Sen. Warren: DNA test shows I have Native American heritage
By BOB SALSBERG
Tuesday, October 16
BOSTON (AP) — Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Monday released the results of a DNA analysis that she said indicated that she has some Native American heritage, a rebuttal to President Donald Trump, who has long mocked her ancestral claims and repeatedly referred to her as “Pocahontas.”
The Massachusetts Democrat and potential 2020 presidential contender challenged Trump to make good on his pledge to donate $1 million to charity if she provided proof of Native American heritage, a moment that was caught on video. Trump falsely denied ever making the offer and later said he would donate the money only if he can personally administer the genetic test.
The analysis was done by Stanford University professor Carlos D. Bustamante, a prominent expert in the field. He concluded that the great majority of Warren’s ancestry is European but added that the results “strongly support” the existence of a Native American ancestor.
In his report , Bustamante said he analyzed Warren’s sample without knowing the identity of the donor. He concluded that Warren has a pure Native American ancestor who probably lived six to 10 generations ago, and that it was impossible to determine the individual’s tribal connection.
Warren, who has said her Native American roots were part of “family lore,” also released a video produced by her Senate re-election campaign. In it, she said: “The president likes to call my mom a liar. What do the facts say?”
Bustamante replied: “The facts suggest that you absolutely have Native American ancestry in your pedigree.”
The analysis is not the first evidence of Warren’s heritage. An 1894 document previously unearthed by the New England Genealogical Society suggested Warren’s great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, was at least partially Native American, making the senator as much as 1/32nd Native American.
The genealogy group has said it has no conclusive evidence of her ancestry, and a spokesman said Monday it would not comment on the genetic findings.
If Warren’s ancestor were six generations removed, she would be 1/64th Native American. But if her ancestor had been as much as 10 generations removed, that would make the individual a great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparent and render Warren only 1/1,024th Native American, according to Blaine Bettinger, a genealogist and author who specializes in DNA evidence.
Such a finding could potentially further excite Warren’s critics instead of placating them.
Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said DNA tests are useless to determine tribal citizenship and don’t distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America.
“Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong,” he said Monday. “Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”
Warren acknowledged in a tweet that DNA and family history have nothing to do with tribal affiliation or citizenship, which is determined by tribal nations. “I respect the distinction, & don’t list myself as Native in the Senate,” she said.
Warren’s effort to address questions about her ancestry and the release of the video are her latest moves telegraphing a likely presidential run in 2020. During the summer, she also released a decade’s worth of tax returns, drawing a contrast with Trump’s unwillingness to release his own tax documents.
The moves seem to anticipate the type of criticism she might face against opponents in a Democratic primary or in a possible general election matchup against Trump.
“She is most clearly doing the things you do if you’re running for president,” said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic strategist and veteran of presidential campaigns.
Some Democrats were critical of the timing of Warren’s announcement.
Jim Messina, who served as President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign manager and as a White House deputy chief of staff, said on Twitter: “Argue the substance all you want, but why 22 days before a crucial election where we MUST win House and Senate to save America, why did SenWarren have to do her announcement now? Why can’t Dems ever stay focused?”
During a recent town hall-style meeting in Holyoke, Massachusetts, Warren said she planned to “take a hard look at running for president,” after next month’s election.
Earlier this year, the senator released personnel files seeking to dispute critics who have alleged that the former Harvard Law School professor advanced her law career with a narrative that she is a descendant of Cherokee and Delaware tribes. Warren has denied using her Native American heritage to gain any advantage.
In an email Monday to supporters, Warren said she “never expected the president of the United States to use my family’s story as a racist political joke against Native American history, culture, and people — over, and over, and over.”
In a tweet directed at Trump, Warren said: “Remember saying on (July 5) that you’d give $1M to a charity of my choice if my DNA showed Native American ancestry?” She went on to request that the president send a check to National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.
At a summer rally in Montana, the president declared that he would give a million dollars to charity, “paid for by Trump,” if Warren takes the test “and it shows you’re an Indian.”
But when asked by reporters Monday, Trump said, “I didn’t say that.”
Hours later, when asked about the donation during an appearance in Georgia, Trump said he would “only do it if I can test her personally.” He added, “That will not be something I enjoy doing, either.”
Warren responded with a series of tweets, suggesting that Trump’s comments are “creepy physical threats,” the kind he makes toward women who scare him. Warren tweeted Trump is a “cowardly elitist” and she “won’t sit quietly for Trump’s racism” so she took the test.
Warren, who grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, said her mother and father were forced to elope because of her mother’s heritage.
She faces Republican Geoff Diehl, who co-chaired Trump’s Massachusetts presidential campaign, in November. Diehl said it’s up to voters to decide what they think of Warren’s DNA analysis.
“We’ve never made it an issue with this campaign. I think the fact is it’s an issue that’s been attached to her since 2012,” he said.
The DNA analysis was first reported by The Boston Globe.
Associated Press writers Eileen Putman and Ken Thomas in Washington and Steve LeBlanc in Boston contributed to this report.
Opinion: GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Would Turn the Clock Back on Health Care
By Colin Seeberger
Desperate to distract voters from their lawsuit to end the Affordable Care Act and its protections for pre-existing conditions, Republican gubernatorial candidates are trying to whitewash their records by running for office as champions of Medicaid.
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt is promising to reform Medicaid to “ensure that the program is strong and available to those who need it.” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is vowing to “make it better.” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is pledging to “make (Medicaid) more accountable and sustainable in the long run.”
While these phrases may seem reasonable at first glance, they’re nothing more than highly poll-tested language designed to pull the wool over the eyes of voters and gloss over the real vision: to upend Medicaid by using work requirements to strip coverage from those who need it most.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration gave the green light to states to impose work requirements on enrollees who qualified for Medicaid expansion under the ACA. In June, Arkansas became the first state in the country to implement these new restrictions on a segment of its expansion population. New data released by the state last month shows that the policy has led to significant coverage losses among the most low-income Arkansans.
New states adopting these onerous requirements would undoubtedly lead to similar additional coverage losses and retreat from the substantial progress the country has made in reducing the number of uninsured Americans.
Work requirements do not just hurt those individuals who lose coverage but also the state imposing them, by forcing states to bankroll millions in tax payer-funded expenses to create new government bureaucracies and verify enrollee’s information. This means states will have less money for the essential services working families need to thrive, like public education, transportation and infrastructure. Furthermore, coverage losses will also result in greater uncompensated care, putting additional strain on hospitals and increasing costs for consumers who will be forced to pick up the tab.
Every candidate wants to help their state’s residents find work, but if proponents of work requirements really wanted to help connect Medicaid-eligible individuals to work, they would create more opportunities by investing in job training, helping families better afford child care, making changes to better align work and school days, and adopting paid-leave programs that help workers care for themselves or family in times of need — not threatening the health and financial security of the most low-income in our society by taking away their health care coverage.
Democratic gubernatorial candidates are offering voters a dramatically different vision. Former Michigan Senate leader Gretchen Whitmer wants to establish a reinsurance program and use the program’s associated cost savings to expand Medicaid to even more Michiganders. Fred Hubbell in Iowa wants to reverse the state’s failed experiment with privatizing Medicaid; a recent report in just the first year of the state’s move to managed care found that rate of cost increases per Medicaid enrollee were triple the rate prior to privatization — diverting state funds from other critical efforts, like boosting teacher pay. Others, like Ned Lamont of Connecticut, would lower costs for consumers by allowing residents to “buy-in” to the state’s Medicaid program.
While we have much more to do, the progress made on health care has made a tangible difference in people’s lives. We can’t turn back the clock and cause the number of uninsured to spiral — especially in the middle of an opioid epidemic that Medicaid expansion has played a crucial role in combatting. Americans shouldn’t fall for the veiled sales pitch they are getting from Republican gubernatorial candidates on health care.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Colin Seeberger is an associate director for media relations at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.
Turkish official: New evidence writer slain in consulate
By FAY ABUELGASIM, SUZAN FRASER and JON GAMBRELL
Tuesday, October 16
ISTANBUL (AP) — Police who searched the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul found evidence that Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi was killed there, a high-level Turkish official said Tuesday, as authorities prepared to search the consul’s residence nearby after the diplomat left the country.
Security forces began setting up barricades in front of the residence just hours after Consul Mohammed al-Otaibi flew out of the country on a 2 p.m. flight, state media reported. Saudi Arabia did not immediately acknowledge the consul left the country, two weeks after Khashoggi disappeared at the diplomatic post he ran.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo smiled and shook hands during meetings in Riyadh with Saudi King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom Khashoggi wrote critically about in The Washington Post while in self-imposed exile in America.
Saudi officials have called Turkish allegations that Saudi agents killed Khashoggi “baseless,” but reports in U.S. media on Tuesday suggested the Saudis may acknowledge the writer was killed at the consulate, perhaps as part of a botched interrogation.
A high-level Turkish official told The Associated Press that police found evidence there of Khashoggi’s slaying, without elaborating. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as the investigation was ongoing.
Police planned a second search at the Saudi consul’s home nearby. Leaked surveillance footage show diplomatic cars traveled to the consul’s home shortly after Khashoggi’s disappearance at the consulate on Oct. 2.
In Riyadh, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir greeted Pompeo when he landed. The former CIA chief didn’t make any remarks to the media.
Soon after, Pompeo arrived at a royal palace, where he thanked King Salman “for accepting my visit on behalf of President (Donald) Trump” before the two went into a closed-door meeting.
Pompeo then met a smiling Prince Mohammed, the 33-year-old heir apparent to the throne of the world’s largest oil exporter. Khashoggi fled Saudi Arabia and took up a self-imposed exile in the United States after the prince’s rise, and had written columns critical of his policies.
“We are strong and old allies,” the prince told Pompeo. “We face our challenges together — the past, the day of, tomorrow.”
Trump, who dispatched Pompeo to speak to the monarch over Khashoggi’s disappearance, said after talking with King Salman that the slaying could have been carried out by “rogue killers.” Trump provided no evidence, but that statement appeared to offer the U.S.-allied kingdom a possible path out of a global diplomatic firestorm.
“The king firmly denied any knowledge of it,” Trump told reporters Monday. “It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. I mean, who knows? We’re going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon, but his was a flat denial.”
Left unsaid was the fact that any decision in the ultraconservative kingdom rests solely with the ruling Al Saud family.
“The effort behind the scenes is focused on avoiding a diplomatic crisis between the two countries and has succeeded in finding a pathway to deescalate tensions,” said Ayham Kamel, the head of the Eurasia Group’s Mideast and North Africa division.
“Riyadh will have to provide some explanation of the journalist’s disappearance, but in a manner that distances the leadership from any claim that a decision was made at senior levels to assassinate the prominent journalist.”
CNN reported that the Saudis were going to acknowledge the killing happened but deny the king or crown prince had ordered it — which does not match what analysts and experts know about the kingdom’s inner workings.
The New York Times reported that the Saudi royal court would suggest that an official within the kingdom’s intelligence services — a friend of Prince Mohammed — had carried out the killing. According to that reported claim, the crown prince had approved an interrogation or rendition of Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, but the intelligence official was tragically incompetent as he eagerly sought to prove himself. Both reports cited anonymous people said to be familiar with the Saudi plans.
Saudi officials have not answered repeated requests for comment over recent days from the AP.
Saudi officials have been in and out of the building since Khashoggi’s disappearance without being stopped. Under the Vienna Convention, diplomatic posts are technically foreign soil that must be protected and respected by host countries.
Turkey has wanted to search the consulate for days. Permission apparently came after a late Sunday night call between King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Turkish inspection team included a prosecutor, a deputy prosecutor, anti-terror police and forensic experts, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. Certain areas of the consulate were to remain off-limits, although officials would be able to inspect surveillance cameras, Turkish media reported.
Erdogan told journalists on Tuesday that police sought traces of “toxic” materials and suggested parts of the consulate had been recently painted, without elaborating.
On Tuesday, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official acknowledged police want to search the Saudi consul’s home as well. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations, gave no timeline for the search.
Khashoggi has written extensively for the Post about Saudi Arabia, criticizing its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women’s rights activists after the lifting of a driving ban for women. Those policies are all seen as initiatives of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman, who is next in line to the throne.
Prince Mohammed has aggressively pitched the kingdom as a destination for foreign investment. But Khashoggi’s disappearance has led several business leaders and media outlets to back out of an upcoming investment conference in Riyadh.
Trump previously warned of “severe punishment” for the kingdom if it was found to be involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance, which has spooked investors.
Trump’s warning drew an angry response Sunday from Saudi Arabia and its state-linked media, including a suggestion that Riyadh could wield its oil production as a weapon. The U.S. president has been after King Salman and OPEC to boost production to drive down high oil prices, caused in part by the coming re-imposition of oil sanctions on Iran.
Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey, and Gambrell from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Matthew Pennington in Washington contributed.
Arms and influence in the Khashoggi affair
October 16, 2018
Russell E. Lucas
Director of Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities; Associate Professor of International Relations, Michigan State University
Russell E. Lucas does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Michigan State University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
President Donald Trump’s reaction to the disappearance and death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul reveals important details about the declining influence of U.S. in the Middle East.
As a scholar who follows the links between international and domestic politics in the Middle East, it is not hard to see that what President Trump has said so far about the Khashoggi affair will accelerate the diminishing power of the U.S. in the Middle East.
New dynamic for an old alliance
American influence in the Middle East – especially over Saudi Arabia – was already waning before Trump’s election.
After the Bush administration’s failure to turn post-invasion Iraq into a model of pro-American democracy in the Middle East, the Obama administration attempted to avoid Middle East military quagmires.
Instead, it tried to use diplomacy to negotiate with Iran on its nuclear program. But asking the Saudis to share their neighborhood with their Iranian rivals was instead seen by Saudis as asking for Arab acquiescence to Iranian power.
The recent rise of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman pushed Saudi Arabia from a country that preferred to work in the background in international affairs into a nation that stepped up its activity as the U.S. stepped back.
The Saudis took Trump’s election as an opportunity to push the U.S. for a harder line on Iran. They wanted the U.S. to reverse the nuclear deal and do more to block Iran’s clients in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Bahrain. The Saudis also wanted to arm themselves with more modern weapons systems.
Trump and the art of the arms deal
Trump’s vision of Saudi-U.S. relations has arms sales by the U.S. to Saudi Arabia at its center, which is an example of how his “America First” foreign policy works.
In Trump’s first foreign visit as president, he flew to Saudi Arabia and signed a deal to sell US$110 billion worth of arms to the Saudis. Trump emerged from that trip with a close relationship to Crown Prince Salman, who drives much of Saudi government policy for his aged father, King Salman.
Since then, the prince has developed a strong relationship with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who serves as a regular liaison between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
Recently, Trump rejected the idea of Congress imposing sanctions on Saudi Arabia if the Saudis were found responsible for killing Khashoggi.
Trump said, “I don’t like stopping massive amounts of money that’s being poured into our country on – I know they’re talking about different kinds of sanctions, but they’re spending $110 billion on military equipment and on things that create jobs, like jobs and others, for this country.”
In another interview, Trump said that he told the King of Saudi Arabia “King, you’ve gotta pay” for American protection.
Arms or influence?
Trump’s transactional foreign policy is primarily concerned with money and American jobs. Previous bipartisan cornerstones of U.S. foreign policy have fallen to the wayside, including promoting human rights and democracy or seeking a strategic balance of power favorable to American interests.
This policy risks pushing U.S. influence in the Middle East further to the margins. In Trump’s calculations, the U.S. cannot sanction or chastise Riyadh because it would hurt the U.S. more than it would Saudi Arabia. American jobs would be lost if the Saudis turned to purchasing arms from Russia or China.
While Trump may believe his own accounting of the $110 billion in arms sales, there are questions as to whether the sales are really worth far less. Moreover, some observers have remarked that the U.S. arms sales were trading human rights for profit. In addition to concerns about the lack of freedom within Saudi Arabia, others have worried that these arms will aid what has become a shockingly deadly Saudi intervention in Yemen.
The Saudis have threatened “that if it receives any action, it will respond with greater action, and that the Kingdom’s economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy.” The exact nature of these actions remains unclear. These threats, however, play on fears that the Saudis would cancel the arms purchase or raise the price of oil. And late on Monday, reports emerged that Saudi Arabia was going to admit accidentally killing Khashoggi in an interrogation.
President Trump has emboldened Saudi Arabia by relying on his personal diplomacy and focusing on jobs rather than broader American interests or ideals. If the Saudis are able to keep the United States out of the Khashoggi affair, then Trump has opened the door to further limits on U.S. influence in the Middle East.
Comment: Casper Lӧtter, Researcher, University of the Free State
EXCELLENT ARTICLE! This shows the value, once again, of what the post-Marxist German philosopher Jurgen Habermas calls communication which has led to “ideological distortions.” Said in another way, Trump has been shown up as a hypocritical liar. His attempt to distort the debate on Khashoggi’s disappearance, and probable murder, has been unmarked.