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‘Like a kamikaze pilot destroying America’: Experts outraged after Trump quietly moves to pull out of treaty for monitoring Russia

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While the world was focused on President Donald Trump’s overnight blindsiding of the Pentagon and U.S. allies, announcing he is pulling troops out of Syria so Turkey can crush Kurdish forces that have helped the U.S. fight ISIS, the Trump administration was quietly laying plans to pull out of a key and critical compact, the Open Skies Treaty.

First proposed in 1992, since 2002 the Open Skies Treaty has allowed the now 34 signatory nations to fly over each others’ territory for the purpose of monitoring and recording military deployments and movements.

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In the real world, the Open Skies Treaty allows the most powerful nations on earth to monitor Russian military movements.

And President Trump wants to end that.

U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel on Monday sent Trump’s Acting National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brien, a letter demanding he “ensure that the United States does not unwisely and rashly withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty.”

Chairman Engel also called the possible withdrawal “reckless,” and noted “American withdrawal would only benefit Russia.”

Chairman Engel’s letter was followed by this tweet:

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Experts are perplexed and outraged.

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Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia.

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Investigative journalist and expert on Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe says “Trump is acting like a kamikaze pilot destroying America in any way he can and in a hurry”:

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Dr. Michael Carpenter’s résumé says all you need to know:

“Dr. Carpenter previously served in the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, the Balkans, and Conventional Arms Control. He also served in the White House as a foreign policy advisor to Vice President Joe Biden as well as on the National Security Council as Director for Russia. Previously, Dr. Carpenter was a career Foreign Service Officer with the State Department.”

He says pulling out is a bad idea:

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Russian Media Analyst:

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Sondland says Ukrainians knew there was a quid pro quo for military aid — because he told them

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E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland's opening statement contains a blizzard of damning allegations about President Donald Trump and his immediate officials' conduct surrounding the withholding of foreign aid to Ukraine.

In particular, Sondland's statement directly contradicts a major talking point used by Republicans to defend the president: That there couldn't have been a quid pro quo to force the Ukrainians to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, because the Ukrainians did not know the delay in military aid was linked to opening investigations.

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‘We followed the president’s orders’: Sondland leaves no wiggle room for Trump’s direct involvement in Ukraine scandal

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European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland will leave no wiggle room for President Donald Trump to deny his direct involvement in the Ukraine scandal in his bombshell opening statement.

As reported by the Daily Beast, Sondland will testify that he followed President Donald Trump's orders to work with personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on dealing with Ukraine, despite the fact that he was personally reluctant to do so.

"Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the President of the United States," the statement says. "We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we played the hand we were dealt. We all understood that if we refused to work with Mr. Giuliani, we would lose an important opportunity to cement relations between the United States and Ukraine. So we followed the President’s orders."

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Sondland directly implicates Trump and Giuliani in ‘quid pro quo’ in bombshell opening statement

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European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland is directly implicating both President Donald Trump and attorney Rudy Giuliani in running a "quid pro quo" scheme to condition a face-to-face meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on launching an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden.

The Daily Beast has obtained excerpts of Sondland's opening statement that show the EU ambassador will make clear in his testimony on Wednesday that Giuliani wanted a quid pro quo with Ukraine -- and that he was pushing for it with Trump's encouragement.

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