International Criminal Court

E.U. has ‘serious concern’ about U.S. sanctions against ICC

The U.S. president on Thursday issued an executive order authorizing sanctions against ICC employees


Donald Trump’s decision to authorize sanctions against the International Criminal Court is "a matter of serious concern," the EU's top diplomat said.

The U.S. president on Thursday issued an executive order authorizing sanctions against ICC employees involved in an investigation into whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.

This "is a matter of serious concern, as you can understand, because we as the European Union are steadfast supporters of the International Criminal Court," Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, said in an online press conference after a virtual meeting with foreign affairs ministers from the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine).
The U.S. decision comes after Trump has withdrawn from a string of international agreements that are important for the EU including the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal. He's also ended cooperation with the World Health Organization and pulled out of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Borrell said that "he learned this very bad news" when the video meeting was coming to an end, adding that, because of this, "my answer has to be cautious because I don’t know exactly the extent of this decision."

Yet he didn't hold back. "I think that for sure I can reiterate our support to this institution," the former Spanish minister said, stressing that the Hague-based tribunal has been playing a key role in addressing "the greatest international crimes." The ICC, he added, "is a key factor in bringing justice and peace, it must be respected and supported by all nations and we’ll analyze the decision in order to assess its full implications."

The Foreign Affairs Council, which gathers all EU foreign affairs ministers, will meet on Monday and "will have their say about it, but from my point of view immediately … I just want to reaffirm our support to the court," Borrell said.

Read more

Jeff Sessions claims he’s clueless about his DOJ’s snooping on Congress

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is telling associates he had no idea his Justice Department seized phone records of two top Democratic congressional critics of then-President Donald Trump. In the hours since The New York Times broke the news on Thursday that prosecutors subpoenaed Apple metadata from Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA), former Attorney General Sessions has privately told people that he wasn’t aware of, nor was he briefed on, the reported data seizures while he led the Trump DOJ. This week’s revelations were a surprise to him, according to a source familiar with the matter, and another person close to Sessions.

Watchdog investigates seizure of Democrats’ phone data

The US justice department’s internal watchdog launched an investigation on Friday after revelations that former president Donald Trump’s administration secretly seized phone data from at least two House Democrats as part of an aggressive leaks inquiry related to the Russia investigation into Trump’s conduct.

Trump feared Democrats would replace Biden with Michelle Obama, book claims

Donald Trump called Joe Biden a “mental retard” during the 2020 election, a new book says, but was reluctant to attack him too strongly for fear the Democrats would replace him with Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama. Biden went on to beat Trump by more than 7m in the popular vote and by 306-232 in the electoral college, a result Trump deemed a landslide when it was in his favor against Clinton in 2016.

Intelligence failures left police officers exposed to a violent mob of Trump supporters

The deadly insurrection at the US Capitol was “planned in plain sight” but intelligence failures left police officers exposed to a violent mob of Trump supporters, a Senate investigation has found. The Capitol police intelligence division had been gathering online data since December about plots to storm the building on 6 January, including messages such as: “Bring guns. It’s now or never.” But a combination of bad communications, poor planning, faulty equipment and lack of leadership meant the warnings went unheeded, allowing the insurrectionists to overrun the Capitol and disrupt certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. Five people died.