Wednesday, December 11, 2019

West Wing Reads Another Pathetic Jerry Nadler Impeachment Charade

West Wing Reads

Another Pathetic Jerry Nadler Impeachment Charade

“Poor Jerry Nadler: The House Judiciary Committee chief so wants to make the rush to impeach President Trump look respectable — but his hearings keep doing the reverse.”

The New York Post editorial board explains why. “Monday’s show, which nominally began the drafting of articles of impeachment, has to qualify as Democrats’ most blatant publicity stunt so far . . . If Dems really had a solid case, they’d slow down the process, ensure that it’s fair and earn GOP support. That they won’t is strong reason to doubt the whole endeavor.”

Click here to read more.
“The press corps is portraying Monday’s report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz as absolution for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but don’t believe it. The report relates a trail of terrible judgment and violations of process that should shock Americans who thought better of their premier law-enforcement agency,” The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.
“It’s now official: Russia, Russia, Russia really was fake news from the start. There was no factual basis for the FBI to spy on Donald Trump’s campaign . . .  J. Edgar Hoover can finally rest in peace. James Comey is now revealed to be the dirtiest cop ever to run the FBI,” Michael Goodwin writes in the New York Post.
“As President Trump visits [Pennsylvania] this week, the Keystone State’s economic future is bright. Everyone who wants to find a better job has more opportunities to do so, and wages continue to rise!” That’s because in addition to President Trump’s pro-growth agenda—tax cuts, trade reform, and deregulation—he is also working hard to make sure shuttered plants across the Rust Belt are coming back to life, White House Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro writes in the York Dispatch.
“In the spirit of Christmas, first lady Melania Trump visited the Marine Toys for Tots program Monday at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., to sort toys for children in need,” Frank Connor reports for Fox Business.


Office of the Press Secretary

South Lawn

5:15 P.M. EST

     THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.  It’s pretty wet out here.  We’re going to Hershey, Pennsylvania, tonight.  We have a big rally -- a lot of people, tremendous lines, great enthusiasm.  There’s never been this enthusiasm, in my opinion, for the Republican Party.  The Republicans have stuck together through the witch hunt.  It’s a terrible thing, but even the Democrats -- they couldn’t find very much because they put up two articles that, frankly, are very weak.  And they’re very weak.

     Also, they approved, today, of all days -- we’ve been waiting a year -- and they approved today the USMCA.  And I call that the “silver lining” to impeachment.  Because without the impeachment, they would have never approved it, in my opinion.  The impeachment is the reason they approved it.

     And interestingly, one hour after the news conference, they went out and did a news conference on the big trade deal -- the great trade deal, one of the greatest trade deals ever made for our country.  And the reason is they wanted to muffle down the impeachment because they’re embarrassed by it, and they couldn’t get the votes.  And that’s exactly what happened.

     So it’s a terrible thing when they do something like that.  But now it goes to, I guess, a vote.  And I assume they will probably -- you have to have the votes.  They’re very weak articles.

     But, very importantly, today we get USMCA.  And that’s going to be a great thing for our farmers, our manufacturers, for our -- for just about everybody.  That’s good for everybody, unions included.

     I spoke with Richard Trumka.  I spoke to James Hoffa.  And we had good talks.  That’s the union people.  I did that a few days ago.  We had some very good talks.  And everybody is really loving the USMCA.  So we’re very happy about that.  Very, very happy.

     Q    Mr. President, sir, do you believe your impeachment is inevitable, sir?  Do you believe your impeachment is inevitable?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Say it.  You go ahead.

     Q    Do you believe that your impeachment is inevitable, sir?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Is what?

     Q    That your impeachment is inevitable.  Do you think you will now be impeached?  The fourth in history -- third.

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think the Democrats -- I can’t imagine they vote for it because we did nothing wrong.  There was absolutely nothing done wrong.  They’ve analyzed my conversation every way you can.

     And when you talk about -- you know, the word “favor” was mentioned, and it was mentioned -- not me a “favor.”  You just saw the way it was.  And it was nothing to do with me; this has to do with the United States.  The word was “us.”  “Can you do us a favor?”  Then we talk about the country, and we talk about seeing the Attorney General of the United States.

     When you look at it -- and that was just a part of it -- it was a congratulatory call.  And there were two of them.  Nobody even mentions the other one.  We had another one, where they won -- originally, he won the election.

     And I think it’s a disgrace that people can make impeachment out of nothing.  That was a perfect conversation.  If you looked at Mark Levin, he analyzed the conversation -- one of the great constitutional lawyers.  Many of them have.  They were perfect conversations.  There’s nothing to impeach on, and I think it’s a disgrace.  I think it’s an absolute -- I think it’s an absolute disgrace.

     So, let’s say they vote on it.  I don’t know when they’re going to vote.  Who knows?  All I know is they were very embarrassed by it, and that’s why they brought up USMCA an hour after, because they figure it’ll muffle it a little bit.

     And if you look at -- if you look at the poll numbers, the Firehouse poll just came out, and we’re way ahead of everybody in every state, every -- you know, most of the -- I think most of the swing states.  We’re way ahead.

     And you know what?  I don’t know if that’s impeachment or the fact that we have the best economic numbers that we’ve ever had in our country.  We have the best unemployment numbers and employment numbers.  We have the best numbers we’ve ever had in our country.  And so I think that has something to do with it.

     You saw, on Friday, 266,000 jobs -- new jobs.  And other countries, all over the world, they’re not doing well.  We’re doing great.  We’re the hottest country in the world.  So I think that has a lot to do with it.

     So I’m going out to now -- we’re going out now --


     Excuse me.  We’re going out now to Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Some of you are coming, I assume.  We’ll see you there.  We’re going to make a comment about it.

     Thank you all very much.
                              END                 5:20 P.M. EST


Office of the Press Secretary


Members of Congress

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): “We’re living through the greatest economy in our lifetime with record unemployment and rising wages. #USMCA will ensure the prosperity continues.”

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC): “The U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA): -Will boost the economy -Support workers -Protect the environment -And improve access to affordable prescription drugs It’s a win for Americans and a model for future trade agreements.”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA): “Republicans pushed for a deal on #USMCA for months while Pelosi wasted time on her impeachment sham. We finally have an agreement. Passing @realDonaldTrump’s strong trade deal will be a major boost for our economy and a huge win for American workers. No more delays. Let’s vote!”

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “This trade deal will help create even more jobs and make us stronger as a country. I applaud President Trump and U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer for their hard work and commitment.”

House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX): “I’ve been working to pass #USMCA since day one - now that @realDonaldTrump has reached a deal w/ Congress, we must pass USMCA without delay. It’s time to unlock the benefits of this agreement for U.S. workers, farmers, tech workers, and our local businesses. A win for America!”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA): “The USMCA will directly benefit Louisiana’s farmers and manufacturers, allowing them to build on the success of our national economy. I look forward to this legislation passing.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO): “The best economy in 50 years has been defined by good regulatory policy and good tax policy. Today, President Trump adds to those two areas the importance of good trade policy. I’ve been proud to support this agreement and hope to see it ratified as quickly as possible.”

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE): “Pleased to hear that @realDonaldTrump’s administration & House Democrats have reached a deal on #USMCA! This is a major step toward finalizing this important trade agreement for NE ag, business & manufacturing.”

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND): “With our farmers and ranchers challenged by severe weather and unjustified retaliatory tariffs, USMCA will provide important certainty regarding our two biggest trading partners and significant benefits for U.S. agriculture. Now that the House has agreed to advance USMCA, Congress should move quickly to get it in place for the good of our country.”

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND): “Advancing #USMCA represents a win for North Dakota and the American people, and it will help our standing as we work to secure more trade deals around the world. I urge my colleagues to support it and to help make this deal become law.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): “I applaud President Trump and U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer for their persistence and their determination to finalize this historic new trade agreement.  I encourage all of my colleagues in the House and Senate to approve USMCA.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “This is an accomplishment that all of us, Republicans and Democrats, should be proud of. Congratulations to President @realDonaldTrump and his team for their efforts on the USMCA.”

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN): “The USMCA is a win for Tennessee workers, manufacturers, farmers and ranchers. It will benefit every industry in the United States economy, raise real GDP by over $68 billion, and create around 176,000 jobs.”

Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL): “More Promises Made, Promises Kept! I’m proud to stand with President @realDonaldTrump as he fights to get better trade deals for Alabama and American workers.”

Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR): “#USMCA will be one of the best improvements to an outdated trade deal that our country has ever seen. The President made it a central component of his platform when he ran for office & he has delivered. Ag-producers and all Americans are thankful for his work.”

Rep. French Hill (R-AR): “@realDonaldTrump has successfully negotiated a replacement for the ‘94 NAFTA trade agreement. #USMCA will be great for ARKANSAS #jobs—our farmers, ranchers, & manufacturers. Canada & Mexico are our #1 trading partners. Congrats to POTUS & #USTR Ambassador Lighthizer!”

Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR): “#USMCA is a trade deal that will increase new economic growth by $68 BILLION. Enough stalling - it’s time to give hardworking Americans the trade deal they’ve been asking for!”

Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR): “#USMCA is a win for Arkansas & US! Canada & Mexico are two of #AR3’s top trading partners & this trade deal will support economic growth and opportunity. This was a top priority for @POTUS @USTradeRep @HouseGOP, and I look forward to a vote on this historic agreement.”

Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA): “This is a major victory for everyone involved. Our farmers – especially dairy folks – have the access they need to markets in Canada and Mexico. Our workers have the labor protections we need to keep jobs here at home.”

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL): “International trade is critical to my home state of Florida, where exports and imports support 2.3 million jobs. Leveling the playing field for Florida and the rest of the nation, as well as increasing access to foreign markets, is essential to growing the U.S. economy and creating good-paying jobs.”

Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL): “Thanks to President @realDonaldTrump, @SpeakerPelosi has finally agreed to bring #USMCA to the House Floor. Continuing the $15B (and growing) two-way trade market between Florida & our top two trade partners is a win for America & for Florida. No more delays — let’s vote!”

Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA): “The American people will finally see the benefits of the #USMCA trade agreement. Led by @realDonaldTrump, I am proud of what @USTradeRep, Ranking Member @RepKevinBrady, & my @WaysandMeansGOP colleagues have done to get the agreement to this point.”

Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA): “I am pleased that the USMCA is ready. I have long been an advocate for getting this agreement done so our farmers and manufacturers can have certainty in our two largest markets.”

Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL): “The announced agreement on #USMCA is great news! I applaud @realDonaldTrump & @USTradeRep for negotiating a strong agreement.”

Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN): “#USMCA is a win for #Hoosiers! After months of delay, we are finally moving this forward. USMCA helps our manufacturers, farmers, tech workers & our local businesses build a stronger economy!”

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN): “With this final agreement to modernize North American trade, the president is delivering on his promise to level the playing field for American workers and farmers and to keep our economic momentum going.”

Rep. Ron Estes (R-KS): “Today’s agreement on USMCA is great - and far overdue - news for our country. President Trump has delivered on another promise and crafted a free and fair trade deal that will create jobs, boost GDP and wages, and open new markets for our farmers, ranchers and manufacturers.”

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA): “President @realDonaldTrump has never delivered a better deal for America’s workers and Louisiana’s economy than the #USMCA.”

Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN): “As the first member of the MN delegation to support #USMCA, I am thrilled a bipartisan agreement has been reached to facilitate a House vote and finally deliver this much-needed and well-deserved win to our #MN01 workers, businesses, farmers and families.”

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN): “I have been pushing for months to get this deal to the finish line, and this announcement is great news for farmers, businesses and workers, in Western Minnesota and nationwide.”

Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS): “Republicans advocated for #USMCA for months while @SpeakerPelosi pushed the impeachment sham. No more delays. It’s time to vote and pass USMCA!”

Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC): “Fantastic news for North Carolina! The #USMCA will: - Create 150,000+ new jobs - Eliminate barriers facing U.S. exports - Triple our access to the Canadian dairy market Big time win for our country.”

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE): “Great news! The #USMCA agreement has been reached! This modernized trade deal will benefit Nebraska and our AG economy, raise our exports, increase jobs, and boost wages!”

Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE): “Coming to an agreement on USMCA is a tremendous step forward, and I applaud @POTUS and @USTradeRep for their diligent work in getting a beneficial trade deal for our nation.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY): “After months and months of tireless work, I am proud to support the negotiated USMCA. This trade agreement is a win for North Country farmers and workers, the North Country economy, and America as a whole.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY): “The deal is a huge win for President Trump, but more importantly, it’s a big win for the American worker.”

Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV): “This week, a historic agreement has been reached between the leaders of the House Democratic majority and Ambassador Lighthizer. It is well past time that Congress considered a hemispheric trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada that reflects the modernization of our economy.”

Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH): “This is a BIG WIN for Ohio! … After more than a year of delay, I’m glad to see bipartisan support for USMCA!”

Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH): “After months of delays and excuses from the Dems, a #USMCA deal has finally been reached. This is a win for the American people and the American worker.”

Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH): “This is a WIN for #OH5. After waiting for + a year, Congress will soon consider the #USMCA that’ll create thousands of #jobs!”

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH): “After months of delay, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have finally agreed to bring #USMCA up for a vote. I thank President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for their tireless work to support the 428,400 Ohio jobs that depend on trade with Canada and Mexico.”

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK): “I am eager to vote on the agreement, which strengthens and modernizes the terms of trade with our North American neighbors. I certainly expect swift and bipartisan passage in both chambers of Congress, and I very much look forward to finally releasing the benefits secured by President Trump to millions of American manufacturers, entrepreneurs, farmers and ranchers.”

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK): “Today’s announcement that negotiations around USMCA have concluded is excellent news for trade in North America.”

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK): “Bringing the #USMCA to a vote is long overdue, but I am glad that we are finally moving forward. Nancy Pelosi claims that it’s Democrats who secured this deal, but let’s be clear: @realDonaldTrump is the one who delivered this win for our country.”

Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR): “The agreement reached between @realDonaldTrump & House Democrats on USMCA is welcome news for OR’s businesses, farmers & ranchers. This trade agreement modernizes our trade policies w/ Mexico & Canada, where OR businesses export $3.7 billion in goods, supporting 7,421 jobs in OR.”

Rep. Fred Keller (R-PA): “I congratulate President @realDonaldTrump and @HouseGOP leadership in reaching a deal on the #USMCA. The new trade deal is a huge win for Pennsylvania farmers and manufacturers.”

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA): “Promises made, promises kept! USMCA is a big win & will further boost America’s economy. Thank you to @POTUS @realDonaldTrump for replacing NAFTA with a deal that puts American workers, farmers, manufacturers & businesses first!”

Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA): “The #USMCA now looks like it will finally come to the House floor for a vote next week. This agreement, as negotiated by @realDonaldTrump, is a huge win for America & #PA09.”

Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD): “#USMCA is the win our producers need and we finally have a deal. The administration fought for this 21st century trade deal for over a year and I’m glad it’s getting the support it deserves.”

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN): “The trade deal the President negotiated will be the best thing House Democrats do with their time this Congress! The Speaker owes Donald Trump a big ‘thank you.’”

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN): “.@realDonaldTrump and @HouseGOP saw the need for an updated trade deal, engaged in hours of negotiations, and delivered on our promise to the American people for a 21st-century trade deal that puts American workers first. Dems should take notes on how to get things done.”

Rep. Mark Green (R-TN): “Proud that @POTUS @realDonaldTrump has brought @HouseDemocrats to the table and delivered a major bipartisan victory on #USMCA for America’s workers and businesses.”

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX): “Today’s announcement of a deal on USMCA is news America’s farmers and ranchers have been waiting over a year for. I appreciate the work of President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer in delivering on the promise of an improved trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.”

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX): “We have a final agreement on the #USMCA, a much-needed update to NAFTA! This trade agreement is projected to raise GDP by nearly $70 billion and create upwards of 200,000 jobs. The USMCA is good for my district, for the state of Texas, and for our country as a whole.”

Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX): “Great news for Texas, the United States of America and the rest of the world. #USMCA”

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX): “After more than a year, we are finally going to vote on #USMCA on the House floor. This is a huge win for Texas business owners, farmers, ranchers and so many more.”

Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX): “#USMCA has always been a victory for Texas and our nation, and I’m ready to vote ‘yes’ for Texans.”

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA): “The announcement of an agreement on USMCA is an important and positive step forward.”

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA): “The new #USMCA agreement will expand export markets & bring greater long-term stability to farms, businesses, and workers across Virginia. I thank the administration officials, House negotiators, and trade representatives who have worked persistently to reach this point.”

Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI): “USMCA is a win for Wisconsin, for our dairy and manufacturing industries, and for middle class families. After months of delay, we are finally moving ahead with USMCA. #USMCAnow”

State Officials

Governor Doug Ducey (R-AZ): “Arizona’s annual trade with our North American trade partners totals $20.2 BILLION. It’s time Congress gets this deal done so #Arizona and the American people can begin to realize the expanded job growth and opportunity that will come with it… I urge all members to do the right thing and vote ‘yes’ on #USMCA.”


Governor Kim Reynolds (R-IA): “Today’s announcement represents a positive step forward for Iowa's entire economy. USMCA is a strong, balanced, and modern trade agreement that will create opportunities for Iowa families, farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses by expanding markets for our world-class exports. I want to thank President Trump, Ambassador Lighthizer, and the entire administration for their steadfast leadership on this issue.”

Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD): “By creating jobs, strengthening economic ties, and establishing a more level playing field for American workers and businesses, agreements like the USMCA are essential to ensuring future prosperity for our nation and for the State of Maryland. I will continue to work closely with federal and state leaders to ensure the USMCA is swiftly ratified.”

Governor Mike Parson (R-MO): “We have strong bi-partisan support across the Midwest for USMCA. This common sense trade agreement will help Missouri farmers and our agribusiness community. Politics should be put aside to lock in this deal for the future of American agriculture.”

Governor Doug Burgum (R-ND): “We’re deeply grateful to the Trump administration for its tireless work on this agreement, and we urge House leadership to put it to a vote quickly so it can advance to the Senate for approval and be implemented as soon as possible. This deal will provide market certainty at a time of extreme hardship for our farmers and ranchers, who are among the most productive in the world and can compete with anyone on a level playing field.”

Governor Pete Ricketts (R-NE): “Congratulations to President @realDonaldTrump on securing bipartisan support for his historic USMCA deal. The President and his team have tirelessly worked to build bipartisan support for it in Congress.”

Governor Chris Sununu (R-NH): “At long last, I am pleased by today’s news that Congress has reached a deal with the Trump Administration to bring the USMCA forward for the vote that it has long deserved. The USMCA means greater access for New Hampshire businesses to the markets of two of our state’s top trading partners.”

Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH): “Great to see #USMCA is moving forward and the U.S. House of Representatives has scheduled a vote. This trade agreement will boost our economy and benefit #Ohio businesses as they export to Canada and Mexico.”

Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX): “Great day for America as USMCA moves forward. The agreement announced this morning is good news, and I look forward to the House and Senate working diligently to pass USMCA by Christmas.”

Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin (R-AR): “The announcement to move forward on #USMCA is exciting news for #AR businesses & #ArkAg products. I applaud the work of our federal delegation & @realDonaldTrump. This was one of @POTUS’ top priorities & it means free & fair trade & expanded markets for our businesses.”

Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted (R-OH): “Glad to see Congress plans to finally move forward on ratifying the #USMCA. This is a fair trade deal that will be good for Ohioans.”

Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig (R-IA): “We are one step closer to passing the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. With USMCA supporting 325,000 American jobs, it’s time to pass #USMCANow”

House Speaker Robin Vos (R-WI): “I joined legislative leaders from 15 states in urging Congress to pass the #USMCA. We sent a letter to Congressional leadership asking them to act as soon as possible. Each of our states approved a resolution supporting the new trade deal. #USMCAnow.”

Senate President Del Marsh (R-AL): “The USMCA is good for everyone. I am glad that members from both sides of the aisle were able to come together and agree that this is the best deal to ensure that the strongest economy of our lifetime continues to grow.”

Senate President Larry Obhof (R-OH): “Today I joined legislative leaders from around the U.S. urging Congress to pass #USMCANow. #USMCA is a better deal for our workers, farmers & small businesses.”

California State Senator Shannon Grove (R-CA): “Today I joined legislative leaders from across the US to urge Congress to set partisan politics aside & pass the #USMCANow! This 21st century agreement is critical to workers, farmers, small business & our economy.”


Cabinet Members & Administration Officials

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue: “President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer are laying the foundation for a stronger farm economy through USMCA and I thank them for all their hard work and perseverance to get the agreement across the finish line.”

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross: “This is the largest trade deal in the history, not just in the U.S., but as far as I can tell, of the whole world.”

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer: “Thanks to President Trump’s leadership, we have reached an historic agreement on the USMCA.  After working with Republicans, Democrats, and many other stakeholders for the past two years we have created a deal that will benefit American workers, farmers, and ranchers for years to come.  This will be the model for American trade deals going forward.”

United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Amb. Kelly Craft: “13 months. 3 countries. Countless hours. Billions of dollars. Congrats @realdonaldtrump and @USTradeRep Robert Lighthizer on #USMCA!”

Advocacy & Policy Organizations

American Automotive Policy Council President Former Missouri Governor Matt Blunt: “We are pleased that Democratic leaders in the House and the Trump administration have reached an agreement to support the USMCA, which will pave the way for U.S. congressional passage of this vital trade pact.”

American Beverage Association President and CEO Katherine Lugar: “The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is a critical step towards strengthening our workforce, country and neighbors. The beverage industry employs more than 264,000 hard-working Americans, contributes $189 billion in direct economic impact and provides $20.8 billion in wages and benefits. On behalf of America’s leading beverage companies, we applaud the Administration and Congressional leaders for their commitment to creating a more prosperous outlook for our industry and the communities we serve – and we urge Congress to swiftly consider and pass this trade agreement.”

American Chemistry Council President and CEO Chris Jahn: “We commend Ambassador Lighthizer and Speaker Pelosi for their dogged pursuit of a trade agreement that will benefit U.S. businesses, workers, and consumers. ACC looks forward to reviewing the proposed changes closely to ensure chemicals manufacturers will continue to thrive under the new agreement.”

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall: “We urge members of Congress to swiftly approve the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. … This is an opportunity for Congress not only to help U.S. farmers and ranchers turn the corner on trade, but also show that Washington can still get things done on a bipartisan basis.”

American Trucking Association President and CEO Chris Spear: “Now with a clear path to USMCA’s ratification, this is an historic victory for truck drivers, motor carriers and the entire American economy,”

Association of American Railroads President and CEO Ian Jefferies: “As the backbone of the North American supply chain, freight railroads applaud today’s announcement, which provides much-needed certainty with our two largest trading partners. Congress should move with haste to ratify USMCA before the end of the year and provide an economic shot in the arm to U.S. businesses.”

Association of Equipment Manufacturers President Dennis Slater: “This is good news for equipment manufacturers, the 1.3 million men and women of our industry, and the entire U.S. economy. We look forward to Congress ratifying the agreement and President Trump signing it into law.”

BSA|The Software Alliance: “Today’s announcement is welcome news to the software industry, and businesses of all sizes across the economy who rely on data to succeed and grow. The USMCA establishes a gold standard for rules on digital trade. Congressional action on the USMCA is critical to securing American leadership in the digital economy into the future.”

Business Roundtable Trade and International Committee Chair Tom Linebarger: “Business Roundtable appreciates the hard work of the United States Trade Representative and the House Democratic USMCA Working Group to reach an agreement that can move USMCA forward.”

Corn Refiners Association President and CEO John Bode: “Today’s announced agreement on USMCA puts America one step closer to strengthening our farm and agriculture economy and securing vital market access for U.S. farmers, ranchers and agri-businesses. With Mexico and Canada representing the two largest markets for refined corn products totaling more than $900 million in yearly exports, we urge Congress to swiftly pass this deal that is critical to the success of American businesses, farmers and workers.”

Farmers for Free Trade Co-Executive Director Angela Hofmann: “This is welcome news and a relief for American farmers. Now it’s time to get the bill passed before politics can get in the way. Farmers and ranchers will be watching closely to ensure that their members of Congress are standing up for American agriculture.”

General Motors: “General Motors is pleased to see the USMCA agreement moving forward on a path toward approval.  We view the agreement as vital to the success of the North American auto industry and have long supported efforts to modernize it in a way that strengthens the industry and positions it to be a global leader.”

International Dairy Foods Association President and CEO Michael Dykes: “What a great day for U.S. dairy and all of American agriculture. With a smooth path ahead for the USMCA agreement, America’s dairy industry anticipates a bright future and continued growth through exports to Canada and Mexico. Once ratified, the new USMCA deal also delivers peace of mind for our businesses, removing the handcuffs of uncertainty that have constrained business decisions over the past two years as the deal was negotiated.”

National Association of Home Builders Chairman Greg Ugalde: “NAHB commends President Trump and House Democrats for working together in a bipartisan spirit to reach an agreement on approving the USMCA trade deal, which represents a win for the U.S. economy, a win for American jobs and a win for housing affordability. Many of the products that go into American homes come from Mexico or Canada.  By moving swiftly to ratify the USMCA, Congress will help to address the nation’s housing affordability crisis.”

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons: “Manufacturers support the USMCA, and we are encouraged that the administration and House Democrats have forged a path forward, with the support of Canada and Mexico as well.”

National Chicken Council President Mike Brown: “On behalf of America’s chicken producers, I want to thank President Trump for his leadership and for the tireless work of the administration, including Agriculture Secretary Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer. After a year of negotiations, the time to act is now. We encourage swift Congressional consideration and passage of USMCA before Christmas.”

National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Ross: “NCGA appreciates the bipartisan efforts between Speaker Pelosi, Ambassador Lighthizer and the House working group to reach an agreement. I urge lawmakers to pass USMCA and help us close out 2019 with a win for America’s farmers and the U.S. economy.”

National Council of Textiles President and CEO Kim Glas: “We are happy to hear a deal has been reached that should help pave the way for USMCA to move forward and we will continue to work for Congressional passage on a clean bill.”

National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern: “Passing USMCA would be boon to America’s dairy farmers… USMCA will expand trade opportunities with our most valuable partners and secure immediate benefits for our rural communities, adding an estimated $548 million to dairy-farm revenues in its first six years after implementation.”

National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay: “Retailers are very encouraged by this positive step forward to approve the USMCA, which will provide key updates to the landmark North American Free Trade Agreement and promote long-term economic growth. The USMCA takes many important steps to modernize the agreement to reflect today’s global and digital economy. This agreement could not come at a better time and provides certainty for U.S. retailers that rely on the North American market, including those that operate in Canada and Mexico. It also ensures American families can continue to have access to a wide range of high-quality products at prices they can afford. We applaud the leadership of both President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for their commitment to reach a new and improved deal. We look forward to having this cross the finish line and continue the strong momentum in the consumer economy.”

National Turkey Federation: “The USMCA is a win for the U.S. turkey industry, and with today’s announced agreement we’re one step closer to ratification. It’s taken a great deal of hard work to reach consensus on the USMCA, and we thank President Trump, Ambassador Lighthizer, Secretary Perdue, Speaker Pelosi and congressional leaders in both parties who have gotten us to this point.”

SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan: “USMCA is vitally important to the growth and success of the U.S. economy. Small business America looks forward to taking advantage of expansion opportunities under USMCA and new agreements moving forward that will open global markets to their goods and services.”

Trade Works For America Co-Chair Phil Cox: “Look, this is a win if you're in the agricultural sector, the auto sector, if you're in manufacturing – this is a win for you.”

United States Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas J. Donohue: “The U.S. Chamber welcomes the news that the Trump Administration and House Democrats have reached agreement on a path forward for USMCA. … We are optimistic this development will open the door to final approval of USMCA on a bipartisan basis by the end of the year, which will especially benefit American farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses.”

United States Dairy Export Council President and CEO Tom Vilsack: “Finalizing USMCA will bolster international confidence in the U.S. as a serious negotiating partner and build momentum for other trade agreements in key markets abroad. Without this crucial trade agreement, Made-in-America dairy and agriculture products could be left behind in the new year.”

United States Travel Association: “The #USMCA will be a HUGE win for America’s travel industry, our economy and U.S. workers across the country. Thank you, @POTUS, for negotiating a new fair-trade agreement for all of America.”

President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate and Appoint Individuals to Key Administration Posts

Office of the Press Secretary
President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate and Appoint Individuals to Key Administration Posts

Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key positions in his Administration:

Jessie K. Liu of Virginia, to be the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes at the Department of the Treasury.

Ms. Liu currently serves as the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.  She also serves as Chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, a group of United States Attorneys that represent the United States Attorney community and provide advice and counsel to the Attorney General on matters of policy, procedure, and management.  Previously, Ms. Liu served in a number of senior positions across the government, including as Deputy General Counsel for the Department of the Treasury, as well as in the National Security Division at the Department of Justice. In addition, she was a partner at the law firms of Morrison & Foerster and Jenner & Block.  Ms. Liu clerked for then-Chief Judge Carolyn Dineen King of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Houston, Texas, and received her A.B., summa cum laude, from Harvard University in 1995 and J.D. from Yale Law School in 1998.

William Zollars of Kansas to be a Member of the United States Postal Service Board of Governors for the remainder of a seven-year term expiring December 8, 2022.

Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to be Members of the National Council on the Arts for the remainder of a six-year term expiring September 3, 2024:
  • Daniel Asia of Arizona.
  • Winifred Bingham of Florida.

Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to be Members of the Mississippi River Commission:
  • Mark Toy of California, to be designated President.
  • Robert F. Whittle, Jr. of Connecticut.
  • D. Peter Helmlinger of Washington.
The following individuals to be Members of the Board of Visitors to the United States Military Academy for terms of three years beginning December 31, 2019:
  • John “Jack” Keane of Virginia.
  • H.R. McMaster of Pennsylvania.
The following individuals to be Members of the Board of Visitors to the United States Naval Academy for terms of three years beginning December 31, 2019:
  • Anthony Parker of the District of Columbia.
  • Joseph Walsh of Connecticut.
The following individuals to be Members of the Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking for a two-year term:
  • Karen Cheeks-Lomax of New York.
  • Esta Soler of California.
The following individuals to be Members of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts:
  • Robert E. Bowers of Georgia.
  • Marianne Elmasri Powers of Florida.

Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding the National Defense Authorization Act

Office of the Press Secretary
Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding the National Defense Authorization Act
The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) advances many of President Donald J. Trump’s priorities, including a 3.1-percent pay raise for our troops, providing up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for Federal employees, ensuring survivors of deceased service members receive the benefits they deserve, and establishing the United States Space Force, fulfilling the President’s promise to maintain America’s leadership in space.  Additionally, the NDAA supports President Trump’s historic rebuilding of the military while preserving essential statutory tools to secure our border and rejecting progressive attempts to limit the President’s authorities as Commander in Chief.

We hope Congress will send this legislation to the President’s desk for his signature.


Office of the Press Secretary

Via Teleconference

10:04 A.M. EST

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Good morning.  Thank you for joining this background briefing on International Human Rights Day and new actions.  This call is embargoed until its conclusion, and is attributable, on background, to senior administration officials.

     Today we have [senior administration officials].  Each of our senior officials will give brief remarks, and then we will go into Q&A.

     With that, I will turn it over to our first senior administration official.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Good morning, and thank you for joining us today on International Human Rights Day.  There is a common misconception that serious human rights abuse is only prevalent in certain parts of the world.  It is not.  It is a global problem.  Serious human rights abuse undermines the rule of law and leads to the death of innocent civilians, ethnic cleansing, refugee crises, sexual violence, political instability, the perpetuation of conflict, and the deprivation of fundamental human rights.

     The United States is the world leader in combatting human rights abuse and human rights violators.  As such, the United States is committed to upholding human rights for all people and will hold human rights abusers accountable wherever they are.  Today, we are taking action against perpetrators and enablers of serious human rights abuse in Burma, Pakistan, Libya, Slovakia, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

     Our action today focuses on those who have killed or ordered the killing of innocents who stood up for human rights, including journalists, opposition members, and human rights lawyers.  Specifically, our targets include:
  • leaders of the Burmese military responsible for the murder of Rohingya villagers and other religious and ethnic minorities
  • a senior superintendent of police in Pakistan who repeatedly committed extrajudicial killings of civilians
  • a military commander who has ordered and carried out mass executions of unarmed detainees in Libya
  • a Slovakian businessman who murdered a journalist for exposing his corruption
  • five individuals responsible for the abduction and likely killing, in South Sudan, of two human rights activists in 2017
  • and members of the Allied Democratic Forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- a group that uses rape, murder, and abduction of civilians as a weapon of war.

     Treasury’s actions are designed to impose significant and tangible consequences on those who engage in, and profit from, serious human rights abuse.  These actions encourage and support stability, the rule of law, and respect for human rights in the countries we will highlight today.
     These designations are being taken pursuant to the Global Magnitsky sanctions program, which targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption.  Between 2017 and 2019, Treasury has designated over 700 persons with a nexus to corruption or human rights abuse under a variety of sanctions programs, over 190 of which have been pursuant to our Global Magnitsky authorities.

     I would now like to turn the call over to [senior administration official] to talk more about a few of the designations Treasury took today.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thank you, and hello everyone.

     First, I would like to focus on our designations with respect to Burma.  Treasury is targeting members of the Burmese military, which has committed widespread, systematic, and brutal acts of violence against ethnic minority groups across Burma, including Rohingya villagers and groups in the Kachin and Shan States.  We are designating four Burmese military commanders for their roles in brutal military operations that include the rape, execution of, and systematic violence against civilians.

     The commanders targeted today include Min Aung Hlaing, who is the commander-in-chief of the Burmese security forces; Soe Win, who is the deputy commander-in-chief of the Burmese security forces; Than Oo, who is the leader of the 99th LID, and Aung Aung, a leader of the 33rd LID -- both of which were deployed to Rakhine State, where these divisions participated in brazen acts of human rights abuse, including the systemic rape of civilians.

     These actions promote accountability for the Burmese commanders and shine a light on the responsibility they bear for these brutal operations.

     Turning to Pakistan, Treasury is designating today Rao Anwar Khan, a senior superintendent of police in Pakistan.  Anwar staged over 190 police encounters in the Malir District that led to the deaths of over 400 people, many of which were extrajudicial murders.  Anwar was also in charge of a network of police and criminal thugs responsible for extortion, land-grabbing, narcotics, and murder.

     In Libya, Treasury is designating Mahmud al-Warfalli for ordering mass executions of unarmed detainees as commander of the al-Saiqa Brigade, part of the Libyan National Army, currently conducting an offensive on Tripoli.

     Since 2016, al-Warfalli has carried out or ordered the extrajudicial killings of 43 unarmed detainees in eight separate incidents.  Many of these executions were filmed and published on social media.
     Turning to Slovakia, Treasury is designating a prominent Slovak businessman, Marian Kocner, for his threats against Jan Kuciak, a journalist investigating his rampant corruption and Kocner's hiring of a hitman to murder Kuciak and Kuciak's fiancée, Martina Kusnirova.

     Kocner threatened the kill Jan Kuciak, a reporter who wrote more than a dozen articles exposing Kocner's scheme to defraud the Slovak people of millions of euros through fraudulent tax returns, as well as his corrupt dealings and connections to Slovak police and prosecutors.

     Kocner ultimately hired former Slovak Intelligence Service members to surveil Kuciak and hired a hitman that murdered Kuciak and his fiancée.

OFAC is also designating six entities owned or controlled by Kocner.

     Turning to South Sudan, Treasury is designating five individuals responsible for the abduction and likely murder of two human rights activists in 2017.

     We continue to see the South Sudanese government use extrajudicial killings as a means to silence dissent, limit freedom of speech and press, and enforce the political status quo.

     The U.N. published a Panel of Experts report of 111 pages in April 2019, detailing the allegations involving those designated today.  And yet we have not seen any indications that the South Sudanese government intends to hold any accountable or to take corrective measures.
     More broadly, we're concerned that the same environment of impunity extends to South Sudan's peace process.  South Sudanese leadership continue to drag their feet and extend the deadline for forming a national unity government, all while the people of South Sudan suffer economic hardship and violence.

     The United States will work unilaterally and with the international partners to hold all those responsible for human rights abuse and corruption accountable, as well as to take action against those impeding South Sudan's peace process.

     Lastly, focusing on DRC, Treasury is designating members of the Democratic Republic of Congo Allied Democratic Forces, which has repeatedly committed mass rape, killings, and abductions of civilians.

     The ADF was designated by OFAC and the United Nations in 2014 for -- given its responsibility for targeting children in armed conflicts, including through killing, rape, abduction, and forced displacement.  The ADF has continued to perpetuate widespread violence and innumerable human rights abuse through 2019.

     Today, OFAC is designating a leader of the ADF, Musa Baluku, for his command responsibility in these human rights abuses, as well as five ADF commanders who have materially assisted the ADF through recruitment, logistics, admiration, financing, intelligence, and operations coordination.

     In conclusion, today's action exposes those who perpetuate and profit from human rights abuses and cuts off their access to the U.S. financial system.

     The Treasury action today has the following consequences: All property, and interests in property, of the individuals and entities designated today that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked.  And U.S. persons will be prohibited from dealing with them.

     I'd like to turn it back to the moderator.
     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thank you.  Now I'll turn it over to [senior administration official].
     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thank you.  And welcome everyone.  The actions announced by the Treasury Department today have been carried out in close coordination with the State Department and, indeed, are fully consistent with our foreign policy objectives in each of the countries described, as well as globally.

     Our aim is always to identify human rights challenges and use American influence and power to move every nation towards better, more consistent human rights practices.  And part of that is our efforts to promote accountability.

     I would mention that, in addition to the GLOMAG -- Global Magnitsky sanctions that Treasury has just announced, the State Department today is designating two individuals under a separate authority we have, namely section 7031(c) of the Department of State Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2019.

     This authority provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information, that officials of foreign governments have been involved in a gross violation of human rights or significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.

     The two individuals who we will be designating today include Mohammed al Otaibi -- the former Consul General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul, Turkey -- for his involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

     Our action today is another important step in responding to Khashoggi's killing.  Mr. al Otaibi was previously designated on November the 15th, 2018, under the executive order associated with the Global Magnitsky Act.  But it did not include designation under 7031(c).  And we are doing that today.

     Secondly, we are designating a Russian national, Mr. Aslan Iraskhanov, head of the Ministry of Interior Affairs for the City of Grozny, in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, for this involvement in gross violations of human rights.

In his prior position as head of the A.A. Kadyrov police unit, Mr. Iraskhanov was credibly alleged to be responsible for the summary execution of 27 men.  So we are designating him under Section 7031(c) for those actions.

     And, with that, I’ll stop.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thank you.  Now we’ll turn it over to [senior administration official].

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Hi.  Thank you everyone for joining today on International Human Rights Day.  Today we want to underscore, as the other two callers did, the United States’ commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights globally.

     All beings are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and it is the duty of every government to protect these rights.  We acknowledge the truth that people around the world are empowered when human rights are protected by law.

     On December 10, 1948, inspired by the U.S. Bill of Rights, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Unfortunately, millions around the world are still suffering from unjust imprisonment, religious persecution, and countless other human rights abuses.  The United States has long been at the forefront of addressing human rights, and we will always stand up for individual freedoms and against all forms of oppression.

     As part of this administration’s efforts to protect human rights, in July, State Department hosted the second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.

     In September, President Trump was the first President to host a meeting at the United Nations General Assembly on religious freedom, calling on all nations to act to bring an end to religious persecution and stop crimes against people of faith.

     In January 2019, President Trump signed into law the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act, continuing this administration’s strong stance against the evils of mass atrocity and genocide.

     In September 2019, President Trump launched the Atrocity Early Warning Task Force.  This White House-led interagency task force leads the United States government’s efforts to prevent, mitigate, and respond to mass atrocities.  As President Trump has said, we will never, ever be silent in the face of evil again, and we pledge: Never again.


     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thank you.  Moderator, we’re now ready to open up for a few questions.

     Q    Hi.  This is Andrew Feinberg with Breakfast Media.  Thanks for doing this call.  Real quick: I had two questions.

     First is, why is, in your list of these countries that commit human rights abuses, including imprisoning journalists, is Turkey not on your list?  There are currently 68 journalists imprisoned in Turkey.  It’s one the biggest, if not the biggest, jailer of journalists in the world.

     And also, can you guys say, just definitively, that journalists, both American and elsewhere, are not the enemies of the people?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  This is the Treasury Department.  We had a little trouble hearing the question, but, you know, we certainly agree strongly with the premise that journalists are not the enemy of the people.

     I think you started off with a question about Turkey, and we’ll let State handle that.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yes.  Today’s designations announcements are not -- we’re not able to cover every country in the world where there are significant human rights abuses.  We have regularly called out the human rights abuses that have occurred in Turkey, including the repression of journalists, and we will continue to do so.

     But the fact that we haven’t taken specific sanctions or imposed specific sanctions related to journalists in Turkey does not mean we don’t care about that issue nor does it mean that we aren’t taking action to address the issue.

     Q    Hi.  Yes, thank you.  This is David Nakamura with the Washington Post.  There were reports yesterday that, at the United Nations today, there was supposed to be a discussion about North Korea’s human rights violations -- that the United States objected to that.  And that schedule was, in fact, changed; that hearing was cancelled.  And instead, there will be a discussion of nonproliferation issues related to North Korea on the Korean Peninsula tomorrow instead.

     I’m wondering why -- if you all could address why that happened -- whether the United States is prioritizing the nuclear issue over human rights and is concerned that having that event would have angered Kim Jong Un, and that’s why you’ve pushed to cancel it.

     Thank you.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Hi, [senior administration official] from National Security Council.  I mean, as Ambassador Craft explained extensively during her press conference last week, the U.S. does care about human rights globally.  And we are addressing human rights throughout the program of work in December, as we address it in all of the political sessions in the Security Council, the UNAMI session, the Syria session.

     So we do address human rights issues, and we will be addressing the issues in North Korea, as you mentioned.  We're having a comprehensive update on the recent developments on the missile launches, and we feel that that's the best use of the Security Council attention this week.

     Q    Hi, there.  This is Owen Churchill with the South China Morning Post.  Thanks so much for doing this.  I missed the top of this call, so apologies if this was addressed.  But I wondered if you could give me an update on the administration's current considerations regarding any sanctioning action on the Chinese government regarding the mass internment camps in Xinjiang, and specifically whether any of those concerns or considerations were affected or placated by the reports earlier this week that the governor there said that the camps are being normalized and all of the so-called graduates have been released.  Thanks so much.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  This is [senior administration official] over at Treasury.  Listen, we remain deeply concerned with China's repressive campaign in Xinjiang.  We can’t comment on, sort of, possible or pending investigations or sanctions.  But we're working very closely with the State Department as part of a whole-of-government strategy to address what's going on.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I was just going to add, I think as folks know, we did take actions -- I believe it was in October -- of imposing these restrictions on Chinese officials complicit in the human rights abuses in Xinjiang, as well as actions by the Department of Commerce in designating entities that are also responsible for human rights abuses in China.  So those actions have been taken.  And as [senior administration official] mentioned, we will be considering other actions as appropriate.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Well, thank you everyone for joining today's call.  As a reminder, this call is attributable on background to senior administration officials.  The call is now concluded and the embargo will be lifted at 10:30 when the Treasury designates it to go live.

     Have a great day.
                                            END                10:25 A.M. EST