New Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that Democrats have so far failed to seal the deal on impeachment
Such narrow pluralities are unlikely to convince 20 Senate Republicans — the number required for a two-thirds majority — to break ranks and vote to remove a president of their own party.The poll suggests several reasons why Democrats have not been able to seal the deal with the broader public. The first is polarization. Since the last Yahoo News/YouGov poll, there has been a net swing of 7 percentage points in favor of impeachment among Democrats; among Republicans, there has been a net swing of 11 points in the opposite direction. The more partisans hear about Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine, the more they retreat into their respective corners. The numbers among Independents, meanwhile, have not shifted since last month.The second reason Democrats have yet to persuade the public at large is that many Americans are still unsure which details to believe. Though a majority of registered voters (51 percent) continue to think that Trump abused his power as president — statistically unchanged from the previous Yahoo News/YouGov poll — most Americans have murkier views of exactly how he abused it. Asked, for instance, whether Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine until the government there agreed to conduct the investigations he wanted, the number of registered voters who said yes has actually fallen from 51 percent to 47 percent since the previous Yahoo New/YouGov poll. And when respondents were asked directly whether Trump called for a “quid pro quo” from Ukraine, there was even less clarity: overall, 39 percent said yes, 28 percent said no and 33 percent said they weren’t sure. Among Independents, the number who said they were unsure was even higher: 44 percent, or a substantial plurality. This uncertainty about the fundamental facts of the case leads to the third and final problem for Democrats: a basic uncertainty about how wrong Trump’s behavior actually was. Overall, the percentage of Americans who agree that Trump’s decision to withhold aid from Ukraine undermined U.S. national security (41 percent) is far less than the combined percentage of those who disagree (33 percent) and those who are not sure (26 percent). Asked the same question, Independents were even less likely to agree (34 percent) and even more likely to say they’re not sure (37 percent).Ultimately, the public appears to be open to the idea that Trump’s behavior toward Ukraine was no different from how previous presidents have conducted foreign policy: In fact, a full 40 percent of registered voters agreed with that statement, only slightly less than the 43 percent who disagreed. Independents were evenly divided on the question (31 percent agree to 33 percent disagree), with 36 percent saying they are not sure. It’s challenging to build momentum for impeachment when so many people assume Trump’s behavior is normal for a president.So while Democrats have apparently failed to create the political conditions necessary for a successful removal vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, the poll did reveal one possible upside for the party. Asked how the impeachment inquiry has affected their thinking about the 2020 election, only 1 percent of 2016 Hillary Clinton voters said it has made them more likely to vote for Trump, while five times as many 2016 Trump voters said it has made them less likely to vote for the president a second time.In other words, Trump’s presidency could end a little more than a year from now regardless of what happens in the Senate. If the revelations around the impeachment inquiry inspire 5 percent of his voters to abandon him next November, Trump would have a very hard time winning a second term.
An emissary for two wealthy Arab princes boasted to unnamed officials of a Middle Eastern government about his direct access to Hillary and Bill Clinton while funneling more than $3.5 million in illegal campaign contributions to the former secretary of state’s 2016 presidential campaign and Democratic fundraising committees, according to a federal indictment announced by the Justice Department this week.
“Wonderful meeting with Big Lady. … Can’t wait to tell you all about it,” George Nader allegedly wrote to an official of one of the foreign governments he advises in the Middle East after attending a political fundraiser with Hillary Clinton on April 16, 2016. Nader, a lobbyist, convicted sex offender and key cooperating witness in the Robert Mueller investigation, was brought to the Clinton fundraiser as the guest of Ahmad Khawaja, the founder and CEO of Allied Wallet, a Los Angeles payment-processing company.
Nader would soon be directing millions to Khawaja’s accounts in order to gain entry to similar events without disclosing his involvement or the source of the funds, according to the indictment’s charges.
Even while they illegally funneled cash to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Nader talked about the need to also cultivate then-candidate Donald Trump, reporting to the unnamed foreign official that he and his co-conspirators were developing a “constructive relationship with both camps,” according to the indictment. After the election, the indictment alleges, Allied Wallet illegally contributed $1 million to the Trump inauguration for VIP tickets, with Khawaja taking Nader and Rudy Dekermenjian, an attorney for Allied Wallet also charged in the indictment, as his guests.
The detailed 64-page indictment comes amid an intense controversy over foreign influence in U.S. elections — a central theme in the debate over the impeachment inquiry into the president. While the charges allege that Nader provided large sums of cash that were unlawfully reported as coming from Khawaja, his wife and other so-called straw donors, prosecutors did not specifically allege that the funds came from overseas. But they show how Nader regularly reported via WhatsApp messages to one of his foreign clients on his political fundraising efforts amid tantalizing coded references.
Asked whether they intend to return the allegedly unlawful contributions, representatives of the Clinton campaign, the DNC and Priorities USA — one of the Democratic fundraising committees involved — did not respond to a request for comment.
Nader is in federal custody after his arrest earlier this year on other charges; his lawyer did not respond to a request for comment. Khawaja’s whereabouts are unknown.
Nader’s attendance at donor events with Hillary Clinton, her husband and people in her orbit allegedly continued through the remainder of the campaign season. The approach to Hillary Clinton was facilitated by Khawaja’s illegal contributions and reported regularly via WhatsApp by Nader to his contacts in the unnamed Middle Eastern country, which the indictment refers to as “Foreign Country A.”
At one point in mid-July, Nader sent a government official of Foreign Country A a photo of himself with Bill Clinton taken in Khawaja’s house.
After Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the Nov. 8 election, Nader and Khawaja’s network of straw donors allegedly shifted its focus, illegally contributing $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee, according to the indictment. Khawaja obtained tickets to Trump’s inauguration in return for the contribution, and brought Nader and another alleged co-conspirator as his guests.
The 53-count indictment, which charges Nader, Khawaja and six others with conspiring to violate federal election laws, does not identify the foreign officials Nader was reporting to or their nationality, noting only that Nader is “a self-described advisor to certain foreign governments in the Middle East, including Foreign Country A.”
Nader is described by the Mueller report as a “senior advisor” to Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates. Nader has also reportedly held himself out as an intermediary for Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who shares a close relationship with bin Zayed.
The detailed allegations, describing an effort to get close to Clinton, apparently with the full knowledge of one of his foreign sponsors, complicate Nader’s role in the 2016 campaign and its aftermath. Mueller’s report and numerous news accounts had previously shown Nader to be deeply entrenched in Trump’s world. Among other things, Nader arranged and attended a secret meeting on the Seychelles islands between Kirill Dimitriev, a Russian investor closely linked to the Kremlin, and Erik Prince, a private security magnate and a trusted associate of the incoming administration, shortly before Trump’s inauguration.
The Mueller report contained hints there was more to the story, noting that “Nader developed contacts with both U.S. presidential campaigns during the 2016 election, and kept Dimitriev abreast of his efforts to do so.”
The dual nature of Nader’s work was not a secret from his foreign clients, however. He allegedly texted a Foreign Country A official on July 27, 2016, that he was “catching up with key figures in both camps and have been developing a steady, consistent and constructive relationship with both camps!”
It’s not clear the campaigns would have seen it that way if they knew the full breadth of Nader’s activities. For instance, at a meeting at Trump Tower on Aug. 3, 2016, the New York Times reported, Nader “told Donald Trump Jr. that the princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president.”
At that same time, according to the indictment, Nader was using a network of straw donors led by Khawaja to deliver millions to Clinton’s campaign and the fundraising committees bent on defeating Trump, and apparently reporting his progress at gaining Clinton’s confidence in glowing terms to a government led by one of those very princes. On Aug. 23, 2016, Nader allegedly wrote to his Foreign Country A government contact after an event with Clinton: “I just had dinner with my Big Sister and had a very very productive discussion with her.”
While Nader played this apparent double game with the major-party campaigns during the election, his alleged co-conspirators led by Khawaja did not. Only after Clinton’s electoral defeat did Khawaja and his network of donors allegedly start giving to Trump.
The indictment portrays Nader as occasionally deceitful and well aware that his conduct was risky and illegal. He shied away from attending the Democratic National Convention, in part on the advice of a Foreign Country A official, fearing he would be “too exposed” at the “big event.”
He typically wrote in what appeared to be a lightly disguised code, referring to the money he arranged for Khawaja as “goodies” or “baklava,” and the unnamed source of those funds as “the bakery.” By the same token, he referred to Clinton as the “Big Lady,” “Big Sister H” or “our sister.”
The apparent foreign principal he serves was referred to as simply “HH.” Nader allegedly strung along his alleged co-conspirator Khawaja for weeks, demanding false invoices to cover the amounts he would pay as reimbursement for illegal criminal contributions and continually claiming his reimbursements were in process or coming tomorrow.
Despite initial doubts, contemporaneous news accounts appear to confirm Clinton’s presence at many of the events Nader also attended, according to the indictment’s detailed chronology. For instance, the date of the first Clinton fundraiser he allegedly attended, April 16, coincides with the second leg of a two-stop fundraising extravaganza for the Hillary Victory Fund that was hosted by George and Amal Clooney in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Khawaja hosted a fundraiser featuring Bill Clinton on June 26, 2016, at his home in Los Angeles. Nader messaged a series of reports to Foreign Country A as he traveled to and attended the event.
Two days before the fundraiser, on Friday, June 24, Nader wrote to an official of Foreign Country A to arrange a meeting in person. Nader said he was “traveling on Sat morning to catch up with our Big Sister and her husband,” referring to the Clintons. “I am seeing him on Sunday and her in Tuesday Sir! Would love to see you tomorrow at your convenience … for your guidance, instruction and blessing!”
On Monday, June 27, another message went out to an official of Foreign Country A: “Meeting with [Bill Clinton] was superb!”
Two days after that, on June 29, Nader messaged another update to Foreign Country A: “Meeting with Big Lady went extremely well.”
Contemporaneous news accounts place both Clintons in Los Angeles on the dates in question. Bill Clinton reportedly attended a reception at the home of a Warner Bros. executive in Sherman Oaks on Sunday, June 26, and Hillary Clinton attended a fundraiser at the home of Napster and Facebook entrepreneur Sean Parker the following Tuesday, June 28.
Nader also boasted to Khawaja about how their work was being received by high-ranking officials of Foreign Country A. “I am leaving early morning back to join HH[.] Have already told him about the Wonderful Event with Our Sister and he was thrilled,” Nader allegedly wrote to Khawaja after a Las Vegas fundraiser in October.
While the indictment does not allege that the contributions Nader arranged were sourced overseas, some of his messages contain clues that may have been the case. Nader and Khawaja referred to the money as “baklava” (sometimes spelled “baklawa”), and its source was an outside third party called “the bakery.”
On Aug. 2, Nader allegedly wrote to Khawaja promising to “press the bakery” for a new infusion: “As a show of appreciation, respect and total confidence in You body, and for having set up the private event with Only you, wife, Juju and me Only, I will press the bakery to prepare me another tray of Baklawa to arrive in time for that event! […] I trust my Friend that I can arrange a bit more Baklawa.”
On Aug. 4, Nader allegedly wrote to Khawaja again, stating he had met with his foreign principal HH, and suggesting Nader would have access to “the bakery” once he returned to a foreign city: “And as soon as we get back to [a foreign city] prepare something with bakery for the upcoming event. … With pleasure and stressed important and unique role you are playing.” The name of the foreign city is redacted in the indictment the same way it appears here.
Khawaja at one point allegedly recorded a portion of his phone call with a Clinton campaign official and sent it to Nader, who then forwarded the audio file to a foreign government official.
After Trump took office, Nader reportedly used a top fundraiser for the Trump campaign, Elliott Broidy, to gain significant influence for the UAE in the White House, according to leaked emails. One of Broidy and Nader’s top agenda items was removing Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, a goal that they appeared to accomplish in March 2018.
Prince Charles Proudly Reveals How ‘My Father Prince Philip Helped Jewish Boy Targeted by Nazis’
Charles, 71, spoke at Buckingham Palace late Thursday of his pride in the Duke of Edinburgh, 98, who had been sent to a school in Germany for a short time when the Nazis were on the rise.
The royal spoke at the reception for members of the Jewish community in the U.K. about how Philip “helped an older schoolboy who had been identified as a Jew and badly mistreated by other boys. His act of compassion is a source of great pride and inspiration to me.”
Philip attended the German boarding school Schule Schloss Salem in 1933 when he was 12 years old. By that time, the Nazis were in control of German society and Philip’s contemporaries have spoken of how Hitler Youth uniforms and military drills were present at the school.
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After a semester there, he graduated from the junior school to the main Salem school. “He was, of course, too young to have much opinion about Nazi politics, but he was evidently amused by their ridiculous strutting, and we are told he laughed whenever he saw the Nazi goosestep,” writes Philip Eade in Young Prince Philip.
The headteacher at the Salem school was Kurt Hahn, a Germany Jewish man who fled to the U.K., just as Philip was heading to Germany. Hahn would go on to set up the boarding school Gordonstoun in Scotland in 1934, which Philip attended soon afterwards. He later sent his son Charles there.
Highlighting the “precious” links between the monarchy and “our Jewish community,” Charles also spoke about the better known stories of Philip’s mother Princess Alice of Greece, whose life is immortalized in the third season of Netflix’s The Crown. Princess Alice was known to have helped a Jewish family flee from Greece.
“I am immensely proud that my dear grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, is buried in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives,” Charles said. “She is counted one of the Righteous among the Nations for her actions in 1943 when, in Nazi-occupied Athens, she saved a Jewish family by taking them into her home and hiding them. My grandmother was a formidable lady.”