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Sen. Mitt Romney is leading a bipartisan group of senators in an effort to curb President Trump’s ability to remove troops from Germany after the commander-in-chief opted to withdraw tens of thousands of US soldiers from the region.

Romney (R-Utah) introduced a measure Monday alongside Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.

), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) prohibiting the White House from reducing the number of active-duty troops in the country below 34,500 without Congress confirming that such a move would not negatively impact European alliances or NATO.

On Wednesday, President Trump announced that he planned to withdraw tens of thousands of US troops from Germany — accusing the European nation of taking advantage of his administration by not paying their fair share to NATO.

“We’re going to be reducing Germany very substantially down to about 25,000 troops. We actually had 52,000 but we’ll be moving it down to about 25,000,” Trump told reporters at the time.

The US troops will be sent to Poland or will return to the US, he said.

Should the bipartisan measure become law, the Pentagon would be required to certify to Congress that a troop reduction would be in the national security interest of the United States.

Romney has a powerful group of Senators behind him on the bill thus far, and could find congressional GOP support for his measure.

Back in May, GOP members of the House Armed Services Committee put up a united front in an effort to convince the president to not go through with any troop withdrawals in Germany.

22 Republicans led by Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) urged Trump to reconsider the move in a letter.

“We are very concerned about reports that the Administration is considering a significant reduction of U.S. troops currently based in Europe as well as a cap on the total number of U.S. troops which can be present there at any one time,” the letter read.

Kaine, now a cosponsor, also led the effort to pass the war powers resolution in the Senate back in January.

That bill — had President Trump not vetoed it — would have curbed the White House’s ability to declare war with Iran without congressional approval.

Trump defended vetoing the measure at the time, calling the resolution “very insulting.”

“We live in a hostile world of evolving threats and the Constitution recognizes that the president must be able to anticipate our adversaries’ next moves and take swift and decisive action in response,” he said.

In a statement on the measure, Romney called the withdrawal of US troops from Germany, “a gift to Russia,” and “the last thing we should be doing.”

“In addition to undermining our NATO alliance, a withdrawal would present serious logistical challenges and prevent our military from performing routine military readiness exercises. I urge my colleagues to take up our measure to prevent such a reduction in troops deployed to Germany.

“We cannot abandon our commitment to our allies, and instead must strengthen our alliances in order to reign in the world’s bad actors and promote the values of freedom and democracy around the world,” Romney said.

During a July 2018 NATO meeting with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump questioned why the US protects Germany, ostensibly from Russia, while the country is involved in an energy deal with Russia.​

“I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you’re supposed to be guarding against Russia​,​ and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump ​told Stoltenberg at the time.

“So we’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France, we’re protecting all of these countries. And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia. And I think that’s very inappropriate.”

​”​But Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline​,” he continued.

In their letter to the president, House Republicans conceded that Germany was deserving of some scrutiny.

“We strongly believe that NATO allies, such as Germany, should do more to contribute to our joint defense efforts. At the same time, we also know that the forward stationing of American troops since the end of World War II has helped to prevent another world war and, most importantly, has helped make America safer,” they wrote.

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Protesters stop sudden eviction of out-of-work NYC tenants

A group of protesters managed to stop what officials called a heartless and illegal eviction of tenants from a Brooklyn residence on Tuesday night.

The tenants living in a four-story LGBTQ-friendly home in Crown Heights accused their landlords of arriving unannounced Monday to push them out and move their own family in.

They claim the lanlords, Gennaro Brooks-Church and ex-wife Loretta Gendville, barged into a bedroom where one tenant was in the buff after showering.

The eleven tenants in the nine-bedroom home had lost work and income amid the coronavirus in March and refused to fork over rent from April to June as the pandemic surged across the Big Apple.

“It took me months to receive unemployment,” said 24-year-old tenant Angelina Martinez. “I filed my taxes in February and I haven’t received my return. There are so many people here who have not received any kind of financial assistance during this pandemic.”

When they sent the landlords an email saying they were now ready to pay for July rent, they were ignored, according to Martinez.

“We sent an email on the first saying everyone was able to pay rent. We requested they respond in 24 hours and received no response,” Martinez said.

Instead, Brooks-Church and his ex-wife showed up with their kids and two dogs ready to move in.

“They came with furniture and beds. They said they were immediately moving in and charging into the house,” said Martinez. “The kids were saying it’s so nice to be home.”

Martinez, who works as a barista, said Gendville put her hands on her roommate, attempting to pull her out of the bedroom while unclothed.

A landlord at 1214 Dean street has started to evict nine tenants at his four story home in Crown Heights Brooklyn.

Paul Martinka

Signs protesting against the evictions.

Paul Martinka

Angelina Martinez, one of the tenants who is determined to stay until the end.

Paul Martinka

Inside Martinez's apartment building.

Paul Martinka

A bedroom in the apartment.

Paul Martinka

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July 8, 2020

“They actively tried to drag her out of the bedroom,” she said.

Later that night, Brooks-Church dozed off in one of the bedrooms while his tenants tried to sleep in adjacent rooms.

“We had to sleep with him in the house. He overtook one of the bedrooms. We spent Monday night and Tuesday with Brooks-Church inside the house,” said Martinez.

“We are all queer women of color in this house. There are sex workers in here. This has been a safe haven for us and we’ve never seen him before,” she added.

On Tuesday afternoon, a U-Haul arrived, with landlords and workers confiscating furniture, according to Martinez.

“They started unloading the house and went off with the mattress. They started taking things out of the bedroom from downstairs and we started screaming,” Martinez said.

After tenants reached out to Equality for Flatbush, an anti-policing, anti-gentrification advocacy group, advocates organized online, calling for support on the scene and posting the phone numbers for the landlords on their social media pages.

A moving truck was spotted earlier this morning moving one of the tenant's belongings.

Paul Martinka

People gathering outside the apartment building where tenants were trying to be forcibly removed.

Paul Martinka

People moving furniture out of one of the apartment units.

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July 8, 2020

Dozens of protesters arrived Tuesday to shout down the landlords who arrived with additional men Tuesday night to push through the front door.

“People should not be paying rent at a time when people are not working,” said Em, an organizer with the group. “We need to abolish rent. We need to abolish landlords. They are exploiting their tenants,” she said.

For now, three tenants remain, including Martinez who is moving out in two weeks. One of the tenants is recovering from a traumatic brain surgery, said Martinez.

Brooks-Church owns “an artistic green contracting and designing firm” with “a focus to Turn New York Green,” according to his website. He was featured in a 2018 New York Times article outlining the lengths he went to in covering his Carroll Gardens house with a patterned wall of plants.

He has denied all allegations.

“This is absolutely untrue,” Brooks-Church told The Post. “I’m a white male. I’m being demonized for being a white male.”

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New York eviction moratorium extended, new tenant protections issued Empire State renters hit hard by the coronavirus can rest...

When asked about the tenants’ version of events, Brooks-Church described it as “pure lies” and denied staying over Monday night a commandeered bedroom.

“I never told them to leave and I gave them keys,” he added.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in March signed an executive order implementing an eviction moratorium on non-payment evictions to ease the burden of renters who have lost their jobs.

But with that moratorium set to expire on June 20, the governor in May extended the order through Aug. 20 with key changes limiting the protection to anyone eligible for unemployment benefits or “otherwise facing financial hardship” due to the pandemic.

State Sen. Julia Salazar (D-Brooklyn) said based on the tenants’ account, the eviction would be illegal regardless of moratorium eligibility.

“Yes, [it’s] completely illegal to do what is described here even without the moratorium,” Salazar tweeted Tuesday night, adding in another post that Brooks-Church “should be publicly shamed.”

Filed under brooklyn ,  Coronavirus in NY ,  crown heights ,  evictions ,  7/8/20 Share this article: Share this:
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