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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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Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Fountain Park in Fountain Hills, Arizona (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

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.

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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.”

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.”

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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.”

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.”

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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.

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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The View’s Whoopi Goldberg has to explain to Meghan McCain the obvious reason why Trump’s Supreme Court nominee won’t get Kavanaugh’ed’

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"The View" co-hosts began their Tuesday show talking about the potential Supreme Court appointee and concerns that they have about Amy Coney Barrett talking about her job being about expanding the kingdom of God.

Meghan McCain ranted that Barrett was being attacked for her religion and for having seven children. It's unclear where she's hearing that Barrett is being attacked for that, as the Democratic nominee for president is also Catholic and speaks openly about his faith. He has had four children.

"My concern is when we lose the Senate, what happens when Democrats are in power and you have a Biden presidency and Democrats running the Senate?" McCain also said. "This may be worth it to Republicans. I'm one of those people that think it probably is. I don't think there won't be a payout on the other end. The Amy Coney Barrett and the rhetoric that is going on with her right now, when you start talking about Christian women like we're all commanders wives in 'The Handmaid's Tale.' You can radicalize people in the country. I'm very anxious what's going to happen going forward when it looks like she's going to be nominated."

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The tumult following Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death previews things to come

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On Friday evening, just before 7:30 p.m., the U.S. Supreme Court announced that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a pioneer in using the law to advance gender equity, had died from complications due to metastatic pancreatic cancer just six weeks ahead of the presidential election.

The death of Ginsburg, who had battled various forms of cancer over the years, was not altogether surprising.

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Trump knew how bad COVID-19 was in January — but called it ‘good’ because he could avoid shaking ‘disgusting’ voters’ hands: ex-Pence aide

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Olivia Troye, a former White House aide who worked for Vice President Mike Pence's office, is sounding off with more details about the Trump administration's early knowledge about the severity of the coronavirus.

Troye appeared on "The Today Show" on Tuesday where she discussed the weeks leading up to the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus a global pandemic. Although Pence and President Donald Trump have repeatedly claimed they had no way of knowing how bad the pandemic could be, Troye suggests otherwise, reports The Hill.

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