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Jack Phillips

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sept. 28 that the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump would still be worth it even if the Democrats lose a majority in the House.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) said it’s more important for Congress to uphold its duty than for the Democrats to control the lower Congressional chamber.

“It doesn’t matter,” Pelosi replied when asked by Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith if she is worried about the Democrats’ ability to keep the House majority if their push for impeachment goes poorly.

“People say you have to take a political risk doing that,” she said.“That doesn’t matter. Because we cannot have a president of the United States undermining his oath of office, his loyalty to his oath of office, undermining our national security, and undermining the integrity of our elections.”

The longtime legislator added that the House’s responsibility is to “protect and defend” the U.S. Constitution.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) departs the Capitol en route to a speaking event in Washington on Sept. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In order to impeach a president, the House would need a simple majority before it is turned over to the Senate, which would need over a two-thirds majority, or 67 percent, to remove a president.

Earlier this week, Pelosi announced that an effort to inquire about impeachment is “moving forward” against Trump after reports of a telephone call between him and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, where he discussed former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

A day later, the White House released a transcript of the phone call showing that Trump had asked Zelensky to look into Biden, but he did not exert any pressure and neither was there any quid pro quo—which had been the center of a controversy.

On Friday afternoon, three House committees announced that one of the committees has issued a subpoena on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over documents relating to Ukraine dealings as well as scheduled dispositions for five state department officials as part of their inquiry.

President Donald Trump disembarks after arriving on Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Md., on Sept. 26, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

On Saturday, Trump slammed critics of the call on Twitter: “The Whistleblower’s complaint is completely different and at odds from my actual conversation with the new President of Ukraine. The so-called ‘Whistleblower’ knew practically NOTHING in that those ridiculous charges were far more dramatic & wrong, just like Liddle’ Adam Schiff.”

Regarding the impeachment charges, Trump said that it’s a “scam,” adding that Democrats are trying to tear the country apart.

“What’s going on now is the single greatest scam in the history of American politics,” Trump said in a video over the weekend. “The Democrats want to take away your guns, they want to take away your healthcare, they want to take away your vote, they want to take away your freedom, they want to take away your judges, they want to take away everything. We can never let this happen.”

“We are fighting to drain the swamp. And that’s exactly what I’m doing and you see why we have to do it because our country is at stake like never before. It’s all very simple. They’re trying to stop me because I’m fighting for you. And I’ll never let that happen,” he added.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Pelosi: ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ if Impeachment Costs Democrats the House

President Donald Trump announced on Sunday evening that he has authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve following attacks on Saudi Arabian oil fields and refineries.

“Based on the attack on Saudi Arabia, which may have an impact on oil prices, I have authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” he wrote at around 6 p.m. on Sept. 15.

He added that the amount would be “sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied.”

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during the 2019 House Republican Conference Member Retreat Dinner in Baltimore, Maryland, on Sept. 12, 2019. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

“I have also informed all appropriate agencies to expedite approvals of the oil pipelines currently in the permitting process in Texas and various other States,” the president tweeted.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, has the world’s most abundant supply of emergency crude oil.

“The federally-owned oil stocks are stored in huge underground salt caverns along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico,” the agency’s website says.

It added that it has been used three previous times. The most recent time was in 2011 amid unrest in Libya that toppled longtime strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

President Obama at the time “directed a sale of 30 million barrels of crude oil,” it said.

“The Gulf of Mexico was a logical choice for oil storage sites. More than 500 salt domes, known to be an inexpensive and secure means of petroleum storage, are concentrated along the coast. Also, the Gulf Coast is the location of many U.S. refineries and distribution points for tankers, barges, and pipelines. In April 1977, the government acquired several existing salt caverns to serve as the first storage site. Construction of the first surface facilities began in June 1977,” the site says.

Attacks

Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, Aramco, said it will cut oil production by about 5.7 million barrels per day, or nearly 50 percent, after drones hit the kingdom’s oil production, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In August, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that Saudi Arabia produced some 9.85 million barrels per day.

Saudi officials now are trying to restore about of third of lost oil output by Monday, Sept. 16, the WSJ also reported.

Meanwhile, Iranian officials dismissed any accusation that the regime was behind several attacks targeting oil facilities in Saudi Araba. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran was behind the assault.

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, on Sept.14, 2019. (Stringer/Reuters)

“The Saudi-led coalition has been fueling the flames of war in the region; with recurrent acts of aggression against Yemen, and committing various war crimes for around five years, while Yemenis have proved that they stand against war and aggression,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, according to to the state-backed Tasnim News Agency.

Despite the denial, a general said the country is ready for a “full-fledged” war with the United States.

“Everybody should know that all American bases and their aircraft carriers in a distance of up to 2,000 kilometers around Iran are within the range of our missiles,” Amirali Hajizadeh, an Iranian commander, told Tasnim.

On Twitter, Pompeo accused Iran of committing “nearly 100 attacks” on a Saudi oilfield and refinery.

“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” he wrote on Twitter.

Later, Pompeo called on every nation to condemn the attacks.

“The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied, and Iran is held accountable for its aggression,” he tweeted.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: Trump Authorizes Release of Oil From US Strategic Petroleum Reserve After Saudi Attacks

Authorities in Philadelphia seized a cargo ship that had 20 tons of cocaine on board, and it was reported that it was owned by a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase.

JPMorgan Chase doesn’t operate the Liberian-flagged ship run by the Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Company, CNN reported on July 10.

Officials boarded the MSC Gayane on June 17, finding the cocaine. It’s estimated that the drugs on board the vessel have a street value of $1.3 billion.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said the cocaine was seized by the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. It wasn’t until July 4 that a warrant was issued that allowed agents on the ship.

“A seizure of a vessel this massive is complicated and unprecedented—but it is appropriate because the circumstances here are also unprecedented,” said U.S. Attorney William McSwain.

“When a vessel brings such an outrageous amount of deadly drugs into Philadelphia waters, my Office and our agency partners will pursue the most severe consequences possible against all involved parties in order to protect our district—and our country,” McSwain added.

The office didn’t mention that it was owned by the banking giant.

Crew members have been charged with knowingly and intentionally conspiring with each other and others to possess more than five kilograms of cocaine on board a vessel.

The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) said in a statement on June 18 that “unfortunately, shipping and logistics companies are from time to time affected by trafficking problems. MSC has a longstanding history of cooperating with U.S. federal law enforcement agencies to help disrupt illegal narcotics trafficking.”

On July 9, the firm said it is cooperating with U.S. law enforcement. “As a result of that operation, MSC Gayane has been under U.S. government control since 17 June while the authorities conduct investigations. MSC is assisting and cooperating in any possible way with the authorities and is not the target of the investigation,” a statement added.

The MSC Gayane sails under the Liberian flag, making calls in the Bahamas, Panama, Peru, and Colombia before it headed to Philadelphia, NPR reported.

According to The Associated Press, ship’s second mate, Ivan Durasevic, and another crew member, Fonofaavae Tiasage, were charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine aboard a ship. An online court docket did not list attorneys for the defendants. It wasn’t clear whether other crew members would face charges.

An officer with a dog inspects a container along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, on June 18, 2019. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

The drug seizure is the latest in a series of large cocaine busts along the East Coast. In a March bust in Philadelphia, drug dogs sniffed out 1,185 pounds (538 kilograms) of cocaine worth about $38 million—at that time the city’s largest seizure of the drug in more than two decades.

In February, customs agents seized 3,200 pounds (1,451 kilograms) at the Port of New York and New Jersey with a street value estimated at $77 million. That was the largest cocaine bust at the ports since 1994.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Jack Phillips

Source: The Epoch Times: JPMorgan Chase-Owned Ship With 20 Tons of Cocaine on Board Seized by US

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