put out -- or I guess it was the NSC put out a statement that made clear that it is the NSC that has the manuscript, and no personnel outside the NSC ever viewed the manuscript.

     Q    But have you been briefed on it?

     SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM:  I’m not going to get into any details beyond that.  You know, no one on the legal team has reviewed the manuscript, and we’re not going to get into further details.

     Q    But you can’t say if he’s been briefed on it?

     MR. GIDLEY:  Thank you, Kaitlan.  Next question.

     Q    Hi.  Thanks for doing this call.  Jacqueline Thomsen here.  I just wanted to ask: You know, DOJ lawyers and Senate lawyers have both said that it’s their position that, you know, federal courts can’t have any jurisdiction over a Senate impeachment trial, including which witnesses are called.  Is that also the legal position of the White House?

     SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM:  I’m sorry.  Could you repeat that question?
     Q    Yeah.  So it is –- it has been said in federal court, by both DOJ lawyers and Senate lawyers, that they believe that courts can’t make rulings on witnesses for an impeachment trial.  Is that also, you know, the legal position of the White House Counsel’s Office?

     SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM:  Well, I’m not quite sure what you’re referring to, in terms of the Senate lawyers and DOJ lawyers, but –-

     Q    Well, there was a –- there was a court filing last week where a Senate lawyer said, specifically, “We don’t believe a federal court can make rulings on Senate trial procedures.”  And the same argument was made in the –- in the Mueller and McGahn cases at the D.C. Circuit last month.

     SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM:  Well, let me -– I think there are two -– at least two things there.  Let me put it this way: It is the position of the Department of Justice and the Trump administration that, where there is a subpoena from Congress -- whether it’s the House or the Senate -- and either the House or the Senate goes to court to sue the executive branch to enforce that subpoena, that that lawsuit is nonjusticiable.  The courts do not have jurisdiction to enforce the subpoena.

     So that position would be the same.  The fundamental principles are the same, whether it’s a subpoena from the House or from the Senate.

     MR. GIDLEY:  Thanks.  We have time for one more question. 

     Q    Hey, everyone.  Thanks for doing this.  I just wanted to ask: House Democrats have argued that and Senate Democrats have argued that your statements about Bolton have kind of strengthened the case for witnesses.  I wondered what your response is to that.

     SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM:  Well, I don’t think that anything that we’ve said strengthens the case for witnesses.  In fact, Professor Dershowitz made it very clear last night that even if everything that came out in the New York Times article were true, there would not be an impeachable offense there.

     And, I think, the basic principle remains that it is not the role of the Senate now to begin taking in new witnesses that the House didn’t even seek to subpoena.  That would fundamentally change the relationship between the House and the Senate in this sort of proceeding.

     And remember that the House did have 17 witnesses, and they had subpoenaed John Bolton’s deputy, Charlie Kupperman.  And when he went to court, they withdrew the subpoena.  So they were not attempting to really pursue these witnesses before.
It’s not the time now to have the Senate to go at it.

     Q    Thanks.

     SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM:  And then, I should add that the House managers have repeatedly said that they already had overwhelming evidence.  That was a pretty big reversal for them to claim now that they need additional evidence to establish their case.

     MR. GIDLEY:  All right, thanks everybody for joining the call.  Again, remember this is attributable to “sources on the President’s legal team,” and the embargo is now lifted. 

                           END                   5:16 P.M. EST 

1600 Daily The White House • January 28, 2020 JUST OUT: President Trump’s Bold Vision for Middle East Peace

1600 Daily
The White House • January 28, 2020

JUST OUT: President Trump’s bold vision for Middle East peace

Today, President Trump introduced the most realistic and detailed plan ever presented for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

 WATCH: “We must break free of yesterday's failed approaches.”

“Peace to Prosperity” is a fundamentally different vision for one of the world’s most complex problems. “My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides,” President Trump said today, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu standing alongside him.

President Trump also took the step of meeting yesterday with Israel’s opposition leader, Lt. General Benny Gantz. In doing so, the President secured agreement from both major Israeli figures on the Peace to Prosperity Vision. “Peace transcends politics by any measure,” President Trump said today.

Now, for the first time in this conflict, President Trump has reached an understanding with Israel’s leadership on a map with real borders for a proposed two-state solution.

Palestinians and Israelis both deserve a future of peace and prosperity. A realistic compromise will protect Israel’s security, fulfill the aspirations of self-determination for the Palestinians, and ensure universal and respectful access to the holy sites of Jerusalem.

President Trump’s Vision designates defensible borders for Israel and does not ask it to compromise on the safety of its people. For Palestinians, the Vision delivers significant territorial expansion, allocating land roughly comparable in size to the West Bank and Gaza for establishing a Palestinian State. Transportation links would allow for efficient movement between Gaza and the West Bank, as well as throughout Palestine.

“All humanity should be able to enjoy the glories of the Holy Land. This part of the world is forever connected to the human soul and the human spirit,” President Trump said. “These ancient lands should not be symbols of conflict, but eternal symbols of peace.”

Click here to see President’s Trump’s full plan!

🎬 MoreA two-state solution that keeps Israel secure

WATCH: Dems and impeachment, 1998 vs. now

President Trump’s legal team wrapped up its case against House Democrats’ dangerous and weak Articles of Impeachment today, telling senators they should leave the right of choosing a President to the American people.

“What they are asking you to do is to throw out a successful president on the eve of an election with no basis and in violation of the Constitution,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said. “It would . . . weaken, weaken forever all of our democratic institutions.”

 WATCHDemocrats in their own words, circa 1998

The first partisan impeachment in U.S. history came with a lot of bluster and distractions from Democrats and the media. Here are the 10 things that really matter:
  • Democrats aren’t just trying to remove President Trump from office—they want to remove him from the ballot. Their Articles of Impeachment would bar him from holding “any Office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”
  • Investigating corruption in Ukraine, including potential conflicts of interest involving Hunter Biden and Burisma, is not “baseless,” as Democrats claim. Even the Obama State Department had concerns. So did ABC News and others.
  • House Democrats’ sham investigation was unauthorized and unconstitutional. A President defending his due-process rights is called separation of powers, not “Obstruction of Congress.”
  • For Democrats, impeachment was always a goal in search of an excuse. Once the Russia collusion hoax failed, they found another excuse within months.
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi called impeachment a matter of “urgent” national security. Then she followed the fastest impeachment in history with the longest delay.
  • Under House Democrats’ new bar for impeachment, at least 20 former Presidents would’ve been removed from office, including George Washington.
  • Rep. Adam Schiff wants the Senate to do the House’s job for it and investigate. The House didn’t even bother to subpoena witnesses such as former National Security Adviser John Bolton that they now claim are crucial to hear.
  • Even Democrats’ own called witnesses testified that President Trump’s policy of lethal defense aid toward Ukraine is stronger than under President Obama.
  • The do-nothing Democrats keep putting politics first and the American people second. But President Trump is working hard and keeping his promises.
  • You don’t need to listen to secondhand sources: You can read the transcript!
“All you need in this case is the Constitution and your common sense,” Cipollone says.

Photo of the Day 

Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead

President Trump joins Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to unveil the Trump Administration's Middle East peace plan | January 28, 2020

The White House · 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW · Washington, DC 20500 · USA · 202-456-1111


Office of the Press Secretary

Via Teleconference

1:15 P.M. EST

     AMBASSADOR FRIEDMAN:  Thank you.  Hi, everyone.  This is David Friedman.  I just want to answer your questions and perhaps begin by amplifying some of the points which you hopefully heard in the presentations by President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

     I think the main point I would make is that this is a huge advancement in the peace process.  For the first time in 52 years, the State of Israel has delineated, not just in words, but in pictures and a map as well.  The State of Israel has delineated the terms under which it is prepared to make territorial compensations for the creation of a Palestinian state, the terms and conditions under which it would do so, the size of that territory, and the requirements that would be in place for a final agreement. 

     We refer to it as a realistic two-state solution.  It is, of course, a two-state solution, but it contemplates a pathway for the Palestinians to statehood.  But it mitigates many of the risks that were never solved in past negotiations.

     It creates a Palestinian footprint which is more than double the existing territory that they have now in Areas A and B of the West Bank.  It provides for a high-speed rail connection between Gaza and the West Bank.  These areas have historically been -- obviously, they’re geographically separated and they’re separated politically and in many other respects.

     It will -- through land swaps that you’ll see once the map is released, which should be later on today, it enhances the territorial footprint of Gaza, so people in Gaza can expand their own territory, which is obviously cramped.

     It creates a path to financing this new state.  And it works within a security regime that will result in Israel taking no incremental risks, because Israel will have the overriding security responsibility and control over the entire territory from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

     Now, in terms of the allocation of territory within the West Bank, the majority of it will –- is allocated for the Palestinians, but a meaningful portion as well is allocated to the State of Israel.  That would include the Jordan Valley and the Jewish settlements that would –- that have been put in place.  It’s roughly half of Area C -- about 30 percent in total of the West Bank -- that would be allocated to Israel.

     We confront an important issue here, which is the asymmetry between Israel and the Palestinians.  You have a modern, first-world, strong, democratic nation trying to make peace with a highly divided and challenged people and a series of different governments.  So how do you make -- how do you make a deal when one side is Israel and the one side is the Palestinians?

     So what we tried to do is to create a runway for the Palestinians of four years.  The territory that –- the incremental territory that Israel is willing to compromise to the Palestinians is held frozen, essentially, for four years.  So the Palestinians are not penalized by the passage of time.  That area will not be encumbered by any further development.

     And Israel, of course, will agree –- whenever the Palestinians are ready to negotiate –- statehood with the Palestinians based upon the President's vision for peace.

     And in exchange for Israel keeping that territory open and making the commitment to negotiate, the territory allocated to Israel will be subject to American recognition of sovereignty, subject, of course, to the State of Israel itself putting together a detailed plan that they can then legally present within their own internal requirements and then present to the United States.

     So we bridge this asymmetry by providing certain benefits to Israel up front in exchange for Israel keeping the option open to the Palestinians for a very lengthy period of time.

     As you know, Israel, I think, has agreed to some settlement freezes in the past of much, much shorter durations.  This is a much larger commitment -- a very significant commitment that I think requires –- you know, requires in kind, a commitment back from the United States.

     That’s the shorthand version of it.  I think we only have about 10 minutes or so on the call.  So maybe we’ll take three questions or so from whoever is interested.

     Q    Hi, this is Andrew Feinberg with Breakfast Media.  Thanks for doing this.  In 2003, there was that “Roadmap for Peace,” and the Israeli cabinet approved a bunch of conditions that Palestinians would have to meet.  Are any of those –- such as dismantling the Palestinian Security Services -– still part of this plan?  What exactly would the Palestinians have to do under this, besides just accept the territorial framework that’s being put forth?

     AMBASSADOR FRIEDMAN:  So there are some specific requirements that are unique to past malign activities.  So there would have to be a complete dismantling of Hamas, Islamic jihad, other Salafist terrorist groups.  They would have to agree to this framework.

     The Palestinian Authority –- or a similar authority that would be acceptable to Israel –- would have to gain control of the Gaza Strip.  There would have to be an end to incitement in textbooks and otherwise the compensation of terrorists.  As the President said, the "pay for slay" practice would have to end.

     And then, more generically, you know, neither the United States nor Israel really wants its fingerprints on a failed Palestinian state.  And so in order to make sure that state were to succeed, we’re expecting them to adopt, you know, a reasonable regime of respecting human rights, freedom of religion; an end to financial corruption; obviously, a justice system.

     You know, just at the most simple level, we’re trying to raise billions of billions of dollars of financial investment into the future state of Palestine.  In order for that to happen, there needs to be a rule of law, enforcement of contracts.  I mean, it has to become a country where we can raise capital.

     So all of those things are the conditions that will have to be made over the next four years.

     Q    Right.  Right.  One other question.  We’ve heard a lot from the President’s attorneys over the past few days about his sincere concerns about corruption.  Do those concerns about dealing with corrupt foreign officials extend to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has just been indicted on corruption charges?

     AMBASSADOR FRIEDMAN:  Look, we’re –- our focus is entirely on a diplomatic level.  The United States has been dealing with the Prime Minister of Israel for many, many years with outstanding results.  The Israeli internal legal system will take its course.  We’re not going to weigh in on that.  We’re assuming everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

     Next question?

     Q    Hi, (inaudible), Ami Magazine.  Thanks for doing this call.  Can you hear me?

     AMBASSADOR FRIEDMAN:  I can hear you, yeah.  Go ahead.

     Q    All right.  So I’ve got some questions.  The first one is: This plan has been in the works for over two years, so what is the significance behind the timing?  Why now?  And then I have another question about settlements that I’ll ask after you respond.

     AMBASSADOR FRIEDMAN:  So “why now” is –- you know, we’ve had this really fully baked since before the first election and we were anxious to put it out.  We were asked to wait until the elections were over, and we did.

     The second time around, we waited again.  Even after the elections, we were asked to wait until a government formation.  And we honored all those requests.  Our goal is not to force anything upon anybody.

     As we saw the third election come around, we looked at the polls and, frankly, we don’t see any -– anything that indicates anything but the same result of the first two times.  I could be wrong, but those are –- that’s what the polling is.

     Today, we spoke to the Prime Minster and said, “You know we’re sort of running out of time.  We’d like to do this when the President has the opportunity to give it all the attention that it deserves before he goes deeper into the election season.  And what is your feeling?  Is this something that you can live with during the election season?”  And he said he could.

     And so, you know, rather than this be perceived as being political, we’re going to check with Benny Gantz as well.  And so I spent, I don’t know, 20 hours or so with Benny Gantz and his people sharing with them the plan.

     Obviously, we had many more discussions with the Prime Minister over a longer period of time.  But I sat with Benny Gantz and his people, and, you know, to my -- to my delight, I found that, you know, both the Gantz group and the Netanyahu (inaudible) were both fully in favor of the plan, and both wanted it to come out.  And our feeling was, “Well, since we have the two people, one of whom for certain could be the prime minister of the next government, if they’re both in accord and they’re both willing to support it, then we depoliticize this issue and we can put it out.”

     So it evolved in that manner, and that’s when we decided to put it out.  It really wasn’t tied to anything other than having achieved an agreement with the two leaders of the country that they were both going to support it and we could put it out in a nonpolitical way.

     Q    Okay, and then regarding the settlement, if the Palestinian leadership does not agree to this deal, what would the status of the settlements in Judea and Samaria be like?  Would they no longer be considered Israeli territory?  Like, what is going to happen then?

     AMBASSADOR FRIEDMAN:  Well, it doesn’t really matter in the short run what the Palestinians say.  We’re going to keep this option open for them for four years.  That’s what we want.  We don’t want to turn this into a -- into a circumstance where anybody feels pressured to accept it right away on pain of consequence.

     So the way we have this now, we think it’s an incredibly important concession from Israel to preserve this option for four years.  And what we’ve agreed to doing in exchange for that is if the Israelis, again, do that and commit to the plan, we will recognize -- if the Israelis apply Israeli law to the settlements and to the territory that you’ll see soon enough is allocated to Israel under the plan -- which is, again, a minority, a significant minority of the West Bank -- then we will recognize Israeli sovereignty.

     And from the Palestinians' perspective, they’re still in the game.  They have four years to study it.  And hopefully, if they can agree to come to the table, we’ll support continued negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on all the issues.
Next question?

     Q    Hi, this is Jordan Fabian from Bloomberg News.  Thanks for doing the call.  I'm hoping you can just offer some clarity on the terms of this four-year freeze: So, you know, is this a settlement freeze?  Will Israel be prevented from expanding existing settlements?  And will Israel be allowed to annex the territory that under this deal will be included as part of the, you know, future State of Israel right away, or will they have to wait four years?

     AMBASSADOR FRIEDMAN:  No.  No.  Israel -- Israel does not have to wait -- does not have to wait at all.  The waiting period would be the time it takes for them to obtain internal approvals and to obviously create the documentation, the calibration, the mapping that would enable us to evaluate and make sure it’s consistent with conceptual map.

     When you see the map, you'll see the map is on a scale of about 100,000 to 1.  So you really can’t do anything (inaudible) anything that generalized.

     But, no, Israel -- it will have to go through its own process, whatever that process is.  I’m not an expert.  And if they determine that they wish to apply Israeli law to those (inaudible) allocated to Israel, we will recognize it.

     At the same time, they’re committed to negotiating a two-state solution for the next four years with the Palestinians, even if the Palestinians reject it in the short run.  And the territory that is allocated to the Palestinians, which includes no settlements -- or to the extent it does, and in minor cases, those settlements will not be able to expand.

     But, you know, the vast majority of that territory that’s allocated to the Palestinians will be frozen.  There will be no Israeli building.  There will be no Palestinian building.  It’s going to sit there to preserve the territorial integrity of this two-state solution, which hopefully the Palestinians will rise up and claim their prize.  So that’s -- that is the way this is structured.

     We’ll do one more question.

     Q    Hi, this is (inaudible) from (inaudible) News.  Ambassador Friedman, thanks for doing this.  Do you have any concerns about the Palestinian participation and the message that it sends to have this announcement without anybody from the Palestinian side up there with the President?  What’s your -- what’s your take on that?

     AMBASSADOR FRIEDMAN:  Look, you know, I think -- I think our -- if we could be in a more active trilateral negotiation, sure,  we’d love to have more conversations with them.  But at the end of the day, the society is largely fractured, especially between the PA and Hamas and given all the internal issues there.

     Our goal is to demonstrate to the Palestinians that there is a state that they can aspire to and achieve; that they can meet many of the aspirations that they seek; that there is a better life for them.  And because they're not at the table, and we recognize they’re not at the table, we want to give them time.  It’s a very, very critical component to this.  They have time.  They have four years to figure this out, have more discussions.

     So this is not take it or leave it.  It’s not -- it’s not -- it’s not, you know, "if you don’t agree within the next X number of days, we’re pulling this deal."  It’s theirs for the taking, and that’s the way we mitigate the fact that they're not at the table now.

     We're hoping to capture the imagination of the Palestinian people.  We think we're offering them a lot.  It’s a significant expansion of their footprint and statehood and financing.  And frankly, a lot of the requirements that we impose in terms of human rights and freedom of religion and freedom of the press, the Palestinian people should be ecstatic about that, because I think many of them only wish that their government provided such protections.

     So we’re going to take as long as it takes to try to, you know, walk this through.  It’s the first day.  There’s a lot to absorb; it’ll take a little bit more time.  But that’s the whole point: They’re not here today, but they have four years to really figure this out.  And I think that’s more than enough time.
Okay?  Thanks, everybody.  Appreciate your interest.

                                      END            1:35 P.M. EST 


Office of the Press Secretary


East Room

12:09 P.M. EST

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.  Thank you.

     Today, Israel takes a big step towards peace.  (Applause.)  Young people across the Middle East are ready for a more hopeful future, and governments throughout the region are realizing that terrorism and Islamic extremism are everyone’s common enemy.

     Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting with both the Prime Minister of Israel and a man that's working very hard to become the Prime Minister of Israel in the longest-running election of all time -- (laughter) -- Benny Gantz of the Blue and White Party.  And both leaders joined me to express their support for this effort, proving that the State of Israel looking for peace, and that peace transcends politics by any measure unmeasurable.  (Applause.)  That's what they want.
     On my first trip overseas as President, I visited the Holy Land of Israel.  I was deeply moved and amazed by what this small country had achieved in the face of overwhelming odds and never-ending threats.  The State of Israel comprises only a miniscule amount of land in the Middle East and yet it has become a thriving center of democracy, innovation, culture, and commerce.

     Israel is a light unto the world.  The hearts and history of our people are woven together.  The Land of Israel is an ancient home, a sacred place of worship, and a solemn promise to the Jewish people that we will never again repeat history’s darkest hour.  (Applause.)

     During my trip to Israel, I also met with Palestinian President Abbas in Bethlehem.  I was saddened by the fate of the Palestinian people.  They deserve a far better life.  They deserve the chance to achieve their extraordinary potential.  Palestinians have been trapped in a cycle of terrorism, poverty, and violence, exploited by those seeking to use them as pawns to advance terrorism and extremism.
     I returned from my visit determined to find a constructive path -- and it's got to be a very powerful path forward in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  To further this effort, I also met with President Abbas at the White House.  Forging peace between Israelis and Palestinians may be the most difficult challenge of all.  All prior administrations, from President Lyndon Johnson, have tried and bitterly failed.  But I was not elected to do small things or shy away from big problems.  (Applause.)

     It’s been a long and very arduous process to arrive at this moment.  On Sunday, I delivered to Prime Minister Netanyahu my vision for peace, prosperity, and a brighter future for the Israelis and Palestinians.  This vision for peace is fundamentally different from past proposals.

     In the past, even the most well-intentioned plans were light on factual details and heavy on conceptual frameworks.  By contrast, our plan is 80 pages and is the most detailed proposal ever put forward by far.

     As I have seen throughout my long career as a dealmaker, complex problems require nuanced, fact-based remedies.  That is why our proposal provides precise technical solutions to make Israelis, Palestinians, and the region safer and much more prosperous.

     My vision presents a “win-win” opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel’s security.  Today, Israel is taking a giant step toward peace.  Yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu informed me that he is willing to endorse the vision as the basis for direct negotiations -- and, I will say, the General also endorsed, and very strongly -- with the Palestinians.  A historic breakthrough.

     And likewise, we have really a situation having to do with a race that is taking place right now.  It will end, and we have the support -- and it's very important to say this -- of both parties and almost all people in Israel.  They want peace, and they want peace badly.  (Applause.)

     This is the first time Israel has authorized the release of a conceptual map, illustrating the territorial compromises it’s willing to make for the cause of peace.  And they’ve gone a long way.   This is an unprecedented and highly significant development.

     Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for having the courage to take this bold step forward.  (Applause.)


     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you.  And, Bibi, we have a lot of powerful people in this room -- a lot of the people that can help make it work.  So that’s quite a thunderous applause.  Thank you very much.  


     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you.

     We will form a joint committee with Israel to convert the conceptual map into a more detailed and calibrated rendering so that recognition can be immediately achieved.  (Applause.)

     We will also work to create a contiguous territory within the future Palestinian State for when the conditions for statehood are met, including the firm rejection of terrorism.  (Applause.)

     Under this vision, Jerusalem will remain Israel’s undivided –- very important -- undivided capital.  (Applause.)  But that’s no big deal, because I’ve already done that for you, right?  (Laughter.)  We’ve already done that, but that’s okay.  It’s going to remain that way.

     And the United States will recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory that my vision provides to be part of the State of Israel.  Very important.  (Applause.)

     And, crucially, the proposed transition to a two-state solution will present no incremental security risk to the State of Israel whatsoever.  (Applause.)

     We will not allow a return to the days of bloodshed, bus bombings, nightclub attacks, and relentless terror.  It won't be allowed.  Peace requires compromise, but we will never ask Israel to compromise its security.  Can’t do that.  (Applause.)

     As everyone knows, I have done a lot for Israel: moving the United States Embassy to Jerusalem; recognizing -- (applause) –- recognizing the Golan Heights -- (applause) -- and, frankly, perhaps most importantly, getting out of the terrible Iran nuclear deal.  (Applause.)  There’s a lot of spirit in this room.  (Laughter.)  It’s true.  You don’t see it often.  You don’t see it often.  

     Therefore, it is only reasonable that I have to do a lot for the Palestinians, or it just wouldn’t be fair.  Now, don’t clap for that, okay?  But it’s true.  It wouldn’t be fair.  I want this deal to be a great deal for the Palestinians.  It has to be.

     Today’s agreement is a historic opportunity for the Palestinians to finally achieve an independent state of their very own.  After 70 years of little progress, this could be the last opportunity they will ever have -- and "last" for a lot of reasons.  We’ll never have a team like we have right now.  We have a team of people that love the United States and they love Israel, and they’re very smart and very, very committed: from your Ambassador David Friedman -- (applause) –- to Jason and Avi and Jared.  (Applause.)  And they’re all great dealmakers and they also understand the other side.  And they want the other side to do well, because that’s the sign of a great deal.  And they understand that.

     And I just appreciate all the hard work you’ve put in and so many of your other friends.  And, of course, our great Secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.  (Applause.)  Look at –- whoa.  Oh, that’s impressive.  That was very impressive, Mike.  (Laughter.)

     That reporter couldn’t have done too good a job on you yesterday, right?  (Laughter.)  I think you did a good job on her actually.  (Laughter.)  That’s good.  Thank you, Mike.  Great.

     Very -– are you running for Senate?  I guess the answer is "no" after that, huh?  (Laughter.)  They all want him to.  Kansas, great state.  They want him to, but you’re doing a great job.  Don’t move.           

     The Palestinian people have grown distrustful after years of unfulfilled promises -- so true -- yet I know they are ready to escape their tragic past and realize a great destiny.  But we must break free of yesterday’s failed approaches.

     This map will more than double the Palestinian territory and provide a Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem where America will proudly open an embassy.  (Applause.)  No Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes.  (Applause.)

     Israel will work closely with a wonderful person, a wonderful man -- the King of Jordan -- to ensure that the status quo of the Temple Mount is preserved and strong measures are taken to ensure that all Muslims who wish to visit peacefully and pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque will be able to do so.  This is a major statement.  This is of major import- -- importance.

     And, at the same time, our vision will deliver a massive commercial investment of $50 billion into the new Palestinian state.  You have many, many countries that want to partake in this, and many of them are surrounding.  They all want this to happen.  Virtually every one of them want this to happen.  And I think, Bibi, you know that very well.  You’re going to have tremendous support from your neighbors and beyond your neighbors.

     Over the next 10 years, if executed well, 1 million great new Palestinian jobs will be created.  Their poverty rate will be cut in half.  And their poverty rate is unacceptable now and only getting worse.  Their GDP will double and triple.  And much-needed hope, joy, opportunity, and prosperity will finally arrive for the Palestinian people.

     Our vision will end the cycle of Palestinian dependency upon charity and foreign aid.  They will be doing phenomenally all by themselves.  They are a very, very capable people.  (Applause.)  And we will help by empowering the Palestinians to thrive on their own.  Palestinians will be able to seize the new future with dignity, self-sufficiency, and national pride.

     To ensure a successful Palestinian state, we are asking the Palestinians to meet the challenges of peaceful co-existence.  (Applause.)  This includes adopting basic laws enshrining human rights; protecting against financial and political corruption; stopping the malign activities of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other enemies of peace; ending the incitement of hatred against Israel -- so important; and permanently halting the financial compensation to terrorists.  (Applause.)

     Perhaps most importantly, my vision gives the Palestinians the time needed to rise up and meet the challenges of statehood.  I sent a letter today to President Abbas.  I explained to him that the territory allocated for his new state will remain open and undeveloped for a period of four years.  During this time, Palestinians can use all appropriate deliberation to study the deal, negotiate with Israel, achieve the criteria for statehood, and become a truly independent and wonderful state.

     President Abbas, I want you to know that if you choose the path to peace, America and many other countries will -- we will be there.  We will be there to help you in so many different ways.  And we will be there every step of the way.  We will be there to help.  (Applause.)  In other words, for the first time in many, many decades, I can say: It will work.  It’s going to work.  If they do this, it will work.  Your response to this historic opportunity will show the world to what extent you are ready to lead the Palestinian people to statehood.

     The Middle East is changing rapidly.  On my first trip aboard [abroad] as President, I traveled to Saudi Arabia to discuss our shared priorities with the 54 leaders of the Muslim and Arab countries.  I made clear that all civilized nations share the same goals: stamping out extremism; creating opportunity for the region’s youth.  And we have to take care of the region’s youth; the region’s youth is growing up with no hope.  We have to take care of the region’s youth.  And existing in harmony with one’s neighbors.

     Since that time, immense progress has been made.  A growing number of nations have taken strong stands against terrorism and radicalization.  You see it.  Thanks to the courage of U.S. forces, the ISIS territorial caliphate -- 100 percent -- not 95 percent, not 99 or any other percent -- 100 percent of their caliphate, ISIS, is destroyed.  And its savage leader, al-Baghdadi, is now dead.  (Applause.)

     And I want to thank -- we have some of our great senators and congressmen and women here.  And I want to thank you all for the tremendous help.  Thank you very much, Jim, Ted, everybody.  Steve.  Our Leader.  Leader, thank you.  (Applause.)  Mark, thank you.  Great people.  These are great people.  They work so hard and they love this country.

     The Iranian regime is isolated and weakened greatly.  We eliminated Qasem Soleimani, the world’s top terrorist.  (Applause.)  And, as you know, he was with the head of Hezbollah.  I don’t think that they were up to anything good.  I don’t think so.

     He ran an organization called Jerusalem Liberation Forces and used his hatred -- total severe hatred -- of Israel as a rallying cry to divert attention from the incompetence and shortcomings of his government.  He falsely promoted the sinister notion that a free Jerusalem -- we must really be at war with Israel.  So to have it free, we have to be at war with Israel.  And he said it very, very powerfully.

     In fact, it’s been in this false war that Israel -- really, the enemies of peace have used -- they just used it as an excuse to divide and totally oppress the Middle East.  In truth, Jerusalem is liberated.  (Applause.)  Jerusalem is a safe, open, democratic city that welcomes people of all faiths and all places.

     It is time for the Muslim world to fix the mistake it made in 1948 when it chose to attack, instead of recognize, the new State of Israel.  It’s time.  (Applause.)

     Since then, the amount of needless bloodshed and all squandered opportunity -- so many squandered opportunities -- in the name of senseless causes is beyond measure.  The Palestinians have been the primary pawn in this regional adventurism, and it’s time for this sad chapter in history to end -- end quickly, end now.  It's never too late for courageous leaders to set a new course, to pursue what is right, to change the future only for the better.

     America is prepared to work with all parties on our vision. So many other countries are willing, ready, and able to work with us.  I’ve spoken to many of them.  I cannot believe the amount of support this morning has.  I cannot believe it.  I have been called by leaders -- Boris called, so many called -- and they're all saying, "Whatever we can do to help."  They all want to see it happen.  (Applause.)

     But America cannot care more about peace than the stakeholders in the region.  There are many Muslims who never visited Al Aqsa, and many Christians and Jews who never visited the holy sites in the West Bank described so vividly in the Bible.  My vision will change that.  Our majestic biblical heritage will be able to live, breathe, and flourish in modern times.

     All humanity should be able to enjoy the glories of the Holy Land.  This part of the world is forever connected to the human soul and the human spirit.  These ancient lands should not be symbols of conflict but eternal symbols of peace.

     Thank you again for all of the work you’ve all done and all of these incredible honored guests for being here.  And in particular, I want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu.  I also want to thank Oman, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates for the incredible work they’ve done, helping us with so much and sending their ambassadors to be with us today.  Thank you very much for being here.

     PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  (Inaudible.)  (Off-mic.)


     Thank you very much.  Thank you very much.  Please give our regards.

     America’s partnerships in the region have never been greater, and our alliance with the State of Israel has never, ever been stronger than it is today.  (Applause.)  Together, we can bring about a new dawn in the Middle East.

     And I would now, again, just like to thank everybody and -- a very special group of people, an incredible group of people.  So many have been with us on this journey right from the beginning.  And we're getting there.  It's -- they say it's the toughest deal ever to make.  In business, when I have a tough deal, people would say, "This is tougher than the Israelis and the Palestinians."  (Laughter.)  They used it as an excuse, meaning that was always the standard.  Actually, there's nothing tougher than this one -- (laughter) -- but we have to get it done.  We have an obligation to humanity to get it done.  (Applause.)

     So I would now like to introduce the Prime Minister of Israel, who's worked so hard on this, Benjamin Netanyahu.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

     PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  In the Middle East, we drink water before a long voyage.  This is an extraordinary voyage.

     President Trump, Donald: I'm honored to be here today, along with my wife Sara; Minister Yariv Levin; Ambassador Ron Dermer -- and, Ron, thank you for everything you've been doing -- (applause); National Security Advisor Meir Ben Shabbat -- thank you too, Meir -- (applause); and our entire delegation.

     We are honored to be here with you, Mr. President; with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- (applause) -- we applaud you, Mike; Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin; National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien; America's U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft -- (applause); Jared Kushner and Ivanka -- it's good to see you both.  (Applause.)  It's good to see the unfailingly energetic and optimistic Ambassador David Friedman -- (applause) -- Jason Greenblatt, Avi Berkowitz, Brian Hook, and the rest of your exceptional peace plan, Mr. President.

     It's good to be here with the other distinguished ladies and gentlemen of your administration, with senators and members of Congress who are Israel's greatest friends on Capitol Hill.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

     With the ambassadors of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman, what a pleasure to see you here -- (applause) -- and what a sign it portends -- I was going to say "of the future."  What a sign it portends of the present.  (Applause.)

     To all of you and to the many distinguished -- other distinguished guests who are here today: This is a historic day.  And it recalls another historic day.  We remember May 14th, 1948, because on that day, President Truman became the first world leader to recognize the State of Israel after our first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared our independence.  That day charted a brilliant future.

     Mr. President, I believe that down the decades -- and perhaps down the centuries -- we will also remember January 28th, 2020, because on this day, you became the first world leader to recognize Israel's sovereignty over areas in Judea and Samaria that are vital to our security and central to our heritage.  (Applause.)

     And on this day, you too have charted a brilliant future -- a brilliant future for Israelis, Palestinians, and the region -- by presenting a realistic path to a durable peace.  (Applause.)

     Since the moment of its birth, Israel has yearned for peace with our Palestinian neighbors and peace with the broader Arab world.  For decades, that peace has proved elusive, despite so many well-intentioned plans.  One after the other, they failed.  Why did they fail?  They failed because they did not strike the right balance between Israel's vital security and national interests, and the Palestinians' aspirations for self-determination.

     Too many plans tried to pressure Israel to withdraw from vital territory like the Jordan Valley.  But you, Mr. President, you recognized that Israel must have sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and the other -- (applause) -- and other strategic areas of Judea and Samaria.

     Rather than pay easy lip service to Israel's security and simply shut your eyes, hope for the best, you recognized that Israel must have sovereignty in places that enable Israel to defend itself, by itself.  (Applause.)

     For too long -- far too long -- the very heart of the Land of Israel where our patriarchs prayed, our prophets preached, and our kings ruled, has been outrageously branded as illegally occupied territory.  Well, today, Mr. President, you are puncturing this big lie.  (Applause.)

     You are recognizing Israel's sovereignty over all the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, large and small alike.  (Applause.)

     These, as the distinguished pastors who are here know very well -- these are places inscribed in the pages of the Bible.  These are places carved into the bedrock of our common civilization: the sacred tomb in Hebron where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish people are buried; Bethel, where Jacob dreamed of a ladder ascending to the heavens; Shiloh, where the Ark of the Covenant that held the Ten Commandments for 10 century -- for 10 century.  For -- sorry, for centuries.  That's what happened in Shiloh.

     Thanks to you, Mr. President, these areas and so many others that, for millennia, have been etched in the soul of the Jewish people and have fired the imaginations of millions of people around the world and across the world -- these areas will now be recognized by the United States as a permanent part of the Jewish State.  (Applause.)

     Mr. President, because of this historic recognition, and because I believe your peace plan strikes the right balance where other plans have failed, I’ve agreed to negotiate peace with the Palestinians on the basis of your peace plan.  (Applause.)

     It’s a great plan for Israel.  It’s a great plan for peace.  Frankly, Mr. President, given all that you have already done for Israel, I’m not surprised.  You have been the greatest friend that Israel has ever had in the White House.  (Applause.)  Frankly, though we’ve had some great, outstanding friends in these halls, it’s not even close.  (Applause.)

     Your historic decisions to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights; to reaffirm Israel’s legal claims in Judea and Samaria; to stand up to Iran; to pull out of that dangerous Iran deal; to confront -- “confront” is not the word -- to eliminate Qasem Soleimani -- (applause); to support and encourage unbelievable cooperation between Israel and the United States in the military and strategic and intelligence fields -- all this bear testament to the friendship and depth of your leadership and commitment to Israel.

     From our very first meeting here in the White House three years ago, you repeatedly made clear your commitment to help Israel achieve peace with the Palestinians and peace with the rest of the Arab world.

     Mr. President, I share that commitment, and I look forward to working with you to achieve a peace the will protect Israel’s security, provide the Palestinians with dignity and their own national life, and improve Israel’s relations with the Arab world.

     Your peace plan advances all these goals.  First, it addresses the root cause of the conflict by insisting that the Palestinians will finally have to recognize Israel as the Jewish State.  (Applause.)

     Second, it stipulates that Israel will retain security control in the entire area west of the Jordan River, thereby giving Israel a permanent eastern border -- a permanent eastern border to defend ourselves across our longest border.  This is something we’ve longed to have.  (Applause.)  We now have such a recognized boundary.

     Third, your plan calls for Hamas to be disarmed and for Gaza to be demilitarized.  (Applause.)

     Fourth, it makes clear that the Palestinian refugee problem must be solved outside the State of Israel.  (Applause.)

     Fifth, it calls for our ancient capital, Jerusalem, to remain united under Israel’s sovereignty.  (Applause.)  It, of course, ensures that religious sites remain accessible to all faiths.  And it maintains the status quo on the Temple Mount.

     Sixth, your plan does not uproot anyone from their homes -- Israelis and Palestinians alike.  Instead, it proposes innovative solutions whereby Israelis will be connected to Israel and whereby Palestinians will also be connected to one another.  This is -- it helps if you have these real estate people, you know?  (Laughter.)  They -- they can come up with --

     PRESIDENT TRUMP:  It's true.

     PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  -- they can come up with things normal human beings don’t think about.  (Laughter.)  And they have.

     Mr. President, Israel wants the Palestinians to have a better life.  We want them to have a future of national dignity, prosperity, and hope.  Your peace plan offers the Palestinians
such a future.  Your peace plan offers the Palestinians a pathway to a future state.

     I know that it may take them a very long time to reach the end of that path.  It may even take them a very long time to get to the beginning of that path.  But if the Palestinians are genuinely prepared to take that path, if they're genuinely prepared to make peace with the Jewish State, and if they agree to abide by all the conditions you have put forward in your plan, Israel will be there.  Israel will be prepared to negotiate peace right away.  (Applause.)

     Regardless of the Palestinian decision, Israel will preserve the path of peace in the coming years.  For at least four years, Israel will maintain the status quo in areas that your plan does not designate as being part of Israel in the future.
At the same time, Israel will apply its laws to the Jordan Valley, to all the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and to other areas that your plan designates as part of Israel and which the United States has agreed to recognize as part of Israel.  (Applause.)  I like that.

     This decision will protect Israel’s security, ensure Israel’s national interest, and leave open the possibility of a political settlement with the Palestinians in the coming years.

     Mr. President, I hope the Palestinians embrace your vision of peace -- embrace the plan that you and your team and us worked so hard to achieve.  I hope that they seize the opportunity offered by your sweeping economic plan.  I’ve read it.  It takes enormous talent to reject $50 billion worth of investment.  I know what that does to an economy.  I know what it will do to Palestinian lives.  I know what it will do to the youth of the region.  I hope that the Palestinians embrace this and build, with Israel, a future of prosperity and peace.

     I also hope that our other Arab neighbors embrace your vision and forge a path of reconciliation with Israel that can create for all of us a brilliant future.

     Mr. President, I want to congratulate your fantastic team -- there’s no other word -- your fantastic peace team for all their work.

     Jason Greenblatt.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Jason, for the terrific job you did as America’s peace envoy for nearly three years.   

     Avi Berkowitz, thank you for stepping out -- (applause) –- thank you, Avi, for stepping out from your important behind-the-roles scene –- behind-the-scenes role and ably working in those past few months to get this plan done.

     Ambassador David Friedman.  Thank you, David.  (Applause.)  Thank you for your essential contribution to this effort and for the terrific job you do every day to strengthen the great alliance between Israel and America.  (Applause.)

     And, Jared Kushner, without your wisdom, your persistence, your resolve, this day would have never come.  (Applause.)  I know how much the Jewish future means to you and to your family.  Well, Jared, today you have helped secure that future.  The Jewish State owes you and it owes President Trump an eternal debt of gratitude.  (Applause.)

     Mr. President, on that historic day of May 14th, 1948, both David Ben-Gurion and President Truman had a fateful decision to make.  Many argued that Ben-Gurion should not declare Israel’s independence.  Many argued that President Truman should not recognize the Jewish State.  But both leaders understood the magnitude of the hour.  They seized the moment and they changed history.

     Like you, Mr. President, I understand the magnitude of this moment.  With you, Mr. President, I am prepared to seize the moment and change history.  I know that there will be opposition; there’s always opposition.  I know there will be many obstacles along the way -- much criticism.  But we have an old Jewish saying: “If not now, when?  And if not us, who?”  (Speaks Hebrew.)

     Mr. President, your deal of the century is the opportunity of the century.  And rest assured Israel will not miss this opportunity.

     Mr. President, Donald: Israel is blessed to have your friendship and your powerful leadership.  And Israel is blessed to have the friendship of the greatest power on Earth, the United States of America.

     May God bless America.  (Applause.)  May God bless Israel.  (Applause.)  And may God bless us all with security, prosperity, and peace.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

                                       END                           12:56 P.M. EST     

Ten Nominations Sent to the Senate

Office of the Press Secretary

     Almo J. Carter, of the District of Columbia, to be a Commissioner of the United States Parole Commission for a term of six years, vice Cranston J. Mitchell, term expired.

     Finch Fulton, of Alabama, to be an Assistant Secretary of Transportation, vice Carlos A. Monje, Jr.

     William Ellison Grayson, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Estonia.

     Julie Elizabeth Hocker, of Pennsylvania, to be an Assistant Secretary of Labor, vice Kathleen Martinez, resigned.

     John Chase Johnson, of Oklahoma, to be Inspector General, Federal Communications Commission.  (New Position)

     Jenny A. McGee, of Texas, to be an Associate Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, vice R. David Harden.

     Thomas M. Mistele, of Florida, to be a Director of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation for a term expiring December 31, 2022, vice Gregory Karawan, term expired.

     Judy Shelton, of California, to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for the unexpired term of fourteen years from February 1, 2010, vice Janet L. Yellen, resigned.

     Charles A. Stones, of Kansas, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, vice Bruce J. Sherrick.

     Christopher Waller, of Minnesota, to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for a term of fourteen years from February 1, 2016, vice Sarah Bloom Raskin, resigned.

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