Posts Tagged "Trump"

Federal prosecutors on Thursday unsealed criminal charges against Federal Savings Bank CEO Stephen Calk, accusing him of corruptly approving high-risk loans to U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, in exchange for trying to secure a top job in the Trump administration.

The indictment against Calk was issued in New York. It doesn’t name Manafort directly, but Calk’s name repeatedly came up during Manafort’s 2018 financial fraud trial in Virginia in which prosecutors said Calk and Manafort engaged in a scheme to exchange the $16 million US in loan approvals for an administration post.

Calk, 54, faces one count of financial institution bribery, which carries a maximum prison term of 30 years.

Federal Savings Bank, based in Chicago, said in a statement it is a victim of bank fraud perpetrated by Manafort. It added that Calk “has been on a complete leave of absence and has no control over or involvement with the bank,” and the bank is “not a party to the federal criminal case.” It described Calk as its “former chairman.”

Calk could not be immediately reached for comment.

Calk provided Manafort with a ranked wish list of government jobs that he wanted, starting with treasury secretary and followed by other top jobs in the Treasury, Commerce and Defence Departments, prosecutors said. Federal Savings Bank is based in Chicago.

Manafort was one of the first people in Trump’s inner circle to face charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his now-completed investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and Trump campaign contacts with Moscow.

Manafort was convicted of bank and tax fraud in the Virginia trial, and pleaded guilty to other charges in Washington. He is now serving a 7½-year sentence in a federal prison in Pennsylvania.

Recommended by Manafort to Kushner

Evidence at the trial included a November 2016 email sent by Manafort to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, after Trump won the presidential election. In the email, Manafort recommended three candidates for administration posts, including Calk.

Kushner responded within minutes to Manafort’s recommendations by email: “On it!”

Paul Manafort, seen on April 4, 2018, was convicted later in the year of bank fraud and is now in a federal prison in Pennsylvania. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

The prospect of Calk facing charges emerged in a transcript of a bench discussion during the Manafort trial.

“Mr. Calk is a co-conspirator,” Greg Andres, a prosecutor on Mueller’s team, said during a discussion with the judge at the bench, according to a transcript of the discussion. “And he participated in a conspiracy to defraud the bank.”

“There was an agreement between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Calk to have the loans approved,” Andres said. “They were approved and, in turn, Mr. Manafort proposed Mr. Calk for certain positions within the administration.”

Calk appeared on Fox News and Fox Business News several times in 2016, billed as an economic adviser to Trump.

He reportedly did secure an interview during the Trump administration transition for undersecretary of the army, but was not chosen.

The exchanges between Manafort and Calk caught the attention of House Democrats who sat on that body’s financial services committee in April 2018.

“Although Mr. Calk ultimately was not given a position … reports that he was being considered for a high-level and highly sensitive national security position within the Trump administration as part of a quid pro quo with Mr. Manafort raise serious concerns that, completely apart from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, warrant scrutiny by our Committee,” Democrats Stephen Lynch and Maxine Waters wrote at the time.

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The Canadian behind a North American steel giant is accused of violating U.S. federal election laws for his supposed involvement in a $1.75-million donation to an organization that supports U.S. President Donald Trump.

The allegation, made to the Federal Election Commission, comes from Brendan Fischer from Campaign Legal Center, a U.S. non-partisan non-profit that aims to hold candidates and government officials accountable.

In the court document filed on the afternoon of May 21, CLC alleges that Barry Zekelman “violated federal law’s ban on any foreign national directly or indirectly making contributions in connection with a federal election.”

According to the document, three separate donations were made to America First Action by Wheatland Tube, a subsidiary of Zekelman Industries, where Zekelman is the CEO.

The document continues to say that foreign-owned U.S. corporations are allowed to make contributions, but only if the decisions are entirely controlled by U.S. nationals.

U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel

Those donations were made on April 5, 2018, June 4, 2018 and Oct. 17, 2018. All amounts were disclosed by America First Action.

On June 1, 2018, U.S. imposed 25 per cent tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Zekelman, who owns steel operations on both sides of the border, had been outspoken about his support for Trump’s tariffs.

Last summer, U.S. imposed a 25 per cent tariff on imported steel, including that from Canada. (Tara Walton/Canadian Press)

In March of 2018 when those U.S.-imposed tariffs were still only proposed, Zekelman had told CBC News he wishes they were even higher.

“Is that 25 per cent duty enough? I don’t think it is and I actually think those duties should be much higher,” he said at the time.

Shortly after the United States imposed those tariffs as a result of ongoing NAFTA negotiations, Canada imposed its own retaliatory tariffs.

Tariffs on both sides were finally lifted almost a year later. Zekelman celebrated that deal last Friday when the announcement was first made.

CBC News reached out to Wheatland Tube, America First Action and Global Affairs Canada for comment.

Zekelman told CBC News he will not be commenting on the matter until it is over.

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Foreign investors remained enthusiastic about China, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, following U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim that his tariffs are causing companies to move production away from the world’s second largest economy.

Trump said in an interview aired on Sunday that his tariffs on Chinese goods are causing companies to move manufacturing out of China to Vietnam and other Asian countries, and added that any agreement to end a trade war with China cannot be a “50-50” deal.

No further trade talks between top Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators have been scheduled since the last round ended on May 10 — the same day Trump raised the tariff rate on $200 billion US worth of Chinese products to 25 per cent from 10 per cent.

Trump took the step after China sought major changes to a deal that U.S. officials said had been largely agreed.

Since then, China has struck a sterner tone in its rhetoric, suggesting that a resumption of talks aimed at ending the 10-month trade war was unlikely to happen soon.

‘Still bullish’ on China

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang, responding to a question on Trump’s claim at a daily news briefing, said foreign investors were “still bullish” on China.

Even though over the past year or more the United States has continued to menace Chinese products with additional tariffs, everyone can see that the enthusiasm for foreign investors in China remains high.– Lu Kang, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson

“Even though over the past year or more the United States has continued to menace Chinese products with additional tariffs, everyone can see that the enthusiasm for foreign investors in China remains high,” Lu said.

Lu listed companies, including Tesla, BASF and BMW, as all having recently increased their investment in China. He added that China would continue to improve business and investment conditions for foreign companies.

But foreign firms have grown weary of what they say are China’s piecemeal economic reforms.

Long considered a cornerstone of an otherwise fraught bilateral relationship, the U.S. business community in China in recent years has advocated a harder line on what it sees as discriminatory Chinese trade policies.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China said in February that a majority of its members reported in an annual survey that they favoured the United States retaining tariffs on Chinese goods while Washington and Beijing try to hammer out a deal to end the trade war.

Other China trade partners also complaining

At the time — well before the latest tariff hikes — the chamber said that 19 per cent of its member companies were adjusting supply chains or seeking to source components and assembly outside of China as a result of tariffs, while 28 per cent were delaying or cancelling investment decisions in China.

China’s other trade partners also complain about unfair treatment.

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said on Monday that compelled transfers of technology to Chinese firms in exchange for market access are increasing for European companies despite Beijing saying the problem does not exist.

Resolving that issue in an enforceable manner is a core U.S. demand in trade negotiations.

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U.S. President Donald Trump has signed a full pardon for former media mogul Conrad Black, who was convicted in 2007 of fraud and obstruction of justice.

Black, 74, spent almost three and a half years in a Florida prison before being released and deported back to Canada. He had originally been sentenced to 78 months in jail, but had his sentence reduced after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down several of his initial convictions.

A statement from the White House on Wednesday said Black has made “tremendous contributions to business, as well as to political and historical thought.”

It also cites several prominent individuals whom it says “have vigorously vouched for [Black’s] exceptional character.” They include former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, Elton John, Rush Limbaugh, and the late William F. Buckley Jr. 

In a statement late Wednesday Black called his legal ordeal “nonsense,” adding, “there was never a word of truth to any of it. And now it is over, after 16 years, including three years and two weeks in U.S, federal prisons.”

Black, a Canadian-born British citizen, once ran an international newspaper empire that included National Post, the Chicago Sun-Times, Britain’s Daily Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post.

He renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2001 so he could become a British Lord. He became a resident of the United Kingdom in 1992, and remained a resident throughout 2002.

In 2018 Black published Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other.

Thought it was a prank

Black was found guilty in the United States in 2007 of scheming to siphon off millions of dollars from the sale of newspapers owned by Hollinger Inc., where he was chief executive and chairman.

Two of his three fraud convictions were later voided, and his sentence was shortened. 

Black has remained steadfast in declaring his innocence on all of the U.S. charges and in his belief that he was subjected to unfair prosecution in the United States.

In his long statement, which recounts in detail the events of the past decade or so, Black says he has not spoken to Trump since he took office. Black said he thought the call he got Wednesday from the White House might have been a prank, but that he recognized Trump’s voice. 

“He could not have been more gracious and quickly got to his point, that he was granting me a full pardon.”

Black has been living in Toronto since 2012. 

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U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday declaring a national emergency and barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms posing a national security risk. The move paves the way for a ban on doing business with China’s Huawei Technologies.

The executive order invokes the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the president the authority to regulate commerce in response to a national emergency that threatens the United States. The order directs the Commerce Department, working with other government agencies, to draw up a plan for enforcement within 150 days.

The order, which has been under review for more than a year, is aimed at protecting the communications technology and services supply chain from “foreign adversaries,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, Americans will be able to trust that our data and infrastructure are secure,” he said.

The order does not specifically name any country or company, but U.S. officials have previously labelled Huawei a “threat.”

Canada reviewing use of Huawei

The executive order comes at a delicate time in relations between China and the U.S. as the world’s two largest economies ratchet up tariffs in a battle over what U.S. officials call China’s unfair trade practices.

Washington believes equipment made by Huawei could be used by the Chinese state to spy. Huawei, which has repeatedly denied such allegations, did not immediately comment on the executive order.

Washington believes equipment made by Huawei could be used by the Chinese state to spy — an allegation the Chinese company has repeatedly denied. (Kin Cheung/Associated Press)

The United States has been actively pushing other countries not to use Huawei’s equipment in next-generation 5G networks that it calls “untrustworthy.” In August, Trump signed a bill that barred the U.S. government itself from using equipment from Huawei and another Chinese provider, ZTE Corp.

Ottawa is currently conducting a review of the security implications of allowing Huawei to help develop the next generation of mobile infrastructure in Canada.

Australia, Japan and Taiwan have moved to limit use of Huawei technology. The governments of Germany and France are among those not heeding U.S. warnings.

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai, who has called Huawei a threat to U.S. security, said Wednesday that “given the threats presented by certain foreign companies’ equipment and services, this is a significant step toward securing America’s networks.”

In January, the U.S. Justice Department unsealed criminal charges against Huawei, a top company executive and several subsidiaries, alleging the company stole trade secrets, misled banks about its business and violated U.S. sanctions. The sweeping indictments accuse the company of using extreme efforts to steal trade secrets from American businesses — including trying to take a piece of a robot from a T-Mobile lab.

The executive charged is Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Vancouver last December. She is currently under house arrest and fighting extradition to the U.S.

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A Huawei executive said Wednesday that possible new U.S. restrictions on market access will have little impact on the Chinese tech giant due to its global reach.

David Wang was responding to reports that President Donald Trump plans to bar phone carriers from using technology vendors that are deemed security risks. Huawei has spent a decade fighting U.S. accusations it facilitates Chinese spying.

Wang said he hadn’t heard that news but he expressed confidence it would have little impact on Huawei, the biggest global maker of switching equipment for phone and internet companies.

“Due to our global operations, any change in one country has little impact on our global business,” said Wang, also a member of Huawei’s board of directors.

Spying fears

Huawei’s U.S. market evaporated after a congressional panel labeled the company a security risk in 2012. The company says that had little effect on business in Europe and emerging markets, where it reports strong growth.

Wang spoke Wednesday at an event to unveil Huawei’s first standalone software product, a database management system called GaussDB, in an effort to break into a market dominated by Western suppliers such as Oracle and SAP.

The company, China’s first global tech brand, has steadily expanded into new industry segments despite pressure from Washington and other governments that say Huawei is a security risk.

“Some experts and governments have misrepresented the technological problems of cybersecurity as political problems,” said Wang. “It does not help to build a truly security networked world.”

The company has pushed ahead with initiatives despite the Dec. 1 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, its chief financial officer, in Canada on U.S. charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions on Iran.

In January, Huawei unveiled the Kunpeng 920 chip for servers to support smartphones, streaming video and other services. It developed the Kirin line of chips for smartphones and Ascend chips for artificial intelligence.

Huawei’s smartphone brand, launched in 2010, passed Apple last year to become the global No. 2 seller behind Samsung.

The company founded in 1987 by a former military engineer is a national champion at the head of an industry the ruling Communist Party is eager to promote.

Huawei filed a lawsuit in March asking U.S. federal court to throw out a section of this year’s American military appropriations bill that bars the government or its contractors from using Huawei equipment.

Australia, Japan and Taiwan have imposed curbs on use of Huawei technology. But Germany, France and other governments are balking at U.S. demands to exclude it from next-generation communications networks.

Huawei reported earlier global sales rose 19.5 per cent last year over 2017 to the equivalent of $105.2 billion US. Profit rose 25.1 per cent to $8.6 billion.

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Donald Trump’s businesses lost more than $1 billion US from 1985 to 1994, based on tax information acquired by the New York Times.

The Times reported Tuesday it has acquired printouts from the now-U.S. president’s official IRS tax transcripts, including figures from his federal tax form.

The newspaper said Trump reported business losses of $46.1 million US in 1985 and a total of $1.17 billion US in losses for the 10-year period.

After comparing Trump’s information with that of other “high-income earners,” the Times concluded Trump “appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer.” Because of his business losses, the newspaper reported, Trump did not pay income taxes for eight of the 10 years.

He took to Twitter to explain that as a real estate developer, “you always wanted to show losses for tax purposes.”

Trump said the Times put out “very old information” … that is “highly inaccurate.”

Trump is the first president since Watergate to decline to make his tax returns public.

He has repeatedly said he could not release his tax documents because he is under audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The House ways and means committee has asked the IRS to provide Trump’s personal and business returns for 2013 through 2018. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday refused to do so, saying the panel’s request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.”

Mnuchin’s move, which had been expected, is likely to set a legal battle into motion. The chief options available to Democrats are to subpoena the IRS for the returns or to file a lawsuit.

Officials in New York state, where the Trump Organization made most of its debt-fuelled real estate acquisitions, are also taking steps to seek the president’s tax returns, the Times reported.

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Stock markets around the world, particularly in Asia, fell sharply Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to increase tariffs on imports from China at a time when many investors were banking on an easing in trade tensions between the two countries.

Investors started the new week on a downbeat tone after Trump said via Twitter that he planned to raise tariffs on imports from China to 25 per cent from 10 per cent as of Friday. Complaining that trade talks with China were moving too slowly, he also said he would impose tariffs on $325 billion US worth of products from China, accounting for all of its exports.

He said: “The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!”

That knocked sentiment immediately in Asia, where the Shanghai Composite index closed 5.6 per cent lower at 2,906.46 after plunging more than six per cent earlier in the session. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index sank 2.9 per cent to 29,209.82.

That selling carried through into the European session and is expected to weigh on U.S. stocks at the bell.

In Europe, the CAC 40 in France was down 2 per cent at 5,441 while Germany’s DAX skidded 1.8 per cent to 12,187. London’s markets were closed for a bank holiday. U.S. stocks were also headed for a lower opening with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures both down 2 per cent.

Trump’s comments in tweets Sunday came as a Chinese delegation was due to resume talks in Washington on Wednesday aimed at resolving a tariffs battle that has rattled world markets.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, said China’s government was considering cancelling this week’s talks. But a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said Monday that the delegation was still planning to go. He would not say exactly who might attend the talks.

The Chinese could refuse to negotiate at gunpoint and decide to walk out on the trade talks, both sides have invested too much political capital in the negotiations to let this happen.– Raoul Leering, ING’s head of international trade analysis

Though Trump’s tweet has weighed on market sentiment on Monday, there is still a prevailing view that a deal will get done.

“Although Trump’s strategy is risky, because the Chinese could refuse to negotiate at gunpoint and decide to walk out on the trade talks, both sides have invested too much political capital in the negotiations to let this happen,” said Raoul Leering, head of international trade analysis at ING.

Elsewhere in Asia on Monday, the A-share index on China’s smaller market in Shenzhen plummeted 7.4 per cent. Japan’s markets were closed for a holiday, but the future contract for the benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 2.4 per cent.

Shares also fell sharply in Taiwan, Singapore, Australia and Indonesia.

The revived tensions over trade pulled oil prices lower. Benchmark U.S. crude shed 36 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $61.58 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 21 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $70.64 per barrel. It rose 10 cents on Friday to $70.85 per barrel.

In currency markets, the euro was flat at $1.12 while the dollar fell 0.3 per cent to 110.80 yen.

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U.S. President Donald Trump urged the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates in order to “rocket” the U.S. economy to new highs.

Using his favourite policy weapon, Trump loaded a tweet into the chamber and fired away at the Fed on Tuesday, urging the central bank to lower its benchmark interest rate by as much as a full percentage point from its current range of between 2.25 and 2.5 per cent.

“Our Federal Reserve has incessantly lifted interest rates, even though inflation is very low, and instituted a very big dose of quantitative tightening,” Trump said. 

“We have the potential to go up like a rocket if we did some lowering of rates, like one point … with our wonderfully low inflation, we could be setting major records &, at the same time, make our National Debt start to look small!”

After keeping its rate at effectively zero for the better part of a decade in order to stimulate the economy, the Fed has ratcheted its rate up eight times since Trump became president, to keep inflation under control as the economy and job market have improved. 

A cut of a full percentage point would take the U.S. benchmark interest rate back to where it was in December 2017.

The Federal Reserve is currently in the midst of a two-day meeting to discuss where to set its rate, and on Wednesday they are expected to announce they have decided to keep it right where it is.

It’s not the first time Trump has asked the Fed for lower rates, which makes the cost of borrowing cheaper and tends to encourage consumers and businesses to spend and invest.

As a candidate in 2016, he was critical of the central bank for keeping interest rates low, because he thought it favoured his Democratic opponent by stimulating the economy.

Governments often take great pains to avoid being seen as trying to influence the monetary policy of the country’s central bank, which is supposed to operate independently. But that’s not to suggest they always see eye to eye.

Both Bush administrations, and the Clinton administration that came between them, squabbled with chairman Alan Greenspan, who cut the Fed’s rate numerous times in his tenure between 1987 and 2006, when he was replaced by Ben Bernanke, who hiked rates at the start before drastically cutting them heading into the financial crisis in 2007.

Stephen Moore has been suggested for a seat on the Fed board. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

In a previous generation, then-president Richard Nixon put pressure on more than one Fed chief to bend to his will on setting interest rates.

The Fed currently has an opening on its board, and Trump is tasked with nominating someone to fill the vacancy. Former Republican candidate Ben Carson was considered for the role, but in recent weeks conservative economic commentator Stephen Moore’s name has been floated.

Moore, who also advised Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, would face an uphill confirmation battle in the Senate, predicted Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

“It will be a very problematic nomination,” Graham said. Asked if he would oppose Moore if nominated, Graham said he would study the pick.

Republican Senator Joni Ernst said it would be “very unlikely that I would support that person.”

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Environmentalists fighting construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska remain confident of stopping the project despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest executive order aimed at speeding up development of such cross-border infrastructure.

But a former executive with Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. — the company behind the project —  said the order builds on other recent “good news” and could help bolster efforts to begin construction work on the long-stalled oil pipeline.

“I’ve always been one who has said I expect this project to get to construction this year,” said former senior executive Dennis McConaghy, who worked on the Keystone XL project for TransCanada.

“I think the odds of it getting to construction this year are well over 50 per cent now.”

Trump this week signed two executive orders intended to speed up oil and gas pipeline projects in the United States.

One orders calls for the Environmental Protection Agency to consult with states, Indigenous groups and others before issuing new guidance and rules for states on how to comply with the law.

Former TransCanada Corp. senior executive Dennis McConaghy speaks with CBC News at its Calgary studios on Thursday. He thinks the odds of starting construction on Keystone XL this year are ‘well over 50 per cent.’

Environmental groups described that order as an effort to short-circuit a state’s ability to review complicated projects,
putting at risk a state’s ability to protect drinking water supplies and wildlife.

His other order is designed to ease the process for energy projects that cross international borders.

Currently, the U.S. secretary of state has authority to issue permits for cross-border infrastructure such as pipelines. The executive order clarifies that the president will make the decision on whether to issue such permits.

That move comes less than two weeks after Trump issued a new presidential permit for the project — replacing the one he granted in March 2017 — with the intention of speeding up development of the controversial pipeline, which would help ship heavy oil from Alberta’s oilsands to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

In November, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris ruled that the Trump administration did not fully consider potential oil spills and other impacts when it approved the pipeline in 2017.

Trump’s new permit, issued late last month, is intended to circumvent that ruling.

“The news we got 10 days ago was very positive,” McConaghy said. 

“It meant a way of salvaging this project to get to construction this year as opposed to have to grind through not just the issuance of the environmental impact statement but have it go back to that judge and get embroiled in whether the courts thought it had passed muster.

“What occurred [Wednesday], I think, was incrementally positive for … getting this project back to construction.”

Keystone XL would carry 830,000 barrels of crude a day from Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska. The pipeline would connect with the original Keystone that runs to refineries in Texas. (Alex Panetta/The Canadian Press)

But American environmental groups, some of which have been fighting Keystone XL for years, do not believe Trump will succeed in getting Keystone XL built.

“We feel confident in our position, for sure,” Jane Kleeb, founder of environmental group Bold Nebraska, told CBC News.

“Every time they try to speed up a pipeline or a coal plant by creating some type of new state law or signing an executive order, it does the opposite effect. It just adds more layers of legal loopholes and legal strangleholds that these big corporations or the Republican Party have to go around.” 

The pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of crude a day from Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska and cost $8 billion US, according to the company’s latest estimate. The pipeline would then connect with the original Keystone that runs to refineries in Texas.

First announced in 2005, the project has been stuck in limbo after being met with considerable political, environmental and Indigenous opposition.

Bold Nebraska founder Jane Kleeb speaks against Keystone XL in 2017. (Associated Press)

James Coleman, an energy law professor at Southern Methodist University in Texas, isn’t certain that the executive orders do much to clarify the future of Keystone XL.

“Anybody over the past 11 years who told you how things were going to work out over the next months would have been foolish to do so, and so I think we are stuck with continued uncertainty for months to come and maybe years,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean that the pipeline won’t necessarily go forward.” 

Coleman anticipates more court challenges, as does Kleeb. She also thinks Trump’s moves will invigorate opposition groups.

“President Trump and Big Oil are hoping that this makes people feel depressed and deflated, and it’s really doing the opposite,” Kleeb said. 

“Everybody is just as energized to make sure that this pipeline, especially Keystone XL, does not get built.”

Preparing for an election?

Part of Trump’s motivation is likely preparing for the election next year, according to one U.S. energy policy expert, who says putting thousands of people to work on a pipeline is “great advertising.”   

“He’s definitely feeling he’s going to get a lift off of this,” said Chris Sands, director of the Center for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C., and an expert of U.S. energy policy.

“He doesn’t want to have this endless argument about, you know, the world is going to end, global warming is going to kill us.”

A TransCanada spokesman didn’t comment on Trump’s executive orders, but said the company has filed a motion with the U.S. Ninth Circuit court asking it to dismiss the legal challenges related to the 2017 presidential permit.

“Our filing looks to resolve the issues raised in the challenge, remove the injunctions in place and put thousands of hard-working men and women to work building this critical piece of North American energy infrastructure,” a spokesman said in an email statement.

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