Saudi crown prince says Israelis, Palestinians both have ‘right to have their own land’

Saudi crown prince says Israelis, Palestinians both have 'right to have their own land'
Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, meets with President Trump last year in the Oval Office. (Mark Wilson / TNS)


Saudi Arabia’s young crown prince said in an interview published Monday that Israelis, alongside Palestinians, “have the right to have their own land,” seemingly opening the door to the possibility of an eventual normalization of ties with Israel.

Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne, told the Atlantic magazinethat any Mideast peace agreement would need to address the fate of Islam’s third-holiest site, which is located in Jerusalem, and ensure “the rights of the Palestinian people.” Even so, his comments appeared to mark a break with the public posture adopted by most Arab leaders.

Two Arab countries, Jordan and Egypt, have peace treaties with Israel, but most Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, do not recognize Israel. However, there have been recent signs of a warming between Israel and the conservative kingdom, whose aging monarch, King Salman, has already handed many leadership responsibilities over to the crown prince.

The Trump administration has pinned hopes on Saudi Arabia as a key interlocutor in any Mideast peace accord. Mohammed is currently on a U.S. visit that’s focused on attracting investment and presenting himself as a reformist who has pushed for social changes such as granting Saudi women the right to drive.

The young crown prince is close to President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and a bitter Saudi rivalry with Iran’s government dovetails neatly with Trump’s own hawkish views on Tehran.

Critics are mistrustful of Mohammed, however, painting a recent anti-corruption drive by the crown prince as a thinly veiled power grab meant to sideline royal rivals and force wealthy business leaders to sign over billions of dollars in assets.

In the Atlantic interview, Mohammed was asked whether he believed that the Jewish people had the right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland.

“I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land,” he replied. “But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations.”

Referring to the contested plateau in Jerusalem’s Old City revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, the crown prince said Saudi Arabia had “religious concerns about the fate of the holy mosque in Jerusalem and the rights of the Palestinian people.”

But he added, “We don’t have any objection against any other people.”

Although Trump has said he regards Mideast peace as “the ultimate deal,” the rift between Israel and the Palestinians has widened during his tenure to date. Palestinians were infuriated by Trump’s declaration that the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — seemingly dismissing a Palestinian claim to part of the city as the capital of their future state.

Saudi Arabia was among the many states across the Muslim world that denounced the Trump administration’s stance on the holy city.

Trump has been inconsistent on what had for decades been a cornerstone of U.S. policy: support for side-by-side Israeli and Palestinian states. Mohammed, in the interview, suggested that shared economic interests might be a powerful driver of normalization efforts with Israel.

“Israel is a big economy compared to their size, and it’s a growing economy,” he said. “Of course there are a lot of interests we share with Israel, and if there is peace, there would be a lot of interest between Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and countries like Egypt and Jordan.”

Saudi Arabia’s position, like most other Arab states, has long been that there can be no ties with Israel until it cedes territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war to make way for a Palestinian state.

Under the rightist government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has tightened its grip on Jewish settlements scattered across the West Bank, creating what Palestinians describe as an archipelago of territory that would be nearly impossible to stitch together into a viable state.

Under Netanyahu, however, there have been indications that Israel and Saudi Arabia were bonding over their common deep mistrust of Iran. Last month, Saudi Arabia opened its airspace to a commercial flight to Israel, a groundbreaking symbolic step that Israel greeted with near-euphoria. Reports have also surfaced of secret contacts between Israel and the Saudis, although both sides publicly maintain their distance.


Netanyahu begins visit to U.S., putting aside personal and political troubles at home

Netanyahu begins visit to U.S., putting aside personal and political troubles at home
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly Cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office in a picture dated Feb. 25, 2018. (Gali Tibbon / AFP/Getty Images)


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, landed in Washington on Sunday in the midst of a convergence of crises at home with little precedence.

Netanyahu’s government is teetering on the verge of collapse over the latest threat presented by an ultra-Orthodox party to his coalition government — a proposed law granting draft exemptions to young religious men.

“Do you think a solution will be found to save your government by the time you return?” one Israeli journalist asked Netanyahu as he prepared to embark for Washington early on Sunday.

Netanyahu’s hold on power is similarly threatened from another direction: the police.

His last working day in Jerusalem was spent responding to Israeli police interrogators who declared that both Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu are criminal suspects in an investigation of regulatory benefits in exchange for positive coverage in a news outlet owned by an Israeli telecom giant.

It was Netanyahu’s eighth interrogation, and it followed a Feb. 13 police recommendation that Netanyahu be indicted in two unrelated cases of graft.

In Washington, further strife could await him.

On Monday, Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with President Trump. The focus of their meeting is expected to be a troublesome issue dividing the closely allied leaders: Iran.

Anticipating the summit, Netanyahu said: “We will discuss Iranian aggression in our region in general, and especially with regard to the Iranian nuclear program.” But the real strain involves Iran’s expanding, conventional military presence in Syria, Israel’s neighbor to the north.

Tensions between Israel and Iran, longtime regional enemies, flared last month when Iran launched a drone into Israeli airspace from one of its Syrian bases. Israel intercepted the drone and Netanyahu brandished a large piece of debris from it at last month’s Munich Security Conference, where he warned Iran not to “test” Israel.

The Israeli government has come to the conclusion that the United States is willing to allow Iran’s continued presence in Syria so long as Islamic State fighters are defeated in the civil war.

Another potential subject of discussion is mired in mystery. It is unclear whether anyone in Washington, Jerusalem or in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian government, knows where Trump’s touted plan to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks stands.

No Israeli or Palestinian officials are known to have seen any drafts.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, who has been responsible for advancing the initiative, and who was stripped of his security clearance last week, will attend the Monday summit in a diminished capacity. Josh Raffel, a White House spokesman who has been deeply enmeshed in contacts with Israel, announced his resignation last week.

Israeli officials have expressed bafflement about the plan’s possible impact on Israel’s already febrile political panorama.

On Monday, Netanyahu is also scheduled to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee at its annual convention.

This encounter with a usually friendly arm of American Jewish leadership comes as Netanyahu’s relations with some American Jews are at a nadir, following his abandonment of a 2016 deal that would have allowed the liberal streams of Judaism that represent the majority of American Jews an equal place to pray at the Western Wall, widely regarded as Jerusalem’s holiest site for Jews.

Daniel Shapiro, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel, wrote in a Sunday op-ed piece in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “Not since the Nov. 1, 1973, meeting between Prime Minister Golda Meir, under fire for the failures that led to the Yom Kippur War, and President Richard Nixon, already deep into the Watergate scandal, have American and Israeli leaders met at a time of such internal political turmoil in both countries.”

Courtesy: Los Angeles Times

Iranian FM calls Netanyahu’s drone stunt ‘cartoonish circus,’ says Israel ‘not invincible’

Iranian FM calls Netanyahu’s drone stunt ‘cartoonish circus,’ says Israel ‘not invincible’
Iran’s foreign minister ridiculed a security conference speech by Netanyahu, who used a part of a drone to make a point. He lashed out at Israel’s “aggression to neighbors” and mentioned the country’s “crumbling invincibility.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif spoke at the Munich Security Conference a few hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu displayed what he said was a piece of an Iranian drone shot down last week by Israeli forces. The Iranian official dismissed the use of the prop as a “cartoonish circus” that was meant “to blame others for its own strategic blunders, or maybe to evade the domestic crisis they’re facing.”

‘Mr. Zarif, you recognize this?’ – Netanyahu to Iranian FM 

Netanyahu uses fragment of destroyed drone to taunt Iranian FM — RT World News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a piece of what he said was fragment of an Iranian drone downed by the Israeli military to taunt Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

He added that Israel was avoiding discussion of its own hostile and destructive policies in the Middle East.

“Israel uses aggression as a policy against its neighbors,” Zarif said, citing the regular air incursions into Syria and Lebanon. “The entire speech [by Netanyahu] was trying to evade the issue.”

Zarif also said that the loss of a fighter jet by Israel during the latest flare-up on the Syrian border tarnished the image of invincibility the Israeli military has.

Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu called Iran the biggest threat in the world, and taunted Zarif while holding the aircraft fragment.

Courtesy: RT

Washington no more: Palestine turns to Moscow for future Israel talks

John Wight
John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1
Washington no more: Palestine turns to Moscow for future Israel talks
It is no secret that Palestinian trust in Washington as an impartial broker and mediator in future peace talks with Israel has been shredded.

And given the Trump administration’s reckless, not to mention illegal, decision to declare Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, who can blame them?

This historic rupture with Washington on the part of the Palestinian Authority was articulated by President Mahmoud Abbas, at the start of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

“We [the Palestinians] state that from now on we refuse to cooperate in any form with the US in its status of a mediator, as we stand against its actions,” he said.

With these sentiments, the Palestinian leader provides more evidence of damage to Washington’s moral standing and political authority in the Middle East due to the actions of the Trump administration. Consequently, it is to Moscow that Abbas and the Palestinians are now looking to help mediate future diplomatic initiatives with Israel.

Of course, no one with even the most basic understanding the tortuous history of the Palestinian struggle for justice will have been under any illusions when it comes to Washington’s bias in favor of its close ally Israel when it comes to this issue. However, President Trump has removed even the patina of impartiality that Washington had sought to maintain, deciding for transparently domestic reasons to go where no previous US president had dared go in acceding to the likewise-domestic agenda of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recognizing Jerusalem as the country’s capital city.

With Netanyahu now on the verge of being indicted in Israel on corruption charges, perhaps we gain a deeper understanding of not only the domestic context in which the recognition of Jerusalem was so crucial to him in December, while the police investigation into these corruption allegations was ongoing, but also Israel’s aggressive posture in Syria of late.

None of this, of course, does anything to alleviate the plight of the Palestinians, whose rights continue to be negated on a daily basis by Israel in the form of its illegal occupation of the West Bank, the expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, along with the siege of Gaza, which falls under the category of collective punishment.
It should be noted that the Palestinians still foresee a role for the US in future talks and peace initiatives, but from now only on a multilateral basis in conjunction with Russia, along with, it is to be presumed, the EU and the UN with the region. The involvement of the UN in future talks is especially necessary, despite its authority of having been consistently subverted by Washington and Israel of late.

Regardless, it would be folly for either to believe that there is any scope for a unilateral or bilateral approach when it comes to resolving this issue. Illusions of this sort will only succeed in dragging the world back to 19th-century colonial and imperialist norms, and would be disastrous for stability, peace and the security of all.

When it comes to the pressing matter of where we are and the challenge of navigating towards any kind of workable resolution that can satisfy the Palestinians’ righteous demand for justice and Israel’s need for security, along with the overall stability of the region upon which both depends, we encounter the salient truth that only the strong can compromise and only equals can reach agreement.

Often lost in the avalanche of obfuscation and dissembling that has traditionally suffused this seemingly intractable question is the simple fact that it is Israel occupying Palestinian territory not the Palestinians occupying Israeli territory. It is Israelis building and expanding illegal settlements on Palestinian territory, not the Palestinians building and expanding illegal settlements on theirs. And it is the Israelis who are currently holding close to 2 million Palestinians under siege (in Gaza) not the Palestinians holding close to 2 million Israelis under siege anywhere.

Clearly, in a perfect world international law would be equally applied and equally respected by all states and nations no matter the size of the economy, military might or historical weight said state or nation enjoys. But such a perfect world is not the one we live in.

The challenge then lies in persuading Israel that justice for the Palestinians, which is now long overdue, is also in its own strategic and security interests, regardless of the self-evident morality involved.

Oppression breeds resistance, and by any objective measure the Palestinians are an oppressed people. If history proves anything it is that until those who are oppressed are free, neither will those who oppress them be free.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Courtesy: RT

Iran & Syria ‘are playing with fire,’ Israeli military warns amid flare-up of tensions

Iran & Syria ‘are playing with fire,’ Israeli military warns amid flare-up of tensions
The IDF warned Syria and Iran against ‘violating Israeli sovereignty,’ otherwise they would pay a heavy price. The Israeli military also insisted that Israel does not seek an escalation in tensions in the region.

“Iran and Syria are playing with fire,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement on Twitter. The military added that it acts “with determination” against “the attempt of the Iranian-Syrian attack and the violation of Israeli sovereignty.” “The IDF is prepared for a variety of scenarios and will continue to act as necessary.”

The IDF lashed out at the Syrian military, accusing the state of interference in the Israeli-Iranian incident, as well as at Iran for “using Syria as a launchpad for activity against Israel.”

is the aggressor here. They sent a on a military mission, violating sovereignty. The is ready for all scenarios, urging Iran and Syria to cease aggression.

However, the IDF insisted that Israel does not seek escalation with the two states. “We are willing, prepared and capable to exact a heavy price from anyone that attacks us, however we are not looking to escalate the situation,” the IDF said, insisting that what they’ve done was merely “a defensive effort triggered by an Iranian act of aggression and we are defending our airspace our sovereignty and civilians.”

Tensions between Israel, Iran, and Syria have been heating up since early Saturday after the IDF intercepted an Iranian UAV, which crossed from the territory of Syria into Israel. The Israeli military responded by targeting a Syrian military base, where they believed the operator of the drone to be located. Later that day, an Israeli F-16 fighter jet crashed after Damascus responded with anti-aircraft fire to an Israeli operation in its territory. The pilots ejected and survived the incident.

“We are willing, prepared, and capable to exact a heavy price on anyone that attacks us. However, we are not looking to escalate the situation,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, Head of the International Media Desk. 

In response, the IDF said it struck 12 Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria, including air defense batteries, adding that that during the attack, “anti-aircraft missiles were fired towards Israel, triggering alarms that were heard in Northern Israel.”

Following an exchange of fire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held security consultations, approving the necessary actions in real time following the incidents, official Israeli sources told Haaretz.

Air traffic at Ben Gurion International Airport, 20km from Tel Aviv, was halted for around 15-20 minutes amid security tensions, Israeli media reported.

Courtesy: RT

Israel military targets Iranian drone and strikes Syria, F-16 crashes

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will protect itself from “any threat or any attempt to harm its sovereignty” after its military downed an Iranian drone that infiltrated the region.

“Israel is seeking for peace, but we will continue to defend ourselves against any attack against us, and against any attempt by Iran to establish military bases in Syria or anywhere else,” Netanyahu said Saturday after meeting with top brass at military headquarters in Tel Aviv.

He said had spoken with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about the recent involvement.

Israel’s military launched a “large-scale attack” after shooting down the infiltrating drone and struck Iranian targets deep in Syrian before one of its own jets was downed.

The raids hit at least 12 targets, including three aerial defense batteries and four targets that were part of Iran’s military establishment in Syria. The offensive marks Israel’s most substantial involvement in Syria to date.

In this image made from video provided by Yehunda Pinto, the wreckage of a jet is seen on fire near Harduf, northern Israel, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. The Israeli military shot down an Iranian drone that infiltrated the country early Saturday before launching a "large-scale attack" on at least a dozen Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria. Israel called it a "severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty" and warned of further action against the unprecedented Iranian aggression. (Yehunda Pinto via AP)

The wreckage of the jet is seen on fire near Harduf, northern Israel, on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018.  (AP)

Israel has issued several stern warnings of late about the increased Iranian involvement along its border in Syria and Lebanon.

Israel called the drone infiltration a “severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty” and warned that Iran would be held accountable for its meddling.

“This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory. Iran is dragging the region into an adventure in which it doesn’t know how it will end,” Israel’s chief military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, said in a special statement. “Whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price.”

Israeli security stands around the wreckage of an F-16 that crashed in northern Israel, near kibbutz of Harduf, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. The Israeli military shot down an Iranian drone it said infiltrated the country early Saturday before launching a "large-scale attack" on at least a dozen Iranian and Syrian targets inside Syria, in its most significant engagement since the fighting in neighboring Syria began in 2011. Responding anti-aircraft fire led to the downing of an Israeli fighter plane. (AP Photo/Rami Slush) ***ISRAEL OUT***

Investigators inspect the wreckage of an F-16 that crashed in northern Israel.  (AP)

Israel would not confirm whether the aircraft was actually shot down by enemy fire, which would mark the first such instance for Israel since 1982 during the first Lebanon war.

According to Syrian state TV, which quoted a military official, Syrian air defenses struck more than one Israeli plane, and called the Israeli raids that hit a base a “new Israeli aggression.”

Military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said the drone was “on a military mission sent and operated by Iranian military forces” and that Iran was “responsible for this severe violation of Israeli sovereignty.”

The drone was in Israel’s possession, the military said.

In this image made from video provided by Yehunda Pinto, the wreckage of a jet is seen near Harduf, northern Israel, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. The Israeli military shot down an Iranian drone that infiltrated the country early Saturday before launching a "large-scale attack" on at least a dozen Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria. Israel called it a "severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty" and warned of further action against the unprecedented Iranian aggression. (Yehunda Pinto via AP)

The Israeli military shot down an Iranian drone that infiltrated the country on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018.  (AP)

Although Israel has shot down several drones from Syria that have infiltrated the country’s territory in the past, the attack on an Iranian site in response to Saturday’s incident signals an escalation in the Israeli retaliation.

The military confirmed the Syrian target of the drone’s launch components were destroyed.

Iran denied Israel’s shooting down of a drone, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasem calling the account “ridiculous,” while the joint operations room for the Syrian military and its allies insisted the drone had not violated Israeli airspace and was on a regular mission gathering intelligence on Islamic State militants.

Iranian involvement along Israel’s border in Syria and Lebanon has been a growing concern as it fears Iran could use the region to position attacks or develop a land route from the country to Lebanon in an effort to deliver weapons to Hezbollah more efficiently.

But Israel has refrained from striking Iranian sites directly. Syria has also repeatedly said it will respond to Israeli airstrikes but has rarely returned fire. Both of those trends came to an abrupt end Saturday as a rapid escalation played out in the early morning hours.

Israel’s chief military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, said Israel held Iran directly responsible for the incident.


Chief of General Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces Gadi Eizenkot, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman meet.  (Yonat Friling)

“This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory. Iran is dragging the region into an adventure in which it doesn’t know how it will end,” he said in a special statement. “Whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price.”

However, the joint operations room for the Syrian military and its allies denied the drone violated Israeli airspace, saying it was on a regular mission gathering intelligence on Islamic State militants.

Russia, which backs Assad and maintains a large military presence in the country, called for restraint and appeared to criticize Israel’s actions.

“It is absolutely unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian servicemen who are in Syria at the invitation of its legitimate government to assist in the fight against terrorists,” Russia’s foreign ministry said.

Fox News’ Yonat Friling and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter for Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang

Courtesy: Fox News

Nikki Haley skewers Mahmoud Abbas at UN Security Council meeting

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley launched a broadside Thursday at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, accusing him of indulging in “outrageous” conspiracy theories about Israel and lacking what is needed to secure peace in the region.

Haley made the remarks at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the Middle East. She pointedly contrasted Abbas with leaders like the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, whom she cited as a leader “willing to step forward, acknowledge hard truths, and make compromises.”

“Where is the Palestinian Anwar Sadat?” she asked.

She cited a speech earlier this month in which Abbas tore into Israel and the U.S., rejecting any American role in talks.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during the meeting of the Palestinian Central Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah January 14, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman - RC1BAD9EFDF0

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave a fiery speech this month, blasting the U.S. and Israel.  (Reuters)

“We will not accept for the U.S. to be a mediator, because after what they have done to us — a believer shall not be stung twice in the same place,” Abbas said, according to The New York Times.

Responding to U.S. threats to pull funding for the Palestianian Authority, he said: “Damn your money.”

‘A speech that indulges in outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories is not the speech of a person with the courage and will to seek real peace.’

– Nikki Haley, on Mahmoud Abbas’ remarks

“He rejected any American role in peace talks. He insulted the American president. He called for suspending recognition of Israel,” Haley said. “He invoked an ugly and fictional past, reaching back to the 17th century to paint Israel as a colonialist project engineered by European powers.”

“A speech that indulges in outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories is not the speech of a person with the courage and will to seek real peace,” she added.

She said that while the U.S. was “eager” to pursue peace, “we will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what’s needed to achieve peace.”

At the session, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour attacked the decision by the U.S. to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there as “null and void.”

“We remain insistent on respect for the law and our rights, and we reject this unilateral, provocative decision, which directly contravenes the Charter and U.N. resolutions on the matter. This decision is null and void and has no legal effect on the status of Jerusalem,” he said.

The U.N. session came after remarks by President Trump, who spoke alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Davos, Switzerland. He said there needs to be more from the Palestinians in terms of the peace process, and threatened to remove funding otherwise.

Israeli prime minister, president discuss U.S. embassy move and Mideast peace during joint remarks in Switzerland.

“When they disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great vice president to see them and we give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support — tremendous numbers, numbers that nobody understands — that money is on the table, and that money’s not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace,” he said.

Yet, Abbas and the Palestinian Authority got some American support this week — from the Obama administration’s secretary of state, John Kerry.

Kerry reportedly told a close associate of Abbas to share a message with him – urging him to “hold on and be strong” during talks with the Trump administration and “play for time … [and] not yield to President Trump’s demands.”

According to the report in Israeli news outlet Maariv, Kerry used derogatory terms when referring to Trump, and offered to help the Palestinians create an alternative peace initiative.

Fox News’ Ben Evansky and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a Politics Reporter and occasional Opinion writer for He can be reached here or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.

Courtesy: Fox News

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