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"He struggles to trust others, and keeps his own counsel, obviously at his peril," said Michael D’Antonio, a Trump biographer. The White House’s reconstruction of the call with Zelensky shows Trump at his backslapping, cajoling best, in full control of a conversation with a weaker ally. Yet as he assumed the role of the superior power in position to protect Ukraine, he was also careful to portray himself and the United States as victims, too. One big ask seemed to reference a baseless conspiracy theory that challenges the US intelligence community’s conclusion that Russian operatives hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s servers during the 2016 election, and suggests Ukranian interests framed Russia. Elements of that theory have been promoted by right-wing websites and Russian media. "The server, they say Ukraine has it," Trump said, and then mentioned the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, which was hired by the DNC to investigate the hack, and which concluded the Russians were involved. "But they say a lot of it started with Ukraine.

Trump then asked Zelensky to "look into" former vice president Joe Biden — the Democratic challenger who has been polling well ahead of Trump in a 2020 matchup — and his son Hunter Biden over unfounded allegations of corruption. "Whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great," he said to Zelensky. Mueller’s report had detailed Trump’s anger and fear that the special counsel investigation would cast doubt over the legitimacy of his win, a frustration he has shared with multiple aides. That fear appears to have lingered, preventing Trump from simply moving on from the political reprieve he was handed by the report’s release last spring. "I think when presidents are being accused, like anyone else, they can get a little bit conspiratorial," said Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor who has advised Trump in the past. Trump has long derided the Russia investigation as a "hoax" and a "witch hunt," and in recent months has embraced fringe theories about its origin. "There have been some fantastic books that just came out recently and so many other books," Trump said, citing a book by a Fox News analyst called "The Russia Hoax" that defended his campaign.

"A lot of books are coming out. Then he again cited his victory in 2016, listing his Electoral College totals. "We won an election convincingly, convincingly," he said. Last week’s revelations also offer new insights into the inner workings of the White House as it enters an impeachment battle and reelection fight. According to the whistle-blower, administration officials hid the official transcript of the president’s call with Zelensky by putting it into in a highly classified computer system reserved for national security matters. Richard Ben-Veniste, a special prosecutor during Watergate, said that move bore an "eerie similarity" to the scandal that eventually brought down President Richard M. Nixon. "We have an allegation that there was an immediate effort by the White House to sequester the evidence of the conversation the president had with Mr. Zelensky by . And, as the complaint suggests, Trump does not face the same pushback from top staffers and advisers that he used to, further insulating him in an echo chamber that is often filled with misinformation. Mueller’s report, for example, revealed that several former aides, including confidant Corey Lewandowski and White House counsel Don McGahn, refused to carry out Trump’s orders to attempt to interfere in the investigation, likely protecting Trump from additional accusations of obstruction. "The initial White House that we had was designed by the Republican National Committee," said former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo. Follow her on Twitter@jessbidgood.

US Code Chapter 18 2340 specifically defines torture and forbids its use by any citizen whether they be in country or abroad. This was to enforce the UN Convention Against Torture, which the US ratified in 1987 during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. On February 5, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell went before the UN Security Council to argue the case for and gain permission to use military force against Iraq. To have gone in without the support of the Security Council would have been an act of aggression, which is forbidden by international law. Benjamin Ferencz, a former Nuremberg War Crimes Prosecutor counters, "The innocent need not fear the rule of law…In every democratic society it is unavoidable that some unjustified complaints may be lodged for political or other nefarious purposes. It is also inevitable that some judgment may go awry and some judges may be incompetent or worse. The ICC jurisdiction is limited. The court was set up to take on cases only as a last resort.

The cases it can try are those that are state’s party to the Rome Statute, those states that accept the jurisdiction of the court, and cases turned over by the UN Security Council. There are no death sentences for any individuals convicted in the court; sentences can range from up to 30 year or life depending on the severity of the crime. The court can also impose fines and seize property in restoration for damages and losses. After the court hands down a judgment, it is not necessary final. During the drafting of the Rome Statute, a provision was added, at the behest of the United States, that the UN Security Council can overturn any conviction by veto. A veto can be enacted by any permanent member of the council: Great Britain, France, China, Russia and the US. When it comes to the trying of national leaders, the court has shown to be willing to yield to the nations.

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