The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Secretary of State John Kerry is finalizing his selection of a team to help shepherd Middle East peace talks on a day-to-day basis, a U.S. official said Monday.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki would neither confirm nor deny reports that a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, has been chosen to head up the U.S. negotiating team.

In Amman on Friday — at the end of his sixth trip to the region — Kerry announced that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have agreed in principle to return to talks frozen for three years.

Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni and her Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erakat are due to travel to Washington within the coming days to start the talks.

“This is the first time in years the official negotiators for both sides have publicly agreed to meet at this level,” Psaki told reporters.

But she could not give a precise date for the resumption of talks, saying US officials had been “in touch with both parties over the course of the last couple of days, but I don’t have an update on the logistics of the date yet.”

“Right now we are pursuing the way forward. There has been a great deal of work, compromise and sacrifice leading to this point,” Psaki said.

But she stressed she was going to respect Kerry’s commitment to keep the details of the negotiations secret in order to give them the best chance of succeeding.

The top U.S. diplomat was now “focused on putting together the right combination of players to work with the parties,” she said.

“We do expect, of course, to have a senior team in place, but no decision on a negotiator or envoy has been made.”

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mark Levin

Politico reported Friday that John Eastman, the disgraced ex-law professor who formulated many of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, was also apparently in communication with Fox News host Mark Levin. The story gets even more interesting from there, revealing the shell game that right-wing media personalities engage in while doubling as political operatives.

A legal filing by Eastman’s attorneys reveals that, among the messages Eastman is still attempting to conceal from the House January 6 committee are 12 pieces of correspondence with an individual matching Levin’s description as “a radio talk show host, is also an attorney, former long-time President (and current board chairman) of a public interest law firm, and also a former fellow at The Claremont Institute.” Other details, including a sloppy attempt to redact an email address, also connect to Levin, who did not respond to Politico’s requests for comment.

Keep reading... Show less

Sen. Wendy Rogers

Youtube Screenshot

There have been powerful indicators of the full-bore radicalization of the Republican Party in the past year: the 100-plus extremist candidates it fielded this year, the apparent takeover of the party apparatus in Oregon, the appearance of Republican officials at white nationalist gatherings. All of those are mostly rough gauges or anecdotal evidence, however; it’s been difficult to get a clear picture of just how deeply the extremism has penetrated the party.

Using social media as a kind of proxy for their real-world outreach—a reasonable approach, since there are few politicians now who don’t use social media—the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights decided to get a clearer picture of the reach of extremist influences in official halls of power by examining how many elected officials participate in extremist Facebook groups. What it found was deeply troubling: 875 legislators in all 50 states, constituting nearly 22% of all elected GOP lawmakers, identified as participating members of extremist Facebook groups.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}