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President Donald Trump has threatened Iraq with severe sanctions after its parliament called on US troops to leave the country.

The president told reporters: “We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”

Tensions are high after the US assassinated Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad last week.

Meanwhile, Iran has vowed “severe revenge”.

The 62-year-old general spearheaded Iranian military operations in the Middle East and was regarded as a terrorist by the US.

Qasem Soleimani’s remains have now returned to Iran, where mourners packed the streets of Tehran on January 6.

Esmail Qaani, the new head of Iran’s Quds force – which Qasem Soleimani led – has vowed to expel the US from the Middle East.

Iran’s state radio quoted Esmail Qaani as saying: “We promise to continue martyr Soleimani’s path with the same force… and the only compensation for us would be to remove America from the region.”

The air strike that killed Qasem Soleimani also claimed the life of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a top Iraqi military figure who commanded the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah group.

Speaking from the presidential plane, President Trump said that if Iraq asked US forces to depart on an unfriendly basis, “we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before, ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame”.

Some 5,000 US soldiers are in Iraq as part of the international coalition against the ISIS group.

On January 5, the coalition paused its operations against ISIS in Iraq, and Iraqi lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution calling for foreign troops to leave.

The resolution was pushed through by the parliament’s Shia Muslim bloc – which is close to Iran.

Qasem Soleimani Death: Thousands of Mourners Gathered in Ahvaz to Receive General’s Remains

Qasem Soleimani: Iran’s Top General Killed in Baghdad Air Strike Ordered by President Trump

Iraq: US Embassy in Baghdad Attacked by Protesters

Meanwhile, Iran has announced it will no longer abide by restrictions imposed by the 2015 nuclear deal, under which it agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.

President Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, saying he wanted to force Iran to negotiate a new deal that would place indefinite curbs on its nuclear program and also halt its development of ballistic missiles.

However, Iran refused and had since been gradually rolling back its commitments under the deal.

In a statement, Iran said it would no longer observe limitations on its capacity for enrichment, the level of enrichment, the stock of enriched material, or research and development.

European leaders, from Germany, France and the UK – which were all signatories to the 2015 deal, alongside China and Russia – responded with a joint statement urging Iran to refrain from “further violent action or proliferation”.

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Russian leader Vladimir Putin has thanked President Donald Trump for intelligence that helped foil “acts of terrorism” on Russian soil, a Kremlin statement announces.

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump spoke on the phone on December 29, the statement said.

According to the Kremlin, the information came via intelligence services, but it provided no further details.

Russian media is reporting the discovery of a plot to attack St Petersburg over the New Year period.

According to Tass news agency, two Russian nationals have been arrested and plans to attack a mass gathering were seized, according to a spokesperson from the FSB, the Russian intelligence agency.

President Donald Trump Denies Working for Russia

Trump-Putin Summit: Donald Trump Defends Russia over Claims of Election Interference

President Putin and President Trump have spoken on the phone and in person various times since the latter took office.

Records from the conversations show they have often talked about Syria, as well as nuclear agreements, North Korea and trade.

In December 2017, Vladimir Putin thanked President Trump for another warning from US intelligence agencies, which again apparently prevented a terrorist plot in St Petersburg, according to a White House account.

During that call, the Kremlin said President Putin had promised to reciprocate with information about terrorist threats to the US.

The US and Russian relations plummeted after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from neighboring Ukraine in 2014.

They were also strained when US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Despite this, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have appeared to be on good terms personally – and they have vowed to co-operate on terrorism.

President Trump has indicated he is considering attending the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow next May, after an invitation from President Putin.

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A newly-released government email has revealed that the White House sought to freeze aid to Ukraine just 91 minutes after President Donald Trump spoke to President Volodymyr Zelensky by phone in July.

The email, telling the Pentagon to “hold off”, was sent by a senior White House official.

In the phone call, President Trump asked the Ukrainian leader to investigate his political rival, Democrat Joe Biden.

On December 18, President Trump has been impeached for abuse of power over the issue.

Democrats say the phone call shows Donald Trump used the office for personal political gain.

A US whistleblower who heard about the conversation raised concerns, which ultimately triggered the impeachment inquiry.

The president was formally impeached by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, but is unlikely to be removed from office as the case will go to trial in the Senate, where his Republican party has a majority.

The newly-released email was obtained by the Center for Public Integrity following a court order in a freedom of information case.

President Donald Trump Impeached by House of Representatives

Trump Impeachment: House Judiciary Committee Approves Articles of Impeachment

What Is Impeachment and How Does It Work?

The email shows that Mike Duffey, a senior White House official, contacted senior defense officials about withholding Ukraine’s aid just over an hour-and-a-half after President Trump ended a call with President Zelensky on July 25.

The White House declassified the Ukraine call transcript following a whistleblower complaint it was being covered-up.

The transcript shows President Trump asked Volodymyr Zelensky to “do us a favor” and investigate Joe Biden, currently a frontrunner to be the Democratic candidate in the 2020 White House race, and his son Hunter Biden, who had previously worked for a Ukrainian energy company.

In the email Mike Duffey asks that the Department of Defense “hold off” on providing aid following the administration’s plan to review.

The email reads: “Given the sensitive nature of the request, I appreciate your keeping that information closely held to those who need to know to execute direction.”

In a statement released to media on December 22, Rachel Semmel, a spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget, dismissed the characterization of the email.

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The House voted to impeach President Donald Trump, setting up a trial in the Senate that will decide whether he remains in office.

The House voted on two charges – that President Trump abused his power and that he had obstructed Congress.

Nearly all Democrats voted for the charges and every Republican against.

Donald Trump has become the third US president in history to be impeached.

However, Republicans control the Senate so it is highly unlikely he will be removed from power.

As voting took place in the House, President Trump was addressing a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan.

The president told a cheering crowd: “While we’re creating jobs and fighting for Michigan, the radical left in Congress is consumed with envy and hatred and rage, you see what’s going on.”

Meanwhile, the White House released a statement saying that the president was “confident that he will be fully exonerated” in a Senate trial.

Trump Impeachment: House Judiciary Committee Approves Articles of Impeachment

What Is Impeachment and How Does It Work?

House Judiciary Committee Unveils Articles of Impeachment Against President Trump

After 10 hours of partisan debate on the merits of the two impeachment charges against President Trump, the House called for votes at about 20:30 local time.

The first charge is abuse of power, stemming from President Trump’s alleged attempt to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations into his Democratic political rival, Joe Biden.

It passed by 230 votes to 197, almost completely on party lines. Only two Democrats opposed – New Jersey’s Jeff Van Drew, who is set to leave the party, and Minnesota’s Collin Peterson.

The second charge is obstruction of Congress, because President Trump allegedly refused to co-operate with the impeachment inquiry, withholding documentary evidence and barring his key aides from giving evidence.

It passed by 229-198. Democrat Jared Golden of Maine voted for the first charge but opposed this.

No Republicans supported impeachment, although ex-party member Justin Amash, from Michigan, did.

Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard voted “present” on both charges – effectively an abstention. Two members were absent for personal reasons.

Being impeached places President Donald Trump alongside only two other presidents in the nation’s history – Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

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House Judiciary Committee has approved two impeachment articles against President Donald Trump, moving the process towards a full House vote.

The articles are expected to be voted on by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives next week.

President Trump is the fourth US president in history to face impeachment.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Donald Trump again dismissed the process as a “sham” and a “hoax”.

Today’s hearing lasted just over ten minutes before the two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstructing Congress – were passed by 23 votes to 17.

The vote was delayed after more than 14 hours of rancorous debate. Republicans criticized that decision by Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Nadler, accusing him of pushing back the vote to ensure more TV coverage.

What Is Impeachment and How Does It Work?

House Judiciary Committee Unveils Articles of Impeachment Against President Trump

In the abuse of power article, President Trump is accused of soliciting a foreign country to help him politically by trying to force Ukraine to launch a corruption investigation into his political rival Joe Biden, a leading Democratic presidential contender.

The president is also accused of obstructing Congress by failing to co-operate with the House investigation.

Leading Democrats agreed the articles of impeachment described over nine pages. They say that President Trump “betrayed the nation” by acting “corruptly”.

Jerry Nadler made a brief statement to reporters after the vote, calling it a “solemn and sad day” and pledged that the House of Representatives would “act expeditiously”.

However, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz said: “For Democrats, impeachment is their drug.”

Speaking from the White House Oval Office alongside the president of Paraguay, President Trump called the impeachment process “a witch hunt”, “a sham” and “a hoax”.

Donald Trump said Democrats were “trivializing impeachment” adding that they are “making absolute fools out of themselves”.

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Congress can remove a president from office before the end of their term.

Impeachment is the first part – the charges – of a two-stage political process by which Congress can remove a president from office.

While it’s commonly used to mean removing someone from office, it actually refers to the filing of formal charges in Congress.

These charges then form the basis of a trial.

How does the impeachment process begin?

It has to be started by the House of Representatives, which is one of the two chambers of Congress. (The other is the Senate).

A simple majority (51%) needs to vote in favor of articles of impeachment for the process to move to the next stage.

If the House of Representatives votes to pass articles of impeachment, the Senate is forced to hold a trial.

What happens next?                  

A Senate vote requires a two-thirds majority to convict and remove the president – unlikely in this case, given that President Donald Trump’s party controls the chamber.

A team of politicians from the House of Representatives act as prosecutors. The president has their own defense lawyers and senators act as the jury.

The chief justice of the Supreme Court presides over proceedings and the president is tried.

Only two US presidents in history – Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson – have been impeached, but neither was convicted.

President Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.

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House Judiciary Committee has unveiled charges against President Donald Trump, a key move in impeaching him.

The first article revealed by committee chief Jerry Nadler accuses President Trump of abuse of power and the second accuses him of obstructing Congress.

The Republican president is said to have withheld aid to Ukraine for domestic political reasons.

Donald Trump has urged the Senate to try him “sooner than later”.

He insists he has done “nothing wrong” and has dismissed the impeachment process as “madness”.

If the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives Judiciary Committee votes to approve the articles later this week, they will then be submitted to the lower chamber for a full vote.

If, in turn, the articles are approved by the House, an impeachment trial in the Republican-held Senate will take place, possibly early in January.

The impeachment process was launched after an anonymous whistleblower complained to Congress in September about a July phone call by Donald Trump to the president of Ukraine.

President Trump is alleged to have committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” (a phrase from the US Constitution) on two counts outlined by Jerry Nadler:

  • The first allegation is that he exercised the powers of his public office to “obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest”, by allegedly putting pressure on Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential election;
  • The second allegation is that “when he was caught, when the House investigated and opened an impeachment inquiry, President Trump engaged in unprecedented categorical and indiscriminate defiance of the impeachment inquiry”, thereby obstructing Congress.

President Donald Trump Invited to House Judiciary Committee’s Impeachment Hearing

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Trump Impeachment Hearings: David Holmes Reveals What President Trump Said on Ukraine Phone Call

President Trump “sees himself as above the law”, Jerry Nadler said.

“We must be clear, no-one, not even the president, is above the law.”

In the July phone call to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, President Trump appeared to tie US military assistance for Ukraine to its launching of investigations that could help him politically.

In return for those investigations, Democrats say President Trump offered two bargaining chips – $400 million of military aid that had already been allocated by Congress, and a White House meeting for President.

Democrats say this pressure on a vulnerable US ally constitutes an abuse of power.

The first investigation President Trump wanted from Ukraine was into former VP Joe Biden, his main Democratic challenger, and his son Hunter. Hunter Biden joined the board of a Ukrainian energy company when his father was President Barack Obama’s deputy.

The second Trump demand was that Ukraine should try to corroborate a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the last US presidential election. This theory has been widely debunked, and US intelligence agencies are unanimous in saying Moscow was behind the hacking of Democratic Party emails in 2016.

President Trump railed at the announcement of the charges, declaring again on Twitter that it was a “witch hunt”.

In a rare sign of co-operation between the US and Iran, the two countries have conducted a prisoner swap.

The exchange involved Chinese-American researcher Xiyue Wang, who was convicted of spying in Iran and Iranian scientist Massoud Soleimani, who was held by the US. Both men deny wrongdoing.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he was glad as he announced the exchange.

Hours later, President Donald Trump tweeted: “Thank you to Iran on a very fair negotiation. See, we can make a deal together!”

Xiyue Wang was arrested in Iran in 2016 for “collaborating with foreign governments”.

Massoud Soleimani, a stem cell expert, was arrested at a Chicago airport in 2018. He was accused violating trade sanctions by trying to export biological material to Iran.

President Donald Trump Re-Imposes Iran Sanctions Removed Under Nuclear Deal

President Donald Trump Pulls US Out of Iran Nuclear Deal

The US and Iran have had an increasingly strained relationship in recent years and share no diplomatic links.

Both countries have thanked the Swiss government for its assistance as an intermediary facilitator.

Xiyue Wang was flown in a Swiss government plane from Tehran to Zurich, and then to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where he will undergo medical check-ups before heading home.

Massoud Soleimani was also flown to Zurich and then on to Iran.

Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted photos of himself with Massoud Soleimani after his release.

He was the first to announce the news, via Twitter: “Glad that Professor Massoud Soleimani and Mr. Xiyue Wang will be joining their families shortly.”

In a formal statement, President Donald Trump said Xiyue Wang had been “held under the pretence of espionage”.

The statement said: “Freeing Americans held captive is of vital importance to my Administration, and we will continue to work hard to bring home all our citizens wrongfully held captive overseas.”

Hua Qu, Mr

Xiyue Wang’s wife, Hua Qu, wrote in statement: “Our family is complete once again. Our son Shaofan and I have waited three long years for this day and it’s hard to express in words how excited we are to be reunited with Xiyue.

“We are thankful to everyone who helped make this happen.”

Princeton University, where Xiyue Wang was studying as a postgraduate, said in a statement it was “overjoyed” with the news of his release and was looking forward to “welcoming him back to campus”.

Xiyue Wang was arrested in Iran in August 2016 as he was leaving the country.

He had been doing research in Iran for a university dissertation and was accused of seeking to gather “highly confidential articles” for US and British academic institutions.

Xiyue Wang was sentenced to 10 years in jail for spying.

Massoud Soleimani was detained in October 2018 on accusations of attempting to export biological materials to Iran in violation of trade sanctions on the country over its nuclear program.

US-Iran tensions have risen significantly in the last two years.

After President Donald Trump took power, the US pulled out of a 2015 treaty that aimed to limit Tehran’s nuclear program.

Iran has always insisted its nuclear program is peaceful, but the US voiced concerns about potential weapon building.

President Donald Trump also reinstated sanctions on Iran, which have led to its currency plummeting and inflation soaring.

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President Donald Trump has decided to delay his plans to legally designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups.

He had vowed to label the gangs as terrorists after the killing last month of nine American citizens from a Mormon community in Mexico.

However, the president has put the plans on hold on the request of his Mexican counterpart, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The Mexican president said: “I celebrate that he has taken our opinion into account.”

“We thank President Trump for respecting our decisions and for choosing to maintain a policy of good neighborliness, a policy of cooperation with us,” Andrés Manuel López Obrador added.

Jenni Rivera was involved with Mexican drug cartels before she died in plane crash

President Trump’s original announcement came after three women and six children of dual US-Mexican nationality were killed in an ambush in a remote area of northern Mexico.

Following the attack the victims’ community, the LeBarons, petitioned the White House to list the cartels as terror groups, saying: “They are terrorists and it’s time to acknowledge it.”

The move would have widened the scope for US legal and financial action against cartels but Mexico saw it as a violation of its sovereignty.

President Trump has now put the plans on hold.

He tweeted: “All necessary work has been completed to declare Mexican Cartels terrorist organizations.

“Statutorily we are ready to do so.”

However, he said his Mexican counterpart is “a man who I like and respect, and has worked so well with us,” adding that he was temporarily holding off on the designation and stepping up “joint efforts to deal decisively with these vicious and ever-growing organizations!”

President Trump did not comment on how long the delay would last.

Mexico’s brutal drug war claims tens of thousands of lives every year, as powerful trafficking groups battle for territory and influence.

In 2017 more than 30,000 people were killed in Mexico, with the murder rate having more than tripled since 2006.

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President Donald Trump and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, have set out opposing views ahead of a NATO summit in London.

In an occasionally tense press conference, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron sparred over NATO’s role, Turkey, and ISIS.

President Trump had described Emmanuel Macron’s comments about NATO as “nasty”, but the French president said he stood by his words.

World leaders gathered in London to mark the Western military alliance’s 70th anniversary.

The NATO summit has already been marked by strained relations between Turkey and other member states.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will oppose NATO’s plan for the defense of the Baltic region if it does not back Turkey over its fight against Kurdish groups it considers terrorists.

On December 3, Emmanuel Macron and Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Downing Street in a four-way meeting that also included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the host, UK PM Boris Johnson.

Ties between President Trump and Emmanuel Macron were already strained amid a trade dispute, and after the French president described NATO as “brain dead” last month because, he said, the US commitment to the alliance was fading.

On December 3, President Trump hit back by saying Emmanuel Macron had been “very disrespectful”, adding that France had “a very high unemployment rate” and “nobody needs NATO more than France”.

At a joint press conference with Emmanuel Macron later, President Trump was less combative, stressing that the two countries had “done a lot of good things together”. Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, said he stood by his comments.

The two sides then clashed over foreign ISIS fighters who were captured in Syria.

President Trump jokingly offered them to France, saying: “Would you like some nice [ISIS] fighters? You can take everyone you want.”

Sounding stern, Emmanuel Macron said “Let’s be serious” and that ISIS fighters from Europe were “a tiny minority”, and that the “number one priority” was to get rid of the terrorist group.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan Shows Anti-Kurdish Video to Republican Senators

President Trump then retorted: “This is why he is a great politician because that was one of the greater non-answers I have ever heard, and that’s OK.”

He also criticized NATO countries who were paying less than the NATO guidelines of at least 2% of GDP towards the alliance.

President Trump said he did not want countries to be “delinquent” and pay less than their share, adding: “Maybe I’ll deal with them from a trade standpoint.”

Emmanuel Macron said France – which currently spends 1.84% of its GDP on defense – would reach the minimum, and acknowledged that the US had “overinvested” in NATO for several decades.

However, he added that there were other pressing issues to discuss.

The two leaders also discussed Turkey’s decision to buy a Russian S-400 missile system.

President Trump said they were “looking at” whether to impose sanctions, while Emmanuel Macron asked: “How is it possible to be a member of the alliance… and buy things from Russia?”

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been key allies of the US-led coalition against ISIS in Syria. However, Turkey views a section of the group – the YPG – as terrorists.

Ahead of his departure for London, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would not approve a plan to defend Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in the event of a Russian attack unless NATO recognized the Kurdish YPG militia as terrorists.

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President Donald Trump has signed The Human Rights and Democracy Act into law as a support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

The bill mandates an annual review, to check if Hong Kong has enough autonomy to justify its special status with the US.

President Trump said he signed the law “out of respect for President Xi [Jinping], China, and the people of Hong Kong”.

He is currently seeking a deal with China, in order to end a trade war between the two countries.

Meanwhile, China’s foreign ministry threatened “counter measures” if the US continued “going down the wrong path”.

The Chinese foreign ministry statement said: “The US has been disregarding facts and distorting truth.

“It openly backed violent criminals who rampantly smashed facilities, set fire, assaulted innocent civilians, trampled on the rule of law, and jeopardized social order.”

The foreign ministry summoned the US ambassador to demand that Washington stops interfering in Chinese internal affairs.

Hong Kong’s government also reacted, saying the American bill would send the wrong signal and would not help to ease the situation.

However, a key activist in the Hong Kong protest movement, Joshua Wong, said the US law was a “remarkable achievement” for “all Hongkongers”.

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President Trump had previously been non-committal about whether he would sign the bill, saying he was “with” Hong Kong but also that President Xi was “an incredible guy”.

However, the bill had widespread congressional support, which meant that even if he vetoed it, lawmakers could potentially have voted to overturn his decision.

President Trump also signed a second bill, which bans the export of crowd-control munitions to the police in Hong Kong – including tear gas, rubber bullets and stun guns.

He said: “[The bills] are being enacted in the hope that leaders and representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences, leading to long-term peace and prosperity for all.”

The bill was introduced in June in the early stages of the protests in Hong Kong, and was overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives last month.

It says: “Hong Kong is part of China but has a largely separate legal and economic system.

“The [annual review] shall assess whether China has eroded Hong Kong’s civil liberties and rule of law as protected by Hong Kong’s Basic Law.”

Among other things, Hong Kong’s special trading status means it is not affected by US sanctions or tariffs placed on the mainland.

The bill also says the US should allow Hong Kong residents to obtain US visas, even if they have been arrested for being part of non-violent protests.

Hong Kong’s protests started in June against a proposed law to allow extradition to mainland China but it has since transformed into a larger pro-democracy movement.

The protests have also seen increasingly violent clashes, with police being attacked, and officers firing live bullets.

The last week elections saw a landslide victory for the pro-democracy movement, with 17 of the 18 councils now controlled by pro-democracy councilors.

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The US has notified the UN of its intention to leave the Paris Climate Change Agreement, as other countries express regret and disappointment at the move.

The notification begins a one-year process of exiting the global climate change accord, culminating the day after the 2020 US election.

According to the US government, the climate change deal puts an “unfair economic burden” on Americans.

The Paris Agreement brought together 188 nations to combat climate change.

There has been widespread international condemnation of the US move.

The accord, agreed in 2015, committed the US and 187 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures below 2C above pre-industrial levels and attempting to limit them even more, to a 1.5C rise.

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The withdrawal decision – taken by President Donald Trump after he came to office in 2017 – made the US the world’s sole non-signatory and prompted high-level efforts by the EU to keep the agreement on track.

However, hundreds of local governments, businesses and organizations in the US have joined the We Are Still In movement, pledging to cut emissions and move to renewable energy.

The US issued its formal notification on the first day it was possible to do so.

President Trump had made withdrawing from the agreement one of his election campaign pledges but UN rules had meant it was not possible for the US to start the withdrawal process until November 4, 2019.

The withdrawal is still subject to the outcome of next year’s presidential election – if Donald Trump loses, the winner may decide to change course.

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A district judge in Oregon has temporarily blocked a rule proposed by President Donald Trump that would require immigrants to prove they will have health insurance within 30 days of arrival in the US, or can pay for medical care.

Judge Michael Simon granted a preliminary injunction against the proposal.

A lawsuit opposing the rule has been filed by 7 American citizens and an NGO.

They argued it would block hundreds of thousands of legal migrants.

According to the lawsuit, the number of immigrants who enter the US with family-sponsored visas would drop considerably, or be eliminated altogether.

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Judge Michael Simon said the potential damage to families justified a US-wide ban.

“Facing a likely risk of being separated from their family members and a delay in obtaining a visa to which family members would otherwise be entitled is irreparable harm,” his legal order read.

Would-be immigrants had been struggling to establish how to get the required insurance coverage. The US healthcare system is complex, and has not generally catered to people yet to arrive there.

The healthcare immigration proclamation is part of President Trump’s effort to shift the US away from a family-focused immigration system.

Judge Michael Simon’s 28-day temporary restraining order will prevent the rule from coming into effect on November 3, but the legal battle is likely to continue.

The Trump administration has argued that legal immigrants are about three times more likely to lack health insurance than US citizens, and that taxpayers should not bear their medical costs.

However, US policy experts say immigrants are less likely to use the healthcare system than American citizens.

According to a research from George Washington University, recent immigrants without insurance made up less than a tenth of 1% of US medical fees in 2017.

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President Donald Trump has announced he will switch his permanent residence from Trump Tower in New York to Florida.

The president said he had been badly treated by New York’s political leaders, despite having paid millions of dollars in tax.

Donald Trump was born in New York but has increasingly spent more time at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach.

The Republican president has been at odds with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio – both Democrats.

Both welcomed the news that the president was Florida-bound.

Mayor De Blasio tweeted: “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out or whatever.”

Governor Cuomo challenged President Trump’s assertion that he had paid his taxes, adding: “He’s all yours, Florida.”

Image source Wikipedia

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President Trump has never released his tax returns and refuses to disclose personal tax information.

Donald Trump has owned the Mar-a-Lago resort since 1985 and travels frequently between there and the White House.

He is running for a second term in next year’s election and made clear on October 31 that he hoped to be in the White House for another five years.

The president said he would always cherish New York but added: “Unfortunately, despite the fact that I pay millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes each year, I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state. Few have been treated worse.”

The New York Times reported that

President Trump and his wife Melania filed for residency in Florida in September, the New York Times reported.

According to documents obtained by the publication, President Trump’s “other places of abode” are listed as 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (the White House) and his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

An apartment in Trump Tower, Manhattan, has been Donald Trump’s primary residence since 1983. It is not clear if the prsident will retain it.

President Trump has spent 99 days at Mar-a-Lago compared with 20 days at Trump Tower since taking office, according to NBC News.

The White House has not commented on the president’s reasons for changing his permanent address but the New York Times quoted a person close to the president as saying that the reasons were mainly for tax purposes.

Florida does not have a state income tax or inheritance tax.

Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan has resigned after six months in the post.

In a tweet, President Donald Trump said Kevin McAleenan wanted to spend more time with his family. He said his replacement would be named next week.

Kevin McAleenan, 48, is the fourth person to serve as the head of Homeland Security during President Trump’s tenure.

He has overseen Donald Trump’s tough policies aimed at curbing immigration across the Mexican border.

However, analysts have described a turbulent relationship between the two and Kevin McAleenan has criticized the tone of the immigration debate.

Recently he was shouted off stage by student protesters at a university in Washington DC.

Announcing his resignation, President Trump said Kevin McAleenan had done “an outstanding job”.

“We have worked well together with border crossings being way down,” the president said.

“Kevin now, after many years in government, wants to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector.”

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Kevin McAleenan became acting head of the department after the resignation in April of Kirstjen Nielsen.

President Trump had often accused her of not being tough enough on controlling immigration.

During the administration of President Barack Obama, Kevin McAleenan served as deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

In 2015, Kevin McAleenan received the highest civil service award from the then-president.

In 2018, he faced criticism in the media for carrying out President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy that led to the controversial separation of families at the US southern border, but he has maintained his agency’s duty is to carry out the law, not create it.

Earlier this month, the Washington Post described Kevin McAleenan as increasingly isolated within the Trump administration and overshadowed by others more vocal in their support for President Trump.

In an interview, Kevin McAleenan lamented not having control over “the tone, the message, the public face and approach of the department in an increasingly polarized time. That’s uncomfortable, as the accountable, senior figure”.

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President Donald Trump has branded a whistleblower allegation that he made a promise to a foreign leader – believed to be Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – as a “ridiculous story”.

Donald Trump said his talks with leaders were always “totally appropriate”.

According to reports, President Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter – who was on a Ukrainian gas company board – in return for more US military support.

Joe Biden is frontrunner to be the Democrat’s 2020 presidential candidate.

He wrote in a statement: “If these reports are true, then there is truly no bottom to President Trump’s willingness to abuse his power and abase our country.”

Joe Biden called on President Trump to “immediately release” a transcript of the phone call “so that the American people can judge for themselves”.

In its report on the complaint by the whistleblower, the Washington Post said the intelligence official had found President Trump’s comment to the foreign leader “so troubling” that they went to the department’s inspector general.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, quoted sources as saying President Trump had urged President Zelensky about eight times to work with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani on an investigation into Joe Biden’s son, but had not offered anything in return.

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On September 20, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that reports of the complaint raised “grave, urgent concerns” for US national security.

Presidents Trump and Zelensky spoke by phone on July 25. The whistleblower’s complaint is dated August 21.

Donald Trump described the complaint as “just another political hack job”.

Speaking alongside Australia’s leader Scott Morrison in the White House, the president said: “It’s a ridiculous story. It’s a partisan whistleblower. He shouldn’t even have information. I’ve had conversations with many leaders. They’re always appropriate.”

President Trump also called for Joe Biden’s finances to be scrutinized.

He told reporters: “It doesn’t matter what I discussed, someone ought to look into Joe Biden’s billions of dollars and you wouldn’t look into that because he’s a Democrat.”

On September 19, President Trump wrote on Twitter that he knew all his phone calls to foreign leaders were listened to by US agencies.

Ukraine says President Trump and President Zelensky will meet next week in New York during the UN General Assembly.

Democrats are trying to get the complaint turned over to Congress, with many details still unknown.

Earlier this month, before the whistleblower’s complaint came to light, House Democrats launched an investigation into President Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s interactions with Ukraine.

Three Democratic panel heads – Eliot Engel (foreign affairs), Adam Schiff (intelligence) and Elijah Cummings (oversight) – said Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani had attempted “to manipulate the Ukrainian justice system to benefit the president’s re-election campaign and target a possible political opponent”.

They allege that President Trump and Rudy Giuliani tried to pressure the Ukrainian government into investigating Joe and Hunter Biden.

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a surprise visit to the G7 summit in France on August 25.

He attended side-line talks in the seaside town of Biarritz where world leaders, including President Donald Trump, have gathered.

Reports suggest the US delegation was surprised by Mohammad Javad Zarif’s visit, which comes at a time of high tension with Iran.

The Iranian official said on Twitter that he held “constructive” talks with his French counterpart and President Emmanuel Macron, adding he gave a joint briefing to German and British officials.

Mohammad Javad Zarif also met President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on August 23 on the eve of the summit.

Relations between Iran and the US have deteriorated since Washington withdrew from a 2015 deal to limit Iran’s nuclear activities in 2018.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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Five other nations – including France – remain committed to the deal, but Iran has started to ratchet up its nuclear activity in response to the US reinstating and tightening economic sanctions against them.

President Macron has taken an active role in trying to diffuse tensions and save the accord – but Iran’s relations with the West have strained further in recent months over a series of confrontations and oil tanker seizures in and around the Gulf.

Mohammad Javad Zarif was himself singled out for US sanctions last month, with US officials accusing him of implementing “the reckless agenda” of Iran’s leader.

Reports about the circumstances of his visit on Sunday are conflicting. French officials told reporters the foreign minister was invited in agreement with the US delegation, but White House officials have suggested they were taken by surprise.

They were also conflicting comments by President Macron and President Trump during the weekend as to whether G7 leaders had agreed a joint approach to easing tensions with Tehran.

On August 25, President Trump appeared to dismiss French mediation efforts.

He said: “We’ll do our own outreach, but, you know, I can’t stop people from talking. If they want to talk, they can talk.”

Leaders from the G7 – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US – have been attending the group’s 45th summit all weekend.

A range of topics, including the nuclear deal and Brexit, have been on the talks agenda.

President Donald Trump has accused Jewish Americans who vote for the Democratic Party of “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty”.

The remark drew sharp criticism that President Trump had used an anti-Semitic trope accusing Jews of dual loyalty.

The Jewish Democratic Council of America said the president was trying to “weaponize and politicize anti-Semitism” for political gain.

The remark followed attacks by President Trump on two Muslim Democratic congresswomen.

He has repeatedly accused Democratic representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib of anti-Semitism.

Under pressure from President Trump, Israel last week blocked Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering the country. The two women, who are vocal critics of the Israeli government, had been due to visit the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Israel later agreed to let Rashida Tlaib make a “humanitarian” visit to her grandmother in the occupied West Bank, but she declined, saying she could not comply with the “oppressive conditions” being imposed.

Speaking to reporters on August 20, President Trump said: “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”

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On August 21, the president denied his comments were racist and told reporters: “If you vote for a Democrat, you’re being disloyal to Jewish people and you’re being very disloyal to Israel.”

Earlier in the day, President Trump quoted a conservative commentator’s praise on Twitter who said “the Jewish people in Israel love him like he’s the King of Israel”.

“They love him like he is the second coming of God,” President Trump’s tweet continued.

The remark was denounced by a number of Jewish American groups, which said it played on an anti-Semitic canard that accuses Jews of being more devoted to Israel or their faith than to their own countries.

The same notion of dual loyalty has landed Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota congresswoman, in hot water.

Ilhan Omar has apologized after claiming that Israel had “hypnotized” the world. She was also rebuked by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives comments targeting lobbying firms that support Israel.

Ahead of the vote, which condemned “hateful expressions of intolerance”, Ilhan Omar pushed back by questioning what she termed “the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country”.

The comment sparked fresh complaints of anti-Semitism.

Recent polls show that roughly 75% of Jewish Americans identify as Democrats.

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Two short-range ballistic missiles have been fired off North Korea’s east coast, according to South Korea’s military, the second such launch in a week.

They were launched from the Wonsan area on July 31.

Last week’s launch was the first such action since President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met in June.

North Korea called last week’s launch a “solemn warning” to Seoul over its planned military exercises with Washington.

Pyongyang has previously expressed anger that the annual drills will go ahead next month- an event it sees as preparation for war.

The missiles were launched at 05:06AM and 05:27 AM local time from the Kalma area near the port of Wonsan.

The missiles flew 155 miles and reached a height of 20 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, said South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

The South Korean defense minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said the missiles were identified as a different type from previous models.

Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe confirmed that there was no impact on Japan’s security following the launch.

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Six days ago, North Korea fired two short range missiles, one of which travelled about 425 miles and the other 268 miles.

That launch was the first since President Trump and Kim Jong-un held an impromptu meeting in June at the demilitarized zone (DMZ), an area that divides the two Koreas, where they agreed to restarted denuclearization talks.

North Korea has recently again voiced anger over planned military exercises between South Korea and the US, an annual event which the allies have refused to cancel but have scaled back significantly.

One analyst said more missile tests could be expected.

North Korea called the drills a “violation of the spirit” of the joint statement signed by President Trump and Kim Jong-un at their first face-to-face talks in Singapore last year.

Pyongyang had warned the exercises could affect the resumption of denuclearization talks.

On July 29, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he hoped these talks could start “very soon”, but that there were no further summits planned.

Last year, Kim Jong-un said North Korea would stop nuclear testing and would no longer launch intercontinental ballistic missiles.

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President Donald Trump threatened a Time magazine photographer with prison for apparently taking a picture of a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The president rebuked the photographer in the Oval Office after he was warned by an aide not to take a photo, according to Time‘s transcript.

The interview continued, but grew heated after the special counsel’s investigation of President Trump came up.

“You can go to prison instead,” Donald Trump is quoted as saying.

The interview took place at the White House on June 17, two days before President Trump traveled to Florida to formally launch his 2020 re-election campaign.

At several points during the interview, President Trump asked to speak off-the-record, including in the moments after showing the Time reporters a letter he said was from Kim Jong-un.

“Here’s a letter, OK, now I’m going to show you this letter,” said the president.

“So this was written by Kim Jong-un. It was delivered to me yesterday. By hand.”

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As the conversation turned to his potential Democratic challengers in next year’s election, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told the journalists: “You can’t take a picture of that, sorry.”

“What was that?!” President Trump exclaims.

The interview continues as the reporters ask about who President Trump sees as his toughest political opponent for 2020.

“Uh, I don’t know. Look, I think I’ve done so much. Could you bring the list of things, please, give me four of them,” President Trump tells an aide, who quickly presents one, saying it was made “for today”.

According to the transcript, Donald Trump becomes more prickly when Time challenges an assertion by him.

The reporter reminds the president that some of his aides had “testified under oath, under threat of prison time” that the president had tried to influence the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

President Trump snaps back: “Excuse me… Well, you can go to prison instead, because if you use, if you use the photograph you took of the letter that I gave you confidentially.

“I didn’t give it to you to take photographs of it – So don’t play that game with me.”

The journalist from Time responds: “I’m sorry, Mr. President. Were you threatening me with prison time?”

Donald Trump replies: “Well, I told you the following. I told you, you can look at this off the record. That doesn’t mean you take out your camera and start taking pictures of it. OK?

“So I hope you don’t have a picture of it.

“I know you were very quick to pull it out – even you were surprised to see that.

“You can’t do that stuff. So go have fun with your story. Because I’m sure it will be the 28th horrible story I have in Time magazine.”

Donald Trump has long had an interest in Time magazine, and has previously had fake issues printed with himself on the cover and framed at his golf resorts.

He was named person of the year in 2016.

In 2017, he claimed to have turned down an offer to be the magazine’s person of the year again, which Time‘s editorial staff said was untrue.

However, in 2018, Time‘s annual person of the year award was dedicated to persecuted journalists.

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China stocks tumbled on May 6 after President Donald Trump threatened new tariffs on Chinese goods, putting a trade deal in doubt.

President Trump announced on Twitter that the US would more than double tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods on May 3 and would introduce fresh tariffs.

Recent comments had suggested both sides were nearing a trade deal.

A Chinese delegation was due to travel to Washington this week for talks aimed at ending the trade war.

However, according to recent reports, China is now considering cancelling those talks, led by Vice-Premier Liu He, that were scheduled to resume on May 8.

Some reports said the Chinese were due to send a 100-person delegation to the negotiations.

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The Chinese government has yet to officially comment on President Trump’s tweets.

In China, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 3.7%, while the Shanghai Composite plunged 5.3%.

US stock futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street.

On May 3, President Trump tweeted: “For 10 months, China has been paying Tariffs to the USA of 25% on 50 Billion Dollars of High Tech, and 10% on 200 Billion Dollars of other goods. These payments are partially responsible for our great economic results. The 10% will go up to 25% on Friday. 325 Billions Dollars….”

“The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!” he continued.

After imposing duties on billions of dollars worth of one another’s goods last year, the US and China have been negotiating and in recent weeks, appeared to be close to striking a trade deal.

Last week US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin described talks held in Beijing as “productive”.

So far, the US has imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, having accused China of unfair trade practices.

Beijing hit back with duties on $110 billion of American goods, blaming the US for starting “the largest trade war in economic history”.

President Trump’s latest move will raise duties on more than 5,000 products made by Chinese producers, ranging from chemicals to textiles and consumer goods.

He originally imposed a 10% tariff on these goods in September that was due to rise in January, but postponed this as negotiations advanced.

However, both US and international companies have said they are being harmed by the trade war.

Fears about a further escalation caused a slump in world stock markets towards the end of last year.

The IMF has warned a full-blown trade war would weaken the global economy.

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According to recent reports, North Korea may be preparing to launch a missile or a satellite.

Satellite images suggest an increased activity around a site known as Sanumdong, where North Korea assembled most of its ballistic missiles and rockets.

It comes after reports earlier this week that North Korea’s main rocket launch site at Sohae had been rebuilt.

Last year, North Korea started to dismantle Sohae began but stopped as US talks stalled.

On March 8, President Donald Trump said he would be disappointed if North Korea was to resume weapons testing.

He said: “I would be surprised in a negative way if he did anything that was not per our understanding. But we’ll see what happens.

“I would be very disappointed if I saw testing.”

According to analysts, it is more likely at this stage that North Korea is preparing to launch a satellite rather than test a missile.

However, the US said earlier this week that this would still be inconsistent with the commitments Kim Jong-un has made to President Trump.

Large vehicles have been seen moving around Sanumdong, activity which has in the past indicated that Pyongyang was at least preparing to move some kind of missile or rocket to a launch area.

The satellite images were published by the public radio network NPR.

A much anticipated meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Hanoi last week ended without a deal over differences in how much North Korea was willing to limit its nuclear program before it was granted some sanction relief.

The Sohae launch facility at the Tongchang-ri site has been used for satellite launches and engine testing but never for ballistic missile launches.

This week’s satellite images, coming from several US think tanks and testimony from the South Korean intelligence service, appear to show rapid progress has been made in rebuilding structures on the rocket launch pad.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton has said North Korea could yet face more sanctions if there is no progress on denuclearization.

A historic first meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2018 in Singapore produced a vaguely worded agreement on “denuclearization” but little progress.

Republicans and Democrats have reached an agreement in principle over border security to fund the government and avoid another partial shutdown.

The deal was struck in a closed-door meeting in Washington on February 11 after several hours of talks.

However, the agreement contains only a fraction of the money President Donald Trump wants for his promised border wall and does not mention a concrete barrier.

The deal still needs to be approved by Congress and signed by the president.

Speaking on February 12, President Trump said of the deal: “I can’t say I’m happy, I can’t say I’m thrilled.”

The president told reporters he would have a meeting about the agreement later today.

The Democrats – who now control the House of Representatives – have refused to approve the $5.7 billion for President Trump’s wall on the border with Mexico, one of his key campaign pledges.

Lawmakers expressed optimism that a bill would be approved by February 15 when funding runs out for some federal agencies.

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The longest shutdown in US history lasted 35 days and cost the country’s economy an estimated $11 billion.

Details have yet to be released but aides familiar with the negotiations say it includes $1.375 billion in funding for 55 miles of new fencing at the border, a small part of the more than 2,000 miles promised by President Trump.

The wall would be built in the Rio Grande Valley, in Texas, using existing designs, such as metal slats, instead of the concrete wall that Donald Trump had demanded.

According to recent reports, there was also an agreement to reduce the number of beds in detention centers to 40,250 from the current 49,057.

The talks had reached an impasse earlier with Republicans strongly rejecting Democrats’ demands for a limit to the number of undocumented migrants already in the US who could be detained by immigration authorities.

Republican Senator Richard Shelby said on February 11: “We got an agreement on all of it.

“Our staffs are going to be working feverishly to put all the particulars together. We believe that if this becomes law, it’ll keep open the government.”

However, by yesterday, some of President Trump’s conservative allies had already denounced the deal, with Fox News commentator Sean Hannity calling it a “garbage compromise”.

House Freedom Caucus leader Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina said the agreement failed “to address the critical priorities outlined by Border Patrol Chiefs”.

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President Donald Trump has refused to respond to a request from Congress to provide a report determining who killed the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In October 2018, senators wrote a letter demanding the murder be investigated and that the White House give more information.

A Trump administration official said the president was within his rights to decline to act.

Jamal Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October last year.

The journalist was a strong critic of the Saudi government. His body was reportedly dismembered and has still not been found.

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US intelligence officials have reportedly said such an operation would have needed the approval of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

However, Saudi officials insist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by a “rogue” team of Saudi agents not acting on the prince’s orders.

An administration statement said President Trump “maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests when appropriate”.

However, Democratic senators told the New York Times President Trump was in breach of the so-called Magnitsky Act, which requires a response within 120 days to requests from Senate committee leaders. That deadline passed on February 8.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has written to Senate leaders describing actions taken against individuals.

However, the documents do not indicate who was responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s death, as demanded by the senators.

The US has imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi officials, including Saud al-Qahtani, a former adviser to the crown prince who, it alleged, was “part of the planning and execution of the operation” that led to Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

However, President Trump has faced criticism from senators for failing to condemn the Saudi crown prince directly.

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President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have made an unannounced Christmas visit at the al-Asad airbase in Iraq.

The first family traveled there “late on Christmas night” to thank troops for “their service, their success and their sacrifice”, the White House said.

President Trump said the US had no plans to pull out of Iraq, Reuters reports.

The trip came days after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis quit over divisions about strategy in the region.

The US still has some 5,000 troops in Iraq to support the government in its fight against what remains of the ISIS.

President Trump, the First Lady and National Security Adviser John Bolton traveled on Air Force One to al-Asad airbase, west of the capital Baghdad, to meet military personnel in the base’s restaurant.

The president spent about three hours at the base in what is his first visit to the region.

During the visit President Trump got a standing ovation from troops as he entered a dining hall and walked around greeting them, posing for selfies with them and signing autographs.

He tweeted: “.@FLOTUS Melania and I were honored to visit our incredible troops at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.!”

The president had planned to spend Christmas at his private golf club in Florida, but stayed behind in Washington because of the current partial government shutdown.

“We’re no longer the suckers, folks,” he told American servicemen and women at the base.

“We’re respected again as a nation.”

President Trump said the US could use Iraq as a forward base if “we wanted to do something in Syria”, Reuters news agency reports.

He defended his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria during the visit, saying: “A lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking.

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“I made it clear from the beginning that our mission in Syria was to strip Isis [another name for IS] of its military strongholds.

“Eight years ago, we went there for three months and we never left. Now, we’re doing it right and we’re going to finish it off.”

President Trump said there would be no delays in the withdrawal and added that the US “cannot continue to be the policeman of the world”.

He also said that security considerations had prevented him from visiting US troops in the region several weeks ago.

President Trump announced the decision to pull US troops out of Syria last week.