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Donald Trump has repeatedly vowed to commit war crimes — and now he’s leading US into armed conflict

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As President Donald Trump launches airstrikes against Syrian airfields, opening the possibility of further conflict in the Middle East — it’s worth pausing to recall his campaign promises to commit war crimes.

Trump changed his mind this week on both the Assad regime and armed conflict in Syria after seeing horrific images of children killed in a chemical gas attack.

Those same children and other victims of the attack would have been targeted by the president’s legally dubious travel ban, and he infamously compared them to venomous snakes on the campaign trail.

On the campaign trail in November 2015, then-candidate Trump said he would approve the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture to punish suspected terrorists. “Would I approve waterboarding?” Trump told a cheering crowd. “You bet your ass I would. In a heartbeat. I would approve more than that. It works — and if it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway for what they do to us.”

Trump then threatened in December 2015 to kill the families of suspected terrorists, and to conduct warfare otherwise would be “fighting a very politically correct war.”

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He doubled down on those remarks later that month during a Republican presidential debate, after a college student asked whether his threats would violate the Geneva Conventions — which prohibit the deliberate targeting of non-combatants. “I would be very, very firm with families,” Trump said. “They may not care much about their lives (but) they do care, believe it or not, about their families’ lives.”

He again vowed to “bring back waterboarding” during a GOP debate in March 2016, and he threatened to go beyond the illegal torture practice. “I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” Trump said. “In the Middle East, we have people chopping the heads off Christians. They’re Medieval times. I mean, we studied Medieval times. Not since Medieval times have people seen what’s going on.”

Trump insisted a few weeks later that he would not order military personnel to commit war crimes, saying he understood the president was bound by law — but he then boasted that military leaders would be forced to obey his commands. “I’ve always been a leader,” he said. “I’ve never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they’re going to do it. That’s what leadership is all about.”

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In his first presidential interview, Trump strongly backed the use of torture, which he believes “absolutely” works as a method to gain intelligence. “I have spoken as recently as 24 hours ago with people at the highest level of intelligence, and I asked them the question, ‘Does it work? Does torture work?'” Trump said in January. “And the answer was, “Yes, absolutely.” Experts disagree, however, and torture is banned under international law.

The day after his inauguration, Trump told a gathering of CIA agents that the U.S. should have kept Iraq’s oil after invading the country and toppling Saddam Hussein — which would be prohibited under the Hague Conventions. He told a group of airline industry leaders the same thing a couple of week later. “We’ve spent $6 trillion in the Middle East,” Trump said. “We have nothing, and we have an obsolete plane system, obsolete airports, obsolete trains, we have bad roads. We’re going to change all of that folks. You’re going to be so happy with Trump. I think you already are.”

In the first two months of the Trump administration, the number of civilian casualties has spiked in Iraq, Syria and Yemen — with more than 1,200 Muslim civilians killed last month alone.

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It’s not clear why, but Amnesty International officials believe the sharp increase suggests the Trump-led military coalition has not taken adequate steps to protect the lives of civilians during airstrikes.


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Fox News hires former Trump spokesman as Senior Vice President: report

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The revolving door between the White House and Fox News was spinning on Friday as a former spokesman for President Donald Trump was hired by Fox News.

"A bit of news: Raj Shah, the former spokesman in the White House, is joining Fox as a senior Vice President," Washington Post White House correspondent Josh Dawsey reported on Friday.

https://twitter.com/jdawsey1/status/1152374273522241537

After Hope Hicks left her job as White House communications director, she was hired to lead corporate communications for New Fox, the parent company of Fox News.

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Here’s why President Trump’s explicit racism is an impeachable offense

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Without even waiting for former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify about President Donald Trump's obstruction of justice, Democrats are legally justified in acting now to impeach the president for his explicit racism, a civil rights activist argued on Friday.

Journalist and author Shaun King laid out his argument in a column published by The Intercept.

To make his argument, King explained the difference between implicit and explicit racism.

"Across the country, corporations and government agencies, including police departments, are offering a wave of what’s called 'implicit bias training.' The fundamental theory is that, in this country, otherwise well-meaning employees can be racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or xenophobic in ways that they may not really even be aware of," he explained. "It’s the notion that people unknowingly or unconsciously discriminate against others."

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Former FBI Director James Comey outlines the burning questions he’d ask Robert Mueller

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Former FBI Director James Comey has written a lengthy post at the Lawfare blog outlining the most important questions that Democrats need to ask of former special counsel Robert Mueller.

Although many of the questions outlined by Comey are simply asking Mueller to rehash the findings of his final report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, he does ask some questions designed to get Mueller to offer up his own analysis of President Donald Trump's actions, such as, "Did you find substantial evidence that the president had committed obstruction of justice crimes?" and "Did you reach a judgment as to whether the president had committed obstruction of justice crimes?"

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