The Washington Post - 29.08.2019

(Joyce) #1


made on Twitter, was the immedi-
ate cause of Mattis’s departure.
But the two were at odds over
several issues almost from the
time that the then president-
elect, following an introduction
and 40-minute meeting with the
retired Marine general, an-
nounced his nomination.
Over the next two years, Mattis
played a major role in formulat-
ing Trump’s strategy against the
Islamic State and in Afghanistan,
and he successfully recommend-
ed that Trump lift the more re-
strictive rules of combat engage-
ment put in place by President
Barack Obama. Viewed as an Iran
policy hawk, he questioned the
2015 nuclear agreement with Iran
but disagreed with Trump’s deci-
sion to withdraw from it.
But Mattis, who spent four ac-
tive decades as a Marine and held
a number of senior commands,
was seen as personally uncom-
fortable with the president’s scat-
tershot policy pronouncements.
Allied governments and for-
eign policy experts saw him as a
stabilizing influence in a turbu-
lent and unpredictable adminis-
By last fall, however, his immi-
nent departure was widely ru-

made a slogan of “A merica First.”
“Nations with allies thrive, and
those without them wither,” Mat-
tis writes. “A lone, America cannot
protect our people and our econo-
my. At this time, we can see storm
clouds gathering. A polemicist’s
role is not sufficient for a leader. A
leader must display strategic acu-
men that incorporates respect for
those nations that have stood
with us when trouble loomed.”
Mattis argues for “returning to
a strategic stance that includes
the interests of as many nations
as we can make common cause
“A bsent this,” he says, “we will
occupy an increasingly lonely po-
sition, one that puts us at i ncreas-
ing risk in the world.”
The excerpt follows Trump’s
attendance at l ast week’s Group of
Seven summit in France, marked
by his rejection of fellow global
leaders’ climate change concerns,
his call for Russian President
Vladimir Putin to be readmitted
to the G-7 despite the annexation
of Crimea in Ukraine, and his
erratic behavior toward trade ne-
gotiations with China.
Although Mattis’s views were
no secret when he served in
Trump’s Cabinet, he had main-
tained near-total public silence
since resigning.
Trump’s Syria announcement,



Former defense secretary Jim
Mattis, who resigned last year
after clashing with President
Trump, says in a book excerpt that
“I did as well as I could for as long
as I could” and warns of the
dangers of a leader who is not
committed to working with allies.
Mattis, who announced his res-
ignation in December after
Trump shocked U.S. allies and
overruled his advisers by an-
nouncing a troop withdrawal
from S yria, writes in his book that
he decided to depart “when my
concrete solutions and strategic
advice, especially keeping faith
with our allies, no longer resonat-
ed.” The book is due to be pub-
lished next week by Random
In the excerpt, published
Wednesday by the Wall Street
Journal, Mattis writes about the
need for leaders to appreciate the
value of allies without explicitly
mentioning Trump, who has




Facing a f elony c ount of l ying t o
the Justice Department, former
Obama White House counsel
Gregory B. Craig on Wednesday
testified that his legal work for t he
Ukrainian government never
“crossed the line” into advocacy
and that he never misled U.S. offi-
cials about whether his contacts
with journalists required him to
register a s a foreign agent.
“I did not lie,” Craig told a feder-
al jury in Washington. “I did not
withhold or conceal any informa-
Craig’s day-long testimony in
his own defense marked the dra-
matic climax of his three-week
trial over whether he made false
statements to officials investigat-
ing whether he and his law firm,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher &
Flom, should have registered as
foreign lobbyists for legal and
public relations work he did with
GOP power broker Paul Manafort
on behalf of the Ukrainian Justice
Ministry in 2012.
Craig, 74, has p leaded not g uilty
to the c harge, which c arries up t o a
five-year prison sentence, al-
though federal guidelines for a
first offender include probation.
Spun off from special counsel
Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia
probe, Craig’s prosecution h as r iv-
eted Washington’s political class,
threatening the reputation of one
of the capital’s most respected
Democratic attorneys, while ex-
tending the Mueller investiga-
tion’s c rackdown o n the s ecret a nd
at t imes g rubby m achinations of a

small brigade of American law-
yers, lobbyists and publicists em-
ployed by foreign governments to
influence U.S. politics.
Manafort helped arrange for
Craig and Skadden to be hired to
write a report reviewing the jail-
ing of Yulia Tymoshenko, a politi-
cal rival of Ukrainian President
Viktor Yanukovych, whom
Manafort served as a political ad-
The report offered a mixed re-
view of her trial. But Ukraine’s
government made the report the
centerpiece of an undisclosed lob-
bying campaign to improve Yanu-
kovych’s r eputation in t he West.
Prosecutors allege C raig did n ot
want to register because he be-
lieved it could impede Skadden
team members from e ntering g ov-
ernment service and because he
feared having to disclose that
Ukrainian businessman Viktor
Pinchuk had paid the firm
$4.15 m illion f or the r eport, u nder-
mining perceptions of Skadden’s
The government said Craig’s
outreach to journalists to explain
and p ublicize the report in Decem-
ber 2012 triggered a requirement
to register under the Foreign
Agents Registration Act, and that
he deliberately lied about the tim-
ing and scope of his actions and
his part in an orchestrated cam-
paign to influence U.S. opinion for
a foreign politician.
Craig testified Wednesday that
his speaking with reporters may
have been part of a broader public-
relations campaign but that that
was not his reason for reaching
Instead, Craig said, he spoke
with reporters to refute mischar-
acterizations spread by Ukraine’s
representatives about the work,
media spin that he said he op-
posed because it created the im-
pression the law firm was “bought

and paid for” to whitewash
Ukraine’s prosecution of Ty mosh-
“I was not acting in the i nterests
of the Ukraine. I was defending
the integrity of the report,” Craig
said, under questioning from de-
fense attorney William Taylor. “I
did n ot think any of those contacts
made me a press agent o r agent for
Ukraine... If we’re taking actions
contrary to the interests of our
client, how can you say we’re act-
ing as agents of the client?”
Prosecutors allege Craig in an
Oct. 11, 2013, letter to the Justice
Department’s FARA enforcement
unit falsely said Skadden did not
advise Ukraine a bout t he distribu-
tion of t he r eport, and that h e gave
a copy t o the New York T imes o nly
at i ts request.
Rather, they allege, he wrote

national security correspondent
David E. Sanger to solicit coverage
and hand-delivered a report copy
before its public release to
Sanger’s home, with Craig alleged-
ly saying U kraine had determined
the reporter should get a “first
look at i t.”
Craig testified he agreed to han-
dle communications with Sanger
only after S anger w as contacted by
Jonathan Hawker, a publicist t hen
working for FTI Consulting,
which w as part of a lobbying oper-
ation run by Manafort and his
deputy, R ick Gates.
Gates had testified earlier in
Craig’s t rial t hat, t o his knowledge,
it was Craig who first brought up
the possibility of “seeding” news
coverage in the Times with Sanger.
In his testimony, Craig denied
proposing that option and said he

spoke with S anger only because h e
said he had“no confidence” in
Hawker’s h onesty.
“I was concerned he would be
more concerned w ith p leasing Mr.
Gates and Mr. Manafort than be-
ing faithful with the findings of
our report,” Craig said, adding of
Hawker, “I wasn’t p art of his t eam.
He w asn’t p art of my t eam.”
Prosecutors led by Assistant
U.S. Attorney Fernando Cam-
poamor-Sanchez in cross-exami-
nation — to be continued Thurs-
day — elicited that Craig had rec-
ommended the hiring of FTI, and
met with Manafort, Hawker and
others a t the Harvard C lub o f New
York on Sept. 23, 2012, to discuss
the m edia rollout.
“Well done,” began an email by
Manafort to Craig after news arti-
cles appeared, C raig a lso a cknowl-

edged on the stand. “The pro has
emerged again. The initial r oll out
had been very effective and your
backgrounding has been key to it
all,” Manafort wrote in the email
referred to in c ourt.
Manafort is serving a 7^1 / 2 -year
prison sentence for conspiracy
and financial fraud crimes in
Mueller’s p robe, including for hid-
ing more than $30 million he was
paid for his undisclosed Ukraine
lobbying work.
Campoamor-Sanchez ques-
tioned whether Craig was moti-
vated by the sums Ukraine was
ready to pay, noting that his Skad-
den t eammate at t he time, C lifford
Sloan, at one point had written
him, “Don’t be bashful about ask-
ing for a lot.” Earlier testimony
showed Manafort and Craig
agreed to backdate a $1.25 million
Skadden invoice that understated
how much Ukraine had already
paid the firm through Pinchuk’s
initially secret transactions
through a n offshore account.
Craig said bringing in business
for Skadden was one motivation,
along with the legal and foreign
policy challenges of the project,
and the chance “to make a differ-
ence” by helping Ukraine resolve
deep internal political divisions.
Craig joined S kadden a fter leaving
the Obama White House in 2010
and r etired from the f irm last year.
The white-haired Craig ap-
peared relaxed and lighthearted
as he testified in a crowded court-
room that included his family
members and friend Harold M.
Ickes, a longtime ally of the Clin-
tons and former White H ouse dep-
uty chief of s taff. Jessie K. L iu, U.S.
attorney f or the District o f Colum-
bia, also attended parts of Craig’s

Ann E. Marimow and Ly nh Bui
contributed to this report.

Democratic lawyer defends his Ukraine legal work at trial

Mattis stayed on ‘as long as I could’

Gregory B. Craig denies
misleading Justice Dept.,
crossing into advocacy

In book excerpt, former
defense chief warns of
leaders who shun allies

Gregory B. Craig, right, former White House counsel under President Barack Obama, arrives Aug. 12
at federal court in Washington. He has pleaded not guilty to lying to Justice Department officials.

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