Rantt Rundown: Trump Throws Sanity To The Wind And Violates The Iran Deal
Day 474 of the Trump presidency
When it comes to foreign policy, President Donald Trump has proven to be a drunken bull in a China shop. And with every isolationist move he’s made, Trump further proves it really is China’s shop. From withdrawing from the TPP (which the Trump administration later discussed reentering) to withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord (which the Trump administration later discussed reentering), President Trump is willing to reduce America’s global influence to fulfill campaign promises. And today was no different. Just when President Trump is presented with a rare opportunity to pursue a diplomatic accord with North Korea, his compulsion for self-sabotage damages his efforts.
The following is a sneak peak of Rantt Media’s Foreign Affairs Editor Jossif Ezekilov’s upcoming article:
Today, President Trump decided to undo a decade’s worth of diplomacy and withdraw the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement intended to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. He did this in typical Trumpian fashion: without much precedent, against the wishes of the US’ most trusted allies and his most competent advisers, and with no clear plan to replace what he is endeavoring to destroy. The withdrawal will have wide-ranging implications on peace in the region, nuclear proliferation in general, and how US foreign policy is viewed by others for the rest of Trump’s time in office.
The JCPOA is an agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China) plus Germany, that went into force in 2015.
In order to understand the importance of the JCPOA, it’s important to recall the events preceding it. At the time, Iran had been proceeding with uranium enrichment at a fast pace, using secretive underground facilities that made military strikes difficult. Despite more than a decade of sanctions that had caused sizable economic losses, it appeared Iran was close to acquiring a nuclear warhead, one that would be able to reach Israel, and potentially Europe. The Israeli military had preparations for military strikes on Iran in place in 2014.
President Trump’s lie-filled announcement misrepresented the purpose of the deal, claiming that the agreement bolstered Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
Not only did Trump announce new sanctions on Iran, it appears this will also affect our allies…
JUST IN: After president’s announcement on Iran nuclear deal, new US Amb. to Germany Grenell says that “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.” https://t.co/KX8ER0OUV3
— NBC News World (@NBCNewsWorld) May 8, 2018
In a rare post-presidency rebuke, President Barack Obama chimed in.
There are few issues more important to the security of the US than the potential spread of nuclear weapons or the potential for even more destructive war in the Middle East. Today’s decision to put the JCPOA at risk is a serious mistake. My full statement: https://t.co/4oTdXESbxe
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 8, 2018
This sentiment was echoed throughout the United States.
After this decision, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani immediately directed his diplomats to negotiate with a deal with European countries, Russia and China.
This does little to aid us and throws a wrench in our future talks with North Korea. Couple this with Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton saying they are going for the Libya model with North Korea (which ended in Gaddafi being killed by his own people), why would Kim Jong Un trust our word?
If President Trump wasn’t hell-bent on flipping the international order on its head, this would be leading the Rantt Rundown. Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael sent the following tweet…
After significant investigation, we have discovered that Mr. Trump’s atty Mr. Cohen received approximately $500,000 in the mos. after the election from a company controlled by a Russian Oligarc with close ties to Mr. Putin. These monies may have reimbursed the $130k payment.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 8, 2018
It was later corroborated by multiple outlets, including The New York Times:
A shell company that Michael D. Cohen used to pay hush money to a pornographic film actress received payments totaling more than $1 million from an American company linked to a Russian oligarch and several corporations with business before the Trump administration, according to documents and interviews.
Financial records reviewed by The New York Times show that Mr. Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer and longtime fixer, used the shell company, Essential Consultants L.L.C., for an array of business activities that went far beyond what was publicly known. Transactions adding up to at least $4.4 million flowed through Essential Consultants starting shortly before Mr. Trump was elected president and continuing to this January, the records show.
Among the previously unreported transactions were payments last year of about $500,000 from Columbus Nova, an investment firm in New York whose biggest client is a company controlled by Viktor Vekselberg, the Russian oligarch. A lawyer for Columbus Nova, in a statement on Tuesday, described the money as a consulting fee that had nothing to do with Mr. Vekselberg.
Speaking of Russian Oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, Special Counsel Robert Mueller questioned him about this payment.
NEW: Pharma-Giant @Novartis spokesperson tells me “any agreements with Essential Consultants were entered before our current CEO taking office in February of this year and have expired.”
According to @MichaelAvenatti, Novartis paid $399k to Michael Cohen’s consulting firm.
— Michael Cappetta (@MCappetta) May 8, 2018
This flow of money raises the questions. As we know, Cohen reportedly obtained $774,000 through a home-equity line of credit. As we know, Cohen paid $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) in October 2016 to keep her quiet about her 2006 affair with Donald Trump. As part of the criminal investigation being conducted by federal investigators in the Southern District of New York, Cohen is being probed for potential bank fraud and potentially violating election law by trying to suppress damning information about then-candidate Donald Trump.
Was this money part of a reimbursement? Was this money used to pay back some of Cohen’s home-equity line?
- Senior White House staffers are urging President Trump to fire EPA Director Scott Pruitt.
The Washington Post published a report that paints Devin Nunes’ efforts to extort the Justice Department as arguably treacherous.
Last Wednesday, senior FBI and national intelligence officials relayed an urgent message to the White House: Information being sought by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes could endanger a top-secret intelligence source.
Top White House officials, with the assent of President Trump, agreed to back the decision to withhold the information. They were persuaded that turning over Justice Department documents could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI, according to multiple people familiar with the discussion and the person’s role.
- Here are the results of today’s special elections.