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Trump Boasts of ‘Very Big Win’ in Elections, Even as Democrats Retake House

U.S. President Donald Trump is boasting of “a Very Big Win” in Tuesday’s national congressional elections, after Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate, even as Democrats took control of the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years.

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Washington, DC, United States (VOA) – U.S. President Donald Trump is boasting of “a Very Big Win” in Tuesday’s national congressional elections, after Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate, even as Democrats took control of the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years.

“Those that worked with me in this incredible Midterm Election, embracing certain policies and principles, did very well,” Trump said on Twitter early Wednesday ahead of his White House news conference on the election. “Those that did not, say goodbye! Yesterday was such a very Big Win, and all under the pressure of a Nasty and Hostile Media!”

The results make it more difficult for Trump to win approval for his legislative initiatives. House Democrats are also vowing to launch numerous investigations of Trump’s finances and his administration’s policies, which the U.S. leader said would be matched with Senate Republican probes of Democrats.

Trump called House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to congratulate her on the Democratic takeover in the House. He said Democratic lawmakers, some of whom have said the party needs new and younger leadership, should again make her the House speaker, the top position in the chamber and second in line to the presidency.

The 78-year-old Pelosi was the first woman to be House speaker, from 2007 to 2011, when Democrats last held a House majority.

“In all fairness, Nancy Pelosi deserves to be chosen Speaker of the House by the Democrats,” Trump said. “If they give her a hard time, perhaps we will add some Republican votes. She has earned this great honor!”

Trump appeared determined to take credit for Republican victories, tweeting, “To any of the pundits or talking heads that do not give us proper credit for this great Midterm Election, just remember two words – FAKE NEWS!”

The split congressional outcome, which independent pollsters and analysts had been predicting for weeks, serves as at least a partial rebuke of Trump, who staged 11 political rallies in eight states in the last week of the campaign, repeatedly telling his most fervent Republican supporters the election was essentially a referendum on his 22-month presidency.

Pelosi, in claiming a House victory for Democrats, said the election was more than about Democrats and Republicans. Rather, she said, “It’s about restoring constitutional checks and balances to the Trump administration.”

In the House, legislative committees have strong investigatory powers. Some Democrats have suggested they will investigate whether Trump has any personal or financial conflicts of interest by demanding to see his tax returns, which he has refused to release, and look into his financial and business interests, as well as his 2016 presidential election campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.

Some Democrats have called for Trump’s impeachment and are waiting to see what special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation concludes about the 2016 election, and whether Trump, as president, obstructed justice by trying to thwart the probe,

University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato said, “Big legislation with an ideological tint, left or right, won’t pass for the next two years. Democrats now have the power of subpoena so Trump and his administration can expect to be investigated rather than protected by the House.”

But by retaining control of the Senate, Republicans will preserve the ability to confirm Trump’s judicial nominations and other key appointments. The Republican-led Senate also could prevent Congress from removing Trump from office, if the Democratic-controlled House decides to move forward with impeachment proceedings.

Enthusiasm and large turnout

Though votes are still being counted in 21 congressional districts, Democrats are projected to pick up more than 30 seats in the House, more than the 23 seats they needed to claim the majority. That is consistent with many pre-election polls.

Democrats drew largely on a coalition of minority voters, young people and those in urban and suburban swing districts, many of whom were upset over Trump’s style of leadership and harsh language about immigrants and minorities.

“The demographic crisis has finally hit,” says Evan Siegfried, a Republican analyst. “And in a way that is brutal and is decimating the Republican Party.”

Though polls had suggested healthcare and the economy were main issues for voters, Trump was never far from voters’ minds.

A CNN national exit poll suggested 55 percent of voters disapprove of Trump’s performance while 44 percent approve of it. Moreover, 56 percent of those surveyed believe the country is on the wrong track and only 41 percent said it was on the right track.

However, Republicans secured at least the 51 to 49 seat majority they hold now in the Senate and are expected to add a few more seats once the final results are in.

The White House said early Wednesday that Trump called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “to congratulate him on the historic Senate gains.”

Precincts across the country reported strong voter numbers for a midterm election.

The New York Times and Michael McDonald of the United States Election Project both estimated national turnout of at least 111 million, far surpassing the 83 million people who voted in the 2014 midterms.

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Trump Fires National Security Official Who Feuded with Melania

President Donald Trump has fired a top White House adviser for criticizing the trip to Africa in October by U.S. First Lady Melania Trump.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Donald Trump has fired a top White House adviser for criticizing the trip to Africa in October by U.S. First Lady Melania Trump.

Mrs. Trump successfully ousted Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel, who is a close friend of National Security Adviser John Bolton. Her spokeswoman released a statement saying that Ricardel should be fired.

Political observers noted Mrs. Trump had never interfered to this degree in politics and in such a public manner. Previous First Ladies have also refrained from making calls for officials to be fired.

“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that (Ricardel) no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” said a statement from Mrs. Trump.

Mrs. Trump visited Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt during her week-long trip to Africa that began Oct. 1. She partnered closely on this trip with the United States Agency for International Development.

This sojourn was Mrs. Trump’s first ever visit to Africa and is the first where she was not accompanied by her husband.

Media reports said Ricardel came into conflict Mrs. Trump over the cost and resources used on the Africa trip.

“One person familiar with the matter said Ricardel quarreled with the first lady’s staff over seating on the plane and use of National Security Council resources,” aaccording to one source. “A White House official accused Ricardel of being dishonest about the feud and subsequently leaking stories to try to cover her behavior.”

It is unclear why Ricardel chose to pick a fight over an issue that has clearly nothing to do with national security. Ricardel has an extensive background in high-level security positions. She had worked as undersecretary of commerce and also held top positions at the State and Defense Departments.

Bolton praised her “track record of successfully managing teams and diverse organizations, as well as addressing complex issues.”

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A European Army Moves a Step Closer to Reality

Germany is backing France’s proposal to establish an “European Army” that will take on all comers, including Russia, China — and the United States.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Paris, France (4E) – Germany is backing France’s proposal to establish an “European Army” that will take on all comers, including Russia, China — and the United States.

In a stunning move, Germany said the idea to establish an Eurropean Army championed by French president Emmanuel Macron “makes sense.” Macron wants to organize a “true European Army” to deal with all external threats, including those presented by the U.S., Russia and China.

Germany’s support for the European Army was voiced by Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

“I believe that a European army makes sense,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is a contender for the office of Chancellor once Angela Merkel steps down.

“Along the way, we will have to reduce the parliamentary reservation for foreign deployments of the Bundeswehr (the German Armed Forces) a bit.”

A single European Army will greatly reduce national defense spending by individual European countries. There are 28 armies, 27 air forces and 23 navies in the European Union.

“No wonder we spend an awful lot on the military,” said Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Andrea Nahles, who also supports the idea.

Macron believes the EU has become the “victim” of the growing tensions between the world superpowers.

“We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,” declared Macron. “We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European Army.”

Macron also lashed out at president Donald Trump’s policies.

“When I see President Trump announcing that he’s quitting a major disarmament treaty which was formed after the 1980s euro-missile crisis that hit Europe, who is the main victim? Europe and its security.”

Trump responded by childishly attacking Marcon in a rant-filled twitter-storm.

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Trump Refuses to Acknowledge Existence of 20 Secret North Korean Missile Bases

President Donald Trump continues to deny being played by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un despite new evidence North Korea still operates at least 20 clandestine missile bases whose ballistic missiles can strike at Seoul in a matter of minutes.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Donald Trump continues to deny being played by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un despite new evidence North Korea still operates at least 20 clandestine missile bases whose ballistic missiles can strike at Seoul in a matter of minutes.

New commercial satellite images made public yesterday reveal more than a dozen of these undeclared North Korean missile operating bases. Military analysts said the existence of these bases is a clear sign Pyongyang is continuing to advance its ballistic missile program amid indications that the so-called denuclearization talks with the U.S. is on the verge of failure.

Media reports said this network of undeclared sites has long been known to the U.S. Intelligence Community, and to Trump. The president, however, has refused to assail North Korea for these bases to keep with his fictitious claim North Korea is “no longer a nuclear threat” after his failed June 12 summit in Singapore with Kim.

Yesterday’s report about the secret sites came days after Trump said his administration is “very happy with how it’s going with North Korea.” Trump made this rosy assessment despite the postponement of a meeting by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with a key aide to Kim.

The CIA refused to comment on the images. Other U.S. intelligence officials have expressed concern about North Korea using hidden and undeclared locations to continue to work on improving their missile technology and their nuclear program.

The new images were supplied by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). have identified 13 of an estimated 20 hidden missile operating bases unreported by North Korea.

“These missile operating bases, which can be used for all classes of ballistic missile from short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) up to and including intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), would presumably have to be subject to declaration, verification, and dismantlement in any final and fully verifiable denuclearization deal,” said CSIS.

The North Koreans have stored most of their weapons capability, including mobile missile launchers, in mountain bunkers or in underground silos.

The new images focus on the Sakkanmol missile base that “currently houses a unit equipped with short-range ballistic missiles but could easily accommodate more capable medium-range ballistic warheads.”

“Despite the difference in interpretation between the US government and the North Koreans over what these declarations have meant, the Singapore declaration and the new Korean declaration, for North Korea watchers it has been pretty clear that the North has not been willing to give up its entire nuclear program,” said CSIS.

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