FROM Nathan Hodge
Afghan Recount Audit Despite US and UN efforts, Afghanistan may not have a unity government in time for next week’s scheduled presidential inauguration. One of two run-off candidates, Abdullah Abdullah, has withdrawn from a UN-supervised audit of election results. Nathan Hodge with the Wall Street Journal joins us from Kabul.
Visit by Chinese VP Offers US Chance to Reset Tone with Beijing China's next leader is in Washington today, at the start of a trip across the country. Since that country's leadership changes only once every ten years, it could be a crucial moment. When he welcomed China's Vice President to the US this morning, Vice President Biden told Xi Jinping, "We're not always going to see eye to eye." Later, there was a meeting with President Obama, who expressed his belief that "a strong and prosperous China is one that can help to bring stability and prosperity to the region and to the world." Nathan Hodge is national security reporter for the Wall Street Journal .
Obama and Panetta Outline Defense Cuts President Obama today outlined the results of his national security review, calling for leaner forces to meet new threats in the 21st Century. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, despite reductions mandated by Congress, the US will still be able to conduct more than one action at the same time. There will be special emphasis on the Asia-Pacific Region and the Middle East. We hear about military and political consequences.
The Drone Wars The first year of the Obama Administration has been called "the Year of the Drone" in Pakistan. Suspected enemies were struck 51 times with missiles fired from unmanned American Predators, more in 12 months than during eight years of the Bush Administration. In Afghanistan, innocent civilians have also been killed. In Pakistan, a secret drone program could mean that CIA operatives will be charged with murder. Smaller, unarmed drones are being used for US border enforcement, and they could watch forest fires, explore hurricanes and check pipelines. Should local law enforcement get drones for surveillance? What about privacy and over-crowded skies?
Trump fires FBI Director James Comey Vice President Mike Pence took the Administration's lead today in explaining why the President fired the Head of the FBI, saying, "The president made the right decision at the right time." Trump's action is being compared to the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre" that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1973.
Trump's Russia ties intensify with Comey firing Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe contradicted the Trump White House today, insisting the Bureau had not lost faith in former Director James Comey. He promised to notify the committee of any interference into investigation of the Trump campaign's contacts with Vladimir Putin's Russia. What do we know about those contacts… and how they relate to Trump's business interests and those of his family?
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Concern deepens amid Trump's controversies President Trump delivered today's commencement speech to the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. As he praised the accomplishments of the graduates, he listed some of his own… and made reference to reports that he leaked intelligence to the Russians and tried to shut down an FBI Investigation into his associates.