Sun. May 26th, 2024

Wake-up News: G7 Gives Iran a Talking To About Ceasing the Attacks!

Jamie Roberts By Jamie Roberts May22,2024

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Israel is weighing a reaction to Iran’s historic air offensive, which was largely foiled Saturday with help from unprecedented coordination with the U.S. and Jordan to destroy exploding drones and missiles.

President Biden, seeking restraint to avert a wider war in the Middle East, spoke Sunday with partners from the seven leading industrialized nations by video hookup and consulted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II while condemning Iran’s attacks. Biden privately told Netanyahu the U.S. would not support an Israeli counterattack against Iran, Axios reported. The United States joined Group of Seven counterparts in a statement to “demand” that Tehran and its proxies “cease their attacks.”

Iran today said Western countries “should appreciate Iran’s restraint in recent months.”

Israel’s military had not detailed possible options Sunday against Iran following a meeting of the country’s war cabinet. Overnight, Israeli fighter jets struck Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon “to remove threats.”

Iran argued Sunday that its dramatic offensive against Israel, telegraphed days ahead and warned in the U.S. last week, embodied its “inherent right to self-defense” in response to Israel’s attack this month on Iran’s diplomatic compound in Syria, which left two generals and a handful of military officers dead.

Meanwhile, Biden this week still plans domestic campaign-related events in Pennsylvania to bash former President Trump over competing economic policies, while Trump makes history today as a criminal defendant in an election interference trial in Manhattan in which payments to a porn star in 2016 are a centerpiece of alleged evidence. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

The tensions in the Middle East fortified expressions of “ironclad” allied support for Israel, diverted the world’s attention from the lack of progress between Israel and Hamas to attain a temporary cease-fire in Gaza and reawakened decades of global condemnations of Iran.

The New York Times: Israeli analysts question what’s next in the Gaza war.

Republicans in the House and Senate, eager to wallop Tehran and blame Biden and Democrats for the collapse of efforts to freeze Iran’s nuclear weapons capabilities with a deal dating to the Obama years, accused the president of weakness with international foes. Biden is now politically pressured from his right and left because of expanding Middle East conflict.  

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on Saturday urged retaliatory strikes against Iran. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), appearing on Fox News Sunday, called Biden “wobbly” on foreign policy and urged the president to “go to Amazon and buy a spine online.”

3 THINGS TO KNOW TODAY

▪ ✍️ Procrastinators, beware! You have until midnight to file federal taxes. Need an extension? Remember, no one gets extra time to pay when they owe Uncle Sam, but tax filers can request a grace period to complete IRS forms. Here’s what to know when you’re almost out of time.

▪ 🗣 Biden and Trump should debate one another, a dozen news organizations wrote to the two candidates Sunday. Up in the air: three presidential face-offs and one vice presidential debate organized by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates.

▪ ⛳️ Scottie Scheffler, the world’s top ranked golfer, won the Masters in Augusta Sunday, one of only 17 players to capture a second green jacket.

LEADING THE DAY

© The Associated Press / New York State Attorney General photo release via AP | Former President Trump, pictured in 2022 during a separate New York deposition, stands trial in Manhattan today accused of alleged criminal election interference with a 2016 scheme to try to use hush money to hide a relationship with an adult film star.

TRUMP WORLD 

“I tell the truth,” Trump said Friday.

Today, Trump makes history as the first former or sitting president to appear as a defendant in any criminal trial, facing charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D).

Judging by his Sunday comments on social media, he’s not happy about it.

Trump is accused of falsifying business records, which is a New York state crime, allegedly using illegal campaign contributions to silence adult film star Stormy Daniels to bury her tale of a claimed affair ahead of his 2016 presidential bid. Attempting to influence an election is a federal crime. Trump says he’s innocent of the charges and denies having an affair with Daniels, who will be a witness (CNN).

An affair is not illegal. Hush money, as a contract between two parties, is not necessarily illegal. Falsifying business records is a misdemeanor in New York. But Bragg alleges that the payments violated campaign finance law. National Enquirer’s parent company admitted wrongdoing in facilitating “catch and kill” payments to benefit Trump, and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign law and he served time in prison.

Trump insists the Manhattan prosecutor has “no case,” argues Cohen is a confessed liar and denounces the trial as politically motivated. He suggests he will testify (Politico video). Experts believe Trump will have to be present during the trail, which will not be televised.

Whether Trump takes the stand “is going to be a decision for President Trump and the trial team depending on how the trial progresses,” Trump attorney Will Scharf told “Fox News Sunday.” “I would say that I think if he does take the stand, President Trump will be a compelling witness.” 

The New York Times: Trump’s jury will be drawn from Manhattanites and their names will be known to the prosecution and defense, including the defendant. The process to select 12 jurors plus alternates able to serve for six weeks or more may prove lengthy.

The former president and his lawyers have said their strategy is to delay criminal trials in four jurisdictions for as long as possible (preferably beyond Election Day). Trump and his attorneys filed multiple appeals in the hush money trial, each rejected by courts last week. Nevertheless, delay as a legal tactic has helped Trump and if he’s elected, he hypothetically could dismiss federal charges or pardon himself. A criminal conviction on federal charges, and even a prison sentence, are considered novel hypotheticals and technically would not preclude Trump from serving as president, if elected, according to the language of the Constitution.

Trump’s court calendar could prove busy. The government’s election interference case in Washington is stalled until later this month when the Supreme Court considers Trump’s claim of total immunity from prosecution. Trump’s federal criminal trial dealing with possession of national secrets and classified documents is proceeding slowly in Miami. The former president’s racketeering trial pending in Fulton County, Ga., on state election interference allegations was delayed because of details of a personal relationship between the prosecutor and her subordinate, who formerly handled the Trump case.

▪ The Hill: Five things to know ahead of Trump’s hush money trial.

▪ The Hill: The Trump hush money trial collides with the defendant’s campaigning. In recent polls, the standing of the presumptive GOP nominee has been neck-and-neck or even slightly ahead of Biden. The former president and his allies expect a rallying effect among supporters and predict Trump will use events and appearances outside the courtroom to push his narrative into headlines.

WHERE AND WHEN

The House will meet at noon.

The Senate will convene 3 p.m.

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10 a.m. Biden will host Prime Minister Mohammed Shyaa Al-Sudani of Iraq at noon to “coordinate on common priorities and reinforce the strong bilateral partnership between the United States and Iraq.” Biden separately will host Prime Minister Petr Fiala of the Czech Republic at 3 p.m. at the White House.

Vice President Harris will fly from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to join a moderated conversation at 12:35 p.m. PT about the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which enacted changes dealing with the mental health system, school safety programs and gun control. She will attend an event in Las Vegas at 2:55 p.m. PT focused on abortion and reproductive freedom. The vice president will return to Los Angeles this evening. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Iraq’s visiting prime minister at 8:30 a.m. He and Muhammad Ali Tamim, Iraq’s deputy prime minister, will co-chair a U.S. Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee meeting at 9:45 a.m. at the State Department. Blinken will join the president’s noon meeting with the Iraqi prime minister at the White House, then attend Biden’s meeting with the Czech prime minister at 3 p.m.

First lady Jill Biden is scheduled to travel to Winterville, N.C., to speak at 12:30 p.m. at Pitt Community College about expanding career-connected learning in high school and college. She will speak at 3:15 p.m. in Greensboro, N.C., at Guilford Technical Community College and join a roundtable discussion with state and local leaders, educators and students about career-connected learning in schools.

The White House daily press briefing is scheduled at 1:30 p.m.

ZOOM IN

© The Associated Press / Jose Luis Magana | Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) last week in the Capitol.

POLITICS

Congress: After mulling a $95 billion international aid measure for two months, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) vowed Sunday to try again this week to pass wartime aid for Israel. Getting a national security measure that currently includes funding for Ukraine and Taiwan is an uphill challenge and could cost Johnson his speakership because of opposition within his party to spending more on Ukraine without first tackling U.S. border reforms.

“Urgent need”: Biden held a conference call Sunday with Johnson, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) about Israel’s situation and to lobby for House passage of the pending national security supplemental bill “as soon as possible,” the White House said. 

2024: In an updated narrative about choosing a president, New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who campaigned energetically for GOP presidential challenger Nikki Haley during the primaries and criticized Trump for “absolutely” contributing to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, told ABC’s “This Week” he will oppose Biden by voting for Trump in November.

“It’s not about just supporting Trump,” Sununu said Sunday. “It’s getting rid of what we have today. It’s about understanding inflation is crushing families. It’s understanding that this border issue is not a Texas issue, it’s a 50-state issue that has to be brought under control. It’s about that type of elitism that the average American is just sick and tired of, and it’s a culture change. That’s what I’m supporting.”

First elected governor in 2016, Sununu, 49, is not seeking reelection and passed up seeking the Republican presidential nomination this year.

2024 ROUNDUP

▪ While Trump is in a courtroom, Biden plans economic events in Scranton, near Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania this week. Scranton-born Biden has a slim lead in the state, according to polling. The Hill’s Decision Desk HQ average shows the president narrowly edging Trump 46.5 percent to 45.9 percent. Trump held a rally in Schnecksville, Pa., Saturday, where he endorsed Senate Republican contender David McCormick.

▪ Biden and Trump are each competing for support from suburban women voters. “There are many more people of color moving into the suburbs than there were before,” said Bill Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, who says the caricature of “soccer moms” is outdated.

▪ Republicans will decide if Biden is on ballots in Ohio and Alabama.

▪ Democrats are working to hold the House seat that Rep. Mary Peltola (D) of Alaska flipped in 2022 after Republicans held it for five decades.

▪ Some Senate Democrats say they’re worried about the impact independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. may have on the Biden-Harris ticket in November.  

ELSEWHERE

© The Associated Press / Hadi Mizban | Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al Sudani, pictured in Baghdad in January, is scheduled to meet with Biden at the White House Monday.

MORE INTERNATIONAL

Iraq: Amid escalation of the nearly 40-year-old proxy battle between Iran and Israel, Biden plans to meet today with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shyaa Al-Sudani at the White House following Saturday’s dramatic U.S. military backup to Israel in defense against Iran’s air attacks— some of which were launched from Iraq. The two men had planned to discuss their “shared commitment to the lasting defeat of ISIS, … ongoing Iraqi financial reforms to promote economic development and progress towards Iraq’s energy independence and modernization,” according to the White House last week. Al-Sudani has been Iraq’s prime minister for 18 months.

Ukraine: Behind the scenes, U.S. officials are arguing among themselves over how to handle Kyiv’s troubles in the halls of Congress. Ukraine’s advocates in Washington are resuming their call to approve a foreign aid package covering Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan following Iran’s Saturday strikes against Israel.

Politico: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, writing on social media platform X on Sunday, drew a parallel between Iran’s tactics against Israel over the weekend and those employed by Russia against Ukraine. He said it’s a “wake-up call” to the U.S. to fortify its allies.

House Republicans still appear to be far apart over whether to send additional U.S. assistance to Ukraine, how much and in what form, The Hill’s Laura Kelly reports. The U.S. is publicly holding back support for Ukrainian attacks on Russian oil and gas infrastructure and are at odds over suggestions that NATO and European partners should take over the coordination with Kyiv. “There is a disagreement in the U.S. government about this and I won’t predict how it comes out,” said Ivo Daalder, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO and president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.  

China: In Beijing until Tuesday to speak about the need to keep talking: U.S. officials Daniel Kritenbrink, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and White House China expert Sarah Beran.

Singapore: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, 72, said Monday that he will step down on May 15 and hand power to his deputy Lawrence Wong. Lee’s retirement after serving since 2004 was anticipated.

Sudan: On Sunday, the U.S. announced an additional $100 million to help Sudan ahead of Monday’s year-long anniversary of a war between the Sudanese army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. The conflict has killed thousands of civilians and devastated the country’s infrastructure, Reuters reported. The assistance, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, includes emergency food assistance and nutrition support.

OPINION

■ The failure of Biden’s doctrine of “don’t,” by National Review editors.

■ How to prevent all-out war between Iran and Israel, by Barbara Slavin, opinion contributor, Haaretz.

■ Trump flip-flops on presidential debates, by The Wall Street Journal editorial board.

THE CLOSER

© The Associated Press / Ellen Schmidt | A geothermal site was under construction last year near Milford, Utah, adjacent to an oil drilling rig.

And finally … 💡 What’s a new zero-carbon, on-demand energy source that could revolutionize U.S. energy and bring stability to the power grid with some bipartisan support? Answer: geothermal, The Hill’s Saul Elbein reports. Yet, geothermal relies on oil and gas technology and expertise and isn’t embraced by many in the climate movement, who point to the fossil fuel industry’s role in denying the environmental impact of greenhouse emissions while delaying responses.

Stay Engaged

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Jamie Roberts

By Jamie Roberts

Jamie is an award-winning investigative journalist with a focus on uncovering corruption and advocating for social justice. With over a decade of experience in the field, Jamie's work has been instrumental in bringing about positive change in various communities.

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2 thoughts on “Wake-up News: G7 Gives Iran a Talking To About Ceasing the Attacks!”
  1. Do you think the G7’s demand for Iran to cease their attacks will truly lead to a resolution in the Middle East conflict?

  2. Does Iran’s statement about appreciating their own restraint align with the G7’s demand for them to cease their attacks? How do you think Israel will respond to this situation?

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