Does the Anti-Nepotism Statute Preclude Trump from Appointing Kushner?

The controversy over President-elect Trump’s expected appointment of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, raises serious constitutional issues regarding the separation of powers. Congress, which holds the purse strings, may have the power to withhold the salary of a relative who the president wants as an advisor. But it is doubtful whether Congress has the constitutional power to preclude the president — who heads the executive branch — from appointing whomever he chooses as a White House advisor. This is because the separation of powers limits the authority of any one branch to dictate to another branch how it shall conduct its government business. Accordingly, the Supreme Court of the United States does not feel bound by Congressional enactments regarding the recusal of judges for conflict of interest, or other rules of ethics enacted by Congress to constrain its judicial activities. The question of when one branch intrudes on another is often a matter of degree, but each branch guards its independence jealously.

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Justin Trudeau: Donald Trump Handshake Viral Photo

That’s Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, looking down contemplatively at the open right palm of President Trump during their Oval Office meeting on Monday. Trudeau appears unsure whether he wants to engage any further, specifically whether he wants to reach out in front of a horde of cameras and grab it while they go click, click, click.

It begs the question: Does Trudeau really want to shake Trump’s hand? (His fingers are intertwined like he’s thinking hard about it, like it was the biggest choice he’ll make on this trip. Had he seen Trump shake the hand of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and hesitated?) On Twitter, the answer appeared to be no.

“Justin Trudeau is all of us,” one tweet reads.

“Justin Trudeau is looking at Trump’s hand like he just read the Russian Dossier,” says another.

“And Reuters may have scored the still of the day,” reads a third.

Even I tweeted about it.

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What Obama Owes Putin—And Why Donald Trump is Left Holding the Bag

Is Donald Trump a Russian secret agent? Did he pay FSB hookers to pee on the bed the Obamas slept in at the Ritz in Moscow, overlooking the Kremlin? It’s silly season, so any drunk on a fat oppo-research expense account can write down any crazy foolishness they want and Buzzfeed will let you decide if it’s true because that, as Buzzfeed’s editor, Ben Smith, solemnly explained to The New York Times, is where American journalism is at in 2017. Duly noted, Buzzfeed. Enjoy the golden showers.

What’s being obscured by this grotesquerie is the origin and the actual substance of U.S. foreign policy toward Russia, which in turn affects the lives of hundreds of millions of people living in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, and elsewhere. Or, to put it another way: Is Donald Trump likely to continue the policies of his predecessor, which set the Middle East on fire and led to 500,000 deaths in Syria, and to Putin biting off large chunks of the sovereign nation of Ukraine? Or is he likely to reverse those policies? Or can he, even if he wanted to?

The single-mindedness with which the White House and the remnants of the Clinton campaign have pursued the idea that Donald Trump is a pawn of Vladimir Putin is not based on silly stories about peeing prostitutes or secret computer servers that connect the Trump organization to the Kremlin. Rather, it’s an attempt to manufacture more smoke to obscure the reality of Obama’s own determination to collaborate with a hostile Russian leader in Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Sure, Obama recently sent 35 Russian diplomats packing and shuttered Russian diplomatic facilities in Maryland and New York, but this was after seven years of looking the other way while Russia seized Crimea, then Donbass; waged cyberattacks on the Baltic countries; brought down a passenger jet over Ukraine; sheltered Edward Snowden; and bombed schools and hospitals in Syria. All of these actions threatened global stability and American interests, yet Obama only puffed his chest after the cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s emails—long after it mattered, and after the moving vans have already started to haul his stuff out of the White House.

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Column One: Netanyahu’s shameless opponents

Over the past week, Israel was subjected to the diplomatic equivalent of a lynch mob in Paris. It received unexpected assistance from Britain, which twice in two days departed from its traditional anti-Israel stance and blocked the Paris conference’s anti-Israel declaration from being adopted as the official position of the European Union.

Also over the past week, outgoing US President Barack Obama, outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry and outgoing UN Ambassador Samantha Power used their final appearances in office to blast Israel.

On the other hand, President-elect Donald Trump and his team played a key role in bringing about Britain’s change of heart toward Israel.

While these events have been widely covered by the foreign media, they have barely been mentioned in the Hebrew broadcast media, from which the majority of Israelis receive their news.

Instead, led by Channel 2 with its monopoly ratings share, the local media spent the past week covering almost nothing but the criminal probes being carried out against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu is the subject of two probes. The first, which police investigators dubbed Affair 1000, involves allegations that Netanyahu improperly received gifts from his friends.

That probe seems to be withering on the vine. Consequently, over the past week, most of the media’s attention has been focused on what the police call Affair 2000.

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Trump, the Pistol and the Olive Branch

With a gun on his hip, on November 13, 1974, PLO chief Yasser Arafat stood before the UN General Assembly and made the West an offer that it didn’t refuse.

At the end of a long speech in which he rewrote history to erase all connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel and criminalized the very notion of Jewish freedom, Arafat declared, “Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand. I repeat: Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”

Arafat’s offer has served since that time as the foundation of European relations with the Palestinians and the wider Islamic world. It has also been the basis of US-PLO relations for the better part of the past four decades.

His trade was simple and clear.

If you stand with the PLO in its war to annihilate Israel and deny Jewish freedom, then PLO terrorists and our Arab state supporters will leave you alone.

If you refuse to join our war against the Jewish state, we will kill you.

Today, Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, is reiterating Arafat’s offer.

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Trump at CIA: “We have to get rid of ISIS. We have no choice….This is a level of evil that we haven’t seen”

“We have to get rid of ISIS. We have no choice. Radical Islamic terrorism, and I said it yesterday, has to be eradicated, just off the face of the earth. This is evil. This is evil….This is a level of evil that we haven’t seen. And you’re going to go it and you’re going to do a phenomenal job, but we’re going to end it. It’s time. It’s time right now to end it.”

As I said when he said it yesterday, it isn’t possible to eradicate “radical Islamic terrorism” (which is actually orthodox and mainstream in Islam) as long as there are people who believe the Qur’an is the perfect and eternal word of Allah. There will always be some believers who get the idea that they can please Allah by killing and being killed for him (cf. Qur’an 9:111). However, Trump’s declaration, while hyperbolic, was a welcome indication of his apparent determination to speak honestly about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, and to combat it and roll it back.

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Why Barack Obama is the worst President in the history of the United States

Just over two hours remain in the most disastrous presidency in American history, but our long national nightmare won’t be over at noon today. That’s because Barack Hussein Obama has planted seeds that will be bearing bitter fruit for years, and probably decades, to come. Here are a few of his most ignominious accomplishments:

Removing all mention of Islam from counter-terror training, and denying that Islamic texts and teachings have any role in inciting jihad terrorists to commit acts of violence. Given Trump’s repeated upbraiding of Obama and Hillary Clinton during the campaign for their refusal even to say “radical Islam,” there is reason to be confident that Trump will once again allow our law enforcement and intelligence officials to study the motivating ideology of the jihad terrorists, which is an indispensable prerequisite to defeating them. However, large organizations such as the FBI, the CIA, the DHS and others don’t turn on a dime; Obama has made for an institutional culture of denial and political correctness that is now deeply embedded. All too many FBI agents and others who should know better think that the best thing they can do when confronted with a terror-tied mosque is conduct “outreach” and reassure the Muslims there of their good will. Investigate it? Heavens to betsy, that would be “Islamophobic.” Attempts by Trump to ensure that the enemy ideology is indeed confronted realistically will be met with fierce resistance from with the law enforcement and intelligence agencies themselves.

It is also likely that these agencies have been thoroughly infiltrated with Muslim Brotherhood operatives who won’t be so easily displaced; that infiltration had already started during the George W. Bush administration (when, for example, the Pentagon’s sole expert on Islamic law, Major Stephen Coughlin, was dismissed at the behest of a Muslim Brotherhood-linked official), but under Obama, it has galloped ahead, with any concern about it dismissed as “Islamophobia.”

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Why Donald Trump Should Focus on Africa

What’s a three-word foreign policy agenda President-elect Donald Trump can pursue that will create American jobs, reduce terrorism, challenge China and set him apart from the failings of his predecessor? Promote African development.

On the one hand, the world’s poorest continent is rife with socioeconomic problems that have paved the way for some lands to become hubs of international terrorism, posing a threat to their own populations as well as to distant countries, including the United States. Of the eighteen ISIS branches deemed fully operational by the National Counterterrorism Center, eight are in Africa. According to the latest edition of the Global Terrorism Index, the world’s deadliest terrorist group by sheer volume of lethality is not ISIS but the Nigerian Boko Haram.

These clear and present threats were built on a continent’s suffering — from example, drought in Somalia and throughout East Africa, and totalitarianism and corruption across the continent — breeding weak, failing and failed states that prove commodious to jihadist operations. Dictators in the mold of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe continue to terrorize their own populations. And the Democratic Republic of Congo risks deteriorating into civil war should the head of state, Joseph Kabila, continue on his path to authoritarian rule. In a country rich in natural resources, the population remains destitute. These diverse factors help explain why the campaign to roll back terror on the continent is inseparable from African development needs.

On the other hand, some parts of Africa are among the world’s bright spots: According to the World Bank, six of the thirteen countries with the highest compound growth annually are on the continent. Among them, Rwanda provides an example of a country that has overcome one of the continent’s bloodiest conflicts in recent memory to empower women, fight corruption and attract international investment. Similar positive trends are visible in the democracies of Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and even terror-plagued Nigeria — all of which are part of a larger pro-American bloc, stretching up to Morocco in the north, that stand with the United States in its struggle against terrorism. For Moroccan King Mohammed VI, the struggle against terrorism is inextricable from the challenge of developing the African continent. He has devised a holistic strategy to pursue both goals in tandem. And multinational bodies on the continent such as the African Union, after decades in a Cold War deep-freeze, are newly invigorated, as these like-minded African nations assert a greater leadership role within them.

One U.S. president in particular made a meaningful contribution to mitigating some of these problems: George W. Bush. He is widely viewed on the continent as a hero: His signature Africa initiative, “the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief” (PEPFAR), saved millions of lives, and also drew praise on both sides of the American partisan divide. He launched the single greatest initiative to fight malaria on the continent to date, and, as a private citizen together with his wife Laura, has since been committed to the struggle against cancer in Africa.

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How to Prevent Israel From Being Fed to the Wolves at the Upcoming Paris Conference, Just Before Trump Takes Office

On January 15, with only five days left after 2,917 days in office, President Barack Obama is planning once again to feed Israel to the international wolves. The move is intended to tie the hands of President Donald Trump and is a direct repudiation of the will of the American electorate, who rejected Obama’s calamitous foreign policy and a repeat performance by his secretary of state.

On Sunday, France is scheduled to hold an international conference to unleash an international mob on Israel. The meeting is taking place with Obama’s direct connivance. Seventy-states have been lined up to impose their preferences on the Middle East’s only democracy. Israelis are still dying in Israeli streets after 70 years of unending Arab terror – and the folks sitting in Paris munching on croissants know best how to protect Israeli national security.

The bare-faced power-grab by France and its Arab allies – with the blessing of President Obama – raises unavoidable questions: Who will attend? If they attend, how senior a representative will be sent by the main players on the Security Council: the US, Russia and the United Kingdom? Will attendees sign on to an outcome document imperiling Israel that is already circulating? Will the Middle East Quartet – composed of the US, the EU, Russia and the UN – approve of the outcome document? Will a UN Security Council subsequently approve of the outcome document before January 20?

New York Times Mourns ‘Untimely’ Death of Iranian Terrorist Kingpin

Here is a quiz: Which foreign leader did the New York Times mourn the “untimely death” of, with a staff…

The French meeting follows on President Obama’s helping to ram through a UN Security Council resolution on December 23, 2016 that was clearly intended to unleash a legal and economic pogrom against the Jewish state. It didn’t take long for Palestinian terrorists to get the message: Sidelining a negotiated solution between the parties by strong-arming an Israeli villain at the UN was a green light for the enforcers in Gaza City and Ramallah.

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