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Withdrawal of German troops highlights the increasing wealth of the two White House allies amidst Esper’s isolation



Withdrawal of German troops highlights the increasing wealth of the two White House allies amidst Esper's isolation

Usually, plans that involve the removal of large numbers of troops are coordinated with the Pentagon to achieve achievable goals. But this time a special order to withdraw nearly 10,000 troops from Germany came from inside the White House, despite concerns from the Pentagon that it was endangering European-based American defenses against Russia.

“Their stock is very high now,” an administration official told CNN.

Since resigning as acting DNI last month, Grenell has taken several new positions both inside and outside government, including part-time work at the national security council working under O’Brien. Returning to his time as US Ambassador to Germany, Grenell had become the driving force behind the push to bring down troops there.

Since Grenell returned to the White House last year, there has been widespread belief among current national security officials that he and O’Brien have worked to isolate Esper, according to three sources who know internal dynamics. Others believe that Esper’s influence has diminished in large part because he has refused to get involved in politics.

The secretary of defense has been on shaky ground with the White House for the past few weeks. Two days after Trump’s photo-op in front of St. Church. John, he openly broke up with the President for using active duty troops to extinguish a large scale protest was triggered by the death of George Floyd. CNN reported at the time that Esper was ready to resign afterwards and believed Trump was ready to fire him.

On Thursday, Grenell pushed back to the notion that he and O’Brien had actively tried to put Esper aside, which Grenell said was present throughout the months of discussion about pulling troops out of Germany.

“The president wants a wise process from DoD,” Grenell told CNN. “At that time the whole discussion was about how much we adjusted so that some (troops) went to Poland, and how much we brought home.”

As talks continued, key disagreements arose over how many of the approximately 34,500 US troops were withdrawn. While Pentagon officials are willing to adjust the level of troops in Germany if that does not undermine US deterrence against Russia, the President openly calls the withdrawal he ordered as retaliation against Germany, which he claims does not contribute a fair share of funding to NATO.

On Wednesday, Esper left for NATO, where the topic of the potential withdrawal of US troops from Europe could not be avoided.

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“Secretary Esper met with President Trump on Wednesday to discuss our presence in Europe,” said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman. “On Monday, the Secretary will give a brief explanation to the President at the White House about the choices for the posture of our troops in Germany.”

Grenell and O’Brien

National Security Advisers Robert O, Brien, left, and Rick Grenell have known each other because both of them worked in the George W. Bush administration.

Some sources say that O’Brien is trying to position himself as the next Secretary of Defense if Trump wins a second term, and that Grenell positions himself as the next foreign minister – something he has refused or refused to admit. On Tuesday at the Students For Trump conference in Phoenix, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, Trump’s ally, asked Grenell if he would serve as foreign minister in the second Trump administration. Grenell answered, “I don’t think I can answer that.”

O’Brien and Grenell have a close relationship and have known each other since the mid-2000s, when they both worked at the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration, according to a source familiar with their relationship.

O’Brien was key in calling on Grenell to act as DNI acting following the removal of Joseph McGuire, according to one current official and a former government official.

O’Brien, saw Grenell as a loyal soldier to be sent to DNI, and also felt that by appointing Grenell, a figure who was very controversial even in conservatives, they might pave the way for quick confirmation of whoever was to be nominated, people said this.

While the pair has managed to gain support with Trump, their maneuvers have angered some of President’s main allies, including the Republican Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, Senator Jim Inhofe, who said O’Brien failed to give him a head. about plans to expel US troops from Germany.

“It came from O’Brien. He signed it. That’s what I understand,” the Republic of Oklahoma told reporters on Wednesday.

“I was the last to know about it,” he added. “I should be the first.”

Get rid of Esper

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper attended a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda and US President Donald Trump at the Oval Office of the White House on June 24, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Sources throughout the administration told CNN that O’Brien had encouraged the President’s increasingly negative views of Esper.

For months, Trump and O’Brien have lost confidence in Esper, noting his tendency to avoid offering the President full defense or his policies, several government officials had previously told CNN.

Trump personally expressed frustration with Esper, including venturing at length during a recent weekend at Camp David, according to various sources.

O’Brien has spoken to the President about Esper’s television statement, which the White House feels is problematic or has not been sent on several occasions. In at least one example, O’Brien gave a printout to the President who compared his public comments on the topic to those made by Esper to highlight his differences.

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Proximity also played a role in the division, said one source close to O’Brien. With his office in the West Wing, O’Brien can be in the Oval Office within one minute, while the time needed for Esper to travel from the Pentagon after being summoned by Trump sometimes upsets the impatient President, the source added.

Trump doesn’t seem to have a problem with O’Brien stomping on Esper’s feet, telling reporters at the White House on Monday that he intends to follow up with the recommendation of his national security adviser to move US troops stationed in Germany.

Trump reaffirmed his stance during a press conference at Rose Garden on Wednesday with Polish President Andrzej Duda. “We might move them from Germany to Poland,” Trump said, adding that he wanted to bring the level of US troops there to 25,000. “Some will go home and some will go elsewhere and Poland will be one of those places.”

Although Widower supported the transfer of troops to Poland, he insisted that he opposed reducing the total number of US troops in Europe, saying it would “seriously damage European security.”

Deeper tension with the Pentagon

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was right, since then calling his presence in the Church of St. Trump

Trump’s frustration with Esper is an indication of wider tension between the President and military leaders at the Pentagon.

Amid criticism for his appearance in battle uniforms during the photo-op of President St. John, General Mark Milley, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also considered whether he could effectively survive, according to several current officials and retirees who spoke to CNN.

Milley was so uncertain about his future that he personally consulted with his close colleagues, including several retired senior generals.

Tensions over how to respond to protests have flowed into steps to withdraw troops from Germany, according to several current and former officials.

While defense officials have considered moving troops from Germany in the past, US and NATO officials told CNN earlier this month that the size and timing of the reduction was unexpected.

Discussions about moving troops from Germany began early last fall, according to a government official. When the idea began to be mobilized, “middle-level” officials with the Department of Defense pushed back, instead of asking to increase the number of troops there, the person said.

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In December, top US officials who attended the NATO summit in London took on the discussion and Grenell raised the issue with Esper, highlighting the President’s interest in withdrawing troops, the person said.

The Pentagon said it was working on options “consistent with the President’s direction” to significantly reduce troop numbers in Germany, but defense officials were stunned by Trump’s initial request and were largely excluded from the decision making process, sources said.

Now, it’s up to Esper to do it, despite believing that Trump’s request is logistically impossible and something NATO’s allies are personally fighting.

“Mark Esper is very aware of the physics problem” of such withdrawals, said an official.

GOP pushback

National Security Adviser Robert OBrien listens when President Donald Trump talks about Syria at the White House in October 2019.

O’Brien, on the other hand, defended the move.

In the Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, he believes the reduction in troops is crucial to “against China and Russia, the two big competitors.”

If successful, the move could mean a signature victory for O’Brien, but some GOP lawmakers are not happy about it. A group of Republicans, led by Rep. Michael McCaul, top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran – urged Trump not to reduce the number of troops in Germany in this week’s letter. , arguing that the move would negatively impact NATO’s ability to prevent Russian aggression.

More than 20 Republicans on the House Armed Forces Committee, including the panel chairman, Rep. Mac Thornberry, echoed that point in a separate letter earlier this month where they asked the White House to reconsider its plans.

Two congressional aides who were familiar with the outreach told CNN that they did not expect the letters would succeed in convincing Trump to change course unless Esper or Milley could intervene in certain ways.

For Inhofe, who remains Trump’s strong ally on Capitol Hill, the blame lies with O’Brien, not Trump. “He loves our troops very much and he will not do anything that will cause unbearable difficulties for our troops,” Inhofe said Wednesday about the President.

“I only know that it’s not something he will start because he knows him well.”

CNN’s Kylie Atwood and Ryan Browne contributed to this report.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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