By Michael Hernandez</p> <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump ended Wednesday a requirement for American intelligence agencies to report annually the number of civilians believed to have been killed in intelligence operations airstrikes.</p> <p>Trump's executive order cancels the annual declassified report released by the director of national intelligence May 1 each year, which detailed the intelligence community's assessment of civilians assessed to have been killed outside of active warzones. </p> <p>The report was to catalogue "the number of strikes undertaken by the United States Government against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities, as well as assessments of combatant and non combatant deaths resulting from those strikes, among other information."</p> <p>That includes theaters such as Somalia and Libya where the U.S. is not actively engaged, but excludes warzones such as Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan where it is party to ongoing hostilities. </p> <p>Former President Barack Obama established the reporting requirement in 2016, but the Washington Post reported last year that the Trump administration chose to ignore it in 2018.</p> <p>Obama's order was intended to increase transparency and accountability for the air war he inherited from his predecessor and greatly expanded. </p> <p>In his executive order Trump pointed to requirements in the Pentagon's 2019 appropriations bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which expanded reporting requirements for military operations.</p> <p>But that provision does not appear to apply to civilians killed in strikes carried out by the CIA, which stands apart from the Defense Department.</p> <p>Ned Price, a spokesman for Obama's National Security Council, lashed out at Trump's decision saying the reporting requirement "was an important tool that we're again without.</p> <p>"And the 'context' that the administration is providing is disingenuous," Price said on Twitter. "The Obama-era requirement applied to operations outside areas of active hostilities. The NDAA reporting requirement the administration is pointing to applies only to DOD operations in active war zones."</p> <p> </p> <p>
By Beyza Binnur Donmez</p> <p>ANKARA (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump Tuesday extended the national emergency in his country due to "the extraordinary threat to national security” Venezuela poses.</p> <p>"The circumstances described in Executive Order 13692, and subsequent Executive Orders issued with respect to Venezuela, have not improved and they continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States." Trump said in a White House statement.</p> <p>He added that the the national emergency, first declared in 2015, will be extended for one year in accordance with National Emergencies Act.</p> <p>The 2015 Executive Order imposed sanctions against seven Venezuelan government officials for human rights violations and corruption.</p> <p>Trump extended the range of action of the Executive Order five times to prevent Venezuelan officials from avoiding the sanctions imposed by Washington.</p> <p>Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called on his supporters Tuesday to attend "anti-imperialist" rallies on March 9, the same day that anti-government marches will be held by the opposition. </p> <p>Speaking at a ceremony to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, Maduro said he would defeat a "crazed minority" planning to destabilize the country. </p> <p>Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10, when Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.</p> <p>Tensions escalated when Juan Guaido, who heads Venezuela’s National Assembly, declared himself acting president on Jan. 23, a move which was supported by the U.S. and many European and Latin American countries.</p> <p>Turkey, Russia, Iran, Cuba, China and Bolivia reiterated their support for Maduro, who vowed to cut all diplomatic and political ties with the U.S. Maduro insists he is a victim of a U.S.-orchestrated coup amid a spiraling economic and humanitarian crisis in the country.</p> <p>U.S. President Donald Trump pointed to military intervention as among a number of options he could choose to help resolve the crisis.</p> <p>Venezuela is experiencing widespread shortages of food and medicine and has the highest inflation rate in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund.
By Kasim Ileri </p> <p>WASHINGTON (AA) – Former U.S. President Barack Obama's support for the PYD/YPG to cover up for America’s political and military failures in Syria has become an indispensable strategy that reveals the way a democratic country partners with a terror group. </p> <p>Washington laid the groundwork for its relationship with the PYD/YPG, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization, at the end of 2014 in the town of Ayn al-Arab, or Kobani, through its air support against Daesh terrorists. </p> <p>The U.S. military has routinely provided weapons assistance to the organization in Syria, but the Department of Defense (Pentagon) has long denied this.</p> <p> In September 2015, the Obama administration scrapped a training program for opposition Syrian fighters and announced that it would work with a new local partner. </p> <p>Under the leadership of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), the support given to the PYD/YPG continued on behalf of a fictitious group called the "Syrian Arab Coalition", whose name was not known before and whose members were also unknown. </p> <p>Although the Pentagon persistently claimed that trucks loaded with arms were not being sent to the PYD/YPG but to the Syrian Arab Coalition, neither Turkish nor American media was satisfied with this explanation. </p> <p>However, The New York Times wrote that the Syrian Arab Coalition was merely a name and that there was no U.S.-led group other than the PYD/YPG.</p> <p>While the terrorist group was expanding, with American support, its occupation of the regions where Arabs, Assyrians and Turkmens as well as Kurds lived, it formed a front group called the "Syrian Democratic Forces", or SDF. </p> <p>U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the Defense Department to arm the PYD/YPG in May 2017.</p> <p>Washington has characterized its relationship with the terrorist organization as "conditional", "limited" and "temporary", claiming the weapons were not sent to the PKK's Syrian branch to be used against the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).</p> <p>The U.S. National Counterterrorism Center designated the YPG and PYD as the Syrian branch of the PKK in its list of terrorist organizations. Later, it removed the part related to the PYD/YPG.</p> <p>Also, in a 2018 country report by the Central Intelligence Agency, the YPG and PYD were defined as the branches of the PKK in Syria. </p> <p>According to documents related to the Pentagon budget seen by Anadolu Agency, the PYD/YPG was allocated $500 million in aid for 2017 and $550 million for 2018.</p> <p>The Pentagon also announced that after operations against Daesh were completed, arms support for the PYD/YPG terror group would be halted and their weapons would be recovered.</p> <p>But after the PYD/YPG attacked rural areas of Deir ez-Zor where oil wells are located, the U.S. rejected taking back their weapons and said the military aid would proceed as long as fighting against Daesh continued. </p> <p>Amid this move, the U.S.-led coalition announced the controversial decision to sponsor the creation of a 30,000-strong "border security” force in PYD/YPG controlled areas in northeastern Syria. </p> <p>Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition against Daesh, said last January that half of the force would be composed of militants in the ranks of the SDF, which was met with a harsh reaction from Turkey. </p> <p>Separately, Anadolu Agency learned that in the 2018 budget, the Pentagon allocated $250 million in funds under the name of "border protection measures" in addition to $300 million in weapons aid. </p> <p>- Undelivered promises </p> <p>Washington failed to deliver on its promises to Turkey that it would take the PYD/YPG out of the Syrian city of Manbij apart from the collection of the weapons given to the organization. </p> <p>Despite unidentified amounts of weapons aid, the Pentagon is said to have delivered more than 4,000 trucks of weapons to the PYD/YPG organization. </p> <p>Washington also promised that the terror group would withdraw from Manbij after it was cleared of Daesh terrorists. </p> <p>However, the U.S.-led coalition and CENTCOM announced that the PYD/YPG withdrew from Manbij, which later proved to be false. </p> <p>Turkey carried out two operations in northern Syria -- Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch. Ankara announced a plan to carry out a third operation in the northeast against PYD/YPG terrorists, which disturbed the U.S. </p> <p>Last month, Trump made the unexpected decision to withdraw all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, sparking criticism from many allies and security aides, including his own Cabinet.</p> <p>In the original withdrawal announcement, Trump claimed American forces were leaving as they had defeated Daesh.</p> <p>Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally but fierce critic of the announced withdrawal, said it would embolden the Syrian regime and its main allies -- Russia and Iran -- while undermining the fight against Daesh. </p> <p>U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said the U.S. will not withdraw troops from northeastern Syria unless the Turkish government guarantees it won’t attack “Kurdish fighters,” referring to the PYD/YPG terrorist group.</p> <p>In its 30-year terrorist campaign, the PKK has taken some 40,000 lives. </p> <p>Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin slammed Bolton on Sunday and called claims that Turkey targets Kurds “irrational” as the country is fighting Daesh and PKK/PYD/YPG terrorists.</p> <p>*Servet Gunerigok contributed to this story
<p>By Adam McConnel</p> <p>- The writer teaches Turkish history at Sabanci University in Istanbul. He holds an MA and PhD in history from the same university.</p> <p> ISTANBUL (AA) - “The USA is not able to understand or see who its true friends are.”</p> <p>-- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, 16 August 2018, in response to a question about President Trump’s recent comments on Turkey</p> <p> Contrary to my expectations, developments continue in the right direction.</p> <p>By now, everyone is familiar with the mid-December conversation between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump that resulted in Trump’s handing over security responsibilities in northeastern Syria to Ankara.</p> <p>The following weeks have seen some tweaking to Trump’s original decision to exit as soon as possible. The main reason is that Turkish officials want a planned U.S. withdrawal in order to limit the opportunities that other actors, namely the Damascus regime, Russia, or the PKK/PYD/YPG itself, might have to tilt the situation to their advantage. Turkey’s request is eminently logical and any rational U.S. policy maker should see that. </p> <p>Syria is not the only positive development, however. Immediately after the New Year, delegations from the U.S. began to stream into Ankara. After the first group arrived, we soon learned that members of the delegation took testimony from key Gulenists in Turkish custody, and that the Turkish government shared large amounts of crucial evidence related to the defeated July 2016 Gulenist coup attempt.</p> <p>Normally, this would be a routine development in a judicial process, and may not lead to any sort of legal move towards extraditing Fethullah Gulen to Turkey. But this is a vital development in light of what has not happened in the past two and a half years. Basic evidence-gathering is the most overt signal so far indicating that judicial processes against Gulen might be on the horizon, and is by far the most important step that the U.S. government has taken in regard to the many Gulenists implicated in the coup attempt and sheltering in the U.S. At this point we can only continue to observe and hope that court proceedings regarding Gulen’s extradition will be initiated posthaste.</p> <p>- Trump Takes the Initiative</p> <p>These recent developments give the impression that Trump has wrested control over policy decisions concerning Turkey’s region away from the military, National Security Advisor John Bolton, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Until December, Trump had displayed no influence over these issues, and Bolton’s influence had pushed U.S. foreign policy in even more aggressive directions. </p> <p>But suddenly Trump took the initiative away from the military brass and Bolton. During Trump’s conversation with Erdogan, Bolton was reportedly at his side. Trump overruled the arch hawk and 'America-firster' Bolton, and gave orders to start the withdrawal. Now, Bolton is on his way to Ankara (after a stopover in Israel) to carry out negotiations concerning the U.S. pullout. Bolton is certainly incensed about this turn of events, and as soon as he arrived in Israel, began contradicting Trump concerning the PKK. This means that Bolton’s every move and statement should be scrutinized intensely. Bolton’s visit should also be entertaining if we get to observe some of the political theater. In anticipation, the Turkish weather is turning frosty. </p> <p>- Obama’s foreign policy catastrophe</p> <p>The irony is that it is the Trump Administration making decisions that the Obama Administration should have made years ago. Even though Trump’s predecessor had six months after the coup attempt to take the appropriate legal actions against Gulen and his cult, absolutely nothing was done. The only thing that President Obama accomplished in regard to Turkish-American relations during the waning months of his Presidency was to convince the Turkish population’s vast majority that either he did not care about the fact that a figure responsible for killing hundreds of Turkish citizens resided in the U.S., or he tacitly supported that person. Either way, Obama’s memory will be forever cursed by most Turkish people even though he began his Presidency by traveling to Istanbul and Ankara, and once enjoyed great popularity in the country.</p> <p>Consequently, with every passing day, the Obama Administration’s policies towards Turkey and its region during 2012-2016 appear increasingly disastrous and misguided. There is no question that Trump has trouble staying focused, is beset by myriad domestic political and legal problems, displays little concrete knowledge on any particular issue, and frequently resorts to fabrications in order to present his version of the world. But in relation to Turkey, his current choices (and ignoring, especially, his purposeful attempt to cripple Turkey’s economy last summer) seem enlightened in comparison to those preferred by his predecessor. </p> <p>The question that historians and political scientists interested in Turkish-American relations will have to grapple with is exactly why Obama’s policy choices towards Turkey were so completely wrongheaded: was is it bad information? Prejudice? Fear? Disorganization? If Hillary Clinton could understand that the U.S. needed to work with Turkey on regional problems (refer to her autobiography Hard Choices), why could Barack Obama not understand the same reality? Though Hillary Clinton recommended the correct path, the ultimate decisions were not hers to make. </p> <p>- A problem deeper than Information</p> <p>But blaming bad information seems difficult when it comes to U.S. policy. The U.S. has state-of-art information collection capacities, from spy satellites, to access to most of the world’s digital information streams, to its state intelligence institutions such as the Central Intelligence Agency and diplomatic institutions such as the State Department. Imagining that a lack of information caused the Obama Administration to blunder so badly is not easy. </p> <p>Instead, I would suggest that the available information’s interpretation is where fatal mistakes were made. And I do mean “fatal”, because the policy decisions made by Barack Obama’s administration towards Syria and Turkey in 2012-2014 eventually cost hundreds of thousands of lives. My suspicion is that the officials charged with evaluating the available information and then formulating policy simply did not have the education, the background, the experience, or the analytical capability to ascertain what the correct policies should be. </p> <p>Certainly if those officials were reading or watching U.S. media coverage of Turkey and Syria in those years, they would have had little understanding of the situation’s essence or the issues involved; the international press was only marginally better. For those officials to understand, at that juncture, what U.S. policy towards Turkey needed to be was not simply a matter of having a strong grasp on what U.S. interests were. A solid understanding of the socio-political transformation taking place in Turkey, in all of its dimensions, and in the broader region was also necessary. Without that greater perspective, they could not approach the information in their possession with clear-sightedness. Somewhere in the cloud of information and officials that produced Obama’s foreign policy decisions, monstrous errors occurred. </p> <p>Until late last year, President Trump’s administration displayed the same behavior. For that reason, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, during the knowingly provoked August attack on Turkey’s economy, stated with palpable exasperation that the U.S. did not have the ability to discern who their true friends were. The last month, on the other hand, has witnessed sudden, positive developments. Have U.S. officials finally grasped some fundamental realities that previously eluded their awareness? Has the Trump Administration finally seen the obvious, that a democratic NATO ally should be the logical choice to trust on regional security matters? Can the Trump Administration recognize the Gulenist malady plaguing relations between the two states and take the correct actions?</p> <p>Hopefully, we will soon witness positive answers to these questions. </p> * Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Anadolu Agency.<br>
By Dr. Can Kasapoglu</p> <p>- The writer is a defense analyst at the Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy (EDAM), an Istanbul-based think-tank.</p> <p>ISTANBUL (AA) - In early Dec. 2018, NATO Foreign Ministers released a joint statement about Russia’s reported violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The declaration openly pointed out the 9M729 missile (SSC-8 in NATO designation) as the primary asset that is believed to contravene the INF requirements. The allies called on Moscow to “return urgently to full and verifiable compliance” with its commitments amidst Washington’s decision to unilaterally withdraw if the Russians are not to honor the requirements of the treaty.</p> <p>Briefly, the INF was a bilateral treaty between the US and the Soviet Union signed back in 1987. It bans all land-based, ground-attack cruise and ballistic missiles with a range between 500 km to 5,500 km. It is estimated that the treaty dismantled nearly 2,700 missiles as well as their launch systems. The underlying military rationale behind the treaty was to reduce the risk of a spiraling armed conflict in Europe. Missile strikes are extremely swift. They dictate an overwhelming operational tempo that drastically increases strategic surprise, and leave little reaction time to the adversary. Besides, distinguishing the exact payload of the incoming missile warhead (WMDs or conventional) is demanding. Thus, if the two antagonistic parties are nuclear-capable actors, the political-military leaders and defense intelligence personnel involved would have a very limited opportunity to ponder a sober response in the face of a missile attack. Overall, a missile-driven arms race could lead to catastrophic results, and the INF was a product of these concerns. </p> <p>In fact, NATO hinted at its strict stance about the reported INF violations before. The 2018 Brussels Summit declaration underlined that the treaty has been crucial to Euro-Atlantic security, and drew attention to the violation allegations. Besides, the summit declaration also highlighted the allied nations’ concerns about the 9M729 missile. Interestingly, Moscow, on its part, also alleged that the US has violated the treaty by deploying the Aegis Ashore systems in Europe. However, in response to the Russian allegations, the US Department of State’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance released a comprehensive note on Dec. 8, 2017, and rejected all the claims underlining that the referred system can only launch defensive interceptor missiles that do not fall under the INF restrictions. </p> <p>In March 2017, General Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the US Congress about the reported Russian INF incompliances. General Selva said that the systems fielded by the Russian military could present a serious risk to the NATO facilities in Europe. </p> <p>On a final note, it would be also misleading to assume that Washington’s tough stance regarding Russia’s INF incompliance started with the Trump administration. Back in 2014, for example, then-President Barack Obama sent a letter to his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, accusing Russia of serious violations. </p> <p> </p> <p>- Prospects of a Missiles-Driven Arms Race and the China Factor</p> <p>The SSC-8 -- or Novator 9M729 -- is a ground-launched cruise missile. Available writings about the missile indicate that it was first test-fired in 2014. According to the US sources, the missile can reach targets at some 2,500 km, which clearly exceeds the INF limits. Even more problematically, some reports claim that the missile was tested from an Iskander-M launcher before, putting the entire Iskander systems under suspicion with respect to the INF compliance. </p> <p>In the event Washington carries through the planned unilateral withdrawal, Moscow could respond by raising the bet. Russia could then officially declare some of its systems’ ranges as around 2,000 km, and deploy them in the vicinity of NATO’s eastern flank. This perceived escalatory trend, coupled with the existing problems in the transatlantic ties, has already triggered a German-led reaction to the Trump administration’s INF stance. </p> <p>While traditional arms control circles in the West criticized the Trump administration’s decision, some analysts concluded that the treaty had a negative impact on the US’ abilities to pursue the great power competition against both the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. According to this approach, the INF was useless not only because Moscow was violating it, but also it hampered Washington’s abilities to extend its nuclear deterrent in Europe and Indo-Pacific. Now, this school argues, it would be up to the Russian and Chinese leaderships to decide if they would enter into an arms race, or come up with a feasible arms control agreement that they will honor. At this point, the Pacific emphasis remains crucial. Some open-source military studies conclude that 95 percent of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) missiles fall between 500 km to 5,500 km. Overall, the anti-INF circles advocate that this Russo – American disarmament treaty, which has not been fully honored by Moscow, was in fact favoring Beijing. Indeed, the PLA Rocket Forces have shown a significant military modernization effort in recent years, while the US could not field the systems in kind due to the INF requirements. </p> <p>Without a doubt, some arms control advocates would seek to bring China into (probably an updated version of) the INF Treaty to produce a new, trilateral ground for preventing a new arms race. However, given the very fact that Beijing expressed no interest in joining such a diplomatic exercise -- and taking the burgeoning Chinese missile capabilities into consideration -- the chances for securing a reloaded, trilateral INF are slim. </p> <p> </p> <p>- Military-geopolitical guidance</p> <p>Different geopolitical characteristics of the US – Russia and US – China strategic balances of power would be analytical references to understand the underlying reason of the INF withdrawal, if the US really wants to carry on with its decision. Simply put, the Asia-Pacific theatre is predominantly shaped by naval battle parameters, while Europe witnesses the Russian Western Military District’s local superiority over the NATO ground forces in the eastern flank -- a grim force-on-force balance for NATO, even worsened by Russia’s anti-access / area denial (A2/AD) capabilities. In other words, in the event of an armed conflict in Europe, Russia would enjoy robust means to deny the NATO aircraft access to the area of operations, while launching a massive combined-arms incursion into NATO’s eastern flank.
In the pacific war game scenarios, however, protecting the US airbases across Japan and South Korea from the Chinese missile forces, and tackling the PLA Navy would be the utmost priorities. The two scenarios necessitate a different set of missile capabilities. Thus, the American military-industrial complex’s post-INF trajectory would be a good indicator highlighting the underlying strategic calculus behind the Trump administration’s withdrawal decision.
* Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Anadolu Agency.
WASHINGTON (AA) – Hayata 94 yaşında veda eden ABD'nin 41'inci Başkanı George H. W. Bush için başkent Washington'da "devlet cenaze töreni" düzenleniyor.
Teksas'ta 30 Kasım'da hayatını kaybeden Bush'un cenazesi pazartesi günü Washington'a getirildi. Dün Kongrede düzenlenen törenlerin ardından Bush'un cenazesi, sabah saatlerinde Kongreden törenle alındı.
Beyaz Saray'ın önünden geçen tören konvoyu "Baba Bush" olarak da bilinen eski ABD başkanının cenazesi "devlet cenaze töreni için" Washington'daki Ulusal Katedrale getirildi.
Törende, eski ABD başkanları Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama eşleri ile hazır bulunuyor. ABD Başkanı Donald Trump ve eşi Melania Trump'ın yanı sıra çok sayıda yabancı lider de törene iştirak ediyor.
İlahilerin okunduğu törende Bush'un torunları, eski Kanada Başbakanı Brian Mulroney ve tarihçi John Meacham konuşma yaptı.
Baba Bush'un methiyesini ise oğlu ve eski ABD Başkanı George W. Bush okuyacak.
ABD Başkanı Trump'ın törende konuşma yapması beklenmiyor.
WASHINGTON/ NEW YORK (AA) – Beyaz Saray, ABD eski başkanlarından Barack Obama ve Bill Clinton'ın evlerine patlayıcı madde gönderilmesini kınadı.
Beyaz Saray Sözcüsü Sarah Sanders, yaptığı açıklamada, "Son günlerde Başkan Obama, Başkan Clinton, Dışişleri Bakanı Clinton ve diğer kişileri karşı yapılan saldırı girişimlerini kınıyoruz." ifadesini kullandı.
Bu tür eylemleri "aşağılık" olarak tanımlayan Sanders, saldırı girişimlerinin sorumlularına kanunlar çerçevesinde gerekli cezaların verileceğini belirtti.
Sanders, "ABD Gizli Servisi ve diğer güvenlik ajansları olayı soruşturuyor ve bu korkakların tehdit ettiği herkesi korumak için tüm uygun tedbirleri alacaklar." değerlendirmesinde bulundu.
– CNN binası da boşaltıldı
Bu arada New York Polisi, yayın kuruluşu CNN'in de içinde bulunduğu Time Warner Center'a da benzeri bir paket gönderildiğini açıkladı.
CNN'e konuşan bir yetkili de benzeri bir paketin Beyaz Saray'a gönderildiğinin, ancak adrese ulaşmadan tespit edilerek teslimatın engellendiğini belirtti.
ABD'de eski başkanlardan Barack Obama'nın Washington'daki, Bill Clinton'ın da New York'taki evine, içinde patlayıcı madde bulunan bir paketler gönderildiği duyurulmuştu.
Macar asıllı ABD'li milyarder iş adamı George Soros'un New York'taki evinin posta kutusunda da patlayıcı madde bulunmuştu.
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – Former President Barack Obama launched an opening campaign salvo against incumbent President Donald Trump Friday, saying Trump is "the symptom, not the cause" of divisions plaguing the U.S.
Obama told an audience of more than a thousand students at the University of Illinois his successor is "just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years."
"What’s gonna fix our democracy is you," he said.
Obama is seeking to rally support for Democrats as Americans prepare to head to the voting booth Nov. 6 in elections that will see one-third of Senate seats up for grabs, as well as all seats in the House of Representatives. Republicans currently control both chambers, but have a narrow hold on the Senate.
Trump, too, has been working to shore up support for his party as the polls approach, holding campaign-style rallies for Republicans running for office, regularly touting the U.S.'s surging economy.
But Obama pointed to his own role in bringing the U.S. out of one of the worst economic recessions it has experienced, saying "let's just remember when this recovery started."
The comments drew a rebuke from Trump who told his own rally in Fargo, North Dakota, "Obama was trying to take credit for this incredible thing that’s happening."
“I have to say this to President Obama: if the Dems got in with their agenda in November of almost 2 years ago, instead of having 4.2 up, i believe honestly we’d have 4.2 down," Trump said, referring to the U.S.'s economic growth.
Obama also took aim at the Republican Party directly saying "the politics of resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home" in the party.
"What happened to the Republican Party?" he asked rhetorically.
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – Meghan McCain, John McCain's daughter, opened a memorial service Saturday for her father with a shot over the bow at President Donald Trump and his token slogan.
"America does not boast because she has no need to. The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great," McCain said, glaring determinantly as applause roared out in the National Cathedral.
"We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness. The real thing – not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served," she added in an emotional tribute to her father.
The comments appear to be directed at Trump who was granted five deferments for compulsory military service during the Vietnam War, one of which was for bone spurs in his foot after he graduated college.
Meghan McCain's pointed rhetoric also appears to challenge Trump's now infamous dismissal of her father's service during the Vietnam War, when he was held captive for five years and repeatedly tortured.
Trump was not present for Saturday's private funeral service after McCain's family declined to invite the president. He was instead at his golf club in Virginia.
But both former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama — who bested McCain in his successive bids for America's highest office — were on hand to deliver their reflections on McCain's legacy.
"So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast and insult and phony controversies and manufactured outrage," Obama said. "It's a politics that pretends to be brave and tough, but in fact is born of fear. John called on us to be bigger than that. He called on us to be better than that."
Bush, who like McCain hailed from the Republican Party, said McCain "loved freedom with the passion of a man who knew its absence."
"Perhaps above all, John detested the abuse of power; could not abide bigots and swaggering despots," he added,
McCain will be buried Sunday at his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – The Trump administration proposed new rules Tuesday aimed at rolling back coal emissions standards established by former President Barack Obama in a bid to curb climate change.
In a statement announcing the proposed new rules, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) called Obama's 2015 Clean Power Plan "overly prescriptive and burdensome."
The Supreme Court stayed the rule in 2016 following legal action from multiple Republican state attorneys general and industry advocacy groups.
President Donald Trump's alternative, which is known as the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, "empowers states, promotes energy independence, and facilitates economic growth and job creation," the EPA said.
The plan lifts some restrictions on coal-fired power plants, shifting emissions regulations to states.
Opponents of the move have warned that the changes would likely hike U.S. carbon emissions, but Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the new rule "would restore the rule of law and empower states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide modern, reliable, and affordable energy for all Americans.”
The Natural Resources Defense Council was unswayed, saying "The world’s on fire and the Trump administration wants to make it worse."
“This Dirty Power Plan is riddled with gimmicks and giveaways. It would mean more climate-changing pollution from power plants. That’s a recipe for climate disaster," council President Rhea Suh said in a statement.
Trump has long derided what he and Republican call a "war on coal" fueled in part by Obama's plan. But the growing shift away from coal is also based on the declining costs associated with cleaner alternatives such as natural gas, wind and solar power.
In addition to shifting emissions regulation to states, Trumps plan allows states to ease regulations for power plants that are in need of upgrades.
Trump is expected to tout the plan during a rally in West Virginia Tuesday evening. The state has long relied heavily on the coal in its mountains to fuel economic activity.
Tuesday's roll-out begins a public comment period before the rule is finalized.