Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday on multiple issues. Much of the debriefing to the Senate revolved around Secretary Pompeo’s contacts and coordination with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un.
The testimony is interesting for those who are following the DPRK issues. During many of the exchanges Secretary Pompeo clarifies his certainty that Kim Jong-un fully understood the U.S. position surrounding denuclearization; and for several weeks was progressing toward the June 12 summit with clarity of outcome between the U.S. and North Korea.
Then something happened…
[Watch the Briefing HERE] Secretary Pompeo’s briefing when overlaid with the timing of the first U.S. trade delegation to China (May 2-5); and then the second trip by Chairman Kim to Beijing (May 8); highlights the connectivity of Chairman Xi Jinping instructing Chairman Kim to change his approach publicly in order to provide China with leverage in the U.S./China trade summit which took place shortly thereafter (May 15-18).
As noted by President Donald Trump during his Oval Office remarks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the specifically scheming and cunning influence by Chairman Xi, what we customarily call ‘Red-Dragon-China‘, was -and is- accepted by President Trump as evidence of Beijing’s manipulative intent.
This is an important tonal shift to note because U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross just announced he is heading to China. Secretary Ross will visit China from June 2 to June 4, the official Xinhua news agency reported, and you can be certain that President Trump has just unleashed the “killer” side of Wilbur Ross.
Ross will visit China from June 2 to June 4, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday, adding that Vice Premier Liu He, China’s chief negotiator in the trade dispute, had spoken with Ross over the phone. It gave no further details.
The trade dispute took on added complexity this week when U.S. President Donald Trump announced a national security investigation into imports of cars and trucks, a probe that could lead to tariffs against China as well as key U.S. allies such as Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Germany. (link)
President Trump is not sending a “trade delegation” to Beijing, he is sending ONLY Secretary Ross. This is where ‘stuff‘ is fixin’ to get very serious. Wolverine Ross will likely be prepared to rip the bamboo forest to shreds. Don’t expect any firm or final decision on a change of heart for the June 12th U.S./DPRK summit in Singapore until after Secretary Ross reports back to President Trump.
How Important? Remember, the 2018 G7 summit is taking place in Charlevoix, Quebec on June 8th and 9th.
In the days leading up to the heads of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States meeting, there are ministerial sessions with the Secretaries of each nation taking place. The finance and commerce ministerial sessions are scheduled May 31st through June 2nd in Whistler, British Columbia.
Normally Secretary Ross would join Treasury Secretary Mnuchin at these ministerial meetings. Every economic and finance minister is going to want to talk to the U.S. economic team about the status of the steel and aluminum tariff exemptions. [Currently extended 30 days – expiring June 1st]. However, as noted Ross is going to China instead.
This helps to understand how significant the economic aspects of the Trump Doctrine are to the geopolitical engagements with North Korea.
Chairman Xi has made a strategic decision in his adversarial approach toward President Trump. Again, listen to the briefing by Secretary Pompeo – Panda China is telling him they too want to see peace, Korean stability and denuclearization. However, Dragon China is using the panda mask, and simultaneously leveraging Chairman Kim to aid their trade objectives.
Beijing has made a fatal mistake; they have exposed too much dragon face and did not expect President Trump to call them out on it publicly.
Secretary Ross now heads to China with •Steel and Aluminum tariffs; •auto-sector 232 evaluations; •intellectual property penalties; •over $150 billion in additional trade sanctions/tariffs pending; •and financial sanctions against Chinese banks as economic arrows in his dragon slaying quiver.
Don’t doubt for a minute that based on Chairman Xi’s maneuver with Chairman Kim, Wolverine Ross is not about to fire one -or several- of those arrows directly into the heart of Beijing.
Chairman Xi made a strategic mistake. Xi genuinely has no idea the level of hurt President Trump is looking for an excuse to deliver. Things are fixing to get ‘Old-School’.
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. Everybody has a plan until they get hit. Then, like a rat, they stop in fear and freeze.”…
The MSM is insufferable in their intentional disconnect of the dynamic behind the North Korean denuclearization talks. It was Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping who brought the DPRK to the table; and it was Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping who pushed North Korea away from the table in their manipulative efforts to extract trade concessions. Every other review of the geopolitical gamesmanship is chaff and countermeasures.
U.S. President Trump is holding massive steel and aluminum tariffs as an economic sword of Damocles over the head of Beijing during ongoing trade negotiations. Chairman Xi sought to increase his own leverage by pulling North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong-un away from bilateral peace and denuclearization talks. However, POTUS Trump responded to the Beijing power-play by announcing a Section 232 trade review over the entire auto-industry; and then bolstered his counter-move by cancelling talks with Kim Jong-un.
Red Dragon didn’t expect President Trump to respond so effectively to the customary schemes notoriously famous in any Chinese negotiation encounter. I really believe Chairman Xi underestimates how adept POTUS Trump is at cutting through the obfuscation and obtuse moves.
President Trump simply doesn’t operate in the land of traditional diplomatic discomfort… he doesn’t have any inclination to play these insufferable games.
Within minutes of President Trump withdrawing from the June 12th summit, Beijing realized all of their trade leverage was just wiped out. Playing deceptive panda isn’t going to work this time.
(Via AP) – North Korea says it is still willing to sit down for talks with the United States “at any time, at any format” after President Donald Trump abruptly canceled his planned summit with Kim Jong Un.
Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan issued a statement Friday saying North Korea is “willing to give the U.S. time and opportunities” to reconsider talks.
Kim says North Korea’s “objective and resolve to do our best for the sake of peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and all humankind remain unchanged.”
Kim is calling Trump’s decision “unexpected” and “very regrettable,” and says the cancellation of the talks shows “how grave the status of historically deep-rooted hostile North Korea-U.S. relations is and how urgently a summit should be realized to improve ties.” (link)
South Korean Prime Minister Moon Jae-in is the Asian version of Barack Obama, and much like North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un essentially irrelevant in this geopolitical confrontation. Take a seat, or make a sandwich…. it matters not.
This is a battle, a massive economic battle, between U.S. President Trump and Chinese Chairman Xi. Period.
Whenever this geopolitical economic trade confrontation is resolved; that’s when Chairman Xi will instruct Chairman Kim to take the knee. Not a moment before.
Beijing thinks the wounded panda performance will play well amid the mindset behind the United Nations and the European union.
China counts on the traditional appeasement mindset of those who dislike confrontation.
However, they underestimate the willingness of President Trump to be the guy willing to punch you in the face. Trump simply doesn’t care about the external opinions of the audience – POTUS knows he’s fighting the Dragon behind the Panda mask; even if the witnessing audience is unwilling to accept it.
That’s the paradigm shift Beijing is attempting to navigate; while it simultaneously plays to an internal and external audience.
President Trump has waited three decades for the opportunity to step into the arena and take this righteous battle to America’s primary economic adversary and geopolitical threat. President Trump ain’t going to suddenly develop a propensity toward Marquess of Queensbury rules. He’s a Queens scrapper at heart. An uncouth predator willing to put a roll of quarters inside his Corinthian leather glove if that’s what it takes to smash the mouth of his opposition.
There is one objective in this dynamic, to win.
Though thankfully the the times are few, even in the short history of our Republic there have been times when survival of the U.S. required brutal men to stand the wall. President Trump is such a man; right now is such a time.
Vulgarian Trump will not back down from his position; the U.S. holds all of the leverage and the issue must be addressed. President Trump has waited three decades for this moment. This President and his team are entirely prepared for this.
We are finally confronting the geopolitical Red Dragon, China!
The Olive branch and arrows denote the power of peace and war. The symbol in any figure’s right hand has more significance than one in its left hand. Also important is the direction faced by the symbols central figure. The emphasis on the eagles stare signifies the preferred disposition. An eagle holding an arrow also symbolizes the war for freedom, and its use is commonly referred to the liberation fight of righteous people from abusive influence. The eagle on the original seal created for the Office of the President showed the gaze upon the arrows.
The Eagle and the Arrow – An Aesop’s Fable
An Eagle was soaring through the air. Suddenly it heard the whizz of an Arrow, and felt the dart pierce its breast. Slowly it fluttered down to earth. Its lifeblood pouring out. Looking at the Arrow with which it had been shot, the Eagle realized that the deadly shaft had been feathered with one of its own plumes.
Moral: We often give our enemies the means for our own destruction.
Joined by Sylvester Stallone, current and past boxing champions, earlier today President Donald Trump posthumously pardoned boxer Jack Johnson.
[Transcript] Oval Office – 12:55 P.M. EDT – THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. This was set up quite a long time ago. And while this is a very interesting day we have going, this was very important to Sylvester Stallone — my friend for a long time, Sly — and the whole group.
We have incredible people here. We have the current heavyweight champion of the world, Deontay Wilder. He’s 40 and 0. This gentleman right here. He’s 40 and 0, with 39 knockouts.
And we have Lennox Lewis, who, as you know, is one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time. Unbelievable heart, and, in all fairness, unbelievable talent. He was a talented, talented fighter. A great and talented fighter.
LEWIS: Thank you. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. And, Deontay, thank you.
WILDER: Yes, sir. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: So, Lennox, if I really went and started working out, could I take Deontay in a fight? (Laughter.) Please tell me. This is 40 and 0, 39 knockouts. Could I take him in a fight if I really went to work?
LEWIS: You’d have to get past those long arms.
THE PRESIDENT: I get it. They’re long arms.
LEWIS: Yeah, they’re long arms.
THE PRESIDENT: And we also have Linda Bell Haywood, the maternal great-great niece of Jack Johnson. Now, we all sort of have heard of Jack Johnson — had a very tough life, and an interesting life. One of the greatest fighters — Lennox was just telling me — one of the greatest fighters ever of the early 1900s.
Today, as President, I’ve issued an executive grant of clemency, a full pardon, posthumously, to John Arthur “Jack” Johnson — he was known as “Jack Johnson” — the first African American heavyweight champion of the world. A truly great fighter. Had a tough life.
They say he violated the Mann Act, and he had a conviction that occurred during a period of tremendous racial tension in the United States, more than a century ago. Johnson served 10 months in federal prison for what many view as a racially motivated injustice. He was treated very rough, very tough.
Born in 1878, in Galveston, Texas, to former slaves, Johnson overcame difficult circumstances to reach the heights of boxing. One of the greatest that ever lived. And both Deontay and Lennox were telling me they studied those tapes. I don’t know, I think you would have been okay. I don’t know. I think Lennox would have been okay, too.
But truly one of the greatest that ever lived. And he overcame these difficult circumstances to reach the heights of boxing in the boxing world, and inspired generations with his tenacity and a very independent spirit.
Congress has supported numerous resolutions calling for Johnson’s pardon. Went through Congress numerous times. No President ever signed it, surprisingly. They thought it was going to be signed in the last administration and that didn’t happen. So that was very disappointing for a lot of people.
These resolutions enjoyed widespread bipartisan support, including from the Congressional Black Caucus. The Black Caucus supported it very, very powerfully, very strongly, but they couldn’t get the President to sign it. One of these resolutions passed Congress as recently as 2015.
Jack Johnson was the first black heavyweight champion. And he was the heavyweight champion for many years. He was pretty much unbeatable.
In light of these facts, and in recognition of his historical athletic achievements and the contributions to society — he really represented something that was both very beautiful and very terrible at the same time — I believe that Jack Johnson is a very worthy person to receive a full pardon and, in this case, a posthumous pardon.
So I am taking this very righteous step, I believe, to correct a wrong that occurred in our history, and to honor a truly legendary boxing champion, legendary athlete, and a person that, when people got to know him, they really liked him and they really thought he was treated unfairly as a human being and unfairly as a champion.
So I’m going to be signing that. Don, if you bring that up. And then if you’d like to ask a couple of questions to the folks, I think that Mauricio Sulaiman — we have José Sulaiman, a name I’ve heard probably more than I’ve heard any boxer’s name. He’s a big power in the world of boxing, and somehow your name is mentioned at every major match, and Mauricio Sulaiman. And I think, in this case, Mauricio is going to say a few words. But let me sign this first so we get it done.
And congratulations, because I know you all fought very hard to have this taken care of. I know Lennox, and Sly, and my friend, Keith — where’s Keith? And my friend, Keith, who is a very successful guy. And the champ. You all fought very, very hard to get this done. So it’s my honor to do it. It’s about time.
(The presidential pardon is signed.)
How’s that for an autograph? Okay
HAYWOOD: That is fabulous, sir. Thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: That is my great honor. And I think what we’ll do is we’ll do that to you —
MS HAYWOOD: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: — and we have pens for everybody, we’re going to give you. Okay?
Mauricio, do you want to say something about the champ?
SALDIVAR: Mr. President, on behalf of the world of boxing, I would like to praise, congratulate, and thank you for taking this gigantic step for human equality and inclusion. Jack Johnson was the inspiration of many, including Muhammad Ali. This is a great day for the sport, a great day for humanity. And I’m just very proud to be here with the best ambassador boxing has ever had, Sylvester Stallone.
THE PRESIDENT: I agree with that.
SALDIVAR: “Rocky” has motivated so many generations. Lennox Lewis, one of the greatest champions in the history of boxing. And our current king, Deontay Wilder. It is just an unbelievable day for us. And all I can say, just the way you promoted our sport in the ’90s, you’re doing so many things now for the sport of boxing, which is unbelievable, and we cannot thank you enough.
THE PRESIDENT: And our country is doing great. It’s nice to see, but we are really doing great.
Lennox Lewis, one of the great champions of all time, in my opinion. I know them all, or at least I certainly know of them all, but I know a lot of them. But Lennox is one of the great champions. Tremendous physical talent, but he also had a thing called heart. And Lennox, I guess you saw a lot of talented guys —
THE PRESIDENT: — and you were looking down at them at the end of a couple of rounds. Right? (Laughter.)
But Lennox had tremendous heart and has tremendous heart. Would you like to say something about Jack Johnson?
LEWIS: Yeah, you know, Jack Johnson is a great inspiration to me, especially throughout my whole career. And I was always wondering how come he didn’t get a lot of press and what the situation was with him. But I’m very happy that I was here this historic day for Mr. Johnson and his family. And I think it’s going to weigh a heavy weight around the world that this actually happened, and everybody will thank you, and I’ll thank you as well.
THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s great when a great champion, who, in theory, doesn’t have to worry about somebody from the early part of the century — I think it’s great when a great champion comes to honor and even press that another great champion be honored. I think that’s a great thing.
LEWIS: Yes, thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: I think that’s a great thing.
Now, you know, everybody knows Sly and what a job he’s done. One of — I tell you what, I love his movies. And I don’t care if it’s “Rambo” or “Rocky,” I still don’t know which I like better. Right? (Laughter.) But Sly is a special guy, and he’s more shy than you would think. So I won’t even tell him, but if you want to say a word, you can, Sly.
STALLONE: Well, no pressure here, right? (Laughter.)
I want to thank you, Mr. President. It’s incredible that you’ve done this because — it’s one thing, I’ve been so blessed with the “Rocky” situation and playing that character. And actually, when I was writing it, I’m thinking about inspirations for this Apollo Creed, and that was Jack Johnson — this bigger than life, incredible character, and who is, you know, treated so unfairly — his prime was taken away — but somehow he still managed to persevere and kept a smile on his face, and he’s truly an inspirational character.
So this has been a long time coming. Of course, Linda, thank you very much. You’re so amazing. Probably the — I don’t know how many blood relatives are left, but you’re, like, the one that really, really fought for him, and I appreciate that.
HAYWOOD: Yes. Yes, I have.
STALLONE: So it’s an honor to take a fictional character like Rocky, and do something in the world of reality. And thank you for making that happen. And keep punching, Jack. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: And, you know, the beautiful thing about Sly — and I’ve known him for so long, such a great guy — he didn’t want to have any press. He didn’t want anything. He just wanted Jack Johnson to be recognized. He really said he didn’t want any press. I said, “Do you want to get the press?” He said, “No, no, no.” And he said it even before he came down. He did not want any press. And we just said, “Hey, let’s do it.” And I will tell you —
STALLONE: I have stage fright. Can you believe it? (Laughter.) After all these years, I just discovered it.
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think — hey, I don’t think you have any fright, I’ll tell you what.
STALLONE: I do. I do. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: But you are a really great guy, in so many ways. Long beyond sport and boxing, you are a great guy, and you’ve been a great friend.
STALLONE: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Linda, would you like to say something on behalf of Jack?
HAYWOOD: Yes. This has been a long time coming. And I am really overwhelmed because, for so long, my family was deeply ashamed that my uncle went to prison because of how he was treated, and they never really spoke of him. And I’ve said many times, I did not realize and know he was my uncle until I was 12 years old because of the shame that the family carried, and most of them took it to their graves.
By this pardon being issued, that would help to rewrite history, and erase the shame and the humiliation that my family felt for my uncle, a great hero, being in prison unjustly. And so many people have come along with me on this journey. So many people, I cannot really thank them all.
The most important person that decided to do this is sitting here to my left: President Trump. And I thank him. I thank Mauricio Sulaiman. I thank Miguel Torrucogarza, who took a lot of effort to find me. And Mr. Sylvester Stallone, who boldly put it in his ear. And when he tweeted, my entire life changed. (Laughter.) People wouldn’t leave me alone. Now, it’s going to be even more insane, but I’m fine with that. But I appreciate you rewriting history.
And also, let me just thank Senator John McCain for all of his efforts, and Congressman Peter King. And I’ve spoken with Samuel Collins of Hitchcock, Texas, and Reverend Jesse Jackson. So many people have helped me. And my family, now, can go forward knowing that the shame and the pain has been erased, and history will be rewritten. And I sincerely thank you, sir. And you and everybody that brought me here. I am the spokesperson for my family. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Beautiful. Thank you, Linda. Beautiful.
Champ, would you like to say — the current heavyweight champion of the world — would you like to say a few words about Jack Johnson.
WILDER: Yes, I would. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. The Jack Johnson pardon is something that should have never happened. You know, I’m here to support the pardon and his family. You know, this is an event that’s been long overdue, and it’s amazing to see a wrong corrected. And thanks — all thanks to Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, champ.
WILDER: Yes, sir. Thank you so much.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. And keep knocking (inaudible). (Applause.) Thank you.
And they were just nice enough to present me with this. That’s a beautiful thing, but I think now the White House staff take it, and they put it away. I’m not allowed to receive. Can you believe it? So they put it away —
STALLONE: Oh no, they expect you to start training immediately. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: But we’ll put it — yeah, we’ll start training.
STALLONE: Getting ready for a rematch.
THE PRESIDENT: We’ll start training. (Laughter.)
Well, on behalf of the White House, on behalf of the presidency, on behalf of this country — our country is a great country, and we have done something today that was very important because we righted a wrong. It was a wrong, and a lot of people knew it. I knew it. Without being an expert on the subject, I knew it for a long time. Jack Johnson was not treated fairly. And we have corrected that, and I’m very honored to have done it, Linda.
HAYWOOD: Thank you. Thank you so much.
STALLONE: Yeah, thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: And thank you all very much. Thank you, Sly. (Applause.) Thank you all. Thank you all very much. (Applause.) Thank you all very much. Thank you.
Earlier today President Trump presented the Medal of Honor to Master Chief Britt Slabinski, U.S. Navy.
[Transcript] 2:38 P.M. EDT – THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Chaplain. That’s beautiful. And thank you to Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan. Thank you, Patrick. Undersecretary of the Navy Thomas Modly — thank you. Thank you, Thomas. VA Secretary nominee — will do a fantastic job for us — Robert Wilkie. And Congressmen Scott Taylor and Brian Mast. Thank you, fellas, very much. Thank you.
Members of the Armed Forces and distinguished guests, please sit down. That actually worked out very nicely. (Laughter.) And join me in officially welcoming Master Chief Britt Slabinski to the White House. A special man. A truly brave person.
Today, we pay tribute to Britt’s heroic service, and we proudly present him with our nation’s highest military honor — and I would go so far to say our nation’s highest honor.
Joining Britt today is his son Bryce — Bryce, thank you very much — a rising senior at a wonderful school known to the world as Ohio State. Great place. That’s a great school. Along with Britt’s sisters, Brenda and Teka, and Brenda’s husband, Tom. Thank you very much for being here. Here as well are Britt’s significant other, Christina, and her two children John and Meghan, who we just met in the Oval Office. That’s a special place, too. Thank you all for joining us for this really special day and special ceremony. Thank you very much.
Finally, we’re honored to be joined by several previous Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. Would you please stand. Would you please stand. Thank you, fellas. (Applause.) Very, very special people. Your names and your immortal acts of valor are forever engraved in the memory of our nation. Our nation will always be grateful to you, and you know that.
Today, we induct a new name into the world’s most exclusive gathering of heroes. And that’s exactly what it is. Britt was raised in Northampton, Massachusetts. He became an Eagle Scout by the age of 14. His father was a veteran, who served as a frogman in the underwater demolitions group of the U.S. Navy. Those are tough people. While Britt was in junior high, his dad brought him to their reunion. Britt was inspired by their bond of friendship, their stories of service, and their boundless love of country.
As soon as he graduated from high school in 1988, Britt enlisted in the Navy to become a SEAL. That means he is a physically very strong person, and that also means he is a mentally very strong person. That’s tough.
Throughout the grueling months of training, Britt proved himself every single step of the way. In 1990, he graduated the legendary BUDS training course and he earned that special badge worn only by the bravest few: the SEAL Trident.
In 2002, Britt was called to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. In the late evening hours of March 3rd that year, he led an elite team on a combat mission to establish a secure position on the peak of a 10,000-foot mountain known as Takur Gahr.
Britt and his teammates were preparing to exit the helicopter onto the mountain when their aircraft was struck by a machine gun and machine gun fire like they’ve never seen before, and a rocket-propelled grenade from al Qaeda terrorists down below. Not a good feeling. As the helicopter lurched away from the assault, Petty Officer First Class Neil Roberts was flung out of the aircraft — tremendous, tremendous, horrible thing to witness — and onto the side of the mountain before the helicopter crashed into the valley below.
After surviving, barely, the violent crash, Britt and his team were retrieved by a second helicopter; also, by the way, piloted by very brave people. At this point, Britt received information suggesting their comrade, Neil Roberts, the man thrown out of the helicopter, was probably still alive. The team faced a choice: to wait for reinforcements and pretty much safety, or to return immediately to the enemy stronghold in the hope of saving Neil’s life.
They would be outmanned, outgunned, and fighting uphill on a steep, icy mountain. And every solider knows you don’t want to fight uphill. They learned that at Gettysburg — you don’t fight uphill. But they would face freezing temperatures, and bitter winds, at the highest altitude of battle in the history of the American military. This was the highest point where we ever fought. The odds were not good. They were not in their favor.
But Britt and his team didn’t even hesitate for a moment. They made their decision. For them it was an easy one. They went back to that mountain.
When their helicopter reached the mountain peak, they jumped out into a furious onslaught of machine gunfire like none of them had ever seen before.
Britt and his teammate Sergeant John Chapman charged uphill toward the enemy, where John was shot after clearing a bunker.
Britt continued to engage the enemy, repeatedly exposing himself to horrendous fire. Two of his other teammates, Stephen “Turbo” Toboz and Brett Morganti, both suffered very, very serious leg injuries.
Britt helped them to safety and called in airstrikes as continuous fire drove them ever-further down the face of the mountain — got worse and worse, more and more dangerous. He kept going.
In a treacherous descent, Britt and his men carried Turbo through the snow. At one point, they fashioned a makeshift harness out of their gun straps to hoist Turbo down a 13-foot cliff, in itself treacherous, because if you miss that little area, they go down the mountain. No stopping them.
When they could go no further, Britt tended to the wounded and coordinated their escape until his team was finally evacuated from enemy territory.
Seven of the brave men who fought with Britt are here with us today, and maybe they’ll stand up as I call their name. Petty Officer Second Class Brett Morganti. Pretty dangerous place, huh? Way to go, Brett. Chief Warrant Officer Kyle Soderberg. Thank you, Kyle. Petty Officer Second Class Stephen Toboz. Thanks, Stephen. Chief Warrant Officer Al Mack. Thank you. Sergeant Christopher Cunningham. Master Sergeant Eric Stebner — a Master Chief Petty Officer still on active duty is quietly not with us today.
I just want to thank you all. Unbelievable acts of bravery. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you, folks. Thank you very much. Incredible.
Today, we also remember the brave soldiers who gave their lives on that mountain: Technical Sergeant John Chapman, Corporal Matthew Commons, Specialist Marc Anderson, Sergeant Bradley Crose, Senior Airman Jason Cunningham, Technical Sergeant Philip Svitak, and of course, Petty Officer First Class Neil Roberts — who met a horrible death — for whom these events are now known — it’s called the Battle of Robert’s Ridge. Incredible event.
To the Gold Star family members of those heroes who are here today, please stand up. Please, stand up. (Applause.) Please. It’s an honor to have you accept our nation’s profound sorrow and a deep love and everlasting gratitude. These were incredible, incredible men, and you can be proud that they were in your family. And they are looking down right now, and they are very, very proud of you. Thank you very much. Thank you for being here. Thank you.
To Britt, and to all of the men of Robert’s Ridge: You waged a fierce fight against the enemies. And these really have become the enemies of America and the enemies of all civilization. Through your actions, you demonstrated that there is no love more pure, and no courage more great, than the love and courage that burns in the hearts of American patriots.
We are free because warriors like you are willing to give their sweat, their blood, and, if have to, their lives for our great nation.
Britt, you went on to serve many more years in the U.S. Navy before finally retiring in 2014. Today, he continues his life of serving by volunteering with the Navy SEAL Foundation, and on behalf of Gold Star families. Special, special, incredible families. And as one of his fellow service members testifies, he is an amazing father to Bryce, who, like his dad, is now an Eagle Scout.
Britt wants the country to know that for him, the recognition he is about to receive is an honor that falls on the whole team — he wants you folks to know that — on the whole team, on every American warrior who fought the forces of terror on that snowy Afghan ridge. Each of them has entered the eternal chronicle of American valor and American bravery.
Britt, we salute you, we thank you. We thank God for making you a United States SEAL. We love our Navy SEALs. They’ve very special, very incredible people. It’s now my tremendous privilege to present to you the Congressional Medal of Honor.
And I’d like the military aide to come forward and please read the citation. Thank you.
MILITARY AIDE: The President of the United States, in the name of the Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Sea, Air, and Land, Britt K. Slabinski, United States Navy, for service as set forth in the following: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while assigned to a joint task force in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In the early morning of March 4, 2002, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Slabinski led a reconnaissance team to its assigned area atop a 10,000-foot, snow-covered mountain. Their insertion helicopter was suddenly riddled with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire from previously undetected enemy positions. The crippled helicopter lurched violently and ejected one teammate onto the mountain before the pilots were forced to crash land in the valley far below.
Senior Chief Slabinski boldly rallied his five remaining team members, and marshaled supporting assets for an assault to rescue their stranded teammate. During reinsertion, the team came under fire from three directions, and one teammate started moving uphill toward an enemy strongpoint. Without regard for his own safety, Senior Chief Slabinski charged directly toward enemy fire to join his teammate. Together, they fearlessly assaulted and cleared the first bunker they encountered.
The enemy then unleashed a hail of machinegun fire from a second hardened position only 20 meters away. Senior Chief Slabinski repeatedly exposed himself to deadly fire to personally engage the second enemy bunker and orient his team’s fires in the furious, close-quarters firefight. Proximity made air support impossible. And after several teammates became casualties, the situation became untenable. Senior Chief Slabinski maneuvered his team to a more defensible position, directed airstrikes in very close proximity to his team’s position, and requested reinforcements.
As daylight approached, accurate enemy mortar fire forced the team further down the sheer mountainside. Senior Chief Slabinski carried a seriously wounded teammate through deep snow, and led a difficult trek across precipitous terrain while calling in fire on the enemy, which was engaging the team from the surrounding ridges.
Throughout the next 14 hours, Senior Chief Slabinski stabilized casualties and continued the fight against the enemy until the hill was secured and his team was extracted. By his undaunted courage, bold initiative, leadership, and devotion to duty, Senior Chief Slabinski reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
(The Medal of Honor is presented.) (Applause.)
(A prayer is given.)
President Trump has made the decision to withdraw from the scheduled June 12th summit with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un. [Copy of letter below]
Ultimately the decision to withdraw is an outcome of changes in posture initiated strategically by China and Chairman Xi Jinping. China hoping to leverage a U.S. trade outcome by playing the strings on DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-un.
The timing of the meetings between China and DPRK, mirrors the changes in posture by the DPRK and reflects a transparency. Communist Beijing is engaging with the Trump administration in traditional dragon-mode their zero-sum outlook. In response, President Trump drops the Panda approach and confronts the manipulation directly.
Likely President Trump will immediately increase sanction enforcement and reposition again for a pending naval blockade.
Big picture move by President Trump today that has massive, and generally misinterpreted, ramifications for any trade deal with China, EU and most importantly NAFTA.
China is using U.S. nuclear negotiations with North Korea as leverage for more beneficial trade outcomes; the communist regime is in full manipulative dragon-mode. President Trump can see through the economic play and is dropping the Panda outreach. Eagle-one now hits back at Chairman Xi for deploying such dangerous tactics.
If you have been following trade nuance, the Automobile Sector is one of the biggest points of contention within varying trade negotiations. In the NAFTA discussion the auto-sector, via rules of origin, runs at the heart of NAFTA’s fatal flaw.
The fatal flaw is the use of Asian, mostly Chinese, auto components within auto manufacturing. Mexico and Canada arguing to allow more Chinese auto parts in North American manufacturing; and President Trump demanding more North American parts for North American auto manufacturing.
Many U.S. Auto manufacturers have moved to Mexico to exploit the NAFTA loophole (fatal flaw). Vehicles assembled in Mexico use cheaper Chinese parts and are shipped into the U.S. without any tariff under NAFTA rules.
It didn’t take long before EU auto-manufacturers, mostly German, to begin taking the same approach. Albeit to a lesser extent, German auto companies also invested in building vehicles in Mexico/Canada for tariff-free transfer into the U.S. This works out great for Canada and Mexico auto-workers, but not for the U.S.
In essence, the auto-sector is representative of much of the manufacturing exploitation by multinational corporations beyond vehicle production. China has supported this approach because they produce the components for multiple sectors (furniture, appliances etc).
Additionally, during President Obama’s administration General Motors also spent a great deal of money in China, and many of the GM brands are built exclusively -and entirely- in China.
The auto-sector is much more than just complete assembled vehicles. In many ways the core trade issues of part origination, manufacturing and assembly of multiple durable goods sectors are represented within the auto industry process.
Current trade negotiations with the EU, China and NAFTA have reached a loggerhead status around these core issues. Multinational ‘Wall Street’ corporations are unwilling to lose their prior multi-billion investments and take a new ‘America-First’ approach. POTUS Trump is rightly angered by many of them because he specifically offset any investment losses with a new U.S. corporate tax structure.
All of that said, the issues with the auto-sector have now rippled out into other trade sectors with discussions coming to a standstill until the auto issues are resolved.
Enter President Trump with the plan.
Knowing all of the outlier, generally lesser, trade sectors are being impacted over the Chinese auto component issue, President Trump cuts the Gordian Knot and tells Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to consider a Section 232 review of the auto industry as it pertains to imports.
Statement from the President on Potential National Security Investigation into Automobile Imports
Today, I met with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to discuss the current state of our automobile industry. I instructed Secretary Ross to consider initiating a Section 232 investigation into imports of automobiles, including trucks, and automotive parts to determine their effects on Americas national security. Core industries such as automobiles and automotive parts are critical to our strength as a Nation. (link)
Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (19 U.S.C. §1862) authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to conduct comprehensive investigations to determine the effects of imports of any article on the national security of the United States. As often stated by President Trump, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross: “economic security is national security.”
This is an interesting development. Until now, for some mysterious reason, no-one in congress has ever asked for the redactions of the Peter Strzok and Lisa Page text messages to be removed. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley is the first politician to ask for all of the text messages without redactions.
In a letter today to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (full pdf below), Chairman Grassley cites examples of unnecessary redactions that are in place simply to avoid the embarrassment upon the DOJ and FBI. Accordingly this is not an acceptable reason for hiding information from congress and the American people.
Based on the details within the approximately 400 pages of text messages, there is a tremendous amount of evidence that points directly to the motives and intents of the DOJ and FBI group who were conducting the operation to exonerate Hillary Clinton; and the group who was working on the surveillance operation against the Trump campaign.
Here’s the full letter from Grassley:
The first batch of text messages, approximately 350 pages, were received by the Office of Inspector General on July 20th, 2017. Those initial messages were from Lisa Page (FBI special counsel to Andrew McCabe). Those redacted messages were provided to congress in mid-December after the original Page-Strzok text messaging story broke on December 2nd, 2017. [First Batch HERE] [More Here]
The second -smaller- batch of text messages, approx 50 pages, were recovered by the OIG sometime later. The second batch filled in a missing timeline from December 2016 to May 2017, and are from the Peter Strzok side of the discussion. [Second Batch Here]
It could be surmised with the IG report on the Clinton investigation completed, the redactions toward that Clinton aspect of the corrupt FBI and DOJ endeavor are only purposeful for protecting criminal evidence.
Prior to departing for New York to attend an immigration roundtable President Trump held an impromptu press conference on the South Lawn. The primary topic was the congressional leadership meeting tomorrow with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, FBI Director Christopher Wray and DOJ Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Edward O’Callaghan (formerly from DOJ-NSD).
During the impromptu remarks the term “spygate” was coined.