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Did Lindsey Graham Push For Bob Woodward’s Interviews With Trump?

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On his show Wednesday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson revealed that a source with knowledge told him that The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward scored an interview with President Donald Trump because Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC, pushed for it.

Excerpts of Woodward’s soon to be released book were published by The Washington Post earlier this week, suggesting the President downplayed the coronavirus threat when he knew it was “more deadly” than the flu and other seasonal viruses.

Sen. Graham’s office responds: Senator Graham’s office noted that the President’s White House aides were charged with the approval process and in the end it the final decision rested with Trump.

Graham’s office reiterated that the Senator is a staunch defender of President Trump, saying Trump fully cooperated “with Woodard for this book,” while Chiefs of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Mark Meadows allowed the interviews.

President Donald Trump responded forcefully to the allegations. He stated that he sought to never sow fear among the American people.

In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday night, Trump said that as “the leader of the country, I can’t be jumping up and down and scaring people. I don’t want to scare people. I want people not to panic, and that’s exactly what I did.”

The biggest question for many is why did the President agree to do such an interview with a journalist from a paper he regularly calls “fake news” for writing opposition pieces about him and members of his administration, one that sometimes even writes more glowingly of terrorist leaders. Moreover, Woodward already wrote a scathing book about Trump in 2018. Carlson says it’s Graham who orchestrated the interviews for Woodward’s forthcoming book.

“It was Lindsey Graham who helped convince Donald Trump to talk to Bob Woodward,” Tucker said. “Lindsey Graham brokered that meeting. Lindsey Graham even sat in on the first interview between Bob Woodward and the President. How did that turn out?”

He added, “Now, remember, Lindsey Graham is supposed to be a Republican, so why would he do something like that. You’d have to ask him. But, keep in mind that Lindsey Graham has opposed, passionately opposed virtually every major policy initiative that Donald Trump articulated when he first ran from ending illegal immigration to pulling back from pointless wars, to maintaining law and order at home. Lindsey Graham was against all of that more than many Democrats.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s leading voices on the President’s Coronavirus Task Force, also defended Trump on Fox Wednesday. He said there was no discrepancy between what the President discussed behind closed doors and the message he delivered to the American public.

“I didn’t get any sense that he was distorting anything. I mean, in my discussions with him, they were always straightforward about the concerns that we had. We relayed that to him and when he would go out, I’d hear him discussing the same sort of things,” Fauci explained to Fox’s John Roberts.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1304042651147284480

Trump slammed Woodward on Twitter Thursday morning for keeping his quotes private “for many months,” adding “If he thought they were so bad or dangerous, why didn’t he immediately report them in an effort to save lives? Didn’t he have an obligation to do so? No, because he knew they were good and proper answers. Calm, no panic!”

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Trump appointee explains an ‘America First Strategy’ in the ME

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Photo: Israeli Government

The author interviewed Ellie Cohanim, one of the authors of the new book: “An America First Approach to US National Security.” Ellie is the former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism under the Trump administration. She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum focusing on Iran, Israel, and global antisemitism, and is a national security contributor for the Christian Broadcasting Network. In 2021, Ellie launched and hosted for Jewish News Syndicate 30 plus episodes of the show “Global Perspectives with Ellie Cohanim.” Ellie spent 15 years in media and NGO management before serving in the public sector. How would you define an “America First” strategy in the Middle East?

Cohanim: An America First strategy in the Middle East would seek to advance American national security interests in that region, while maintaining our status as THE global superpower. To do that, the US would ensure that our principal allies in the region, countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel, are economically and militarily strong, and that our adversaries in the region are deterred.

Postal: How has the United States’ standing in the Middle East differed between the Trump and Biden administrations?

Cohanim: Under President Trump, for four years we had peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Under President Biden, in just three tumultuous years there has been war in the region, which holds the potential for becoming a regional conflict and even a nuclear confrontation. Meanwhile, the US’ status in the region and the world has diminished due to Biden’s disastrous mishandling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, his emboldening of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his weak response to Iranian attacks on our personnel and assets in the region. 

 

Postal: Do you think the United States and Israel are/were in a stronger position to deter Iran’s nuclear and territorial ambitions in Biden or Trump’s administration?

Cohanim: America’s position of strength has not changed under either administration vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran. What has changed is our Iran policy. Under President Trump’s administration, the US contained and constrained Tehran. Trump applied a “Maximum Pressure” sanctions campaign which left the Iranian Regime with only $4 billion in accessible foreign currency reserves by the end of his term, giving the Iranians less cash and less ability to fund their terror proxies and their nuclear program, and Trump eliminated Qassem Soleimani. While all President Biden needed to do was to continue implementing such successful policies, his administration instead did the exact opposite.  Under the Biden administration, Israel, our leading ally in the region, was attacked for the first time directly from Iranian soil. This was an unprecedented escalatory attack by the Iranian regime, and could only happen under the Biden administration.

Postal: In your chapter of the book, you discuss the weakening of US relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration. How has the Biden administration affected the likelihood of future normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and deals between Israel and other Muslim countries (i.e., new Abraham Accords)?

Cohanim: The good news is that the Abraham Accords have withstood the test of multiple Hamas provocations against Israel, and now the current war. Despite numerous claims from the Biden administration regarding “successful” efforts to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, I do not think that the Biden administration will be able to clinch such a deal. In the Middle East, people have a long memory. Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has not forgotten President Biden’s snub when he first came into office, and Biden’s incredibly poorly advised behavior towards the Crown Prince when he made his first visit to the Kingdom as president. The last thing the Crown Prince wants is to hand Biden his first foreign policy success with a Rose Garden peace deal ceremony. So, I do not believe President Biden can broker Saudi/Israeli normalization.

However, I am also convinced that it is a matter of “when” and not “if” such a peace deal will happen between those two countries, as it serves both of their interests to make such a deal. The Saudis understand better than anyone that it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that threatens the Kingdom’s security and stability, not Israel.

Postal: What do you think of the Biden administration’s latest statements withholding arms to Israel?

Cohanim: President Biden will go down in history for his abject moral failure in not standing by Israel while she fights a five-front war. Biden has shown his despicable personality for trying to keep his anti-Israel arms embargo concealed until he could first deliver a speech on the Holocaust. Biden’s behavior is despicable on so many levels.

Ultimately, Biden is betraying the American people. He came into office presenting himself as a “centrist Democrat,” but has proven repeatedly to be beholden to the radical, extremist, pro-Hamas wing of his party.

Postal: How does the Biden administration’s support of a Palestinian state differ from the Trump administration’s support of a Palestinian state under its Peace to Prosperity framework?

Cohanim: The Biden administration stated that they will “unilaterally recognize” a Palestinian state. What the borders of that state are and who would lead it, nobody knows. 

The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” was a detailed plan that was premised on the realities on the ground in Israel. The plan required that the Palestinians reach benchmarks proving a real desire to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors. It included over $50 billion in investment in the region, which would have been a road to prosperity for all. Perhaps most significantly, the Palestinian state envisioned under the Trump plan would have been demilitarized, the wisdom of which could not be more clear following the October 7 massacre and attack.

The author would like to thank Ellie Cohanim for participating in this interview.

 

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