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British inquiry into Iraq war turns toward Bush, officials: report

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Senior Bush administration officials, including former President George W. Bush himself, have been asked to give testimony before a British committee investigating the basis for the invasion of Iraq, according to a published report.

Other officials contacted by the panel include former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Bush adviser Stephen Hadley, among others.

“Members of Sir John Chilcot’s panel are believed to be willing to travel to the US to take evidence – almost certainly in private – on the administration’s policies between the 2003 invasion of Iraq and 2009,” The Telegraph reported on Sunday.

The paper’s lead is based on statements made by unnamed sources in Washington, D.C., and the story notes that even while the Chilcot has succeeded in obtaining testimony from high-ranking British officials, it does not have subpoena power in the U.K. or U.S.

The panel has so far managed to put former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and current Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the hot seat for hours at a time, forcing both men to offer repeated justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. However, while the Telegraph claimed approximately 10 Bush officials had responded positively to the panel, Washington Post columnist Al Kamen noted on Friday that most were “decidedly cool” to the idea.

He writes:

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“The general view,” we were told, was that while everyone was free to talk, “it was not right for American officials to be subject to a foreign investigative body.” Former national security adviser Hadley, for example, was said to have been among those voicing a strong disinclination to participate. A decidedly minority view was that talking to the panel made some sense, on the assumption that it might be worth the effort to get the administration’s views into the official record.

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Regardless of whether the interviews happen or not, the British panel cannot accept “formal evidence” from foreign former officials, the Post reported in February.

After his six hour testimony before the Chilcot panel, former PM Tony Blair blasted what he called the U.K.’s love of “conspiracy,” claiming his motives in launching an unprovoked war were pure. Sitting PM Gordon Brown later reaffirmed his predecessor’s sentiment, calling the invasion the “right decision.”

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The United States and the United Kingdom both went to war with Iraq amid fervently repeated claims that the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, even as weapons inspectors claimed there was no proof. After seven years of war and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, no such weapons have ever been found.

When American officials were forced to state publicly that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, they blamed the intelligence community and professed their personal honesty. A key British document called the “Downing Street Memo” later surfaced, detailing U.S. and British pre-war political strategy, noting that the decision to invade was made months before it was announced and that “intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

Paul R. Pillar, a former national intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, later confessed in a piece for Foreign Affairs that the Bush administration had used the intelligence community’s resources to “cherry pick” information that aided their drive to war.

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Trump emphatically explains that unmanned drones don’t have people in them as he rambles about Iran’s big ‘mistake’

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During a joint press availability with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Donald Trump opened up about the drone that was shot down by Iran.

According to Trump, drones are unmanned, a fact he felt was important to convey to those who haven't seen a Jason Bourne film or a spy thriller.

"Iran made a big mistake," Trump said. "This drone was in international waters clearly. We have it all documented. It’s documented scientifically, not just words. They made a big mistake."

He also said that he doesn't believe the decision to shoot the drone down likely came from the Iranian government in Tehran.

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2020 Election

BUSTED: Trump super PAC accused of lying to government about the source of mysterious $325,000 donation

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According to a report from the Daily Beast's "Pay Dirt" investigative unit, a Super PAC affiliated with President Donald Trump has some explaining to do about a $375,000 donation that was wrongly attributed to one company -- but wire transfers tell a completely different story.

As the Beast notes, "The super PAC America First Action reported receiving a $325,000 contribution last year from a company called Global Energy Producers. But records released in federal court this week indicate that contribution came from an entirely different company," adding that the discrepancy was pointed out by the  Campaign Legal Center which labeled it a violation of federal campaign-finance laws.

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Trump advisor John Bolton to hold ‘regional security’ talks in Israel

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US National Security Advisor John Bolton will travel to Israel at the weekend for "regional security talks" with top Russian and Israeli officials, the White House said Thursday amid spiking tensions with Iran.

Bolton will meet Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, followed by talks with his Israeli and Russian counterparts, Meir Ben-Shabbat and Nikolai Patrushev, NSC spokesman Garrett Marquis said.

Bolton also will meet with the director general of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission Zeev Snir.

The NSC announcement came just hours after Iran shot down a US drone in what Washington called an unprovoked attack.

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