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Trump, advisers offer mixed messages on Syria — just minutes apart

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Just minutes earlier, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Brett McGurk, stressed that the job was not finished.

“We are in Syria to fight ISIS. That is our mission,” McGurk said, standing alongside U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of the U.S. Central Command, at the U.S. Institute of Peace. “Our mission is not over. And we are going to complete that mission.”

Trump did not contradict the sentiment, telling reporters Tuesday, “We will not rest until ISIS is gone.”

But the mixed messages from the administration have made the timeline for any U.S. withdrawal unclear.

U.S. and coalition partners on the ground have taken control of almost 95 percent of the territory in Syria once held by ISIS but U.S. officials have said their remaining presence will prove difficult to eliminate quickly and could take months.

Trump said Tuesday that he believed the U.S. had almost completed the task and the military’s success on the ground was close to 100 percent.

For his part, Votel stressed the importance of stabilization in Syria, and said the U.S. military can help.

“The hard part, I think, is in front of us, and that is stabilizing these areas, consolidating our gains, getting people back into their homes,” Votel said.

U.S. officials have confirmed a Wall Street Journal report that a hold has been placed on $200 million pledged by the U.S. for those stabilization efforts in Syria. McGurk said Tuesday that the funds were under review but stressed that U.S. efforts to clear land mines, remove rubble and restore basic services such as electricity and running water would continue.

“It is not hampering our work in the field,” he said. “Our diplomats and our development experts from State and USAID have plenty of work to do, and they also have enough resources to continue with that work.”

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Ramsey Clark, attorney general under Johnson, dies at 93

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NEW YORK — Ramsey Clark, the attorney general in the Johnson administration who became an outspoken activist for unpopular causes and a harsh critic of U.S. policy, has died. He was 93.

Clark, whose father, Tom Clark, was attorney general and U.S. Supreme Court justice, died on Friday at his Manhattan home, a family member, Sharon Welch, announced to media outlets, including The New York Times and The Washington Post.

After serving in President Lyndon Johnson’s Cabinet in 1967 and ’68, Clark set up a private law practice in New York in which he championed civil rights, fought racism and the death penalty, and represented declared foes of the United States including former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. He also defended former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

New York civil rights attorney Ron Kuby, who worked with Clark on numerous cases, called the death “very, very sad in a season of losses.”

“The progressive legal community has lost its elder dean and statesman,” Kuby said. “Over many generations, Ramsey Clark was a principled voice, conscience and a fighter for civil and human rights.”

In courtrooms around the country Clark defended antiwar activists. In the court of public opinion, he charged the United States with militarism and arrogance, starting with the Vietnam War and continuing with Grenada, Libya, Panama and the Gulf War.

When Clark visited Iraq after Operation Desert Storm and returned to accuse the United States of war crimes, Newsweek dubbed him the Jane Fonda of the Gulf War.

Clark said he only wanted the United States to live up to its ideals. “If you don’t insist on your government obeying the law, then what right do you have to demand it of others?” he said.

The lanky, soft-spoken Texan went to Washington in 1961 as a New Frontiersman in President John F. Kennedy’s Justice Department.

He was 39 when Johnson made him attorney general in 1967, the second youngest ever — Robert Kennedy had been 36.

Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark, who had been Harry Truman’s attorney general before he joined the high court in 1949, swore in his son as attorney general, then retired to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest.

Ramsey Clark said his work at Justice drew him into the civil rights revolution, which he called “the noblest quest of the American people in our time.”

He also maintained opposition to the death penalty and wiretapping, defended the right of dissent and criticized FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover when no one else in government would dare take him on.

But as Johnson’s attorney general, Clark had the job of prosecuting Dr. Benjamin Spock for counseling Vietnam-era youths to resist the draft, a position with which he sympathized.

“We won the case, that was the worst part,” he said years later.

The Dallas-born Clark, who did a hitch in the Marine Corps in 1945-46, moved his family to New York in 1970 and set up a pro bono-oriented practice. He said then that he and his partners were limiting their annual personal incomes to $50,000, a figure he did not always achieve.

“Money’s not an interest of mine,” he said, but at the same time he was meeting steep medical bills for his daughter, Ronda, who was born with severe disabilities. He and his wife, Georgia, who were married in 1949, also had a son, Thomas, a lawyer.

Clark took one shot at elective office, losing the 1976 Democratic Senate primary to Daniel P. Moynihan.

Clark’s client list included such peace and disarmament activists as the Harrisburg 7 and the Plowshares 8. Abroad, he represented dissidents in Iran, Chile, the Philippines and Taiwan, and skyjackers in the Soviet Union.

He was an advocate for Soviet and Syrian Jews, but outraged many Jews over other clients. He defended a Nazi prison camp guard fighting extradition, and the Palestine Liberation Organization in a lawsuit over the slaying of a cruise ship passenger by hijackers.

There were usually two to three dozen active cases on Clark’s legal calendar, and about 100 more in the background. Capital punishment cases were a staple.

“We talk about civil liberties,” he said. “We have the largest prison population per capita on Earth. The world’s greatest jailer is the freest country on Earth?”

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Britons FURIOUS as Sturgeon supporters mock Prince Philip's death in 'horrendous' attack

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BRITONS have shared their fury over “horrendous vitriol” issued by Nicola Sturgeon supporters over Prince Philip’s death.

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Fury as EU orders AstraZeneca to hand over Dutch jabs – Boris told 'pull funding now!'

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THE EU has been hit by a furious backlash from Britons over its latest vaccine move, with some warning the UK is allowing the bloc to “walk all over us” by diverting vital jabs away from Britain.

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