President Obama said he would begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in 2011. Now, the Administration says 2011 is still in play, but has begun floating the year 2014 as a more “reasonable” date for the war’s end.
One Congressional Democrat is not happy.
Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) blasted President Barack Obama Wednesday over reports that he is planning to de-emphasize the July 2011 deadline for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
“When the new 112th Congress convenes in January, I will immediately enter a privileged resolution that will force Congress to vote on setting a withdrawal date,” Kucinich said. “The withdrawal of our troops must be driven by Congress, not the corrupt president of Afghanistan.”
Obama announced July 2011 as the date the United States would begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan last year, after sending an additional 30,000 US troops to the region as part of his surge strategy.
Administration and military officials said Tuesday that the Obama administration has decided to de-emphasize his plans to begin withdrawing forces from Afghanistan starting July 2011.
“Expanding the timeline constitutes a de facto expansion of the war without Congressional approval,” said Kucinich.
The new policy is to be unveiled at a NATO conference in Lisbon next week, where the United States and other NATO countries are set to discuss their commitment to Afghanistan. The United States hopes to introduce a plan to begin the withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan by 2014, senior officials told McClatchy.
President Hamid Karzai said at a conference in the Afghan capital that Afghan forces should be able to operate independently of foreign troops and secure the country by 2014.
“The Obama Administration must withdraw our troops now,” said Kucinich. “Our presence there is counterproductive, it keeps our troops in harms way and it opens to the door for the expansion of the massive corruption of the Karzai regime.”
United States Central Command, which oversees military operations in Afghanistan, has not submitted any troop withdrawal orders for the July deadline.
“With the exception of the Dutch and Canadians, no country has said they’ll leave Afghanistan,” an official told CNN. “The British have said they’ll end combat operations by 2014. But the strategy is designed so that, hopefully, we don’t have to be in a combat situation at that time.”
“The War in Afghanistan is longer than any other war America has ever fought,” said Kucinich. “The war has cost U.S. taxpayers more than a trillion dollars. The death toll is rising. More than 1300 Americans have died, thousands more wounded and countless Afghan civilians have died. The civilian death toll is rising, and there are fewer than 100 Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
“To top it all off,” he added, “we recently learned that Karzai has openly admitted to accepting bags of cash from Iran.”
Hope Hicks told Congress that Trump has cut her out of his life — he virtually never calls her anymore
Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks was broadly considered to be one of President Donald Trump's favorite staffers.
But when she left the administration in 2018, the president virtually cut off ties to her, and has only spoken with her five times since then, according to the transcript of the closed-door hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday:
In her interview, Hope Hicks says she has only spoken to Trump between five and ten times since she left the White House in February 2018. (He used to call that much in a day.) They last spoke in April, when they had dinner. Our story from yesterday:https://t.co/3gzVY21c3z pic.twitter.com/VMZqhnbgib
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CNN's Manu Raju explained the details to Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room."
"She did answer some questions about her time in the campaign season, and at one point did make one reference to something that later became a dispute," said Raju. "She was asked about the details in the Mueller report in which the president tried to get Jeff Sessions, the then-Attorney General, to un-recuse himself, to go back and oversee the Russia investigation after he had stepped aside from overseeing it."
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In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Federal Elections Commission is warning that there is already foreign intrusion in the U.S. campaigns.
FEC chair Ellen L. Weintraub was forced to issue a statement after President Donald Trump said that he wasn't sure what he would do if a foreign government approached him with "dirt" on his political opponent. He said that he "might" tell the FBI but would likely hear what they had to say. He said that it wasn't illegal, but Weintraub issued a statement reiterating that it is illegal.
"I am particularly concerned about the risk of illicit funds and foreign support influencing our political system. Foreign dark money represents a significant vulnerability for American democracy. We do not know the extent to which our political campaigns receive foreign dark money, but we do know that the political money can be weaponized by well-funded hostile powers," the letter warned.