Trump responds to Syria, FBI raids

The president expressed frustration with Syrian attack, anger at Cohen raids

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore | President Donald Trump announced a missile strike targeting three Syrian chemical weapon production and storage facilities on April 13. The strike was in retaliation for the alleged use of banned chemical weapons.

An anonymous White House official told the New York Times on Monday that President Donald Trump has decided not to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia in response to its support of the Syrian government.

This claim contradicts what U.N. Ambassador Nicki Haley told the CBS program Face the Nation a day earlier.

This revelation capped off an eventful week in Washington, which began on April 7 with allegations against the Syrian government for its use of chemical weapons in an attack on the Damascus suburb Douma. Approximately 500 people in Douma have reported symptoms consistent with that of a chemical attack. These sypmtoms include burning eyes, difficulty breathing and foaming at the mouth. The World Health Organization reported 70 deaths, with 43 having signs of “being exposed to highly toxic chemicals.”

Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said on Tuesday that the “if the situation is sound than the fact-finding mission will begin its work in Douma tommorrow.”

The Trump adminsitration initially promised a response within 48 hours, saying that “all options are on the table.” Trump gave a glimpse of his administration’s response on April 11, tweeting “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!” Trump didn’t confirm if an attack was coming at all in a tweet early the next morning saying they “Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”

On the night of April 13, however, the United Kingdom and France joined the United States in airstrikes in Syria against the Syrian Government. More than 100 missiles were fired at three targets, which were facilities used to produce and store chemical weapons and equipment. The strikes aimed to destroy Syrias chemical weapons capabilities. The Pentagon stated in a briefing that it had “successfully hit every target” and that “the three facilities were fundamental components of the regimes chemical weapons warfare infrastructure.”

Trump tweeted, “Mission Accomplished,” but the U.S. and its allies stand ready to strike again if Syria continues to use its chemical weapons. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that no Russians were killed in the strike, but warned against further strikes. Iran called the strikes a crime against a sovereign government, but did not warn of any retaliatory strikes.

Besides the Syria situation, Trump also tweeted his displeasure over the FBI’s investigation with his longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

The FBI raided the home, offices and hotel room of Cohen on April 9 after referral from special counsel Robert Mueller and approval from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The raid’s goal was believed to have been recovering records related to Cohen’s payment to Stormy Daniels leading up to the 2016 election and communications Cohen had with Trump regarding the “Access Hollywood” tape.

This comes amid more turnover in the Trump administration. Current CIA Director Mike Pompeo still isn’t approved by Congress as Trump’s nominee for the vacant Secretary of State position. Pompeo lost the support Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and, with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) home battling cancer, the GOP is just short with 49 votes. Trump and Pompeo have begun lobbying moderate Senate Democrats who are up for reelection to get a speedy confirmation.

By: Jack Dunn ~Staff Writer~