McCain Honored in US, Vietnam

Makeshift memorials are building in Arizona, Washington D.C. and Vietnam, in honor of Arizona Senator John McCain, who lost his battle with brain cancer on Saturday, August 25. He was 81.



Vietnam Pays Respects to John McCain with Tributes, Flowers

People in Vietnam are paying their respects to U.S. Sen. John McCain who was held as prisoner of war in Vietnam and later was instrumental in bringing the wartime foes together.

McCain died of brain cancer Saturday in his home state of Arizona, which he had served over six terms in the U.S. Senate. 

People paid tribute to McCain at the U.S Embassy in Hanoi on Monday and also at the monument built where he parachuted from his Navy Skyhawk dive bomber in October 1967 and was taken prisoner of war. He was held more than five years at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison.

McCain and former Sen. John Kerry played an important role in the bilateral normalization of relations in 1995.



McCain to be Honored in Arizona, Washington

Senator John McCain, who died Saturday after a yearlong battle with brain cancer, will be honored at ceremonies in Arizona and Washington.

McCain will first lie in state at the Arizona State Capitol, where a private ceremony will be held on Wednesday, which would have been McCain’s 82nd birthday. Members of the public will be able to pay their respects at the State Capitol. 

On Thursday, a private memorial service will take place at the North Phoenix Baptist Church. 

In Washington, D.C., McCain will lie in state at the United States Capitol on Friday. The public will be invited to pay their respects. 

McCain will become the 13th senator to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, an honor reserved for the nation’s “most eminent citizens,” according to the Architect of the Capitol.

A memorial service in Washington will be held at the Washington National Cathedral on Saturday. Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush are expected to speak at the service.

McCain’s office said a livestream will be available for the services at the National Phoenix Baptist Church and the National Cathedral.

McCain will be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland. His grave site will overlook the Severn River, and will be next his best friend from his Naval Academy days, Admiral Chuck Larson.

Remembrances, condolences pour in

The Vietnam War hero, Senator, and 2008 Republican presidential candidate was remembered for his courage, patriotism and service by fellow Americans and foreign dignitaries.

President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday, “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”

His campaign later issued a statement offering condolences and “urging all Americans to take the opportunity to remember Senator McCain and his family in their prayers on this sad occasion.” The White House lowered the flag to half-staff in honor of McCain.

Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama issued a statement sending their “heartfelt condolences” to McCain’s wife, Cindy and their family.

Obama, who ran against the Republican senator from the western state of Arizona in the 2008 presidential election and defeated him, noted how despite their different generations, backgrounds and politics, “we saw this country as a place where anything is possible.”

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who served with McCain in the U.S. Senate, said in a statement that he “frequently put partisanship aside to do what he thought was best for the country and was never afraid to break the mold if it was the right thing to do.”

Former President George W. Bush called McCain a friend, he will “deeply miss.”

“Some lives are so vivid, it’s difficult to imagine them ended,” Bush said in a statement. “Some voices are so vibrant, it’s hard to think of them stilled.”

Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, called McCain “a patriot of the highest order, a public servant of rarest courage.”

“Few sacrificed more for, or contributed more to, the welfare of his fellow citizens – and indeed freedom-loving peoples around the world,” the elder Bush said in a statement.

Former President Jimmy Carter called McCain “a man of honor, a true patriot in the best sense of the word.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Vietnam POW “showed us that boundless patriotism and self-sacrifice are not outdated concepts or clichés, but the building blocks of an extraordinary life.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the McCain’s death marks a “sad day for the United States,” which has lost a “decorated war hero and statesman.”

“John put principle before politics. He put country before self,” Ryan said.  “He was one of the most courageous men of the century.”

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the “nation is in tears” and noted McCain’s “deep patriotism, outstanding bravery and undaunted spirit.”

“He never forgot the great duty he felt to care for our nation’s heroes, dedicating his spirit and energy to ensuring that no man or woman in uniform was left behind on the battlefield or once they returned home,” Pelosi said in a statement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called McCain “a tireless fighter for a strong trans-Atlantic alliance; his significance went well beyond his own country.” French President Emmanuel Macron called McCain “a true American hero.”

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called the U.S. lawmaker a great friend of the South Asian country.

“We will remember his dedication and support towards rebuilding AFG,” Ghani tweeted.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also offered condolences.

“People of India join me in sincerely condoling the loss of a steadfast friend,” Modi tweeted. “His statesmanship, courage, conviction and understanding of global affairs will be missed.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called McCain “an American patriot and hero whose sacrifices for his country, and lifetime of public service, were an inspiration to millions.”

 

 

 

 



Captivity, Candor and Hard Votes: 9 Moments That Made McCain

John McCain lived most of his life in the public eye, surviving war, torture, scandal, political stardom and failure, the enmity of some colleagues and the election of President Donald Trump.

Even brain cancer didn’t seem to scare McCain so much as it sobered and saddened him.

“The world is a fine place and worth fighting for and I hate very much to leave it,” McCain wrote in his memoir, referencing a line from his favorite book, the Ernest Hemingway war novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. ″I hate to leave.”

A look at public moments that made McCain:

Prisoner of war, celebrity

McCain, became a public figure at age 31 when his bed-bound image was broadcast from North Vietnam in 1967. The North Vietnamese had figured out that he was the son and grandson of famous American military men — a “crown prince,” they called him. He was offered an early release, but refused. McCain’s captors beat him until he confessed, an episode that first led to shame — and then discovery. McCain has written that that’s when he learned to trust not just his legacy but his own judgment — and his resilience.

Less than a decade after his March 1973 release, McCain was elected to the House as a Republican from Arizona. In 1986, voters there sent him to the Senate.

The Keating Five

He called it “my asterisk” and the worst mistake of his life.

At issue was a pair of 1987 meetings between McCain, four other senators and regulators to get the government to back off a key campaign donor. Charles Keating Jr. wanted McCain and Democratic Sens. Dennis DeConcini of Arizona, Alan Cranston of California, John Glenn of Ohio and Don Riegle of Michigan to get government auditors to stop pressing Keating’s Lincoln Savings and Loan Association. All five denied improper conduct. McCain was cleared of all charges but found to have exercised “poor judgment.”

“His honor was being questioned and that’s nothing that he takes lightly,” said Mark Salter, McCain’s biographer and co-author of his new memoir, The Restless Wave.

The Senate

McCain became his party’s leading voice on matters of war, national security and veterans, and eventually became chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He worked with a Democrat to rewrite the nation’s campaign finance laws. He voted for the Iraq War and supported the 2007 surge of forces there even as his own sons served or prepared to serve. But there was one thing that wasn’t as widely known about him: McCain, owner of a ranch in Arizona that is in the flight path of 500 species of migratory birds, became concerned about the environment.

“People associate John with defense and national security, as well they should. But he also had a great concern for and love of the environment,” said Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine Republican who traveled to the ends of the earth with McCain — to the Arctic Circle in 2004 and Antarctica two years later — on fact-finding missions related to climate change. Back on McCain’s Arizona ranch, the senator gave Collins an extensive nature tour of the property. “I particularly remember his love for the birds,” Collins said. “He loved the birds.”

Town halls, Straight Talk

McCain in the 2000 election did something new: He toured New Hampshire on a bus laden with doughnuts and reporters that stopped at “town hall” meetings where voters were invited to exchange views with the candidate. The bus was called the “Straight Talk Express,” and that’s what he promised to deliver at the town halls. The whole thing was messy, unscripted and often hilarious. And ultimately the events re-introduced McCain to voters as a candid and authentic, just a year after President Bill Clinton was acquitted of lying to Congress and obstruction.

In New Hampshire that year, McCain defeated George W. Bush in an 18-point blowout, only to be pushed out of the race in South Carolina. But the town halls remained a fond McCain memory.

“The town halls were festivals of politics,” Salter said. “They were so authentic and open and honest.”

‘No ma’am’

McCain, in 2008 making his second run for president, quickly intervened when a woman in Lakeville, Minnesota, stood at a town hall event and began to make disparaging remarks about Democratic presidential nominee and then-Sen. Barack Obama. “He’s an Arab,” she said, implying he was not an American.

“No ma’am,” McCain said, taking the microphone from her. “He’s a decent, family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign is all about. He’s not.”

It was a defining moment for McCain as a leader, a reflection of his thinking that partisans should disagree without demonizing each other. But it reflected McCain’s reckoning with the fear pervading his party of Obama, who would go on to become the nation’s first black president.

Cancer

McCain last year was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the same aggressive cancer that had felled his friend, Sen. Edward Kennedy, on Aug. 25, 2009.

Friends and family say he understood the gravity of the diagnosis, but quickly turned to the speech he wanted to give on the Senate floor urging his colleagues to shed the partisanship that had produced gridlock. Face scarred and bruised from surgery, he pounded the lectern. Some of the sternest members of the Senate hugged him, tears in their eyes.

“Of all of the things that have happened in this man’s life, of all of the times that his life could have ended in the ways it could have ended, this (cancer) is by far one of the least threats to him and that’s kind of how he views it,” his son, Jack McCain, told the Arizona Republic in January.

Health care vote

Republicans, driven by Trump, were one vote away from advancing a repeal of Obama’s health care law. Then McCain, scarred from brain surgery, swooped into the Senate chamber and, facing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, dramatically held up his hand.

The thumb flicked down. Gasps could be heard throughout the staid chamber. McConnell stood motionless, arms crossed.

Trump’s campaign promise — and the premiere item on his agenda — was dead.

Trump

McCain tangled with Trump, who never served in the military, for years.

As a candidate, Trump in 2016 claimed the decorated McCain is only considered a war hero because he had been captured. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said at an event in Iowa. “I like people who weren’t captured.” Shortly before Election Day in 2016, McCain said he’s rather cast his vote for another Republican, someone who’s “qualified to be president.” Trump fumed, without using McCain’s name, that the senator is the only reason the Affordable Care Act stands.

McCain responded: “I have faced tougher adversaries.”



Senator John McCain Remembered for Courage, Service, Patriotism

U.S. Senator John McCain is being remembered for his courage, patriotism and service to his country.

McCain died Saturday at age 81 after a battle with brain cancer.

President Donald Trump tweeted, “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”

His campaign later issued a statement offering condolences and “urging all Americans to take the opportunity to remember Senator McCain and his family in their prayers on this sad occasion.”

Former presidents

Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama issued a statement sending their “heartfelt condolences” to McCain’s wife, Cindy and their family.

Obama, who ran against the Republican senator in the 2008 presidential election and won, noted how despite their different generations, backgrounds and politics, “we saw this country as a place where anything is possible.”

Former President Bill Clinton and former Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton, who served with McCain in the U.S. Senate, said in a statement that he “frequently put partisanship aside to do what he thought was best for the country and was never afraid to break the mold if it was the right thing to do.”

Former President George W. Bush called McCain a friend he will “deeply miss.”

“Some lives are so vivid, it’s difficult to imagine them ended,” Bush said in a statement. “Some voices are so vibrant, it’s hard to think of them stilled.”

Military career

The son of a U.S. admiral, McCain became a Navy aviator and flew bombing missions during the Vietnam War. Shot down and captured by the North Vietnamese in 1967, he endured more than five years of torture and depravation as a prisoner of war.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the McCain’s death marks a “sad day for the United States,” which has lost a “decorated war hero and statesman.”

“John put principle before politics. He put country before self,” Ryan said. “He was one of the most courageous men of the century.”

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the “nation is in tears” and noted McCain’s “deep patriotism, outstanding bravery and undaunted spirit.”

“He never forgot the great duty he felt to care for our nation’s heroes, dedicating his spirit and energy to ensuring that no man or woman in uniform was left behind on the battlefield or once they returned home,” Pelosi said in a statement.

VOA’s White House correspondent Steve Herman contributed to this report.



US Senator John McCain, Statesman and War Hero, Dies

Best known for having survived as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam and winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, John Sidney McCain remained an ardent and unapologetic believer in American exceptionalism. Michael Bowman has more.



When It Comes to Presidential Wrongdoing, the Remedy Is Often Political

In the United States, it is often said that no one is above the law, even the president. But what happens when the president is implicated in criminal wrongdoing?

The question took on new relevance this week after President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws, which he says was done at the direction of then-candidate Trump.

​Defiant Trump

At a campaign style rally in West Virginia Wednesday, Trump ignored his legal difficulties and rallied his base.

“Under our administration, America is winning again and America is being respected again all over the world. It is America first,” Trump said to cheers.

But the Cohen guilty plea combined with the fraud conviction of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort have handed Democrats a new political weapon just in time for the midterm congressional election campaign.

“Consideration of country and Constitution aside, if my Republican colleagues remain silent, the party is becoming a co-conspirator in the culture of corruption that surrounds this president,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor.

 

WATCH: When It Comes to Presidential Wrongdoing, Remedy Often Political

Legal jeopardy

Legal analysts said this week that Trump’s possible involvement in the campaign violations admitted to by Cohen could put the president in legal jeopardy.

“He is potentially now an unindicted co-conspirator and could be indicted,” George Washington University Law Professor Paul Schiff Berman via Skype. “Now there is an open question as to whether a sitting president can be indicted for criminal wrongdoing. Obviously he could be impeached, but that is not going to happen as long as Republicans hold the House and the Senate.”

If the president eventually faces charges of specific criminal wrongdoing, impeachment may be a more likely remedy than going through the courts.

Justice Department guidance

The Justice Department has longstanding internal guidance that likely bar a sitting president from being indicted while in office. Although never tested in court, the guidance held sway during the impeachment inquiries involving former Presidents Bill Clinton in 1998-99 and Richard Nixon in 1974.

But there is no constitutional bar to seeking an indictment of a president once out of office.

Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for lying about his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky, but was acquitted in a trial in the Senate.

Nixon did not fare as well. He became the first president to resign after the House began impeachment proceedings in 1974.

​Impeachment politics

The Senate remains in Republican hands and could protect Trump even if Democrats win back a House majority in the November midterms. The House can impeach the president with a simple majority vote. But removing a president from office requires a trial in the Senate.

“In the Senate, you need two-thirds of the Senate to convict a president and that has never happened before,” said University of Virginia legal analyst Saikrishna Prakash via Skype. “Two presidents have been impeached, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. No president has actually been removed (from office).”

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani was quick to dismiss any thoughts that the president was worried about impeachment.

“I think impeachment would be totally horrible. I mean there is no reason,” Giuliani told reporters during a visit to Britain. “He did not collude with the Russians. He did not obstruct justice. Everything Cohen says has been disproved. You would only impeach him for political reasons and the American people would revolt against that.”

Politics and the law

Prakash also said that history has shown that when it comes to presidential wrongdoing, there is often a balance between legal and political remedies.

“The fact that he might not be able to be prosecuted while president might cause some people to think that the president is above the law. But of course when you are designing a system, you have to decide, do you want to subject the president to possible prosecution while he is president?”

The founders of the American republic sought to find a middle ground where Congress could hold a president accountable without undermining the basic concept of the separation of powers among the three branches of government: the executive, the legislative and the judicial. There was also a concern that a president could face numerous frivolous lawsuits and legal challenges while in office that would distract his or her attention from the pressing issues of the day.

Ultimately, if President Trump is accused of any criminal wrongdoing, his fate will likely be decided by Congress and the public, not a judge and jury.



When It Comes to Presidential Wrongdoing, Remedy Often Political

In the United States, it is said no one is above the law. But what happens when a president is implicated in criminal wrongdoing? The question resonated this week after President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws, he says at the direction of then-candidate Trump. Historically, dealing with possible criminal activity in the Oval Office has been a mix of the legal and the political, as we hear from VOA National correspondent Jim Malone.



US Blasts El Salvador for Cutting Ties with Taiwan in Favor of China

The United States calls El Salvador’s decision to ditch diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China a “grave concern.” Washington warned that China’s economic inducements could come at a high price for its new friends. VOA’s Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reports from Washington.



Senate Democrats Seek Translator’s Notes From Trump-Putin Summit

Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to provide the panel with the translator’s notes and other materials from President Donald Trump’s Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The senators have requested any cable traffic, memos, notes and policy directives related to the July summit, when Trump and Putin met privately for more than two hours with only translators present. The White House has not provided information on what was said, and even Trump’s director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, has said he does not know what happened in the room.

In a letter sent to the State Department Friday morning, the Foreign Relations Committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire said the situation requires “urgent congressional oversight.”

“Russian officials have taken advantage of the lack of communication by the White House to circulate their own, possibly false, readouts of what occurred in this private meeting,” the senators wrote.

Trump drew widespread criticism from Republican and Democratic leaders for his performance in Helsinki on July 16. At a joint press conference with Putin, Trump spoke favorably of the Russian leader and denied U.S. intelligence findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Trump’s statements fueled calls from Democrats for testimony from the American translator who was in the private meeting. Republicans shot down the idea and in the House blocked a Democratic request to issue a subpoena.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, said seeking the translator’s testimony “does not seem to be to me the appropriate place for us to go.”

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on July 18 said they had not been able to find a precedent for an interpreter being called to testify.




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